Cubs

Crosstown crossovers in the last 15 years

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Crosstown crossovers in the last 15 years

When Kosuke Fukudome appears in his first game for the White Sox in 2012, he'll become the 17th player to play for both the Cubs and White Sox since interleague play began in 1997. The other players on the list range from obvious to forgotten to completely random.

My criteria for doing this is simple: The player had to play on both the Cubs and White Sox from 1997 on. That means Sammy Sosa (White Sox 1989-1991, Cubs 1992-2004), Kevin Tapani (White Sox 1996, Cubs 1997-2001) and Tanyon Sturtze (Cubs 1995-1996, White Sox 2000) didn't make the cut, among others.

Without further ado, let's go to the list:

Will Ohman: Cubs 2000-2001, 2005-2007, White Sox 2011
With the Cubs: Ohman threw 160 innings, the most with any team, and posted a 4.33 ERA.
With the White Sox: Entering the second season of a two-year, 4 million deal, Ohman will be Robin Ventura's primary left-handed reliever in late-game situations if Matt Thornton closes.

Juan Pierre: Cubs 2006, White Sox 2010-2011
With the Cubs: Pierre led the National League in hits, at-bats and caught stealings.
With the White Sox: Pierre had a good 2010, but struggled in 2011. Led the AL in caught stealings in both years.

Bob Howry: White Sox 1998-2002, Cubs 2006-2008, 2010
With the Cubs: Was torched in 2008 after two solid years in 2006 and 2007; infamously had a fan run up to him in the ninth inning of a game Howry blew in 2007.
With the White Sox: Came over from San Francisco as part of the 1997 White Flag trade, was a key part of the 2000 AL Central champion's bullpen.

David Aardsma: Cubs 2006, White Sox 2007
With the Cubs: Had a 4.08 ERA, but allowed nine home runs in 54 innings.
With the White Sox: Started out great, but fizzled along with the rest of the bullpen and finished the year with a 6.40 ERA.

Neal Cotts: White Sox 2003-2006, Cubs 2007-2009
With the Cubs: Ran into injury issues, saw some effectiveness in 2008 but was out of baseball with a 7.36 ERA in 2009.
With the White Sox: Was dominant as the team's go-to lefty during the 2005 World Series run.

Aaron Miles: White Sox 2003, Cubs 2009
With the Cubs: Following a career year in St. Louis, Miles hit .185 with the Cubs in his worst season as a pro.
With the White Sox: Had some promising OBP numbers in the minor leagues, got 12 at-bats in the majors in 2003 and was shipped to Colorado for Juan Uribe that winter.

Scott Eyre: White Sox 1997-2000, Cubs 2006-2008
With the Cubs: Had a 4.03 ERA in three years. But let's use this time to point out that he received an MVP vote in 2005 with the Giants.
With the White Sox: Struggled as both a starter and reliever, compiling a 5.66 ERA. Came into his own as a pitcher after being dealt to Toronto following the 2000 season.

Ross Gload: Cubs 2000, White Sox 2004-2006
With the Cubs: Played in 17 games as a September call-up and hit his first career home run on the fourth of the month against the Rockies.
With the White Sox: Finished seventh in the 2004 Rookie of the Year voting and was a fantastic backup to Paul Konerko in 2004 and 2006, posting on-base percentages of .375 and .354, respectively.

Kenny Lofton: White Sox 2002, Cubs 2003
With the Cubs: Was a part of one of Jim Hendry's greatest coups as a GM as he came to Chicago along with Aramis Ramirez from Pittsburgh in a deal that centered around Bobby Hill. His .381 OBP was huge for the Cubs during their NLCS run.
With the White Sox: Played a solid 96 games before he was sent to San Francisco before the trade deadline.

Josh Paul: White Sox 1999-2003, Cubs 2003
With the Cubs: Signed on July 4 after being released by the White Sox, the Buffalo Grove native went hitless in seven plate appearances.
With the White Sox: Before Doug Eddings ruled he didn't catch Kelvim Escobar's offering in the 2005 ALCS, Paul was a fairly dependable backup for the Sox in 2001 and 2002.

Tom Gordon: Cubs 2001-2002, White Sox 2003
With the Cubs: Was effective when healthy, saved 27 games in 2001. Was traded to Houston before the deadline in 2002.
With the White Sox: After Billy Koch tanked, Gordon helped hold the Sox bullpen together, saving 12 games with a 3.16 ERA.

