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4 Bold Predictions for the Remainder of the 2015 Cubs Season

Thank god the NL Central is a weak division.

Despite being just a .500 ballclub through their first 30 games, the Chicago Cubs find themselves in second place in the division and 6.5 games behind the strongest team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Though they’ve shown some positives throughout the season, the Cubs have struggled as of late. After a winning month to begin the year, the Cubs have dropped eight of their last 11 games, all against division rivals.

The Cubs have a long ways to go if they still intend to live up to Anthony Rizzo’s prediction of an NL Central championship, but they have certainly shown that they have a solid team that can compete.

Regardless of the team’s recent tribulations, Cubs fans are hopelessly optimistic for the rest of 2015. Here are four bold predictions for the remainder of the 2015 season.

All statistics and standings courtesy of



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5 Reasons to Be Excited for the 2015 Cubs Season

Even though the 2015 Chicago Cubs baseball season is just a week away, the hot topic of discussion lately has not been the state of the team; rather, it has been the fate of the historic Wrigley Field.

Chairman Tom Ricketts has already announced that the ballpark will not be ready for Opening Day, and renovations could take an extra year to complete.

Look on the bright side, Cubs fans. Wouldn’t you prefer an extra year of construction for the ballpark instead of the reconstruction of the team?

There are mixed expectations for the 2015 Cubs, though the reality is that the success of the team depends largely on the growth and performance of its youth. Players such as Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara and Kris Bryant will play a significant role in the Cubs’ success (or lack thereof) this season. Even if the Cubs fall short of Anthony Rizzo’s promised NL Central title, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2015.

Here are five reasons to be excited for the 2015 Cubs season.

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3 Players That the Cubs Could Deal Before Opening Day 2015

Perhaps the most difficult struggle throughout winter 2015 in Chicago is not the frigid cold, but instead the anxious await of the return of baseball to Wrigley Field. As the Cubs get into the full swing of spring training, fans of the Lovable Losers can’t help but become even more excited about the upcoming season.

It’s already been announced that the ballpark itself will not be ready for Opening Day. But fans are hoping that the team on the field will be ready for baseball when the Cubs take on the hated Cardinals on Opening Night, April 5.

The Cubs had a quite successful offseason, adding veteran experience all around. The team strengthened its battery by adding ace Jon Lester and All-Star catcher Miguel Montero, while boosting the leadoff spot by acquiring Dexter Fowler from the Houston Astros.

Though they made many additions, there are still some players that the Cubs could deal in the near future. Here are three players that the Cubs could trade before Opening Day 2015.

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A Cubs Fan’s Tribute to the Legendary Ernie Banks

To some people, being a dedicated fan of the Chicago Cubs can seem like a struggle at times. Years—even generations—have come and gone without experiencing the long-coveted celebration of a Cubs World Series championship.

For Ernie Banks, there was never a bad moment in being a Cubs fan. It was always wonderful. He realized to the fullest that being a Cubs fan was a privilege and a joy every single day. Sure, there were difficult times, but all of those struggles would make that inevitable World Series championship that much sweeter.

Most Cubs fans have been waiting ’til next year. Ernie always believed this was the year.

Born to Eddie and Essie Banks on January 31, 1931, Banks grew up in Dallas as the second-oldest of 12 children. It was clear even from his youth that he was a talented athlete, as he was a three-letter athlete in high school—although none of those sports included baseball.

It wasn’t until he was discovered in a church softball league that Banks’ baseball career would finally begin. However, it didn’t take long for it to really take off.

Just three years after Jackie Robinson left the Negro Leagues and took off the Kansas City Monarchs uniform to break the color barrier in baseball, Ernie began playing with the Monarchs before signing with the Chicago Cubs and breaking the color barrier on the North Side of Chicago.

Twenty years later, he broke another barrier by becoming the first black man to manage a major league game.

Ernie was an inspiration to millions of fans regardless of their race, beliefs or even who they cheered for. Perhaps no other ballplayer played the game with such appreciation and respect. Even more importantly, he showed just as much appreciation and respect to every single person he encountered.

Despite the 512 home runs, the Gold Glove and the MVP Awards, Ernie Banks saw himself as just a normal human being until the day he passed. He never gloated about his accomplishments on the field, nor did he boast about his off-the-field accomplishments.

In 2013, Ernie was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed upon an American citizen. After finding out that he would be receiving the honor, he gave us perhaps the best advice that anyone can give: “Do something with your life.”

Boy, did Ernie do something with his life, and it wasn’t just playing baseball. He served in the U.S. Army, played for the Harlem Globetrotters and broke color barriers. In a world and game where true heroes can seem hard to come by, Ernie never failed to be a good example of how to live one’s life. 

