Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:52 pm
Having already acquired catcher Chris Iannetta from the Rockies, the Angels are in discussions with free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez this week as they look to boost their offense, according to sources.
There is no indication that a deal is near. Ramirez is talking with multiple clubs, according to sources, and is said to be whittling his list down to a final few. He will probably make a decision next week during the winter meetings in Dallas. The Brewers also are in the mix according to Foxsports.com.
Working under new general manager Jerry Dipoto, the Angels are targeting players with good on-base percentages being that they ranked 11th in the American League in that department last summer. Ramirez, 33, had a .361 OBP for the Cubs last summer and has a career .342 OBP over 14 big league seasons.
The Angels inquired about him at the trade deadline last July, but Ramirez had no-trade powers and did not want to move his family. He was vocal enough about that a trade never was put to him for approval.
Third base is one of the few areas where the Angels have versatility in what they do this winter. With Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis there last summer, it was one of the lineup's weak links. The Angels asked Mark Trumbo to work out at third base over the winter while anticipating the return of first baseman Kendrys Morales next season. But as we saw last year, Morales, who suffered a badly fractured ankle two Mays ago, is no sure thing.
Izturis was discussed with the Rockies in the Iannetta trade this week -- the Angels instead wound up dealing young right-hander Tyler Chatwood to Colorado. He also has been reportedly discussed in a potential deal with Detroit.
The Brewers currently have Casey McGehee at third base, though he lost favor last season and was replaced at third by Jerry Hairston Jr. in the postseason.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 1:07 pm
Even after rookie closer Jordan Walden blew his major-league leading seventh save Monday night, the Angels' top priority is to add a bat this week before the trade deadline, according to CBSSports.com sources, preferably a third baseman.
The Cubs' Aramis Ramirez and the Twins' Michael Cuddyer are two of the players the Angels have discussed internally, according to sources, but neither seems likely at this point early in the week.
Ramirez so far has indicated an unwillingness to waive his blanket no-trade clause.
As for the versatile Cuddyer -- whose limited no-trade clause involves only three clubs, none of them Los Angeles -- the Angels have considered taking a run at him and plugging him in at third base. But Minnesota so far refuses to concede in a tepid AL Central.
Sources with knowledge of the Twins' maneuverings say they remain in go-for-it mode and are casting a wide net for available relief pitchers to add to Joe Nathan and Matt Capps at the back end of their bullpen.
The Twins, after getting blown out 20-6 in Texas on Monday in a game in which Cuddyer became the first position player to pitch for them since 1990, are fourth in the division behind Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago -- but only seven games out.
Without Kendrys Morales this summer, and with age appearing to chip away at Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu, the Angels rank 11th in the American League in runs scored, and 10th in both slugging and on-base percentage. They're second in the AL West, four games behind Texas heading into Tuesday night's games.
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Posted on: June 19, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2010 4:14 pm
CHICAGO -- As the slumping Cubs continue waiting for the hot midseason run that gets them back into contention in the NL Central -- a run that's looking less and less realistic, especially after two sloppy losses to the Angels, the latest 12-0 on Saturday -- there is some movement this weekend.
Injured third baseman Aramis Ramirez (thumb) is scheduled to play for Class A Peoria Saturday and Sunday and, if all goes well, assistant general manager Randy Bush said he should be activated when eligible to return from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Ramirez has been out since June 8 with a sprained left thumb that has been aggravated each time he's tried to swing the bat. His swing is violent, and the pressure the bat handle puts on his hands has made the thumb even more uncomfortable.
Though he's taken batting practice most of this week, the Cubs will not know for sure whether he's ready until he tests it in games. As he headed to Peoria, they remained optimistic.
With next week's trip to Seattle and then across town to play the White Sox, manager Lou Piniella has six designated-hitter opportunities and indicated he may use Ramirez in that slot beginning on Wednesday.
"We have an opportunity to DH him, play him at third or a combination of both," Piniella was saying the other day. "The other guys have been playing, the weather's getting hot. We need to rest them, too."
Jeff Baker and Chad Tracy have been playing third in Ramirez's absence. Baker has been called on most and had been doing fine until committing two crucial errors in the seventh inning Friday led to a 7-6 loss.
"If he's fine, we'll get him back on the [active] list and, hopefully, he's nice and productive for us," Piniella said.
Which would be a nice change, not to mention entirely crucial if the Cubs are going to make a move: In 47 games this season, Ramirez is batting just .168 with five homers and 22 RBI.
