The Cubs need a spark to ignite the offense, a legitimate lead off hitter. The Red Sox will undoubtedly try to sign Free Agent, Carl Crawford, and Jacoby Ellsbury could land on the trading block. Could a trade between Jim Hendy and Theo Epstein bring Ellsbury to Chicago?
It is no secret that the Cubs have had trouble finding a hitter that can effectively lead off. The Red Sox have shown some interest in Kosuke Fukudome, who has 1-year left on his contract, however, Boston seeks to restock their farm system with pitching prospects.
Is it possible that the Cubs will pursue a bonafide lead-off man to set the table for an offense that sorely lacks the abilty to score runs?
Jacoby Ellsbury was injured last season and only played 18 games so the Red Sox have made adjustments to their outfield. Boston is reportedly in the mix to acquire Crawford and Ellsbury may be more valuable on the trading block. If so, the Cubs should seriously consider this particular trade option.
Ellbury is 27 years old and has only played 2 full seasons. On a 162 game average, Ellsbury bats .291 with 9 HR’s and 60 RBI’s. He averages a .344 OBP which could be better, but in 2008, he swiped 50 bases and in 2009, he stole 70 bases. He is a base-stealing threat. Ellsbury is the type of lead-off hitter that can put pressure on the defense and make things happen. To acquire Ellsbury, Jim Hendy will need to move an outfielder.
The Cubs have 4 to choose from. Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, and Tyler Colvin are all possibilites. I think that such a trade would be mutually beneficial. Jim Hendry has alot of work to do next week as the Winter Meetings get under way. Let’s see if Hendry can find the Cubs a legitimate lead-off hitter. Jim Hendry does a pretty good job finding trades that work for both sides and Jacoby Ellsbury would be a perfect fit for the Cubs. He has led the American League in Total Zone Runs, Stolen Bases, Fielding %, Defense, and Triples. According to http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2010/11/jacoby-ellsbury-trade-boston-red-sox/1?csp=34, the Red Sox are prepared to trade Ellsbury and Epstein is looking to restock pitchers at the minor league level. So a trade between the Red Sox and the Cubs certainly looks possible. I hope so, the Cubs need a solid lead-off guy and some solid defense in the outfield and Boston needs to replenish the farm system. Jacoby Ellsbury can spark the Cubs’ offense with his base-running prowess and defensive skills. He has a tremendous amount of energy, something that has been missing in Chicago.
The 2010 season is finally over. Now it’s time to reflect on the players who deserve special recognition. Introducing the 1st annual Diehard Cubs’ Fan Attaboy Awards.
While my choices may not reflect the opinion of all Cubs’ fans, here are my selections nonetheless. Feel free to leave comments regarding your choices. It’s a free country.
The Ernie Banks Award goes to the player who exemplifies the heart and soul of the team. The player who demonstrated heart, determination, and who led by example.
Numbers aside, it goes to the player who contributed to the team in tangible and intangible ways.
The Ernie Banks Award goes to… Marlon Byrd.
His hustle and determination made him an all-star in 2010. Marlon batted .293, with 12 homeruns and 66 RBI’s. Byrd had a .346 OBP and defensively shined in centerfield. He brought a winning attitude to the club. Attaboy, Marlon!
Rookie Of The Year Award goes to Starlin Castro AND Tyler Colvin.
While Castro would be most fans’ choice for the award, Tyler Colvin has proven to be a valuable part of the team as well. Starlin Castro batted .300, with 3 homeruns and 41 RBI’s. Castro led the team with 10 stolen bases. Meanwhile, prior to having his season end prematurely due to the broken bat incident, Tyler Colvin hit .254, with 20 homeruns and 56 RBI’s. Both youngsters did a tremendous job in 2010. While both players have room for improvement, Castro and Colvin had an excellent rookie season. Attaboy, you guys! Good job!
Most Dominant Pitcher Award goes to… Carlos Marmol.
Carlos Marmol has been one of the most dominant closers in the game today.
Marmol has become one of the most feared pitchers for batters to face. He has a NASTY slider that when Carlos is on top of his game, is unhittable. He has been lights out this year. Marmol surpassed Bruce Sutter’s single-season record for strikeouts by a closer with 138 K’s. Carlos finished the year with a 2.55 ERA and 38 SAVES. Attaboy, Carlos! Excellent work!
Comeback Player Award goes to… Carlos Zambrano.
Big Z was on the verge of being finished in Chicago following his infamous tirade in the dugout after Derek Lee failed to dive after a ball driven down the first base line. His outburst landed him on the Restricted List where Carlos was forced to undergo Anger Management classes. Upon his return to the starting rotation, Big Z was resurrected and given new life. Zambrano made the best of his second chance as he calmly returned and was better than ever. Big Z made a statement to silence the critics, not with his mouth, but with masterful pitching performances. Since the all-star break, Big Z proved that he is one of the best in the business as he went 8-0, with a 1.41 ERA in his last 11 starts. Zambrano finished the season 11-6, with a 3.33 ERA. Big Z is back, better than ever! Attaboy, Carlos! Keep up the good work, and don’t forget to stay calm!
The Mr. Consistency Award goes to… Sean Marshall. Sean is a true team player. He would rather be in the starting rotation but the team needed his services in the bullpen where Sean has quietly turned into one heck of a reliever.
