Results tagged ‘ Diamondbacks ’

11/24 Samardzija rumors

Jeff Samardzija struck out 200 over 200 innings in his first full season as a starter, and has drawn interest from teams looking for a young pitcher, especially one who would be under team control for two more years. The Diamondbacks, Nationals and Blue Jays have reportedly inquired about Samardzija and on Sunday, there was a report that Toronto was putting together a package of young players for the Cubs right-hander.

During an interview on MLB Radio on Sunday, Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos was asked if there was any truth to the rumor about the Blue Jays pursuing Samardzija.

“You know what, I just saw that [rumor], too,” Anthropoulos told MLB Radio. “I’m in the office [Sunday] just going through some things. I’m going to try to be a little more candid than I may have been in the past. I won’t comment on specific rumors and things like that but I will say that we’re definitely exploring starters with teams. But also, just like a lot of stuff that’s out there that is false, we have not made an offer to anybody with respect to a starter. So if there is something out there that [says] we’ve actually made an offer to someone for a starter, that is not accurate. It doesn’t mean we’re not inquiring.”

MLB Radio host Jim Duquette asked if anything was imminent regarding either adding a free agent or making a trade.

“You know what, we’re talking to one club about a smaller trade and maybe it’ll move the next few days, or maybe it won’t happen,” Anthropoulos said. “But, no, I don’t think, not right now there isn’t anything imminent. We’re not necessarily waiting on someone to get back to us but, again, at any time that can change and I hope it does. I think, and you guys both went through it, before the Thanksgiving holiday sometimes there’s that last little push [when] teams want to get some things off their plate. So maybe things happen here in the next two or three days. If not, we’ll take it to the [Winter Meetings], I guess, at that point.”

The Cubs have approached Samardzija, 28, about a possible contract extension. The pitcher, who was the Opening Day starter this year, has not been in a hurry to something done.

“I have two more years of arbitration so there is a lot of time to get something done,” Samardzija said in early November.

As for all the rumors, GM Jed Hoyer said Samardzija had the right attitude because he doesn’t pay any attention to the reports.

Teams shopping for starting pitching may be comparing the cost of acquiring Samardzija with another 28-year-old, David Price, who also is under team control for two more years. However, Price has more innings and experience as a starter, and won the AL Cy Young in 2012 when he went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA for the Rays. Price did miss time this season because of a left triceps strain. Samardzija, who ranked fifth in the National League in strikeouts per nine innings, has been healthy. Price was paid $10 million in 2013; Samardzija $2.6 million.

The Cubs don’t have that much depth pitching-wise, with Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta set for the rotation in 2014.

— Carrie Muskat

11/5 The Cubs and Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs have talked about a possible long-term deal, but have been unable to reach a resolution. Could Samardzija be traded? According to a tweet by ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Cubs and Diamondbacks are talking about a possible deal involving the right-handed pitcher. This season, Samardzija set personal highs in innings pitched (214 2/3), starts (33), quality starts (19), strikeouts (214), and complete games (two). He finished 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA. The price tag would likely be high. Samardzija has two years before he is eligible for free agency.

— Carrie Muskat

10/26 Trammell to join D-backs

Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell was expected to join Kirk Gibson’s staff on the Diamondbacks in a similar capacity. Gibson also was adding former Cubs manager Don Baylor as hitting coach. Trammell, 52, would replace Bo Porter, who was dismissed at the end of this season. Gibson was Trammell’s bench coach in Detroit when he managed the Tigers from 2003-05. Trammell has been the Cubs’ bench coach since 2007 when Lou Piniella took over.

The Cubs have yet to announce manager Mike Quade’s staff. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild did exercise his option to return and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo was expected back after signing a three-year deal in October 2009.

— Carrie Muskat

7/2 Congrats to Gibson

Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell awoke to the news that his former teammate, Kirk Gibson, was the new manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“He’s wants to do this,” Trammell said of Gibson, who takes over for A.J. Hinch. “Hopefully, it works out well for him. There’s a lot on his plate. He gets to sit on that seat — and I’m smiling, I know. Any manager who has ever done it before knows it’s totally different when you’re the man in charge.

“That being said, I don’t know anybody I’ve been around, played with, coached with, who has more energy or the intensity level that he brings, which I think is good,” Trammell said. “I do believe he’s prepared now. He’s coached long enough that he’s prepared. There’s a lot going on but he’s not afraid to make decisions. That’s one thing he’s very good at. I wish him the best of luck — except for next week when we play them.”

Trammell and the Cubs face the D-backs for a three-game series starting Monday in Phoenix.

— Carrie Muskat

2/5/10 Prickly issue in Cactus League

Cactus League teams want the Cubs to stay in Arizona. They just don’t want to pay for the Cubs’ new facility.

According to a story in the Phoenix Business Journal, the White Sox and Diamondbacks oppose a plan to have the entire Cactus League bankroll the $84 million stadium being built in Mesa for the Cubs. Arizona lawmakers are considering a plan to impose new ticket charges on all Cactus League games and raise rental car taxes in the Valley to help pay for the new complex.

Ticket surcharges have been used by specific cities to fund baseball stadiums within their jurisdictions, according to Cactus League president Robert Brinton. However, the latest proposal would mark the first time a league-wide fee would be imposed for one project.

