I-Cubs Bring Plenty of Cashner to Vegas

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay there but it’s no secret what Andrew Cashner’s been up to so what the hell… Last night the ladder-climbing right-hander pitched the Iowa Cubs to a 6-1 victory in his first start at the Triple A level, working six innings of one-run ball while surrendering five hits [four singles and a double] and a walk to go with six strikeouts [four of them swinging]. Cashner threw 89 pitches and most impressively retired the last seven hitters he faced after giving up his only run to tie the game at one in the bottom of the fourth. He left runners at second and third in that frame and then breezed through his last two innings. The win was Iowa’s third straight and the second consecutive that included a three run homer by the awakening Micah Hoffpauir. Sam Fuld and Darwin Barney have gotten hot at the top of the order and boosted their BA’s over .300. Chad Tracy went hitless last night after getting six hits in his first two games with the I-Cubs, but still drew a pair of walks and scored twice.

So what happens with Cashner? Starting pitching hasn’t exactly been the problem in Chicago. Does he settle in for a summer in Des Moines or will they start shuttling him between there and Chicago and the rotation and the bullpen a la the deep threat, among so many others?

The organization appears to be in transition in more ways than who signs the checks. Will a deadline trade of Lilly, for instance, open a spot in the rotation for Cashner. Are head games being played with Not Quite So Big Z to get him to not only waive his no-trade, but in fact demand a trade?


Mike Wellman, why no comments about the true star of the game, Jeff Samardizja?

Yeah, MW. He didn't allow ANY runs, walks OR HITS! Why didn't you mention that??? You must hate ND!!!!

You mean Deep Threat?

I thought Wide Outside was his offical TCR stamp of approval nickname?

Its, "The Wide Out"

I thought it was Shit Sandwich. Albeit, not at poetic.

You can't print that.

What is this, MVN?

I thought I was following up on your Spinal Tap quote.

You were. I think. I don't really know what's going on.

please don't...

I think the trade or injury of a starting pitcher or two is the only way Cashner gets to see the MLB rotation for very long this year. But it sounds like, unless the Cubs somehow slip into contention, he'll stay in the rotation for most of the year in preparation for his chance to crack the MLB rotation next year.

I'm curious about Jay Jackson, though. He was dominating AAA wasn't he? And he's got good stamina? Yet, he's the one moved to the bullpen? What are your thoughts on that, Mike Wellman?

Hmmm... highly talented pitcher with good stamina gets moved to the bullpen... I have this strange feeling that I've heard of that before... It'll come to me... WAIT!!... No... Hm....

Sounds like we have our 7th inning guy.

My thoughts, if I may, is that they want to promote Jackson but he's not going to get too many starts as the #7 starter, so if he's going to pitch in the big leagues in 2010, it will be as a releiver.

Cashner, who started in AA, will probably need the mentioned one or two injuries, to get a slot, because the Cubs are determined to keep him in a starting role.

I agree with you assessment and I also feel like Jackson has a much better feel for pitching right now as opposed to Cashner. I read a really good article about this the other day at wrigleybound.com that weighs the pros and cons of the move and since he doesn't have quite the "upside" that Cashner does, it makes sense that Jackson be the one who gets moved around a bit. Plus, if they think that Jackson is better prepared to help the club, they can put him in the bullpen in low pressure situations, similar to what they did with Zambrano and similar to what the Twins did with Santana and Liriano. It allows them to get acclimated to the big leagues while also facing live hitters and still honing their stuff. In spring training, they can let him compete for a rotation spot. They feel like they can get Jackson some time in the bullpen and have him still compete, while they feel it might mess with Cashner's arm and they would have to re-stretch him out to get him back to rotation strength. My guess of course

i could be wrong but i think jackson was just in the bullpen bc he missed his start with a rain out in iowa...


"RH Jay Jackson, normally a starter, pitched an inning in relief to get some extra work in due to Monday's rainout"

By God I hope you're right.

Phillies bullpen coach busted using binoculars

“We were not trying to steal signs,” Manuel said. “Would we try to steal somebody’s signs? Yeah, if we can. But we don’t do that. We’re not going to let a guy stand up there in the bullpen with binoculars looking in. We’re smarter than that.”


bah, players and coaches steal signs all the time, albeit slightly less obvious in most cases.

The biggest non-deal in the history of baseball since Braden bitched out Arod for crossing the mound.

