Saturday funnies: Please give us Anthony Rizzo, Theo.

(click to see cartoon)

It was depressing enough finding out that Randy Wells is gonna hang around and start.
It's depressing enough thinking that Ryan Dempster may never perform as a Cub again, and Wells could be his fill-in for the duration of this season.
Hell, it's depressing enough knowing I gotta stay up late to watch the Cubs lose to Arizona and get depressed all over again.
But when I read a tweet that said Anthony Rizzo wasn't coming up during this AZ series, I got even more depressed.

Theo, give us something, man.
A little Anthony Rizzo will go a long way in 2012.
I'm pretty sure the magic "Rizzo won't become a free agent a year earlier" date has passed.
I'm pretty sure there's somebody on this roster who'd do just fine in Iowa or on another team.
Make it so.
You're creative that way. 

(btw, I know Lassie was a collie, but I did this drawing in the throes of depression late last night and... spaced.) 

Comments

Saw Rizzo last night against Round Rock.

I'm no AZ Phil so you'll have to just tolerate a half ass analysis of a game watched by me and my 3 beer swilling friends, but the first thing I noticed was a big Albert Pujols type guy limbering up next to the dugout. Number 44. I said to my wife, who was our designated driver/ballpark dancer (she especially likes "everybody clap your hands!" and the chicken dance - don't blame me for that, btw), that must be the guy everybody has a man crush on.

Sure enough, it was, and his first effort was a measly triple. There really isn't much to say about this guy that hasn't been said, other than saying, he needs to come up simply because he isn't really being challenged at the triple A level. I'm not sure what his line was, but I think he was 4/5 or something. His one out was a strikeout on a very nasty pitch by some guy with a pretty impressive side arm delivery. At first the I-Cubs were waiting on him and he took a bit to gain confidence and control but he was about the only Round Rock pitcher who had any effect on the I-Cubs, who won 30 to nothing or something.

One of my beer mates made a comment I thought was interesting. He said, wow, these guys (the I-Cubs) are a GREAT defensive team. There were several gems, one by the shortstop, Alfredo Amezaga, who I somehow missed here during all the TheoCorp transaction stuff, but I guess he's been around awhile. Anyway, the team looks well coached. Really tight defensively. Even Vitters made a nice little stab at a well hit ball heading to left field. It was a play any good third baseman should have made, just a well hit liner pretty much at him that he had to make a minimal leap for, but still, I was under the impression he was stone hands out there based on what people here are saying. He seems just fine at third to me. Sure, he won't make anybody think of Brooks Robinson, but he can field the position just fine. Mechanically, he is ready. Hitting, he impressed me more than I expected. I think he got three hits but the nicest was a rope to left that he pulled and showed some really nice follow through as his bat, and Crunch will love this, moved up just a little off the original plane as he twisted his body and followed through, almost guiding the thing out there but somehow really smoking it.

The team had a really good approach on the pitcher, who either couldn't or wouldn't throw anything inside. I'm not sure if the pitch to Vitters was an exception or not, but generally he was consistently painting the lower outside corner and some coach must have been saying, "just wait on this guy and when he hits the strike zone you'll be smoking him" and they did just that. I say that because the approach was very consistent from every I-Cubs hitter except maybe Rizzo, who seems to have his own agenda but who obviously has earned that right.

I know the record doesn't show it, but last night's team was a well coached team. When your team has Blake DeWitt batting cleanup, I think you can pretty much assume most wins are not really expected ones.

There was an article hear about Rizzo -- and his attitude about fans. I don't know about the whole autograph thing because frankly, I think autograph hounds need to consider getting a life, but he tipped his hat to the fans a couple times and high fived the bat boy as he scored after his triple in a way that made him pretty endearing. I don't know the bat boy's story but he looks like he may suffer from some disease or something, a big pudgy kid in an unnatural way but who still somehow looks like he came out of central casting for his role. Rizzo doesn't look or act like a bad dude, but I will say when he caught the ball for an out from the catcher or third baseman (can't remember) on a guy who didn't run out the play he really had some body English that said, "you lazy son of a bitch". It's hard to explain but he had a real tude towards the guy it seemed, and I think that's good. Also could have been my imagination. No instant replay, and I only took a few small videos.

