Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

1/26 Salutes to Mr. Cub

Just in case you missed it, some current Cubs, future Cubs and past Cubs shared their feelings about Ernie Banks on Twitter:

* Anthony Rizzo:

“Mr Cub. What you have done for the game of baseball the city of Chicago and everyone you have touched will never be forgotten. RIP”

* Kris Bryant:

“RIP Mr. Cub. What he accomplished on and off the field is truly amazing. I’m honored ot wear the same uniform as him. #LetsPlayTwo”

* Joe Maddon:

“Never met Ernie, but heavily feel the loss … uniquely lived life … will always wish I had … my sympathies to the Banks family”

* Justin Grimm:

“R.I.P. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks! It was a pleasure to shake the hand of a Hall of Famer and a wonderful man to have around the clubhouse!”

* Darnell McDonald:

“Mr. Cub had the ability to instantly make you feel like a lifelong friend when you met. HOF person. #ThankYou #Salute”

* John Baker:

“Talk about star struck, try walking by [Banks’] statue on your way to work, then shaking the hand of the man. #MrCub”

* Sammy Sosa

“I wanted to express my sincere condolences to the family and fans of #mrcub, the legendary, #ErnieBanks. He was the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs paving the way for many future baseball players like myself. Rest in peace. #chicagocubs”

1/19 Thanks from Rizzo foundation

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Here’s a photo of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who hosted his first “Laugh-Off for Cancer” last Thursday in Chicago. The event raised more than $130,000 for the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, and will be used to help children and their families battling cancer. Rizzo, who has hosted three 5K walks in his hometown in Florida and two “cook offs” in Chicago to raise money for his foundation, said the comedy night was the best event. Players such as Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, Jake Arrieta and Ryan Dempster took part in the event. Thanks to everyone who contributed and participated. It was all for a good cause.

(Photo by Mark Kosterman)

1/16 Theo on MLB Radio

With plenty of eyes on the Cubs as they kick off their winter convention Friday, Theo Epstein spoke on MLB Network Radio about the remaining plans for the offseason and the 2015 season outlook. Epstein, on “The Leadoff Spot” with Steve Phillips and Todd Hollandsworth, said that despite the big-name starting pitching free agents still on the market, the Cubs are content with their current rotation.

“We feel pretty good about the rotation as it stands, and especially good about the depth,” Epstein said. “We like our sixth, seventh, eighth starters this year better than we have in a long time.”

With newly signed ace Jon Lester at the top of the rotation, the Cubs also have incumbents Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Travis Wood joining free agent acquisition Jason Hammel.

In other hot stove news, Epstein said the Cubs have kicked the tires on a few deals involving their bounty of catchers, but nothing has come to fruition.

“It might be a situation if we don’t find a match that we like and we’re not overwhelmed, we might just go into Spring Training because a quick way to derail a potentially good team is if you have an injury to one of your catchers and most teams, most organizations aren’t deep enough to call up a Minor League free agent or someone from Triple-A and it can really create a bit of a black hole in your lineup,” Epstein said.

That may leave the club largely as-is, and it’s a team the organization is excited about. First baseman Anthony Rizzo said Thursday he expects the club to win the National League Central, and Epstein didn’t have a problem with that statement.

“I think enthusiasm is great, especially with our players,” Epstein said. “I want our players thinking that way and having a little bit of swagger.”

– Joey Nowak, MLB.com

1/15 Rizzo: “We’re going to win NL Central”

Anthony Rizzo sent a message to the rest of the National League Central: The Cubs intend to win the division.

“It’s going to happen this year,” Rizzo said Thursday during a Cubs Caravan stop at an elementary school. “[Get to the playoffs] is what we’re going to do. We’re going to play, we’re going to win the NL Central. You guys will quote me on that. We should be the team — with all due respect to every other team, they’re just as good talent wise — but we’re going to do some things this year and that’s what we’re expecting, that’s what we’re going to put our sights on and we’re not going to accept anything less.”

Flashback to Sept. 28 when the Cubs wrapped up the regular season at 73-89 with a win over the Brewers, and Rizzo said the same thing. But he sounded more convinced Thursday now that Joe Maddon is the manager and Jon Lester is in the rotation.

