Ryan Dempster to the Bullpen?

This is just me speculating on what the Cubs will do on Saturday when Ted Lilly returns to the rotation. The most likely option is still either Tom Gorzelanny or Carlos Silva with odds favoring Gorzelanny heading to the pen as Lilly just replaces another lefty. And then either James Russell or Jeff Samardzija going back to Iowa, although someone in the pen still has a week to get their ticket punched.

Lou did not commit to it being Gorzelanny or Silva as of yesterday, even if that's the most likely scenario:

``I didn't say that. I never said that. You all [media] can say what you want. All I said basically is that somebody's got to leave the rotation to go into the bullpen. That's all I said.''

So then that opens the door for someone struggling like Carlos Zambrano, but he's being paid the most and hasn't pitched out of the pen in like 8 years. And Z doesn't seem like the character that would be too thrilled with the move. Plus, if you're actually trying to fix the pen, wouldn't the idea be to put someone back there who is actually pitching well?

So are Randy Wells or Ryan Dempster options? Most likely not, but Wells - as Arizona Phil noted - spent the bulk of his minor league career as a reliever including finishing 26 games. It was 2007 that he last saw regular work out of the pen with a handful of relief appearances in 2008. And then there's Dempster, the Cubs closer from 2005-2007 who racked up 87 nerve-wracking saves and coined the term, "The Ryan Dempster Experience". Nonetheless, he does have the most experience in late-inning situations and he certainly does seem like a different pitcher over the last two years that I for one, believe he'd probably do a lot better and help stabilize the troublesome pen. It probably wouldn't even be a permanent move, just something until the next injury or a trade can materialize. And Dempster seems to have the personality to go along with what might be best for the team (as I'm sure Wells would).

It's not something I envision happening and it would be more of a short-term solution to try and help the team gain some confidence and hopefully go on a nice run. And undoubtedly Dempster the starter is far more valuable, but if he could go 2 innings at a time every few days after being stretched out as a 200+ inning starter, that's certainly something the Cubs could use right now if they're looking for short-term fixes.


Castro hits his first home run of the season...

Rockies president found dead in his hotel room in Utah

some "name" pitcher tested positive for PED, could be announced today, apparently not from NY, but sounds like the NL


"some "name" pitcher tested positive for PED, could be announced today"

Maybe it's Z and this whole starter to bullpen stuff works itself out.

Thanks for signaling that the Smokies had an early game today. Another happy minor-league box score to read.

The Smokies sure bunch a lot of hits at the top of their batting order. Probably not coincidentally, they lead the league in runs and wins.

The Cubs . . . don't.

First homer, but Castro is tied for the league lead in RBI at 12.

Call him up, bat him fourth.

I forgot the other disadvantage of hitting Theriot outside of the #1 slot, but was reminded yesterday. He likes to GIDP.

Check out Theriot's splits last year. He had 64 at bats with two or three men on base. He produced 14 hits, for a BA of .219. With the bases loaded he hit .188 (3 for 16). I think that he gets out of his comfort zone when he tries to go into RBI mode.

Not that he's comfortable being a leadoff hitter, either. "Nobody wants to lead the league in singles." He doesn't do the pesky little things that leadoff hitters have to do (like laying down a bunt) to avoid going 0 for 4 and 0 for 5.

Theriot led NL in singles in 2008 and 2009.

After he led the league in 2008, he was interviewed about it, and remarked that "Nobody wants to lead the league in singles."

That's just Theriot. A lot of guys would be happy to lead the league in singles. But they're leadoff hitters.

yeah, what a loser, he hated it so much that he did it again in 2009

He seems to have clearly been making a joke, and you're chastising him for it now cause he's had a bad 2 weeks....

Edinson Volquez

Silva to the bullpen, did it earlier in his career.

Don't need anymore lefty's in bullpen.

Shocking news about Rockie's pres.


subscription piece on Fukudome

I've read now in a few articles the last few days the Cubs say that the long term plan for Russell is as a starter. So my guess is that Gorz goes to the pen and Russell goes down.

I'd like to see Samardzija go down as well and Diamond come up.

Or maybe Zambrano is the big name suspended and no one goes down.

Can you link one or more of those articles? That's sort of weird player development plan, but I don't put anything past the Cubs.

Right now I'd like to keep Russell in the pen, he's not dominant, but he's been useful - yesterday's HR notwithstanding.

According to Bruce Miles:

"A couple of us picked up on Lou's comment yesterday that the Cubs see Russell as an eventual starter. Don't know if they send him down and get him stretched out. If you send Gorzelanny to the pen, that would be four lefties, with Grabow, Marshall, Gorzelanny and Russell, if you kept all of them."


Does anyone remember 1984 team?

Only lefthanded pitcher on the team was Steve Trout.

