Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’
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
Edwin Jackson is now a member of the Cubs, not fighting them as he did last Sept. 6. On that day, benches cleared in the game between the Cubs and Nationals after Chicago’s Lendy Castillo threw inside to Bryce Harper. Where was Jackson during the fight?
“I wasn’t a negotiator,” Jackson said Tuesday, “but I was kind of right there.”
Video replays show Jackson charging out of the dugout along with his teammates and needing to be restrained by Washington bench coach Randy Knorr.
“I was a peacemaker, but I was right there,” Jackson said. “Somehow I end up in the middle regardless of whether I’m doing anything or not. I can just be standing around, just watching everyone and observing and oh, like, ‘Oh man, I’m in the middle.’”
The television cameras caught Jackson yelling from the sidelines and the Nationals broadcasters said the pitcher was “still hot” after the players had been separated. Jackson said he didn’t recall specifics.
“I was just standing around, watching what was going on,” he said.
Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger was fined and suspended one game after the incident. On Wednesday, Clevenger caught Jackson’s bullpen session without incident.
“We’ve talked,” Clevenger said. “He’s a good guy.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs will be happy to leave Washington D.C. after Thursday’s series finale against the Nationals. This has not been fun. The Cubs have been out-hit, 61-40, out-scored 34-16, out-homered, 16-2, and outplayed in the six games so far. On Wednesday, the Nats hit six home runs for the second straight night, and, according to Elias Sports Bureau, became the third team in Major League history to do so.
“That’s just men playing against boys right now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Sveum didn’t get to watch the end of Wednesday’s game from the dugout. With one out and a 1-0 count to Michael Morse in the Nationals’ fifth, Sveum was ejected by home plate umpire Larry Vanover.
“I just didn’t appreciate him eyeballing our dugout for absolutely no reason at all,” Sveum said. “I just don’t think that’s right when you’re looking in our dugout for no apparent reason at all.”
Welington Castillo had complained about a called third strike in the Cubs fifth, which may have prompted Vanover to keep an eye on the dugout.
The Cubs are batting .207 against the Nationals so far, and Justin Germano takes the mound Thursday. It’s been tough for the young players.
“Hopefully, they have the thick skin to handle what they are going through,” Sveum said. “It’s not that fun to be at this level and struggle that badly. So you tell them don’t worry about your numbers — I want to see improvements and adjustments and see what can happen then.”
The Cubs need to go 12-14 to avoid a 100-loss season.
– Carrie Muskat
Could the Cubs deal Matt Garza? They are apparently still listening to teams interested in the right-hander. The Cubs are most likely looking for a package similar to what the Padres received from the Reds for Mat Latos and what the Athletics received from the Nationals for Gio Gonzalez, which means a lot of talented prospects. According to reports, the Blue Jays and Yankees may be the front-runners. What makes Garza attractive to the Jays and Yankees is his 23-15 record, 3.34 ERA in 56 career games vs. the AL East. Plus, he’s 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 19 games against the Red Sox.
Chicago helped its system by dealing Sean Marshall to Cincinnati for Travis Wood and two other players. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, has said Garza is “exactly the type of pitcher we want to build around” but is willing to listen as the team re-tools. They’d have to be overwhelmed to move Garza, who is under team control through 2013. Gonzalez, 26, and Latos, 24, will be under team control for at least four years.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs were expected to name Pat Listach as Mike Quade’s bench coach, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, who cited two baseball sources. Listach, 43, has been the third base coach for the Nationals the last two years and indicated an interest in the Cubs’ managerial position after Lou Piniella retired. Listach managed in the Cubs’ system for four seasons, posting a 258-217 record. In 2008, he led Triple-A Iowa to an 83-59 record and was named the Pacific Coast League’s manager of the year. Listach played six big league seasons from 1992-97, winning the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1992 with the Brewers.
A Cubs official would neither confirm nor deny Listach’s hiring. Major League Baseball asks teams to hold off on making announcements during the World Series, and out of respect for that, the Cubs will not make any announcement regarding the coaching staff until the Series is completed. Even if the Giants win Monday night to end the Series, the Cubs were expected to wait until Wednesday, an official said.
The Cubs had an opening after Alan Trammell left to join Kirk Gibson on the Diamondbacks’ staff.
– Carrie Muskat
According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, free agent Matt Capps has narrowed his list of teams to the Nationals and the Cubs, and will make a decision by Wednesday night. Capps was not offered arbitration by the Pirates after saving 27 games. If he signs with the Nationals, Capps will be their closer. If he signs with the Cubs, he’d be a set-up pitcher for Carlos Marmol. He’d also give the Cubs some insurance in case Marmol has problems with walks.
– Carrie Muskat
Despite the fact that the Cardinals have a nine-game lead in the Central, and seem to never lose, the Cubs feel they’re still in the race.
“I think everybody in the clubhouse, we still believe we’re in it,” pitcher Rich Harden said after Wednesday’s 9-4 win over the Nationals. “Nobody’s down. You have to go with that mindset. We’ve got to win some games. You can’t get too ahead of yourself, ‘We’ve got to win how many in a row.’ I think we have to have an approach of taking it on a daily basis and win that game. The loss [Tuesday] was tough, but we came back today and played well and we can still win the series by winning [Thursday]. I think if you plan on winning the series, we’ll be in a pretty good position by the end of the season.”
Harden posted his 14th quality start, which matches his season total from 2008. His career high is 18 set in 2004. He has a 3-1 record and 1.80 ERA in his last seven starts. So far, the right-hander has struck out 143; he fanned 181 last season.
– Carrie Muskat
Jim Riggleman was back in the Wrigley Field dugout on Tuesday night, but he was on the visitor’s side. Riggleman, who managed the Cubs from 1995-99, now is the interim skipper for the Nationals.
“There’s a lot of good memories here,” Riggleman said before the game. “Five years here, that’s a long time. I wish I could’ve made it 10.”
He understands how tough Chicago can be if f things aren’t going well. Lou Piniella has heard his share of criticism.
“It’s a major market and passionate fans,” Riggleman said. “Lou’s a very smart guy and knows it comes with the territory. A couple things happen — you get Carlos [Zambrano] on the DL, a couple guys struggle with the bat, one club in the division gets hot and the next thing you know you’re looking up at somebody else. When you’ve gone through years of that in Chicago, when you’re the current guy, and manager of the club, you’re the one who’s going to catch the heat.
“Fortunately for Lou, he’s got a couple years in the playoffs here back to back that nobody else has done in a long time and that kind of speaks for itself and how good he is. Lou will survive it.”
Does Riggleman believe the Cubs are cursed?
“I never believed in that,” he said. “It’s a combination of things. Sometimes people forget the other team is trying to win, too.
“Money doesn’t play, players play,” he said. “Sometimes the guys making the money aren’t playing. You see that in New York. Jerry [Manuel] catches [heck] in New York but his top three players are on the disabled list.
“They’re not cursed,” he said of the Cubs. “It hasn’t all lined up just perfect yet. It looked like it was in ’03 and it got away from them. Anything can happen. Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen.”
– Carrie Muskat