Your 25-Man Roster Guess

The Cubs made two handfuls of expected cuts yesterday which included optioning Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Arismendy Alcantara, Logan Watkins, Matt Szczur, Jeudy Valdez, Carlos Pimentel and Eric Jokisch...releasing Aaron Cunningham brings it up to 10. That leaves camp with 56, but only 25 get to travel and we know many still there are just getting their work in. So let's take a best guess at the 25-man Opening Day Roster.

C: Castillo, Kottaras with John Baker trying to bump Kottaras

INF: Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Valbuena, Murphy

OF: Schierholtz, Lake, Sweeney, Ruggiano

That leaves 2 spots open presuming they go with the standard 13 and it seems Mike Olt, Emilio Bonifacio, Ryan Roberts and Ryan Kalish are your 4 best bets to get those 2 spots. Of course, there's also the hot-hitting Javier Baez and if Castro's hamstring injury doesn't clear up soon, it wouldn't be implausible that he's your starting shortstop on Opening Day, but that would open up a spot with Castro on the disabled list so it shouldn't effect the bench much. It does seem that Mike Olt is working his way to a starting 3b gig and my guess that would mean the end of either Valbuena or Murphy. If I had to guess now, it would be Olt starting at 3b, Murphy getting cut with Bonifacio and Roberts getting the last 2 spots and Kalish accepting a minor league assignment, but a lot can change the last few weeks of spring training.

SP: Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Hammel (1 spot open)

RP: Veras, Strop, Wright, Russell, Villanueva (2 spots open...3 if Villanueva starts)

Jake Arrieta should be the final starter, but it doesn't look like he'll be ready, leaving a spot open for Kyle Hendricks, James McDonald, Chris Rusin or Carlos Villanueva. If Villanueva takes the 5th starter job, which would be my guess at the moment,  that'll open up a spot in the pen where the candidate list is anything but short.

In some order of expectedness...

A. Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon, Parker, Rosscup, J. Sanchez, Rosscup, N. Ramirez and whomever I'm forgetting.

Cabrera might seem like a surprise, but seems to have pitched well enough and is out of options, giving him a boost.. The rest will be based off spring performance and Grimm seems to be the leader of that group. Ramirez has had a few good outings, but he hasn't had much success past AA yet, so I think it would have to be overwhelming for him to make th team out of Arizona. We'll see about the rest, Rondon and Parker seemed like favorites before spring training started, but haven't pitched well so far. And of course it's always important to note, that the pen you start out with is never the pen you end up with. The pieces will certainly shift accordingly.


Castillo, Kottaras, Rizzo, Castro, Barney, Schierholtz, Ruggiano, Lake, Sweeney

Samardzija, Wood, E. Jackson, Hammel

Veras, Strop, Wright, Russell, Carlos Villanueva


Fukijawa, Arrieta


Valbuena, Murphy, Olt, Roberts(NRI), Bonifacio(NRI), Kalish (NRI), C. Rusin, Hendricks(NRI), J. McDonald (NRI), A. Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon, Parker, Rosscup, J. Sanchez (NRI), Ramirez


J. Vitters, B. Jackson, Baez (NRI), Christian Villanueva, Beeler, A. Vizcaino, J. Baker (NRI), L. Flores (NRI), E. Whiteside (NRI), R. Lopez (NRI), W. Remillard (NRI), D. McDonald(NRI), M. Maier(NRI), Wells(NRI), Coughlan(NRI), M. Hatley (NRI), Hottovy (NRI), Yong-Lim (NRI), Rivero (NRI), Schlitter (NRI), Wada (NRI), Valaika (NRI)


Soler, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Szczur, Watkins, Valdez(NRI), Pimentel(NRI), Jokisch(NRI), A. Cunningham

For some reason, I'm getting 58 players left versus Muskat's assertion of 56. My guess is Arizona Phil can clear that up pretty quick, but if I were to hazard a guess, the original story on the non-roster invitees has L. Flores and W. Remillard as catchers that will assist at times, rather than actually invitees as Phil has listed on the sidebar.


And now Marcos Mateo is back to join the group.

speaking of Mateo, here's what Phil wrote the day it happened..