Anyway, my friends, Rizzo is ready. He's more than ready. He completely overmatches his competition.

EDIT: 3 for 5. Not 4.

Oh, one more note. We noticed the cleanup pitcher for the Cubs, Esmailin Caridad. It was late in the game of a blow out, and I kid you not, everybody in the ball park got quiet and just watched this guy throw. I've never seen that in a minor league game's late stages in a blow out before. He actually hushed the crowd - he was that dominating. He was consistently hitting 94 with a nasty, moving fastball that acted like it was coming off a curving rail as it trailed to the low outside corner on right handed batters. I've seen HIS name around here a bit, but I don't remember what AZ has said about him, but I am keeping an eye on that guy, for sure.

Thanks for the report.

Caridad was up in 2009 & 2010. Don't know why he fell out of favor.

Esmailin Caridad. now 28, showed some promise as a setup guy in 2009 but has been injured ever since early 2010. Maybe his arm has finally recovered?

In 2009, he was called up Aug 10th got into 14 games, 19 IP, ERA of 1.40 and WHIP of 0.931. His Iowa season in 2009: 25 Starts, 131 IP, ERA 4.17, WHIP 1.40.

Caridad was on the DL multiple times in 2010 right from the start of the season. April 12-May 8 for a right forearm inflammation/strain. May 19th for a right elbow strain. He took a long time to recover (mid August) and went out on a rehab assignment 8-19-10 but still had a sore arm so he went on the 60 day DL 9-7-10. He only got into 4 games in 2010 with an ERA over 11 and a WHIP of 2.250.

He didn't come up to the majors at all in 2011 but pitched in Iowa: 37 IP (all in relief), ERA 8.27, WHIP 2.11

He was sent to minor league camp fairly early this spring (3-13-12). So far in Iowa for 2012: 0-3 record, 33 IP, ERA 4.36, WHIP 1.12 (notable improvement!), 28 K, 15 BB.
---------------

5-21-10, MRI exam on RP Esmailin Caridad (forearm) revealed a forearm strain, not a tear, but he will still be out for several weeks, according to the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan.

Read more: http://www.kffl.com/player/18338/MLB#ixzz1ydn...

http://www.kffl.com/player/18338/MLB
----------------
historical note: Caridad started the 2010 season as the cubs primary setup man but when he got injured Piniella moved Z to the bullpen. Cascade failure.

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/tag/esmailin-caridad/

Wow! That's a lot of hurt. Thanks, Cubster.

Wow.
Thanks for picking up my spirits.

Caught Thursday and Friday nightt games in Round Rock. Two very different experiences in I-Cub performance. Thursday, I-Cubs faced LHP Martin Perez (#2 or #3 prospect in Rangers system.) Rizzo went 0-4 against a very tough lefty but did get robbed by a leaping catch on the right field fall and another warning track fly out to left center if I remember correctly. Vitters was a bright spot with a no doubter home run. Whatever was said in previous post about Cubs defense being good on Friday was absolutely false on Thursday. Two errors and several other misplays and could've been hads.

Friday, Cubs beat up Express pitching but to be fair there were alot of soft tappers that just dribbled through or line drive flairs that just went over the glove of an infielder. For example, Rizzo's 1st inning triple was a grounder down the first base line that just made it by the first basemen and then he made it to third when Round Rock messed up the relays as I-Cubs score the first of 12 runs. Vitter made a couple of nice plays at 3rd. I've heard people knock Vitters defense but in my sample size of two games, I was impressed.

Regarding Rizzo's attitude. All I have to say is that seeing Jeff smarninja at triple a, he never signed autographs and generally had a prickish attitude. Nobody cares now that he's pitching decent in the majors. I'm sure the same will be true for Rizzo if he performs in Chicago.

