Archive for the ‘Media Releases’ Category

Cubs Sign Manny Ramirez

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

From the Cubs Media Relation Department:

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league contract to be a player-coach at Triple-A Iowa.  President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, who was with Ramirez for seven years in the Boston Red Sox organization, made the announcement.

“We are excited to welcome Manny to the Cubs organization and look forward to him working with our young hitters,” Epstein said.  “Manny is not only one of the best hitters of all time, he is also a dedicated student of hitting and has proven to be a gifted teacher with younger teammates who have worked with him in the batting cage.  Behind the scenes he has always been a tireless worker who is very serious about the craft of hitting.  Manny has made real mistakes in the past but he has owned up to them and moved his life in a positive direction the last couple of years.  He is in a really great place right now and wants to share the lessons he’s learned along the way.  We think he deserves another chance and that our young hitters will benefit from it.”

“While Manny is not and will not be a fit on the Cubs major league roster, we do think at this stage of his life he’s a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization.  Manny will coach full-time and play part-time in a limited role that does not take at-bats away from our prospects. If he shows there is still some magic in his bat, perhaps he will find his way to the major leagues and help another team, but that is not why he is here. We are thrilled that he wants to work with our young hitters and make a difference.”

Ramirez, 41, is a lifetime .312 hitter with 555 home runs in 2,302 games covering 19 major league seasons.

“I’m at the stage of my life and career where I really want to give something back to the game that I love — the game that has meant so much to me and done so much for me and my family,” Ramirez said.  “I know I am nearing the end of my playing days, but I have a lot of knowledge to pass on to the next generation – both what to do and what not to do. The Cubs have some very talented young hitters, and I would love nothing more than to make a positive impact on their careers. I am passionate about baseball and about hitting, and I have a lot to offer. While I would love to return to the major leagues, I leave that in God’s hands. My focus will be on working with the young hitters, making sure they don’t make the same mistakes I made, and helping the team any way I can.”

Ramirez will report to the Cubs’ spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz., for at-bats in extended spring training before joining Iowa.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Press Release: Cubs Staff Announcements

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

From the Cubs Media Relations Dept:

CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs today announced several members of manager Rick Renteria’s major league coaching staff for the 2014 season as well as new appointments in scouting and player development leadership roles. 

Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Lester Strode (bullpen coach), Mike Borzello (catching and strategy coach) and Franklin Font (staff assistant) return to the coaching staff.  Joining the staff in 2014 are Brandon Hyde (bench coach), Gary Jones (third base/infield coach), Bill Mueller (hitting coach), Mike Brumley (assistant hitting coach) and Jose Castro (quality assurance coach).  The club has yet to name a first base coach.

Jaron Madison, who joined the club as director of amateur scouting on August 10, 2012, has been named director of player development, replacing Hyde in that role.  Matt Dorey, who this year worked for the Cubs as a national and regional crosschecker, has been named director of amateur scouting.

Bosio, 50, returns for his third season as the club’s major league pitching coach.  Overall, this is his third stint as a big league pitching coach, previously coaching in the majors for Tampa Bay in 2003 and Milwaukee in 2009.  A veteran of 11 big league seasons, the former righthander worked as a special assignment pitching coach in Seattle’s system from 2000-02, including a stint as Triple-A Tacoma’s pitching coach, before joining Lou Piniella’s staff in Tampa Bay.  Bosio has also served as a pitching coach in Milwaukee’s farm system and as an advance scout for the Brewers. 

Hyde, 40, enters his third year in the Cubs organization and begins his second stint as a major league bench coach, previously serving as bench coach for Jack McKeon and the Marlins for 1.5 seasons from June 23, 2010-2011.  Overall, Hyde has 11 years of coaching experience, including nine seasons in the Marlins organization, following a four-year playing career in the White Sox system from 1997-2000.  Hyde joined the Cubs organization in December of 2011 as minor league field coordinator and was named director of player development on August 29, 2012.

