Cubs Game Preview and Thread 3/6: Teams seeking Marmol aid?

Cubs Game Preview and Thread 3/6: Teams seeking Marmol aid?

Let's play two today!  Ernie Banks would love today's schedule as it features a "B" game at 10 AM and then a regular game at 2 pm CT. The 10 AM game isn't available but we'll try to get info on that if possible.  It's too bad because the B game features a very interesting, prospect-laden lineup.  They will face the Rangers and LHP Robbie Ross in the regular game.

In the news...

  • Carlos Marmol, of course.  There's been a lot of buzz lately but it seems that much of it has stemmed from Bruce Levine's speculation in his chat -- in which he continues to insist Marmol will be gone by opening day -- and a separate article by Danny Knobler about the Tigers needing a closer.  Interestingly, Knobler doesn't even mention Marmol.  Somehow the media has put 2 and 2 together and gotten 4 1/2.  I did hear last year around August that Marmol was likely the next big name to go but was not given a timetable on that.  Moreover, there seems to be some conflicting reports Was also told that David Kaplan denied the Cubs would trade Marmol before Opening Day, but I have not verified that.  Gordon Wittenmeyer meanwhile, rather emphatically indicates the Cubs will not trade Marmol before the opener  in a tweet,

Nothing to reports of trade interest for Marmol, esp. w/ Detroit. Cubs don't expect to move him till after season starts. Prob at deadline.

  • If we were to go by what Dale Sveum has been saying this spring (and why shouldnt we?), Ian Stewart is in jeopardy of not making the team this spring. "I'd be lying if I didn't say there's a big question," Sveum said when asked if Stewart had enough time to make the roster for the April 1 opener. "There just aren't that many at-bats. You have to be productive in those at-bats. [Luis] Valbuena is playing and doing a real good job."
  • Bryan Bogusevic's stock, meanwhile, is on the way up.  His athleticism, versatility, and ability to provide some power and speed off the bench is what intrigued the Cubs at the start, but Bogusevic has been a better hitter than expected so far.  Sveum called him the Joe Mather of this spring -- and by that he meant a player who has stepped up and played well enough to earn a job.


"The at-bats he's put together, the at-bats he's had against left-handed pitching [have been good], and he has a pretty good track record in the big leagues as a pinch-hitter as well," Sveum said. "He's the leader in camp right now with everything. I've been impressed with his outfield play, his arm. I know he can play the outfield, so I'm going to get him as much time as I can at first base. He said he's not super comfortable there."

Today's Lineup vs. the Texas Rangers

  1. DeJesus, CF
  2. Barney, 2B
  3. Hairston, RF
  4. McDonald, LF
  5. Sappelt DH
  6. Navarro, C
  7. Baez, SS
  8. Lake, 3B
  9. Clevenger, 1B

Starting Pitcher: Hisanori Takahashi is getting the start but he's not in the mix for the rotation.  The Cubs are looking to get a good look at him before reserves come in.  The implication there is that Takahashi is being seriously considered for that last bullpen spot.

5 Things To Watch...

  • Javier Baez gets the start today and he's always worth watching but today it'll be interesting to see if he builds on the patience he displayed in his last start.  With good plate discipline, Baez played his best game of the spring.
  • Depending on what the Cubs do with Ian Stewart there are either one or two spots available.  If there are two, that really increases the chances that Steve Clevenger makes the team.  He's at 1B today.
  • Darnell McDonald is still getting prominent playing time and the opportunity to bat in prime spots in the order.
  • David DeJesus is in the lineup and playing CF, where he is expected to play during the season.  He's getting a start vs. a LHP today, against whom he hit .137 last year -- all singles.   His defense is probably going to be short there and DeJesus is off to a slow start again this spring, but I expect the veteran to be ready when the bell rings.
  • The B game...of course.  Most interesting to me is that Junior Lake gets the start in CF again.  Also of note - the Cubs are playing the 5'9" Rafael Lopez at 1B.  Here's the lineup...


  1. Szczur LF
  2. Watkins 2B
  3. Baez SS
  4. Clevenger C
  5. Lake CF
  6. Lopez 1B
  7. Villanueva 3B
  8. Chavez RF
  9. Gonzalez DH

Starting Pitcher: Jeff Samardzija


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    IIRC, Baez was hitting 9th in his last start. (I could very well be dead wrong on that.) It seems he's being rewarded for showing some patience with a bump up in the order.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Maybe. I have to think that it's one of the things they've talked about with him.

