The last two weeks would have been so much fun if not for all of the losing that preceded them.

Travis Wood was just fantastic tonight until he tired in the 7th, which featured Albert Pujols homering at Wrigley Field, because he doesn’t know how to not homer when he’s at Wrigley Field.

On offense, it was all homers for the Cubs, with the one by Darwin Barney equaling the damage of the first three by Alfonso Soriano, Anthony Rizzo, and Starlin Castro. But it was the last one – the second from Soriano – that really left my jaw agape. This guy is really incredible when he’s on. I have run out of non-repetitive ways to describe just how good he’s been.

july 9 box

Full box.

  • Beardface

    We now have the same record as the defending world champs… I guess that’s pretty cool at least!

    • willis

      And it should be much better. This team has been in almost every game this year. Bonehad mistakes and bad relief…damn all. Could be so much better record wise. It’s nice to see them playing great baseball lately though.

  • Scott

    I’m not sure that we have a better option to replace him and protect Rizzo in the lineup.

  • Spencer

    I read on twitter that the Cubs are 8-0 the last two seasons in games 85-88.

    • King Jeff

      That’s right, we never lose the 88th game of the season.

  • Clark Addison

    He was productive when he wasn’t hurt.

    And he never gave any less than his best.

    He was a victim of our expectations.

    • Jimmy James

      he is just so darn frustrating because he can carry a team by himself for 2-3 weeks at a time and then completely vanish for a month and a half.

      when he is hot, boy howdy…….

  • Rooster

    Way to go Soriano. I just want a team to grab him so I can stop hearing the overpaid comments. Right now this guy is earning his keep. It’d be nice to see him catch on with a contender. That contract is looking just fine according to Arod standards and somebody would be willing to consume it inorder to get to October. This guy is the hottest hitter in baseball. I just wish ESPN and MLB network would shallow their pride and just feature this dude. No hitter is hotter than our Soriano. Way to go Alfonso. Hard work and persistance pays off!

  • arta


  • Rebuilding

    The Dodgers could sure use both Barney and Valbuena. Now that their lineup is healthy it looks damn good. If they added one of those guys and Garza I think they would blow by the rest of that division

    • Jason Powers

      I hope you mean Barney the dinosaur! I guess he’d draw fans at the Dodger’s Mecca.

      • Rebuilding

        The Dodgers are a team that could carry Barney’s bat and need his defense

        • Jason Powers

          Mark Ellis isn’t horrible at 2B, not a superstar, but competent. His fielding was very good last year, and the year before that… and so on. Just having a bad year by sabermetric standards – Barney can relate to that.

          And I am sure if the Dodgers want Barney, Theo & Jed will make it happen right quick. LA has the Black Card for Credit. Need is a bit strong – maybe, useful if Ellis gets hurt before the deadline.

  • Andrew

    my computer is on fire

  • bryan

    i really like strop and parker as cornerstone bullpen pieces. Add in russel and maybe this group has potential. Schlitter is another guy I think that will make the pen next year aand I like his stuff. Vizcaino as a closer (??). I think you add a high dollar closer in the offseason and the bullpen will look much brighter next year. If only we can get the starting pitching that we have had thus far.

    Its funny, no camp and marmol and suddenly our pen has been doin a nice job lately. And dale sveum suddenly isn’t the dumbass most people think he is….

    • baldtaxguy

      Wins can also make a manager very smart as well. Oh, and pulling pitchers before that magic 100-pitch count (or God’s Wrath Injury Odometer), that makes you look smart too.

  • William

    It really irks me that a team like the Rangers would rather sign some cheater like Manny Ramirez instead of trading for a winner like Soriano, who busts his ass every day.

    • Whiteflag

      That is an interesting point.

    • another JP

      ManRam is a low risk option for Texas and nothing more. Sori could possibly still go to the Rangers, but it should be noted that he was not very productive in Texas during his two years there…. that might be an issue for them.

      • PRcajun

        It surprised me when you said Soriano wasn’t very productive in TX, so I had to go check the numbers to confirm. Looks to me like he did OK while sporting the Rangers uniform in’04 and ’05. What am I missing?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      You know little about Manny if you think he didn’t bust his ass. He was a total workaholic: you are talking about a guy who left the ’04 WS parade to return to Fenway to hit the batting cages and the weight rooms. When he wasn’t at Fenway doing that, then he “relaxed” in his condominium’s exercise room. (I guess that it was recreation if it was not at Fenway.)

      And, of course, Manny is much cheaper than Sori right now. Sure, a guy Manny’s age probably won’t make it back: but he was always such a fundamentally good hitter (great batting eye, excellent contact skills) that he’s worth the risk.