Braden totally Gran Torino'd Arod's ass.

Nice headline: clever, plenty of cheese, love it.

mlb = wide outside
milb = deep threat

i like the watergatishness of dt...

I grabbed Cashner in my fantasy league recently. Here's to injuries or trade. :)

Jumping from the pen to the bullpen and vice-versa isn't really that big of an issue imo, other than the 3-4 starts it takes to build up your stamina again.

Pitching tends to be a fragile mentally task. Too many cases of guys who were lights out, and then lose it for no apparent reason.

For that reason alone, I really hate the Cubbie trend of shuttling guys in and out of the pen/rotation.

Especially young guys who are more prone to blowup/failure/injury.

That's not a Cubby triend,though, it's a MLB trend. Someone was just saying if Cashner goes to the bullpen he'll be Johan Santanna the other day.

That's not what he said. (Forget who it was.) His point was that starting in the bullpen and then becoming a starter didn't hurt Santana's development as a starter, along with a couple of others.

Adam Wainwright, Carlos Zambrano(2002), and D. Lowe, Smoltz, Dempster and so forth (smoltz and dempster were different situations of course)...

I know that's not what he said. But those other guys were fully developed minor league starters, Cashner is not. Santana is was a freaking Rule V pick. To say "because it worked for Santana, it will therefore be the best way to go with Cashner, a guy who's career path is about as different as you can get from Santana" doesn't make a heckuva a lot of sense.

Should I throw out some names of guys it didn't work for? Joba Chamberlian, Mitch Williams, Lee Smith.

There, I've proved my point that if you use him as a reliever now, he will need to be a reliever for the rest of his career.

I didn't follow the discussion that closely, but I also don't think he said that just because it worked for Santana it would work the same way for Cashner. I think he was using that example to say that it was possible, so why not do it. But whatever. I'll let the principals discuss further.

yeah, Cubs have had some real shit luck with how they handle pitchers...there's all those guys that have done so much better once they left because of the Cubs dicking them around.

like...I got nobody.

and besides 2005/2006, I believe they've been in the top 5 in ERA every year.

Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, Bob Tewksbery, Dennis Eckersly, more recently Juan Cruz, Michael Weurtz, Todd Wellemeyer, and probably half a dozen I am forgetting. Oh yeah, Willie Boom Boom Hernandez is one.

what was that list?

certainly not a recent list of pitchers the Cubs shuffled between the pen and rotation that did well once they left.

I guess Cruz and Wellemeyer had some moderate success. Okay just Cruz, Wellemeyer had one BABIP infused season of luck under Duncan.

so fine, they screwed up Cruz a bit...my bad.

It's a list of guys who the Cubs mishandled and went on to better careers elsewhere.

maybe you should have tried following the whole thread...

Maybe you should understand what you type...

"yeah, Cubs have had some real shit luck with how they handle pitchers...there's all those guys that have done so much better once they left because of the Cubs dicking them around."

My tinfoil hat was off so I didn't pyschically know that "dicking them around" was only meant to include guys who they put in the bullpen when they first got called up to the majors over the last six years, or whatever nebulous criteria you're grasping at to prove your point.

I was responding to aaronb's comment about how he doesn't like guys being shuffled between the pen and rotation, then you gave me a list that barely had anything to do with it.

Don't forget Mordecai Brown. Cubs jerked him all over the place. Of more concern, though, was the way Dusty let his pitch count get way up there.

What are we talking about?

how you cheat at fantasy baseball...

Don't blame me for being awesome.

What pitchers have the Cubs developed since 2005-2006 in the Rotation?

Rich Hill
Sean Gallagher
Angel Guzman
Juan Mateo

Obviously this is a model organization when it comes to player development.....

those guys are doing great elsewhere...

the Cubs apparently fucked up Rich Hill's back and brain and those 6 games in 2005 out of the pen really screwed him over in 2006 and 2007.

Gallagher's been a beast since he left the team, really those 8 games out of the pen completely fucked him up.

Is Juan Mateo still in baseball?

Angel Guzman's arm was so messed up in '99, the Royals voided his deal. Damn Cubs pitching development.

I agree with your larger point, but Randy Wells continues to be awesome.

I love off days

And if we go to the bullpen, you've got Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol. What's wrong with them? Marshall could be starting on plenty of teams--could've been starting on this team if Lou had another lefty he trusted out of the bullpen, a bill Gorzelanny apparently didn't fit (though that's worked out well so far).