The Arizona Diamondbacks selected RHP Marcos Mateo from the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate with the 15th overall selection in the first round of the Major League Phase iof the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. Because he has been outrighted previously in his career, Mateo can elect free-agency if he is later re-claimed by the Cubs. (If re-claimed, a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft MUST be sent outright to the minor league club from which he was drafted).

Assuming he is healthy enough to play 3B, do we think 3B is now Olt's to lose?

Look I just had to throw out my James MacDonald shirsey last night, I'll be damned if I get rid of my Donnie Murphy bobblehead!

valbuena had a hot winter league, but has been disappointing this spring (so far).

i think a lot will have to do with whether his shoulder is ready to play 3rd this spring and how he looks there when he gets back to the position...and/or pending a bat collapse.

valbuena has the advantage of being able to play an average+ 2nd base, so he's not useless off the bench or as a part-time player. olt has the advantage of actually being a 3rd prospect who's well capable of playing 3rd without the question of position move that haunts many 3rd prospects (such as bryant).

sample size and all that...nonetheless...

olt/baez/bryant = 8 HR (olt/baez 3, bryant 2)

rest of cubs = 5 HR (rugs 2, barney 1, sureholds 1, kott 1)

the pitching situation is horrid across the board.

going all the way down to only count guys with 4ip or more there's only 1 guy with a positive looking slash line...and that's e.jokisch.

it includes 9 guys with 5.00+ ERA out of 12...and 2 of the guys out of the 3 with sub-5.00 ERA have bad supporting stats matching the lower ERA...and those 2 guys are d.beeler + c.pimentel. jokisch is the only guy out of the 12 with a sub-1.40 WHIP. spring pitching is notorious for slow starts and "lies" but damn.

I'll bet on a Darwin Barney trade to open up a spot.

Agreed the question with Barney is not if but when he will be traded.

I wouldn't. Eventually sure, but no other team needs him and they'd prefer to keep Baez down at least a month, probably more like June or July.

Definately not to create a spot for Baez. There are a few teams tha could use Barney. Now if they actually see him as an upgrade for the price is the question.

I'm sure I'm not thinking of a team, but seems like everyone except maybe the Yankees is set at 2b and Yanks have plenty of options there. And I know we all hate Barney, but his 3-year WAR at 2b is 4.9 which puts him 20th overall (go defense). Don't think the Cubs would sell him for nothing, otherwise they would have just avoided the whole offering arbitration mess. As for trading him to be a backup, well they'd get nothing back in return if that was the case and I don't think that's what they want to do here. And there's just not a lot of trades during spring training.

I think the leash will be short on Barney and if he gets injured or Castro, Baez will be up soon enough. Eventually another team will have a hole at short or second and maybe the Cubs will get something that might be slightly greater than useless.

So we are in agreement the question isn't if they will trade Barney it is when. I think your point is that they will trade him later not sooner, which I don't really disagree with. There is no rush.

Look at Gold Glove winners over the past few seasons and tell me if you don't see quite a bit of value there. Barney is worth more than he can bring in a trade right now. Punitive trading is not good business, although it can be very satisfying to a disappointed fan.

As regards Castro, Barney, Rizzo and even Brett Jackson, I think the Cub front office might want to test the theory that having a manager who is also the acting hitting coach can be very destructive to a young player.

Who said anything about a punitive trade. The Cubs have a number of players coming up who will likely be more valuable than Barney and they need a place play. As I doubt Barney gets an extension and as some other GM will value Barney's gold gloves a lot, it seems likely Barney will be traded before the end of the season. I agree with RobG that a trade will likely take place after openning day, but it wouldn't shock me if he is traded this spring.

Just the idea that you trade a guy you don't like, or who had a bad year, is punitive. Is that what the Cubs have been doing? They release guys they don't like. If someone has trade value, they build him up, build him up, and trade him in July.

probably in agreement over whether Barney will still be a Cub at the end of the year (I don't think he will be), but since the post is about the Opening Day roster, I thought that was what we were discussing.

I don't think Baez factors into it. If Olt can play 3B, they have better options than Barney already on the roster.

