Tag:Mike Quade
Posted on: March 18, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Zambrano likes hitting way too much

By Matt Snyder

It might be really entertaining to watch, and he might be one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, but at some point Carlos Zambrano just needs to settle down and back away from the lumber.

The most recent movement on Z's everlasting quest to be this generation's Babe Ruth is that he took so much batting practice his left wrist is now wrapped. (Chicago Tribune )

And, of course, he's got a charity home run derby on the horizon.

I guess getting Big Z "cured" from his bad temper was the first step. Next up, his shrink needs to convince him that he's a pitcher.

A pretty good one at times, in fact.

From August 14 on last season, Zambrano was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He went 8-0 with a minuscule 1.24 ERA. He's still only 29, so it's not out of the question for the three-time All-Star to pitch like he did in the past -- when he finished fifth in Cy Young voting three times.

He can also hit, which might cause a problem if he doesn't just settle down. He's won three Silver Sluggers. He's a career .236 hitter, which is excellent for pitchers. He has 21 career home runs. In 2008, he was actually productive enough to be considered good by position player standards -- hitting .337 with an .892 OPS. Last season, though, he was down to .231 with a .543 OPS.

Anything Zambrano gives the Cubs' offense in 2011 is obviously good, but it's gravy. A pitcher isn't expected to produce anything offensively other than the occaisional sacrifice bunt.

Look, it's OK to take batting practice. It's great to be enthusiastic. It's even better to want to help the team with the bat. But when you're doing so much work in the cage you have to wrap your wrist, maybe it's time to dial it back a notch.

Fortunately Cubs manager Mike Quade is using the designated hitter Friday for Zambrano's spring start. It's the right move.

After all, Zambrano is paid over $18 million a year to be a starting pitcher, not to hurt himself in the batting cage.

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 1:52 pm
 

Pepper: No more Cubs-White Sox rivalry

Guillen, Quade

By Evan Brunell

It's never quite made sense why intra-city rivals hate each other in baseball, especially since both teams are usually in opposite leagues.

The Mets and Yankees have a healthy dislike for each other, the Giants and Athletics don't quite have a rivalry but don't have a need for the other (especially since the Giants are blocking the A's move to San Jose) and the White Sox and Cubs take home the prize for most contentious intra-city rival.

But these fans should be thrilled to have two teams to root for. And yet, Chicago has been split between the north and south sides for years. And admittedly, both sides have ratcheted up the rhetoric in recent years. Think Michael Barrett punching A.J. Pierzynski, or when ChiSox GM Kenny Williams said "The unfortunate thing for me is it’s a shame that a certain segment of Chicago refused to enjoy a baseball championship being brought to their city [in 2005 by the White Sox]. The only thing I can say is, 'Happy Anniversary.'"

Williams was referring to the 100th year anniversary of the Cubs not winning the World Series. Safe to say, as late as a few years ago, both sides had no use for each other.

That's changed.

"I have a good relationship with [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], same with Kenny, and it’s no secret that [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] and I have had that relationship for a while and he knows that," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. "I talked to him before the World Series in ’05. I don’t like [the Sox] six days a year, that’s how I try to look at it."

Williams concurred earlier this season, saying that he would pull for the Cubs to win the World Series if the White Sox were out of it due to how much the community and fans would profit from such a win. Could there be a thaw in the rivalry? Stay tuned... (Chicago Sun-Times)

NO GRAY HAIR: Guillen is a fan of new Cubs skipper Mike Quade (both of them are in the photo), who is an unusual choice to manage the club given the team's more recent high-profile selections. While Guillen admitted managing in Chicago is tough, he feels Quade can get through it, and guaranteed something Quade probably appreciates. "I know [Quade] is not going to lose his hair, that's for sure," Guillen said. "I guarantee that he won't lose his hair. And he's not going to get gray." (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

SCANDAL? WHAT SCANDAL? Even though the Bernie Madoff fallout is threatening the Wilpons' hold on the Mets, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber believes the Wilpons would be "a great fit" for a MLS team. The league is hoping to add a second team into New York City. (New York Times)

MOR(S)E IS BETTER: Waiting with baited breath to find out who wins the left field job for the Nationals? It's not Roger Bernadina or Rick Ankiel, at least so far. Manager Jim Riggleman tabs longtime utilityman Michael Morse the favorite, who is having a hot spring and showed life in his bat last season. Don't worry Roger and Rick, you're still in the hunt for the center field job, competing with Nyjer Morgan. (Washington Post)

