The Venezuelan league had the day off Tuesday, but Junior Lake delivered a three-hit performance for his side in the Dominican. Here are some results from yesterday’s action in the Caribbean.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake bounced back from a four-strikeout afternoon Monday to go 3-for-4 Tuesday with a double and an RBI. Estrellas fell 4-3.
Walter Ibarra, SS – Ibarra had a hit and drew a walk for Mazatlan Tuesday. The 25-year-old hit .276 in 58 games of combined Double- and Triple-A ball for the Yankees last year.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota went 1-for-4 with a run scored for Ponce in a 9-3 win.
The Venezuelan league’s one scheduled game was rained out, and the Mexican league had the day off Monday. Aside from Marcos Mateo earning his third save in four days, there weren’t many Cubs highlights in the Caribbean. But here are some notes from yesterday’s action.
Alberto Cabrera, RHP – Cabrera blew his first save of the winter, allowing one earned run on three hits in a Toros loss.
Junior Lake, OF – Lake struck out four times for Oriente.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – Mateo gave up a hit and a walk, but struck out the side to pick up his eighth save of the winter for Estrellas. He has a 0.98 ERA this offseason.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet had a single and a walk as Santurce picked up a win.
Frank Del Valle and Yoanner Negrin both pitched well in their starts over the holiday weekend, while Junior Lake and Edwin Maysonet contributed offensively for their respective teams. Here’s how the Cubs representatives fared this weekend in the Caribbean.
Alberto Cabrera, RHP – The Cubs reliever gave up an earned run in one inning pitched on Saturday. He struck out one batter.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – Mateo continues to be a reliable arm for Oriente, as he racked up his sixth and seventh saves of the winter on Friday and Saturday.
Junior Lake, LF – On Saturday, Lake went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, a walk and a run scored for Oriente. The Cubs outfielder added two more hits on Friday.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – In Friday’s game, Maysonet had a pair of hits, including a double and a run scored, for Santurce.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota was hitless in two official at-bats, but he drew a pair of walks and scored a run on Friday for Ponce.
Frank Del Valle, LHSP – Del Valle started for Margarita on Friday, going six innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out seven in a no-decision.
Yoanner Negrin, RHSP – Negrin got the start on Thursday for Caracas and picked up the win, going five innings and giving up no runs on three hits and striking out three.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon pitched the eighth inning for Caracas on Friday, giving up an earned run and striking out one in the win.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Cubs unveiled their new Holiday Ticket Packs Wednesday, giving fans an early opportunity to grab some seats for the 2014 season.
Tickets will go on sale on Friday, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. CST and will start at $98 for two seats to four games. Fans will get to select from three different four-game packages with seats available in the Budweiser Bleachers as well as the seating bowl. Packages can be customized from two tickets per game up to 10.
Holiday Pack A
Tue., Apr. 8, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Wed., July 30, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies
Wed., Sept. 17, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
Tue., Sept. 23, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Holiday Pack B
Sat., Apr. 5, TBD, Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Tue., Apr. 22, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Wed., Aug. 13, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Tue., Sept. 16, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
Holiday Pack C
Wed., Apr. 9, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Mon., Apr. 21, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Wed., Aug. 20, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants
Wed., Sept. 24, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
For more information or to purchase your tickets, visit cubs.com/holiday.
Edwin Maysonet carried his Santurce side to victory in Puerto Rican play and Jonathan Mota had a pair of base hits on Tuesday. Here are some notes from the action around the Caribbean.
Junior Lake, CF – Lake drew a walk but finished the day 0-for-3 in an Oriente loss.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley was given the loss, surrendering two earned runs on a hit and three walks in the top of the 11th inning, as Culiacan fell 5-3. Hatley’s ERA is now at 3.94.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet hit a grand slam for first homer of the winter and added a double in a 7-1 Santurce win. He finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota had a pair of singles and a walk, continuing his hot week for Ponce.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva had a base hit, going 1-for-4 for Ponce Tuesday.
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Cubs picked up catcher George Kottaras from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations Tuesday.
Kottaras, 30, served as Kansas City’s backup catcher, starting 29 games in 2013. He hit .180 in 100 at-bats with four doubles, five homers and 12 RBI. He also drew 24 walks in 126 plate appearances—the most in the majors among players with 150 plate appearances or fewer—and finished with a .349 on-base percentage.