But you are right in the end they will only move him if another team values him more than they do.

they have better options than Barney already on the roster.

you're thinking Valbuena/Murphy platoon at 2b? I guess that's possible, have either been playing there at all this spring?

valbuena has played a little at 2nd this spring (i don't think he's started at 2nd, though), but he played a lot of 2nd during winter ball.

boni is getting a lot of chances to show he's capable of producing and playing at 2nd...even if it's just off the bench. he's seeing almost all of his time there rather than CF/LF. he leads the team in spring PA/AB...though this is a very small sample size that could be trumped by more than a few guys in a single game with boni taking a day off at this point. he's been capable this spring (judging by the boxscore) and they seem to be willing to take a loot at his skills there even though it's historically been a bit meh.

as far as barney goes...i don't see them getting rid of him until/if baez becomes an issue because barney is pretty much the backup SS if what we're seeing so far this spring is any indication.

Boni? Did Quade take over Crunch's account as an act of revenge for getting fired?

Cubs 30/30 on mlb network tomorrow

I really liked seeing that Cub hitters hit lefties in the Seattle game. That's something I think the Cubs lineup really struggled with the past few years.

Yeah, and the softer the tosser the worst they hit it seems. It might be purely anecdotal, but it always seemed like lefties just carved up the Cubs lineup for the past few seasons.

check out rizzo's split vs lefties. .194/.270 avg/ob% career (edited post to correct avg)... .189/.282 last year...

if he can't at least get up to a respectable level it's going to be a concern. i'm not even hoping for a miracle out of him vs lefties...i would settle for a .250/.330-ish line out of him or something similar. as it is he's an automatic "get the lefty in" late inning manager decision and vs a lefty starter it's practically cruising unless the pitcher gives him something to put over the OF fence.

That OBP tells me he's seeing the ball well, so not sure what's going on there.

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I bet it's not at all unusual for young left-handed sluggers to have trouble with MLB lefties for their first few years. Quality and crafty left-handed pitching is sparse in the minors. I would guess his performance against them may trend upward over the next few years, even if it never reaches that .250 average mark you're looking for.

Today's game will be on tape delay on the MLB Network this evening.

WGN game on Saturday.

Comcast Sports Net on Sunday.

"Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's return to the lineup has been indefinitely delayed as he deals with fluid in his leg from a hamstring injury suffered on March 2."

well if the Opening Day lineup is now Barney at SS and Bonifacio or Valbuena at 2b, that would certainly be a buzzkill

if Baez ends up being starting shortstop, see if he does enough to never get sent down again. Be kind of neat.

the problem is, can he shift to second when Castro gets back. They sure better start getting him some reps there. The more I read about him, the more interesting he gets. I read stuff by MLB coaches saying things like, "he doesn't just make adjustments after at bats, he makes adjustments during an at bat." Watching him the few times I've been able to, he seems pretty special. TheoCorp's alleged policy of a set number of at bats may need to get filed away. I don't think this kid is gonna get ruined by a few bad at bats in the majors.

EDIT: I'm torn between seeing him play against Iowa here at a Round Rock game and seeing him play in the majors, but overall, I'd prefer the latter.

When can the Cubs call up Baez without accelerating his clock?

That shouldn't be much of a consideration in this day of locking up young players as early as possible. Hell, I'm surprised Theo hasn't locked him up already to a 12 year contract.

"Javier Baez will get a start at second base on Monday or Tuesday.
It will be the first start for Baez at second base since his high school days."

Awesome. Didn't look too great today.

2 more moved down, Beeler and Hatley


Castillo, Kottaras, Rizzo, Castro, Barney, Schierholtz, Ruggiano, Lake, Sweeney

Samardzija, Wood, E. Jackson, Hammel

Veras, Strop, Wright, Russell, Carlos Villanueva


Fukijawa, Arrieta


Valbuena, Murphy, Olt, Roberts(NRI), Bonifacio(NRI), Kalish (NRI), C. Rusin, Hendricks(NRI), J. McDonald (NRI), A. Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon, Parker, Rosscup, J. Sanchez (NRI), Ramirez


