Cubs Den Game Preview and Thread: Cubs cut Szczur and two others

Cubs Den Game Preview and Thread: Cubs cut Szczur and two others

After the Cubs took a drubbing from the White Sox, we move on.  We need not speak of it.  We'll pretend it never happened.

The Cubs take on the Reds tonight at 8:05.  Here is your preview...

News and Notes...

  • The Cubs cut 3 players today: OF Matt Szczur, RHP Dayan Diaz (no surprise because we saw his name already listed in minor league camp), and C Michael Brenly -- again, no surprise.  Brenly was in camp early to help handle pitchers.  He has not seen much playing time.  Szczur was probably the most surprising, but he hasn't played well and the Cubs have a lot of other players they'd like to see in the outfield right now -- Dave Sappelt, Scott Hairston, David DeJesus, Brett Jackson, and even Brent Lillibridge will see the bulk of the time in CF, which is Szczur's main position.
  • I'm hearing that the Cubs are no closer to dealing Carlos Marmol than they were last year at the deadline.  I'm not expecting a deal until the deadline, though the Cubs can be stealthy when it comes to such things.
  • A nice article by Vineline on using stats to evaluate minor league players Kyle Hendricks figures prominently on the lists.
  • Jesse Rogers held a chat today and fielded questions on Jorge Soler, Junior Lake, and more...
  • It's raining hard in Mesa, so we may not have a game at all.

Tonight's Lineup

  1. Sappelt LF
  2. Barney 2B
  3. Hairston CF
  4. Soriano DH
  5. Valbuena SS
  6. Navarro C
  7. Soler RF
  8. Lake 3B
  9. Bogusevic 1B

Starting Pitcher: Nick Struck tries to build on his last good start and position himself for a call-up later this season if and when the Cubs trade starting pitchers at the deadline.

5 Things to Watch for...

  • It appears that Dale Sveum is going to take Brent Lillibridge north regardless of what he does this spring which means that there may not be an opening for position players.  Bryan Bogusevic, however, is trying to change that as he looks to continue his hot spring.  We've assumed that the 5th OF'ers spot is Dave Sappelt's to lose and while you don't want to put to much stock in the spring, he's been outplayed so far by Bogusevic.  If Bogusevic makes the team, then we may see Brent Lillibridge play some CF against lefties.  Dale Sveum has said he will play in the OF when he gets back from his injury.  Both Sappelt (LF) and Bogusevic (1B) are in the lineup today.
  • Bogusevic's defensive play at 1B will factor into his chances to make the team.
  • Depending on what happens with Ian Stewart, Junior Lake could climb as high as #3 on the depth chart with Valbuena and Lillibridge likely ahead of him as far as 3B options.  When it comes to 3rd base, 3 is a crowd and Lake will start in Iowa but as we mentioned yesterday, Sveum sees him as a possible call-up midseason if he plays well at Iowa.
  • Jorge Soler is back in his familiar RF where he has the prototypical arm.  We've already seen him nail Josh Reddick at 3B, so let's see if any Reds challenge the Cubs talented young outfielder.


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  • fb_avatar

    I know its crazy but Sappelt scare's me. Im not convinced that he even a little bit of a help.

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    He'll help if he can hit lefties, which he's done his whole professional career, including parts of 3 years at AAA and last season in short call-up. Not going to be too worried about the spring stats.

    On a related note, I also don't think Bogusevic is this good a hitter. He's more of a .250 type hitter with some pop, speed, and soild approach.

    Cubs will have to decide what will help them more during the season. Most likely it's a guy who can hit righties and play CF, which is Sappelt.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Spring stats don't mean anything. I hate it when managers make decisions based on meaningless spring stats. Lillibridge has a long history of not hitting his weight. Sappelt has a history of hitting, etc., but those are the kinds of things managers ignore when people have good/bad springs.

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    I agree Sportsgod. The thing that bothers me about Sappelt is his attitude. Last year he was attributed with some Tweets about other people being promoted ahead of him and it just seemed like he was a whiner. Wouldn't hurt my feelings if someone else beat him out.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    I didn't see those. I usually don't follow ballplayers. If he did that that's not going to reflect well on him at all. Do you remember what he tweeted?