IT'S TIME TO SEE ADRIAN: Adrian Gonzalez will make his spring training debut for the Red Sox Saturday at 1:05 p.m. Gonzalez has been slowed by rehabilitating his surgically-repaired right shoulder but is still expected to be ready for Opening Day. (MLB.com)

NUMBER 42: For those that are fans of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Larry Granillo is here for you. Penning his Wezen-Ball blog, Granillo comes up with some Vogon poetry on baseball. You'll have to click through for the rest, but here's the opening verse: "Oh round orb, An epidermis-bovine corpuscle, Sutured in red, Resembling the estrused stripplegrats of Kria." Yep, Vogon poetry -- the third-worst poetry in the universe. (Baseball Prospectus)

PUT ON YOUR MEAN FACE: Kevin Jepsen is likely to setup for the Angels this season, but could eventually take the ball at the end of games. However, ex-Angels closer Troy Percival thinks Jepsen needs to stop being so nice if he wants to succeed as a closer. And you can bet Jepsen is listening. (Los Angeles Times)

HEEEEERE'S RONNY: Slowed by visa issues, Mets backup catcher Ronny Paulino finally arrived in camp. The Mets plan to be aggressive with him so he is ready to go, but still has to serve the final eight games of a 50-game suspension for violating the substance abuse program last season. (New York Post)

HARPERMANIA: An excellent feature by Dave Sheinin comes your way on Bryce Harper. The takeaway? Get excited. (Washington Post)

I'M A GIANT NOW: Longtime Padres player, coach and broadcaster Tim Flannery followed Bruce Bochy to San Francisco after the 2007 season and now considers him a true Giant. "It's black and white, cut and dried," Flannery said. "We're Giants. I had nice experiences down there, but it was all to prepare me to be a San Francisco Giant." (San Jose Mercury News)

'ZONA'S NOT GETTING YOUNG: These Michael Young-to-Diamondbacks rumors won't die and recently surfaced a few days ago. And yet, word is still trickling down to reporters that a trade is unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons. For those rooting for Young to head to the desert, look elsewhere. (Arizona Republic)

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Cubs stage Ron Santo Day at HoHoKam Park

By Matt Snyder

Being March 10, the Chicago Cubs are honoring former great Ron Santo Thursday at their spring home. Players were given special hats with a No. 10 on them, a 10 emblem -- the same logo that will worn on the sleeves of Cubs' jerseys this season, pictured left on Darwin Barney's jersey -- is painted behind home plate and there will be ceremonies prior to the exhibition game honoring Santo.

The nine-time All-Star passed away this past offseason at the age of 70. While Santo was a fan favorite during his playing days, he had grown even more beloved in recent years as a color commentator for Cubs games on the radio. He made no bones about being a complete homer for the Cubs and wore his heart on his sleeve -- notably celebrating greatly the division championships and screaming "NOOOOOOO!" if something didn't go the Cubs way (like Brant Brown's dropped fly ball in 1998).

"I never needed to hear a score when I was in Iowa," Cubs manager Mike Quade told the Chicago Tribune . "Just turn the radio on after a game and listen to three words out of Ronnie's mouth, or three groans... I wasn't sure how bad we were losing, but I knew it wasn't good. And if he and Pat (Hughes) were having fun, then we were in good shape."

Interesting to note here, Major League Baseball didn't allow the Cubs to wear the hats with a "10" on them, because there was no MLB logo on them. Don't you always love with the professional sports leagues get so concerned about little things like this with the uniforms. It's one thing if it's a regular-season game -- because the "slippery slope" theory means you open yourself up to almost anything being acceptable -- but in spring training? C'mon. Who really cares?

Regardless, the day at HoHoKam Park was one die-hard Cubs fans would surely enjoy -- even if MLB had to step in and get strict.

UPDATE: More quotes from Cubs' family members at the event (via Chicago Tribune ):

"If you look in the dictionary and saw endurance and courage, the man, No. 10, Ron Santo, was right there," former teammate Fergie Jenkins said. "That's the kind of guy he was. The example he tried to prove on the field, as an individual, as a teammate, that was something that will never, never ever be forgotten. Ronnie was a great individual, a great friend."

"Ron Santo as a player was a pain in the fanny. But as he got out of the game of baseball and we got to know him a lot better, I absolutely loved the guy, and I told him every time I talked to him on the telephone or we played golf together that I loved him, and I still love him and I miss him very much," Randy Hundley added. "But I'm also glad that he does not have to suffer anymore with the bad legs he had."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 4, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Cubs' Silva tells his side of fight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos SilvaTwo days after his dugout scuffle with Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Silva gave his side to reporters on Friday.

