A Guess at What the 2014 Cubs May Look Like

There's a lot of talk lately on what the Cubs future will look like and many of us are curious on just how young the Cubs will look in 2014. TheJedi have already hinted that a lot of youngsters will break camp with the team in 2014, but they say a lot of things and doesn't necessarily mean it's true. That being said, let's take a quick look at some possible options for the 25-man roster next year. Per usual, trades are nearly impossible to predict, so I don't really bother.

Catcher
Incumbents: Welington Castillo/Dionar Navarro
2014 Potentials: Castillo/Navarro/Saltalamacchia/Flores
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: Brian McCann
Castillo's no world-beater, but he seems solid at the plate and it'll be his age 27 season next year. The offensive numbers aren't particularly earth-shattering, a way too high strikeout rate north of 22% and a walk rate under 10%...plus his pitches per plate appearance is just 3.79 this year, which if he qualified puts him well near the bottom of catchers. He also has a nasty habit of getting injured a lot.

Navarro will be playing at age 30 next year, so I expect a strong push for a reunion, maybe on a very reasonable 2-year deal.

If the Cubs do surprise and go the free agent route (and not knowing whom will be non-tendered), the 3 that show up as 30-and-under are Brian McCann, Jesus Flores and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I really don't expect the Cubs to make any overtures on any of them, but if they were, Saltalamacchia would seem to be the best bet. We know Theo already liked him enough to get him for the Red Sox, he brings some left-handed power and he possesses that wonderful ability to make a pitcher work,  seeing 3.94 pitches per plate appearance. Of course, he also K's over 30% and is more likely to hit .220 than .270 and that's not going to help with bringing runners in. 
So a long shot to say the least...

Best Guess: Castillo/Navarro reunion

1st Base
Incumbent: Anthony Rizzo
2014 Potentials: Anthony Rizzo
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: Justin Morneau (I guess)

Not much to analyze here, Rizzo will be playing first and batting in the middle of the order next year and hopefully doing much better than a .251 Batting Average on Balls in Play.

Only Guess: Anthony Rizzo

2nd Base
Incumbent: Darwin Barney
2014 Potentials: Barney, Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, Donnie Murphy, Bobby Scales
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: Robinson Cano

This one could be interesting. Barney is eligible for arbitration and while he encompasses just about everything wrong with the Cubs offense (lack of everything that is required of a major league hitter such as power, taking walks or hitting the ball farther than 120 feet), he is a gifted defender. But not that gifted to that he'll keep the Cubs from pursuing an upgrade.

Where that upgrade comes from is the big question though. I've seen a lot of folks handing the job over to Alcantara, but he's still in AA and hitting .268 this year...yes that comes with a .343 OBP and a little more pop than Barney, but I don't know what the expectations would be by people for a 22-year old that skips AAA. Alcantara should start the year in AAA and maybe in June or July if he's tearing it up, get a look with the major league club, but more than likely, we don't see Alcantara in Wrigley until 2015 I'm guessing, if ever, because a Castro/Baez up the middle sounds far more appealing to me. Also, at best he's probably cheap major league average regular at second base, don't get too excited folks and if a trade opportunity arises, I wouldn't worry much about blocking him.

Now if the Cubs let Javier Baez try some new positions this offseason, I see him as a much more realistic possibility to take most of the AB's at second base next year. It's clear he's a special hitter at this point and even if he has some growing pains, he could inject this offense with a major upgrade. Now of course, the Cubs are going to be mindful of his service time and more likely he's a regular at 2b, 3b or SS in 2015, but let's say I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

The free agent market starts and stops with one name and that's Robinson Cano. It being his age 31 season next year, I don't see the Cubs handing out any 7-10 year deals worth north of $150M though. If for some odd reason Cano really likes Wrigley and is willing to take 4/100 type deal, that's about the only way that'll happen.

Best Guess: Barney starts the season there, but does not finish with Baez or Alcantara taking over

Shortstop
Incumbent: Starlin Castro
2014 Potentials: Castro/Javier Baez
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: Does Rafael Furcal count?

It's been a tough year with the bat for Castro undoubtedly, but he'll still be just 24 next season. The Cubs will rightfully stick with him and even if they are having internal discussions about whether they want to move him out of the way for Baez, they'll wait until Castrol raises his value considerably.

Only Guess: Starlin Castro

Third Base
Incumbent: Luis Valbuena
2014 Potentials: Valbuena/Mike Olt/Kris Bryant/Javier Baez/Christian Villanueva
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: Michael Young (sure)

What was once a position of weakness is suddenly overflowing with potential talent. Now who takes the job will be the interesting part. it should go to Mike Olt, but we all know of his struggles. No one knows his winter plans yet, but suffice to say he better show marked improvement before getting to spring training and then put together a pretty solid spring to win the job.