He has been the premiere set up man. Marshall finished the season with a 7-5 record and a 2.65 ERA in 80 appearances. Sean has proven to be one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Attaboy, Sean! Nice job!
Special Award goes to… Mike Quade. Since Lou Piniella retired, Mike Quade assumed managerial duties to finish out the season. No one had Mike Quade on Jim Hendry’s ShortList but, Quade didn’t waste any time opening people’s eyes.
He quickly turned the Cubs around. Under Mike, the team finished 24-13. Quade deserves a ton of credit for the turnaround. No one expected that he would emerge as one of the front runners to win the 2011 managerial position, but here he is. The players have endorsed him and have played their hearts out to finish the season strong. The Cubs looked like playoff contenders the last month and a half, a huge accomplishment since there wasn’t anything to play for at that point. In any event, the strong finish will undoubtedly carry over into next season. I tip my hat to Mike Quade for making the end of the season enjoyable to watch. Attaboy, Mike! Good luck on the interview process! You have proven your ability to manage and manage well!
The Diehard Award goes to… THE ENTIRE CUBS’ TEAM for not giving up when all was lost, for having the heart to play hard and finish strong.
I salute you, Cubs! This team has given me a new ray of hope as next season draws near. I can’t wait till next year! It should prove to be a different story, one with a happier ending! ATTABOY, CUBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See you next Spring! Get some rest, work hard in the offseason and come back healthy and ready to play! We shall embark on a journey together, a quest for a World Series Championship! BELIEVE!!! What the mind can conceive and believe, the Cubs can achieve! Believe it!
In his final start of the season, Carlos Zambrano delivered yet another quality start to finish the year on a positive note. Big Z went 8-0, with a 1.41 ERA in his final 11 starts since returning from the restricted list.
What more does Zambrano need to do to silence his critics? He has gone out to the mound and quietly gone about his business. He is calmer and more subdued. Big Z has changed, not only his mindset, but has changed his approach to pitching. Instead of trying blow batters away, Big Z has shown signs of maturity as he has learned to change speeds and mix up his pitches. Whatever changes he has made, it has made a world of difference as Zambrano does not appear to be the same guy that we saw earlier in the season.
Baseball is a game of adjustments. Big Z has made some adjustments and it shows. I just hope people will get off of his back. He has changed. Give the guy a chance. There’s nothing more Big Z can do other than come back next year and keep up the good work. I think it is time for Cubs’ fans to show the guy some love and support. He has earned it.
The Cubs as a team deserve credit for a strong finish. Under Mike Quade, the Cubs are 24-12, that is a .667 winning percentage folks. What more can you ask for? True, it would be nice to see that kind of effort sustained for an entire season but the Cubs have built a solid foundation going into next year. Whether Mike Quade returns to the Cubs or not, he has definitely opened some eyes.
He deserves to manage somewhere. I for one, have been impressed. The Cubs are starting to look like a winner and I am pleased to see the turnaround. There may be hope after all for the Cubbies!
Marlon Byrd drove in 3 runs last night to spark the Cubs’ offense and Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam to put the game away. Marlon Byrd has been a blessing as he has consistently done a great job this year. Byrd has been a leader who has set a good example for the rest of the team. He hustles on every play and demonstrates what a player should be. He gives every game 100%. THAT is how you make it to the postseason. If we had 25 guys who played as hard as Marlon Byrd, the Cubs would have something special. Since Mike Quade has taken over team, it seems that the team as a whole has adopted that mentality.
Aramis Ramirez has had a rough year, battling injuries all season. but has finished strong as well. With a healthy Ramirez, the Cubs are a far better team. He is a great player who struggled because of nagging injuries. His grand slam last night was beautiful.
It made me feel good to see him swing the bat again. I hope Aramis can get some rest in the offseason and come back healthy. A healthy Ramirez translates into a much better Cubs’ team. The lineup pretty much revolves around Aramis. Hopefully, the Cubs can acquire a slugger to precede Ramirez in the lineup. Aramis Ramirez is a far better hitter when he has protection and doesn’t have the burden of carrying the Cubs’ offense. Too much pressure was put on Ramirez to hit the long ball this year. A-Ram is a much better contact hitter when he isn’t swinging for the fences on every pitch. Anyway, it’s good to have him back in business.
The Cubs have been road warriors, winning 17 of their last 21 road games. WOW!
The Cubs will finish the season today at Houston. 2010 has been bittersweet. It has been a year of frustration and disappointment, but Mike Quade and the Cubs have given us HOPE and encouragement as we look forward to next season. Thank you, Cubs, for finishing the season like true champions!!!
Cubs’ pitchers did it again! For the second consecutive night, Cubs’ pitching staff combine to shut out the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ryan Dempster was impressive, striking out 8 in 7 scoreless innings to earn his 100th career victory.
For the second straight game, the bullpen remained strong and Carlos Marmol earned his 30th save of the year.
In the first inning, Marlon Byrd notched his 900th career hit and reached a personal best, 156th base hit for the season.
Byrd has been a welcome addition to the Cubs’ lineup.
Xavier Nady belted a solo shot off the foul pole for the only run of the game.
The Cubs’ pitchers have held Milwaukee scoreless in the first two meetings and go for the sweep today. Casey Coleman takes the mound for the Cubs.