Chicago Cubs: Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers, are taking a hard look at the reliever, according to league sources, with the regular season just three weeks away. Detroit is going with 22-year-old rookie Bruce Rondon as their closer, replacing Jose Valverde who is a free agent.
Marmol will earn close to $10 million this season and can opt for free agency in November. Marmol can veto a deal to four West Coast clubs, but a source said Marmol would most likely waive that clause knowing he would be traded to a contender.
Sanchez, 28, is 48-51 with a 3.75 career ERA for the Tigers and Miami Marlins. He was regarded by many observers as the second-most attractive starting pitcher on this winter's free-agent market, behind Zack Greinke, who agreed to a six-year, $147 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week.
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The 21-year-old was ranked the No. 11 prospect in the Tigers’ organization in the 2012 MLB.com prospect watch.
Carreno went 9-8 with a 3.23 ERA in 139 1/3 innings (27 starts) for Single-A West Michigan. He had just 28 walks.
Baker was originally sent to the contending Tigers for two players to be named later, but the Cubs agreed to take Carreno and a cash consideration.
Baker had just seven hits in 35 at-bats for the Tigers before he was moved to the Braves on Aug. 31. With Atlanta, he had two hits in 19 at-bats over 14 games.
CHICAGO -- Winning a ballgame with a two-out bunt single – as Reed Johnson did in the Cubs’ 3-2 over the Cardinals on Saturday – is really the tip of the iceberg when evaluating the veteran outfielder.
Johnson, known throughout the game as this generation’s “Charlie Hustle,” showcased his baseball acumen one more time for scouts. And teams looking for an extra man who can help a club advance to the playoffs certainly should take notice.
While many teams are looking for impact pitching and hitting help, the smart clubs are trying to add winning players like Johnson. The 35-year-old outfielder’s pinch-hit bunt single in the seventh inning on Saturday scored Tony Campana with what would be the deciding run.
“That was all on his own,” Dale Sveum said. “Reed is one of those baseball players that has those kinds of things in his tool box. He is one of those guys who gets picked up now or even after the deadline because he is a valuable guy to a team that is vying for a championship.”
Johnson, who is in his second tour of duty with the Cubs, has never been traded, but he anticipates a possible move coming soon.
“I guess you would always be shocked but where we are at now every player in here hears the rumors,” Johnson said. “I don’t really pay too much attention to them because I have always had rumors over my 10-year career and never been traded.”
Johnson has the reputation as a real good corner outfielder who will somehow always make the big play on offense or defense with the game on the line.
“It is a situation for me where when you are packing your stuff that’s when you believe you are headed someplace else,” he said.
CHICAGO -- The list of scouts in attendance at Chicago Cubs games continues to grow as baseball’s July 31 trade deadline approaches.
While many reports have the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves emerging at the leading contenders to land the services of Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, the St. Louis Cardinals, according to a major league source, have jumped into the picture in recent days. Dempster has 10-5 rights that allow him to block any trade. Dempster, that same source said, has not yet been asked if he would accept a particular deal.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has a very clear idea what the Cubs are looking for in exchange for any veterans they unload.
CHICAGO -- Like his teammate Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza saved his best outing since April for some of baseball’s top talent evaluators to watch during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Arizona.
The Cubs have talented starting pitching to trade, and Garza, who can be had for the right group of prospects, certainly increased his value by throwing seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks. The New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates all had scouts watching the righty.
What intrigues some teams about Garza is that he is under contract control through 2013. (Dempster, the team’s other frontline starter, is a free agent after 2012.) The Cubs are looking for young pitching in return for Garza and would love a third baseman they can develop for the future as well.
That’s not to say clubs aren’t going to voice concerns about Garza, who is on the trading block for, essentially, the third time in five years. In addition to that, Garza has had some major issues fielding from the pitchers’ mound.
Garza seems unfazed by the fact he has been the subject of trade talks.
“We can’t control that,” said Garza. “All that we can control is what we do between the lines and how we prepare. I have a wife that is due in 22 days, so the rumor mill can wait. That is the last thing on my mind, I got a wife who is ready to pop, so I really don’t care about where I am going to be because when she calls, I will be right their next to her.”
According to multiple major league sources, the Tigers have asked about both Garza and Dempster as well as second baseman Darwin Barney. Detroit’s interest in Barney began over a month ago.
“Being a Cub since I was drafted, you don’t want to hear those things,” Barney said. “It is nice to know people are interested, but I want to be here. Whatever happens, happens. It is a business and that is the way it works. You don’t look too deep into it until something happens and then you go from there.”
