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Manny Ramirez Dealt To Chicago White Sox

According to a number of media outlets, including ESPN, MLB Network and SI, the Los Angeles Dodgers will send Manny Ramirez to the Chicago White Sox on Monday as a straight waiver claim, receiving zero compensation for the outfielder.

The White Sox will be responsible for nearly four million dollars in salary and deferred money due Ramirez, according to SI late Sunday night.

Last year, the Sox claimed Alex Rios and received him in similar fashion. Rios has been better for the Sox this year than he had been in Toronto for the past couple years, but is still a questionable gamble at his salary and production.

This move, however, clearly indicates that the Sox are going for broke with an expiring roster. Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel are just a few of the names that might not be back on the South Side of Chicago next year: eating a lot of money is a calculated move by Sox GM Kenny Williams to jump-start the struggling Sox.

The Sox opted to not bring back Jim Thome after last year, who signed for $1.5 million with Minnesota. They also allowed Jermaine Dye to walk away as a free agent; Dye is still unemployed. However, the DH-by-committee approach has been a failure in Chicago, as Mark Kotsay, Jones and other haven’t been able to consistently get on base or generate offense.

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Carlos Zambrano MUST Be Released By Chicago Cubs

On Monday afternoon, Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry announced that starting/relief/not-really pitcher Carlos Zambrano would enter some form of treatment program and would be placed on baseball’s “restricted list” until after the All-Star break.

Restricted? Does he have to trade his boxers for briefs for the next three weeks?

My suggestion is that the Cubs treat Zambrano the way he treated his teammates on Saturday, and the way he’s been treating his fans’ hopes for the last four years: open the door, kick, close door, deadbolt.

Zambrano is a wasted roster spot and, even worse, an epic disaster of a contract. While it seemed impossible to give away Milton Bradley last year, his deal was small enough that there might be another albatross out there; Seattle had their own mistake in Carlos Silva, and the Cubs struck a deal.

But Zambrano’s salary is comparable to baseball’s top-ten. There isn’t a team on the planet that wants a guy throwing garbage for $18 million a year.

If Tom Ricketts is sincere in his wanting to build a championship team at Wrigley Field before another 100 years expires, then trading dead contracts for other dead contracts isn’t what that work-in-progress should be. The Cubs got lucky with Silva; lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place.

Unless, of course, you’re past your prime, a head-case, or bad. Then your agent will get you a $10 million annual salary from Hendry a couple times each November.

If you wouldn’t urinate in your baby’s bottle and hand it to the child, why would Ricketts continue to expose these rookies to Zambrano?

Ricketts needs to separate the emerging new core of his team—Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner—from the overpaid feces formerly known as an ace. Additionally, sending him to the minors would only subject future generations of potential Cubs to this trash of a baseball player.

Buy him out, and let him go rot somewhere. Enough is enough.

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Andrew Cashner: Coming Soon to Wrigley Field?

Last night for the Chicago Cubs Triple-A affiliate in Iowa, one of the less heralded potential superstar prospects in baseball had another good night.

Andrew Cashner, the Cubs first round draft pick in 2008, dominated for seven innings as the Iowa Cubs won 1-0. Cashner was an elite closer in college, but the Cubs are trying to make him into a starter.


Since being promoted to Triple-A, Cashner is putting up numbers that could easily be confused for those of super-prospect Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.

In three starts, Cashner is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. He has allowed only 13 hits and walked just two while striking out 14 in 19.0 innings pitched.

These numbers come after he earned a promotion in six starts, going 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 36.0 innings.

So far this year at two levels, Cashner’s allowed 35 hits and 15 walks while striking out 56 in 55.0 innings. In nine starts, he’s 6-1 with a 2.13 ERA.

Perhaps the only position group (infield, outfield, bullpen, starters) that’s exceeding expectations on almost a daily basis is the starting rotation for the Cubs. Despite his inability to get a win, Tom Gorzelanny has been solid and Carlos Silva’s five wins lead the staff.

With Ted Lilly returning to form from injury and Ryan Dempster continuing to post solid numbers, the rotation is almost too full to consider Cashner a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation. As it is, Randy Wells is fighting to keep that spot over Opening Day starter Carlos Zambrano right now.

My recommendation, and prayer, is that the Cubs do not screw up Cashner’s development the same way they did that of Jeff Samardzija. Do not bring the kid up and stick him back in the bullpen “for experience.” If he’s going to be a starter, leave him in the rotation in Iowa so he can get more innings on his arm.

The numbers Cashner’s putting up make it hard to imagine Wrigley Field is too far away for the 23-year-old. The Cubs pulled the trigger on bringing up 20-year-old shortstop phenom Starlin Castro, and he’s been fantastic. Could Cashner be next in line?