Silva said he was unaware the team had made nine errors in their first three games even before the three the team committed in the first inning of Silva's start. Silva said he said the team needed to "start making plays" and Ramirez "took it personally."

From the Chicago Tribune:

"In spring training, it's a little harder because we don't watch every single game," Silva said. "I didn't even know my team had made that many errors, either. That was a very hard inning, not only for my team or for my coaches, but for me. I was trying to do something here, and I gave up those two homers, and I came to the dugout, I tried to take it easy, to relax, to let it go.

"The only thing I said was, 'We have to start making plays here.' He took it personally. I know it was my mistake. It was my fault because you don't say anything. But he took it personally and that's what happened. We argued in the dugout, and everything stayed there."

It's far from uncommon for starters to have no idea what's going on with a team as a whole in spring, especially this early. 

Silva said he's apologized to Ramirez, but they haven't talked about it since.

Silva added, "I don't like to have problems with anyone, my teammates. That's the worst thing that can happen to you. You spend more time with these guys than your own family. That's the last thing I want. I never had any problems with my teammates."

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 6:30 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 8:31 pm
 

Quade speaks on Silva-Ramirez dustup

By Matt Snyder, quotes contributed by Danny Knobler

A fight between pitcher Carlos Silva and third baseman Aramis Ramirez erupted in the dugout during the first inning of a Cubs Cactus League game against the Brewers Wednesday. Details can be found in our original post .

After the game, Cubs manager Mike Quade spoke on the situation.

"You've got two pissed-off people," he said of Ramirez and Silva. "It was a brutal first inning. ... Maybe that's what we need. My sense was Silva was frustrated, and said something about the defense. (Ramirez) took offense."

"Today was really tough to watch," he continued. "Guys get upset. I don't think anything comes of it."

It seems as though the entire team is in need of a wakeup call, even if it's only March 2. A fight in the dugout was just the boiling point, as the team has now committed 14 errors in four games.

"I can put 14 (errors) on the board, and four or five mental mistakes. We've got to talk about this tomorrow, straighten it out. It's not in my nature to watch this."

The talk Thursday to which Quade is referring is a team meeting he's called. It's being called not only for the fight, but for the errors as well.

"I've got to do (the meeting) for me. I don't sleep if I don't, Quade said. "If we start getting after each other (fight) on a regular basis, we're going to be done."

Of course, it's worth mentioning that sometimes teammates argue when things aren't going well. And the whole team is on edge, coming off an incredibly disappointing 2010 and a tenuous beginning to the spring of 2011. It's just something that needs to be controlled by the new manager -- though Ramirez early mentioned that the air was already clear between Silva and himself.

"These are things you don't like. You'd rather it be smooth. But I'd rather have that, almost, than complacency," Quade pointed out.



Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Getting to know the Cubs

Posted by C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike Quade

KNOBLER: Cubs Camp Report -- All Smiles

MVP

MVP usually stands for Most Valuable Player -- but a player may not be the most valuable for the Cubs this season, instead the most valuable person could be manager Mike Quade. Quade didn't inherit the easiest job in the world -- the fact that it's been more than 100 years since the Cubs won the World Series is proof. Between managing the Psychiatrists' Row Rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva and Matt Garza and juggling a lineup full with the overpriced (Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome), the past-their-prime (Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena) and the unproven (Starlin Castro), Quade's got some interesting parts, but it could just as easily spin out of control as it is to work out.

PLAYER ORACLE : Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown to Carlos Marmol

Mordecai Brown played with Bob O'Farrell for the 1916 Chicago Cubs

Bob O'Farrell played with Phil Cavarretta for the 1934 Chicago Cubs

Phil Cavarretta played with Minnie Minoso for the 1955 Chicago White Sox

Minnie Minoso played with Rich Gossage for the 1976 Chicago White Sox

Rich Gossage played with Greg Maddux for the 1988 Chicago Cubs

Greg Maddux played with Carlos Marmol for the 2006 Chicago Cubs

POP CULTURE

Whenever the Cubs win at Wrigley Field, they play a song called Go, Cubs, Go and the entire crowd sings along. The song was written in 1984 by Steve Goodman, a Chicago native and Cubs fan.

However, Go, Cubs, Go is just one of three Cubs song written by Goodman, along with A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request and When the Cubs Go Marching In . The former is his masterpiece (and that's saying something when you're talking about the guy who wrote The City of New Orleans and You Never Even Called Me By My Name ) and also the impetus for Go Cubs Go .

