Kaplan: Cubs continue roster renovations


Kaplan: Cubs continue roster renovations

With the Cubs move to put Ryan Dempster on the 15-daydisabled and recalloutfielder Tony Campana, the Cubs arecontinuing the overhaul of a roster that is a very long way from competing for a championship. By activating Campana it likely spells the end of Marlon Byrd's tenure in Chicago with star prospect Brett Jackson close to being major league ready. Byrd will most likely be dealt to the Boston Red Sox who are looking for a short term fix while staroutfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is sidelined with an injury. What the Cubs get back in return for Byrd is a bonus because the impetus of the trade is moving whatever money the Cubs can in the deal and also opening up a spot for first Campana but eventually Jackson. Fans are clamoring for the call up of both Jackson and star first baseman Anthony Rizzo but delaying their recall makes sense on a number of levels. Why accelerate their service time which would cost the franchise potentially millions of dollars if both players perform at the levels being predicted for them?It was a lack of long term thinking that led to the call up of Starlin Castro a couple of years ago. By not delaying his call up to the big leagues just 4-6 weeks longer the Cubs accelerated his service time which based on his star play will end up costing the franchise approximately 8 million because it moved up his ability to take the team to arbitration. His outstanding play will force the Cubs to pay him far more than they would have had to had they delayed his call up. The decision to promote him before they should have was a decision made by the previous regime that was desperate to save their jobs. It was also a decision that stunned many others around the baseball world because it was incredibly short sighted. In addition, with the 2012 Cubs off to a 3-11 start there is no need to rush young players into a tough situation playing at Wrigley Field in less than ideal weather conditions. While fans are disappointed in the team and the start it was not unexpected by Epstein and Co. They knew how bad things were when they evaluated the organization and they were fully prepared to deal with the fallout of a bad baseball team. Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are extremely competitive men and brilliant baseball minds. They knew that rebuilding the Chicago Cubs was going to be a lengthy and painful process and they were prepared for it. But just like the fan base that doesn't mean they have to enjoy it.

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

A series to forget: Facts and figures from Cubs' rough weekend in Cincinnati

The Cubs and their fans may want to invent and use one of those Men In Black neuralyzers because the four-game series in Cincinnati was one to forget.

The Reds finished off a four-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday with an 8-6 win. The way the Reds won the finale will be especially painful for the Cubs considering they led 6-1 after six innings. Mike Montgomery appeared to tire in the seventh inning and Pedro Strop got rocked out of the bullpen to lead to a seven-run seventh for the hosts.

The Reds have now won seven in a row and 10 of 12, but still sit 13 games under .500. Bizarrely, the Reds also swept the Dodgers, the Cubs’ next opponent, in a four-game series in May. Duane Underwood will start for the Cubs Monday against the Dodgers and make his major league debut.

Here are some other wild facts and figures from the series:

  • The last time the Reds swept the Cubs in a four-game series was back in 1983. That was the first week of the season and three weeks before the infamous Lee Elia rant.
  • One positive for the Cubs from the game was Montgomery’s start. Through six innings he allowed one run on three hits and two walks. However, he gave up a single, a double and a single in the seventh before Strop relieved him. Montgomery had gone six innings and allowed one run in each of his last four outings.
  • Strop was definitely a negative. On his first pitch, Strop gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker, the second home run for a Reds pinch-hitter in the game. Then Strop allowed a single, a walk, a single and a double before getting an out. Strop’s final line: 2/3 inning pitched, four runs, one strikeout, three walks, four hits.
  • The Cubs led in three of the four games this series, including two leads after five innings.
  • The Cubs were 5-for-23 (.217) with runners in scoring position in the series. On the season the Cubs are hitting .233 with RISP, which is 22nd in the majors and fourth-worst in the National League (but ahead of the division-rival Brewers and Cardinals).
  • The Reds outscored the Cubs 31-13 and scored at least six runs in every game. The Reds are now 6-3 against the Cubs this year after going a combined 17-40 against the Cubs from 2015-2017.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.