  • I know that spring training is not the time to look at stats, because players are working things out, playing out of position, taking situational batting approaches, facing unlikely pitching opponents, etc. However, am I out of line being concerned that the Cubs are the worst in all of baseball in AVG and OBP, and have the 2nd most strikeouts?

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I'd be most concerned about the strikeouts. How are the walk totals? Average should come around but wouldn't be as confident that walks will come up.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Smack dab in the middle with walks at 63.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I guess that's somewhat encouraging, especially considering that the Cubs are often near the bottom.

  • fb_avatar

    At what point can we get worried about Starlin Castro's "no big deal, he's fine" injury?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They said he would have played already if it was the regular season. Sveum said he's being extra cautious and "it's not like he needs to play for his job". If he doesn't play by Monday, then I'd be worried. He may play this weekend.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't think he will play until Wednesday. Day off Tuesday and there is absolutely zero rush. If the Cubs lose Castro for a large chunk of time, their slim chances of being good are gone. They have nobody to back him up.

    Also John, Do you think it is possible Soler is a better prospect then Baez? I think the biggest factor is plate discipline. Soler, in his small sample, seems pretty good at the plate.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Very possible. Okay. Won't panic if I don't see him on Monday then :)

    I think you can make a good case for any of the top 3. I actually wrote a piece a few weeks ago about whether or not Soler was the top prospect.

    I'll have my updated top 25 soon. Usually write 3 of them. I had Baez as y top guy for my post-season version in November.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    There's the part of me that believes them when they say that.

    Then there's the part of me that believed them both times they termed Matt Garza's injury as "minor."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Castro is doing everything right now and also hasn't had an injury history. That is why I believe this one.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Isn't that what was said about KWood last spring?

  • fb_avatar

    John, did you see this about the SABR Analytics Conference?

    Neat stuff!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I had not. Good stuff. No coincidence Cubs prefer those top arms.

  • It is a shame that the Ricketts cannot get their stadium project started due to a certain alderman has to prove his "manhood" to his voters. Let me say this, if Wrigley Field was in another part of town, Wrigleyville would be a slum....the people in that neighborhood should appreciate the Cubs and ownership being there and creating business. From the bar owners with their water down drinksto the guy who is selling parking spots in his driveway for $60.

    All those bars and other businesses would not exist if it was not for the Cubs being in that neighborhood. It always take a politician who wants his 15 minutes of fame in life to ruin it for everyone else. There will be a new hotel and over 1000 jobs created by the Ricketts. Some advice for the people of Wrigleyville, throw that Bum out of office and get someone who really represents you and not themselves. No doubt we will hear secret deals being made by this alderman on the stadium / hotel project so his pockets can be filled. This is Chicago....doesn't these type of political corruption deals always happen!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Good points, but the looters and moochers don't care. I would laugh my ass off if Ricketts told the alderman and the mayor to shove it and moved the team out of Wrigleyville, leaving them holding the bag. It would serve them right, and as long as MLB didn't oppose it, I don't think much could be done to stop it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    You have no clue what you are talking about - I live by the park and pay $9400 a year in property taxes - So you know what I get a say - and the alderman is representing the people of his ward. The cubs havent done what they said they would - they were supposed to add parking they havent done it, were supposed to add the triangle building, havent done it - they want more night games but wont agree to have more police around - to stop people from pissing on the neighbors lawns. They arent acting in good faith.

    And they cant move - of the 3 million that visit Wrigley every year how many people are from out of town? They arent going to watch a piss poor team that won 60 games they are going to visit a historic stadium - If you think they will go to Schaumburg your mistaken. Cubs would draw similar to the White sox.

    these guys knew exactly what they were getting into when they bought the team - this is all political posturing. I just think its really dumb on their part to piss off the community around them over what - getting another $800K Toyota sign? thats all they got for that ugly sign - Hell lets put up some car dealership signs in center field and a Big Empire Carpet sign in right maybe that will net another $400K.

    they will get a 6 BILLION dollar TV deal in the next 48 months - its just stupid on their part to pick a fight over a couple hundred grand.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to deport soriano com:

    "they will get a 6 BILLION dollar TV deal in the next 48 months - its just stupid on their part to pick a fight over a couple hundred grand."