J. Vitters, B. Jackson, Baez (NRI), Christian Villanueva, A. Vizcaino, J. Baker (NRI), L. Flores (NRI), E. Whiteside (NRI), R. Lopez (NRI), W. Remillard (NRI), D. McDonald(NRI), M. Maier(NRI), Wells(NRI), Coughlan(NRI), Hottovy (NRI), Yong-Lim (NRI), Rivero (NRI), Schlitter (NRI), Wada (NRI), Valaika (NRI)


Soler, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Szczur, Watkins, Valdez(NRI), Pimentel(NRI), Jokisch(NRI), A. Cunningham, M. Hatley (NRI), Beeler

Samardzija, Wood, Jackson in opening series vs. Pirates

Hammel likely to get home opener vs. Phillies

tough times for the braves.

k.medlen expected to have TJ...b.beachy's status has been updated today saying he might need TJ...

m.minor's shoulder is expected to keep him out til early/mid-April at the earliest, but that's a weird case.

ATL's youth pitchers have been notoriously "babied"...not going 100+ pitches often and rarely going 110+ for a few years now as a standard practice. ATL has been king of the 3-inning bullpen load for a while no matter if the starter could go another inning or not.

crazy "when it rains it pours" stuff.

Sounds like they could use some Edwin Jackson.

They signed Santana

Peanut. Signed for just under $3.5 for one year.

“Charles is one of the NFL’s great players and a true leader on and off the field and we’re happy he will be staying in Chicago,” general manager Phil Emery said in a statement. “He remains the best in our game at forcing turnovers and always has brought a tough, physical presence to our secondary.”

rehabbing a torn triceps...

“I’m very optimistic about my recovery,” Tillman said. “It gives you something to shoot for in terms of ­motivation.”

I hope he's got one more year in him. Melton is trying to get out from under the consequences of hanging out at the bars at 1am in redneck country, so he may still be available, but cap space is a problem. I don't think he's hit his ceiling, though, so I wouldn't mind it if he came back. Bears are making some progress on the defensive front. Last year, any team with the ball marched up and down the field. Kinda took the fun out of watching the offense.

Castro rehab slow. Update from sun-times...Castro said he’s running at about 40 percent effort. He took batting practice in the cage Thursday for the first time since suffering the injury March 2.

“I like to steal. That’s one of my goals, to steal a lot of bases. I think I can do it because I have a green light now. I don’t have to wait for the sign or nothing else, just when I want to run.”

How about you like to play stellar defense? Make that one of your goals, please.

Green Bay, where old Bears go to retire

Or, Chicago, where Packers and Lions go to up their salary. Peppers will be missed more than most think. Even when he wasn't getting sacks the last couple years, he was a big problem for defenses and he often compensated for defensive tackles who weren't as good at their position as he was at his. I think they had to let him move - just way too much money for the return. It was odd, too, how consistently his opponents were able to commit pretty flagrant holding penalties and get away with it - easy enough that I could see it on TV during routine plays. It's almost like he had a bad rep with refs, but I've never heard of that. No matter, he didn't dominate the way his salary said he should have. For that kind of money, guys should have been on the ground on that side of the field a lot more than they were.

Kyle Hendricks to minor league camp. Roto says he needs more seasoning.

Nice outing yesterday though. See him as the first call up for a starter injury?

Not already being on the 40-man roster probably delays him.

CUBSTER: Kyle Hendricks is Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2014, so the Cubs won't hold back adding him to the 40 during the season if he's the guy they deem most-ready for an in-season call-up. Same goes for C. J. Edwards and Eric Jokisch. 

Other than the three pitchers (Hendricks, Edwards, and probably Jokisch), there are no Cubs minor league position players eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft who would appear (at this time) to be likely candidates to get added to the 40-man roster in 2014. 

Javier Baez or Kris Bryant could get called up at some point during the season, but Baez is not Rule 5 Draft eligible until post-2015, and Bryant won't be Rule 5 Draft eligible until post-2016. 

b.jackson finally hit a homer (vs KC). rizzo hits 2 HR off b.colon (vs NYM), his first of the spring.

m.olt goes 0-4...including a 12 pitch AB vs t.collins (KC) which he K'd on a 3-2 count.

ninja didn't have a good day 3.2ip 7h 3bb 1k 4r/er

rosscup has all but stamped his ticket back to AAA with another 'meh' outing giving up 3 runs. given that this is only his 3rd appearance of the spring, it seems like he was destined to be back in AAA anyway.

another knock against grimm today, giving up 2r in 1ip...looks like he might be back in AAA to start the season unless he shows a little more (or there's need).

in non-cubs spring news, the TEX/OAK game is f'n 7th, no outs, 14-13 TEX/OAK (5 TEX runs in the top 7th so far). TEX was down 6-13 going into the 6th inning. TEX wins 16-15 after losing, then regaining, the lead. 34 hits (17 for each team) and 10 walks (5 for each team).

s.drew's weekend just got a little more bright and hopeful...

"Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that Jose Iglesias (shins) will miss at least four months, and perhaps the entirety of the 2014 season."

that's one hell of a shin(s) injury.

Barney to Detroit. Too simple

It actually makes a little sense - they have plenty of bats in the lineup so they can afford an all defensive guy. But I don't think other teams will offer much.

Jose Iglesias is all-defensive guy despite some luck last year. See if they'd cough up anything worthwhile rather than just money for Drew.

Loss of draft pick for signing Drew too.

"Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated Sunday that the Tigers will stick with "internal candidates" to replace Jose Iglesias."

aka, who?

s.lombardozzi at SS is a weak option at best...especially since he was rushed to the bigs only to flail and he hasn't played regular SS since college. h.perez is an even worse option, though he can probably play SS more predictably.

e.suarez isn't MLB ready...

they got nothing.

they may not go after drew, but with all the loot sunk into DET i can't imagine them cruising with lombardozzi/perez as their only options rather than one of them being a backup option and snagging someone else to start who's more dependable.

jimmy rollins and nick franklin are also in the "guys that can play SS and are thought to be available" mix...i imagine n.franklin won't be cheap, though.

MIA has a combined no-hitter vs NYY through 7, fwiw.

4-pitcher combined no-hitter. woo spring.

The twitter box has the link to the article on the Cubs firing their psychologist. It's an odd story. Apparently the psychologist would dress up in uniform and hang out in the locker room. I'm not sure who permitted this to go on but it sounds fairly unprofessional to me. Supposedly he would hang out just to listen to the gossip and report back to someone (Crane Kenney?) I'd love to have someone write up the real scoop on the story from the beginning.

Not only was Strickland available for consultation with players, the specialist in sports psychology had his own locker at home and on the road, dressed in team workout gear and played catch and shagged balls before games during batting practice.

Early in his first year in the majors, Strickland even stood in the dugout tunnel at Wrigley Field after victories, bumping fists with players as though he was part of the team.

not counting the oldschool (and weird) use of psychologists is baseball...

cleveland indians kinda pioneered the modern use of psychologists. dude has his own office directly behind the dugout and players are permitted to visit during games.

images of a confessional with Piniella asleep on the other side of the window?

the cleveland indians team psychologist is actually credited on the team as being a "psychology coach".

he's also the cleveland cavilers team psychologist in a smaller role.

and he wrote the book "The Complete Mental Game of Baseball: Taking Charge of the Process, On and Off the Field"

woo...modern sports.

I found Sullivan's tone in that article to be pretty rude/stupid, i.e., his usual. He uses "get rid of" a couple of times in relation to the he had some personal beef with him. Such a miserable guy.

I saw Strickland a lot at Fitch Park. I never saw him wear an actual baseball uniform at Fitch, but he did dress in the same Cubs t-shirt & shorts the players wear on the field during work-outs, and he did occasionally shag flies with the pichers during BP or stand behind the batting cages with the hitting coaches and talk to the hitters between rounds.     

He worked with a lot of the rehab guys (post-TJS pitchers, hitters returning from major injuries, etc), and I believe he was the one who recommended to the Cubs to try Chris Huseby as an outfielder after Huseby was unable to throw strikes as a pitcher (Huseby had an EXTREME case of "Steve Blass Disease"). 

boni playing SS again in the cle/chc split squad game. it's looking more and more that he's going to break with the team as a super-sub unless his hitting goes further south...and he's not got much room for cushion given his .250/.269 avg/ob% spring showing so far. he's seen a lot of work at 2nd, and a few games at SS both starting and subbing in.

r.sweeney finally got another hit. 2-23 on the spring.

valbuena (playing 2nd vs cle) has 2 doubles today as his bat heats up a bit after a very cold start.

d.murphy and vogelbomb hit homers in the chc/nym game.

a.alcantara hit his 1st homer of the spring vs cle.

