2014 Chicago Cubs Thread

Discussion in 'Chicago Cubs/White Sox Forum' started by little bear, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/11410088/jorge-soler-join-chicago-cubs

    OF Jorge Soler set to join Cubs

    The Chicago Cubs are set to call up top prospect Jorge Soler, sources confirmed to ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers on Monday.
    Soler was pulled from the Iowa Cubs' game in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday night after hitting a three-run home run, his eighth of the season for Iowa.
    The Cuban outfielder will join the Cubs in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
    Soler is hitting .338 this season with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs across Triple-A, Double-A and the rookie league. He has played mostly at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, with a short stay rehabbing with a Cubs rookie league affiliate in Mesa, Arizona.
    Cubs utility man Logan Watkins said this week that Soler is a "freakish athlete."
    "He can do it all," Watkins said. "Obviously there are things he has to work on, but that's a freakish athlete."
    Multiple Chicago-area media outlets reported the news earlier Monday night.
    Soler, 22, would be just the latest call-up for the Cubs. Earlier this week, the team recalled 24-year-old outfielder Matt Szczur. Szczur was a fifth-round pick of the Cubs in 2010.


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  2. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Are the Cubs getting energy from a Soler panel?
  3. Blue Horse-shoe

    Blue Horse-shoe Veteran

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    Soler's 1st ML at bat = a 400+ HR to center . Welcome !
  4. strockrocks

    strockrocks Veteran

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    SOLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    Another Cubs fan on this board. :woot:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    Gotta love me some Cubs.

    Soler, Baez.... Alcatara... I like this young guys
  7. Blue Horse-shoe

    Blue Horse-shoe Veteran

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    I can feel it starting folks - that here we come feeling . Smoked the friggin Cards 2 games in a row . It'll take some more time , but the ride has just begun . Get on board . Don't miss any of it . It's getting fun again .
  8. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cub...with-little-chip-on-my-shoulder-for-next-year

    Bryant ends season with a "little chip on my shoulder" for 2015

    CHICAGO -- Despite a monster year in the minor leagues, former No.2 overall pick Kris Bryant is back at home in Las Vegas while many of his Triple-A Iowa teammates are playing with the Chicago Cubs this month.

    “I think now more than ever, I’m realizing this game is a business, and all I can do is go out there and play as hard as I can and make it really hard on the guys in charge,” Bryant said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I think I did that this year. If I’m taking that mindset, then I’m not really going to be sitting there with my head down at the end of the year.”

    Service time issues and 40-man roster spots are helping prevent the Cubs' best minor league player from starting his major league career just as the team called up seven other, less-accomplished players on Tuesday. The Cubs don’t believe a player finishing his first full year as a professional should be called up anyway.

    “It’s kind of funny, all the rules,” Bryant said. “Coming into professional baseball, I had no clue. I didn’t pay any attention to it in college, either. At the end of my first season, I kind of know the lingo about all this stuff. I guess the system works in some ways, and in some ways there are some flaws. I can’t focus on that. I’ve always been high on avoiding the distractions.”

    Bryant doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from being taken in the Rule 5 draft this December, as he’s already protected because he’s just a first-year player. If the Cubs wait to bring him up until at least mid-April of next year, Bryant won’t become a free agent until after the 2021 season. If he comes up now, and stays for good, he’ll be a free agent a year earlier. That’s a big deal for a player who could help transform an entire franchise.
    Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, said he felt it was important enough to call Bryant personally and explain the situation. Epstein has always maintained that calling up a first-year, minor league player would take extraordinary circumstances. He even noted that Javier Baez didn’t need Rule 5 protection, but they called him up anyway because he’s been in the system longer, even though he’s younger than Bryant.


    “I told him the other day, 'You did everything you could possibly do as a first-year pro to impress and make us proud as an organization,’” Epstein recalled. “I told him the simple fact we’re not in a pennant race and for a first-year professional who didn’t miss any time, it’s a long season, a long grind, whether he realizes it or not. It’s appropriate to go home and rest.”

    Bryant didn’t suggest taking some time to come down from the grind would be a bad thing.

    “It was a long season for me,” he said. “I think I’m more tired mentally than physically just because I’ve never played 142 straight games without many off days.”

    But that doesn’t mean he didn’t want to play for another month. He would have loved to have been reunited with former teammates Jorge Soler and Baez in the Cubs' lineup. Instead, he’s taking the longer vacation with some motivation.

    “Next year, I’m really looking forward to coming out with a little chip on my shoulder,” Bryant declared. “I’m going to go out there looking to prove something.”

    He proved a lot this year between Double-A and Triple-A, as he totaled 43 home runs, 110 RBIs, a .325 batting average and a .438 on-base percentage. Epstein wants Bryant ready for a seven-month season, as the Cubs are hopeful a more competitive team might lead to a possible playoff berth in 2015 and beyond. Whether it’s April 1 or later, Bryant isn’t far from appearing at Wrigley Field.