    This is factually incorrect. The big money TV deal is coming after the 2019 season -- if such deals are still in vogue by then. At the very best, they will get half of that. Probably significantly less.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    I don't think that that neighborhood really appreciates what the Cubs playing there brings. The Cubs are the economic engine of that neighborhood. They pump millions and millions into that economy. But everything has its good and bad points. You should have know when you bought there that there are rooftop owners and dozens of bars that serve liquor and a neighborhood that likes to party. The Cubs don't make any money off of those people and shouldn't have to pay to clean up the problems they cause. If you don't want people to piss on your lawn you should not have moved there.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    I think you're the one who is misinformed. I've never read anything about the certainty of the Cubs building the 'Triangle Building.' That idea was floated during the Tribune reign and from all the reporting the building was never approved by the city or Tunney.

    Secondly, the Cubs don't know what will happen next year during the negotiation for the WGN broadcasting rights. There is some speculation that WGN will pull out of broadcasting the Cubs because the current Tribune company doesn't have the funds to pay the current going rate for broadcasting rights.

    Additionally, the Comcast deal doesn't run out until 2019 and that agreement has covenants that states the Cubs can not take their broadcast rights to a privately-owned network.

    So there is no $6 billion TV deal coming in the next 48 months.

    Yes let's put up as many signs as they want. The roof top owners have been stealing the Cubs product for decades. And previous to those 'clubs' there was all kinds of signage on the buildings and rooftops. Remember the Budweiser sign or Torco Oil? Furthermore, Tunney's assertion there is a 'Wrigleyville' aesthetic that must be adhered to is pure fantasy. There is no aesthetic to that neighborhood.

  • On a somewhat unrelated note, it appears as if ticket sales are going very poorly today. I checked the site at 5:15 this afternoon and it looks like there was only 1 game sold out. Even opening day was still available as well as Cardinal weekend games (even the one on Saturday night).

    This could be a disturbing aspect the FO will have to take into account as there could be a serious revenue stream dropoff this season.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Wow. That's surprising.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Damn. I guess we'll see how committed to the rebuild the Ricketts are now.

  • I suppose you have to like Lillibridge's flexibility in playing multiple positions, but one of my personal pet peeves is when managers automatically take vets over young players by virtue of them being vets. I understand the thinking: they've proven they can play and play well on occasion; they won't embarrass the club; their steady play is a security blanket a manager can turn to, etc. But I hate when they just seem to be handed a job they haven't really earned recently. And also, Lillibridge has never really set the world on fire with his bat. To me, he's a great option to have stashed in the minors in case someone gets hurt, but it would be nice to have him battling it... too bad Watkins needs his reps in AAA.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    I agree. Part of the reason may be that the Cubs don't have any young players that can fill that role who have played in AAA yet. Lake or Watkins would be ideal for a sub role, but you do want them to get ABs -- particularly at AAA before having to come to the bigs in a possible bench role. And who knows? Watkins and Lake may even get a shot to start next year. Hopefully they're just buying a year with Lillibridge until the kids are ready.

  • Does this mean Scuzr is gone? Or he goes to the minors or if he clears waivers then we can put him in the minors? He's the guy that got a late start on baseball being a two sport star, right? I liked him

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    I'm pretty sure it means those players are leaving major league camp and going to minor league camp. Nothing to do with being released or having to clear waivers.

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    He's just being assigned to the minor league camp. Probably so he can get more ABs. He'll start the year in AA.

    Szczur is the two sport star, by the way.

  • Maybe a deal for Chase Headley re-energizes the fan base? :) :)

  • Ticket revenue is small change pocket money to the Ricketts.......the real money will be the new Cubs tv network and the revenue from that.

    People will still buy tickets...majority of ticket buyers are tourists anyway.

  • John I had a nice chuckle at the way you crafted the paragraph about Sappelt. "Dale Sveum has said he will play in the OF when he gets back from his injury." I can only imagine if Dale decided to play again. Who would be better in LF Sori or Sveum?

  • In reply to JeremyR:

    Haha! I should have edited that :)

    If it was two years ago, I think I would have taken Sveum ;) This year I'll go Soriano.

  • I wonder how the teams will approach this game with the wet field... Maybe they play 5-6 innings instead.

  • Scott Hairston HRs. He's starting to break out of it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So much for that hr, it's not gonna count in the ST stats lol, but at least we know he was seeing the ball well.

  • In reply to Caps:

    True, that's the important thing. He was horrible early on.

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