Results tagged ‘ John Grabow ’

3/18 Penmanship

Jeff Gray, slowed by a strained groin, threw three “batting practice” innings on Thursday and his next step will be a simulated game. However, the right-hander is running out of time to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.

The Cubs will be leaning on lefty John Grabow to be the primary set-up pitcher. Lou Piniella would like at least one other person to handle those duties.

“If we can find a couple pitchers here to complement him, it would behoove us,” Piniella said. “The two kids we have right now would either be [Esmailin] Caridad or [Justin] Berg. Then we have to see what we do rotation-wise, and maybe somebody from the rotation falls into that category, too.”

Will Piniella use Grabow the way he used Marmol last year?

“Yes,” Piniella said, then paused. It would depend on the situation

“We want another pitcher or two who we can lean on in that role,” Piniella said. “We just don’t want one person specifically. Remember, with Marmol last year, he has that devastating slider and we’d use him sometimes in the seventh to get out of an inning and sometimes start the eighth.”

— Carrie Muskat


3/8 Rain, rain go away

The Cubs had 10 pitchers each throw one inning of a simulated game in Mesa on Monday to make up for Sunday’s lost split squad games. Lou Piniella met with pitching coach Larry Rothschild to discuss the roster. There are five or six kids whom Rothschild feels can compete for a job in the bullpen.

“They all have good arms or they wouldn’t be here,” Piniella said. “They all have ability. You have to find out about the experience factor and how they respond. That’s why these Spring Training games are so important and not only for us but for a few of these guys. There are some spots here.”

The only relievers who appear to be set are Carlos Marmol, John Grabow and Esmailin Caridad. Two of the starter candidates who don’t get a spot in the rotation could slide into the bullpen. That foursome includes Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva. All but Silva were pitching Monday.

“I’ve been pleased with Marshall,” Piniella said. “I know Samardzija has thrown well in his drills. So has Gorzelanny. Silva struggled some the other day. We’ll see what happens. We’ll run them out there and let them pitch.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/28 Cactus League start

Randy Wells will get things started for the Cubs when they open Cactus League play Thursday against Oakland at HoHoKam Park. Lou Piniella said Wells will be followed by Sean Marshall, J.R. Mathes, Mike Parisi and Esmailin Caridad.

* Angel Guzman threw 25 to 30 pitches from 45 feet on Sunday in the batting cage and felt good. If there’s no discomfort in his shoulder, he will throw on the mound Monday. “His shoulder felt a lot better,” Piniella said.

* Sunday’s workout was cut short because of the rain. John Grabow faced some hitters for a live BP session and that was it. “If we were going to lose a day of work, today was the day,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat

12/22 Grabow tries to sell Capps on Cubs

If Matt Capps does sign with the Cubs, credit pitcher John Grabow with an assist.

Grabow, who was Capps’ teammate in Pittsburgh before he was traded to the Cubs in July, has talked to the free agent right-hander, who has apparently narrowed his choices to Washington and Chicago. The two pitchers have the same agent, Paul Kinzer.’s Bill Ladson reported that Capps, who was not tendered arbitration by the Pirates, planned on making a decision by Wednesday. Grabow signed a two-year contract on Nov. 20 with the Cubs and gave Capps a little inside information.

“I basically told him about the organization and how the guys are in the clubhouse,” Grabow said Tuesday from his Arizona home. “If he comes to the Cubs, he’s coming to a contender.”

The Cubs starting pitchers do go deep in games, which, Grabow said, could mean a lot of meaningful innings for Capps. The difference could come down to what Capps wants to do. The Nationals are looking for a closer, while the Cubs already have named Carlos Marmol as their closer. Marmol took over in mid August for Kevin Gregg, and went 11-for-11 in save situations. Marmol also walked a lot of batters.

Grabow said Capps is exactly what a manager wants — he’s durable and throws strikes.

“I told him, if you come to the Cubs, you might not close right away but things happen,” Grabow said. “[Capps] is a great guy. He’ll take the ball every single day. He’s a bulldog. He’s the sort of guy you want in your bullpen.”

Grabow wasn’t too concerned about Capps’ 5.80 ERA this season with the Pirates.

“I think he’s going to bounce back this year,” the lefty said.