Kalish with two stolen bases. I sorta hope he makes the team. Guess they get a Schierholtz or Sweeney taker. They are all somewhat interchangeable to me.

they gave r.sweeney a 2/3.5m contract this offseason to be a bench/injury-sub guy. it's a cheap enough contract to not care much about it (especially since he plays a capable CF), but they're probably committed to him going into this season at the very least.

kalish does look like a heck of a mid-season sureholds replacement and future bench guy, though. if he can find his power again (though he's never been thought of as a 25-30+ HR type) he could turn out to be a very interesting option for a lot of play in the OF.

that said, it wouldn't shock me to see sureholds + barney going to DET with ruggs penciled into RF and boni added to the roster. DET has been linked to sureholds and though they've not been linked to barney they recently obtained a SS injury issue to address.

Sweeney bought a $1.4M house about a half mile from my mom. His wife must be loaded.

does that say more about Sweeney's wife or St. Patrick's Day?

ta da boom (beating on a green drum).

Cafardo's Sunday notes have this...

1. Jose Iglesias, SS, Tigers — He has gone through quite an ordeal dealing with painful shin splints since he was traded from the Red Sox. Iglesias played through it in Boston, but since going to Detroit, the pain has been unbearable. Iglesias will likely start the season on the disabled list and is seeing a specialist to see if there’s something to alleviate the pain.

I've been thinking about Iglesias. Shin splints is mostly a non-surgical problem, treated with extensive stretching and anti-inflammatory meds. When it gets chronic and persistent (sounds like he was dealing with it in Boston too) then there might be other diagnoses. A stress fracture is usually seen on MRI imaging. This is like having a hairline crack in a car windshield. Early on it's small but if it extends the symptoms can progress. It can take months to heal but usually does with rest. Jorge Solar dealt with something like this last year. Todd Hollandsworth had this problem too while he was a Cub. There is another fairly unusual condition (and harder to diagnose) that is called a chronic compartment syndrome which occurs when running activity makes the muscles swell up so much that the compartment in the leg gets so tight it cuts off the blood supply to the muscle. The symptoms go away with rest so it's only with vigorous activity. One way to diagnose this is by measuring the compartment pressure while the athlete is running on a treadmill. If that diagnosis is made it is treated with a surgical procedure called a fasciotomy, which is to split the fibrous layer that compartmentalizes the leg. There are 4 leg compartments but in this condition usually only one is responsible for the symptoms.

and ho hum, Cafardo has another Shark for sale sign in his column:

9. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Cubs — Theo Epstein received offers for him this offseason but didn’t pull the trigger. As pitching injuries begin to mount in Atlanta (Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy), there’s been some buzz in the scouting community that the Braves might have an interest in the former Notre Dame wide receiver.

Good information, thanks!

I have very little expectations for Ninja, I'd be thrilled with a prospect package for him.

This is definitely his walk the walk year.

Trade to the Bears for Jordan Palmer.


I don't know.

Bob from Niles?

Has to be a Bob of some sort.

"Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias says he has stress fractures in both legs and isn't sure when he'll be able to play again,"

I wouldn't mind the Cubs picking up Javy Guerra. Another good reclamation project...

Another starting pitcher goes down.

add j.parker (OAK) to the list, too...TJ

b.beachy visited dr andrews today for an on him expected tomorrow.

AZ Phil, I know the Cubs have historically brought in some Latin youngsters at the end of ST. I was hoping that Roney Alcala would be brought in. He had a big year in the VSL. I believe they were using him as a catcher/first baseman/ third baseman.

HAGSAG: Roney Alcala was converted to catcher last season and I would expect him to arrive in Mesa for Extended Spring Training if not sooner. 

Also, Gleyber Torres is back on the field and he played in the game versus the IPL (International Prospect League) showcase team yesterday morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa. I saw most of the game but not all of it, so I won't post a box score.

