Results tagged ‘ Cliff Lee ’
Lou Piniella remains optimistic but realistically, the Cubs will have to stage a miracle comeback to get back in the race in the NL Central. Not being in contention usually means teams start moving their players this time of year in preparation for next season.
“That’s not my department so I don’t think too much about that,” Piniella said. “I think about our team playing good on the field and winning baseball games.”
This is the first time in Piniella’s career as a manager that his team is more in a sell mode than buy.
“In Tampa Bay, we never had anybody to move,” Piniella said. “In Seattle, we had competitive teams and the first three years here, we were in the mix. This would be something new. I don’t know what we’re going to do. Jim [Hendry] and I have not talked about it.”
The trade talk heated up Friday with the Seattle Mariners sending Cliff Lee to Texas.
“The amazing thing about it is we win the last two games, and we’re eight games out of first place,” Piniella said. “The teams in front are giving us opportunities. It’s just a question of taking advantage of it. There are teams trying to add and some teams trying to subtract. I don’t know where we’re at.”
The Cubs still have a half season to go.
“There’s a lot of baseball to be played,” Piniella said. “Put it this way, you can’t rope a dope it. You’ve got to play. There’s just too many games left.”
— Carrie Muskat
With Cliff Lee being traded Friday from Seattle to Texas, other players such as Ted Lilly now become the focus. Lilly, 34, is a free agent after this season and has been reportedly linked to a few teams, including the Mets. He has about $5.6 million remaining on his contract and was projected as a Type A free agent.
Cubs GM Jim Hendry wasn’t sure if his cell phone will ring more now that Lee has been dealt.
“The industry will be fairly active the next couple weeks,” Hendry said Friday. “[Lee] was just such a big name. I think anybody who was in the hunt and needed a starter had to throw their hat in there even if they knew it was going to cost them a lot of talent back.”
The Cubs began play Friday 10 1/2 games back in the National League Central and Hendry finds himself not looking for immediate help as he has in past years approaching the trading deadline.
“I like the action of July, I don’t think that’s been any secret,” Hendry said. “When we’re close and have been in the lead, I think it’s a good thing for the players to know the front office can deliver somebody who can help, een if it wasn’t a huge deal.”
One of the best deals the Cubs made, Hendry said, was acquiring catcher Jason Kendall in 2007. Kendall may have been bumped that year in the playoffs by Geovany Soto but his experience helped the team.
“I don’t think we would’ve won the division if we didn’t get him,” Hendry said. “His numbers don’t reflect that but he brought something to the clubhouse for a month or two.”
The Cubs do have some hefty contracts still on the books heading into 2011, with more than $103 million in salary obligations already committed for next year and more than $62 million for 2012.
“Anything we will do, we’ll try to set us up better for the future,” Hendry said about possible moves. “We’re not ever going into a season thinking we’re not going to contend. In my mind, we should be in contention now, we just didn’t get it done.
“That being said, we’re starting to get better young players coming up in the system,” he said. “It’s not like we’re going to overhaul the program and think we’re going to be young for a couple years and can’t win. We’re going to go into it to get ready for next season thinking we’re going to contend again.”
— Carrie Muskat
Aramis Ramirez said he expects to be back in the Cubs’ lineup Friday against the Pirates, but was not ready Thursday so Jake Fox was starting at third base in the series finale against the Phillies. Here’s the lineup vs. lefty Cliff Lee:
— Carrie Muskat