Villanueva has heated up in AA, but he'll most certainly start off in Iowa looking to take over for injury or ineffectiveness. Never say never and all, but he's certainly the most likely to get traded at some point in the future between him, Olt and Bryant.

I'm probably getting ahead of myself on Bryant and Baez, but Bryant was a pretty special college bat and pretty special college bats don't necessarily need a lot of time in the minors. Once Bryant shook off the cobwebs, he tore up the Northwest League and now the Florida State League, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Southern League and Pacific Coast League are mere speed bumps to the majors. He won't start in the majors next year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he finishes there.

Take that last sentence and apply it to Baez as well.

Best Guess: Valbuena or Olt to start the season, potentially Bryant or Baez force their way onto the team

Left Field & Center Field
Incumbents: Junior Lake & Brian Bogusevic
2014 Potentials: Schierholtz/Lake/Choo/Bryant/Soler/Nelson Cruz/Corey Hart
Big Name Free Agents that Cubs won't be pursuing: Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury

Well if the Cubs spend money this offseason, it'll be on left and center field and starting pitching I'm guessing (also potential they sign a right fielder and move Schierholtz to left). I know there's this plethora of minor leaguers just bubbling near the surface to pop, but they're not quite here yet and unless they're tearing it up in AAA this year, there's no sane reason to count on them in 2014. Guys like Szczur, Jae Hoon-Ha, Jackson aren't guys you reserve up playing time for and guys like Bryant, Soler and Almora have unknown due dates at the moment. Almora is probably the farthest away of the bunch (as much as 3-4 years wouldn't surprise me), so that means to me that a center fielder would be the most likely to get a longer term deal and the only real center fielder that should be playing there defensively that's available on the open market is Jacoby Ellsbury. At least one that I think would make much of an impact.

I'm sure TheJedi would love to have Ellsbury, but that is only if Ellsbury would take a four year deal in the 75/80 range and I don't think anyone sees that happening. But if it did, don't worry too much about him blocking anyone, even if Almora forces his way onto the team sooner rather than later, Ellsbury is skilled enough defensively to move to a corner if necessary. That being said, it's very unlikely to happen.

On the other hand, Choo is a year older than Ellsbury, but should be substantially cheaper. Can the Cubs get him for 3/45? Hell if I know, and I don't know if they'd try him in left or center field (his defense is center is a bit sketchy), but they sure would love that OBP and quality at-bats at the top of the lineup.

If the Cubs go the buy low option, I wouldn't be surprised if they make a run at Nelson Cruz on a 2 year deal. He may very well end up with something much better, but the Cubs could use that power in the middle of the order after losing Soriano. Corey Hart could be another candidate in that vein.

More likely the Cubs continue to dance on the edges of free agency and look for more David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz types, and very well may bring DeJesus back on a 1 year deal in the $4-5M range. A look at the potential free agents though doesn't bring any obvious candidates to mind though.

Best Guess: Choo, DeJesus, Schierholtz/Lake platoon

Right Field
Incumbent: Nate Schierholtz
2014 Potentials: Schierholtz/Lake/Choo/Cruz/Bryant/Pence
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: Carlos Beltran
Lake could very well start the season in left or center, but I'm guessing the Cubs would be far happier with him as a utility player/short side platoon mate. That being said, they may wait for Lake to reduce himself to that role or for Bryant and/or Soler to force him there.

Best Guess: Schierholtz/Lake platoon

Starting Pitching
Incumbents: Samardzija, T. Wood, E. Jackson, J. Arrieta,
2014 Potentials: Beyond the 4 named above - K. Hendricks, J. Grimm, C. Villanueva, S. Baker, A. Vizcaino, P. Hughes, J. Johnson, S. Feldman, C. Rusin
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: Matt Garza
The rotation looked like a black hole two years ago and the Cubs seem to have slowly built it up with some shrewd moves. I have no idea of the five that will break with the club (well I have a good idea on 4 of them), but they have some depth in Hendricks, Grimm, Rusin, Raley and Villanueva already in the system. And to say the least, I won't be surprised if they pursue at least one free agent that they could flip again if things come to that again next July. If TheJedi really want to shake things up, trading Samardzija would do the trick. Seliing high on Travis Wood wouldn't be a bad idea either as he'll never repeat his luck on BABIP again, but the return wouldn't be as great as the one for Samardzija.

