The 2011 Chicago Cubs season ends today. Unlike most seasons, there aren’t a huge number of positives to take away from an otherwise crummy year. Starlin Castro and Matt Garza were bright spots. Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena less so, but still quite good. The bullpen, outside of Carlos Marmol, was very solid.
- Today’s start could be Ryan Dempster’s last with the Cubs. He holds a $14 million player option for 2012, but he hasn’t yet committed to returning.
- I’m not terribly interested in discussing ‘Catching Hell,’ which, yes, I did watch last night. Miserably. It was at least as painful watching the high points of the 2003 season as it was watching the lowlights from Game Six. Of course I feel bad for Steve Bartman. You’re not human if – after eight years to reflect – you don’t. But I still feel bad for myself. That isn’t going to stop. As I’ve said before, I’ll be writing about the Bartman foul ball in the near future, and will discuss the documentary at that time. Until then, I choose to leave it as buried as I can.
- Carlos Zambrano is selling his house! He must be conceding that he’s leaving Chicago! … er, well, he’s actually selling one of two Chicago area homes, and people sell their houses for any number of reasons. The predictive value here is low – much lower, for instance, than Tom Ricketts explicitly saying he doesn’t see Zambrano pitching again for the Cubs.
- Cubs’ pitching coach Mark Riggins discussed the decision to keep Andrew Cashner in the bullpen for the Arizona Fall League, where it had been originally planned that he would start. Riggins says Cashner will be on a pitch count, but could conceivably pitch in two inning stretches. As for starting, it’s something Riggins thinks could still be in Cashner’s future. “Right now, we’re just hoping he has a great fall league,” Riggins said. “I don’t think starting is out of the question. It’s just, what’s best for him.”
- Riggins also says that Carlos Marmol needs to work on his delivery and his consistency. In other insightful analysis, the Pittsburgh Pirates just need to win some more games.
- Brett Jackson and Jeff Beliveau have started training with Team USA for the upcoming Pan Am Games. The two prospects will compete with US team starting October 2.
- Carlos Pena is just the fourth Cub in the last 80 years to walk 100 times in a season.