Jason Bere: White Sox 1993-1998, Cubs 2001-2002
With the Cubs: Pitched his last full season in the majors in 2001, starting 32 games with a 4.31 ERA.
With the White Sox: As a rookie, started 24 games with a 3.47 ERA for the Western Division champs, then followed that up with a 3.81 ERA in 24 starts the next year. Completely fell off in 1995, then ran into elbow problems before joining Cincinnati in 1998.

Robert Machado: White Sox 1996-1998, Cubs 2001-2002
With the Cubs: Appeared in 74 games while backing up Todd Hundley and Joe Girardi.
With the White Sox: Spent most of his time with the Sox in 1998 after joining the big-league club in late July.

Darren Lewis: White Sox 1996-1997, Cubs 2002
With the Cubs: Finished out his 13-year career by serving in a backup role, still managed to post a .326 OBP in 58 games.
With the White Sox: Was decent for a back-of-the-lineup hitter in 1996; traded to Los Angeles in 1997 for Chad Fonville.

Matt Karchner: White Sox 1995-1998, Cubs 1998-2000
With the Cubs: Wasn't worth trading Jon Garland.
With the White Sox: Was worth trading for Jon Garland.

Larry Casian: Cubs 1995-1997, White Sox 1998
With the Cubs: Was extremely successful in limited time in 1995 and 1996, struggled in 1997 and was claimed off waivers by the Royals.
With the White Sox: Appeared in four games, throwing four innings and giving up five runs to close out his career.

Podcast: Bold predictions for the Cubs offseason

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Bold predictions for the Cubs offseason

With the MLB offseason about to kick off, we run down the boldest predictions for the Cubs winter from around the NBC Sports Chicago Cubs content team. Topics include where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign, how much money they’ll get, what the Cardinals will do this winter, Cubs offseason trades and how Theo Epstein’s front office may add to the pitching staff.

 

One topic we could all agree on was David Ross' potential as Cubs bench coach if the incumbent Brandon Hyde ends up taking a job as manager for another team around the league.

 

Listen to the entire podcast here and check out all of our bold predictions below:

 

 

David Kaplan

 

—Anthony Rizzo and his new wife, Emily, will adopt Manny Machado, change his last name and see Manny Rizzo playing third base for the 2019 Cubs.

—Because of the Rizzo move, the Cubs will move Kris Bryant to a full-time outfielder.

—The Cubs will trade away Jose Quintana and sign Patrick Corbin.

—The Cubs will sign a pair of former Indians relievers for the back end of the bullpen in Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.

—The Cubs will trade Kyle Schwarber to the Royals for Whit Merrifield, who will start 155 games in the leadoff spot in the order.

—Joe Maddon will be a lot more consistent with the Cubs' lineup and batting order all season.

 

Kelly Crull

 

—Anthony and Emily Rizzo will receive more wedding gifts from Cubs fans than Kris and Jessica Bryan received.

—Anthony Rizzo will train this offseason so he will be able to sing — or play the piano — for the National Anthem at Wrigley in 2019.

—The Cubs will have no money left to remodel the media room at Wrigley Field.

 

Luke Stuckmeyer

 

—The Captain Morgan Club at Wrigley Field is going to be replaced by Kap's Kryo & Keto Korner.

—The Cubs will finally find a solution to the leadoff hitter issue.

 

Tony Andracki

 

—The Cubs sign Bryce Harper for less than $250 million. (He follows 23 people on Twitter)
—Manny Machado does not get a contract for more than $250 million, either.
—The Cardinals will sign Craig Kimbrel and either Machado or Josh Donaldson to play 3B. 

 

Rationale: St. Louis could really use the bat and closer and they have a sense of urgency in the division this winter we haven't seen from them in at least a decade. The Cubs and Brewers have clearly been better for two seasons now and look to have a better chance at contending than the Cardinals in 2019, as well. That can't be sitting well with the "Best Fans in Baseball." 

 

Jeff Nelson, producer

 

—The Cubs will trade 2 of the following players:  Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Addison Russell, Albert Almora Jr.

—The Cardinals will sign Manny Machado to play third base.

—Because of construction delays, the visitors’ clubhouse will not be ready for the home opener, forcing the Pirates to dress at their hotel and come to the ballpark in full uniform.

Mike Piff, social media manager

—Cubs sign Nick Markakis.
—Cubs sign Tyson Ross.

Eric Strobel, producer

—The Cubs 2019 saves leader is not currently on the roster.