White Sox president Jerry Reinsdorf told the Journal that other teams and their fans did not finance development of his team’s stadium in Glendale. D-backs President Derrick Hall also is opposed to the idea of league-wide ticket surcharges to benefit the Cubs.

“We want the Cubs to stay here badly, but not at the expense of our fans,” Hall told the Journal. “I’ve heard the argument that the other teams should be willing to because of the visiting crowds that the Cubs bring to their games. They do draw well, as do we, yet we were creative in our search for a new site to identify a partner willing to finance the entire project without public dollars.”

The D-Backs and Rockies will move into a new facility in 2011 that the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is building east of Scottsdale. The tribe is taking a $23 million loan backed by federal stimulus money to help fund the $100 million project. The tribe, which operates two casinos, is paying for the remainder of the new complex.

Arizona House Majority Leader John McComish is formulating a financing bill for the Cubs. He has said he’s looking at options to pay for the new stadium, including ticket surcharges and increased taxes on hotels and car rentals. It has not been determined how much the surcharge would be. The Phoenix area already has high car rental taxes, with current rates totaling 18.53 percent.

Legislators may face criticism if they fast-track taxes for the Cubs as they cut education and social welfare programs in the face of a multibillion-dollar deficit.

Mesa City Manager Chris Brady said in addition to ticket surcharges and higher car rental taxes, Mesa voters will be asked to approve bond money as well as infrastructure and services spending for the new complex. Brady said tentative plans call for two-thirds of the $84 million to come from regional sources and one-third from the city. That translates into a split of $56 million to $28 million.

— Carrie Muskat

11/19 Minor additions

Jonathan Mayo,’s guru on Minor League players, offers this info on the two prospects whom the Cubs acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Aaron Heilman:

Scott Maine, LHP: Taken in sixth round of the 2007 Draft of the University of Miami, Maine projects as a lefty reliever or specialist. He pitched at two levels in 2009, finishing with a 2.90 ERA and 61 K’s in 62 IP. For his career, he’s got a 3.29 ERA with a 134 K’s in 120 1/3 IP.

In some ways, the 24-year-old hasn’t lived up to the potential he once flashed in high school. He had Tommy John surgery early in his amateur career and never turned into the lefty ace some thought he’d be. That being said, he could have a future role. His fastball can run up to 93-94 mph and he comes from a pretty tough angle for left-handed hitters. He’s got a lower arm slot that creates some deception. His secondary stuff is is a work in progress, but the arm strength from the left side has some value.

Ryne White, 1B: White just completed his first full season of pro ball after being selected by Arizona in the fourth round of the 2008 Draft. An accomplished and advanced college hitter out of Purdue, White spent the season with Visalia in the Class Advanced California League, finishing the year at .266/.371/.356. He’s always shown an ability to control the strike zone and draw some walks, but he hasn’t hit for much power thus far in his pro career (career .389 SLG). There are those who feel the 23-year-old will hit for power going forward, at least as a left-handed platoon type. He’s kind of stocky, at 5-11, 205 lbs. At the very least, the Cubs are getting a decent organizational guy who has the chance to be a Matt Stairs type of hitter.

(My note: GM Jim Hendry said the same thing re: White, calling him a “Matt Stairs kind of guy.” As for Maine, Hendry said the D-Backs made a good decision to put him in the pen.)

— Carrie Muskat 

11/19 Cubs deal Heilman

The Cubs dealt right-handed reliever Aaron Heilman to the Diamondbacks Thursday for two  Minor League prospects. Heilman, 31, was 4-4 with a 4.11 ERA in 70 games in his only season in Chicago. He was one of a large number of arbitration eligible players, which include Carlos Marmol, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Sean Marshall, Ryan Theriot, Koyie Hill, and Angel Guzman.

In exchange for Heilman, the Cubs acquired left-handed pitcher Scott Maine and first baseman Ryan White. White is a Chicago native and 2005 graduate of St. Rita of Cascia High School.

— Carrie Muskat

10/2 Learning experience

If the Cubs sweep the Diamondbacks this weekend, they will finish with the same number of wins they had in 2007 when they won the NL Central in Lou Piniella’s first season in Chicago. But that year, their postseason play ended quickly as Arizona swept the Cubs in the NLDS. In 2008, the Cubs won 97 games, but were eliminated in three games again.

This year, the Cubs will finish with a winning record, but ask them, and it’s not a winning season unless you get to the playoffs. What can the players learn from this?

“The positives are that you remember the good times from last year and you remember how much of a struggle this year has been and you want to get yourself  back to [the postseason],” Piniella said. “That means for some of these guys working hard over the winter, and for all these guys thinking about what they need to do for next year to get back to where we were.

“This year here, it was a struggle for us,” Piniella said. “To these guys’ credit in the clubhouse, we’ve been able to hold it together and keep it respectable. It could’ve gotten away. You look at the list of players I have here on my desk and the amount of time they’ve missed [because of injuries], If somebody would’ve told [the media] this, and especially myself and my staff, you’d have shuddered a little bit. You’re talking about 40 percent of our roster, and for all of them, key people, and at the same time, all for at least a month apiece. It’s been difficult.

“We’re going to finish the season respectable,” he said. “We’ll finish in second palce in our division and over .500. It’s not what we wanted coming out of Spring Training, I can tell you that. But in a way, you can be somewhat thankful.”

— Carrie Muskat