Best Guess: Samardzija, T. Wood, E. Jackson, Arrieta, S. Baker  

Relief Pitching
Incumbents: K. Gregg, P. Strop, J. Russell, B. Parker, C. Villanueva, M. Bowden, H. Rondon
2014 Potentials:Too long a list but Russell, Strop and Villanueva seem pretty likely
Big Name Free Agent that Cubs won't be pursuing: F. Rodney
There's really no point to try and guess what the pen will look like to start next year because there are too many moving parts and it certainly won't finish the season looking like that. We can certainly make a good guess that Strop, Russell and probably Villanueva will be in there to start, leaving 4 open spots. The Cubs certainly aren't going to throw a ton of money at anyone, but they'll bring in some free agents and we know they like power arms. I could see Joba Chamberlain as a good buy low option, maybe Oliver Perez (not as cheap) or even Joel Hanrahan. But it could be none of them as well. They do have Fukijawa coming off surgery at some point and the rest of the minors could produce options in Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Zach Rosscup, Tony Zych and Armando Rivera and some other names I'm certainly forgetting or underestimating.

I, of course,  have no idea what the team will actually end up looking like, but here's 2 potential lineup options I could see happening. I could also see about 10 other options, but let's start here.

Free Agent Option
If the Cubs surprise and spend money on outfielders, presuming on shorter deals (2-3 year variety).
Choo (8), Castro (6), Rizzo (3), Cruz (9), Schierholtz (7), Olt (5), Castillo (2), Barney (4)
Bench: Navarro/Valbuena/Lake/Watkins/Sweeney or Bogusevic or Ha

Draft Pick Strategy Option
The Cubs continue to spend little and make sure to block no one.
DeJesus (8), Castro (6), Rizzo (3), Schierholtz (9), Olt (5), Lake (7), Castillo (2), Barney (4),
Bench: Navarro/Valbuena/Watkins/Sweeney/Bogusevic (maybe Ha)

If the Cubs really want to shake things up and continue to not break the bank on silly free agent contracts, their best best will be to trade Jeff Samardzija. I think they feel pretty confident in finding starting pitching on the open market and maybe Samardzija brings them back some near-ready major leaguers. Would a Samardzija for Anthony Rendon trade be possible? I have no idea, but it intrigues me. So would a Samardzija for Kolten Wong trade, but that type of inner-division trade is pretty unlikely. And yes, I would expect some other pieces to be involved in any of those fanciful propositions.

Anyway, to sum up, I really don't expect an influx of talent from outside the organization in 2014. There isn't a ton out there that makes sense right now at the positions the Cubs need and it seems the Cubs are committed to let their youngsters get their shot.

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Comments

the cubs have to spend money somewhere. yes, there's some that buy into the whole "won't spend until..." thing, but there's very few GMs out there that won't spend whatever loot the ownership is willing to give them.

last season they went out and blew $33+m of the payroll for 2013 on feldman, s.baker, s.harriston, navarro, ejax, and fuji...with ejax + fuji ($17.5m) returning under contract.

they also gave out smaller contracts, like $1.3m to s.camp and 950K to valbuena to retain them...

even with some guys due for raises (like rizzo going from 500K to $1.25m and others via arbitration) they got some loot to spend and less holes to fill (except for the pen).

i wonder whether they'll try to splash on an OF'r or a SP...it seems to be the only place they're capable of making an impact signing (assuming they won't be anywhere near the cano bidding...rightfully).

will they enter the ellsbury/choo bidding? will they throw $10-$13m at c.beltran for a 1 year deal in anticipation of unloading him mid-season? will they kick the tires on damaged goods c.hart looking for a deal with power upside? will they bid on stuff vs results looking to do a "ejax-type" contract looking at p.hughes? ...none of the above? ...something else? *shrug*

Thanks Rob. This writeup is a fun read in what has been a long August in pursuit of the #3 draft choice. Thought I'd never be rooting for the WSux to continue their 5 game win streak. The Cubs are 2.5 games behind them for that #3 pick.

Go Go White Sox!!!! Please leave Hawk at home. Thanks.

I think they feel pretty confident in finding starting pitching on the open market

I'm a little surprised at their ability to pull in good pitchers the way they do. Somebody in the front office or scouting department or both has a knack for evaluating pitching talent. Last bit I read from Hoyer was that he really wants to put the foot on the pedal on offense. Not happy with where they are at at all. As usual, the off season will be a lot more interesting than the regular season is.

all he said is they'd evaluate their offense and of course they want to improve, but I'm sure they'll come to the conclusion that the bulk of the improvement is going to come from within.

