The Cubs are going for their third straight series win today, something they haven’t done all year.

  • The Cubs dedicated and revealed the Ron Santo statue before last night’s game, and it’s awesome. The statue shows Ronnie mid-throw, and is a beautiful tribute to a man whose life was devoted to the team he loved. Santo will now spend forever at Wrigley Field (both in statue and in his ashes, which will be scattered there today), which I suspect he’d be just fine with. Of course, I have a feeling Ronnie never left. (Photo from @CubsInsider.)
  • Well, even though the Cubs aren’t itching to return him to the rotation, Jeff Samardzija says he’s “dying” to get back to being a starting pitcher, which is something he’s pretty much said for years. “I think it’s pretty obvious what I want to do for the future, but right now throwing consistently [in the bullpen] is really showing how far I have come,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from it. Looking back on it, I think it’s pretty obvious that I probably wasn’t ready to start in the big leagues, but I think we’re getting closer to it.”
  • These comments concern me for a few reasons. Samardzija is having so much success as a reliever, you hate to mess with that. You also hate the idea that Samardzija is just working hard as a reliever right now to earn another shot at starting, and, if he doesn’t get that shot, his motivation will drop. Finally, I fear that Samardzija’s arm is simply one of those that works better as a reliever – when he can really let it all fly. Some guys can’t do that as a starter. We’ll see what happens, but, if Samardzija is this frank already, you better believe that, come Spring Training, he’s going to be very vocal about wanting to try to make the rotation. A good starter is more valuable than a good reliever, though, so I’d be open to the transition (the eighth in Samardzija’s professional career).
  • The Cubs have 19 homers in their last 8 games. A bunch of those homers have been by Alfonso Soriano, who joined Andre Dawson and Hack Wilson as the only Cubs to have 20 homers in their first five seasons in Cubbie Blue.
  • As pointed out by reader Michigan Goat, Aramis Ramirez has cooled considerably: while he’s sporting a .757 SLG over the last 30 days, that number drops to just .570 in the last 15 days. A .570 SLG is still pretty darn good, mind you, but it emphasizes just how hot he was in July (you know, when he was at his peak trade value…).
  • A nice writeup on lefty prospect Chris Rusin. A fourth round pick in 2009 out of Kentucky, Rusin has slowly but steadily been moving through the Cubs’ system. The scouts don’t much like him, but the results have always been there. And now, he’s taking it to the offense-heavy PCL (AAA). Rusin turns 25 in October, so it’s time for him to get a look – be it now or next year.
  • Hogie

    You’re always one step ahead Brett. I was just talking to a buddy about Rusin and was going to ask you about him today!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Fortunately for me, there are only about three prospects worth asking about this year – the rest have been hurt or ineffective….

  • Mike

    Soriano’s only been here for 5 years? Feels more like 15.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re thinking in Dominican years.

  • Toosh

    It’s August now. Put Ramirez on waivers, see if he clears, then trade him if he let’s you and you can get something worthwhile in return.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I suspect that, because we’re not hearing anything about Ramirez’s prior statements about accepting a deal in August, he’s changed his mind, and the writers aren’t asking.

  • CubFan Paul

    im all for Samardjiza starting next year ..he has a Plus Arm that touches 97mph and if he thinks he has the confidence to locate and control then have at it

    $3.25milion for a starter in 2012 is Great value and may give Cashner a run for his money to be the 5th starter

    • Fishin Phil

      I’ve got no problem with giving him a look for the rotation in the spring, but for heaven’s sake don’t move him before then.

  • ron

    I think the complete opposite about Samarjza’s comment. I like it, it shows maturity and desire two things that a SP needs and like Cubfan Paul says, he does have plus stuff. He just lacked secondary pitches. I am all for it given the rotation depth that we currently have and besides he has managed it well this year with the “demotion”.

    • Jeff

      If he’s got his slider under control, I’d be all for starting him. I would rather see him used as a swing pitcher/ 6th starter the rest of the year if they want him to start next year. Of course, Mike Quade can’t fathom anything that resembles a good plan or common sense, so I expect Spellcheck won’t sniff the rotation this year or next.

