Aramis Ramirez is the NL player of the week for July 19-25. He was 9-for-25 (.360) in six games, tying for the major-league lead in home runs (4) and driving in 10. His OBP was .393, and the slugging percentage was .840.
I'll pick up the team in Colorado later this week, just in time for the trading deadline. Talk will be flying fast and furious between now and then.
This I can tell you: The Cubs are not interested at this time in Seattle's Chone Figgins. If they were to do anything with him, it would be only in an off-season "bad contract" type of deal. Derrek Lee is giving no indication that he'll waive both his 10-and-5 rights and his no-trade clause, enabling the Cubs to move him. Reports out of Texas say the Rangers might be interesting, but Lee doesn't appear to be their first choice.
We'll also see if Ted Lilly is around to take the mound tomorrow down in Houston. The return the Arizona Diamondbacks got from the Angels for pitcher Dan Haren drew a big "meh" from a lot of observers. It could go either way. There might not be much offered for Lilly, or with one fewer pitcher on the market, Lilly could be more attractive. GM Jim Hendry seems intend on saving the Ricketts family a few bucks. But if nothing good is offered, the Cubs might be better off Lilly is a Type A free agent so they can offer him arbitration and get the draft picks when he signs a multiyear deal elsewhere.
My friends from WSCR, the Score, in Chicago sent me a couple of transcripts from this morning regarding Ryne Sandberg's possible candidacy for the Cubs' managerial job. The ubiquitous Ken Rosenthal, from too many media outlets to mention, said this:
"He shouldn't be. And they are going to have a choice of terrific candidates, just the ones who have been mentioned so far and then there are others who are going to be available. To me, in Chicago, a big market, to go with a first-time major league manager who, while he has managed in the minors, still isn't totally seasoned, that would be a mistake. And then the question becomes, 'Well, OK Ken how do you get Ryne Sandberg to the point where he's ready?' Which is a fair question because he's done everything proper. But, to me, maybe he's the next bench coach. And then he gets elevated to the manager. But not this time."
The Score also sent these cuts from newly minted Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, a former teammate of Sandberg:
"It'll be very tough. I think at the major-league level there's a huge difference when you're working with kids you're trying to develop kids, you get a sense more of joy and pleasure, I think, out of seeing their development. But you know you got attitudes and egos at the major-league level and you got to make sure you're very prepared for that.
"Joe (Girardi) was one of my teammates, and one of the players I truly admired and respected when I was in Chicago, and I think he did a very exceptional job with the young team that he had down in Florida. As you mentioned, he is coming up at the end of this year for a contract extension or whatever, a renegotiation with the Yankees. And I really don't know if they are going to part ways. I know the Cubs are going to sit down and evaluate and see what interest he may have."
Interesting stuff. From a public-relations standpoint, the Sandberg question is going to be the toughest one GM Jim Hendry has to deal with. I'm not advocating anybody at this point, but look at the Sandberg situation this way: Say you wanted a key job, and your boss told you that you weren't ready and to come back after four years preparing yourself within the company. So you do that, and you go back to that same boss and say, "I'm ready." Granted, Hendry has made no promises to Sandberg, but Ryno’s got a pretty good case going in.
In other news, the Cubs tell us Ryan Dempster's charity event last Wednesday at the House of Blues raised $225,000 for families affected by DiGeorge Syndrome. We also mentioned the Cubs Cookbook in a blog the other day. It's selling well, according to editor Carrie Muskat of cubs.com
The Iowa (AAA) Cubs pounded out 19 hits yesterday in a 14-2 win at Round Rock. Ryne Sandberg's club is in first place, 2 games ahead in the standing with a record of 57-45. Casey Coleman started and pitched 5 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 run. He's 10-7 with a 4.07 ERA.
The big story in the minor leagues continues to be at Class AA Tennessee, where pitcher Chris Archer improved to 4-1 with an 0.00 ERA since his promotion from Class A Daytona. Archer helped beat Mississippi 4-0 in the second game of a doubleheader, going 6 innings of 1-hit ball. He has pitched 28.1 innings at Tennessee. His last earned run came June 22 in A-ball. Archer, as you know, came from the Cleveland organization in the Mark DeRosa deal. Tony Thomas hit his seventh homer in that game, and Robinson Chirinos hit his 14th in a Game 1 loss. Jeremy Papelbon started that game and gave up 9 hits and 4 runs in 4 innings.
At Daytona, the first-place Cubs won their eighth straight, beating St. Lucie with lefty Chris Siegfried tossing 5 shutout innings of 3-hit ball. Michael Brenly went 2-for-3, as he has reached base in 24 straight games, hitting safely in 23. Junior Lake, who has come on of late, hit 2 homers, giving him 7. Ryan Flaherty went 2-for-4 with a walk.
Peoria (A) won 4-3 over Lake County. Justin Bour went 2-for-4 with a double, and Luis Flores extended a hitting streak to eight games.
Boise (A) was eliminated from the first-half race with an 8-2 loss to Yakima. Matt Szczur, drafted out of Villanova this year, extended his hitting streak to 17 games. He's batting .412 (28-for-68) during the streak. Another 2010 draftee, Pierre LePage, went 1-for-3, and he has hit safely in 13 of 14.