    “I certainly think he’s close enough where he can start setting his sights on the big leagues. Whenever that times comes, we don’t know, but it’s getting closer,” Epstein said. “He’s as advanced and mature and professional a prospect as we’ve had. He’s as low maintenance a prospect as we’ve had. He handles new situations extremely well. It seems like nothing flusters him. If anyone can jump into the big league picture in the middle of the season and not miss a beat, it's Kris Bryant.”

    But where will Bryant play once he gets to the big leagues? He worked hard at third base this season and wants to stick there. The Cubs aren’t sure where he’ll fit in just yet.

    “We’re going to keep outfield fresh for him,” Epstein said of plans for next spring. “Now that it’s been a full year since college, we want to make sure he doesn’t lose that. We think -- no doubt in our minds -- he can play third base and be a really good third baseman, but we just don’t know how the roster is going to look a year from now, two years from now, five years from now. We want to keep that fresh for him.”

    Bryant is committed to third, where he made 21 errors this season.

    “I would really like to stick at third base,” he said. “I think, as good a season I had offensively, a case can be made I might have had a better season defensively because I’ve come a long way at third base.”

    Bryant made some errors on routine plays mostly due to his tall stature, and the Cubs still want him to work on his side-to-side movement. But by all indications, he is improving at third, and considering the position is still open at the major league level, it might be where he ends up.

    For now, Bryant will watch the Cubs like any fan would. The difference is he’s every bit as good as Soler and Baez and anyone else the Cubs will play this month. He just has to wait for his turn.

    “I am definitely looking forward to next season and playing with those guys,” he said. “I’ll be paying attention to it here in September. I look forward to playing with those guys for a long time.

    “[This year was] a good season I’ll look back on, and I’m heading into this offseason with a lot of confidence. I’m going to work real hard and improve next year, but this year was awesome.”

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  9. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Yup, it sure is. But then after we beat up the cards, we hand them first place right back by beating the brewers. Sad when you root against 'em, and they WIN...
  10. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/stor...ected-miss-remainder-season-high-ankle-sprain

    Starlin Castro has high ankle sprain

    CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has a high left ankle sprain and is likely to miss the rest of the regular season, according to general manager Jed Hoyer.
    "Right now the prognosis is four weeks to come back," Hoyer said Wednesday afternoon. "We're not going to shut him down. His mentality is he can beat four weeks and come back."
    Castro, 24, injured himself sliding into home in the first inning of Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers as his cleat got caught in the dirt around home plate. He limped off under his own power and X-rays showed no fractures. He underwent an MRI to rule out any ligament damage.
    Castro was unavailable for reporters on Wednesday afternoon as he was receiving treatment on the ankle.
    "(His) spirits are up and he said 'I'll be back,'" manager Rick Renteria relayed.
    Castro made his third All-Star team this season and was hitting .292 while already tying a career high in home runs with 14.
    "In my mind's eye he's had a very productive season," Renteria said. "He's dealt with a lot of different things very positively. He's worked extremely hard."
    Castro was criticized often last season as he struggled to a .245 batting average but got into the best shape of his career over the winter. A hamstring injury caused him to miss most of spring training and slowed his start to the season but as he got healthy he took off.
    Late last month he went on the bereavement list after a car accident in the Dominican Republic claimed the lives of several people close to him. He missed his first five games of the year but came back playing well. He has a nine game hitting streak after Tuesday's first inning single but that might be the last hit of his season.
    Second baseman Javier Baez will move over to play shortstop, the position he played almost his entire minor league career.
    "Right now our shortstop goes down and we can feel really comfortable," Hoyer said of Baez.


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  11. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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  12. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/27277/bryant-wins-ba-minor-league-player-of-year

    Bryant wins BA minor league player of year

    CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant is Baseball America’s minor league player of the year, the publication announced on Tuesday. Bryant is the first Cub to win the award since its inception in 1981.

    Bryant, 22, hit a combined 43 home runs between Double and Triple-A this season while hitting .325 and driving in 110 runs. His OPS was 1.098. Bryan has also won the USA Today minor league player of the year.

    Past winners of the Baseball America award include Mike Trout (2011), Paul Konerko (1997) and Derek Jeter (1994). Bryant is expected to make it to the major leagues sometime in 2015.

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    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/white-sox/post/_/id/21868/samardzija-keeping-his-eye-on-chicago

    Samardzija keeping his eye on Chicago

    CHICAGO – The smell of home was in the air Monday for Jeff Samardzija, leaving a strong hint that when he reaches free agency after the 2015 season, he could have an interest in returning to Chicago.

    Both the Cubs and White Sox could be in the market for starting pitching help at that point, and if either team calls, the Oakland Athletics right-hander sounds as if he would be more than willing to listen.

    Samardzija, a native of northern Indiana, has pitched well at U.S. Cellular Field in the past (and he's due to start there Wednesday night). And he obviously also has his history with the Cubs, where he transitioned from reliever to staff ace before he was traded to the American League on July 5.