When then-Cubs GM Dallas Green called A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request "depressing," Goodman wrote Go, Cubs, Go out of spite. Goodman, was a realistic Cubs fan -- when he sang Take Me Out To the Ballgame he switched the lyrics to, "It's root, root, root, for the home team, if they don't win, what else is new," and A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request is written in that tone. The kicker to the song is:

The dying man's friends told him to cut it out

They said stop it that's an awful shame

He whispered, "Don't Cry, we'll meet by and by near the Heavenly Hall of Fame

He said, "I've got season's tickets to watch the Angels now,

So its just what I'm going to do

He said, "but you the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs,

So its me that feels sorry for you!"

Goodman debuted the song in 1983, and then he died of leukemia on Sept. 20, 1984. Four days later, the Cubs clinched the Eastern Division title, only to fall to the Padres in the National League Championship Series. 


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Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Quade has zero good leadoff options

Sunday, the Cubs will begin Cactus League play. Kosuke Fukudome will bat leadoff for Mike Quade's team, but that doesn't mean traditional fast-starter will be the first Cubs hitter on April 1 in the season opener. Quade told the Chicago Tribune it's far too early to know who he is going to lead off on that day.

The problem is, Cubs fans are going to complain no matter who Quade pencils into that leadoff spot, because every single player on the team is ill-suited to hit there.

In the above linked article, the Trib noted how dreadful Fukudome was in the leadoff slot last season. He does have a career .446 OBP in March and April, however, so he might be the best option. Still, he generally regresses as the season moves along and is only a career .233 hitter in the leadoff spot -- so it's not like he appears the long-term solution.

But look around the rest of the roster.

Starlin Castro is going to hit second, Quade has announced. The future star still doesn't have enough grasp of the strike zone to man the top of the order.

Alfonso Soriano? That's old hat and let us all thank Quade for not subjecting us to those debates again.

Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Carlos Pena are obviously not options.

Marlon Byrd had a good season last year, but only 31 walks in 630 plate appearances to go with a .293 batting average doesn't fit. He's more a six-hole at this point.

Blake DeWitt has a career .335 OBP, which would be awful for a leadoff man. He has never shown signs of being able to handle much more than the eight-hole, but he is only 25.

Tyler Colvin's .316 OBP is even worse, so even if he supplants Fukudome as the early-season starter -- there's no doubt the job is his for good once mid-May strikes -- he's not viable at the top.

So, if you were Quade, who would you bat first? I honestly think I'd go into the season with Fukudome and hope that someone else shows a good penchant for getting on base during April and the first few weeks of May. Maybe Castro adapts, DeWitt surprises or Colvin alters his approach. The most likely scenario is this will be a hole for the entire season, which isn't the worst thing in the world. He could always just force Byrd up there out of necessity -- the veteran is enough of a professional to deal with it well. After all, the Giants entered last season with Aaron Roward atop the order.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: February 21, 2011 10:39 am
 

Morning Pepper: The next indy-ball major leaguer?

De La Rosa

NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP: Dane De La Rosa's eventual destination of Port Charlotte took years to accomlpish, but the 28-year-old finally arrived after flaming out of the Yankees organization, selling real estate and playing independent baseball for four seasons.

"It's a great feel-good story," Rays director of minor-league operations Mitch Lukevics said of De La Rosa and his path back to relevancy that has him poised to follow in the footsteps of Scott Richmond and Robert Coello as ex-indy players who fight their way to the majors. But first, De La Rosa had some growing up to do.

"I felt like I belonged there, which is not the mindset you need to have when you're there," De La Rosa said of his time in New York in which he appeared in just 20 games over the 2003-04 season. "You need to be humbled. Going through all this has made me a humble person, so I don't regret it at all."

De La Rosa headed to independent baseball after the Yankees cut him, but he struggled to adjust and then took a year off to sell real estate. However, his dream wouldn't die and he couldn't handle knowing his baseball career was over, so he returned to the independent leagues.  His play in 2007 got him a late-season pickup by the Brewers, but all he got was one two-inning stint at the rookie level before being released.

But after two more years in the independent leagues, De La Rosa finally caught the attention of the Rays, who brought him in for a workout. Tampa witnessed a 6-foot-5 righty with a fastball reaching 97-mph and immediately signed him.

