The Chicago Cubs have convinced Villanova football and baseball star Matt Szczur to pass up playing in the NFL to join their minor league farm system. Szczur accepted a $1.5 million bonus from the Cubs after being drafted by Northsiders in the 5th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. The 21-year-old wide receiver showed potential last season playing a number of the Cubs minor league affiliates, including the Peoria Cubs. The Cape May, N. J. native had a great career at Villanova starring for the both the Wildcats’ football and baseball teams. The dynamic pass-catcher was the most valuable player in the 2009 FCS National Championship and was considered a likely draft pick for next year’s NFL Draft. The Cubs have set realistic expectations for the young outfielder, projecting him starting in the outfield by 2014. That gives Szczur plenty of time to hone his trade and develop after playing baseball part-time thus far in his young career. Be sure to keep a eye on the young star next year in the minors Cubs fans.
Posted: January 21st, 2011 under Cubs News, Farm System.
Cubs fans finally have something to get excited about. Matt Garza will be plying his trade at Wrigley Field next season after general manager Jim Hendry traded Sam Fuld and four prospects for the right hander and two minor leaguers. The 27-year-old is coming off a 15-win season for the Tampa Bay Rays, giving the Cubs rotation another top-class arm. Garza had put in three consecutive years of pitching around 200 innings and has a career ERA of 3.97. The best part of the deal is the $$. Garza stands to only make $3 million in 2011. That’s heck of a bargain considering the Cubs just agreed to pay .191 hitting Carlos Pena $10 million for one year. Garza does have a reputation for sometimes letting his emotions get the best of him on the mound (ala Carlos Zambrano). If Big Z can get his stuff together the Cubs will have nice little rotation heading into the spring. Ryan Dempster is coming off a 15-win season, Zambrano went 11-3 in his limited starting role last year, Carlos Silva started a perfect 8-0 before experience a slight late season swoon, and Randy Wells could be a strong fifth starter for the Cubbies. We certainly won’t have the best starting pitchers in baseball in 2011, but this trade could be a key piece to puzzle.
Posted: January 7th, 2011 under Chicago Cubs, Matt Garza.
Although the media seemed to focus mainly on the controversy over Northwestern and Illinois having to use only one end zone in their November 20th game, I loved college football’s return to Wrigley Field. Take a walk around Chicago (especially Wrigleyville) on any Saturday in the fall and you will see people in a multitude of college football gear. Every year more and more people (especially young people looking for post-grad work) are move to this Midwestern metropolis we call home. Many of our new Chicagoans adopt the city’s sports teams for their own, but hold on to their college football roots.Every bar seems to have their own college team affiliation in the Windy City, offering college football fans a home away from home during the season. Yankee Stadium will host the Pinstripe Bowl between Kansas State and Syracuse this Thursday. Pretty cool. You know what would be a 100 times cooler? A bowl game at Wrigley Field. Sure, it would be nice if the Cubs figured out the dimensions a little better, but the atmosphere in and around the Friendly Confines during Northwestern vs Illinois was second to none. The NCAA needs to give the Big Ten a bid for a bowl at Wrigley. It would be awesome. Come join the Cubbie Bowl bandwagon today!
Posted: December 21st, 2010 under Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field.
Despite spending years out injured, Kerry Wood for a decade was one of the most beloved Chicago Cubs in the city. Wood is on his way back to the Chicago Cubs. Always a class act to fans and media, Wood sadly said goodbye to Chicagoland in 2008. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was not willing to fork over the cash to keep Kerry in town and the strong-armed Texan left for Cleveland. Wood went to a struggling Cleveland team who eventually traded him to the Yankees. While in New York, Wood only gave up two runs in 24 relief appearances for the Yankees. The Cubs only had to shell out $1.5 million for the 33-year-old, despite the White Sox offering him twice as much. In a press conference earlier in the day Wood explained his reasoning for coming back to the Northside of Chicago saying “It’s about being home and being here at Wrigley”. I will always remember watching Wood hitting a gutsy home run in game 7 of the 2003 NLCS from the Budweiser rooftop. It’s nice to have #34 back in blue.
Posted: December 17th, 2010 under Chicago Cubs, Kerry Wood.
The Chicago Cubs made their first big move of the off-season by acquiring left handed first-basemen Carlos Pena. General manager Jim Hendry signed the free agent slugger to a 1-year, 10 million dollar contract this past Wednesday. The Dominican power hitter spent the first six years of his big league career bouncing around the American League, playing for Texas, Oakland, Detroit, and Boston. Pena flourished in 2007 when he joined the Tampa Bay Rays and had a career high 46 home runs and 121 RBIs. Since his breakout season in 2007, Pena’s numbers have declined. The 32-year-old had a dismal .196 batting average last season, but did knock in 84 runs. In desperate need for a powerful lefty bat, the Cubs are hoping Pena can break the century mark this season in RBIs. On the upside, Pena does play well in the field and won’t cause problems in the clubhouse. The Cubs will need help at the plate with Aramis Ramirez penchant for picking up injuries and the always unpredictable stick of Alfonso Soriano. Although some were hoping for a flashier move by the front office, Cubs brass and fans alike are hoping the Pena move pans out.
