Posts Tagged ‘Chris Coghlan’

The Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball at 70-41. Teams have worked there way up to the Cubs and at some points in time may have even passed them, but the Cubs have been the best team in baseball throughout the season. Any time a team gets on a run and looks like they’re a playoff team one of the things you’ll eventually hear someone ask about that team is “Can they challenge the Cubs”. It’s slowly starting to look like the year that the Cubs make there run at a World Series title. There are a couple of things that could derail this season for the Cubs. The most obvious one is injuries. The Cubs have had their share of injuries this season, but luckily they haven’t lost a key piece of their line up or their rotation to injury. It’s always the number one worry a contending team will have and there’s no way they can control it. The other problem is a distraction from a player inside the organization. The Cubs look to have their first distraction with the situation involving back up infielder Tommy LaStella. LaStella who has minor league options left was sent to Triple-A Iowa at the end of July when Utility man Chris Coghlan came off the disabled list.

LaStella made it very clear he was unhappy about being demoted and that’s understandable. LaStella had appeared in 51 games for the Cubs and was hitting.299. LaStella had played both second and third base this season. It appears as though the Cubs went with Coghlan over LaStella because Coghlan offers a little more versatility. Not only can Coghlan play second and third like LaStella, but he can also play both corner outfield spots.They are both left handed hitters, but Coghlan has struggled sine being re-acquired by the Cubs this season. Coghlan was traded to the Oakland A’s by the Cubs just before this season started. Since being brought back Coghlan is hitting .200 in 57 plate appearances. It may nave been the fact that Coghlan can play the outfield or the fact that he was out of minor league options and would have had to make it through waivers to be sent down, but the Cubs choose to keep Coghlan with the major league club. You figure the worst case scenario for LaStella was to go to Iowa play everyday and then come back up when the September call ups are brought up. All in all, he’d spend a little over a month in the minors. Now this is not what LaStella did as he never reported to Iowa. What he decided to do was just go home. The Cubs did their best to try and cover for him by saying there where “family problems”, but that isn’t true. Yesterday the Cubs placed LaStella on the Temporarily Inactive List. I don’t understand why the Cubs haven’t released him; it’s clear that he has no business in major league baseball. It was a pouting selfish move by someone who just wanted to play on the majors and that was it. Why would a player like LaStella think he’s entitled to that. Did I miss the ceremony where he won the MVP award and should be playing everyday.

LaStella’s been a career back up; never playing more than 93 games in a season. I don’t understand why a team like the Cubs in the position that they’re in even give a crybaby like this another chance. There have been some reports that LaStella will only play for the Cubs and that if he’s traded he would retire. This ties the Cubs hands even more and it’s just one more reason that LaStella should be shown the door as quickly as possible. Even for some unknown reason the Cubs where stupid enough to bring LaStella back to the major leagues; who’s going to be the guy losing at bats to him. Are you taking at bats away from your main back up in the infield Javier Baez? How about Kris Bryant? Addison Russell or even Ben Zobrist? Should these guys lose at bats to LaStella. I get it if it’s a day off here or there, but with the way Baez has played there’s really no need at all for the skill set LaStella has. It was a garbage move that LaStella pulled and I still don;t understand even though he is Temporarily Inactive that he’s even considered a member of the Chicago Cubs. Playing major league baseball is a privilege and after this stunt that Tommy LaStella pulled he doesn’t deserve that privilege. Again it’s time for the Cubs to say goodbye to LaStella and fast.  Here’s Maddon on La Stella Video

In what looks like some sad baseball news it appears that Prince Fielder’s career is over after a second neck surgery. Fielder spent 12 seasons in the majors.He spent 7 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers before signing with the Detroit Tigers as a free agent. Fielder played just 2 seasons with the Tigers before he was traded to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Fielder was in his 3rd season with the Rangers before this neck injury sidelined him. Fielder was limited to 42 games in his first season with the Rangers due to his first neck injury. It looked like he was over it in 2015 and bounced back with a great season. Fielder hit .305 with 23 home tuns and 98 RBI’s. Fielder played in 158 games mostly as a DH (139 games), but did play 18 games at 1st base. Fielder was struggling this season hitting .212 with 8 home runs and 44 RBI’s in 89 games. Fielder is a 6-time All-Star; he also won the MVP of the 2011 All-Star game. He was voted Comeback Player of the Year for the 2015 season. Fielder finished in the Top 10 of the MVP voting on 4 occasions. In 2007 Fielder hit 50 home runs to lead baseball. 50 home runs in a season is still the Brewers all-time record. Fielder played in 1611 career games and played in all 162 games 4 times in his career. He’s a .283 career hitter and has 319 career home runs. Oddly 319 is the same number of career home runs that Prince’s father Cecil Fielder had. Fielder is still owed about $96 million on his contract and since he is retiring because of a medical issue he’ll receive the majority of that salary. It’s never the way you want to see a good player or for that matter any player go out, but Fielder did have 12 seasons in the majors to look back on.