Garza is no shoe-in to be moved. He has one year of arbitration left before his free agency kicks in, and the Cubs have shown interest in exploring the possibility of keeping Garza in Chicago long term. The price will be steep, however. He will be seeking a long-term deal that most likely would have to average between $15-17 million a year.
“I said it before, and I will say it again, I love it here,” Garza said. “The kids love it here, so I am open to it. Like I said before, it is not my choice if stuff happens, so I will just get ready for the next (start).”
CHICAGO -- One Chicago Cubs player almost went into a full-blown Lee Elia-style meltdown when describing the Detroit Tiger fans’ dominance of the Friendly Confines over this week’s three-game series.
“Boy it really (stinks) when your busting it in your own park and you only here the other teams fans cheering,” said the Cub who asked not to be identified.
While setting a midweek record for attendance in a three-game set (124,782), the franchise took a hit on Tuesday for having the field ripped up by two weekend concerts. Furthermore, the team’s home-field advantage was minimized with Tiger fans dictating the noise level of the historic park.
“Obviously it is a little strange,” said manager Dale Sveum. “Today it seemed like (there were) quite a bit more (Tiger fans). That is kind of the adage of interleague play, sometimes they will spend a lot of money to take their vacation and come to a landmark stadium.”
Many Cubs’ season-ticket holders sell their prime dates like the Detroit and Boston series hoping to recoup some of their large investment in a last-place team. Cubs’ ticket prices are still in the top 5 of major league teams (averaging $53 per a seat).
It may only get worse over the weekend when the Boston Red Sox bring their entourage to Wrigley.
“That’s part of the game and the reason interleague play has stuck around as long as it has,” Darwin Barney said after the Cubs’ 5-3 loss to the Tigers. “Our fans -- they tried they came out with their ‘let’s go Cubbies’ a few times and it makes it sound like an English Premier (League) game.”
Sveum was unsure if his team was going to have to hear three days of a crowd that favors the visiting team when the Boston series begins on Friday.
“It could happen but our fans might keep their own tickets,” he said. “You hope so anyway. “
HOW IT HAPPENED: Give it up for Cubs starter Travis Wood, who was actually locked in a pitchers’ duel with the Tigers’ Justin Verlander until the seventh inning. The Tigers took the lead on an infield single, a sacrifice bunt from Verlander and an RBI single from Jackson before Wood was removed. The Cubs got to Verlander for two runs in the second inning on an RBI double from Darwin Barney and a run-scoring ground out from Luis Valbuena, who was just recalled earlier in the day.
WHAT IT MEANS: Outside of Ryan Dempster, Wood has been the Cubs’ most consistent starter this month. He has yet to give up more than three runs in any of his starts in June, although he has walked seven in 18 2/3 innings. Wood has also handled himself nicely at the plate with a number of solid at-bats. He had a line drive to short and a single against Verlander, but was thrown out trying to extend the single to a double.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: Make that a 105-124 record for the Cubs since the start of interleague play in 1997. They are just 2-7 against the American League this season with three games against the Red Sox this weekend and three games at the White Sox next week. They were 5-10 against the AL last year. The Cubs will need to sweep all six of those games to have their first winning season since going 8-4 against the AL in 2007.
OFF BEAT: Yes, there were a lot of fans in attendance at Wrigley Field this week and indeed many of them were Tigers fans. The three-game series drew a total crowd of 124,782, the largest midweek attendance in Wrigley Field history. The largest crowd of the season so far was the 42,326 in attendance Tuesday night. Many Tigers took the opportunity to see the series that was such a short distance from the Detroit area with Thursday’s crowd sounding like it was equally split between the teams.
UP NEXT: The Cubs will open a three-game series Friday against the Boston Red Sox with Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31 ERA) moving up a day to stay on a five-day schedule. The Red Sox will counter with right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO – The Cubs' brief two-game win streak was snapped Wednesday with an 8-4 defeat to the Detroit Tigers.
How it happened: The Cubs appeared to be in control, until starter Matt Garza ran into trouble in the sixth inning. Garza gave up four runs in the sixth, with two of those unearned because of an error by Joe Mather. The Cubs looked to have things in sync in the fifth inning when Alfonso Soriano and Bryan LaHair hit back-to-back RBI doubles for a 4-1 lead. Jhonny Peralta delivered a two-run double in the breakout sixth for the Tigers.