Other than maybe RF, they could do with improvement at the other 7 spots. But as I hopefully demonstrated in the article that improvement isn't readily available on the open market other than maybe the outfield or they have guys close enough to the majors that they can afford to wait for them.

they'll make some additions undoubtedly, but it'll more of the same in looking for buy low options with upside I'm guessing.

If you expect better BABIP luck and a touch more power from Rizzo, some kind of rebound by Castro (at least enough to get him hitting in the .270-.280 range) and some sort of improvement from Barney, then the additions of a Choo and Olt could make this lineup look half decent. If Olt rebounds and Baez pushes his way into the 2B job, you've suddenly got an offense that could be scary on occasion. Obviously, that depends on a lot of things breaking right.

I'm also looking forward to Vizcaino finally making it back to the mound. I like Arrieta, too, if he can find a bit more command. I'm thinking we've got approximately a .500 team next year, and one that won't sell off all of its pieces at the deadline.

why would you expect any type of improvement from Barney and if he does improve, would anyone notice? Is a .620 OPS all that different than a .590?

But yes, we all certainly hope the core youngsters improve.

I would hope he might be able to hit .250 or so. That's obviously not great, but its a step up from black hole. I still expect him to be supplanted sometime between mid-2014 and the beginning of the 2015 season.

Can't his value be replaced for less than he is likely to get in the off season?

I doubt the front office goes that way. They practically made him the face of the franchise after his errorless streak last year. In addition, they have to figure out 3B and two outfield spots.

If Alcantara had a season of AAA under his belt or Watkins were pressing the issue, things might be different.

doesn't seem to be a front office that cares all that much about the P.R. aspect of any move...a simple, "this was the right move at the right time" would suffice. Barney's a utility infielder masquerading as a starter, the sooner he gets there for the Cubs, the better.

CHARLIE: If the Cubs build from within and don't sign or acquire significant free-agent position-players, I think the most-likely projection 2015+ is that Castro moves to 2B, Baez plays SS, and Alcantara is the super-sub IF-OF.

Barney could project as the Cubs #1 utility infielder 2015+, except he will be first-time eligible for Salary Arbitration post-2013 and will likely get about $2.5M for 2014, but that's too much to pay for a utility infielder, and once he's making that kind of money, it's almost impossible to cut his salary without non-tendering him. And once he's non-tendered, he can sign with anybody, and why would he want to stay with the Cubs and be a $1.5M per year utility infielder 2015 and beyond when he could probably find an everyday MLB SS or 2B gig someplace else?  

So I think Barney will be the Cubs starting 2B again at the start of next season, and then he will be actively shopped at the trade deadline. If he's having a bad year and has no trade value, he'll just get non-tendered post-2014.

I would be VERY surprised if Barney is still with the Cubs in 2015.


 

Beyond your own opinion of Castro's defensive skills and where he might be better, is there any other indication that you know of that says Castro will be moved to 2b and that Baez is significantly better at SS to warrant the move?

Because when it comes to the history of the majors moving the major leaguer off his defensive spot for the up and coming minor leaguer is a very rare thing and usually only when it's a significant age difference (veteran obviously slowing down) and particularly skilled defensive player coming up (I haven't seen anyone really indicate that of Baez...no one is thinking he's gonna be better than Tulo with the glove for example).

The examples are numerous, but Manny Machado is playing 3b right now is one. Profar not playing SS right now is another.

I remember watching Frankliin Font and Ryne Sandberg work with Starlin Castro on Field #5 (the half-field infield) at Fitch Park in 2008 (Minor League Camp, Extended Spring Training, and Instructs), and he was clearly better at 2B than SS. Font even said that, and Sandberg said that Castro reminded him of himself at 2B. Castro also has the kind of personality you often find in second-baseman, somewhat quiet and passive. Sort of a two-guard in basketball, waiting for someone to pass him the ball so he can take a shot, but otherwise just staying out of the way. 


Javier Baez (on the other hand) has the skills needed to play SS (just like Castro does), but (unlike Castro) there is no indication that shortstop isn't his best position. Baez is like a point guard in basketball or a quarterback in football. He's kind of bossy and aggressive and likes to run the show, which shortstops often do. He's combative and feisty, too, and when I have seen him play 3B (in the AFL last season), he looked disengaged, distracted, and sullen, like he doesn't want to be there. 

Baez is kind of like the kid on your little league team who is just so much better than everybody else that you let him play wherever he wants and hit wherever he wants in the lineup, and then you get out of his way and let him destroy the other team. 


Baez clearly very much wants to play shortstop. And maybe you weren't aware of this, but Javier Baez can do whatever the fuck he wants. 