Likes: Watched Steven Strasburg's third start while having dinner at the bar at Chicago's Gino's East on Friday night. The kid is a phenomenon, not just because of the 32 strikeouts over his first three starts, but also because of the reactions he elicits. He was pitching against the White Sox, so that was an added element in Chicago, of course. But there were people on both sides of me who knew a lot about him, and they were marveling. Watching them was nearly as much fun as watching Strasburg. ... Happy to report, by the way, that Gino's East hasn't lost a step. Delicious deep-dish sausage and mushroom pizza Friday night, just before another thunderstorm hit Chicago. ... Michigan Ave. in the summer. One thing that makes it terrific is so many families strolling up and down the avenue. Easy to tell people are on vacation, a weekend trip or whatever, and so many people are happy. ... Graeter's Black Raspberry Chip in Cincinnati. Now that's ice cream. ... Have seen about four tremendous thunderstorms during this week's swing through the Midwest. ... Seeing former Minnesota Twin Scott Stahoviak, who now is teaching grade school and coaching high school baseball in northwest suburbs of Chicago. Stahoviak, who played under Cubs general manager Jim Hendry at Creighton (Hendry was coaching back then), was visiting Wrigley Field on Saturday.
Dislikes: Can we be done with interleague play yet?
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Got what I got the hard way
-- Sam and Dave, Soul Man
Posted on: October 7, 2008 6:59 pm
Instead, broken-hearted fans are leaving flowers at a makeshift shrine at Wrigley Field, which has gone dark until next spring.
The NL Championship Series begins here Thursday evening, and while the Dodgers flew east, the Chicago Cubs, despite an NL-high 97 wins, have gone home for the winter.
And their outraged fans are still sputtering.
"I will never set foot in that ballpark again," wrote Brian P. Patke in a letter to the editor published in Tuesday's Chicago Tribune. "I have boxed up everything 'Cubs' that I own and will properly dispose of it in a Dumpster. To pass this collection of misery down to my kids would only be committing the same brutal punishment my father passed down to me.
"I don't believe in jinxes, hexes or curses, but I believe in wasteful spending of money (Alfonso Soriano), God-awful choke jobs and the lack of self-confidence that comes with the fear of losing."
This autumn's three-game sweep wasn't just your normal Cubs-variety flop.
No, this was a devastating defeat that will hang like a cement anchor on this franchise throughout the winter. General manager Jim Hendry must re-evaluate things from top to bottom, even after constructing a team that won more games than any Cubs club in 63 years:
-- Alfonso Soriano's inept performance during his two postseasons with the Cubs (3-for-28, eight strikeouts, no extra-base hits) at the very least suggests the Cubs need to find another leadoff hitter (resurrect those trade talks for Baltimore's Brian Roberts again this winter?) and slide Soriano down in the order. At worst, it may signal that the eight-year, $136 million deal -- Soriano just completed his second year -- was a mistake. In 44 lifetime postseason games dating back to his rookie year with the Yankees, Soriano is hitting .213 (37-for-174). October, which brings with it the game's best pitchers, is not a friendly time for undisciplined, free swingers. See Guerrero, Vladimir, over in the American League. Soriano's contract makes him virtually untradeable. At this point, the Cubs at least should investigate the possibilities.
-- Third baseman Aramis Ramirez is 2-for-23 with no RBIs during the past two Cubs offseasons. He looks as lost as Soriano.
-- Kosuke Fukudome, at three-years, $38 million, right now appears to have been a colossal mistake. The Cubs are going to have to look hard at him in spring training and early in the year and, maybe, swallow hard and eat the contract (or, at the very least, ship him to Triple-A Iowa and see if he can be salvaged).
-- The Cubs' culture must be changed. Manager Lou Piniella and the players deflected questions surrounding the curse and the 100-year drought since the club's last World Series title (1908) all season. Then club CEO Crane Kenney hauled out a priest to sprinkle holy water on the Cubs' dugout before Game 1 against the Dodgers. It was uncalled for, demeaning to those in uniform and an open invitation to further ridicule.
-- After the Cubs lost Game 1 to the Dodgers, second baseman Mark DeRosa called Game 2 a "do-or-die" game. Though manager Lou Piniella publicly disavowed that, privately, according to sources, he asked front office officials whether the roster could be changed (it can't, except in the case of injury, once a playoff series begins). Signs of panic were evident just one game into the postseason.
When normally placid first baseman Derrek Lee slammed his helmet to the ground in the fifth inning of Saturday's Game 3 loss, it seemed the universal signal of utter frustration and inability to do anything about it.
It's not unusual for players to become upset and slam helmets around.
It is unusual for it to happen in the fifth inning. Normally, that kind of behavior is reserved for the eighth or ninth inning.
Probably, it was an accumulation of frustration. Over the past two postseasons -- two three-game sweeps by Arizona and Los Angeles -- the Cubs have combined for a grand total of 12 runs.
"You have to score runs," Piniella said. "We had opportunities and you have to take advantage of them. This is six games I've managed now in the postseason (with the Cubs) and we have scored just 12 runs. That doesn't get it done. If you want to win a World Series or go deep into the postseason, you have to score runs."
