Soriano wonders what Manny was thinking

Soriano wonders what Manny was thinking

Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 9:01 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

MILWAUKEE Alfonso Soriano once had a tryout with the Indians, at a time when Manny Ramirez was just starting to build his legacy in Cleveland. The young Soriano looked at Ramirez and thought: Man, I want to be like him one day.

It all came to an end Friday, when Major League Baseball announced that Ramirez has decided to retire, instead of dealing with a reported 100-game suspension for a second positive test for a banned substance.

What he did surprised me, Soriano said. There are a lot of players (using that) I never think would. Its very sad (when) an All-Star guy maybe future Hall of Famer does that. Its sad for the game, its sad for the player.

The 38-year-old Ramirez can forget about his place in Cooperstown, even with 555 career home runs and MVP votes in 11 different seasons. The questions are why such a gifted hitter would need extra help, and how a player who has made more than 200 million in his career could risk his reputation again after the first positive test.

Everybody has their talent to play this game, Soriano said. I dont know why people want to use something (else). Its what you got thats it. Just play (as) who you are, what God gave to you.

The Cubs havent forgotten that Ramirez crushed them in the 2008 playoffs, leading the Dodgers to a three-game sweep. Ramirez went 5-for-10 with two homers and four walks during that series and became a star in Hollywood.

But that player has faded away. Ramirez was reduced to a singles hitter late last season for the White Sox, and opened this season at 1-for-17 with Tampa Bay.

Soriano knows Ramirez mostly through chatting before games when they were part of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, and doesnt hang out with him during the offseason in the Dominican Republic. Like everyone else, hes left guessing.

I dont understand why he did it, Soriano said. Hes got so much talent I dont think he needs it.

Reinforcements

The Cubs had eight arms ready in the bullpen on Friday night and theyll need all the help they can get now that Andrew Cashner (rotator cuff strain) and Randy Wells (forearm strain) are officially on the disabled list.

The Cubs recalled right-handed reliever Jeff Stevens from Triple-A Iowa on Friday and manager Mike Quade confirmed that Casey Coleman will start Sunday against the Brewers. Theyll have to piece it together on Tuesday in Houston.

It starts with James Russell, who will throw somewhere in the range of three innings and 45 pitches before turning the game over to whoevers available out of the bullpen. Someone else will have to build the bridge to Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol.

The manager isnt going to ask for more from Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano, or worry about the front of the rotation trying to do too much.

Theyve been down this road before, Quade said. Every rotation in the history of baseball (has) gotten into some trouble at some point. (Despite losing) two starters, they know whos behind them bullpen-wise. Its got to be pretty comforting to be a starter here and knowing what kind of bullpen we have.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

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AP

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces of the offseason puzzle as the Cubs try to defend their World Series title while still planning for the future.

The Cubs left this week’s winter meetings in Maryland still involved in the Ross talks, sources said, monitoring an intriguing pitcher they had targeted before the 2015 trade deadline.

The San Diego Padres didn’t really buy or sell during that pennant race and made another curious decision last week when they didn’t offer Ross a contract for 2017. MLB Trade Rumors projected Ross would have made $9.6 million during his final year in the arbitration system.

After issues involving his right shoulder wiped out almost his entire season, Ross underwent surgery in October to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

Ross was San Diego’s Opening Day starter during a 15-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but didn’t pitch again, clouding a future that once had him looking like a trade-deadline chip and one of the best pitchers in the free-agent class after the 2017 season.

That’s when Jake Arrieta will be looking for his megadeal and John Lackey might be in retirement and Jon Lester will be turning 34. That’s why the Cubs are so focused on pitching this winter and trying to balance out an organization tilted toward hitters.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your World Series champions gear right here]

Kyle Hendricks proved he will be a pitcher to build around – and the Cubs believe Mike Montgomery can evolve from a swingman into a fifth starter and maybe something far more valuable – but depth is a real issue.

Ross made 30-plus starts in 2014 and 2015, when he earned an All-Star selection and accounted for almost 400 innings combined. He will turn 30 in April and is seen as a positive force within the clubhouse. He has a 6-foot-6 frame, a second-round-pick pedigree and a Cal-Berkeley education.

Reports have already linked the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates to Ross and not completely ruled out a return to San Diego. During an offseason where the free-agent market is essentially devoid of reliable frontline starters, there could be sticker shock, even with a rehabbing pitcher.

Trading for Wade Davis meant the Cubs were out of the bidding for Greg Holland, another All-Star closer who helped turn the Kansas City Royals into World Series champions. Holland spent this year recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but he will still be in position to capitalize after Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and eventually Kenley Jansen reset the market for closers.

With Ross, the Cubs will have to get a better sense of the medical picture and the price for all that upside.

Beyond a winning culture, the Cubs can sell the pitching infrastructure that helped turn Arrieta into a Cy Young Award winner and transform Hendricks into an ERA leader and keep the rotation remarkably healthy.

“Those really talented pitchers are going to be in demand, even those that are coming off an injury,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said this week at National Harbor. “We’ll stay engaged on some of those guys, but they’ll have to be just the right talent.

“We’ll have to feel good about the medical and the return to play. And the fit on the club would have to be right, too. But the true elite guys have a real market, even if they’re coming off down seasons.”

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

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USA TODAY

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

Kris Bryant just keeps on winning in 2016.

Two months after leading the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, Bryant signed a multi-year extension with Adidas.

"It's a phenomenal time to be partnered with Adidas with all the energy and momentum that the brand has right now," Bryant said via a press release. "Adidas embraced me as part of the family from the start."

Bryant was named National League MVP after hitting .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs. He hit .308 with three homers and 8 RBIs in the postseason.

Bryant first signed with Adidas in 2014 after the Cubs made him the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.