Go ahead and Google “Ernie Banks.” Take a look at the images of him. Notice anything? 

He’s smiling in just about every picture—even in action shots during a game.

It’s a shame that Ernie never got to see his beloved Cubs win the World Series, but he’ll still be with all of us Cubs fans when they finally do win it all. He will certainly never be forgotten in the world of baseball and the world as a whole.

Many of us Cubs fans reading this never got to see Ernie play, but we all know his highlights and career. We’ve all heard the legendary Jack Brickhouse yelling from excitement as Ernie rounded the bases for the 500th time in his career. Most of us have walked by and admired the statue of Ernie with a bat in his hands and a smile on his face in front of Wrigley Field, a fitting tribute to Mr. Cub.

That alone is a perfect example of just how great a person is; even 45 years after his career ended, Ernie Banks was still in our daily lives. Every time we would walk into Wrigley Field or turn a Cubs game on WGN, we were reminded of just how much Ernie contributed to the team, game and our lives.

Take Ernie’s advice: Do something with your life. And while you do it, make sure there is a smile on your face and a Cubs hat on your head. Take joy in being a Cubs fan and being on this earth.

No one had more joy in being alive than Ernie Banks. Though he may be gone, his No. 14 will forever fly at Wrigley Field, and his accomplishments and examples will never be forgotten. The world lost the greatest Cub on January 23 and an even greater person.

Thank you for teaching all of us how to live, play and smile every day, Ernie. Now put on those blue pinstripes; it’s time to play two.

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Why White Sox Legend Minnie Minoso Should Be in the Hall of Fame

Just four years after World War II ended and two years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Minnie Minoso made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians. Five decades and 1,963 hits later, at the age of 54, Minoso was standing at home plate of Comiskey Park in a White Sox uniform. 

His website lists him as the ninth black player in Major League Baseball, the first for the White Sox and the first publicly acknowledged Cuban major leaguer.

Only 12,817 fans saw his major league debut on April 19, 1949. Fewer than that were likely even aware. It was fitting that he drew a free pass in his only plate appearance, as he would go on to accumulate 192 free, painful hit-by-pitch passes. In fact, he led the league in being hit by a pitch in 10 of his 17 seasons.

Yet despite his contributions to the game of baseball, Minnie Minoso stands on the outside of the Hall of Fame looking in.

After once again failing to be elected to the Hall of Fame via the Veteran’s Committee, receiving only 8 of the 12 required votes, White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf admitted that Minoso‘s returns to the game at the ages of 51 and 55 hurt his chances of being inducted, as some voters didn’t get to see the real Minoso play.

Heck, take away his final 35 plate appearances and his batting averages raises an entire point to .299. Minoso‘s actual career batting average was an impressive .298—that’s tied with Mickey Mantle.

His .389 career on-base percentage ties him with Frank Robinson and puts him ahead of Tony Gwynn (.388), Willie Mays (.384), Hank Aaron (.374) and Willie McCovey (.374).

Minoso was a nine-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, yet the Gold Glove Award wasn’t even implemented until he was 35 years old. He received the honor at age 35, 37 and 38, though his actual age isn’t known for sure.

In 2009, Jim Rice was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his 15th and final ballot. Like Minoso, Rice spent a majority of his time in left field; in fact, Minnie played a mere six games in left field more than Rice with 1509 and 1503 games, respectively. 

Although Rice’s fielding percentage was eight points higher than Minoso‘s, Minnie earned three Gold Gloves while Rice won zero. As mentioned earlier, the Gold Glove did not come along until Minoso was 35 years old; Rice had the opportunity to win one during his entire career.

Offensively, Minoso matches up quite comparably to Rice. Rice was certainly more of a power hitter, slugging 382 home runs in 16 seasons. Here’s a look at the offensive stats of the two:

Sure, Minoso isn’t often mentioned in the same sentence as players like Hank Aaron or Willie Mays, but his numbers in virtually any category can compete with those of quite a few Hall of Famers. He didn’t rewrite the record books, but he made tremendous contributions to the White Sox and the game itself.

A few years ago, Chicago baseball fans were heartbroken that one of their most beloved, Ron Santo, was inducted into the Hall of Fame just a year after his death. Like Minoso, Santo was not often compared to those individuals regarded as “the greatest,” but he certainly had a stellar career. Santo was one of the greatest Cubs ever to play. His number is retired by the Cubs, while a statue of him stands eternally outside of Wrigley Field. 

The same goes for White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, whose statue can be seen in the center field concourse and his number above the U.S. Cellular Field press box.

The Veteran’s Committee cannot let what happened to Santo happen to Minoso. It’s time that Minoso gets inducted into the Hall of Fame before it’s too late.