— Carrie Muskat

11/23 Reed Johnson update

Reed Johnson has had an eventful offseason already. The outfielder and his wife, Taryn, welcomed son Tyce into the world on Oct. 26.

Johnson is one of five Cubs players who filed for free agency, joining John Grabow, Kevin Gregg, Rich Harden, and Chad Fox. The team narrowed the list last Friday when it signed Grabow to a two-year deal. The Cubs had an exclusive 15-day window in which to negotiate with Johnson end on Friday, and he said he hasn’t heard much from the team about returning.

“There’s other things they’re trying to take care of,” Johnson said Monday. “My agent said usually teams let that 15-day period go past.”

Johnson would like to come back, and the Cubs are looking for a center fielder and leadoff man.

“We’ll see,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

11/20 Grabow deal done

Free agent reliever John Grabow finalized his deal, signing a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Cubs on Friday. Grabow, whom the Cubs acquired July 30 from Pirates, gives the team a veteran arm in the pen to set up closer Carlos Marmol.

— Carrie Muskat

11/19 Grabow close to deal

Thursday is the last day the Cubs have exclusive negotiating rights with John Grabow before he hits the free agent market, and the left-hander appears to be close to a new deal. The Cubs want Grabow to have a veteran lefty set-up pitcher in the pen. Grabow filed for free agency on the 12th day of the 15-day period. He is one of the top lefty relievers available in the free agent market.

— Carrie Muskat

11/11 GM meetings wrap up

The GM meetings ended Wednesday, and Milton Bradley is still with the Cubs. That should come as no surprise. GM Jim Hendry did not specifically address Bradley as he left the meetings at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton. According to news reports, he has spoken to a handful of teams about possible trades, and it’s unclear how many teams were asking about the outfielder.

The Cubs won’t be making a huge splash this offseason as far as free agent signings go.

“We don’t need mega-moves,” Hendry told reporters in Chicago.

He did say that the team could have a deal done in the next week or so with lefty reliever John Grabow. Hendry did not meet with Arn Tellem, who is Rich Harden’s agent, but the two have talked since the season ended. Harden has indicated he’d like to come back to Chicago, and Tellem told Chicago media it’s still early in the process.

— Carrie Muskat

11/2 Free agent discussions

Outfielder Reed Johnson and pitchers John Grabow, Rich Harden, Kevin Gregg, and Chad Fox are eligible to file for free agency as soon as the World Series ends. A player must file within 15 days after the World Series is over. The Cubs will retain exclusive negotiating rights during that 15-day period.

The Cubs began discussions with Grabow’s agent before the regular season ended. The team was expected to try and re-sign the left-handed reliever, acquired July 30 along with Tom Gorzelanny from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I want to come back,” Grabow said in early October. “[Cubs general manager Jim Hendry] knows that. It’s just a matter of getting it done.”

There were reports Monday that the two sides were discussing a two-year deal in the $6.5 million to $7.5 million range. Grabow, who turns 31 on Wednesday, appeared in a career-high 75 games this past season for the Pirates and Cubs combined. 

As long as we’re discussing who should play center field for the Cubs, who would you keep in this group?

— Carrie Muskat

10/7 Roster info

MLB Trade Rumors has sorted out the projected Type A and B Free Agents. The Cubs have two in each category:

Type A Free Agent

John Grabow
Kevin Gregg

Type B Free Agent

Rich Harden
Reed Johnson

The Cubs would like to keep Grabow, and already have had talks with his agent. Harden and Johnson could stay, but it depends on their contract demands.

* Also, players with three to six years of big league service are arbitration eligible. The Cubs will have until Dec. 12 to tender the following players contracts:

IF Jeff Baker

LHP Neal Cotts

IF Mike Fontenot

LHP Tom Gorzelanny

RHP Angel Guzman

RHP Aaron Heilman

C Koyie Hill

RHP Carlos Marmol

LHP Sean Marshall

SS Ryan Theriot

Players with between two and three years of big league service time are eligible as “Super Twos” if they both collected at least 86 days the prior year and rank in the top 17 percent in total service time of this group. Fontenot and Gorzelanny qualify as Super Twos.

— Carrie Muskat