      (And, of course, he’s a complete flake!)

      • Whiteflag

        It’s not his work ethic, I question. It’s also not his ability to hit. It’s the two drug suspensions in two years.

  • William

    Same here, I never said Ramirez didn’t have a good work ethic. I said he’s a cheater. I would still take Soriano’s bat over his bat any day of the week.

    • Whiteflag

      However, I am not sure we are questioning the right people. The MLB/player association is allowing it to happen.

  • William

    Check his stats for those two years in Texas, JP. He had two very productive years. In his second year, he was a 30-30 guy.

  • TOOT

    Really can’t figure out what has happened to Castro.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Jesse Sanchez reports that the Cubs are close to Signing IFA Jen-Ho Tseng. Excited, yet skeptical about the plan to buy everyone on the IFA class this year and giving up on next year (In reality they’d probably trade off their slot space), but I have to say I’m really coming around on the plan. BUT I’d really buy in if they got the best right handed hitter luis encarnacion or even stole Dever away from the Red Sox bc he hasn’t signed yet

    • TOOT

      FO might feel really comfotable with what the have done in the last two years.

      • Not Brett

        Three years. 2011 was a big deal for the farm.

        • SenorGato

          Oops, Not Brett was supposed to be a one time thing. A boo.

        • TOOT

          Yes 3 years.

    • PRcajun

      Brett, you need to start a SIGN ALL THE INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS post for us.

  • Timmy

    go Alphonso! he’s worth at most 1/3 of his salary but he’s still exciting sometimes.

  • Wrigley100

    Hey everyone,

    Just wanted to introduce myself. I’m a long time reader and first time poster. I appreciate everything you write Brett. I am by no means a writer and i am actually terrible at writing. I am currently working for the icubs and would like to start giving my opinion on cubs matters. I won’t give any more info but, I hope you respond Brett and I will give you my opinions later.

    • Scott

      What do you do for the icubs?

      • Wrigley100

        I work as an intern but that’s as far as ill go. I hope to move up in an organization and I will be posting more tomorrow. I have an off day tomorrow so hopefully I can post my thoughts about the icubs/cubs/minor league system between my job applications and such.

    • Brett

      Thanks for joining us, and for the kind words. We’re happy to hear anything you’d like to share.

  • cubs2003

    I have huge respect for Soriano. He could be mailing it in right now, but instead he’s busted his ass to get better at left field and has become a leader, if not the main one of this team. The contract isn’t on him.

    • TOOT

      I wouldn’t give Soriano “huge” respect by any means. Look at risp

      • Michael

        Shut up jackass, He said nothing about the stats you posted he simply said he had been playing hard lately and has been a good teammate.

      • Jason P

        The article attached that link also goes on to point out that RISP stats are fickle – the best “clutch” hitters some years may be the worst in others.

        Case in point, this year, Soriano’s OPS with RISP is actually 60 points higher than what it is overall.

  • Jan Forty-Two

    And here you can see again why Brett scored 80s in the scouting reports for his paint tool.

  • Mike S.


    Mlbtraderumors makes a good point, if the Cubs were planning on going way over the spending limit and incurring the biggest penalties, why give up a Top 20 prospect to the Astros for meaningless money?

    • Not Brett

      Top 20 system prospect, which Torreyes probably isn’t anyway, is pretty faint praise in the grand scheme.

      • Not Brett

        Also, money is not meaningless.

    • Jason P

      It really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It saves a bit of money, but come on, this is a front office that has offered to pay $30 million of Alfonso Soriano’s remaining contract in the past to pick up a decent, but not great prospect. So I don’t think $800,000 would be sufficient on its own accord for the Cubs to part with Torreyes, even if he is only a top-30 organizational guy.

      Maybe they plan on adding more IFA money to avoid the stiffest penalties, as Brett suggested a couple days ago? Who knows at this point, but I’m sure it’ll eventually work itself out. This FO isn’t so disorganized that they’d make a move like that only to completely shift their strategy a few days later.

      • TOOT

        This FO isn’t so disorganized that they’d make a move like that only to completely shift their strategy a few days later.

        Didn’t know they were disorganized in the first place. Where did that come from?

        • Jason P

          They aren’t. I didn’t mean for it to be read that way.

          • TOOT

            It’s cool. Lot’s of fans having questions. But really you have to be an accountant in the Cubs FO to figure it out. I know I can’t and not trying. You have to believe in what they’re doing.

        • Jp3

          Yeah I’m thinking they went into IFA signing period saying we like these guys ABC and will sign whichever ones that would like to be in the Cub organization. When they all wanted to sign with us the FO said F it, we’ll just stack the deck this year and sit out the next hand. I don’t think they blundered through the signing period, they just didn’t figure they’d sign every guy they wanted, traded for IFA money thinking that would cover it, then another couple top prospects fell into their lap and they had to adapt.