 

Yeah, well, this is kind of the post of the year for me, but I do remember you talking about how Baez acted after playing 3rd a bit. He may end up making Puig look like a wall flower by the time he starts playing up here, but that's a problem I'm happy to read about.

Another thing about Javier Baez that Cub fans better be prepared for is that he does not suffer fools easily. He reminds me a little bit of Jimmy Piersall that way. I have seen him yell at teammates on the field when they make a mental mistake (not physical errors, though), and he seems obsessed with winning, even in Extended Spring Training games. He's super-competitive, sort of like Michael Jordan in that sense.


The Cubs probably should not bring him up when they are punting a season, either. Baez does not handle losing very well. He takes it pretty hard.  

I wasn't doubting any of your own observations on the matter or even that it may very well happen down the road, just wondering if there was anything you witnessed or heard directly from current Cubs personel that would indicate this defensive preference. Because the current publicity from the current guys in charge is that it is Baez that they'll tinker with...

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/19069/cubs-to-ponder-posi...

He's combative and feisty, too, and when I have seen him play 3B (in the AFL last season), he looked disengaged, distracted, and sullen, like he doesn't want to be there.

I don't see any of that as a good thing for what it's worth. Stamping your feet because you're not getting your way is plain and simply chilidish. If he really wants to play shortstop, don't make 40+ errors in a season.

For all the crap Castro gets on his defense, he's at the very least cut down on his physical miscues...15 errors this year, down from his normal high 20's. You put Baez there and you could very well be going back 2 years worth of development and starting over with all of Baez's physical mistakes having to be worked on.

ROB G: Starlin Castro has certainly cleaned-up his physical errors, but I'm not so sure the same can be said for his mental mistakes. 

sure, but 2-3 blown-out-of-proportion-by-the-media mental mistakes aren't nearly as damaging to a team as 15-20 physical errors.

But back to my original points, the actual Cubs decision makers don't seem inclined to be following this line of thinking and if the immediate defensive gain for the team is zilch (a tradeoff of Castro's mental miscues for Baez's physical), than the 24-year-old incumbent isn't going to be the one moving.

It seems more likely that Castro will be traded before he is moved to second.

possibly, but I'm not sure I agree.

The Cubs brass are about creating value for their players and as we saw with Garza, they'll wait for it. Unless Castro becomes a clubhouse distraction, they won't move him just to move him, awating for what should be the inevitable bounceback season. And then if he does put together a good season, why would they move him?

Baez's bat can play anywhere and yeah, he might play SS in the majors, but he's got a lot of work to do to get there in my opinion. I think most would agree that a Castro/Baez middle infield is better than a Baez/Alcantara middle infield and despite all the prospect depth talk, there's actually not a ton at SS/2B beyond those 3 at the moment.

Now obviously if he continues to hit like Neifi, all bets are off, but they'll probably bench him before trading him.

Mainly I agree with you that Baez will move to second before Castro. With a lots of assumptions, if Castro is having a good season and Baez is ready to come up as a shortstop they could (and I would) trade Castro for pitching instead of moving him to second.

castro is cheap until 2017 compared to the market at large (5m/6m/7m 14-16)...and arguably cheap in 2017 (9m).

i can't imagine them trying to dump him unless he continues to underperform or some mystery 2nd baseman bursts onto the scene.

even if they move him to 2nd, he's still a good deal as long as his bat comes around at least to his 2011/2012 performance levels.

chances are pretty good there's more power than that in his bat, too.

he's barely 23 (23 and 5 months old)...lot of guys his age are in AA or sniffing AAA.

Who said anything about dumping him. I am sure there are major leauge GMs who would value Castro highly if and when he starts hitting again.

dump = trade in this context...my bad.

my point is money vs value i don't see them shifting him over the next 3+ seasons given how cheap he is vs his upside and possible contribution, whether it's at SS or 2nd.

if a.alcantara can show he's highly adept to take castro's place then castro could be moved...or a.alcantara could also be moved for high value given that he'll cost next to nothing for 3-4 years to whatever team wants him...and under club control for 6 years.

the cubs at least have options...and if alcantara doesn't pan out, they have a relatively cheap compared to market option at SS/2nd with castro over the next 3 seasons to flesh it all out.

Fair enough. There are really too many unknowns at this point to make much of a guess about what will happen without injecting too many of our own biases.

I wouldn't be surprised a bit if Castro were traded. Shaky defense, free-swinger... these are not traits of a Theo/Hoyer acquisition.