Jones, 53, joins the Cubs as third base coach and infield coach after spending the last 11 years in the Padres organization, including the last seven as minor league infield coordinator.  He has one year of major league experience as the first base coach for Oakland in 1998.  Jones has 15 seasons of experience as a minor league manager, earning four minor league manager of the year awards.  He originally signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 1982 and appeared in 897 minor league games.  

Mueller, 42, joins the Cubs for his first full season as a major league hitting coach.  The 2003 American League batting champion served as interim hitting coach for the Dodgers in the second half of the 2007 campaign.  Mueller joined the Dodgers front office following an 11-year playing career with the Giants, Cubs, Red Sox and Dodgers, finishing with a career .293 batting average, .373 on-base percentage and nearly as many walks (543) as strikeouts (only 571 in 4,886 plate appearances).  Mueller spent the last six seasons as a special assistant in the Dodgers front office.

Strode, 55, returns for his eighth season as Cubs bullpen coach and his 26th year in the Cubs organization.  Prior to his current role, Strode spent 11 seasons as the organization’s minor league pitching coordinator (1996-2006), two seasons with the big league club as a pitching assistant (1994-95) and five seasons as a minor league pitching coach (1989-1993).  Strode pitched professionally in the minor leagues for nine seasons (1980-88) in the Kansas City, Baltimore, St. Louis and Cubs farm systems.

Borzello, 43, enters his third season with the Cubs with an expanded role of catching and strategy coach.  Prior to joining Chicago, he spent four seasons (2008-11) with the Los Angeles Dodgers as their bullpen catcher, a stint that followed 12 years in the New York Yankees organization starting in 1996 (roles included bullpen catcher and batting practice pitcher).  Overall, Borzello has 18 years of experience with three major league clubs.

Brumley, 51, joins the Cubs as assistant hitting coach after spending the last four seasons as first base coach with the Seattle Mariners.  A veteran of part of seven major league seasons, Brumley began his big league career with the Cubs in 1987 and later played for Seattle (1990), Boston (1991-92), Houston (1993, 1995) and Oakland (1994).  Upon retiring, Brumley spent 13 seasons as a minor league manager, field coordinator and instructor from 1997-2009 before joining Seattle’s major league staff in 2010.

Castro, 55, joins the Cubs as quality assurance coach after spending the last 25 years as a minor league hitting coordinator or hitting coach in the Kansas City, Seattle, Florida, San Diego and Montreal organizations.  He also served an interim stint as Seattle’s major league hitting coach in 2008.

Font, 36, returns for his 20th season in the Cubs organization, his third at the major league level.  Prior to joining the big league club, he spent three seasons as the Cubs minor league infield coordinator.  Font played in the Cubs system for six seasons from 1995-2000 before becoming a Single-A Daytona staff assistant in 2001.  He served the Cubs as a minor league manager, hitting coach and coordinator from 2002-11.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Prospect Spotlight: Jorge Soler

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Usually I use this space to talk about at least a few prospects at a time.  However, it’s rare occurrence for someone who could be a No. 1 prospect in an improving farm system to make his professional debut. And we’re going to have it two weeks in a row. Late last week, Cuban phenom Jorge Soler debuted with the Arizona Rookie League Cubs. And first round pick Albert Almora started his professional career in the Arizona League on Monday night.

How good are these two guys? Well, heading into this season a lot of optimistic Cubs fans were envisioning a future starting outfield with Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur manning two of the three positions. After bringing Soler and Almora into the system, it isn’t clear that Jackson or Szczur will have an available position by about 2015.

As of writing this piece, Soler has only played in two games and had 7 plate appearances, so the statistics don’t really tell us anything, although Soler’s Rookie League statistics won’t tell us anything (he SHOULD be above the talent at the level), and he should only be in Mesa for a few weeks.