Here is how my opinion of I-Cubs prospects changed after two games, only two game but here it is anyway
Rizzo--stayed the same, seems ready for MLB.
Vitters--keep forgetting how young he is, good at bats, good defense. I could see him being next years Rizzo and getting called to the majors mid season
Brett Jackson--Unimpressed, was playing in right field, seemed to blend in with all the other non prospects.
Pitchers--didn't see any impressive arms.

I personally don't recall Caridad being that impressive. I think the crowd quited as everyone went to the restroom so they would be back to their seats by the time the post game fireworks started.

All in all, fun two games. Now that I got to see Rizzo for the last time at AAA call him up to Chicago in time for him to make the Cubs road trip to Houston later this season.

Thanks, Sonic, I forgot to mention that Jackson did not impress at all. I say that even though he got a home run.

And Caridad kicked some ass out there. You were probably doing other things. Seriously, though, most of the people around me were commenting. I will say, it was the last inning of a blow out in a minor league game, but he was nailing that outside corner, low, consistently, with some nasty stuff.

Regarding Jackson, not a scout or have the background of many of the fine posters on this site, just a fan but saw two games and some bad at bats. I'm just curious to why he is playing right field. Seems his bat and skill set would be more suited to center. Regarding Caridad, he had some pop, low to mid 90's if I recall correctly, there was only about 8-10 pitches, mostly fastballs, all strikes. He had good stuff but was helped by batters swinging freely and the ump having a wide strike zone, the things that happen at the end of a 12-2 blowout on get away night.

One thing I forgot to mention was about Wellington Castillo. He started Thursday's game and with a runner at first had what I would charge as a passed ball. He did not hustle after it and the runner took a wide turn at second and seemingly could have attempted to take 3rd also. The next inning or so Castillo was pulled. He did not play Friday. Curious if it was due to injury he wasn't hustling or if he was benched to make a point.

probably playing RF occasionally because he's got a better arm than dave sappelt...he projects well enough to play CF, supposedly....can't hurt to see some work in RF.

You didn't see what I saw with Caridad because you were sitting with your mom.

Totally playing, there, just couldn't help it. So, I was right behind home plate, and in general, pitchers always look better to me when I'm close up like that, so who knows, maybe I am over blowing it. Still gonna keep an eye on him.

Bummer that your reaction to Jackson is the same as mine. I'd feel better if we disagreed there. I don't know about you, but his homer didn't do anything to change my mind. He looked awful on the pitch just before it. When I see a game like this, I can't help but notice that we have a ways till guys like Baez and Candelerio make their way up the system.

The starters available for trade takes another hit.

per Rotoworld
Brewers placed RHP Shaun Marcum on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 15, with right elbow tightness.

Rizzo's not up, LaHair's not playing much, Samardzija has been meh lately, even Campana's not in the game stealing bases; my only reason to watch games anymore is to see if Castro makes any strides. Time for some changes. I don't think there's any defense at this point for how much LaHair has been sitting, for one thing. And it's time for some Rizzo.

No, the LaHair sit down game is really annoying. Sveum has no defense, it's not like his team is winning when LaHair is out. And if he hasn't hit lefties much in that small sample size, who cares? My God, man, let's see what he can do with a full season under his belt while we can. What would Sveum do if this team was half way competitive? Sit a kid down the moment he farts in the wrong company?

Is Sweum the guy who will implement the Cubs Way, or is another prospect? Will be be gone as soon as the real guy is available? Of course, he's not responsible for the lousy roster, but he doesn't seem to have excelled as teacher/motivator or in lineup construction and strategy. I'll bet Sandberg is glad he's not in charge of this mess.

Indeed, is it possible that Theo wants to wait for the Cubs to fully start rebuilding and putting in a foundation before bringing in Sandberg? This is much too maniacal, I believe, but it wouldn't have helped Sandberg's reputation to managing this sorry ass squad. So even if it wasn't Theo's plan, it will work nicely if Sandberg is brought in for mid 2013 or beginning of 2014.

There is no way to know how a manager or head coach will behave until they are put there. I give credit to TheoCorp for hiring Sveum. Seemed like as good a choice as any, and I hate the retread game. Thibs turned out pretty well with the same hiring philosophy.

