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Can Cubs Avoid Franchise Worse Record After Trades?

By bullpenbrian - July 20, 2012 - 2:15 am 2 comments.

If a trade for Ryan Dempster is not imminent, as one reports suggests as of Thursday afternoon, then I wonder why the Cubs would have Casey Coleman and the newly acquired Justin Germano on hand in St. Louis for a spot-start in Dempster’s place?

Let’s just say my money’s on Dempster being dealt (Dodgers, Braves, Nationals) before he takes the mound against the Cardinals Friday night.

It only makes sense for Team Theo to capitalize on Dempster’s high trade value of five straight victories, 33.0 consecutive scoreless innings and his major league leading 1.86 ERA.

The risk is simply too great for the Cubs to let Dempster toe the rubber and not to pull the trigger on a deal tomorrow afternoon.


Meanwhile, as if trading a fan favorite like Dempster won’t be tough enough, how fitting this team has spoiled us with the major’s best record since June 25 (14-5) right before the trade deadline. A Cubbie occurrence, I tell ya!

And not long after Dempster is wearing Dodger blue (or some other shade of blue), we can expect more trade dominoes to fall off the Cubs roster: Matt Garza, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker and perhaps a block-buster involving the likes of Bryan LaHair or Darwin Barney, among other possible candidates.

It’s all in the name of rebuilding, of course, but it’s hard not to imagine where this hot streak could lead with the Cubs current roster intact.


How To Increase Carlos Marmol’s Trade Value

By bullpenbrian - July 18, 2012 - 5:15 pm 2 comments.

Carlos Marmol

I haven’t heard a peep during this month’s trade rumors about Carlos Marmol–not that I expected to.

His 10 saves in 12 chances is no indication of his continuous struggle to close games efficiently.

For Marmol, it’s not a save until he walks the first two batters, allows an extra base hit and then escapes the jam with an unconventional double play.

That’s not the kind of gamble contending teams are looking for, especially considering Marmol is under contract through 2013 for a hefty $9.8M.

Aside from the big-money owed to Marmol, his season numbers are even less comforting. He’s walked 30 batters in 27.1 innings pitched. The opposition’s OBP against him is .396 and his walks per nine innings is a team worst 9.88.

It must be killing Dale Sveum internally to keep running Marmol out for the save. But the skipper’s been towing the company line doing all he can to increase his closer’s trade value, what little there is, while jeopardizing his team’s success in the win column.

The fact is, Marmol has seemingly run out of time to prove his worth to a contending team, let alone, the Cubs.



Cubs Potential Trade Return For Ryan Dempster

By bullpenbrian - July 18, 2012 - 2:00 am 6 comments.

This is a Guest Post by John Guminski. He’s a Junior at the University of Missouri majoring in Journalism.

The latest rumor churning from the mill is Detroit and Boston are both looking heavily into Ryan Dempster. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for Theo Epstein and crew to unload the 35-year-old right-hander, which could happen before the weekend.

Dempster has pitched 33 consecutive scoreless innings and currently leads the majors in ERA (1.86). His trade value couldn’t be any higher.

The question always comes down to getting the right return that fits your team’s future needs.

The Cubs farm system is filled with lots of hitting depth and star power, but lacks pitching outside of Trey McNutt and Dillon Maples. Dealing a guy like Dempster would hopefully bolster the farm system in these areas.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers’ organization has two prospects in particular the Cubs could realistically inquire about; 3B/ LF Nick Castellanos and RHP Bruce Rondon.


Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo Watch

By bullpenbrian - June 22, 2012 - 6:00 am 2 comments.


Time’s Right To Trade Soriano

By bullpenbrian - May 30, 2012 - 2:30 am Leave a comment.

You couldn’t pick a better time for Alfonso Soriano to get hot at the plate.

With the imminent arrival of Anthony Rizzo one month away (June 24) this might be the Cubs best, and only shot, at dealing Soriano if Tom Ricketts is still willing to eat an enormous $40M of Soriano’s remaining $50M dollar contract.