The left-handed hitter was designated for assignment on Nov. 22. In his five-year major league career, he has a .214 average and has drawn 115 walks in 820 plate appearances (.324 on-base percentage). He previously played for Boston (2008-09), Milwaukee (2010-12), Oakland (2012) and Kansas City (2013).
The Ontario, Canada native was originally selected in the 20th round of the 2002 draft and represented Greece in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Both the Mexican and Venezuelan leagues had the day off Monday, while the Dominican league had just one game. Leones de Ponce teammates Jonathan Mota and Rubi Silva led their squad to victory in Puerto Rican action, and Junior Lake had another big day at the plate in a losing effort. Here are some notes from around the Caribbean.
Junior Lake, CF – Lake continued his tear, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in an Estrellas loss Monday. He’s hitting .361 on the season.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – Mateo pitched 0.2 innings, striking out two and giving up one hit in a losing effort.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet was hitless in three at-bats.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota finished 1-for-4 with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly in the Ponce win Monday.
Rubi Silva, DH – In five plate appearances, Silva reached base four times, going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, a walk and a run scored for Ponce.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
You don’t have to tell General Manager Jed Hoyer how difficult the Cubs’ 2013 season was. He was there for every pitch, hit and out. And no one in the organization—from the groundskeepers to the players to the men in charge—is happy with 96 losses.
But the GM also knows the organization has made a great deal of progress since he took the helm. The plan was clear from the get-go: Hire the best player development team in the business, stockpile as much high-ceiling talent as possible as quickly as possible, and develop a young, talented team that has the ability to compete year in and year out.
For the November issue, Vine Line caught up with the head man to discuss the 2013 season, improvements in the organization, changes within the club and what to look forward to in 2014. This is Part Two of a three-part conversation we had with the Cubs GM. The final segment will be posted later this week. For the entire conversation or more Cubs information, be sure to check out the November issue of Vine Line.
VL: You’ve said you and [Theo] Epstein had some pretty frank discussions with former manager Dale Sveum at the All-Star break. It seemed like momentum to replace him really picked up in the last few weeks of the season. How hard of a decision was it to let Sveum go after just two years, and what qualities are you hoping the new manager can bring to the team?
JH: For both Theo and for me, it was a very difficult decision. We’ve both known Dale since 2004. He’s an incredibly hard worker. I think he wore a lot of losses in a really impressive way. He was very stoic about it. That’s a difficult thing. You have to talk to the media twice a day. You have to talk to the team every day. When you’re losing, keeping your chin up like that is really impressive. He did a great job of dealing with adversity. So it was very difficult.
I feel like when you list off some of the things we’re looking for in the next manager, one of the problems is people right away say, “Oh, those are all things Dale didn’t have.” And that’s simply not true. I think Dale can go on to be a really good manager. Theo used the analogy in the press conference. When we hired Terry Francona in Boston, he had, I think it was, four losing seasons with the Phillies and had really struggled there. He went to the Red Sox, and now he’s a potential Hall of Fame manager. I think Dale certainly has a lot of the characteristics of a very good manager, and I certainly hope he gets the chance to do it again because I think he’ll be successful.
VL: You’re just finishing your second year with the team. How would you grade your performance so far?
JH: Like I said at the beginning, any answer that doesn’t involve the wins and losses at the major league level is problematic. We’ve really tried to be as transparent as we possibly can. When we got here, we felt like there was a really big talent deficit, especially when you consider the other teams in our division. We’ve done everything we can under the new rules to try to make sure we can close that gap. In that regard, I think we’ve done a really good job. We’re a lot closer today to playing in and winning a World Series than we were two years ago. And we just have to keep on pushing like that. But there’s no question it’s difficult.
Two years in a row, we’ve traded 40 percent of our rotation at the deadline. August and September of both years were real struggles, especially when in both years we actually played pretty well in July and had things going in a good direction. But we made all those decisions for the same reason, which is that we have to stockpile as much talent as possible to compete with teams in our division that have been doing that for a long time. We’ve tried to be transparent about what our goals are. Our goal is to build a team that can come into Spring Training year in and year out and have a chance to win, and we’ve been really focused on achieving that. In a lot of ways, we’ve been really successful in that, but we’re nowhere close to our goal.