      • SenorGato

        Alfonso Soriano is still a Cub. My guess is they want something worthwhile.

        • SenorGato

          Also, if Torreyes is a relevant major leaguer in three years and second base is a hole here then everyone might care. That amazing hit tool needs to show up in the form of hits rather than non-Ks.

        • Jason P

          Back before the 2012 season when Soriano was coming off another mediocre year, I’m sure the Cubs would have jumped at the opportunity to eat $36 million of the $55ish million he had left on his contract in exchange for a prospect in the top 150 range.

          But I was just using Soriano as an example of how salary/monetary relief has not been one of this FO’s priorities. That’s why the Torreyes deal for $800,000 — which is what they would save in tax money for going over their IFA limit — doesn’t make sense if there wasn’t a larger strategy in mind.

          Granted, Torreyes isn’t a huge prospect, but he also isn’t a non-prospect either.

          • BluBlud

            Right, but the Cubs traded from a position of strenth, probably thier deepest position(middle IFers) and saved almost a million. Also, they made room on the AA roster for Baez, who was later basicly promoted into Torreyes’s spot. There is more to it also then just shipping Torreyes out. With Baez needing promotion(the right spot for your better prospects are priority), and them wanting to keep the Vets at AAA, not to mention Torreyes was probably not ready for AAA himself, the only place to send him would have been back down to Daytona, and the Cubs didn’t want to do that. So, they clear a roster spot for BAez, kept Torreyes at the level he needed to stay at, all with the icing on the cake of saving $800.000. Hope this is clear enough.

          • CastrotoBarneytoRizzo

            Just a general comment on Torreyes (cuz I know your relating it to the IFA topic): Are most people still concerned about the success of Torreyes, because he was part of the Sean Marshall deal? If that’s the case, forget about him, and Sappelt. We got a young, All-Star, left-handed starting pitcher for Marshall. As much as I liked Marshall, we don’t need to follow that trade anymore…

          • SenorGato

            Note that while you are sure of what they might done in the past that Soriano is still a Cub.

            The Cubs don’t need all the prospects, andTorreyes is not remotely an impact one.

    • Brett
  • cub2014

    Soriano shouldn’t ever play until mid June

    • JOE

      He also shouldn’t be traded unless the offer is mind-blowing. There is nobody in the system even remotely close to pushing him out, and he is a great guy to have in the clubhouse while the kids develop. Never thought I’d say this two years ago, but I want to see Sori come back next year unless the FO can simply get a haul for him this month.

      • willis

        Joe-same here. I thought by middle of last year or at worst beginning of this year Jackson would be ready to take over Center, putting DeJesus in left. Jackson has since flamed out in incredible fashion and can’t even hit AAA anymore. So yeah, if there is no one to stick out there, let him play and do his best for this team. They could do a lot worse than what Soriano brings to the table.

    • Hansman1982

      his career numbers are pretty even across all the months and he did post and .800+ OPS in May.

      • cub2014

        Hansman, Soriano’s numbers are consistant month
        by month? I find it hard to believe that in cold weather
        towns his numbers aren’t much better in June July
        and August. Can you show us any proof of your
        statement. But then again mine is an observation.

        • cub2014

          baseball-reference does breakdown numbers by
          month…..I feel stupid…Soriano has hit poorly in april
          3 of last 5 years but Hansman is correct it is no
          different than the other months of the year.

  • Rebuilding

    I heard last night that one of the Cubs asks during renovation negotiations is to be able to do fireworks after homeruns. Lets hope Tunney stops that in its tracks

  • Die hard

    Maybe the balance of power changes with the suspensions such that Cubs could make playoffs?

    • Cubbie Blues

      That’s cute.

  • walter sobchak

    I think Soriano’s recent surge is just great for the cubs and it couldnt come at a better time. If they are able to package a deal with Sori and maybe Garza or something to get maximum value then jump all over it. I dont worry about protecting Rizzo in the lineup for the rest of the year becuase you have got to stay true to the rebuild, which I think is not that far away. I want to see the progression from Rizzo and Castro in the second half. If Rizzo can finish .250ish w 20 plus and 90 plus it was a great year, if Castro can regroup and finish .250ish w 10-15 and 60-70 its just another plus for him and Riz to struggle and find the way to muscle thru an entire 162 season. This is a lost year as far as post season and if you are not making the playoffs then losses do not matter. There is marked improvement all over this team and the farm system is exploding with up and coming talent.

