Cubs

Moving on, Cubs release Carlos Silva

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Moving on, Cubs release Carlos Silva

Sunday, March 27, 2011Posted 10:40 a.m. Updated 2:41 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

When things are going good, Carlos Silva can be charming and engaging. But when Silva has doubts, he will tell you exactly what he thinks. The Cubs have apparently heard enough.

One day after Silva ripped the organization and specifically pitching coach Mark Riggins for the way he was treated, the Cubs simply released him, even though hes owed 11.5 million this year.

Sundays move was announced in a terse press release that ran all of two sentences. The Cubs had already told Silva that he wouldnt make the 25-man roster, and he understandably refused to go to Triple-A Iowa as an insurance policy.

General manager Jim Hendry had said that he would explore trade possibilities leading up to Opening Day. But there couldnt have been much of a market for Silva, no matter how much money the Cubs kicked in.

Speaking with the media in Arizona, Hendry called Silvas comments about Riggins totally inappropriate and unacceptable.

"Once again, it's a weakness for somebody who doesn't perform well and chooses to blame somebody else," Hendry told reporters.

Silva gave the Cubs more than they ever could have expected when they took him and cash considerations from the Seattle Mariners in the Milton Bradley deal. He went 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his first 11 starts and looked like a potential All-Star.

I love these fans, Silva said after his first Wrigley Field debut. They got so much passion for the game. Its so fun. Ive never seen anything like that. And my favorite part is when we win the game and they sing that song Go Cubs Go. Its like beautiful.

The smiles didnt last forever. A series of health issues limited Silva to just 5.1 innings last August and September and he never really shared in the late-season surge the Cubs enjoyed under manager Mike Quade.

At first, Silva didnt understand why he had to compete for a job as the fifth starter. Then he nearly got into a fight with Aramis Ramirez in the dugout and struggled with his confidence and location.

Even with a strong outing last week Silva allowed one run in six innings and retired 17 of the final 18 Oakland As he faced his spring ERA was still 10.90.

The Cubs are convinced that Andrew Cashner can become a high-end starter and the 24-year-old will take the final spot in the rotation. Casey Coleman, 23, will be ready in Iowa in case of injury. Coleman went 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight starts last season and has impressed many in the organization with his poise and intelligence.

Silva will turn 32 next month and it will be interesting to see if he resurfaces with a National League Central rival that might need another starting pitcher. The Mariners are reportedly responsible for the 2 million buyout of Silvas 2012 option.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Marcell Ozuna signing with Braves rules out potential suitor for Kris Bryant

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USA TODAY

Marcell Ozuna signing with Braves rules out potential suitor for Kris Bryant

When former Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson signed with the Twins last week, one thought was Atlanta could pivot and try to acquire Kris Bryant to fill the void in their lineup.

That possibility looks less likely now, as the Braves announced Tuesday they’ve signed former Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal.

The Braves didn’t have a dire need for a third baseman — 22-year-old Austin Riley, a former top prospect, is waiting in the wings — so much as they needed a bat to replace Donaldson. Bryant would have checked both those boxes, but the path to acquiring him is more difficult.

Bryant has been fixated in trade rumors this winter, but any extensive negotiations won’t occur until his service time grievance case is resolved. NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan reported last week Bryant trade rumors this winter have been “greatly exaggerated” because the lingering grievance.

The Braves have been named a potential Bryant suitor as they hold the top prospects the Cubs would seek in return for Bryant. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman threw cold water on that notion recently.

There’s also the possibility the Cubs don’t move at all Bryant this offseason.

"No, we're not in a position where we *have* to do anything,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said Friday at Cubs Convention. “I think you want to always avoid being put in a corner where you have to make a deal and your back's against the wall and you're gonna take any deal that's out there.

“We’re not at all in that position but looking at the longer time horizon of the next two years, I think you would be wise at some point to do something that looks out a little bit more for the long-term and a little bit less for the short-term, but that doesn't have to happen now. We're not in a position where we have to move anybody."

Ozuna joining the Braves means the Cardinals lost one of their most productive bats from the 2019 division championship club. Like the Cubs, St. Louis' offseason has been marked by low-key moves, outside of the Cardinals acquiring pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore from the Rays, a deal which sent Cardinals slugger Jose Martinez to Tampa Bay.

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Cubs acquire righty reliever Travis Lakins from Red Sox as bullpen stockpiling continues

Cubs acquire righty reliever Travis Lakins from Red Sox as bullpen stockpiling continues

The Cubs continued their stockpiling of relievers on Tuesday, acquiring right-hander Travis Lakins from the Red Sox. The North Siders will send a player to be named later or cash considerations to Boston in return.

Lakins is a former sixth-round pick by the Red Sox who made his big-league debut last season. The 25-year-old sported a 3.86 ERA in 16 appearances, three of which he started the game as an "opener." He pitched 23 1/3 innings in the big leagues season, striking out 18 while walking 10. He holds a 4.45 ERA in parts of five minor-league seasons.

Lakins' fastball ranks in the 70th percentile for spin rate, averaging 93.7 mph with his four-seamer last season with Boston. 

The Cubs have acquired a plethora of low-key relievers this winter, including Dan Winkler, Ryan Tepera, Jason Adam and now Lakins. The club lost stalwart Steve Cishek to the White Sox and haven't been connected to the reliable Brandon Kintzler this offseason.  Pedro Strop is also a free agent, and the Cubs are reportedly interested in a reunion.

As of now, the only locks for the 2020 bullpen are closer Craig Kimbrel, Rowan Wick, Kyle Ryan and Brad Wieck. Thus, the Cubs have been gathering as many relief options as possible with the hope some will emerge as viable relief candidates this season. At the least, they'll have plenty of depth in case any injuries occur or if any arms underperform.

"You realize to get through a season, it's not a matter of going up on a whiteboard and writing up your eight relievers," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said at Cubs Convention Saturday. "It's a matter of [needing] 15, 20, 25 good relievers over the course of the summer to really get through it.

"When you guys see a lot of these transactions of relievers, often times they're going to be coming off down years. For the most part, I bet you when we acquire a guy, you can look back and you can see a year in the not-too-distant past when they had a really good year.

"That's the kind of shot we have to take, and that's the kind of shot every team has to take on capturing that lightning in a bottle. Buying really high on relievers and signing them after they have a breakout year is really expensive and really difficult and doesn't have a great success rate. We try to find those guys that we can catch lightning in a bottle, and that's been a big part of our strategy."

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