On the Farm: What did Cubs get back for Lee?

On the Farm: What did Cubs get back for Lee?

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010
8:53 PM

By Kevin Czerwinski

While the Cubs continued to trade away Major Leaguers on Wednesday afternoon, sending popular veteran Derrek Lee to the Braves, they are also continuing to stockpile minor leaguers and load up a system that already boasts several top-notch prospects.

The trio of pitchers Chicago received-right-handers Robinson Lopez and Tyrelle Harris and lefty Jeffrey Lorickarent household names, that much is true. But each, particularly Lopez, have an upside, one that could be felt at the Major League level within the next year or two.

Lopez is the biggest name of the bunch. The hard-throwing native of the Dominican Republic turned 19 this season and has shown flashes of being dominant this season while pitching for Rome in the South Atlantic League-though he seems to have run out of steam in the second half of the season. Coincidentally, he moved into the starting rotation in mid-May and thats when his numbers started to dip.

Overall, hes 3-8 with a 4.37 ERA in 92 23 innings but hes 0-5 with a 7.02 ERA in his last nine starts. Lopez didnt make it out of the fourth inning in five of those starts. He has a nice fastball that can reach the mid-90s though not with regularity and it has a tendency to flatten out. His curveball is a bit slurvy, however; while his changeup is effective when he uses it.

Lopez projects as more of a reliever than a starter at this point but hes still young and experience will prove to be his best teacher. Hell likely head to Peoria of the Midwest League.

Harris seems to get around quite a bit. He pitched at three different colleges before the Braves finally grabbed him in the 19th-round in 2009 out of the University of Tennessee. He pitched in Danville Rookie and Rome A last year and has spent time at Rome, Myrtle Beach High-A and most recently Double-A Mississippi, where he has a 1.46 ERA in 12 13 innings.

Hes already been assigned to Tennessee after Jeremy Papelbon was placed on the disabled list Wednesday afternoon. Harris hasnt allowed a homer in 49 23 innings this season and didnt allow one in 17 23 innings last season. He also combined with Julio Tehran to no-hit Mobile on Aug. 2. Harris pitched 3 13 innings in his Double-A debut that day, earning the save.

While he has some occasional life on his fastball, dont be fooled by the no-hitter or his numbers. Harris, 23, is not destined for big things in the big leagues. Rather, hes a back end of the bullpen type of pitcher who may have little or no impact on the organizations future.

The Braves also grabbed Lorick in last years draft, taking him in the 20th round out of Virginia. He was recently bumped up to Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League so figure on him sliding over to Daytona. He pitched two shutout innings in his lone appearances for Myrtle after pitching to a 2.32 ERA in 26 appearances in the South Atlantic League. He was pretty hard on lefties in the Sally League, holding them to a .128 average in 47 at-bats.

Lorick was recently moved into the rotation at Rome, where he was 0-2 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts. While he may develop as a starter think more lefty specialist.
Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

The moment Billy Williams knew the 2016 Cubs were destined for the World Series

The moment Billy Williams knew the 2016 Cubs were destined for the World Series

Billy Williams will finally get to witness the Cubs in the World Series.

The enormity of that statement hasn't even quite set in for Wrigleyville yet.

Standing on the left field grass about a half hour after the Cubs made history, Williams looked around at the 43,000 people still left in Wrigley Field and predicted people would be partying until 5 or 6 a.m.

The streets around Wrigley looked like a tornado ripped through it at 5 a.m., though the partying had quieted down quite a bit. Fans are pacing themselves for the final week of October that will prove to be unlike anything Chicago has ever seen before.

Somewhere, Williams is probably still trying to wrap his head around it all.

"I can't believe it," he said. "This is really, really something. 

"Standing on the field here, standing on this sacred ground, celebrating - it's a great feeling. It is a great feeling."

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Williams played his entire 18-year career with the Cubs and hit 426 homers while winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1961 and earning six trips to the All-Star Game.

He's spent his retirment years around the Cubs, following the team from spring training to the biggest moment Wrigley Field has ever seen Saturday night.

The 78-year-old shared with reporters the moment he knew this 2016 Cubs team was something special.

Williams admitted he never thought he'd see the day the Cubs would go to the World Series until the 2015 team put together 97 wins and knocked the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals out of the postseason before running into the New York Mets in the NLCS.

But he also thought that experience was invaluable for the young players and when he saw Dexter Fowler's surprise return to the team in spring training, something clicked for the Cubs legend.

"I love the fact that Dexter Fowler came back to play center field. 'You go, we go,'" Williams said, referencing Joe Maddon's phrase for Fowler's impact at the top of the order. "So [Jason] Heyward went back out to right field and all of sudden, our ball club is completely solid.

"I saw that in Arizona when Dexter came back in spring training and the guys saw him and he said, 'Hey man, good to be back.'

"And it was a tight-fit ballclub from that point on. They played well and they played for each other. And you see how it went all year."

World Series drought will soon end for Cubs or Indians

World Series drought will soon end for Cubs or Indians

In no more than 10 days, one of baseball’s longest-suffering fan bases will feel anguish no more.

Decades of torment, missed opportunities and bitter disappointment will be erased when either the Cubs or the Cleveland Indians clinch a championship in the 112th World Series, which begins on Tuesday night at 7:08 p.m. CST.

Neither franchise has emerged victorious from the Fall Classic for a combined 174 years, the largest drought in World Series history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908 while the Indians haven’t been crowned champion since 1948. The previous record of 130 combined years was set in 2005 by the White Sox (87 years between titles) and Houston Astros (43).

“Cleveland is deserving of the World Series, too, so this is going to be a classic, two cities that have been in a long drought,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said late Saturday. “This is really good for baseball.

“It’s going to be amazing.”

The Cubs already have ended one longstanding drought with their victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. By reaching the World Series, the Cubs ended the longest stretch without a championship round appearance among franchises in the four major North American sports. Despite making the postseason seven times in the previous 31 years, the Cubs haven’t been to the World Series since 1945.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Courtesy of last week’s American League Championship Series victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Indians are making the seventh trip to the World Series in franchise history. The Indians haven’t won the World Series in 67 years despite three previous appearances: they were swept by the New York Giants in 1954, lost to the Atlanta Braves in six games in 1995 and suffered a heart-breaking defeat in seven games against the then-Florida Marlins in 1997.

“What could be better for baseball?” Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said. “We’re real excited. I have a lot of friends from Cleveland. I have a lot of respect for the Cleveland Indians organization. I’m anxious to get there.”

Though they’re ecstatic to be where they are, Cubs players continue to echo the sentiment that their mission isn’t yet complete. They’re not oblivious to what their fans have endured, the decades of suffering and generations who have come and gone without ever seeing a trophy. But rather than worry about the franchise’s agonizing past, veteran utility man Ben Zobrist said players must remain focused on the present.

“There’s a lot of pent up angst and emotion in this city, really all over the nation, Cubs fans that have been loyal through the years,” Zobrist said. “We know that. But the bottom line is you have to execute at the right time and stay here in 2016. These guys have done it all year long with all the expectations on our backs and we only have four more. We’re in the exact spot we wanted to be in and we have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done in 108 years.”