The Cubs starting lineup was: 

1. Gleyber Torres, SS 
2. Charcer Burks, CF 
3. Eloy Jimenez, DH #1 
4. Rock Shoulders, RF 
5. Jesse Hodges, 3B 
6. Trevor Gretzky, LF 
7. Kelvin Freeman, 1B 
8. Mark Malave, C 
9. Alexander Sanchez, 2B 
10. Neftali Rosario, DH #2 

Antonio Valerio replaced Malave as catcher in the 6th.

I don't know who the Cubs SP was, but Rob Zastryzny pitched the middle three innings and Jen-Ho Tseng pitched the last three.

Baseball America posted a video of Tseng throwing in yesterday's game (Valerio is the catcher).

Nice video. I agree that if he can make his changeup work, it could be brutal. His curveball is nice, but probably won't fool too many big leaguers.

Carrie [email protected]
#Cubs @mike_olt scratched because of fatigue in right shoulder. Renteria: "We're looking to keep him healthy." Not serious

Mark [email protected]
Olt says right shoulder will undergo more treatment today, believes he could play 3b as soon as Tuesday night if all goes well

As anticipated, Baez is playing 2B today.

Cubs Shrink Got Shrunk

Would like to know why Ricketts' wanted him around

LAA batting former disappointing former Cubs infielders 4th, 5th, and 6th. Nice. And so far they are 1-2 with a BB and SO against E. Jackson.

I'm also anticipating a big day for Rizzo after his success against Colon the other day. Blanton is a similar pitcher, I think, and the wind is supposed to be blowing out to RF.

wow...umpire brad myers (AAA ump) nailed by a ball in the infield coming off the bat of b.phillips in the cle/cin game...screaming line drive to the gut.

he went down hard. took him 2-3 minutes to get up off the ground and he was taken off in the cart. cap tip and all that...he got rung hard, but he seems to be okay.

so long james was a fun spring while it lasted.

left after 2 pitches...the 2nd one went all the way to the back stop (for the 2nd game in a row)...arm injury.

Baez now with 29 AB and zero walks....

so...mid-season form? good for him.

i know he's young and i know some hold out hope for him refining his plate approach, but there's not been a shred of evidence pointing to him not wanting to try to knock everything he sees out of the park whether it goes for a single, a home run, or a strikeout.

stick him in the 4/5 slot (depending on his eventual power realized) and try to make it work. if he can pull a mark trumbo type performance at the plate at a "worst case" it would be far from a disaster considering the bats that have come up through the cubs minors since half-past-forever.

welly is showing off the arm in this LAA/CHC replay on MLB.

he's made a few throws to 1st trying to nail runners. great throws...close plays...rizzo being left handed isn't helping the "throw to 1st" pickoff, though.

Having established that this is a much tougher job than the last one, let’s look at how it’s going. In short: It’s going well as long as you don’t focus on the Cubs’ win-loss record. That’s not a punch line. The new front office made the conscious decision not to worry about wins and losses until there’s a chance those wins might add up to a playoff spot. Focusing on a .500 record or “respectability” while rebuilding is like drinking an O’Doul’s: It’s a half-measure done for appearances’ sake that doesn’t please anyone.

ah, the bi-weekly "everything will be great in the future" cubs front office story from the world of sports writing. the dead horse that won't die even with very little new is being said.

new traditions are fun.

It's better than the comments (elsewhere) about it being time to start printing playoff tickets because they fired their psychologist. Theo is doing a damn good job whether you want to admit it or not.

i don't have a problem with theo (or poor, ignored jed).

we're on year 3 of articles about how "the future is so bright" with intense breakdowns of what the front office is doing without actually talking to the front office, though. they're all mostly repeating each other at this point for quite a while without bringing much new to the table.

So you're saying that people don't want to read the same things over and over again. To that, I agree.

yet it keeps on happening...strange world we tolerate.

btw, dusty baker is still unemployed.


I agree, too, but what's different this year is you can start to see the results of the rebuilding. It's an exciting time for the organization.

Exactly. And public discourse among the casual fan has actually not been repetitive. This is one of the few 'mainstream' media reports that has been this positive.

BP article with some video on Javier Baez Swing...