Johann Santana successfully jumped from the Bullpen to Starting rotation 15 years ago. Therefore you can pull guys into any role you wish and there will be no ill effects?

How could I have missed that?

Wainwright, Z in 2002, Lowe, R. Dempster more recently, Randy Wells, E. Jackson, S. Marcum, D. Price to name a few others off the top of my head.

It was one of Earl Weaver's ways of getting guys accustomed to the majors, although I can't say I studied how well it worked. It did for Jim Palmer at least although he started under a different manager.

How many of those guys had the same amount of minor league starting experience as Cashner (who was a college closer) again?

Wainwright had 138 milb starts, 41 in AAA.
Z had 63 minor league starts, 28 in AAA. Randy Wells started and relieved for two years in AAA. David Price had 19 minor league starts 4 in AAA, the year after being the best starting pitcher in NCAA, and frankly had a pretty mediocre first season as a starter.

Cashner has been a starter for just over one year, and has 1 AAA start.

Apples to oranges.

well I do agree with that, if they want Cashner to be a starter, keep him starting as he has had very little minor league or college starting experience and needs to build up his arm strength and more importantly learn to pitch 3-4 times through an order which he still has barely done.

my bigger point is that in most cases shuffling between the pen and rotation isn't a big deal and if they decided they needed Cashner in the pen for awhile(or Jackson), I doubt either would suddenly flame out because of it or have some mental breakdown as aaronb was suggesting. Worst case is Cashner just stays a reliever like Papelbon. If they flame out, it's probably because neither were good enough in the first place.

My point is that it tends to be harmful to jerk pitchers around.

For every Wainwright or Santana that we remember handling it with no problem. There are 10 Jeff Samjays or Calvin Schiraldi's or Juan Cruz's that never develop as they were projected.

Case in point.

Jeff Samjay came up and pitched very well in 2008. His pitching arsenal consists of 1 plus MLB pitch and 1 average MLB pitch. Instead of being happy that we have a quality MLB reliever and let the kid stay in a comfortable role, what do the Cubs do?

We paid this kid too much money to be a reliever. Lets stretch him out and teach him 2 more pitches and make him a starter.

Now we have a probable failed prospect. See Joba Chamberlain as another example of this.

Joba's failed? more likely he just didn't have what it takes to be a starter or he just needed more time to figure it out. Seems to be doing just fine as a reliever. It doesn't mean it wasn't worth trying him as a starter since they're so incredibly more valuable. The "jerking around" probably had little to do with his troubles as a starter. Phil Hughes isn't have much issue returning to the rotation.

and I imagine I could find 10 of anybody that didn't get jerked around that didn't developed like they were projected.

the shuffling around isn't holding them back or messing them up. Samardzija had one good month in the majors, already started struggling the second month and still hasn't found the strike zone or breaking ball on a consistent basis.

I don't think you can conclusively say that being moved to the bullpen and back isn't holding anyone back or messing anyone up. Just because it worked for some guys doesn't mean that it doesn't affect everyone.

Back to my original comment - all MLB teams do this. Unless you've got a Lincecum or Strasburg, or an injury to your rotation and you need a guy who comes in and claims a spot, like Wells last year - odds are you're going to break into the bigs as a reliever.

Astros sweep Cardinals

Talk about early season luck. When the Astros hit two 8th inning (maybe 7th) HR's against the Cardinals Tuesday night, that was the SECOND and THIRD homers the Cardinals allowed at home all year.

Too bad we weren't good enough to take advantage of the Astros when their 3-5 hitters were hurt or not hitting.

Speaking of starters in the pen:

Z as a set-up guy: 7.2IP, 11H, 3.75 ERA.

Worth every penny.

I've got a 3.52 ERA as a reliever this year...

hasn't blown a lead, nor has the pen since he's moved there(according to Stark). 2 of those runs came in that 14-2 blowout when he came in with the score 6-2 for whatever reason he pitched in that game.

Dempster's been struggling a little, time to move him :)

time warner NC seems to have taken all the EI games (except the 1-2 they show in HD) and converted them from 720i to 480i.

i pay $200 a season for what now?


480i-Isn't that the same resolution that you post your little flipping the bird guy?

based on how blocky the image on my TV is when high-action stuff happens...yes...that's about right.

Recent comments

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  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.