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    I think Levine is speculating, but that doesn't mean the speculation is completely without merit. The FO probably doesn't expect to move Marmol before July, but that doesn't mean they aren't shopping him, and it also doesn't mean teams aren't calling about him.

    We all know this FO's penchant for secrecy. So I think anything is possible at this point.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I would assume Theo is going to let the Tigers call him, and the Tigers are probably pretty wary given his control issues last year and this spring.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I have a hard time believing the Tigers, even if they really are interested in Marmol, would do it straight up for Porcello. I think the Cubs would have to sweeten the pot, but I also think that Porcello's upside might be worth it. I think it's a deal the Cubs could do without really hurting themselves, but it takes two to tango.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That being true I still think at this point that the Dodgers are more likely to trade for a Marmol type risk than Detroit. Nothing to base that on exactly just a feeling I get from reports.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think they'll deal him if they get a good offer. If they're being coy and they really are getting offers, I'm going to say they're probably getting low-balled and it's their way of saying, "We're in no hurry."

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    In reply to John Arguello:


  • Is Baez really starting both games? Seems like a lot of action for one day in spring.

  • In reply to mcneilscot:

    I see he's not the only one as I look at the lineups.

  • In reply to mcneilscot:

    Looks like some of the younger guys are playing two. They can probably handle it. The more reps, the better.

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    Dang and I thought this was a day we would get to see Lake at short.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    I'm not sure he'll be playing SS unless it's an emergency basis. He's athletic and has the arm for it, but his instincts for the position are just not up to snuff for MLB.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree that his he has struggled at short. But every position he can take an inning at helps his value (I still see the Cubs showcasing him).

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    No doubt, if he can at least play there on occasion it increases his value. As for showcasing him, I just don't see him bringing enough in return to make it worthwhile. I don't think the Cubs are in a position to assume they have depth at 3B, especially in the short term.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think it matters which scouts you talk to. Some are still real high on his ceiling and his floor seems to be getting higher.

    I see him as a steal in a Super Sub role for some team. Getting 400 to 500 PA playing all over the diamond. Which is why I really was wanting him to get some time at short in the spring this year. A guy like that is so valuable with these teams that want to go with an extra pitcher early.

    But I guess you are very right about our lack of depth at 3rd and from what I have seen on other sites it is a league wide problem not just us. So if that is true his value may be higher than what you think.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    I don't think so. Some don't like him at all and the people I talk to that do like him, like him as a super sub and possible fringe starter -- but nobody is going to give up something big for a guy like that when he hasn't dominated in AA and has so much to prove. There's also the matter of him having all that natural ability, but teams -- even the ones that like him -- aren't going to give value for that ceiling. I'm really having trouble understanding the logic behind trading Lake.

  • is it too early to say that Baez has solidified himself as the #1 prospect despite Solers BP encore?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He's my #1 prospect but I think that Soler has made progress and closed the gap a little. Cubs top 3 prospects are almost interchangeable.

  • It seems like Samardzija went 4 innings, allowed 6 hits and 5 runs, including a 3-run hr.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Ouch. Have to think he was working on something there. I don't think he was facing top notch competition.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    True... If you're going to work on something during a game... I think that B game is the perfect place/time for that.

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    Non-thread related:

    John, did you see that? Very interesting!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Good hitter with big power potential. Probably goes somewhere in between the Cubs first two picks right now.

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    John, is today the first day of cuts for spring training? Do you think any of the top prospects will get the cut?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    It's supposed to be but Cubs may wait until after the game.

  • I give levine 0% credibility on this report, and not because it's bruce. Leaking reports have sabotaged multiple cub deals since thoyer took over. And these are guys who do not leak stuff that is in the works. Therefor, if levine truly has inside info, he's either: a) too ignorant to realize he's being used to stir interest, b) ONCE AGAIN killing all cub chances of a deal in the works by reporting leaks from the other club, or c) knowingly helping the cubs stir interest. I hope it's A or C, because if it's B, he needs to be run out of town. I just can't fathom he'd be stupid enough to sabotage just to be heard. Bottom line, cubs FO isn't going to knowingly leak to a cubs beat writer. Awesome work, John, as always!

  • In reply to MikeyB:

    Thanks Mikey. I think that's a pretty good assessment and I agree 100%. Really hoping it's A or C here.