This is also the first truly live pitching and competitive baseball Soler has faced in more than a year, so it would not be a surprise if his timing is off a bit. However, as Joe let us know yesterday, Keith Law saw Soler in person at his debut and liked the swing. It’s good to hear someone’s initial description include both explosive hands and the ability to generate power with his lower body.

Soler hit his first professional home run on Sunday, which was definitely of the crush it and get out of the park quickly variety. A video is available here. Hopefully it will be the first of many as Soler quickly moves through the Cubs system. I’ll look at Almora next week, but will also provide a brief update on Soler when we’ll at least have double digit plate appearances to look at. Also, for those of you who may be wondering, the guy Soler knocks in with that home run is 2011 second round pick Dan Vogelbach.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Cubs Claim Adrian Cardenas off waivers and Designate Blake DeWitt for Assignment

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Cubs media department sent out the following release on a transaction processed today:

CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs today claimed infielder Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the Oakland Athletics.  In a corresponding 40-man roster move, infielder Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment.

Cardenas, 24, batted .314 (154-for-491) with 28 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 70 runs scored, 51 RBI and a .374 on-base percentage in 127 games with Triple-A Sacramento last year.  The left-handed batter and right-handed thrower ranked eighth in the Pacific Coast League with 154 hits and posted his highest batting average in his five full professional campaigns.

In 2011, Cardenas saw action at second base (35 games), shortstop (three games), third base (13 games) and left field (44 games), his first professional experience in the outfield.  He has primarily played second base (361 games) in his professional career.

Cardenas was originally selected by Philadelphia in the supplemental round (37th overall) of the 2006 Draft and acquired by Oakland as part of the trade that sent Joe Blanton to the Phillies on July 17, 2008.  In 643 minor league games, Cardenas is a career .303 hitter (749-for-2,475) with 143 doubles, 21 triples, 29 home runs, 77 stolen bases and a .368 on-base percentage.

DeWitt, 26, batted .265 (61-for-230) with 11 doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI in 121 games with the Cubs last year, his first full season with the club after being acquired from the Dodgers on July 31, 2010.  He is a career .260 hitter (283-for-1,087) in 404 major league games with the Dodgers (2008-10) and the Cubs (2010-present).

We’ll try to track down our A’s blogger for his thoughts on Cardenas and have that report ASAP. In the meantime, discuss the move which should have a lot of you excited because of the loss of DeWitt.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Cubs Get All Stat Geeky

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

The Cubs media relations department sent this release about an exciting new partnership between the Cubs and Bloomberg Sports to develop some interesting technology.

CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs and Bloomberg Sports, one of the world’s leaders in sports analytic technology, today announced a new partnership to design a state-of-the-art player evaluation system for the Cubs Baseball Operations Department.

This new partnership is the latest step in player analytic technology for Bloomberg Sports, which has been creating solutions for MLB teams, players and fans for the past four years.  The Cubs new system will combine video with extensive data on all professional players, as well as customized and enhanced technology to assist the evaluation process.  The platform is being created with both laptop and mobile capability, and the two parties will begin implementation and development of the new system immediately.

“We are excited to partner with Bloomberg Sports and benefit from their world-renowned expertise in Analytics and Information Management” said President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.  “The management and analysis of data, whether it be scouting reports, statistics, medical information or video, is a critical component of our operation.  We look forward to developing a customized program that utilizes the most advanced and efficient technology available in the marketplace today to facilitate quicker, easier and more accurate access to all the sources of information we use to make baseball decisions.”

“Over the past few years we have helped set the standard for excellence and efficiency in advanced analytics, whether it has been for MLB teams with our comprehensive, integrated systems, players with our tablet product or fans with our fantasy tools, and this partnership is the next step in that evolution,” said Bill Squadron, head of Bloomberg Sports. “Bloomberg as a company has always been about innovation, and we are very excited to partner with Theo and the Cubs organization.” 