That said, Sveum has fundamental flaws that should disqualify him from future efforts unless he unleashes his inner learning experience guru.

I've been formulating a hypothesis -- the World Series Champions have more good pitchers, hitters, and fielders and/or play better than the other 29 teams. Sometimes the manager seems to have the respect of the players, but I can't find a correlation that a good manager equals consistent World Championships.

I concluded that Dale Sveum, Ryne Sandberg, or Mickey Mouse wouldn't make the difference in winning a World Series until the Cubs have a lot more really good pitchers, hitters, and fielders.

I also really don't get the infatuation with Ryne Sandberg many Cubs fans seem to have with his managing here. Great player - hell, yes. Great manager - maybe.

Good point, but the manager still matters. Not playing LaHair against left handers is just stupid. It changes the whole game for TheoCorp and is honestly just hard to understand. If they are all in agreement on this because they are worried about his trade value, it is still stupid, because it sends a message that his own team doesn't think he can hit lefties. There is no reason to be playing journeymen over kids on this team. No reason at all. You simply can't justify it. The record speaks for itself.

I agree and if I went strictly from a Ricketts' financial basis, why the sham of pretending that fielding a competitive, contender is also a priority? What's painfully obvious as Theo keeps pulling the tar paper off the roof of this operation, is HOW FAR this organization really is from being an annual contender. I won't detail the specifics here, but one look through the MLB and minor league rosters and, well, you get the point.

That being said, and if you agree that fielding a contender in 2012 and probably 2013 as well is extremely optimistic, then I can't imagine giving significant innings to anyone in the Baker, Johnson, etc. genre. Maybe BJax, Vitters, W. Castillo, and Rizzo weren't ready in April/May. However, the second Theo's people have a high confidence that being in a MLB lineup daily won't ruin their baseball psyche, I would have them playing here every day -- let alone LaHair hitting against lefties. The 2012 and 2013 seasons should be ALL about finding out who WILL or WILL NOT be a part of the Cubs when they have a championship contender on the field.

Again, back to the money, don't the Cubs have something like 20,000 people on the season ticket waiting list? I mean, it's not like they're going to have trouble selling 3,000,000+ tickets a year in the near future.

I guess this goes back to my argument about bringing Vitters up. I sway back and forth on it but I ultimately always go back to the feeling that his abilities will be revealed one way or the other if they just do it now. This idea that he needs more seasoning is kind of bogus. Other teams pull up kids with much less seasoning. That's the nature of the game, in fact, today.

I may sound like Dana Carvey's crusty old man, but I remember when QBs were all groomed the way that the new Green Bay QB was groomed. I forget his name. Aaron something. Minor leaguers also went up through all three levels.

Today, it's different, and it started awhile ago. When Mark Grace got promoted from Double A I had to sit down. Vitters. He has the talent, or he doesn't. A little refinement isn't worth the effort when we have journeymen and crap at third.

This team has little to rally behind youth wise. Let's see how Vitters and Jackson do upstairs. They can't be much worse than journeymen. They may just get a fire lit under their ass a bit and excel. The smell of money can be persuasive, even when it comes to baseball.

He has an 821 OPS. He's shaky playing D at 3B. He's 22 years old.

Regardless of whether he's going to be serviceable one day or not, you're not going to learn anything by watching him fail now.

Agreed. And Jackson can wait until the end of the year, too. He hasn't been doing all that great at AAA and there is a glut of outfielders (if you count LaHair). I'm all for Rizzo coming up ASAP and Valbuena and Cardenas sticking around while we're at it, too. Castillo is welcome whenever there will be an opportunity for him to play consistently, though (and I think Rob said something like this earlier, but in the form of a mathematical equation), he hasn't looked very good at the MLB level yet either in terms of results or in terms of what he's doing to get those results.

I've barely been paying attention to this team- but I have noticed Castro play some decent defense of late. He still does some weird things from time to time, but for the most part he's be handling the routine plays and making a few highlight reel appearances.