Rationale: We saw what happened to the bullpen in Brandon Morrow's absence; it got the job done by and large, but was not longer truly feared. Deep 'pens are the norm in October now with lockdown relievers being counted on more and more. The front office knows they can't truly entrust that kind of workload to Morrow with his injury history - Theo admitted as much in his end-of-season press conference. While they probably will not make a big splash, a huge focus of the offseason will be to surround Morrow/Strop/Edwards/etc. with as many talented arms as possible. The Cubs could very well enter next season without a designated closer, but if they do, it will not be Brandon Morrow.

Scott Changnon, multi-platform producer

—The Cubs will sign Bryce Harper.

Rationale: "I dunno, maybe."

Nate Poppen, producer

—Cubs sign Andrew McCutchen, plug him into CF and make Almora a 4th OF (or expendable)
—Bryce Harper signs with Yankees.
—Manny Machado signs with Angels.

Matt Buckman, producer

Non-roster prediction: The Cubs will welcome Sammy Sosa back to Wrigley Field. Sammy turns 50 this winter, and fueled by our wonderful documentary on 1998, the Cubs will finally mend their broken bond with Sammy and bring him back to Wrigley.

Roster prediction: The Cubs will trade Kyle Schwarber for a leadoff hitter. Joe has had to get very creative with the top of his order since Dexter Fowler left. Though the front office has downplayed the importance of a lead-off hitter the last two off-seasons, they will look to add one for 2019 so that Joe doesn’t have to be so creative. They won’t have a place to play Schwarber after they sign Harper so they will swap his power for a new “you go, we go” guy. Look at KC or TB as AL teams that need to add power and also have guys who could potentially lead off for the Cubs. Mallex Smith (TB) or Whit Merrifield (KC) would be interesting options.

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No-brainer: The Cubs should absolutely bring back Jesse Chavez in 2019 bullpen

No-brainer: The Cubs should absolutely bring back Jesse Chavez in 2019 bullpen

Should the Cubs bring Jesse Chavez back for the 2019 bullpen?

This question shouldn't have anywhere near the polarizing effect the Daniel Murphy query had earlier this week, and for good reason.

It's hard to find any real downside for the Cubs working Chavez back into the fold next season. 

Sure, he's 35 and he'll turn 36 in August, but Chavez just had far and away the best season of his 11-year career and all signs point to it being legit.

He won't have a 1.15 ERA forever, of course, but he clearly found something with his mechanics that helped lead to the remarkable consistency he showed in a Cubs uniform (4 saves, 4 holds, 1.15 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 42 Ks in 39 IP). 

The Cubs will be looking to add some reinforcements to their bullpen this winter and Chavez fits the bill in many areas.

When asked about how to address the bullpen this winter, Theo Epstein said his front office will be "looking for guys who can throw strikes and execute a gameplan and take the ball and pitch in big spots."

The Cubs have publicly placed an emphasis on "strike-throwers" out of the bullpen over the last two winters now and that is right up Chavez's alley.

He threw 68.5 percent first-pitch strikes while with the Cubs, which would've ranked near the top of the league in 2018, right up there with aces like Miles Mikolas, Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Nola and Justin Verlander. Among all relievers, Chavez ranked 5th in baseball in first-pitch strike percentage in the second half.

Expanding further (since the first pitch isn't the only one that matters): Chavez threw the fourth-most strikes in baseball among all MLB relievers after the All-Star Break. Since the day Chavez put on a Cubs uniform, Philadelphia's Tommy Hunter (70.5 percent) was the only reliever in baseball (minimum 30 innings) to throw a higher percentage of pitches for strikes than Chavez (69.8 percent).

If you want strikes, there's no better reliever on the market right now than Chavez.

He also shouldn't be all that expensive at age 35, even despite the breakout and high level of importance placed upon relievers these days. A similar deal to the one Brian Duensing got last winter - $7 million over 2 years - seems appropriate and would be a steal if Chavez can continue to find even a modicum of the success he had since putting on a Cubs uniform.

Speaking of the Cubs uniform, Chavez reportedly doesn't want to wear another logo in 2019, saying this after the NL Wild-Card Game:

That was an emotional time, but Chavez repeatedly raved about the Cubs clubhouse and culture throughout his time in Chicago and really appreciated the way his teammates made him feel comfortable from Day 1.

When the Cubs first acquired Chavez in that under-the-radar trade, they touted his versatility which has become a valuable asset, especially in today's game where relievers are often asked to pitch multiple innings. If necessary, he could also represent depth for the starting rotation, having made 70 starts over his MLB career. 

Unless there's a surprising market that develops for Chavez, bringing him back to the North Side of Chicago on a 1- or 2-year deal is a no-brainer.