What it means: A total of 32 games decided by one or two runs shows that the Cubs have been at least competitive for most of the season despite not being successful. Now a new trend is emerging as the pitching staff looks to be paying the price for so many competitive innings. In four of the Cubs’ last five defeats they have given up at least eight runs. Over those five defeats they have averaged 7.8 runs allowed.
Outside the box: Soriano keeps moving up the National League RBI list, collecting one more Wednesday to give him 41 on the season. He drove in a run in the fifth inning, bringing home Starlin Castro from first base on a double down the left-field line. He started the day tied for eighth in the league in RBIs. Soriano has now driven in a run in 17 of his last 32 games.
Off beat: That last-minute lineup change for the Cubs proved to be costly. Ian Stewart was scratched just before game time with a sore left wrist and Mather took over at third base. The change looked to be beneficial when Mather had an RBI single in the second inning, but then came his miscue on defense. On the second batter of the sixth inning, Mather booted what looked to be a sure double play. With new life, the Tigers went on to score four in the inning.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood (0-2, 4.71 ERA) to the mound in the series finale against Detroit. The Tigers will counter with right-hander Justin Verlander (5-4, 2.69) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO -- After a day when hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo was basically fired for the team’s poor approach at the plate, the Cubs walked seven times in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Tigers. All four of the runners who scored had walked -- including Darwin Barney who tallied the game winner in the 8th on Jhonny Peralta’s second throwing error of the evening.
“The toughest part of the game is being aggressive and selective at the same time,” Barney said.”You look in your zone early in the count even though (the pitcher) is going to try and get you out early. If you get them deep in the count, you probably have a better chance, so that was kind of our approach tonight.”
The Cubs had a 6-16 record in one-run games coming into the Tiger series. Manager Dale Sveum praised the team’s patience in Tuesday’s win.
“That’s part of the game,” Sveum said. “Sometimes we lose sight as to how important walking is. If you look every night as to who wins games, 72 percent win when they have more walks than the other team.”
Barney was the big run-producer of the evening, driving in three and scoring the eventual game-winner on Peralta’s bad throw that pulled first baseman Prince Fielder of off the bag.
“It’s a funny game, the ball bounces different directions at different times,” Barney said. “He had a couple tough plays there, but we have some speed out there that we can use, and with everyone being aggressive, it can work.”
CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Cubs' win against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
How it happened: A pair of throwing errors byJhonny Peralta gave the North Sider’s the lead in the 9th inning, and they held on. The Cubs took their first lead on Detroit starter Max Scherzer in the second inning when Bryan LaHair’s walk turned into an eventual run as he scored on Darwin Barney’s ground out. Barney drove in two more in the 6th with a double. The Tigers knocked out Paul Maholm in the 7th, scoring twice off the lefty and once on reliever Casey Coleman. Maholm was saved by a nasty east wind that turned surefire home runs in the 6th inning by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder into easy fly outs in left center.
What it means: The Cubs started the post Rudy Jaramillo era with two innings that produced leadoff walks, the precursor to better at-bats and on-base percentage. (Jaramillo, the team’s former hitting coach, was fired Tuesday.) Three of the Cubs’ first four walks scored to hammer home the front office’s emphasis on plate patience. The Cubs average 2.5 walks per game (second worst in baseball). They seven walks in Tuesday’s win.
Outside the box: The outfield at Wrigley looked like a tractor pull took place as the entire field was wiped out by back-to-back concerts over the weekend . The entire outfield turf will be replaced after the home stand, according to a source.
Sveum was a Milwaukee Brewers coach for six of the seven seasons Fielder spent with the Brewers, including the last three seasons as hitting coach.
Under Sveum’s tutelage, Fielder delivered his two highest RBI totals in a season, driving in 120 runs last season and a whopping league-leading 141 in 2009. Fielder’s two highest batting averages also came with Sveum as his batting coach. He batted .299 in both 2009 and 2011.
“It will be good to see him,” Sveum said. “He’s one of my favorite guys I’ve ever been around or coached. I don’t want to see him in the lineup, but it will be good to see him again and all that. He’s one of those special guys and not even because of his numbers, just the way he plays the game."
In between two road trips in that time they had just three home games, but all were victories against the San Diego Padres.
Those Padres might be the only team in baseball with a worse record, but the Cubs would prefer to not look so closely at the details. They won their final game on the trip and head home knowing they have won there recently.
“With this off day coming we needed to go out with some good self esteem about our team,” said David DeJesus, who had three RBIs out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup Sunday as the Cubs “improved” to 20-40. “We have a tough series ahead of us, but at least we can go off feeling like ‘Yes, we won a game,’ and we have that feeling going into Chicago.”
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