I couldn't really ask for much more from him, being 22 and all.

The Twitter link on the right notes that the Cubs have only been worse thru the first 70 games in 1901 and 1966.

I note that both of those seasons were just before periods of success for this year - one obviously much moreso than the other.

@CarrieMuskat

Darwin Barney getting a day off for ‪#Cubs‬. LaHair back in RF, Clevenger at 1B

volstad + concepcion go tonight in the minors...

concepcion has weather to thank for his last horrid start being thrown out (and his 5th balk)...

concepcion

4.1ip 5h 3bb 3k 3er

volstad

6ip 6h 2bb 4k 3er

Whitenack 5 ip 3h 0bb 3K 0er for Daytona

j.moyer granted his release from AAA BAL (per request).

new cubs pitcher in 3...2...1... =p

That would be awesome. Any other year? No way, thank you very much. If there was some guy in the minors he could block, same. But what the hell. Although, Rusin did look pretty good last night.

ha...soriano catch (and run saver)...

D- for speed, A+ for effort, A++ for the smile.

paul maholm 2r HR (1st since 2009).

cubs lead 2-1.

Can he play 2nd base?

Paul Sullivan speculating a Tuesday call up for Rizzo - as to avoid Johan Santana on Monday.

so are both broadcast teams on tonight's game...seems to be the worst kept secret in baseball right now.

too bad campy...you're going to be pinch running a lot.

lahair is still a crappy RF'r.

goldschimdt triple...ARZ leads by 4...5 run 4th with 1 out...

make that a 5 run lead...maholm finally gets the hook.

Malcolm making Randy Wells look good.

Castro's slump seems to be over.

Len said he's already had 8 4-hit games in his career.

Castro and the Jesus both 4-5. Zero runs. :-(

When your table setters go 8/10 and you're still losing by a large margin, your lineup has some problems.

I think the problem was the middle of the lineup went 1/18.

Ya the LaHair free fall continues.....June is heading to a close and he is really showing no signs of snapping out of it. Rapidly approaching 2 months of suck from LaHair.

I concur. He is certainly sucking ass and failing in most meaningful opportunities.

Maybe he is concentrating on how to play a RF too much?

Maybe he "can't adjust back"?

Maybe he doesn't belong at all?

Perhaps he is just in a slump?

Hope he can get out of it, whatever it is.

May's .253/.343/.448 with 5 HR's...that's suck? I mean, from a guy making the minimum?

a big issue...at least for 2013...is that he plays a really really really crap RF...his ball tracking instincts are bleh and he's timid of the wall/track.

yeah, he's not seen a lot of time there, but he's got a long way to go.

he has no idea how to handle the wall at wrigley and especially in visiting parks...his play last night was especially horrid on at least 2 plays and arguably a 3rd.

that, and at the plate he's shaping up to be a nearly-200K guy even when you "hide" him from lefties.

that power, though...iffy contact or not, that power...makes things interesting.

I am just waiting on the Anthony Rizzo show and hoping he isn't a hot mess when he arrives.

I really got high hopes with him.

Anyone have opinions on the prospect/non-prospect status for lefty Sheldon McDonald, now at Peoria. Working out of the bullpen has an ERA of 1.04 in 26 IP, 7 BB, 23 K.

He seemed to have the only interesting stat line from yesterday's 4-2 loss for the Chiefs to QC although DeVoss and Hoilman had 2 hits.

http://peoria.chiefs.milb.com/milb/stats/stat...

Sun, 06/24/2012 - 5:30am — Cubster

Anyone have opinions on the prospect/non-prospect status for lefty Sheldon McDonald, now at Peoria. Working out of the bullpen has an ERA of 1.04 in 26 IP, 7 BB, 23 K.

He seemed to have the only interesting stat line from yesterday's 4-2 loss for the Chiefs to QC although DeVoss and Hoilman had 2 hits.

=======================================

CUBSTER: Sheldon McDonald threw lights-out for the EXST Cubs before getting moved-up to Peoria:

0.83 WHIP – 1.50 ERA – .205 OppBA (6 GAMES) – 12.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 18 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 11/7 GO/FO.