"He was pounding fastballs, and we were thinking this is too good to be true," Lukevics said. De La Rosa would go on to split the year between high-Class A and Double-A, posting a 2.01 ERA in 76 innings and whiffing 80 while coughing up 26 walks. Now, he has a chance to win a bullpen spot in the major leagues after being placed on the 40-man roster, news that came just weeks after becoming engaged. That's a lesson in the art of perseverance.

"If Dane De La Rosa has taken this journey and now he's on the 40-man major-league roster and a heartbeat away from pitching in the big leagues," Lukevics said, "it tells every young man, every player they have a chance if they keep working." (Tampa Tribune, also source of photo)

PARTY TIME: Brian Wilson is sure one lucky guy. He was picked up in Arizona by none other than Charlie Sheen on a private jet and ferried to Sheen's house, where he hosted yet another party. This one was full of ballplayers watching movies and kicking back. (And yes, Sheen's iconic Major League was played, capping off the night.) Sources said the party was only "R-rated" instead of the debauchery that usually happens at the Sheen estate.

No word on whether Wilson's virtual doppleganger attended the festivities. (TMZ)

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME: Pete Rose joined a fundraiser for a Legion team and had plenty of jokes to crack even as there was the requisite talk about Rose's gambling and Hall of Fame chances. "This is America. You're supposed to get second chances," Rose said. "I chose the wrong vice." Or maybe his second chance was frittered away when he lied about gambling? Anyways, cool anecdote: Rose would always leave four tickets per game for his father, who would move seats every time Rose didn't get a hit. One day when Rose went 0-for-4 and didn't hustle (imagine that) on a grounder to second, his father castigated him.

"He asked me, 'Did you run hard in your third at-bat with the runner on third?'" Rose relayed. "I thought about it and I realized I hadn't because I thought I should've gotten a hit, and I grounded out to second."

His father's response: "'Don't embarrass me in this town. You run until the umpire says safe or out.'" (Oroville Mercury-Register)

LONG TIME NO SEE: When the Pirates traded Jason Schmidt back in 2001, they were hoping the return would put them on the path to respectability. Instead, Armando Rios got hurt and Ryan Vogelsong posted a 6.00 ERA from 2001-06 after rocketing through the Giants' system. But now, Vogelsong is finally back in San Francisco after stints in Japan and Triple-A for the Phillies and Angels last season. 

Before Vogelsong picked the Giants, the Dodgers came calling, but the righty stayed true to his roots. "I was like, I just can't wear Dodger blue," he said. (MLB.com)

PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FALL: Edgar Renteria isn't upset that the Giants declined his $10.5 miliion option (an obvious move, he says) but the resulting $1 million offer was disrespectful, he says. "I'm not going to play for anybody for $1 million," Renteria said. "I'd rather retire. That is why I say it [was disrespectful]. It's because I know what I can do in this game."

Renteria eventually signed for $2.1 million with the Reds. Meanwhile, if being offered $1 million is disrespectful, sign me up. (San Jose Mercury News)

REST IN PEACE: Cardinals co-owner Andrew Baur has passed away at the tender age of 66. He was a part of the 1996 purchase of the Cardinals by majority owner Bill DeWitt and was a member of the board of directors since the ownership change. Cause of death is not yet known. (FOX Sports Midwest)

LITERARY GENIUS: In Sunday's Morning Pepper, R.A. Dickey revealed he was writing a book about his major-league career. It's not often you hear of ballplayers who can write -- nevermind even read -- but add Burke Badenhop to that list. The Marlin relayed a story of the judge recognizing him when he served jury duty, but that was only the start of his offseason. He also got married, assisted a friend in writing a book about financial planning and is co-writing a movie script with his agent. But now, all he's concerned about is winning a bullpen spot. (Palm Beach Post)

DHING AIN'T EASY: DHs don't get a lot of respect in the league. Not only is it virtually impossible for them to get Hall of Fame or All-Star consideration, but many believe it's pretty easy to walk up to the plate four times a game, take your hacks and then warm the bench without having to play defense. Not so, and Adam Dunn is trying to figure out how to transition to a DH role. Fortunately, ex-White Sox players in Jim Thome and Harold Baines have some advice. (Chicago Tribune)

LESSON LEARNED: It couldn't have been easy for Mike Quade to step into Lou Piniella's shoes and then make the move of benching Starlin Castro for one game, but there you have it. The budding shortstop rode the pine for a mental lapse, and the Rookie of the Year candidate has said he learned his lesson from it. Quade, however, refuses to call it discipline, rather preferring to term it a "teaching moment" to get Castro a breather after breaking into the bigs amid much hoopla and starting on a regular basis. (Chicago Tribune)

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com