Named as one of the Ten Most Innovative Companies in Sports in 2011 by Fast Company Magazine, Bloomberg Sports has quickly become one of the industry leaders in providing cutting edge analytic products for fans, MLB teams and professional players. Their fantasy baseball product, “MLB Front Office,” is the fastest growing and most in-depth tool for both the casual and the die-hard baseball fan.  The professional analytic tools are now being used by 21 Major League clubs for player evaluation, and their tablet products are being used by over 200 MLB players to evaluate performance almost in real time.

 About BLOOMBERG SPORTSTM products

Launched in 2010, BLOOMBERG SPORTS BASEBALL is taking the tools developed by Bloomberg, the leading global provider in data and analytics, and applying them to the vast data analysis opportunities in sports.  BLOOMBERG SPORTS fantasy baseball products, in conjunction with MLB.COM, provide both a “draft kit” and “in-season tools” that give fans the most powerful resources to prepare and conduct their fantasy draft and make replacements, trades and other key decisions for their fantasy teams. The season update tool provides the casual fan with the ability to explore added features and insights about all their favorite players and teams. Additionally, the BLOOMBERG SPORTS professional product provides Major League Baseball clubs with a secure, virtually unlimited set of analytical functions that can assist them in personnel evaluation and performance matchups.  Their tablet product for players was launched in 2011 and provides individual players with the most advanced evaluation tools as well.  For more details, please visit http://www.bloombergsports.com.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Cubs Sign Paul Maholm

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I had planned on running some baseball trivia today following the morning news, but things change. Jeremiah is MIA this morning and the Cubs made a move. As a result, here is the release on said move to add Paul Maholm.

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs and left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a club option for the 2013 campaign. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Maholm, 29, went 6-14 despite a 3.66 ERA (66 ER/162.1 IP) in 26 starts for Pittsburgh last year, as his run support average of 3.38 ranked fifth-lowest in the National League. He allowed three earned runs or less in 19 of his 26 starts and two earned runs or less in more than half of his starts (14 of 26) but earned the victory only six times despite a 1.44 ERA (15 ER/94.0 IP) in those 14 outings. Maholm posted a 2.96 ERA (40 ER/121.2 IP) in 19 starts before the All-Star Break before making only seven starts afterwards due to a left shoulder strain.

Selected by the Pirates in the first round of the 2003 Draft (eighth overall) out of Mississippi State University, Maholm is 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA (554 ER/1,143.2 IP) in 185 starts covering all or part of the last seven seasons with Pittsburgh (2005-11). He made 29 or more starts in five-consecutive campaigns from 2006-10 before making 26 starts last season.

Maholm reached the big leagues in 2005 in his third pro campaign and went 3-1 with a 2.18 (10 ER/41.1 IP) in six big league starts to close out the season. He made his first Opening Day roster in 2006 and began his string of five-straight seasons with at least eight wins and 176.0 innings pitched, including career-highs with 10 wins in 2007, 206.1 innings pitched in 2008 and 32 starts in 2010.

Starting with his first big league season in 2006, Maholm has averaged 4.25 runs of support per nine innings pitched, the fourth-lowest mark in all of baseball in that span. At the same time, the durable Maholm is one of only six major league southpaws to throw at least 1,100.0 innings the last six years.

Maholm is a native of Greenwood, MS and attended high school in Germantown, TN. He was named Pittsburgh’s 2005 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and was selected to that summer’s Futures Game before making his big league debut that August.

The Cubs will make a corresponding 40-man roster move before Maholm is officially added to the roster.

Let’s discuss. What does the rotation look like now as of opening day?

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Cubs Trade Tony Thomas to Boston for Robert Coello

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

The Chicago Cubs today acquired right-handed pitcher Robert Coello from the Boston Red Sox for minor league infielder Tony Thomas.