At first I was going to disagree with this post strongly. But then I reinterpreted it to mean that once Castro rebounds there is a strong chance that clubs will inquire about him and that TheoJed might believe other GM's overvalue Castro and what he brings to the table and thus deal him for what they see as greater value than he actually provides.

As opposed to my first reading, which was that the post claims TheoJed is the type of regime that is so stubborn they will only accept one type of player because they operate on ideals instead of pragmatism.

I think the idea is that this regime is very pragmatic, and that pragmatic approach generally finds high value in a specific type of player.

And maybe you weren't aware of this, but...
---
Fuck, yeah!

If Castro wasn't on the team (or wasn't struggling so bad), do we think that Baez is hitting his way to a September call up?

not on the 40-man and they'll be mindful of his service time....so I'd say no.

Agreed, but isn't there deadwood on the 40 man. Also, I didn't think a September call up impacted service time (other than super-two stuff). I'm sure Phil will set me straight.

a call-up would certainly affect his service time, there's nothing magic about September in that regard....if anything, it wouldn't burn an option though, but as you said AZ Phil can set us straight.

Sure there's deadwood on the 40-man, but the point is that you'd be starting all his major league clocks for a rather pointless cup of coffee.

Thanks I guess I got options and service clock mixed up. In which case, your right it would be mostly pointless.

nothing shocking here, but article from Witty that Cubs won't be adding Baez in September

http://voices.suntimes.com/sports/inside-the-cubs/baez-knocking-but-cubs...

Haha... He was obviously just confused.

Roto/Rosenthal reporting DeJesus has been claimed off waivers from unknown team. Today's thunderstorms are related to someone f*cking with DeJesus and we all know you don't F*ck with DeJesus. Nor Kim.

https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/370573101...

it's the RAYS! (per Jesse Rogers in his first scoop!)

Good thing they changed their name a few yrs back. Could you imagine the uproar if DeJesus was a Devil Ray?

Cubster's on top of it.

interesting claim btw, only 3 teams the Rays would be preventing DeJesus from going to...Red Sox, Tigers and Rangers and doesn't seem like any of them had a need. So for a very budget minded team, they must have really wanted him or felt one of those other 3 were interested.

In an interesting twist of fate if those earlier Braves rumors were true, with Heyward out 4-6 weeks, J. Upton nursing a hamstring injury that takes him in and out of the lineup and BJ just generally sucking (see what I did there), they probably have the most use for DeJesus at this point.

they probably have the most use for DeJesus at this point.
---
not to mention the ever useful Reed Johnson being hurt

I do believe Reed Johnson is due back very soon.

I'd bet on Ryan Sweeney returning in 2014.

Free Logan Watkins!

Might be a rain delay but they should play...How's the weather in Daytona today?

http://www.chicagoweathercenter.com/radar/

Both Alberto Cabrera and Rafael Dolis will be out of minor league options next season so that could affect the make-up of the 2014 bullpen. A player who is out of minor league options is essentialy a de facto "Rule 5 player" as far as the 25-man roster goes. 

trade bait.

neither are so talented that if they struggle, Cubs would be all that worried about outrighting them and possibly losing them.

That's kinda what I've been saying about Rizzo, although I wasn't aware of the lack of singles other than in a "I never see him hit them" kind of way, but I don't see enough games to know if that means anything.

3:20 (central) start time...supposedly.

game on.

10-12 year old kid (who bothered to bring a glove to the game) catches a r.zimmerman HR...the bleacher assholes start boo'ing the kid for not throwing it back until he gets sick of it and actually throws it back onto the field.

stay classy.

You always take an old crappy ball with you in case you have to "throw one back". Bleacher sitting 101. But anyways, that's a bull crap move by the drunk dildos sitting in the bleachers.

i'm sure someone gave the kid a replacement ball...and i dunno if they still do it (because a lot of the oldtimers have been driven out of the bleachers), but they used to give a certificate to those that threw a ball back.

but yeah...it's just a kid...let him keep the ball he caught with his glove he brought to the game...especially when it comes to a team that looks like they're on their way to 100 losses.

At eh beginning of the year I stated here that I thought Castro would get moved to 2B, or be traded at the time (or before) Baez is made a member of the 25-man squad. I am glad AZ PHIL is coming over to my way of thinking. :)

I also believe that in spite of what they are saying publicly, Castro is not fitting in with the TheoJed Way and I am really puzzled why they were in a rush to extend him so quickly. It kinda sucks he is not having a better year as I feel strongly that they would have traded him for some serious munchies, like the way they did with NOMAH.

so your theory is that Castro isn't fitting in with TheJedi Way, but they still extended him without a gun to their heads?

