Theo talks: Zambrano, Soriano, Marmol, LaHair

I was at lunch with a good friend today and while we listened to the Theo Epstein speak on the Cubs, I really didn't think about writing notes.  I was tempted to scribble on napkins, but the act of  listening and the ensuing conversation got the better of me.  Luckily for me and other Cubs fans, Brett from Bleacher Nation was furiously scribbling them down for all of us to peruse and dissect for those who want details.  So here are my impressions from listening to Theo...

  • Carlos Zambrano is on a short leash.  It will no longer be good enough for him to say the right things.  He'll have to live up to those words on and off the field.  It looks like he'll get his shot to stick, but he's going to have to perform.  I also found it curious that Epstein made no attempt to say he's changed and we're counting on him...blah, blah, blah.  He didn't try to artificially raise his value.  It was a straightforward answer,  “I know there are skeptics, and I’m skeptical, too”.  It makes me think he'll start the season with the Cubs, but I'll be surprised if he ends it in Chicago.
  • Epstein said that eating sunk costs can be the sign of a healthy organization.  This statement doesn't bode well for Carlos Zambrano or Alfonso Soriano.  He did say there isn't one way to handle the situation and that sometimes you can set a better environment for players to succeed -- but sometimes you just have to walk away.  With a full roster, a glut of outfielders, and moves left to be made, I couldn't help but wonder if this could be the end of the line for Soriano.  I don't see how you can help Soriano be a better ballplayer other than sending him to the AL where he can DH.
  • The Cubs seem committed to Carlos Marmol as their closer.  For me this means there wasn't a lot of value for him on the open market.  If a team would have offered a prospect or two that could have made the Cubs better int he long run, I don't think Theo would have hesitated to trade him.  That could change depending on Marmol's performance and whether a team develops a need mid-season
  • Bryan LaHair is the first baseman for now.  And while the Cubs wouldn't turn down an upgrade, I don't think they'll break the bank or reach deep into an already thin prospect pool to do that.  Would the Cubs like Anthony Rizzo?  Sure, but whether they have the parts to get him without giving up a Brett Jackson is another story altogether.  They both project to be above average offensive players, but given the choice between the two players, you take the guy who gives you better defensive value at a premium position.  As for LaHair, Bill James projects him at a respectable .273/.335/.474 line with an ISO% of .201.  That ISO would rank just below the outputs that the Cubs top power hitters, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez, provided last season.  In a full season, that probably means about 22-25 HRs.  At minimum salary, that would provide pretty decent value and I don't see the Cubs upgrading unless that upgrade is significant.

Not a whole lot that we didn't already know, but I think there were some hints about the direction the Cubs would take with some of their players, particularly the ones stated above.

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  • Sometime what you don't say tells alot. Any player(s) that don't fit the
    overall long term plans should go, on way or another, for the better of
    the team.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    That's true. And you can be pretty sure Soriano or Z don't fit long term -- and probably not short term either.

  • I glad to hear, at least for now, that LaHair is going to get a chance.
    I hope a few deals are still in the works. Even if minor they may
    help in long run.

  • John
    Obviously its better to get something in return, but if the Cubs decide to cut Soriano , would they be able to give him the rest of his money over a longer stretch of years? (say, 10 years at $5.4mm per if they decide to cut him before the 2012 season)
    I just hope at least he has a good 1st half so they could get a something out of it & not have to eat his whole salary.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    I'm not sure how much we'd get, but even if it's a low level A guy with talent at least that would be something. Probably the biggest thing the Cubs get is opening up a roster spot for someone like Jackson.

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    I'm glad LaHair is finally getting a shot. At least then he'll be a known commodity. 3rd base still seems a trouble spot to me as are the 2 corner outfield spots. Gonna really enjoy spring training this year with all the new faces and the young guys getting an invite.

  • In reply to Henry Wilfong:

    Totally agree, new young players are always nice to watch and
    follow their development.

  • In reply to Henry Wilfong:

    While I wouldn't mind an upgrade, I'm glad LaHair will get his shot too. I think Epstein is sincere when he says he'd like to see what he can do.

  • I young (29) hungry player fits the Cubs team goals for rebuilding. There are more 1st baseman in the system to follow.

  • Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Cubs are close to dealing pitcher Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins.

  • Rosenthal mentioned the Marlins might then move Volstad. Makes some sense thathe might be included no?

  • In reply to draco:

    I would be very happy if that happened. My guess, though, is the Cubs will clear some roster space with this move.

  • Eat as much of his salary as we can. Just get a any young prospect in

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm curious to see how it plays out. Are the Cubs going to create payroll space or will they take back a prospect (who isn't eligible for the 40 man roster).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This my thinking also. That way he can very young, but promising.
    Depends on how much of the salary they pay.

  • Nice! I take it you made it out to Wild Fire.

  • Thanks again for the update John, Is there and links to hear the Theo interview available???

  • In reply to johnnywest333:

    Your welcome. As far as a recording. There was not one at the time I wrote the post, but if one becomes available, I'll update it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Something about hearing Theo speak puts me in dreamland lol

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Seeing as how it was on WGN (We Give Nothing) I highly doubt a link will be made available.

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    In reply to johnnywest333:

    Link to Theo's interview on WGN Radio website:,0,4361418.mp3file

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Thanks Just Win!

  • I would be more than happy of the Cubs unloaded Z to the Marlins , I really don't want to see Zambrano pitch for the Cubs again. Enough is enough, at some point it's better to go your separate ways , like in this case .

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I'm not going to be a guy who rags on Z, but it is time to move on.

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    They are reporting Volstad for Zambrano and I presume cash. Sounds like a win-win to me,,, lmao

  • In reply to Henry Wilfong:

    Like this deal for the Cubs!

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    Cubs traded Z to Marlins for SP Chris Volstad. Cubs pay all of Z's contract except for major league minimum.

  • Per the Commissioner's approval of the money involved and assuming the players involved pass their physicals, it's a done deal.

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    Yep,, Now that we've had our cancer removed,, we need to get our geriatric treatment.

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    I'm impressed with the Z trade. We knew the Cubs were going to have to eat most or all of his contract to get rid of him, but we got back a major league starting pitcher who can at least eat 170 or so innings, is still young, and could possibly improve a bit. Volstad is also under team control through 2014.

    Nice move.

  • In reply to Just Win:


  • ESPN has it as Cubs paying $15mil of his $18mil salary..Volstad is still not arb we'd have Volstad instead of Z and save$2.5mil...not a bad deal for either team...Volstad pencils in as our number 5 or 6 starter?

  • In reply to Cuyler:

    I'm penciling him in at 4 or 5 right now. Garza, Dempster, Wood have to be the top 3...from there you've got Wells, Volstad, Sonnanstine, Coleman fighting for the last two spots.

  • Bruce Levine reports Cubs pay $15-16 of $18mm. Volstad predicted to earn $2.6mm in arb by MLBTR. Looks like even money.

    Chris Bosio has just become my favorite Cub to root for. Theres alot of upside if he can get the best out of these young pitchers. i hope it pays off.

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    In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Had to look again at Bosio's bio. He was a triple A pitching coach for Miwaukee and espn says "he was considered one of the toughest? pitchers in the league" I figure they mean mentally tough. Sounds like just what Theo wants for a young, untested and immature pitching staff. I think I'll jump on the Bosio bandwagon also, Cub Fan Dan!!

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    I hope he can get the most out of these guys. Cubs pitchers will be more aggressive with Bosio than they were with Riggins -- maybe he can get these guys to trust their stuff.

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