  • fire hendry and quade

    soriano has got to be the worst player to have ever hit 20 homers in 10 straight years. he is horrible! for every run he produces he gives up 2 with his horrible defense if hes back next year i will be pissed!!

  • fire hendry and quade

    soriano also has got to be the all-time leader in meaningless homers. he hits 80 percent of his homers with us up by 5 or more or down by 5 more. have i mentioned he sucks and i cant stand him? he also has the worst baseball iq ever. could u imagine a baseball conversation between soriano and quade? it would be like my wife and 14 month old discussing baseball!

  • willis

    I almost prefer Shark to staying in the pen, and being groomed as a closer. He was touching 98 on Sunday…smoothly. But, at the same time the rotation has three solids in it right now. Last I checked that wasn’t what made a contender. Cashner is a complete wild card and Wells has been ugh. Wait until Spring Training for sure, but hell let the kid have at it. Can’t be worse than what we have in the fold.

  • MichiganGoat

    I got a bullet mention, hopefully this isn’t the BN equivalent of a fish being delivered in newspaper.

    • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

      Yeah, but you didn’t get called “intrepid”. That’s the BN equivalent of the kiss of death.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The pressure, as they say, is now on.

  • TSB

    If Ramirez had a slugging percentage of .757 for the rest of the season, there would still be calls to trade him; and then we can have a platoon of Jeff Baker and Blake Dewitt at third, the two saviors for the Cubs. Aramis just doesn’t get any respect.

    • Jeff

      If he starts to hit when it matters for the team, I’ll give him respect. He has SUCKED when it mattered going on three years now, get over it, he’s not an everyday cleanup hitter, And yes, Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker could platoon at third and come close to matching ARam’s full season numbers. 25 homeruns and 80 rbi’s from the cleanup hitter isn’t that impressive.

      • VanSlaw

        What you you mean by “when it matters”? His stats for “late & close” haven’t been awesome this year or last, but they were pretty fine in 2009.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          So, “last couple years,” then?

          • VanSlaw

            Judging from today’s 7th inning, Aramis must be a reader of this fine publication.

      • TSB

        In his 9th year with the Cubs (1968), the great Ron Santo had a slugging % of .421.
        In his 9 th year with the Cubs, Aramis Ramirez has a slugging % of .485
        The Cubs did not win a pennant in 1968. Would you have called for the trading of Mr.Santo, for not carrying his weight?

        • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

          Hell yes. Trade his dead ass to the White Sox.

  • RY

    put wells in the pen, that way he wouldn’t have to piss down his leg every first inning. the guy is a schmuck too so a little reality check wouldn’t hurt him. garza, dempster, big z, jeff, and cashner or a free agent would suit me just fine!

  • Fishin Phil

    Very cool! I just found out that the company that did the Santo statue is one of our clients.

    • Jeff

      Is it the same company that does the other statues around Chicago stadiums? I haven’t seen the Santo, but the other ones are pretty sweet.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nice! Do they owe you any favors? I look best in platinum.

  • Fishin Phil

    I don’t know if they did the others, I will try to find out. They are located in Oregon, IL.

    Brett, the are working on a statue of you depicting you in about hour 23 of the trade deadline blogathon

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      By then I was wearing a meat dress.

  • Brian

    i really don’t think Samarjza has what it takes to be an effective starter. as we saw with james russell earlier this season, success in the bullpen does not necessary mean success as a starter. i don’t think he has the mentality to keep hitters guessing through 5+ innings, and while he was a good fastball he doesn’t have anything to compliment it. I think that his playing two sports in college hampered his mental development as a pitcher, which is a shame because he could have been great if he stuck with just baseball.

    However, i could be completely wrong and Jeff will turn out to be a solid starter. but i don’t see it happening.

    Also, if you take away the 20 runs Soriano scored from his homers, he only has 35 RBIs. Good grief.

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