Results tagged ‘ Hot Stove League ’
The Cubs front office and Chicago media just wrapped up the formal press conference and group interviews with chairman Crane Kenney, general manager Jim Hendry and new outfielder Milton Bradley.
As is the case when the ink finally dries on a deal, there were several new tidbits that came out of the press conference.
Milton emphasized several times that the Cubs were the only team to which he wanted to go. In fact, according to Hendry, the two parties first made contact on Nov. 5 or 6 over dinner. Both came away struck by the integrity of the other and the positive feel of the discussion.
After that, Hendry said he talked to “the people who count the most … the people you play with and the people you play for.” As he heard good thing after good thing — and he explored every other trade or free agency option out there — he decided on Milton as his main offensive target. It’s a testament to a lot of hard work, diligence, waiting and trust that this deal got done a full two months later.
Milton also teared up when asked about how rewarding it felt to get a long-term contract: “I try my best not to get emotional. I just remember — I didn’t call my mom because I wanted her to find out by watching TV, but she called and left me a message. And I played it back several times. You can hear her voice cracking on the message, and I just know, my mom worked 35 years as a grocery clerk … 35 years, and was able to retire a few years back. It’s just a tremendous blessing.”
On what kind of a hitter he considers himself: “My focus at the plate is just to try to get on base. A lot of people say they’re trying to get a hit or hit in the gap or whatever, I’m just trying to get on base. I’m going to try to make a pitcher throw me three strikes. If I get the first strike, and it’s a good one and that’s what I want, then I’ll hit that one. But for the most part I want to make the pitcher work, and I want to get a strike to hit.”
Since many of you have been discussing the Cubs’ recent moves, we wanted to provide some recent comments from Jim Hendry on the off-season plan. First, here are the major additions and losses during the 2008-09 off-season:
Additions – RHP Luis Vizcaino, IF/OF Aaron Miles, RHP, Kevin Gregg, OF Joey Gathright, RHP David Patton (Rule V), RHP Jeff Stevens (minors), LHP John Gaub (minors), RHP Chris Archer (minors)
Losses – IF/OF Mark DeRosa, RHP Kerry Wood, RHP Jason Marquis, RHP Bob Howry, C Henry Blanco, OF Jim Edmonds
Of course, the Cubs have been pursuing a certain great-hitting and good-defense outfielder this off-season …
When we talked to Jim a couple days ago, he stressed the need to consider the team’s overall plan instead of analyzing moves primarily piece-by-piece.
On his latest deal, Jason Marquis for Luis Vizcaino: “We just felt like we were trying to move Jason and get depth in inventory of pen and add prospects in other areas,” Hendry said. “Jason did do a solid job for us for two years and ate up a lot of innings. We won two division titles with him here. He was solid, but in the overall picture, piece by piece sometimes deals are hard to analyze. When we try to look at the body of work in the offseason or opening day makes a lot more sense.
“We’ll keep plugging and trying to get better until we get to Mesa.”
Click past the jump for more comments straight from the Cubs GM.
This move was just announced moments ago. You can read the full press release below.
CUBS ACQUIRE THREE PITCHING PROSPECTS
FROM CLEVELAND FOR INFIELDER MARK DEROSA
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today acquired right-handed pitcher Jeff Stevens, left-handed pitcher John Gaub and right-handed pitcher Chris Archer from the Cleveland Indians for infielder Mark DeRosa. Stevens has been added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster.
“We are thrilled to acquire three strong, young arms in Jeff Stevens, John Gaub and Chris Archer,” said Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry. “They are significant additions to our system and have received universally high marks from our scouts, notably Stan Zielinski.
“It’s never easy to say goodbye to a quality player and person like Mark DeRosa,” Hendry continued. “He was a major contributor to our success the last two seasons. But today represents a prime opportunity to stock our organization with three pitching prospects, to modify the balance and shape of our major league roster and to give our rising talent a chance to contribute more regularly at the major league level.”
The 25-year-old Stevens combined to go 5-4 with a 3.24 ERA (21 ER/58.1 IP), six saves and a .184 batting average against in 36 relief appearances between Cleveland’s Double-A Akron and Triple-A Buffalo affiliates. He also pitched for the United States Olympic Baseball team that won the bronze medal in Beijing last summer.
With most MLB teams on their winter break — between Christmas and New Year’s Day — and Wrigley Field being transformed into a frozen tundra, baseball news has been a bit slow around here for the past week. But general manager Jim Hendry and his staff have kept busy, today signing versatile infielder/outfielder Aaron Miles to a two-year contract.
Miles made an appearance at seven positions for the Cardinals last year — all but catcher and first baseman — and hit .317 (120-for-379) with 15 doubles, four homers and a .355 on-base percentage. As a switch-hitter, he also adds versatility to what was an entirely right-handed hitting infield last season.
“We expect Aaron to provide significant versatility and flexibility to our roster,” said Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry. “He handles the bat well from both sides of the plate and is a skillful middle infielder who has added third base and all three outfield positions to his repertoire during the last few years.”
Looking to bolster the team’s athleticism on the bench, the Cubs today agreed to terms with outfielder Joey Gathright. The Kansas City Royals had non-tendered the 27-year-old last Friday, as he was arbitration-eligible for the first time.
A left-handed hitter, Gathright can burn down the line: He has been officially clocked at 3.3 seconds from home to first on a bunt. Career, he is a .263 hitter in 399 major-league games and has a 74 percent success rate on stolen bases.
Lou Piniella managed Gathright for two seasons, 2004-05, while in Tampa Bay.