“[The] 2014 [season] is over with, and 2013 is over with, and 2012. This is it,” Rizzo said. “I was saying this to my family that when everything was going down getting Lester and Maddon and signing those guys, that for the rest of my career, I should be on a contending team now. That’s exciting. The expectations now are set this year and every year on out.”

Rizzo’s prediction didn’t surprise teammate Jake Arrieta.

“I don’t think it’s out of reach at all,” Arrieta said about getting to the playoffs. “I expect the guys on our ballclub to have that same sort of mindset, especially starting with a clean slate, a fresh season, a lot of new faces. Optimism is a good thing to have. I think everybody’s excited and ready to get started.”

Rizzo said the fact that Maddon has battled in the tough American League East will help the Cubs. Plus, the players can learn from Lester’s and catcher David Ross’s postseason experience. The Cubs should head into 2015 better prepared.

“I’ve never been [to the World Series], Starlin [Castro] has never been there,” Rizzo said. “[Lester and Ross] are going to help us with everything. That’s what’s great with how our roster is shaping up is we’ll have a lot of knowledge, a lot of youth, and a lot of talent.”

Rizzo’s prediction is tame compared to the movie, “Back to the Future 2,” which predicted the Cubs will win World Series this year.

“They’re smart,” Rizzo said. “‘Back to the Future’ said we’re going to win in 2015. We’re going to be a fun team and I’m going to say it now, our goal is to make the playoffs, and once you make the playoffs, the ultimate goal is the World Series. That’s our goal every single year.”

Said Arrieta: “We’ll do our best to make sure that happens.”

– Carrie Muskat

11/21 Rizzo on Maddon: “It’s exciting news”

Anthony Rizzo made a point of reaching out to Rick Renteria shortly after he was dismissed as the Cubs manager, but also has talked with new skipper Joe Maddon and can’t wait to start working with him. Rizzo, who was in Chicago Friday to promote his first “Laugh Off for Cancer” event Jan. 15, said the addition of Maddon was “exciting news.”

“It’s obviously tough losing Rick but it’s business,” Rizzo said. “With Joe, I can’t wait to start working with him. Speaking with him, everything is so on point with how I view the game of baseball as well.”

What did Maddon say that clicked?

“Seriously, everything,” Rizzo said. “The whole philosophy of not over-working, not doing too much, and getting your work done in a professional manner is something I preach. You’ve got to stay fresh in this game. That’s what I believe in.

“The family style that I feel like he’s going to bring will be unbelievable,” Rizzo said. “I don’t want to say too much because I want to get to know him more. I’m real excited from people I’ve talked to and have seen from afar.”

Rizzo hasn’t done any recruiting of free agents, including Jon Lester, who visited Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

“The best sales pitch I can give is that we’re an exciting team and this is Chicago,” Rizzo said.

The first baseman said the Cubs do have a good foundation of “impact players” and added that bringing in outside talent can’t hurt.

“If we bring the team back that we had last year, I’m confident we can win a lot more baseball games than we did last year,” he said.

The Cubs front office has said it wants to add some veteran players to the mix and Rizzo agreed that would help.

“I think it’s needed just to show some guys the ropes more, including myself — [guys] who have been there and done it,” Rizzo said. “We have a very talented group of players who we’re going to put on the field next year — there’s no doubt about it. Now it’s just about grooming all of us to be champions and winners and bringing in guys who have won before and have done it before can never hurt.”

Renteria had hoped to be at the helm this coming season but was dismissed in late October to make room for Maddon, who opted out of his contract with the Rays and became a free agent.

“It’s tough [for Renteria] but it’s also tough when a guy gets traded or released because of financial purposes or a guy gets sent down because he has an option and doesn’t deserve to be sent down,” Rizzo said. “It’s all part of the business. No one likes to see it happen. I called and just reached out and thanked [Renteria] for everything.”

And Renteria responded as Rizzo expected him to.

“Rick’s a great, positive person, and that’s what made him a good manager,” Rizzo said. “He always had our back, and he’ll still have our back watching from afar.”

– Carrie Muskat

11/16 Rizzo addresses crowd

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Here’s Anthony Rizzo talking to the crowd at his third Walk Off for Cancer in Parkland, Fla.