With Baez you can even start to see the number on the back of his jersey after his swing from the center-field camera.

and some BP love for Alcantara and Vogy from their 3/16 performances

Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs: 3-3, R, HR. The only thing better then Alcantara’s name may be his skill set, as a middle infielder with power and speed. There is talks of moving prospects such as Javier Baez over to second base because of a logjam in the infield, but don’t count on Alcantara to cooperate with that plan.
Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs: 2-4, R, HR. For a player whose value is entirely attached to his bat, Vogelbach sure is good at making people believe. And hitting baseballs.

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  • lester going for #20...cubs haven't had a LH (thanks jpep for the correction) 20 game winner since d.ellsworth in 1963.

    crunch 14 sec ago view
  • fwiw, all the games are free on

    crunch 1 min 14 sec ago view
  • Short rest for MadBum would be 2 days. WC game is Wed., Games 1 & 2 are Friday/Saturday.

    billybucks 19 min 34 sec ago view
  • A left-handed one...

    JoePepitone 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • J-Hey not finishing with an offensive onslaught.

    If Geoff Blum could be a Playoff hero, there is hope still...

    The E-Man 6 hours 48 sec ago view
  • Giants scare me. I think you're wrong about Bumgarner, he would pitch on short rest for Game 2 and then full rest for Game 5. Cueto would go Game 1, then short rest in game 4. Add in some really tough outs in that lineup and I want nothing to do with them. With that rotation they can easily steal a series.

    Cards are a tough matchup. The rivalry evens out their comparable lack of talent. And like someone said, they love HRs, which is how to beat the Cubs. The upside is that I would feel really good about Lester twice against STL.

    John Beasley 6 hours 46 min ago view
  • j.buchanan with a nice start...5ip 2h 1bb 3k, 0r/er

    zobrist with 2HR and a double through 8

    heyward 0-4 :(

    crunch 18 hours 46 min ago view
  • Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales

    Soler likely to return Sunday, Maddon says

    crunch 21 hours 24 min ago view
  • Right now, I'd like to see the Mets first, Giants 2nd.

    I believe that since most of the team from last years' NLCS is on the squad this year, they will really amp their game up even more to kick their ass in payback for 2015.

    The Giants just do not have the depth in years past, and I think all things equal - and at Wrigley - they could handle them.

    I do not want to see the Cards, period. Or their fans, media, or Joe Buck.

    The E-Man 21 hours 43 min ago view
  • I don't want to play Braves in the first round. Any friggin team in the league can win 3 of 5..I hate the first round. Furthermore, I wanted to play the Marlins in 2003 and the Mets over Dodgers last year.

    With that said in reverse order:
    3. Cardinals: It will be devastating to lose in the first round, but even worse to their main rival. It is increased incentive for the Cardinals, especially after last year. Cards would have nothing to lose, Cubs have everything to lose.

    2. Giants: Rotation in the playoffs scare me a bit, but what a lousy team.

    blockhead25 22 hours 26 min ago view
  • 1. Mets--because of the losses in the rotation
    2. Giants--because they're not the team they were BUT they maybe have bullshit even-year magic?
    3. Cardinals--because rivalry and not making the playoffs hurts them more than losing in the NLDS plus getting eliminated by them in the playoffs would make for horrible sports commentary next throughout next season.

    Charlie 1 day 10 min ago view
  • Who's asking?

    jacos 1 day 12 min ago view
  • #TeamEntropy

    CLE/DET rained out last night already, possible rain-outs in New York (vs. Baltimore), Boston(vs. Toronto) and Philly(vs. Mets) this weekend too.

    Not only games involving playoff spots that would need to be played, but any that involve home field advantage.

    Rob G. 1 day 20 min ago view
  • I got the first one! Second one I'm not even sure what even/odd betting is.

    johann 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • any opponent preference for NLDS?

    Mets are down to 1 great pitcher instead of 4. Syndegaard may pitch Sunday which means if Mets win the WC game, he'd be set up for Game 1. There's a chance they clinch a spot by Sunday so he'd pitch the WC and then we'd probably get Colon for Game 1. They've certainly had the hottest bats over the last week and month out of the WC options.

    Rob G. 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Rob Richardson 1 day 6 hours ago view