Among other egregious transgressions, the wild-swinging Soriano not only swung at the first pitch of the game, he also swung at the first pitch after Dodgers manager Joe Torre summoned reliever Cory Wade with two Cubs aboard, one out and Chicago trailing 3-0 in the seventh inning of Game 3. That he didn't make the new pitcher at least throw a couple of pitches and make sure he had command of the strike zone was inexcusable.
The honeymoon long since had ended for Fukudome. At O'Hare airport on Friday morning following the Cubs' Game 2 loss, those in the United Airlines terminal heard an announcement come over the public address system: "Attention Kosuke Fukudome. Attention Kosuke Fukudome. Please report to the Cincinnati Reds. You've been traded for a player to be named later."
The honeymoon for everyone else pretty much had ended before the final pitch of Game 3 had even been thrown.
"So Long" read Sunday's headline in the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Wait 'till ... whatever" sighed the headline in the suburban Daily Herald.
Patke, the letter-writer Tuesday in the Tribune, was only getting warmed up.
"This type of misery deserves no more company of mine," he wrote. "With more than three million bozos showing up annually for the circus, I know I won't be missed one bit, but the feeling is truly mutual.
"Good riddance, Cubs. I wish I could say it's been fun, but that would be like saying multiple minor heart attacks are no big deal. Eventually you have to change your habits and evil ways to avoid a predictable and most certain premature death."
Posted on: March 22, 2008 6:52 pm
MESA, Ariz. -- It's settled -- at least, as settled as a Lou Piniella lineup ever is.
Newcomer Kosuke Fukudome will bat fifth, Piniella proclaimed on Saturday after several days of tinkering with and pondering his lineup. Shortstop Ryan Theriot will be the Cubs' leadoff man, former leadoff man Alfonso Soriano will bat second, followed by first baseman Derrek Lee, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Fukudome, second baseman Mark DeRosa, catcher Geovany Sota and center fielder Felix Pie.
"Right now, the way we're situated, Fukudome offers the best protection to Ramirez," Piniella says. "I know the two-hole is probably more suitable for the young man, but right now, the way we're put together, I feel Ramirez has more protection with Fukudome behind him.
"I talked to my coaches, and they feel the same way. So we're going to start this way."
Piniella juggled his lineup all season last summer but would prefer not to do that this year. Having a better handle on things entering his second season in Chicago and with better players in place -- the emergence of Theriot, the addition of Fukudome -- he should be able to accomplish that. Though he is notoriously impatient.
"We're going to be more prone to a set lineup," Piniella says. "I said we'd play around during spring training, see some things. The problem is, if something's not working, I get paid to find solutions. Then you've got to tinker some.
"But I'd prefer to stay as constant as possible."
Saturday was a gorgeous day at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, with a packed house for a spring game between the Cubs and White Sox. I spent some time in the Cubs' radio booth talking with Ron Santo about 45 minutes before game time, and it was quite a sight. You can walk up to the press box windows from the stands at HoHoKam, and a steady stream of autograph seekers lined up to get Santo's signature.
In 10 minutes I saw him sign baseballs, tickets, programs, a large white sneaker with a Cubs' logo, a baseball key chain, caps and many other items. One woman simply handed him a cell phone and asked him to say hello to her mother. Actually, it was more like she told Santo to say hello. It would have been incredibly awkward had he declined, but he didn't miss a beat.
"Hello, Rose," he said. "I wanted to say hello to you."
The only thing I saw Santo decline was a girl who asked him to sign her arm. He was gracious, but essentially said he doesn't sign body parts. I'm not kidding -- it was like Mick Jagger or Keith Richards or something. People love their Cubs.
"People have asked us to leave outgoing messages on their answering machines," says Pat Hughes, Santo's partner in the booth. "All in a day's work."
Likes: Ron Santo is just the sweetest man. He and broadcast partner Pat Hughes are terrific people, pleasures to be around. ... A couple of Cubs folks keeping watch over manager Lou Piniella as he met with the media Saturday on the field, perched precariously close to the steps of the Cubs dugout. Piniella is a notorious rocker as he talks, sometimes disarming people by leaning back and then taking a couple of steps backwards. Fortunately, no tumbles into the dugout Saturday. ... That game-winner by the Western Kentucky kid against Drake on Friday was the shot of the NCAA tournament, huh? What a great, great play. And I felt terrible for the poor Drake kids. ... When it comes to takeout pizza, give me Papa John's. Had that and worked in the room Friday night watching the NCAA games, and that's as fine a night as there is. ... My friend Ollie called to check in the other day after the Bull Pennings blog about Felix Pie's twisted testicle and reminded me that he did not have to have surgery, it healed on its own. ... Happy Easter.
Dislikes: Getting close to the time when I've got to turn in that Pontiac Solstice convertible I've been driving around here in Arizona. Fun, fun car.
Sunblock day? Heck yes. Temperatures into the upper 80s, where they're supposed to remain on Easter and the rest of this week.
Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:
"There's a cut upon my brow
-- Nick Lowe, Lately I've Let Things Slide