That’s a lot of dough for Ricketts to swallow, but it’s also one of the most important business decision on a laundry list of moves in the name of rebuilding.


Mr. Meltdown Strikes Again

By bullpenbrian - May 4, 2012 - 2:30 am 2 comments.

Let’s not get caught up in Dale Sveum’s semantics. The skipper’s not “considering removing Carlos Marmol from the closer’s role.”

Marmol is as good as gone. The real question is what took so long?

Watching Marmol toss meatball sliders has been frustrating to no end, and a red–faced Todd Hollandsworth said as much on CSN Chicago following Marmol’s latest meltdown.

“You owe it to the rest of the clubhouse to fix this situation…this will beat a clubhouse up.”

Just when everything was looking up, too. Dempster off the DL with his 0.95 ERA, three home runs in one game, a 3-0 lead heading in to the ninth and the potential for a 4-2 road trip through Philly & Cincy on the horizon.

Carlos Marmol, C’mon on down!


Trading Carlos Marmol

By bullpenbrian - April 30, 2012 - 3:00 am 5 comments.

It’s hard to believe Dale Sveum has any confidence left in Carlos Marmol.

Marmol’s performance Sunday, full of walks, wildness and unforced errors, has become common place for the right-hander. Not even a five-run lead could keep us from biting our fingernails.

The idea Marmol would improve from a dreadful 2011 season has nearly vanished. He’s allowed more walks (9) than innings pitched (7.2) and his five-runs allowed nearly matches his six strikeouts.

He’s also blown 2 of 3 save opportunities.

I’ve continually pleaded for the Cubs to return Marmol to a setup role, but it seems ever since he signed ‘closer money’ following the 2010 season it’s not a topic up for debate.

In the unlikely event Marmol does regain his form it’s probably best that doesn’t happen with the Cubs, or won’t happen with the Cubs.

No need to keep a veteran guy you can’t count on, especially with the game on the line and the club already in search of its future closer. 

So why not let another club gamble on Marmol’s past success?

For all the reasons stated above it’s understandable why finding a taker for Marmol won’t come easily for GM Jed Hoyer.

Marmol still has another year remaining on his contract–and $9.8M is no small chunk of change. But I imagine there are real possibilities for finding Marmol another suitor.


Marlon Byrd Not The Word

By bullpenbrian - April 18, 2012 - 10:00 pm Leave a comment.

Marlon Byrd isn’t hitting his weight. In fact, he’s not even close to it.

His .081 batting average is the result of 3 hits in 37 at-bats–and it gets worse.

Since going 1-for-4 with an RBI on Opening Day, Byrd has endured an 0-for-20 stretch, struck out out nine times, manage but two walks and was thrown out in his lone steal attempt.

In Late/Close game situations, a crucial spot for any club, but particularly the Cubs who are starved for offense, Byrd leads the team with five at-bats, of which he’s gone hitless with three strikeouts.

No better with RISP: 11 at-bats, one hit. Only Soriano (15) has had more chances to drive in runs.

Byrd’s struggles at the plate can’t be categorized as a ‘slump’. It’s something far more wicked, something beyond ‘Jacque Jones’ territory.

Regardless of what that might be, there’s no uncertainty Dale Sveum needs to pull Byrd from the everyday lineup, where he’s been in 11 of the first 12 games.


Cubs Bullpen League Worst

By bullpenbrian - April 10, 2012 - 11:00 pm Leave a comment.

There’s no reason for over-reaction to the Cubs (1-4) start less than a week into a marathon long season.

However, there’s plenty of reason to be concerned with the Cubs shaky bullpen after five games.

Chicago’s ‘pen is sporting an (0-3) record with an unflattering 7.24 ERA.

In 13.2 innings of work they’ve allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits, one home run and 12 walks vs. nine strikeouts. Obviously, that’s extremely concerning.

To make matters worse, the two go-to-guys, Carlos Marmol & Kerry Wood, have accounted for six earned runs and three blown saves.


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