Chicago Cubs: New York Yankees
Who doesn't want to lose 90-plus games in Cubby blue while answering questions about minor leaguers?
New York Yankees until Nov. 1, is the top name on this new prospect list, for good reason. The former Cub and Northwestern graduate is not only a fan favorite but also a savvy manager known for his organizational skills and devotion to his famous binder, his baseball bible of trends and statistics.
The question is: What kind of team would Girardi get? It would be foolish of him to take this job if it's the same one Sveum left.
In Sveum's short tenure, the Cubs were not built to win. It would be wrong to say they were tanking for draft picks and international spending dollars, but there was little focus on the major league product. The attendance, which dipped to a 15-year low, showed that.
"I haven't really made up my mind," Girardi said during his nearly 30-minute state-of-the-season news conference before the Yankees' final game against the Houston Astros.
Girardi, who turns 49 next month, said he'll make his decision after consulting with his wife and three children, who are 14, 11 and 7.
Girardi, who reportedly made $3 million this season, said finances will have "zero" to do with his decision. He also played down the idea that he would want to leave for his hometown Chicago Cubs, if manager Dale Sveum were let go. Girardi said his wife and kids are very happy in Westchester, N.Y. His family ties to Chicago -- with both his parents having passed away -- are not as strong anymore. Plus, he hasn't lived there since 2006.
"So there's not as much there as there used to be," Girardi said.
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On his way to U.S. Cellular Field on Monday, Soriano said he was on the phone with Cubs catcher Welington Castillo, and has been keeping up to date with the daily ins-and-outs with his former team.
Case in point, Soriano was made aware of the loud cheer that went up in the Cubs' clubhouse on July 28 when Soriano hit a home run in a Yankees uniform against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"Everybody was happy on the (Cubs) team," Soriano said nonchalantly.
Indeed he is missed, especially by the team's contingent of Latin players such as Castillo, Starlin Castro and even newcomer Junior Lake.
"It's part of the game," Soriano said. "Sometimes you have to move and do the best for me and for my family. I tried to do the best for this team in Chicago and the city but it didn't work so I’m wearing a new uniform and with a new team."
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PHOENIX -- Although the trade for Alfonso Soriano to the New York Yankees has not been completed, the Chicago Cubs outfielder was told he could fly to New York on Thursday night by all of the parties involved in the deal.
“I talked to my agent this afternoon and he told me we have to wait,” Soriano said. “He called me again [during the game] and said it is 90 to 99 percent, so if you want to go to New York, you can go. Otherwise I would have to wait for tomorrow morning.”
The emotion of losing the Cubs' charismatic slugger was apparent in a flat effort by his teammates in Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With all signs pointing to New York, the Chicago Cubs and Alfonso Soriano said their good-byes after Thursday night's game in anticipation of his trade to the Yankees.
Sveum said the entire team said goodbye to their veteran leader in a group send-off after the game.
“After the game we got everybody together to say our good-byes,” Sveum said. “It was emotional for all of us. You don’t usually gather teams together that often when people get traded to say your goodbyes. That just shows you the kind of person he is.”
Soriano looks to return to the Yankees with some mixed emotion after spending almost seven years as a Cub.
“I am happy and I think [the Cubs] are happy, too, because they are going to get something back. I am happy going back to New York where I started my career. I think both ways, [people] are happy.”
The 37-year-old player was feeling some twinges of uneasiness as he packed his bags for the Big Apple.
“There is a difficult part of this,” he said. “I know all these guys and have played with them for a while. This is a little uncomfortable, but this is baseball, sometimes you have to do what is best for the team, for me, and the other organization, too.
“I have been traded before, so I have to keep moving and do my job in New York.”
Soriano had a roller-coaster experience in Chicago after signing the richest contract in Cubs history -- eight years, $136 million in 2006. After numerous leg injuries, the fan base was sometimes agitated during the Dominican’s prolonged slumps.
“The fans were always in focus,” he said. “They always wanted to win; they love when we win. They appreciate when the team wins and plays good.
“I always played hard for the fans because they love their team. I always tried to be a champion here. But it did not happen. I hope it happens in the future for them. Now I have to think about my new team.”
Saying goodbye was difficult for the popular Soriano.
“It was very tough,” he said. “These guys are my good friends, they are good people. It is sad. That is the difficult part of being traded.
“You can be in touch when you go to another team. It is not the same thing as seeing them face-to-face every day. I will remember all those moments we had together.”
In joining the Yankees' organization, Lillibridge now has a chance to play for the home team in the stadium where he made one of his biggest splashes in the major leagues.