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Starlin Castro: Should the Chicago Cubs Trade Their Budding Young Star?

Let’s start by being honest: the 2010 Chicago Cubs are awful.

The bullpen is thin, the bench is soft, and the bats are taking turns being stone cold. It’s bad enough that your Opening Day starter is being paid almost $18 million to throw two or three innings a week in the bullpen in early May, and Carlos Zambrano isn’t even doing that very well.

The national media is now picking fights for the Cubs to deal with internally. Fox’s Ken Rosenthal decided that Cubs GM Jim Hendry should fire Lou Piniella, and the Cubs have spent a long weekend telling people “everything’s going to be ok.”

Meanwhile, they’re dropping five of six to the Pittsburgh Pirates and are staring up at four teams in the Central Division.

It’s time to blow this thing up, people. Why prolong the pain of this ridiculously underwhelming roster when Hendry could, for once, be proactive in building a winning team?

Now for the million dollar question: if the Cubs are going to tear this thing down, who is, and more importantly, isn’t available?

The only thing Cubs fans have had to be excited about has been the promotion of 20-year-old super prospect Starlin Castro. And, other than a couple errors in his first home game, the kid’s been everything he was sold as being; he’s hit the ball to all fields, has shown better range than Ryan Theriot at short, and stole his first base of the season on Monday night.

Castro should be the future for the Cubs.


And this is a big, Beyonce-sized but folks. There’s a huge “what if” on the horizon that must be discussed if you’re the Cubs, and now is the time to do it.

In Miami, all hell is breaking loose in the Marlins’ clubhouse. After fouling a ball off his shin last night, superstar shortstop Hanley Ramirez didn’t exactly hustle after booting a ball later. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez yanked Ramirez off the field, and a war of words began.

Gonzalez said anything less than 100 percent is not acceptable, and Wes Helms said he thinks Ramirez needs to apologize to his teammates for his lack of effort on Monday night.

Ramirez’s response to his manager?

“It’s his team. He does whatever he (expletive) wants,” Ramirez said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s brutal.”

When asked about his ankle, Ramirez added, “That’s OK. [Gonzalez] doesn’t understand that. He never played in the big leagues.”

Them’s fightin’ words!

Ramirez is a 26-year-old shortstop who has already been an All-Star and won the 2009 National League batting crown. In his four-year major league career entering 2010, Ramirez hit 103 home runs, had 313 runs batted in and stole 164 bases.

The cliff notes of Ramirez’s scouting report is “second coming of A-Rod.”

Ramirez received the richest contract in the history of the Marlins organization in May of 2008, a six-year, $70 million deal (his annual salaries from 2010-2014 will be $7M, $11M, $15M, $15.5M and $16M). When his current contract expires, Ramirez will be 31.

To truly frame any consideration of the Cubs making a move for someone like Ramirez, we need to place Ramirez into some context. The Florida Marlins acquired Ramirez as the centerpiece of a trade that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. Indeed, if you examine the history of the Marlins, they have a great track record of trading players before they cost the franchise too much money and getting exceptional value in return.

Now let’s circle back to the question at-hand: if you’re Jim Hendry, and you’re trying to save your job during the 2010 season… and if you’re the Ricketts family, trying to turn 101-plus years of misery into something special… what expense is too great? And what players aren’t touchable?

Tom Ricketts has made his feelings very clear publicly that he wants to build the organization from the bottom up, using home-grown talent to supplement the stars (and concrete contracts Hendry couldn’t sell to his own parents) on the major league roster. One would have to think the poster child (and I mean “child”) for this philosophy would be Castro.

Here’s your Kardashian-sized but : but what if Starlin Castro could get Hanley Ramirez to Chicago?

The Marlins might be intrigued by some of the contracts the Cubs have on their roster, especially expiring contracts of veterans. The Cubs cherry-picked Derrek Lee away from the Marlins for Hee-Seop Choi in the winter following the epic disaster of 2003, and also acquired Juan Pierre, Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca from Florida in a series of moves that sent, among others, Dontrelle Willis and the Marlins current No. 2 starter, Ricky Nolasco, to Miami.

A history of dealing between Florida and Chicago exists in the recent past.

There’s one more point to consider when considering any move involving Castro. There’s another kid in the system named Hak-Ju Lee who also happens to play a very, very good shortstop. Some scouts have whispered that, when Lee is ready, Castro see a similar fate to Theriot and move to second base because Lee is a superior defensive shortstop.

However, Lee won’t turn 20 until November this year and is a couple years away. In those same few years, the Cubs could be turning third base over to Josh Vitters, another of their top prospects.

So the Cubs are an organization that has a future shortstop playing the position at Wrigley Field right now, but they have a player that might be better in the minors. What to do?

Consider the following offer: Castro and Aramis Ramirez to Florida for Hanley Ramirez.