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3 Most Important Moves the Cubs Need to Make Entering the New Year

Though 2015 doesn’t officially begin until January 1, the Chicago Cubs have already kicked off their 2015 by making a huge splash in free agency and a few trades during the 2014-15 offseason.

Most importantly, the Cubs signed starting pitcher Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal on December 10. Just days before, the Cubs traded for two-time All-Star Miguel Montero and signed his former coach from Arizona, former Cub Henry Blanco.

Other moves have included signing starting pitcher Jason Hammel and manager Joe Maddon, both of whom are key pieces for the future of the Cubs.

However, the Cubs still have moves to make before they can call themselves a World Series contender. Here are three moves the Cubs should still make during the 2014-15 offseason.

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Cubs Grades at the 2014 Three-Quarter Mark

It won’t be long until MLB lists the elimination number for each team in the standings.

It also won’t be long until that number is zero for the Chicago Cubs. Not that it’s a huge surprise for fans of the Cubs.

This year was penned as a rebuilding and development year long before Opening Day. However, what has gotten fans through a difficult 2014 is not the play at Wrigley Field but rather the future of the team fielded at the Friendly Confines.

While some of the starting rotation has been decent, other aspects of the Cubs, such as the offense, have struggled. As we pass the three-quarter mark for the 2014 season, we look back at the first 75 percent of the season from top to bottom. 

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What Cubs Fans Must Remember About Javier Baez’s Call-Up

August 4, 2014 may go down as one of the most memorable off-days in Cubs history. As Cubs fans around the country slept in preparation for Monday, Javier Baez was getting one of the best wake-up calls of his life. According to Carrie Muskat of the Chicago Cubs‘ official website, Cubs Triple-A manager Marty Pevey called Baez into his hotel room to deliver the news that he would soon be on a plane to Denver to make his major league debut.

Later that afternoon, Cubs fans’ work would be interrupted (yes, Lee Elia, Cubs fans DO work) by their cell phones eagerly notifying them that hope would soon be arriving.

Javier Baez is now a Chicago Cub.

Social media exploded with the news. Text messages were swapped, emails were sent, news articles were forwarded…”He’s here! Let’s win a championship,” they likely said.

Baez’s arrival is one of the most exciting events in the Cubs’ 2014 season thus far. One could even argue that it’s more exciting than Opening Day; a renaissance, if you will.

There’s no arguing the fact that Baez’s call-up is a big deal. It’s a huge deal for those who have been following his path since being drafted by the Cubs in 2011. But there’s a few things Cubs fans need to remember about Baez’s call-up. 


Baez is not the end all, be all

As of late, Baez had been on the metaphorical back burner in the eyes of Cubs fans. Fellow teammate Kris Bryant has torn up the minor leagues in 2014 and is currently hitting .314 with 14 home runs in Triple-A Iowa. Arismendy Alcantara, who also played in Triple-A with Baez, was the first of the Cubs’ core prospects to be called up to the major leagues.

Then, things changed. Darwin Barney and the Cubs parted ways, followed by Emilio Bonifacio soon after. The door to Wrigley Field’s second base was suddenly opened for Baez, and his dream is about to come true.

Regardless of the hype surrounding Baez, his spot on the major league roster in the future is far from guaranteed. He’s certainly talented, but he’s far from irreplaceable.

Read that one more time: Baez is not irreplaceable. His potential is limitless, but it is exactly that: potential. At the end of the day, Baez is just one of a number of talented prospects in the Cubs’ minor league system. 

Even after his switch to second base, the Cubs still have two very talented shortstops in their organization: Addison Russell and Starlin Castro. If Baez does not pan out at second base, the Cubs have backups in Russell and Alcantara.


2014 is strictly about development

Anyone who has seen the standings this year or knows anything about the Cubs knows that Baez’s arrival is not for a playoff push. Instead, it’s almost entirely for Baez himself. Sure, it’s also important that Baez learns to play with his major league teammates and vice versa. But the main purpose of calling up Baez is to adjust him to Major League Baseball and the lifestyle that comes with it.

Critics around the country will crunch his numbers left and right, including the author of this article. At the end of the day, statistics are the main judge of a player’s performance. However, his performance in 2014 is not about his batting average or home runs. It’s about how much he learns and grows both as a player and person.

By playing the last third of the 2014 season, the Cubs and Baez will be able to see his strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, Baez has seen the last of the minor leagues in his lifetime. At least, that’s what the Cubs and their fans hope.

Even if Baez’s time in the majors this season doesn’t live up to expectations, the last thing the Cubs should do is proclaim him a bust. Baez’s fellow teammate Anthony Rizzo didn’t do so hot during his first season at the major league level, hitting just .141 in 49 games. The Cubs have 52 games remaining this season for Baez to show what he has (though it’s safe to say Baez won’t play in all of them).