On April 26, 2011, Lillibridge was playing for the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium when he scored the game-tying run as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. He was only getting started.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Yankees had two runners on base when Lillibridge, playing right field, went back to the wall to rob Alex Rodriguez of the potential game-tying RBI. One batter later, he made a diving catch near the right-field foul line to steal a potential game-winning hit from Robinson Cano and end the game.
His short time with the Cubs was not nearly as spectacular. Lillibridge went just 1-for-24 at the plate in nine games and struck out nine times. He was designated for assignment April 16 after Darwin Barney returned from the disabled list and Cody Ransom was claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
“I don’t know if it happened today (if I would go),” Soriano said after Sunday’s game. “I don’t know (if) they are going to call or not. If they call for me, I would have to think about it. I am 37 years old so I have to think about what is good for me and the (Cubs).”
Last season Soriano told the Cubs that he would consider a trade to a team in the Midwest or on the East coast. The veteran outfielder has 10-and-5 veto power, allowing him to say no to any proposed trade. In July 2012 Soriano did use his no-trade rights to void a deal that would have sent him to the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants.
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).”
Free agent outfielder Jorge Soler worked out for several major league teams in South Florida on Wednesday, according to multiple sources.Read the full story.
CHICAGO -- Although New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says he’s content with his job, speculation is that he could be a primary candidate for the Cubs’ vacancy when his contract expires Sept. 30.
“I’m not looking to go anywhere,” Cashman told The New York Post on Saturday.
The Cubs, of course, are looking for a new general manager after the team announced Jim Hendry's firing on Friday.
Cashman, a 44-year-old Rockville, N.Y., native, has been with the Yankees' organization since beginning as an intern in 1986. Industry sources told ESPNChicago.com that Cashman was making around $2.5 million this season.
Cashman was named senior VP and general manager of the Yankees in February 1998. New York won three consecutive World Series and four consecutive AL Pennants in Cashman’s first four years as GM.
Having successfully handled the most stressful front-office position in all of sports the past 14 seasons, Cashman’s background makes him a perfect candidate for the Cubs' job. During his time in New York, Cashman worked effectively with George Steinbrenner before the legendary owners’ health began failing him.
Since Steinbrenner turned over control of the team to his son, Hank, Cashman has been a good soldier and respected ownership’s positions. Cashman, however, also held his ground on important issues. For instance, he balked at the team’s signing reliever Rafael Soriano to a contract that allowed him the option void the deal after each season. He went against ownership on the structure of the deal, when speaking about it to reporters over the offseason.
Working along with former GM Gene Michael, Cashman gets much credit for holding on to minor league players such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and countless other important Yankees over the years. (Steinbrenner was serving a suspension from baseball in the early 1990s.) Prior to that era, the Yankees frequently traded top prospects for more established veterans under Steinbrenner. That formula resulted in disaster as the once-proud franchise failed to make a the playoffs from 1982-94.
Overall, Cashman’s record shows four World Series championships and six pennants. Most importantly for the Cubs, Cashman fills the bill as a GM with a sense for player development as well as statistical analysis. As Tom Ricketts highlighted Friday, the team is searching for a candidate with a winning background. Cashman certainly fits in to that classification.
The good: Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run home run to give the Cubs a lead early on.
The bad: Randy Wells couldn't hold that lead, as he allowed four runs on five hits and four walks in his five innings. Starlin Castro made a costly mistake as he pulled his foot off the second-base bag too early and cost the Cubs an out in an inning that the Yankees scored two runs. The Cubs bullpen wasn't up to the challenge, as the Yankees scored six times in the last two innings.
Outside the box: The Cubs drew 41,828 fans on Sunday, bringing the total weekend attendance to 126,283, a Wrigley Field record for a three-game set.
Up next: Carlos Zambrano (5-4, 4.59) takes on Gavin Floyd (6-6, 3.94) as the Cubs head to the South Side to take on the White Sox at U.S Cellular Field at 7:10 CT.
Chicago Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro will bat in the the two-hole for the fourth consecutive game in Sunday night’s series finale against the New York Yankees. Castro has typically batted leadoff when facing a left-handed starter. Once again, manager Mike Quade has loaded up the lineup with right-handed bats as the Cubs face Yankees' lefty CC Sabathia. Sabathia will be the fourth former Cy Young winner the Cubs have faced in the past 10 games (Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee of the Philadphia Phillies and Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers).
Reed Johnson - CF
Starlin Castro - SS
Jeff Baker - 1B
Aramis Ramirez - 3B
Alfonso Soriano - LF
Geovany Soto - C
Lou Montanez - RF
DJ LeMahieu - 2B
Randy Wells - P