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    Triple for Lake. He's got to be playing himself into 2014 plans.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Lake just keeps playing well. I keep expecting that sooner or later pitchers will catch up to him but he keeps adapting. I think he has better instincts than he's been given credit for and isn't just an athlete playing baseball. He certainly has been able to adapt/adjust quicker than Josh Vitters, who most would agree has excellent baseball related skills at the plate (minus the approach, of course)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Not sure if you're listening to the game. Paul Sullivan was none to kind to his defense at third, which is clearly a concern, especially with this front office. But, as you say, the bat is looking more and more like its for real, so center field next year could easily be in the cards.

    I don't think Junior Lake is the guy who will break the 500 AAA at-bats rule, but he'll have that by September and we can get a real indication of what he can do in a September call up.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He's not going to be a good infielder, in my opinion. You just hope he plays well enough where you can live with it. I don't see him as anything but a reserve who can play all over the field, though I do think the Cubs will give him a chance to put himself in the 3B mix.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd have no problem with that. But if Jackson doesn't work out and he can handle the position, I also see no reason not to let him be the starting center fielder next year. Or even left fielder, if needed.

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    Baez: "Swing and a miss at a pitch in the dirt." *Sigh*

  • Shark said he was working on some different pitch combinations and locations with Clevenger, in particular some secondary pitches, and also working on pitching out of a stretch.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Thanks DK!

  • Talk about Jr Lake and his instincts and he just turn a routine ground ball into an IF hit, well done.

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    Profar is only hitting .217 on the spring. The Rangers need to give up on him and move him for Soriano while there's still time.

  • Gameday is showing the radar gun reading and it seems like Takahashi was in the 87-88 mph range, Michael Bowden was throwing 88-89 mph, Jaye Chapman 90-91 mph and Trey McNutt 94-95 mph.

  • In reply to Caps:

    And apparently hit 96 mph once.

  • In reply to Caps:

    McNutt is throwing well this spring. If he can consistently throws strikes, he can help the Cubs sometime this season.

  • John, just saw that Texiera is out 8-10 weeks with a wrist injury. Already down Granderson and with wrist injuries always being unknown how fast and well you come through it, do you think the Yankees make a serious offer for Sori?

  • In reply to Teddy KGB:

    Yanks nor anybody else seem excited to pick up Soriano this year, not for value anyway, so I'm skeptical. 8-10 weeks means he'll be back in May, like Granderson, and I dont think it necessarily means they need to make a move.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Not sure why some teams are more inclined to get Vernon Wells over Alfonso Soriano...

  • In reply to Caps:

    I think Angels willing to give Wells away and pay salary. Still dont' think he's worth it though.

  • Rondon seems to be pitching in the 91-93 mph range, but throwing a 90 mph cutter... If he throws a cutter with the same velocity as his fastball, I bet it can be deceiving and apparently has used his breaking ball very well today at around 76-77 mph... He's been making it look easy.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Would like to see that velo a little higher though. Still, I'll take it. Another scoreless outing and he throws strikes.

  • When can teams start trading away recently drafted prospects?

    Are the players drafted in 2010 available for trading?

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    In reply to ucandoit:

    I believe any draft pick can be dealt one year after they are drafted.

  • Another 0-fer for Sappelt, who's hitting .174 and seems intent on spoiling John's well-laid plans for a platoon in CF with DeJesus. He started poorly last year, too -- I recall him scuffling pretty deep into summer before he finally came around. He'd better pull it together more quickly this year.

  • In reply to Taft:

    He's killing me. Bogusevic is outplaying him but he's lefty. Still think Sappelt has to be the favorite, but Cubs may have to go with DeJesus full time in CF -- or play Lillibridge there against LHP.

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    At this point , i would think McDonald has the edge over Sappelt.

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    I doubt it. McDonald's hitting .150 and is no longer playing much CF.

  • Does Sappy have options left? If so, it wouldn't be inconceivable for him to sort this out in AAA.

    Question though, didn't he play winter ball? Guys like Lake & Valbuena who got hot in winter ball seem to have carried that momentum into ST whereas guys who were a distant afterthought, i.e., Vitters, remain just as un-hot.....

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    Sappelt has 2 option years left. The only Cub on the bubble that is out of options is Michael Bowden.

    Sappelt played winter ball in Venezuela, and in fact raked; he led the league most of the year, and played very well

    I wouldn't put alot of stock in a few ST ABs; small sample size. The other problem is that even if they option Sappelt, they'll have to either bring B-Jax north, or add another OF to the 40-man. We probably need that slot for other reasons.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I was thinking he played, and did pretty well there.

  • Speaking of playing two, I'm looking forward to the 16th and 17th when we have split squad games each day, and ALL FOUR will be on Not a bad way to spend St. Patrick's Day and St. Patrick's Day Eve.

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