Chicago Cubs: Scott Podsednik

Podsednik, LaHair stuck to their dreams

June, 17, 2012
6/17/12
9:37
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Perseverance is word often used to point out the depth of what the human spirit can drive a person to become. In the case of both Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair and Boston Red Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik, a love of baseball and a belief in their dream of playing at the highest level drove them to overcome almost a decade of beating the bushes in the minor leagues.

While LaHair is making a case for himself as a National League All-Star after nine seasons in the minors, Podsednik has once again reinvented himself as the Red sox leadoff man after sitting out the 2011 season with a series of foot injuries. The former Chicago White Sox World Series hero has watched LaHair’s story unfold with both interest and admiration for what LaHair accomplished the first 65 games of the season.

“It takes a lot of discipline and perseverance to do what he has done,” the 36-year-old outfielder said. “I know what he has gone and through and you first and foremost have to believe in yourself and keep trying to find those things that will make you successful.”

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Capps, Byrd in Cubs' sights

December, 18, 2009
12/18/09
6:20
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Marlon Byrd

Tim Heitman/US Presswire

Marlon Byrd, 32, batted .283 with 20 home runs and 89 runs batted in for Texas last season.


Now that the Milton Bradley deal has been completed, the Chicago Cubs can go after their primary offseason goal of retooling for 2010. First on their hit list is free-agent pitcher Matt Capps, who saved 47 games over the past three seasons but was recently released by the Pittsburgh Pirates because they did not want to go to arbitration.

Last season wasn't a stellar year for Capps, who had 27 saves but also was 4-8 with a 5.80 earned-run average. Agents for Capps have had serious discussions with six teams, including the Cubs, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees and Florida Marlins. According to sources, Capps may be most interested in offers from the Cubs and Nationals.

Washington is offering a one-year deal that could realize the pitcher up to $4 million. If the Cubs can muscle in with their own two-year offer, they might be able to push Washington out of the way.

What's most appealing for Capps is that Washington is offering the closer's role. The Cubs can't make the same offer because Carlos Marmol will be the Opening-Day closer. If a deal gets done with Capps, he would be the Cubs' primary setup man from the right side. John Grabow, Capps' former teammate in Pittsburgh, will be the left-handed setup man for Marmol.

Meanwhile, the Cubs will pursue a center fielder now that they have traded Bradley. Former Ranger Marlon Byrd is seeking a two-year contract. Former White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik is said to be asking for three years and $12 million. It's unknown what former St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Rick Ankiel is asking.

The Cubs have interest in all three center fielders. Byrd had the three best years of his career under the tutelage of Texas hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, now the Cubs hitting coach. Jaramillo has given a thumbs up to Cubs executives in the pursuit of Byrd.

Byrd is not your prototypical leadoff or top-of-the-order hitter. Last season he had a .329 on-base percentage which is not the type of number you're looking for at the top of your lineup.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .283
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 55
RA. Rizzo 67
OPSA. Rizzo .924
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104