    Samardzija can’t pitch any closer to his roots than he does when he is in the White Sox’s home ballpark, and that is part of the reason he has given up just one earned run in 12 innings on the South Side.

    “It’s just so close to home,” Samardzija said Monday as his A’s were set to begin a four-game series against the White Sox. “You go out and step in the outfield to shag, or pitching, or whatever you’re doing outside, you take a deep breath and it smells like I’m on the Valparaiso High School field playing.

    “There is just a comfort level to being in this area. I always have to show up well because I have a lot of people in the stands that are here expecting a lot of me.”

    There is a chance the Cubs could come calling, too, although the 29-year-old still has one more year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent. The Cubs not only helped Samardzija make his transition into a quality starter, they know what makes him tick. And as the team’s young offensive prospects have started to arrive in the likes of Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, Samardzija said he is impressed with what he sees.

    “Yeah, obviously I enjoyed the talent coming up for sure,” Samardzija said. “Obviously you see how they develop as a team and that’s the most important thing. Coming over here [to the A’s] you see how these guys are playing together and they have been doing it for a while, what makes them successful as a winning team. Those are important things.

    “Home runs are great and natural talent, but you have to piece it all together and become a team and that’s the most important thing. In this game, numbers and talent are important, but a lot of times it’s how the unit plays as a whole and how you pitch. Those are the two important things.”

    Samardzija had the opportunity to lock in a deal with the Cubs, but both sides failed to agree on the pitcher’s value. At that point, his eventual trade was inevitable.

    Samardzija doesn’t seem to have any hard feelings about how things turned out.

    “Yeah, that is absolutely something that is on my list; I love it here,” Samardzija said about a return to Chicago. “I’ve spent my whole life here and even to come back is exciting -- to see the same sights coming in from the airport and staying downtown. It brings back a lot of memories. It goes fast, so it seems like it was a long time ago, but for sure that’ll definitely be something that’s on my list. It’ll be an exciting time. But like I said, there’s still a lot of work to be done to get to that spot.”

    For now, though, it’s Samardzija, the former Notre Dame wide receiver on the same team as Adam Dunn, the former Texas backup quarterback, embracing a playoff chase while enjoying the start to the college football season.

    “Midweek when there’s no football on, is usually when, ‘Hey Samardzija, let’s go, man,’” Samardzija said. “[Dunn’s] got his worn-out NFL ball. My routes are getting better and I’m dusting off the old cleats. But Dunner is great. What a great addition to a team, and a guy that’s been there before, hit 1,000 home runs and hopefully he’s got a few more in there for the rest of the way. But we’re really excited to have him. He’s a great guy.”

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  13. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/27569/whos-up-first-for-cubs-in-2015

    Who's leading off for the Cubs in 2015?

    CHICAGO -- Leading off for the Chicago Cubs in 2015 will be Chris Coghlan. Or will it be Arismendy Alcantara? In fact, both might be considered leadoff hitters: One is for the here-and-now, and one might be for the future.

    “If you’re asking me, to win a ballgame today, Coghlan would be there,” manager Rick Renteria said before the Cubs played the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. “Do I believe Alcantara [can be] a leadoff hitter? Yes I do.”
    The difference, of course, is their age and experience. This is Coghlan’s sixth season in the majors, while Alcantara is just 22 and beginning his big league career.


    “Leading off is different,” Alcantara said. “Just work the count to get on base.”

    As you might expect, Coghlan was a little more detailed in what a leadoff man has to do, from seeing more pitches for the hitters behind him, to wasting time in order for the pitcher, who often will have batted just before him, to get a breather.

    “It’s part of the game,” Coghlan said. “You have to deal with a lot of situations.”

    Coghlan’s on-base percentage this season batting first is .328, and .350 overall. That’s more than respectable considering the league average is .314. And both numbers have gone up recently, as Coghlan’s been as hot as any Cub. Alcantara has gotten on base only 24 percent of the time in the leadoff role. He’s walked six times in 89 plate appearances batting first to go along with 27 strikeouts. Overall, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is nearly 5-to-1, not exactly ideal for a leadoff man.

    “That’s what 22-year-olds do in the big leagues,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “They strike out a little more than they did in the minor leagues and walk less than in the minor leagues. Over time and with experience, they get back to who they are as hitters.”

    Renteria has an easy decision to make for 2015, particularly with the kind of power Alcantara is showing. Coghlan can bat first while Alcantara gets a chance to drive in runs lower in the order. But long term, Alcantara should make the ideal No. 1 hitter. His switch-hitting combined with his speed and home run ability will make for a dangerous offensive force. One to whom pitchers won’t want to throw fastballs down the middle, but one they aren’t going to want to walk, either. That’s if Alcantara makes progress mastering the strike zone, as he did at times in the minors.

    “When he gets comfortable he should walk a little bit,” Epstein said.

    And that’s when the Cubs have a real leadoff hitter to bat in front of plenty of power in the middle of the order. For now, it’s Coghlan’s gig. Alcantara is up next.

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