The lack of logic in that statement would leave Spock very disappointed.

free agent leaderboards by MLBTR...neat stuff

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/08/2014-free-agent-leaderboards.html?...

Lincecum's ERA vs FIP is an interesting discrepancy (4.53 vs. 3.56), probably should have included him in this post.

and on that note, Castro ends a 29-game errorless streak with a throwing error...Cubs get out of it though.

every time i see j.lake swing i wonder when he's going blow out his oblique...or hips...or knees...it's like having a skinny sammy sosa around. he's big on those j.burnitz style upper-cut "reverse lumberjack" cuts, too...only they're not as smooth. his follow through looks like he's about to throw his shoulder out of joint.

Is reverse lumberjack Canadian for reverse chalupa?

after 2 rain cancelled games in a row, daytona is moving into hour 1 of rain delay for a scheduled double-header.

daytona baseball...screwing up cubs pitching and batter development in style this month...

game 1 cancelled.

...and now game 2 cancelled.

3 days in a row with no games.

this month has been hell on the pitching getting work and development all-around.

even when they do makeup double-headers someone has to suffer in the pitching department because double-header games only go 7 innings rather than 9.

Cubs leaving Daytona correct?

there was a discussion about this in another thread from not too long ago that i don't remember.

they signed a 10 year lease with daytona in 2012, but i dunno if there's any outs to it...etc etc

CRUNCH: The Cubs PDA with Tennessee, Daytona, Kane Ciunty, and Boise expire after the 2014 season, the PDA with Iowa expires after the 2016 season, and the Cubs own the AZL Cubs, DSL Cubs, and VSL Cubs, so there is no PDA for those three.   

So the earliest the Cubs can relocate their Hi-A affiliate to either the Carolina League or to the California League would be for the 2015 season.

gotcha.

the team helped negotiate the city/club 10-year lease, but they're only obliged to stick around for the length of the PDA.

Thanks Phil

2 castro CS on the game...dale, this isn't a running club...quit trying to make it happen.

the best part of this game = stickers on face kid...and that's sad.

d.murphy HR #8!

TIE GAME! BOTTOM 9, 2 OUTS!

8 HR in 57ab...

was 0-3 with 3Ks today before getting his revenge on strawsburg.

vintage WGN...missed bog's double after the pitching change during the commercial break.

d.barney ends the rally...0-4 on the day

.215/.268 avg/ob%

meh...after 3 sacs in the last 4 inning...WAS finally gets one that ends up scoring a run.

top 13th, WAS up by 1

...and the cubs lose.

"industry sources" expect Cubs to make a run at Shin-Shoo Choo

as do goofballs that write for a Cubs blog

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-search-answers-shin-soo-choo-could-b...

They're not going to sign Ellsbury because they just dumped DeJesus, but they might sign Choo. I'm in.

The merchandise sales in Korea should cover his contract anyway.

I don't think they can get him for 4 years or less, someone is going 5+ years on him, and I really, really hope it's not the Cubs.

" Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs
According to Stats, Inc Murphy is the first Cub since at least 1921 to homer 8 times in his first 16 games with the club"

considering no one on the 1921 cubs even hit 8 HRs, i'd like a little followup on this one.

When will one of these guys just quit make excuses and admit they knew they were taking steroids, and that it wasn't just for a second to beat an injury::

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/la-s...

That is a good apology. I'll never believe a word that comes out of his mouth, but well said...

To me there are a few hidden agendas (protecting those close to him), minimizing statements (it was just a lozenge and a cream he did for a short time), cliches (trying to cope with a 'nagging injury'), patting himself on the back ("By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction."), oversights (Dino Laurenzi Jr. gets about a third of a sentence), obfuscation (he alludes to a level of self delusion that seems weird for someone who only did it once). Etc etc. there have been accusations by former (univ of Miami?) teammates that his use goes back many years so as you said The Joe I don't believe a word he says. Still seems like a guy more interested in saying the right thing, and a little spin towards salvaging a career, than a guy being honest. And I suppose that concern is very real for a player in his prime. I think he still slimes ...

Oh yeah, I think it's complete bullshit, but he said all the right things. After hearing how he called Matt Kemp and others and accused the collector of being an antisemite and (gasp!) a Cub fan, everything he says are just words to me...I just think it was a well written apology.

Anyone watching these Olt at bats? I haven't seen him since joining Iowa. I mean what the hell does he look like? Today another 0-3 with one K. But I mean I have NEVER seen so many ofers! The monkey and the typewriter have to apply at some point . . . He is apparently making a little contact but can't even get a blooper or a swinging bunt apparently. What's he look like? Lotsa popups? Soft grounders? It's really rather amazing the rate at which he is not reaching base.