Thanks. Certainly weird, but it came from Lou's mouth, so it suddenly makes sense.

while Gorz and Silva have pitched well, they also had the luxury of 2 poor offenses in Cinci and Houston...well poor imo.

Z has gotten Atlanta, Reds and Milwaukee...and pitched (mostly) well against the Reds.


"semi-big" name according to Craig Calcaterra, think that rules out Z

I don't see why that would rule out Z, unless you think that he is a "big" name. I certainly don't think he is a "big" name. He has always had "big" potential but he's proven to be way too much of a head case to actually be "big". I think that, at best, he is "semi-big".

Splitting hairs, but yes, I don't think Z is a big name, nor do I think he is juicing.

he makes $18M, has been to the ASG 3 times, threw a no-hitter and if you ask a casual fan to name 3 Cubs, he most likely would be one of the names mentioned.

Z being suspended for PED use would be a huge story in baseball.

Alright, fair enough. Still, my baseless, gut feeling is it isn't Z.

I remain concerned that it could very well be Z. I am especially suspicious of foreign-born players, especially those that go back to their foreign countries during the off-season. Many PEDs are not illegal at all in many countries, and I have read many accounts of how easy it would be for players to do cycles of these in the offseason, and then stop well before training camp in order to get them out of their system. Until I see who it is, I will be concerned.

Z stayed in Chicago this offseason, although I imagine he made a trip back to Venezuela at some point

Great, okay, that makes me feel better...
Read the stats toward the end of this article...

good to see the Cubs near the top in something though

The New York Mets organization had the most players suspended in that four-year span (16), followed by the Chicago Cubs (13) and St. Louis Cardinals (12). The Marlins were in the middle of the pack with six. At the major league level, only nine players on 25-man rosters were caught, each one from a different team.

...and Volquez is Dominican... At what point do Dominicans start to get pissed about the stereotypes being churned up about them lying about their ages, and doing PEDs?

As soon as people who lie about their age and who take PEDs stop making lots of money.

Updates on the PED issue say its a semi-big name but not a big name. This is just totally my speculation, but it might be Marquis. It wouldn't surprise that he would take something, and him finding out about the positive test might explain his terrible start the other day.

... or it would explain Z's horrible start, and why Lou is being so effusive about what will happen when Lilly comes back...

I'm going to guess Ryan Franklin in the PED pitcher rumor sweepstakes.

Jake Peavey?

white sox switch leagues? and I think he'd qualify as a big name.

Are you on your period, too?


lemme check...

Felipe Lopez?

Someone brought up to me the possibility of Bronson Arroyo.

that would definitely qualify as a semi-big name...

Ryan Franklin, Brad Penny, anyone associated with the Cardinals are probably good odds


no one asks him about PED rumor...

I like the Z to the pen idea. Maybe he will focus a bit more in short stints.

It's hard to believe I am saying this, but Silva hasn't done anything to merit being "demoted" - he does tend to throw strikes, which is nice.

Cubs third from the bottom in taking walks at 42


Bring back Gerald Perry...

Astros only have 12 walks all year


White Sox bathroom sex story depicted in CGI

Try getting that done in a trough.


Indians set-up blogger press box....

i'd love to see that in the cubs bleachers. a crew of 20-30 year olds un-distracted by the game on the field would rip out the TV monitors to beat each other over an argument over which cubs player was the crappiest and which one of them is more homosexual than the other.

Nonsense. If we didn't pay attention to the game then how would we know which one was the crappiest?

jay_jaffe: On a positive note, Edinson Volquez's long national nightmare of pitching for Dusty Baker could be over


Activate him from the DL - think I have him on a fantasy team. You should be able to use HGH if you have a TJS.

from Ed Price

Apparently, Edinson Volquez can serve his 50-game susp. while on DL. So it may cost him only 50 games pay, and the #Reds nothing.


Dusty is so unlucky with these PED-users.

A shame.

he'll pay. baseball has a way of dealing with these guys.

he's got lots of pay for years, standing ovations, and a possible coaching job in his future for what he did to the game.


That was kind of a let-down. All that hype didn't really deliver.

I liked what you said in an earlier post about just having guys who play good fundamental baseball and surround them with 2 guys who can smack the shit out of the ball. Although, there are not a lot of Pujols in the world.

Pujols is actually my worst nightmare. I hate the Cardinals almost obsessively and he comes along. I would probably be okay with a dirty nuke in St. Louis, that's how bad it is.


keithlaw: And I was all set to put Volquez on my Rookie of the Year ballot


that joke needs serious work...350 innings over 5 years, dawg.

as does your sense of humor

Volquez famously finished 4th in the ROY voting when he didn't qualify in 2008


and my sense of humor is firmly intact...this is just a case of ignorance.

i can re-edit for most sports humor sites, though...

keithlaw: And I was all set to put that slack ass piss drinker Volquez on ---> ***MY*** <--- Rookie of the F'n Year ballot *fart noise*

He received ROY votes a couple of years ago, came in third I believe.