  • tbone

    So, do the Cubs wait on a Soriano trade to see how extension talks go with Garza (a big “IF” they are even seriously trying to extend him)? This team is playing very well right now with a few obvious holes in the lineup. With a few off season tweeks and additions, they may be surprisingly close to contending. In that case (and assuming the return on Soriano is decidedly weak), do you entertain bringing Soriano back next year if Garza gets extended? Do you wait until closer to the deadline to see how the extension talks play out before moving him? Obviously, if a quality offer comes in for Sori you jump, but if there is nothing too exciting coming back, why dump him for a “B” prospect or two and eat salary when he provides obvious value to the Cubs? I know age is a serious factor, but he is playing very young this year and showing a bit more jump to his step with stolen bases and all. I see no sign that he can’t also put up strong numbers next year…

    • BluBlud

      I don’t think the FO wants to dump Sori, as evident by the fact he is still here(besides his no trade rights). I think they understand his value, and we won’t see a complete dump of Sori until at least the deadline next year, and thats only because he will be a free agent after that. The Fo knowing they are going to have to pay most of his salary anyway, will try to get a very good prospect for him, and if not, they are very content with him playing in Chicago through the end of his contract. I don’t think there is a rush to get rid of him.

      • cub2014

        I agree Soriano needs to stay until next 2014 deadline
        unless they can get a great return for him. Because
        either way the cubs are paying his salary and the young
        kids wont be ready until end of 2014. If playoff bound
        in 2014 then they might keep him until the end of his

      • ssckelley

        I agree (wow 2nd time today already), Soriano is not blocking anybody from playing and unless the Cubs are getting a decent prospect in return I see no urgency to trade him. About the only logic I can think of to just getting rid of Soriano is if the FO wants Lake starting in LF next year. IMO I think the FO wants to see Lake play a full season at AAA and that puts him being ready at the middle of next season, which is when you entertain offers for Soriano.

  • Cubbies4Life

    I like JOE’s comments. If any of you were offered a zillion dollars to play baseball for the Cubs for an extended term, would you pass it up? I’m tired of hearing about how much money Sori is being paid. He could be thinking to himself, “hmmm, I’m locked into a pretty sweet deal – I think I’ll just phone it in until I retire.” But instead, he is thinking – and demonstrating – “I’m going out there every day and doing everything in my power to smack the shit out of the ball!” Stop whining about the money and enjoy the guy’s talent! Whether he stays or goes, I wish him nothing but the best.

    • BluBlud


    • Danny Ballgame

      I still didn’t dislike Sori earlier in this season when he was playing shitty. Dude can mash when he gets hot. He has shown that he can ride something like this for weeks on end.

  • Die hard

    As he gets older Soriano resembles Ernie at same stage of career … To justify keeping him wonder if Rizzo would swap positions? Or is LF safest place to hide him? I know he has lots of assists but wonder how many more PO Rizzo would have out there?

    • scorecardpaul

      Diehardly you sure have an ability to make me not enjoy my time on this site. You are a tool, and I see enough of that in life, I don’t need to see that here. You are simply an ASS please go away

      • MichiganGoat

        best thing to do is just ignore when he does this baiting stuff and reply when he actually has insightful things to say. Call it selective shunning

      • Die hard

        You then sir or madam— need to get a life

    • Timmy

      How is what he said here a tool? Players get moved around to different positions all the time.

      Still, I don’t think this move is a good idea.

  • Chad

    With all the winning the cubs are officially in 10th to last place, meaning they would get the 10th pick next year. Hopefully the sell off drives that down. Not going to get Rodon with pick #10, that’s for sure.

    • BluBlud

      Rodon is off the boards, though his stock could possibly drop if there is fear that he might not sign, and if he gets off to another start like he did this year. I’m a huge N.C. State fan and would love to have Rodon, but I hope he dominates next year and goes #1, meaning we won’t get him, because that would be good for my Wolfpack.

  • DarthHater

    Cubs now have a +1 run differential for the season.

    • Danny Ballgame

      That is funny and sad when you look at our record

      • DarthHater

        I could just as easily say that it’s an encouraging sign when a rebuilding team starts playing better than its current W-L record.

  • Matt

    How about that bullpen yesterday? Guerrier with the hold and Strop shutting it down in the 9th? Wow, I mean the moves last week were really for the future but let’s not ignore that they are already helping NOW. Hard to hate on those moves and it’s only been a week.

  • http://bleachenation Sacko

    They are still trying to trade Sori and his return is going up with each game, which slows the process down with us to get somebody that is worth more then when we tried to trade him last year. Not to get excited Sori can nix it all.
    Wait until he goes cold, everyone is going to be a hater again.
    So stay hot Sori and we will watch you with a playoff team. I hope he continues to kill the ball with us or someone else.