Evan Brunell of Firebrand chimes in with these thoughts on Coello:

The trade of Robert Coello does not come as good news to this writer, as I was rooting for the club to waive Daniel Nava instead of Coello. While Nava is a feel-good story, he is limited to left field while Coello is valuable as a major-league ready pitcher with years of league-minimum salary ahead of him. The former independent-ball pitcher rocketed through the minors for Boston and excelled at striking out batters and limiting his walks. Coello is unlikely to ever emerge as anything more than a middle reliever, but in that role he can do very well. He got knocked around at the beginning of his major-league career in 2010 but by the end had settled down and showed that he could handle being part of a big-league bullpen. Coello can also be counted upon to start in a pinch, but his pitches play better in relief.

He also provided a scouting report from last year on Coello from SoxProspects.com

Big righty with a powerful frame. Smooth, deceptive delivery. Heavy fastball sits between 91-93 mph and tops out at 94 mph. Also uses a nice low-80s forkball, a mediocre curveball, and an developing changeup. Attacks the zone and throws strikes. Gets a ton of strikeouts but can be hittable when he works too much down the middle of the zone. Projects as a middle reliever at the major league level, one that might be able to be utilized in high-leverage situations. Still learning how to pitch. Coello was well-regarded as a catcher when he was drafted byCincinnati in 2004. However, he missed the 2005 season with a rib injury and the Reds released him in the spring of 2006. He converted to pitching after signing a one-year minor league deal with the Angels in September 2006. The right-hander dominated much younger competition in the rookie-level Arizona League in 2007, but the Angels opted not to re-sign him to a long-term deal. He impressed with Edmonton of the independent Golden Baseball League in 2008, and Boston acquired his rights from Edmonton in November 2008.

What are your thoughts on the deal? I’m not much of a Tony Thomas guy. He’s been a bit of a bust since being drafted fairly high. Better to get something for him and see what Coello can add in a potential bullpen role in 2011.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Out of the Park 12 (Pre-Order to win an iPod Touch)

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Chilly temperatures can’t shake the warm feelings we get when we realize that not only are pitchers and catchers reporting soon, but the next version of Out of the Park Baseball is getting ready for spring training too. OOTP 12 will throw out its first pitch this spring, and we want to make sure you have the best seat in the house two days early.

How? By pre-ordering the game now for just $29.99. Not only is that 25% off the list price, but you’ll also get to download the game two days before its official release. Hurry, though, because only those who pre-order in January will get the game early, and the special pricing ends the day before OOTP 12 ships this spring. After that, the full price will be $39.99.

With pre-orders for Out of the Park Baseball 12 underway, we started chatting in the office about iOOTP, which is being developed for iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone. And then we realized: Wouldn’t it be great to make sure one lucky OOTP 12 player also gets a chance to experience our other upcoming baseball sim?

So here’s our offer to you: Pre-order OOTP 12 by the end of January and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a brand new fourth generation 32GB iPod Touch, along with a free copy of iOOTP when it arrives at the App Store. That’s right: you’ll get twice the OOTP fun this summer, whether you’re in front of your computer or out and about. And you’ll even save $10 and get OOTP 12 two days before its official release.

Lineup Improvements in OOTP 12

PC Gamer called OOTP 11 “a no-doubt, walk-off home run no-brainer to become a part of your game collection,” and OOTP 12 is no different. Our All-Star lineup of features gets better every year, and we’ve again improved many of them during this off-season. We’re not done yet, so stay tuned to future newsletters.

2011 Major League Rosters

Here’s a treat: the best roster set we’ve ever produced, from the big leagues’ top stars to the guys making their debuts in rookie leagues. All players are individually rated with updated statistics and realistic contract data. Last year’s top draft picks are included too. Could Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, with the veteran leadership of newly-acquired All-Star Jayson Werth, help propel the Washington Nationals to the top of the National League East in coming seasons?

Revamped Financial System

The Philadelphia Phillies shook the baseball world this winter when they signed top-flight free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, despite expectations that he would opt for the highest bidder. Now you can do the same with OOTP’s improved player contract negotiations, which are more realistic and fun. You can even try to talk your owner into expanding the available budget, letting you squeeze in another All-Star contract. Don’t forget to stay on top of the latest free agent signings and other news in the new off-season center, and keep your finger on the pulse of your team’s finances with an improved view.