Posted: December 10th, 2010 under Chicago Cubs, Cubs News.
We all got some bad news this morning in Wrigleyville. Chicago Cub legendary third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo has lost his battle with bladder cancer at age 70. The nine-time All-Star third basemen’s retired #10 jersey waves from Wrigley Field’s left field foul pole not only for what he did on the field, but what he did off it. Despite battling throughout his career with diabetes, Ron Santo was one of the best third basemen in baseball history. Like many other Cubs fans under the age of 45, I only knew Ronny in the Cubs WGN radio booth. I loved listening to Ron on the way home from work. No matter where you were when you heard Ron’s voice on the radio you felt like you were at the game watching the Cubs. It was like listening to the game with your favorite die-hard Cubs fan uncle. When the Cubs won you felt Ron’s passion for the Northsiders. The Chicago Cubs lost one of it’s great ones today. I for one will make the pilgrimage down to Clark Street tonight and raise a glass for Ronnie tonight. Cheers friends.
Posted: December 3rd, 2010 under Chicago Cubs, Ron Santo.
The hot topic in Wrigleyville of late has been money. The Ricketts family have made updating Wrigley Field outdated facilities a initiative, but that doesn’t mean the they are willing to pay for it. Presenting a plan where the renovations would be made through public financing, Tom Ricketts has been under fire this week. The outgoing Mayor Daley opposed Ricketts’ plans for using public funds stating that giving the Cubs said funds would make it difficult for the city’s next mayor to balance the budget. The Ricketts have said they will match the public funds allocated to make the renovations, but the Cubs owners’ have plenty of skeptics. J. Joseph Ricketts (Tom Ricketts’ father) is worth around $1 billion in 2009. Ricketts become one of the wealthiest people in America after founding the world’s largest online discount brokerage, TD Ameritrade. You can’t really blame the Ricketts’ attempting to get some public financing with the rest of the city’s sport teams benefiting from similar government funding. With the current state of the economy, it’s certainly is not going to be easy to convince people to support the spending tax money going towards a stadium of any kind.
Posted: November 18th, 2010 under Cubs News, Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Cubs’ brass recently admitted they’re are actively looking to sign a new free agent first baseman during the off-season. The Chicago Cubs unloaded Derrek Lee in a trade last season, freeing up some salary to bring in a good power hitting player to man first base. There has been considerable support for the Cubs going out and signing former Cincinnati Red and Washington National Adam Dunn. A career “Cubs Killer”, Dunn has been a model consistency throughout his 10-year-career. The Cubs desperately missed a true RBI machine last season and Dunn has batted in over 100 runs in each of the last four seasons. With Aramis Ramirez’s history of injury, the Cubs need a serious power upgrade. Owner Tom Ricketts said that the team will likely have a smaller salary in 2011. Last season - the team spent $144 million on their roster and currently have $103 million already committed to next season. I don’t know why there wouldn’t be enough room to sign Dunn. He’s a steady batter who should have at least another 4-6 good years in him at age 30.
Posted: November 8th, 2010 under Chicago Cubs, Cubs News, Free Agency.
THE CUBS HAVE THEIR MAN! Mike Quade is the new Chicago Cubs manager. Jim Hendry opted to remove the interim disclaimer preceding Quade’s title and begin preparing for the 2011 season. The Cubs’s snub of Wrigley Field legend Ryne Sandberg rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way, but let’s take a good look at the decision. The biggest thing Quade has going for him in my opinion was the vote of confidence he received from the players. A number of leaders on the team came out publicly saying they would like to see Quade come back next year. Winning over the locker room is one of the hardest things a manager can do and Quade will head into next season with it already done. I’m not sure what to make of the Cubs’ winning ways at the end of this season, but I sure hope the team can carry that momentum into next year. Quade comes off as a down-to-earth, hard-working guy who could do some good things if given the right talent.
Posted: October 29th, 2010 under Chicago Cubs, Mike Quade.
Multiple sources reported that former Cleveland Indians skipper Eric Wedge met with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts in regards to the vacancy at the Northsiders’ managerial position. The 2007 MLB Manager of the Year in Cleveland has been thought of as a potential candidate for the job for some time now. After a few quiet years in the majors, Wedge began his managerial career in 1998 as skipper for the Columbus Redstixx. Moving quickly up to the Triple-A ranks, Wedge was named Triple A Manager of the Year and Minor League Manager of the Year while managing the Buffalo Bison. Wedge was named the Indians manager in 2003. In his first three years in Cleveland, Wedge improved the ball club. In 2005, the Indians won 93 games and just missed out on making the playoffs. The Indians regressed in 2006 finishing the year in 3rd place in the AL Central. The next season the Indians won the division and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Wedge’s next two seasons were disappointments and the Indians decided not to resign him in 2009. The 42-year-old manager does have a good reputation and a history of improving struggling teams like the Cubs. However, do the Cubs want to hire a manager who has only took a team to the playoffs one time in his career? Wedge is an interesting candidate for the Cubs job, but I wouldn’t call him a favorite for the job.
Posted: October 14th, 2010 under Chicago Cubs, Cubs News, Cubs Off Season.