The best conversations on Cubs Den take place when both John Arguello and Tom Loxas weigh in on the topic. So, with an off day, I got John out of the Idaho woods where he was picking up Dan Voglebach home run balls and I pulled Loxas out of the unmarked van parked outside Jed and Theo’s office and put them in a cage and told them to Blog for their supper.
Here are five questions concerning the future of the North side 9. And one worthless question to boot. If this bit is successful, I’ll let you guys supply the future questions. Let’s get together and let the good times roll….
1) WHAT ONE ASPECT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DALE SVEUM IMPROVE ON AS A MANAGER FOR THE 2013 SEASON?
John Arguello: I'd like to see a less strict platoon system. I understand that the Cubs lacked everyday talent in 2012 and the platoon did end up building a little trade value for Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson. But as the Cubs add young talent, I'd like them to rotate players, rest them for some tough matchups, and keep them fresh, but overall I'd like to see a more consistent and balanced everyday lineup.
Tom Loxas: I think I would like to see him continue to work with the young players that need development like Brett Jackson and make sure we get them every opportunity. No more relying on players that don't figure like Jeff Baker and Joe Mather.
2) THE CUB THAT WILL MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPRESSION ON CUBS BRASS BETWEEN NOW AND CLOSING DAY WILL BE __________?
JA: Wellington Castillo who already has more power and can control the running game better than Clevenger. The Cubs will grow more confident in his ability to receive and call games.
TL: I think Castillo will show he is the everyday catcher for next season. I also think Cabrera and Vitters could help their cases. I think Cabrera could have a big role in the pen next season and Vitters has eased some of the fears he couldn’t handle 3B defensively.
3) BIGGEST POSITIVE OF THE CUBS KEEPING MATT GARZA IS...
JA: The biggest positive to keep Matt Garza is that he's very likely to be better than any pitcher they can acquire in a trade.
TL: If they can't get what they want for him in the off -season, he makes your staff viable with Shark and he at the top.
JA: If Arodys Vizcaino can come back, the Cubs could have the makings of a power top 3 to go with Travis Wood and whomever wins the 5th starters spot.
TL: Some of these younger pitchers could ease into the other roles much easier with the top of the rotation settled in.
JA: I get that the Cubs will get better value if they do trade Garza, but we shouldn't be quick to assume that the prospect will one day be a better pitcher. He probably won't. That's not to say I'm against trading him, but I think the idea that we'll get a pitcher who will be a #1 starter in return is an extreme long shot. If the Cubs get a #3 who can contribute long term, we could consider that a win.
TL: Garza could have a nice season and still get moved at next summer's deadline.
4) WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WISH CUB FANS WOULD STOP SAYING/THINKING?
TL: That Starlin Castro and the younger players take such a public beating just because the local media wants to sell impatience and negativity.
JA: I'm not a big fan of the Castro trade scenarios. I understand the frustration with Castro. I feel it too. The Cubs do need pitching, but they need impact players too. Castro is potentially that kind of player, though he's not that now. My sense is that the Cubs do not want to trade him unless some team falls in love with him and is willing to part with a package that includes two elite prospects. I don't think that will happen.
Any team that approaches the Cubs at this point will almost certainly approach them from the standpoint of buying low, and that could be a potentially disastrous situation for the Cubs.
5) WHAT'S THE NEXT MOVE EPSTOYER WILL MAKE THAT WILL SHOCK EVERYBODY?
JA: I don't know if they'll do anything shocking unless you consider them taking a pass on every big name free agent shocking. I look for them to take on some flyers and trade for prospects. I'll say that their most shocking move will be to sign Garza to a team friendly extension.
TL: They find a way to deal Carlos Marmol, Alfonso Soriano, and convince Tom Ricketts to push Crane Kenney completely out the door.
6) THE MOST TOLERABLE BAR IN WRIGLEY VILLE IS__________?
JA: The Dark Horse.