(Photo courtesy of Chicago Cubs)

11/16 Rizzo Walk Off for Cancer

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Here’s the crowd of participants taking part in Anthony Rizzo’s third Walk Off for Cancer, held Sunday in his hometown of Parkland, Fla. Rizzo has raised more than $100,000 each of the first two years of his walk. You can still donate at http://www.rizzo44.com

(photo courtesy of Chicago Cubs)

11/13 Rizzo finishes 10th in NL MVP

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo finished 10th in the balloting for National League Most Valuable Player, determined by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the MVP award, announced Thursday. Rizzo received one sixth-place vote, four seventh-place votes, two eighth-place votes, three ninth-place votes, and four 10th-place votes for a total of 37 points.

It’s the most points by a Cubs player in MVP balloting since Derrek Lee finished ninth in 2009, receiving 66 points. In 2012, Alfonso Soriano finished 20th (eight points) and Starlin Castro was 23rd in 2011 (one point).

Rizzo, 25, led the Cubs this season with a career-high 32 home runs and 78 RBIs, batting .286 in 140 games.

– Carrie Muskat

11/12 Help Rizzo “Walk Off for Cancer”

You can join Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Sunday at his third annual “Walk Off for Cancer” in Parkland, Fla. The event will take place at Pine Trails Park, and consists of a 5K walk, entertainment, refreshments, raffle prizes and guest appearances. The event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. ET, is family friendly. Registration is $30 per person until Saturday, and limited to 1,000 people. The event has raised more than $100,000 each of its first two years.

Can’t make it? You can still participate by making a donation at http://www.rizzo44.com

– Carrie Muskat

9/30 Theo: Goal in ’15 is to win division

The emphasis in the first three seasons under Theo Epstein has been to restock the Minor League system and build a foundation of impact players. In 2015, Epstein feels the Cubs will take a major step and not just develop players, but be competitive.

“I think we’ve proved we can be very competitive in this division and when you have a chance to compete, you should set your sights high and that means our goal is the [National League] Central title next year,” Epstein said Tuesday.

Here are some highlights from a 40-minute media session at Wrigley Field:

* The Cubs will be looking for impact talent via free agency but Epstein cautioned that any deal has to make sense and they will not “sell out just for 2015.” Among the needs are another starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever, and outfield help. The next 15 months will be key in terms of player acquisitions, he said. That time frame includes this coming offseason, the next Trade Deadline, and next offseason.

* They are aware that some of the young talent still needs time, such as Javier Baez, who batted .169 with 95 strikeouts in 52 games after he was called up Aug. 5. Baez is expected to be the Cubs’ Opening Day second baseman, Epstein said. He’s a perfect example of the theme Epstein projected for 2015.

“We’re being open about the fact that we’re here to compete and our goal is to win the [division] title, but at the same time we’re not going to bail on our young players, we’re not going to abandon our vision,” he said. “We just have to make the tough decisions and strike that balance the right way.”

* Epstein admitted Renteria had some limitations with the roster, such as relievers who were restricted because of past injuries and youngsters without much experience. But the manager did fulfill many of the criteria laid out for him, such as developing a positive attitude, setting a good tone for the players and getting them to play hard.

“He established an environment where our young players could continue to grow and feel support, and where they could learn how to be big leaguers, and where they could learn how to win,” Epstein said.

* Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm will stay in the bullpen for 2015, and not be considered for the rotation.

* The Cubs have not made as much improvement in terms of on-base percentage as Epstein would like.

“Frankly, it’s one of the areas where we haven’t had a lot of success,” he said.

* Epstein’s feelings on the Cardinals? He says: “How do you balance admiration and contempt? I’m a Cub, so I have to hate the Cardinals, but I also admire the way they run their baseball shop. They’re really consistent, they make good decisions, all the way back to George Kissell. They teach the game the right way, they stay true to the vision of how to play Cardinal baseball. In some respects, and I hate to say this on the record, but we have to do a lot of things that they do to be successful. On the other hand, I think we’re building something that has a chance to go toe to toe with them and surpass them. I think we have a chance to win this division and win it on a consistent basis, and we’re going to need to beat them to win the World Series.”

He feels the NL Central is becoming a powerhouse. When Epstein first joined the Cubs in October 2011, he thought the NL Central would be a little easier than the AL East.

“I was dead wrong,” Epstein said. “If you look forward over the next five years, or so, I think this has a chance to be the most competitive and best division in baseball. When you have the talent to compete you should set your sights high.”

– Carrie Muskat

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