He has a good breaking ball and an average fastball, and he has the type of "rubber arm" where can throw just about every day, so no reason why he can't be successful as a LOOGY at the higher levels.

The thing about McDonald is that the Cubs drafted him as a 5th year senior, and he pitched for Team Canada while he was in college (first at Boston University, then at the U. of British Columbia), so he really should be at a higher level than Peoria at this point (at least at Daytona if not at Tennessee).

As I've said before, MLB lefty relievers can come from anywhere... indy ball, HS coach, whatever... Just have to keep an open mind and see how he performs against more-advanced competition when he moves up.

Tenn won 7-6 over Jacksonville

Anyone watching Casey Weathers from the Ian Stewart trade?

He's getting his ERA almost to 3 and in his 2 IP had 4K and only one BB. I thought he couldn't throw strikes.
Frank Bautista got his 11th save. Is he a prospect for the future bullpen?

http://tennessee.smokies.milb.com/milb/stats/...

next stop for c.weathers...getting his BB below his IP.

a yearly next stop. at least he's healthy again...i guess.

Matt Garza, RHP, Cubs - About six teams have been on the phone with Theo Epstein consistently. As far as we can tell, the Braves, Tigers, Cardinals, Red Sox, Jays, and Royals have had interest. Garza is Epstein’s biggest chip, so he won’t let him go without a great package in return. The concern some have is whether Garza can control his emotions enough. He sure did in 2008.

and

Alfonso Soriano, LF, Cubs - He didn’t help his trade value last week by not running out a liner that Will Middlebrooks bobbled. Baseball people were outraged, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum actually defended his player afterward. “Normally when a guy does that, you yank him off the field,’’ said one longtime baseball executive. “You can’t tolerate that. Whether it’s a veteran or a rookie. You have to take a stand. But major league managers are so afraid to do anything like that.’’ Soriano did hit well in interleague play as a DH: .360 with 4 homers and 8 RBIs.

http://bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/06/23/yank...

Where and why are we hiding Soler????

it took a month to finalize Concepcion deal.

Teams have, what, 8 more days sign international free agents before they are subject to the new rules? Wonder if there will be any last minute splurges, other than Soler.

youk (BOS) traded...should come down after game.

via twitter via @ScottMCBS

For Zach Stewart and a PTBNL

unless they just saved a bunch of money...why bother...meh.

Brent Lillibridge is the PTBNL

$5.5m going to wsux.

makes a bit more sense...

garza pitching another great day game.

at this point the only way i'd be happy to see him go in trade is if they used the "saved" money to invest in another stud rotation anchor.

Seems easier to just invest the money in Garza. Assuming he gives even half a shit about being a Cub anymore.

yeah, there's always just the angle of getting the prospects and taking that money to spend on c.hamels (more expensive) or an a.sanchez type (less expensive, somewhat similar outcome guy imo)...or etc etc etc

garza's a real hardcore morning guy, though...good fit for wrigley.

How about getting the prospects with wink and a nod to Garza about resigning him when he hits free agency?

still got 1 year of club control left on him. at worst whoever picks him up is getting a season out of him.

i just hope whatever plan they have for 2013 involves something to stick in front of the slew of 3-5 pitchers they have to choose from in-house.

Granted, that might be a bit long of a wink. I'd still rather take a chance on the prospects....

popout to LF?

with soriano...naw...triple by para...triple...on a ball hit to LF. sigh.

...and the runner scores...after mather has the ball pop out of his glove on a screamer (ruled a hit, ha) and can't make the play at 1st.

sigh.

it's not soriano's fault...he's busting...he just can't physically do his job in the OF as well as others can.

ha...pat burrell (SF scout now) is at the game.

Burrell probably thinks Soriano is a decent LF.

ha.

can't have a garza game without garza trying to throw the ball away throwing to a base.

he almost took j.mather's head off with the throw...neat.

play made, though...woo.

wow castro...what the hell was that...

ARZ sweeps the cubs...

24-48

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