According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports the Cubs have inked Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal. Really?
The Cubs could use another lefty reliever, but this is one heckuva long shot. If Willis can adopt to a bullpen role, specifically as a loogy, there’s a chance he could make the team in spring training, but it’s a slim one.
Current Cubs southpaws:
- Travis Wood
- James Russell
- Brooks Raley
- Chris Rusin
- Hisanori Takahasi
Dontrelle Willis – 31 years old
All Time (72-69, 4.17) ERA+101
Lifetime .244 batter, 9 HR, 39 RBI
Last pitched in the major in 2011 with Reds
13 starts, (1-6, 5.00) ERA+79
3 years (2-8, 6.86) in 22 starts
Total bust ERA+64
5 years (68-54, 3.78) in 162 starts
15 complete games, 8 shutouts
Won ROY 2003
2-time All Star
Finished 2nd Cy Young 2005 (22-10, 2.63)
Vs. Cubs in 2003 NLCS
(0-1) 2-games, 1-start
Started Game 4 – 8-3 win for Cubs at Miami
2.1, 6-ER, 3-H, 5-BB, 2-K, 12.38 ERA: allowed first inning grand slam to Aramis
Cubs in minor leagues
2000: Rookie League (3-1, 3.76) 9-games, 1 start
2001: Boise (8-2, 2.98) 15 starts
Drafted by Cubs in 8th round 2000
Traded to Marlins in 2002 for Antonio Alfonseca & Matt Clement
Traded by Marlins to Detroit with Miguel Cabrera in 2007 for Dallas Trahern (minors), Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo
When Kerry Wood retired in May he marked the last player to remain in a Cubs uniform from the 2003 playoff team.
Currently there are three holdovers from Chicago’s last postseason appearance in 2008: Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol and Jeff Samardzija.
Marmol will likely be traded this offseason. A Soriano trade is more possibility than certainty. However, if he and Marmol are both dealt this winter Samardizja becomes the lone remaining player from the Cubs’ last playoff team.
What does it all mean? Nothing, really. But man, time sure does fly…
–Greg Maddux has been named the pitching coach for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The team’s skipper, Joe Torre, also tabbed Gerald Perry (hitting), Dale Murphy (first base), Willie Randolph (third base), Marcel Lachemann (bullpen) and former Cub Larry Bowa (bench) to his coaching staff.
Maddux could prove a valuable recruiting tool for American pitchers still wavering with their decision to participate. There isn’t a pitcher alive who couldn’t learn a little something from The Professor. A few weeks of one-on-one counseling with Mad Dog should be an enticing offer for any hurler.
–The Miami Herald reported a poll by Bendixen & Amandi International conducted last week of 400 South Florida baseball fans‘ opinions of Marlins owner Jeffery Loria.
The majority polled are self described Marlins fans (90-percent) and the results revealed little surprise…87-percent are still seething over Loria’s fire-sale trade with Toronto.
If there’s any surprise, it’s the 13-percent who were not outraged by the move. That’s 52 votes. Really?
Aside from Loria and the Blue Jays, I couldn’t imagine any Marlins fans agreeing with the salary dump. Even the Marlins NL East rivals had to think the move was ridiculous and made in poor judgment.
What’s more, a small percentage (6-percent) actually responded with a ‘favorable’ vote for the team’s owner. Favorable!
Granted a few of the folks polled know the owner personally, but I’d have to fairly assume the rest of Loria’s supporters are in some way tied to his payroll.
But seriously, how can you be a baseball fan, let alone a Marlins fan, and not be disgusted with Loria’s leadership as the club’s owner? Some things I’ll just never understand…but my vote is Marlins fans deserve better.
As poorly as the Ozzie Guillen hiring worked out in Miami, it did do the Cubs a favor.
Without Ozzie at the helm the Cubs probably don’t find a taker for Carlos Zambrano last winter, which would’ve meant enduring another season of Zambrano’s self implosions.
“Ozzie has a long and close relationship with Carlos.” “We went with Ozzie on this one. The bottom line was Ozzie just really, really felt confident about this deal.” -Marlins’ president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest
Ozzie, of course, was brought to Miami to revitalize the Marlins franchise and Zambrano’s career. Instead, the Fish floundered to a (69-93) record becoming an embarrassment of riches, including Big Z, who actually won fewer games with Miami (7) than he did with the Cubs a year prior (9).
So while it’s easy to gripe about the $15M the Cubs ate to send Carlos to south beach and the return they got for him in Chris Volstad, there’s still no question the Cubs were better off without El Toro’s selfishness on a young, rebuilding team.
“I talked to enough [players] in order to get an understanding of the history here.” “This isn’t a decision that players will make. But I think if you don’t listen to what happens in the clubhouse then you can’t develop a proper understanding of it.” -Theo Epstein on Zambrano trade
Meanwhile, Ozzie’s career as a manager may be over and Zambrano’s pitching career could soon follow him right out the door.
Neither, however, is a concern of the Cubs thanks to the Marlins’ foolishness to believe Ozzie and ‘Z were part of the answer and not part of the problem in south Florida.
Naturally, Carlos Zambrano comes to mind with the Marlins in town for a three-games series.
Big Z isn’t scheduled to pitch, which is a shame. It would’ve been fun to see him wearing a visitor’s uniform on the Wrigley Field mound, and more interesting to see what kind of reaction he’d get from the home crowd (I imagine a standing ovation?).
But there was never any doubt Zambrano needed to depart Chicago’s North Side when Theo & Jed dealt him to Miami in January.
Carlos had worn out his welcome long before walking out on the team in Atlanta last August, which was rightfully the last straw for the organization.
April 8 post: Sadly, the once promise of a would-be ace steadily declined into a pitcher no longer welcomed or worthy of wearing Cubbie Blue.
Of course, it’s easy to gripe about the trade for Chris Volstad, who’s been horrific, and think how much better-off the Cubs might be with Zambrano in the rotation.
El Toro, however, hasn’t had the season many thought he would given a change of scenery and the guidance of Ozzie Guillen.
Many Cubs fans had been waiting a long, long time for this day—and no, I’m not referring to the Cubs first win of the 2012 season.
Rather, Carlos Zambrano finally made his first major league start wearing a uniform other than Cubbie Blue.
Big Z lasted six innings allowing 4 ER on 4 hits, walking 2 and striking out 6 against the Reds at Great American Ballpark on Sunday.
The $15M dollars the Cubs are paying to rid themselves of Carlos Zambrano is worth every penny of Tom Ricketts’ money.
Although it’s not the big-splash move Cubs fans had hoped for at the Winter Meetings, or the looming trade of Matt Garza, it’s certainly the most critical move Theo Epstein has made this offseason—and I couldn’t be happier.