When he was in the league for two years already.

baseball's self-proclaimed "injury expert" aka http://twitter.com/injuryexpert/ aka will "my daddy is a doctor" carroll...

"Damn you, Deadspin, telling people to send me your speculation. Gmail count at nearly 500. 30 minutes ago via Tweetie"


Reds deflecting attention by setting Great American Ballpark on fire


confirmed that he starts suspension now


so what's the deterrent for PED use if you're having major surgery and a lengthy recovery?

Mark McGwire can answer that

it's sick he's even involved in baseball.

MLB shows us all these roids commercials..well, the same 2 for the past 10 years...and what they deliver is the continued hiring of the players.

...now they're in charge of coaching youth...and getting standing O's...

jason giambi could teach kids something, himself, when he gets finished with his continued employment in the game.

Volquez statement: Dominican doctor prescribed medication to help me and my wife start a family. Those meds were also an MLB-banned drug

given what i've seen from PED abusers, i believe him.

making millions of dollars is a great way to start a family. cut the guy a break.

soriano "gets away" with a lot of selfish crap because he smiles and waves while doing it.

he'll tell you he's doing something wrong and should probably do something about it...but...words are words. some people love words, though.

not a big "I told you so" person, but...

remember when Milton Bradley was the problem and Soriano told him he need to be part of the team and I scoffed and said Soriano is full of shit and should look in the mirror...


Agreed....Soriano needs to pull his head out of his ass.
However, a bigger story might be Ramirez hitting like Mick Kelleher, and the bullpen putting out fires like Mel Rojas.

Soriano's lack of hustle is nothing new...it's just exacerated by his horrible defense and increase in swinging at every breaking ball in the dirt.

Yeah...he's hitting a little better..but meh...

not sure what's with Ramirez, seems to be trying to pull everything, K rate is way up early on, but he still showing power, so don't think the shoulder is an issue. It wasn't an issue when he came back last year either.

To me his swing looks a lot more loose, "loopy". I may well be imagining it, though.

just a fucking slump. Good hitters have them. Relax about Ramirez he is the least of our problems.

To me his swing looks a lot more loose, "loopy".

I don't think you're imagining it. There's a loop at the back of his swing right now.

He might be timing the ball okay but the super-slo-mo on HD showed him swinging on a different plane than the ball was on, time after time.

You were correct then and you are correct now. The only thing I'll add is that Soriano had some goodwill built up over the years. Him sucking in 2009 could be somewhat forgiven because he had been an important part of two playoff teams in the two previous years.

Milton Bradley didn't have any goodwill built up with Cubs fans. In fact, he came loaded down with baggage. There was no forgiving Bradley for his transgressions.

I think Soriano's goodwill account has about run dry. He'd better start building it up again quick if he doesn't want fans to completely turn on him.

soriano's "goodwill" was just a bunch of words, anyway.

people put so much value on those who accept blame, but so little value on what they're gonna do now that they've accepted that blame.

it's easy to accept blame or give yourself a peg-down, but hard to follow-up on it...it's harder when no one holds you accountable and it's up to you to actually get it done.

Crunch -- I don't agree. In fact, until Soriano said something about Bradley last year, I don't think I ever even heard him speak.

The goodwill I was thinking about was his on-field play in 2007 and 2008. I think it also helped that Soriano joined the Cubs after his terrific seasons in Washington. Unfortunately, being a 40/40 man in Washington and then helping the Cubs to two consecutive playoffs only buys you so much forgiveness. Fans are no longer in the mood to accept his shoddy defense and him admiring fly balls that stay in the ball park.

Soriano said something interesting the other day, now that the media is obsessed with his death spiral. He said, "baseball is a hard game."

Look. I know he makes scads of money. More in one day probably than I make in a week and I have a good job. But this isn't fucking Russia. We're supposed to like it when people reach the pinnacle of a profession, and Soriano has. How many MLBers are there.

Fuck this booing bullshit. Just let him end his career here with some dignity and hope to got the Wrigleys -- I mean, the Ricketts, find a way to eat his contract.

Jeesus fucking christ sometimes I think some of you have actually played the game on a professional level.

PS not meant for Sweet Lou OR Crunch. Just a general diatribe.

FONTENOT at short tonight.

rf fuke, 2b baker, 1b lee, 3b ramirez, cf byrd, lf soriano, ss fontenot, c hill, p zambrano

aram hitting 4th...thankfully. him hitting 5th was weird.


felix pie gets injured, l.montanez gets recalled.

today the o's sign corey patterson to a minor league deal.