There are some in baseball circles that believe Ramirez’s comparisons to Alex Rodriguez run deeper than his astounding production at a young age. Because of his size and power at the plate, many believe Ramirez will eventually make a permanent transition to third base.

So what would the progression be for the Chicago Cubs if this deal went down?

My proposal would be that Ramirez stays at shortstop and Theriot at second for the remainder of the 2010 season. This winter, however, Hanley Ramirez would replace Aramis Ramirez at third base and Theriot would move back to short for one more season, or until Hak-Ju Lee is ready. The Cubs would then move Vitters permanently to first base in Double-A; one of the biggest negatives about Vitters’s game has been his defense at third base, so moving him to first may have eventually happened anyway.

While some Cubs fans might scream that giving up on Aramis Ramirez makes no sense, there is no guarantee that he will be in Chicago next year. He has a player option for 2011 worth $14.6 million that, if Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly are gone, he wouldn’t necessarily have to exercise.

Ramirez will be 32 in late June, and the Marlins could put him at third base for the next two years at comparable cost ($30.6M) to Hanley Ramirez’s deal ($26M). Adding Aramis Ramirez in Florida would allow the Marlins to move Jorge Cantu to first base full-time, which would be an improvement for them as well.

If Aramis Ramirez doesn’t pick up his player option for 2011, then the Marlins save $26 million in the deal. What’s most important for the Marlins, though, is that replacing Hanley Ramirez with Castro at short falls in line with their historical pattern of turning a peaking young star into a younger, cheaper version of the player.

With the apparent chasm growing between Ramirez and his manager and teammates in Florida growing, the Marlins might be willing to make a deal soon. If the Cubs want to start rebuilding for the future, considering a deal that brings him to Chicago could be the right blockbuster to consider.

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NEWS: Starlin Castro Called Up By Chicago Cubs

The “stuff” has hit the fan for the Chicago Cubs.

In breaking news late Friday morning, the Cubs have recalled their top prospect, 20-year-old Starlin Castro. Castro will reportedly bat eighth in the Cubs lineup and start at shortstop, moving Ryan Theriot to second base, as the Cubs face the Reds in Cincinnati at 7:10 pm EST.

If you haven’t heard of Starlin Castro, here’s your introduction.

Castro, who turned 20 on March 24, had a fantastic run in the Arizona Fall League that brought him national attention. Now his presence in Spring Training has some people in the Chicago media asking Ryan Theriot how soon he’ll be playing second base.

As the Tribune’s Paul Sullivan wrote, “Over the last eight months, Castro has gone from unheralded to untouchable.”

Many prospect rating groups are now releasing their baseball prospect lists, and Castro is prominently featured. On every list, Castro is now the Cubs’ top prospect, and he has jumped into the top 20 on most national rankings.

Cubs VP of player personnel Oneri Fleita recently told , “He is the type of player I would pay to watch play.”

Baseball America , the largest and most respected minor league baseball information source, ranked Castro the 16th-best prospect in all of baseball. ESPN ‘s Keith Law ranked him 12th overall, and had some wonderful things to say about the young man. ranked Castro the lowest of the three, at 22nd overall.

“Castro is one of the most exciting position player prospects in the minors as a quick-twitch player with an electric bat and a hose for an arm at shortstop,” said Law. “As a shortstop, he’s quick on his feet with good range in both ways, especially to the hole, but it is his arm that really stands out…He’s going to be an impact bat in the middle of the diamond.”

In this post-Moneyball world where on-base percentage is king, Castro’s tiny walk total from last year isn’t very popular. His strike out rate, though, indicates that he puts the ball in play. Castro drew only 29 walks, but struck out just 53 times in 469 total at-bats last year. said, “[Castro] could be ready to take over in Chicago sooner rather than later, with all the ingredients to be an elite, All-Star caliber shortstop.”

Castro has shown some speed on the bases as well. In 127 games in 2009, he stole 28 bases in 39 attempts. He has not yet shown much power, but there aren’t many 19-year-old shortstops that do.

So it sounds like Cubs fans have the next Derek Jeter headed to Wrigley on his golden chariot in time for Opening Day, right?

Not so fast…

FanGraphs did some interesting homework with help from BaseballReference  on young players breaking into the majors and came up with some intriguing information.

From 1954 to 2009, only 12 middle infielders crossed the rookie threshold as a 20-year-old. That group, which includes familiar names like Roberto Alomar, Jose Reyes, Garry Templeton, and Elvis Andrus, batted only .261 in their rookie seasons. Indeed, all of the youngsters struggled in their matriculations.

It won’t be long until we see the Starlin-O-Meter in the bleachers. He’s the best home-grown shortstop since Shawon Dunston, and now that he’s in Chicago the world will be watching.

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