VL: How different has it been for you working in Chicago versus working in Boston or San Diego?
JH: One of the things I really like about being in Chicago and being with the Cubs is we have the same goal as the other 29 teams, but, in some ways, it’s a bigger goal because it hasn’t been done in so long. And I think we know just how much that means to the city.
When Theo and I started talking about this in October of 2011, a big part of why we were so excited to come here and be part of this was that we lived through 2004 [in Boston], and we saw just how much it impacted the city, just how incredible the entire thing was. Really, there’s only one place in all of baseball that we have a chance to relive that. You don’t ever need more motivation in this job because it’s so obvious what your goal is, and winning is such a great thing. But here, if possible, it’s even bigger because of what it means to the city and what it means to the fan base.
VL: How important is the impending stadium restoration to the organization? As beautiful as Wrigley Field is from a fan perspective, does it hinder the baseball side that the players are dealing with inferior facilities compared to most other major league teams?
JH: It’s really important for us to get this done successfully—and hopefully sooner rather than later. We’re not going to have the kind of revenues that a team in a city like Chicago needs to have until the renovations get going. We need to be able to have more signage. We need to be able to have a scoreboard so we can sell advertising. People don’t realize how important that is to the organization. Those are the dollars that flow right back into the team. We should be a financial monster sitting here in the city of Chicago with a team that’s unbelievably popular, but we can’t be that until the stadium gets renovated.
And from a player standpoint, we do have inferior facilities. We don’t have a really functional weight room. We have a batting cage that’s out in left field. The layout of the clubhouse I don’t think is conducive to the kind of oneness you want from a major league clubhouse. That’s a really big factor, and I think when we do have the renovations here and we can give our players first-class facilities, it will be a huge plus in not only improving our current players, but also in improving players going forward.
VL: Pitching was the main priority last offseason. What are the main things you’re focusing on going into 2014?
JH: You’re always going to be looking for pitching. The teams that have pitching depth are able to survive the marathon of the season so much better, so I think you’re always going to be looking for pitching every offseason. But our biggest focus—and it will be for quite some time—is improving our offense. We’ve got to get on base more. We have to have better quality at-bats. There’s no way around it. Our current offense isn’t good enough to be competitive. Obviously, we have a lot of young offensive talent coming in the minor leagues, but we need to add on top of that and really make our approach at the plate and getting on base a huge priority. Until we do that, we’re not going to be as successful as we need to be.
Cubs prospect Rubi Silva was the top performer this weekend in Puerto Rico. The outfielder, who spent all of 2013 with Double-A Tennessee, had five total hits over the weekend. Outfielder Junior Lake also had a few hits in two games, while Frank Del Valle got out of trouble in his Sunday start. Here are some notes from this weekend’s Caribbean League action.
Julio Borbon, PR – Borbon scored a run in a pinch-run appearance on Saturday but went hitless in three at-bats Friday for Licey.
Junior Lake, CF – Lake had a pair of hits with an RBI in an Estrellas loss Saturday. He added an RBI single and a walk in a loss Friday.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley blew his second save of the winter and was credited for a loss Saturday after surrendering two earned runs on two hits and two walks.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet had a single on Sunday for Santurce.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva had a pair of hits (including a double), an RBI and a walk as Ponce picked up a win Sunday. On Saturday, Silva added three singles to his weekend tally, scoring two runs in a win. He owns a .343 average in Puerto Rico this winter.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota was hitless in three at-bats Sunday. He also went 0-for-5 Saturday with three strikeouts.
Frank Del Valle, LHSP – Del Valle got the start Sunday, going 3.2 innings and giving up one earned run on four hits and five walks. He struck out two and has a 2.00 ERA.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two while giving up a hit and two walks on Saturday.
Not a lot of Cubs were in action throughout the Caribbean on Wednesday, but a few had strong outings for their respective teams, including Junior Lake and Marcus Hatley. Below are some highlights from yesterday’s Caribbean action.
Julio Borbon, LF – Borbon was 0-for-5 in five at-bats for Licey.
Junior Lake, CF — Lake recorded a two-run double, his second of the winter for the Estellas. He also scored a run in the win.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley pitched a scoreless eighth inning, giving up no hits for Culiacan. His ERA is at 2.57.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota was hitless in three at-bats, drawing a walk in a 3-1 Ponce win.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts for Ponce.