My assumption has been that his eye issue has not cleared up. If you can't see the ball, you can't hit it.

Yes, mine too. But what I'm saying is he's not necessarily striking out more ... So what the hell is he doing on all these 0 for 3 and 0 for 4 days? What is his contact like? Has anyone here seen him regularly, is he taking good cuts? Does he look tentative? Etc.

I haven't seen him, but if the ball looks fuzzy, even when he makes contact it's probably half luck and it's easy to imagine him just getting a tiny bit of contact on it and hitting into a lot of grounders and popups. But without seeing him it's hard to say.

so that would be two unhelpful responses to his question then

What's with Almora leaving the KC Cougars? Did he get hurt?

Yes he's been hurt for a while.

Groin area injury Aug 6th

Ah, thanks

Ortiz on Dempster hitting A-Rod (a bit of paraphrashing on my part because it was on MLB Network)

That pitch woke up a monster, you've seen how they've been playing since it happened.

Cubs have moved to a 1.5 games back of the White Sox for the 3rd spot in the draft.

Remaining schedule (3 game series unless otherwise noted):

Away
@ Padres, @ Dodgers, @ Cincinnati, @ Pittsburgh (4), @ Milwaukee (4)

Home

Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

Looks like they could make a run for Miami, then. They really need to get swept in that series. Gotta get that Murphy guy out of the lineup.

EDIT: They're also going to need keep a couple of those teams at bay. The west coast trip should help. They may want to consider bringing Olt and Brett Jackson up and seeing what they can do on an every day basis.

I would guess 95 losses right now and that could get them anywhere from the #3 to #5 spot. They would have to get swept by Miami to challenge the #2 spot and challenge 100 losses. If I'm reading the schedule right, they'd face H. Alvarez, Koehler and Fernandez in that series fwiw.

not that it means much, but fangraphs article that sees Edwin Jackson like career in Chris Archer's future

http://www.fangraphs.com/community/concerning-chris-archers-future-a-dis...

DeJesus a Ray per mlbtr and a Marc Topkin tweet

https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Rays/status/3709563025...

How many players never played a home game for their team?

Adam Greenberg

Molzo toff !

Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet

2. Javier Baez, ss, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Age: 20
Why He’s Here: .407/.452/.852 (11-for-27), 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB, 8 SO, 0-for-1 SB

The Scoop: Now that Xander Bogaerts is in the big leagues with the Red Sox, the attention shifts to Baez, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell when discussing the top shortstop prospects in the minors. Baez may have the loudest tools of the group, with elite bat speed, incredible power production and a plus arm that turns hits into outs when he’s not throwing balls into the stands. Baez isn’t exactly the most polished shortstop in the group, but on weeks like this one in which he collected his fourth multi-homer game of the season, he may be the most exciting.

Also this - The most unhittable pitcher in the minors is Glasnow, and it’s not really close. Opponents are hitting .148 against him this year, best in the minors among qualified starters. The next best, Cubs righty C.J. Edwards, holds opponents to a .175 average.

Not So Hot Sheet

Juan Carlos Paniagua, rhp, Cubs. His contract twice voided before he signed with the Cubs last July, Paniagua flunked out of the low Class A Midwest League in July (8.22 ERA, 12 walks in 7 2/3 innings) and hasn’t fared much better following a demotion to short-season Boise. The 23-year-old let in 15 runs in 4 2/3 innings this week, allowing 20 baserunners compared with five strikeouts. He now sports a 10.80 ERA through four appearances for the Hawks.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/prospect-hot...

1.300 OPS for a week is hard to do in 16-inch.

Neil Ramirez to Cubs complete the Garza deal.

He's 24 this year and has a 3.84 ERA in 21 stars (103 IP) at AA with a 1.15 WHIP and 11.1 SO/9. Cubs continue to add depth to minor league starters. It's becoming more likely that a couple of these guys will develop and contribute in the majors.

it's like getting chris archer back in return for garza...hispanic edition.

http://www.lonestarball.com/2012/1/9/2692825/neil-ramirez-scouting-report

before 2012, they seemed to be really high on him (#5 Rangers prospect on that list), got beat up in AAA and AA and his K rate went down significantly...seems to have gotten that back up, but back in AA.

dropped to #18 on this list before the season began

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/12/29/3815628/texas-rangers-top-20-p...

Tough to get a handle on after wildly erratic season, failed in Triple-A and was spotty after going down to Double-A though sometimes effective. I have been very high on him in the past but he might do better with a change of scenery. Trade bait?

 

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