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The Vs. Series moves to the outfield today as we match up leftfielders from our shared city teams. I think this is the first platoon situation we’ve run into during this series. Let’s start today’s match ups in Chicago.

One of the Chicago White Sox big off-season signings was a leftfielder. Melky Cabrera was signed to a three year $42 million dollar contract to be their everyday leftfielder. The White Sox will be Cabrera’s 6th major league team. He started with the New York Yankees, then went to the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants before spending the last two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. Cabrera is a career .286 hitter and hit .301 with the Blue Jays last season. Never a big home run hitter, but Cabrera did hit 16 home runs for Toronto last season. That was his 2nd highest season total after the 18 he hit in 2011 with the Royals. Cabrera had 13 assists in 133 games in leftfield last season while committing only 2 errors and posting a fielding percentage of .992; just a little above his career fielding percentage of .989. Cabrera was a well received signing by experts and White Sox fans; so will see if it pay off.

For the Cubs it looks like they’re going with a platoon of Chris’ in leftfield. Either Coghlan or Denorfia should be in leftfield. Coghlan the former 2009 Rookie of the Year with the then Florida Marlins should get the majority of at bats since he’s the left-handed hitting part of the platoon. After some injuries and other struggles Coghlan had a bounce back season for the Cubs in 2014 hitting .283 in 125 games. Coghlan did tie his career high in home runs with 9 while adding 28 doubles and 5 triples in 2014.  Denorfia has a reputation for hitting left-handed pitching and that’s what the Cubs will ask him to do. Denorfia had a down year hitting .230 with the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners last season. His career batting average is .272 and the Cubs are hoping for a season closer to that number from Denorfia. The Cubs aren’t going to get a lot of power out of leftfield as Denorfia has only reached double-digit home runs once in his career; he hit 10 home runs in 2013 with the Padres. It’s two solid major league players splitting time; so this looks like it should work out for the Cubs.

Comparing the position between both of the Chicago teams I think you have to take Melky Cabrera over the platoon of Chris Coghlan and Chris Denorfia.

The New York Mets made what I believe was the first free agent signing of the baseball off-season when they inked Michael Cuddyer to a two year $21 million dollar deal. Cuddyer is penciled in as the everyday leftfielder for the Mets. Cuddyer was limited to 49 games with the Colorado Rockies last season due to injury, but he still posted a .332 batting average. Remember Cuddyer is coming off of winning the National League batting title in 2013 with an average of .331. Cuddyer is a career .279 hitter and the Mets will see if being moved out of playing home games at Coors Field will bring his average back to that level. Cuddyer has only played nine career games in leftfield, but has 907 career games in the outfield where he has a fielding percentage of .986. I’m guessing the Mets didn’t sign Cuddyer for his defense, but hopefully for a bat that can help David Wright out in the line up.

Brett Gardner is the New York Yankees everyday leftfielder. Gardner is coming off of a down year where his batting average fell to .256 a little below his career batting average of .265, but down 17 points from his 2014 average of .273. Gardner did post a career high in home runs last season with 17 and is still a threat on the base paths. Gardner stole 21 bases in 26 attempts last season and led the American League with 49 steals in 2011 and has a career total of 182 steals. Gardner is an above average fielder posting a .992 fielding percentage last season making just two errors in leftfield in 2014. Gardner did just have three assists last season; so that either means he has a great arm and teams don’t run on him or he has a weak arm and doesn’t throw anyone out. A bounce back year out of Garner is a key for the Yankees to compete in an AL East that looks like it might be up for grabs.

This is a tough choice here. Cuddyer has had the better numbers the last few seasons, but that was in Colorado. Gardner is five years younger and has more experience in leftfield. A tough decision here, but I think I’m taking Brett Gardner.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the centerfield position for these four teams.

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