Cubs

Juan Pierre felt 'a little bit a part' of last year's World Series team

Juan Pierre felt 'a little bit a part' of last year's World Series team

Among the many making their first Wrigley Field pilgrimage on Saturday was Juan Pierre. 

The former MLB outfielder donned a Cubs jersey for 162 games in 2006, but he had never been to the Friendly Confines as a fan. 

"I had to ask my wife how you even get into the stadium. I didn't even know what entrance to take or any of that," Pierre joked with Kelly Crull during the Cubs' 3-2 win over the Cardinals. "But it's a great experience." 

Pierre was a fan favorite on the North Side, swiping 58 bases in his lone season with the club. He finished his career 18th on the all-time steals list, tallying 614 with six clubs.

His 2006 Cubs squad was short on success, though. Despite having the seventh highest payroll in baseball, the team lost 96 games, ultimately leading to the firing of Dusty Baker. 

Even so, Pierre, like so many other former Cubs, felt connected to the 2016 team. 

"When they won it last year, I felt a little bit a part of it," Pierre said. "I didn't have much to do with it, but I always tell everybody, 'anybody who ever put that uniform on, they wanted to be the one who did it.'"

Pierre was excited to see Anthony Rizzo, who has a home near the former outfielder in Parkland, Florida, and other members of the team that broke the curse in his return to Chicago. But Wrigleyville isn't the only side of town he's familiar with.

Pierre played two seasons with the White Sox, giving him a unique perspective on the upcoming Crosstown series. 

"You throw the records out. You throw everything out," he said. "The fans really got into it. As players we're like, 'OK this is another game we gotta win,' but the fans were crazy. What I realized was the Cubs don't like the White Sox. The White Sox fans hate the Cubs fans."  

Cardinals meet with Keuchel and Ryu as they look to fill out rotation, per report

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USA TODAY

Cardinals meet with Keuchel and Ryu as they look to fill out rotation, per report

The Cardinals met with the representatives of free agent starters Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu at the Winter Meetings this week, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.

St. Louis has an opening in their rotation, as longtime Cardinal Michael Wacha agreed to a one-year deal with the Mets Wednesday. They could address that vacancy internally, with candidates including Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes, Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponce de Leon. Each comes with questions, however.

Martinez has dealt with shoulder problems the past two seasons and underwent a "small procedure" to address soreness in October. He moved to the bullpen in August 2018 as a result and was the Cardinals closer last season.

Reyes was once a top Cardinals prospect, but he’s pitched in just 17 games (six starts) since his 2016 — his rookie campaign. He underwent season-ending surgery in 2017 (Tommy John) and 2018 (torn lat).

Gomber posted a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts in 2018 while making 18 more appearances in relief. He didn’t pitch in the big leagues last season. Ponce de Leon started eight of his 13 appearances last season, posting a 4.15 ERA out of the rotation.

Keuchel or Ryu would be an upgrade over the uncertainty that comes with the four aforementioned candidates. Keuchel isn’t an annual Cy Young Award contender, but he holds a 3.77 ERA in 102 starts since winning the award with the Astros in 2015.

Ryu won the National League ERA title (2.32) with the Dodgers last season and holds a career 2.98 ERA in 126 games (125 starts). He’s dealt with a fair share of injuries in his career and underwent surgery on a torn left labrum in 2015. Teams will be wary of Ryu’s injury-riddled past, but he’s a frontline starter when healthy.

The Cardinals rotation is currently made up of Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Are the Cubs are starting from scratch?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Are the Cubs are starting from scratch?

The crew wraps up the week for the Cubs on the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego

David Kaplan and Tony Andracki are joined by MLB Pipeline writer Jim Callis to discuss the Cubs trying to replenish the farm system that is barren (1:30).

They also talk about some potential deals the Cubs could make and the returns by trading catcher Wilson Contreras (7:20), or former MVP Kris Bryant (14:30).

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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