Does McFail have the capacity for any new ideas? He seems to be stuck in c. 2004 era, with the Cubs' Top 10 prospects list... He must have it tacked up on his billboard. Any time they need someone, he consults it...

I always hated McFail. I am really glad he's gone.

Baltimore is the new Des Moines

The lucky thing for the O's is that they're in an easy division.


Sending Dempster to the pen makes no sense for tons of reasons. One, he was shit as a reliever. Two, having a reliever who makes $12-14 mil per year is insane. Three, he's actually been good as a starter, much better than we can expect Gorz to be, so move Gorz to the pen and send Russell down and be done with it.


On another note, allowing cheating drug offenders to serve their suspensions while on the DL is complete bullshit. That's no punishment at all. It's just more proof that Selig and MLB doesn't give a damn about cheating. I still say the best punishment for drug cheaters is to cut their arms and legs off. No suspensions necessary.

it makes some sense if they actually want to improve the pen, but it is bloody unlikely.

But if criteria is past performance in the role, Gorz is sporting a 6.88 ERA as a reliever in his career. And if I kept track of my arguments, you believe Dempster is an overpaid starter living off one good season, so you probably wouldn't mind seeing him out of the role.

FONTENOT at short tonight.

And this is the sound of my head exploding...

To be fair, Fonte was playing a mean 2B so far this season. Maybe he'll magically develop that SS skill of getting a jump on the ball mid-swing.

and maybe the Cubs will start developing a minor league system that doesn't want me to go all Edward G. Robinson ala Soylent Green


"He called me because some media asked the question, 'Why didn't I run?'" Soriano said. "But I explained to him why. I could've made third, but I don't want to make the second out at third either."

I take it all back about Soriano being selfish. He's clearly just stupid. (for those that didn't catch it, the rule of thumb is don't make the first or third out at third base).

Piniella said he told Soriano: "'When you hit the ball, even if you might think it's a home run, leave the box, and when you recognize it is a home run for sure, then you can go into your trot."

Awesome that this little league rule, needs to be explained to your highest paid player (need to be telling Aramis the same thing fwiw).

Brenley ripped Sori today on WSCR and a couple of digs at Lou

It's probably hard to stay "grounded" when you drive things like this.

Zambrano 80 pitches thru 4 innings.

at least it's easy to do the math for how many pitches/inning he's at...

and Pelfrey is coming off of his save (the Mets only save on the year) and now is working on a no hitter, geez.


Is Seaver pitching tonight? Or is it Cone?

The Mets sure have an incredible staff these days.

Z at 119 pitches thru 6. I guess it's a quality start but it sure doesn't feel like it.

at least it wasn't 120 because he threw 123 last time out. that'd be a sure-fire recipe for arm surgery.

it's stopping at 119 and saving his arm from near sure-thing surgery with that extra pitch that separates the pros from the joes.

9 SB's by the Rangers tonight off Wakefield/V. Martinez through 6 innings


Is that some kind of record?

HA! No. There have been 8 in just one inning before. The team record appears to be 19 in a game.


Way to fuck it up, Beltre.

That is pretty damn impressive.

Wow. The team is desperate.

This may be 3/44, but Rosenthal Tweets Looper pitched for Cubs:


I was in favor for bringing him in as #4/5 starter insurance. He's not going to se the world on fire, but if he's cheap he can add some value. If he wants to pitch out of the bullpen, even better.

Yeah, I'm perfectly okay with signing him. He can't pitch any worse than the bullpen has already. Maybe bringing a veteran relief guy back into the fold to maybe solidify the front end of the bullpen, if he comes cheap, it absolutely makes sense. If they try to start him though, I'll be thoroughly angered. If you kick out Gorzo and Silva, for frickin Looper, I might give up on being a Cubs fan. The first situation wouldn't anger me at all though.

thank god we've got grabow & rudy locked up...

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  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 54 sec ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 22 min 41 sec ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 28 min 54 sec ago view
  • Rob Richardson 57 min 59 sec ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 2 hours 43 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 5 hours 31 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 6 hours 44 min ago view
  • Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?

    He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.

    My guess? Toronto.

    tim815 7 hours 8 min ago view
  • PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

    The E-Man 7 hours 13 min ago view
  • Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

    azbobbop 11 hours 13 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 12 hours 40 sec ago view
  • Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.

    While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.

    billybucks 12 hours 34 min ago view
  • jacos 12 hours 34 min ago view
  • It is remarkable how my mood has become uplifted with one game against the Cards.

    That is sick.

    But, I have been an addict for a long time.

    A W tomorrow and it will be a .500 road trip.

    Also, to keep the losses in perspective, if the Cubs were to lose 10 games a month - a lot at this current pace - they still end up 102-60. Six months of the ride!

    The E-Man 12 hours 44 min ago view