The Cubs’ time is ALMOST here

As mentioned before, Baez is just one of quite a few prospects in the Cubs organization and one of multiple players capable of playing middle infield. This season is not about the playoffs or fielding a winning team. The ultimate goal is to develop for the future.

After Baez’s call-up, the Cubs still have only two of their top 10 prospects at the major league level. Of those 10 players, half of them are yet to even reach Double-A. The chances of those five reaching the major leagues this year are minuscule. 

Cubs fans need to just savor the fact that better times are in sight. They’re closer than they were last week just with the arrival of Baez, but they’re not there yet. It’s darkest before the dawn, and the Cubs have suffered enough darkness to last anyone a lifetime.

Now, it’s time to sit back, grab an Old Style and watch Javier Baez and the Cubs take another step toward contending.


Statistics and prospect rankings courtesy of

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Why the Chicago Cubs Should Trade 2B Darwin Barney

While it’s true that defense wins championships, that phrase only rings true to an extent. Despite winning a Gold Glove in 2012 and being a finalist for the award in 2013, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney‘s defense isn’t enough for the Cubs.

A third of the way through the 2014 season, Barney has almost matched his error total from last season of four. Sure, three errors is nothing to raise a fuss about. It’s three errors. But in the past two seasons, Barney has committed only seven total errors. By Barney’s standards, three is subpar. He’s currently on pace to commit more errors this season than he has in the last two seasons combined.

However, it’s not Barney’s Fool’s Gold Glove that is most discouraging for Cubs fans. It’s his bat. 

Correction: It’s his lack of a bat.

During Barney’s Rookie of the Year season in 2011, he hit a solid .276 in 143 games. Unfortunately, it has been all downhill since then. Each season has seen a decrease in his average, most significantly a .046 decline between 2012 and 2013. 

For those who don’t give any consideration to batting average, his on-base percentage has been decreasing as well. Here are Barney’s offensive stats since his 2012 Gold Glove season:

Granted, Barney’s offense has improved lately. In fact, he’s hit safely in seven of his last eight games. For the Cubs, this adds more benefit than just the obvious offensive production. It also could add some trade value. 

Barney has been linked before to trade rumors. As recently as December, reports have suggested that the Yankees may attempt to trade for Barney. 

There’s no shortage of potential second basemen in the Cubs organization who could replace Barney. Arismendy Alcantara seems to be the most obvious candidate. 

Ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Cubs organization, Alcantara doesn’t bring a Gold Glove to the picture. At least not yet.‘s scouting report of Alcantara grades his fielding at 50, which is about average.

However, Alcantara is currently hitting .293 with nine home runs for Triple-A Iowa. He also has 21 doubles and 10 triples. On the basepaths, the speedy 22-year-old has 18 stolen bases in 21 tries. 

Alcantara’s teammate Logan Watkins is also a solid candidate for the second base job, currently hitting .273 with the Iowa Cubs.

Because of Barney’s unimpressive offense and his declining defense, the Cubs aren’t exactly going to hit the jackpot with a trade. At best, they would likely receive one or two decent prospects from a team looking to make a playoff run. 

Luckily, the Cubs didn’t sign Barney to a long-term deal after his Gold Glove season in 2012. In fact, Barney is signed to be a Cub only through the end of 2014 with a $2.3 million salary. The fact that Barney doesn’t bring any financial baggage and will be a free agent after this season may make him exactly what a team may want for a short-term pickup.

Regardless of whether or not Barney is traded, Cubs fans don’t have much to worry about if he remains with the team. Because of their depth of infield prospects, there are multiple solutions for the team’s future at second base. Ideally, Barney would continue to make strides at the plate for the next month so as to add as much trade value as possible. After all, he is only 28 years old.

Statistics courtesy of and

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5 Things We Learned About the Cubs Through the First 4 Weeks of 2014

As the Chicago Cubs celebrated the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field on Wednesday, Cubs fans around the country will rejoice in the fact that they have…well, something to rejoice.

Although the team hasn’t won a World Series since they began playing at Wrigley Field in 1916, fans of the team are optimistic that a championship may very well be on its way to Chicago’s North Side in the near future.

Unfortunately, that time is expected to be a few years away still. The team finds itself in last place in the National League Central, already 10 games behind the first-place Brewers only four weeks into the season.

Cubs fans have had plenty to yell about, both good and bad. From multiple blown saves by Jose Veras to an 11th-inning game-winner against the St. Louis Cardinals by Welington Castillo, 2014 has been an emotional ride.

Here, we look at five things we have learned about the Cubs in 2014.


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