Contract possibilities are now more realistic, including vesting options, buyouts, minor league split contracts, signing bonuses and more performance bonus options. You can even now include remaining contract payments as an option in trades with AI-controlled GMs.

Online Leagues

We’re proud to support Official OOTP Online Leagues with a full-featured interface inside OOTP 12. With just one click, you can join a team, and creating a league is just as easy. Commissioners can make their leagues public and advertise open teams, with the ability to accept or deny requests from would-be GMs.

Official OOTP Online Leagues offer several key advantages:

  • League files are patches rather than full-size files, saving plenty of up- and download time.
  • Reports can be saved in MySQL databases, increasing their upload speed.
  • Forget about FTP: team data exports and imports work through the database. That results in improved compatibility and security for the league web site server.
  • An export tracker.
  • The promise of more great features to come, including online drafts and trades.

Greater Immersion and Realism

Historical leagues benefit from improved AI and real life transactions and as-played lineups as optional features. Thanks to OOTP’s sophisticated game engine, you’ll be able to enjoy the most realistic historical simulation results possible. How would the 1927 Yankees fare against their 1961 counterparts?

In addition, storylines have been expanded, and there are new ways to interact with your players. News presentations have also been revamped, making you feel like you’re part of the hectic 24-hour “better stay on top of this” news cycle that dominates today’s sports reporting.

In-Game and Core Engine Changes

Like a manager constantly seeking ways to get the most out of his lineup, we’re always tinkering under OOTP’s hood. Here’s what you can look forward to this year:

  • Recoded parts of the in-game AI, making it the most challenging ever in an OOTP game.
  • Improved in-game sound, adding better quality sound files and more variation.
  • Improved player evaluation AI, resulting in more realistic AI roster moves.
  • Recoded parts of the trading AI.
  • Recoded parts of the scouting engine.
  • Improved injury and recovery system.
  • Added WAR (Wins Above Replacement) as a statistic.
  • Added a playoff roster for more realistic team transactions.
  • Greatly enhanced the world database structure, resulting in more realistic fictional league and player creation.
  • Added a simulation module, allowing you to match up two teams from the same league for a set number of games and see the simulation results. This is great for research purposes or just for toying around. For example, how would the 1927 Yankees fare against the 2004 Red Sox?

But that’s not all – the feature list is not final yet and will include even more great additions before the game is released. Stay tuned.

The home team has taken their positions in the field and the first batter is approaching home plate. What will happen next? Find out in OOTP 12. Pre-order your copy today!

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Media Release: Cubs Recall Wellington Castillo

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs recalled catcher Welington Castillo from Triple-A Iowa.  Castillo joins the Cubs for his second stint in the big leagues this season and is available for this afternoon’s game against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field.

Castillo, 23, saw action in two games during his previous stay with the Cubs from August 10-22, batting .167 (1-for-6) with a double in his pair of starts.  The double represented his first big league hit in his major league debut August 11 at San Francisco.

Overall, Castillo batted .255 (61-for-239) with 17 doubles, 13 home runs and 59 RBI in 69 games with Iowa this season, his first at the Triple-A level.  He is in his sixth season in the Cubs organization, having made the climb to the big leagues after starting the 2008 campaign at Single-A Daytona.  Castillo has been to major league spring training with the Cubs each of the last three seasons.

A native of San Isidro, Dominican Republic, Castillo originally signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent on December 8, 2004.  He was the starting catcher for the World Team at the 2008 Futures Game and was listed by Baseball America as the organization’s fifth-best prospect into the 2009 campaign.  In 423 minor league contests, Castillo is a career .264 hitter (379-for-1435) with 77 doubles, 40 home runs and 207 RBI.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: