Cubs Game Preview and Thread: Clevenger, Baker, Lohse, and Wells

Cubs Game Preview and Thread: Clevenger, Baker, Lohse, and Wells
Steve Clevenger

Quick game preview today as I'm busy with non-baseball related items for the afternoon.  I will be back later today.  The game will be against the Giants and will be televised on Comcast Sports at 3 pm CT.

News and Notes...

  • It looks like Steve Clevenger will make the team barring any last minute trades or waiver wire pick-ups.  He provides a LH bat and as played 3B and 2B this spring in addition to catcher.  The move would save the Cub a roster spot and makes me think the Cubs will take Hisanori Takahashi as the last bullpen arm.
  • Scott Baker says he feels fine despite the setback after his abbreviated spring debut.  Although he's out until mid-season, it could have been worse.  The MRI didn't show any structural damage that would have required surgery and cause him to miss this season and part of next.
  • It appears that Boras did it again.  He got the Brewers to sign Kyle Lohse to a 3 year/$33M deal that will cost the Brewers their first round pick.
  • An article about how the financial aspect of the Vernon Wells deal and how it was structured.  It may be that the Cubs may have to do something similar with Alfonso Soriano though, unlike the Angels, they are expected to ask for value  in return.

Today's Lineup

  1. DeJesus CF
  2. Lillibridge SS
  3. Clevenger 1B
  4. Soriano LF
  5. Schierholtz RF
  6. Navarro C
  7. Valbuena 3B
  8. Gonzalez 2B
  9. TWood P

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  • I'm fine with Clevenger at the utility 1B/3B/C. I was wanting this move early on in spring training.

  • In reply to MikeWadle:

    Agreed - it's the move that makes the most sense at this point with nobody really a dependable backup to Barney at 2B (with Valbuena as a regular 3B starter & Stewart out on DL to points unknown), and with his ability to cover C/3B/1B in a pinch. He's pretty much everybody other than Castro's back-up in the infield.

  • Baker may have torn residual scar tissues which is part of the process.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Happened to me after a surgery once. Can be pretty painful sometimes.

  • At least the Brewers will be forfeiting a pick. Not excited about giving the Cards two first rounders, but Lohse wasn't going to sit out half a season waiting for the right deal.

    KLaw dropped some notes about his recent trip to Cubs minor league camp (

    Unfortunate to hear that Rob Whitenack looked pretty bad and had velocity issues.

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    In reply to cowboy2024:

    No kidding. The best system in baseball gets two picks in the top 28. Sigh. No one said this was going to be easy.

  • In reply to cowboy2024:

    Wouldn't worry too much about Whitenack just yet... He only pitched in 15 games last year and TJS can take up to 2yrs to completely regain your velocity. Everybody is different. This kid is also working on gaining weight and overall strength as he's getting back into baseball shape so the velocity should come.

    Now if He's still upper 80's by this Summer, we need to be worried.

  • I realize the Cubs want "actual value" back. But why does value have to be prospects? Isn't a ton of free'd up cash that they can spend on players when they are actually trying to win value? How much money is Soriano's clubhouse presence worth on a team that's going nowhere? $13 million? $15 million? $20 million? If the Yanks are willing to relieve the Angels of $13 mill of one of the worst players in the league. How much straight cash could the Cubs save in a deal that they could use on other free agents down the line for Sori? Obviously the Cubs aren't getting good prospects back for him. Why not try to get some cash money back you can use elsewhere... Just my thoughts.

  • In reply to Justin:

    I don't think the Cubs need money, they have much of that. (See Edwin Jackson) They need talent, because most teams are locking up their home grown talents and not letting them get to free agency.

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    In reply to Gerald:

    yeah they dont need money but are crying poor when its comes to needing more signage - in the outfield
    they want to make that place look likes times square

  • In reply to Justin:

    I don't think it's about money. They need his bat in the lineup. Unless they get the value they want for him in trade. He has full no trade rights so what he is willing to do also has Alot to do with it. Sori doesn't want to leave unless the Cubs are out of contention.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Well you can obviously use the money to out bid and get players you wouldn't. There is never enough money for these free agents. i.e. Prince Fielder, Greinke, Pujols.

  • In reply to Justin:

    Fielder/Pujols/Greinke were never realistic options for the Cubs. If that type of player was what was holding this team back, they would have offered enough money to get it done. But the timing has to be right. The 90's Yankees model is dead. Have patience. Believe in the plan.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    You're not understanding what I am saying. I am patient and know there is a reason that the front office is putting a crap product on the field. I know Pujols and Fielder made no sense with the Cubs. I am cool with that.. All I am saying is that it is always good to have extra money. If we save say $15 million on Soriano the next 2 years, we can use that money in 2015 when they are trying to win. The Cubs are wealthy, but they don't have an endless amount of money. Especially with the Dodgers willing to spend whatever they need to get a player they want. Too say the Cubs have all the money they will ever need in free agency is untrue. You can always use more....

  • In reply to Justin:

    You're right, Justin, but who is going to make the deal where they take on all or a lot of Soriano's contract? In spite of the fact that teams like the Yankees are suddenly getting stingy with their prospects, I think they'd rather give up a young player or two to get Soriano than to take Soriano and his entire contract. In other words, the other teams know what you are talking about too and aren't eager to take that contract on.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    It appears that money isn't the obstacle, and that the Cubs would be willing to assume all but maybe 10% of Soriano's remaining contract, possibly more if the deal would include the right prospect or prospects. It seems the obstacle is that teams won't give up the young players Theo and Jed are looking for.

  • In reply to Justin:

    I doubt that they would get much salary relief, but the question is "how much gate revenue do they lose if the team is as bad as last year's team". Could easily be more than they save on Soriano.

  • I think the Clevenger move is a practical one and am glad they kept him up. Now that he is fully recovered from the injury that hampered his performance last year, hopefully he will come into his own a little bit.

    Regarding Baker, wasn't it originally projected that he wouldn't be ready until mid-season anyway?

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I agree on Clevenger. He was never back to his pre-injury form. He really hit well early last season prior to getting hurt. I did see him get ejected was it twice for barking at blue. Needs to control that.

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    In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Baker had been projected to be ready by mid-April. Now it looks more like mid-June at the earliest.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    Thanks Joao, couldn't remember.

  • Boras is amazing with his ability to create a market for his FA
    where there isn't one. I think it is a bad deal for 3 years plus
    you give up a 1st round pick.

  • If I were a Brewers fan, I'd be livid. I could see Lohse working for some teams who need a nudge to become a WS contender, but that ain't the Brewers. Terrible decision.

  • I am a bit surprised to hear myself say this bench is shaping up better than I thought it might. Lots of versatility if not tremndous power.
    Where is StillMissKennyHubbs? There has been a paucity of puns and unforgivable attempts at humor of late. I am experiencing withdrawal....or it could just be sinus problems.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Hey Hubbs16, No puns lately, just some response to Felzz's brunch yesterday, and some snark on the "Dump Wrigley" rants.
    I like our bench better too--and if/when we get Stewart back, Valbuena will headline the IF reserves.

    OK, how about "The Brewers will be pouring tears with the Lohse deal", or "The Brewers will be flat this year", or "The Brewers' season is fizzling out"; "Glass half empty for Brewers this year".
    What's the favorite Brewers souvenir? A foam finger.....

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    It is good to hear from you. I missed the brunch which isn't like me. Glad you are doing well. Wood not looking so good however.

  • Is it just me or does Travis Wood look like Ryan Dempster now? lol

  • In reply to Caps:

    He put together a nice run last year during the middle of the season... Turned real ugly for a bot too though. When he's good, he's pretty good. Unfortunately, when he's bad - he's terrible.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Well, I'm actually referring to the beard that he grew.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Ah How's his Harry impression?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think he's working on impersonating Dempster impersonating Harry lol

  • There must have been some pressure on the Brewers GM to
    make this bad? signing. Theo/Jeb would never so this.

  • Brewers won 83 games last season. Pretty reasonable to think that Lohse adds 3 wins to the club, starting instead of somebody like Peralta. That puts them right there in playoff contention.
    Why is that a bad signing?

  • Mostly, because you're losing your first round pick. $11 mill / yr isn't a bad price for a starting pitcher, but it's entirely possible that this Brewers team has a few key injuries, then gets buried in the standings. If I was a scout for the Brewers, I'd be pretty insulted that they put so little stock in my dept's ability to pick a good player in the 1st Rd they'd throw away the pick for a couple seasons of a 30something pitcher. Plus, being payroll conscious, the Brewers can't afford to miss on their big-ticket free agent signings.

  • I don't love the signing but I admit it's probably better for the Brewers than just about any other team out there.

  • The odds of that player picked with the 18th pick ever being a 3 WAR major league pitcher like Lohse are large. Probably 50% he even ever plays in the big leagues. This is not the NFL draft.

  • Lohse's average season is much worse than a 3 WAR.

  • Boras always finds someone to take his demands. Brewers are going to regret this deal, imo.

  • Quite an amazing statement by Theo Epstein today in an interview with CSN. First time someone with the Cubs has actually stated that if they don't get what they need by April 1, to fund the renovations, they will have to look at other alternatives.
    Interesting that they had Theo deliver the message also.
    I think the Cubs are tired of all the BS, and we are reaching a point of a decision of the direction of the franchise very soon.

  • Has anyone watched Clevenger at 2B and/or 3B? How does he look in the field?

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Saw him play 3B at Tennessee. Looked okay, but that was 2-3 years ago.

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    Theo and Ricketts might as well settle back, this could take awhile. Neither one of them are native chicagoans, they maybe don't get the political culture around here. Nothing gets done without a lot of ring-kissing and ass-kissing and no small amount of playing to the audience, but eventually every pol has a price. You can't press-conference your way to getting what you want, and you can't offer what seems to everyone a perfectly reasonable and fair deal and expect a chicago pol to nod and say, "hmm, can't argue with that!"
    Ricketts should first of all look in his mirror - or rather, papa Joe's mirror and realize how the well got poisoned last year. Emmanuel is probably still pissed off at the Ricketts clan, not enough amends have been made. This might just require Joe Ricketts doing a little groveling in Emmanuel's office, maybe donating a wing to Stroger Hospital or a branch of the CPL and saying something nice about Hillary Clinton.
    And finally, let's not take leaving Wrigley too lightly. It is not going to happen. Wrigley field is the respirator that keeps this moribund team financially alive; people come from Iowa and god-knows-where not to see some crappy team in blue, but to sit in Wrigley field, have their picture taken in front of the marquee, gaze at the antique scoreboard, have a beer in the sun. Wrigley field is where Ruth (maybe) called a home run, it is living baseball lore and history, it will not be turned into some rental for local high schools and community college teams.
    Ricketts and Theo are f'd until they can appease Emmanuel; once that happens the screws will be put on Tunny and the deal will be done. All on chicago time.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Without the Cubs, Chicago could become Detroit.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    You really think the Cubs are singlehandedly propping up the Chicago economy?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I know that Chicago won't get a dime from me!

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    In reply to SKMD:

    You realize that Ricketts daughter was one of the top boosters for Obama's campaign right? There is no bad blood about that the Ricketts did what everyone tries to do. Play both sides of an election. That way no matter who won or lost they still had a voice at the table for when it is needed.

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    In reply to Richard Hood:

    oh, i realize that. but whatever money she scraped up from the gay and lesbian community paled in comparison to what the patriarch pulled in for the other side. What ticked off Emmanuel was 1) the vicious nature of the ad campaign Joe was financing, and 2) the fact that Tom was pleading for public funds at the same time that his father had enough spare cash to throw it around in politics.

    And the Ricketts weren't playing both sides of an election - they are Republicans, the only reason Laura is a Dem is because she's gay. Like all right-wingers, it's only when they find themselves in an underdog position they suddenly realize the benefits of liberal policy (see also Cheney, gay rights and).

  • In reply to SKMD:

    The "mayor" of Chicago can go jump into Lake Michigan for all I care. He's an arrogant, pathetic little dictator.

    Life is pretty rotten when people tolerate the whole "play the game" mentality when doing business in Chicago and other areas of the country.

    I live in Metro Detroit, and for 30 years I have seen first hand what a corrupt and partisan political establishment does to a city. It basically destroys it and its people.

    I feel sorry for those folks who think they have to tolerate the political status quo (in Chicago) and just "go along to get along".
    It really doesn't have to be that way.

    Now I hope the Cubs win the WS in the next few years and when the celebration time comes, they conveniently forget to send "the Mayor" an invitation.

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    thank you, mother theresa, but now back to reality....

  • In reply to SKMD:

    The Cubs would be much better off in the long run if they left Wrigley Field. Much bigger income stream and an owner willing to spend that stream.

  • I disagree, as is Wrigley Field is a liability. It's a dump, I would not take my grandson to a game there this season. Hard to get to, no parking, hotels are 200 bucks a night. The Cubs are the asset and the brand, not the stadium.
    And be patient?, it is going on year 3 now that they have been trying to get a deal done to rebuild the stadium. Wait until the upper deck falls down? I actually think they want to move at this point, just depends on what type of deal they can get elsewhere.

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    hotels are 200 bucks a night because THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE who want to be there. Wrigley is a dump, no doubt - but there are a lot of places that are dumps that are highly sought after and have great historic value. I was in Cooperstown last summer, stayed in one of the best B&B's in town, the Inn at Cooperstown. Hot, rattley, cramped, no wi-fi, no TV, no pool, no gym - and completely filled.
    It has not been going on 3 years now - the proposal that was made 3 years ago was an arrogant non-starter, where Ricketts assumed the city and state would buy him a stadium. The present proposal, in which the Ricketts pay for the whole deal in return for easing up on zoning regulations, was only recently proposed.
    Right now you have one alderman who is - well, not even mad at you, he's just grandstanding. You start getting seriously cozy with rosemont or arlington heights, you'll have 50 alderman and one of the most powerful mayors in the country out for blood, and you ain't seen the obstacles the city council and the Cook County board will manage to throw against you, as well as twisting the arms of those cities.

  • Be cool to have a time machine to see what would happen to that neighborhood if the Cubs ever left.

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    its lakeview and its expensive whether they are there or not
    its expensive to the south west and north - lake is to the east

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    Park would be torn down eventually when the city realizes than all the HS games in the world don't justify having something that size as a landmark.

    New owner would auction off bricks for ridiculous money and erect high price high-rise condos.

    That neighborhood isn't going anywhere. Wrigley has little to do with its prosperity.

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    Not Detroit, but pretty bad. Now I'm not suggesting wrigley needs to be preserved as is , I agree it's a dump right now. You need to save the perimeter and the outfield wall and the scoreboard, gut the rest.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    The perimeter can be replicated without any trouble. Leave the OF wall and scoreboard and start over.

    I'm surprised the rooftop owners are being trouble. If I were them, I'd offer to help as long as the views remain.
    Ricketts should get the neighborhood in his side.

    I don't mind the rooftop owners, I think its another detail that makes Wrigley unique. But these guys need to stop pretending they have rights to the park. Tell them all if they get onboard, the view stays. If not, I hope they enjoy the view of the backside of the jumbo-tron.

  • Non-Lohse or Wrigley question: will I be able to use an Ipad3 to watch MiLB TV games? The official site is woefully scant on specifics...

  • Ken Rosenthal's new article on Puig and Dodgers suggests a path I wish the Cubs would explore to speed up their rebuilding. The Cubs would sign a free agent for the most they could get on the open market. (Or they could trade for a priced contract). Then trade the player while eating significant portion of contract in exchange for prospects. The team the Cubs trade the FA to would get good value on the discounted contract. The Cubs would essentially buy prospects (making the prospect somewhat less of a value).

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    In reply to CubsML:

    I couldn't agree more.

    I was hoping they'd pick up Lose and work out a trade with the Cards or Rangers, eating most if the pay.

    (My understanding is that you don't lose a pick if the player doesn't spend the whole year on the team. If I'm wrong, my bad)

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    That's another interesting element. The Cubs, who have a protected first rounder, signing a free agent and then trading him to a team that doesn't have a protected first rounder. While the Cubs would lose their 2nd, presumably they would be compensated for allowing the other team to keep their first. IIRC, there's some precedent for this with Juan Cruz when he was signed and traded in part to dodge draft pick compensation.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    I still think its not completely out of the realm of possibilities that they're doing that with Edwin Jackson. They already have him a signing bonus this year so his contract looks pretty good.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Good point.

  • As far as we know, that is the tactic they are using right now.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Right now we're picking up players the FO views at a bargain, hoping to flip them for modest but decent return.

    I think he's suggesting signing players that are holding out for more money for the prices they're asking, then trading them for what teams that had wanted them were willing to pay, eating the difference.

    Maholm, Johnson, etc weren't players we really needed to eat money to trade.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Exactly. An example would be sign Bourn or Lohse. Eat half the contract right away and save the other team their first pick in exchange for prospects. Dave Cameron suggested something like this after the new CBA went into effect. And Rosenthal has a slightly different spin with the Dodger. But the general point is big market teams should be able to "buy" prospects by eating contracts.

    Again, it's worth noting this would reduce some of the value associated with prospects, since you'd be spending more to acquire them. But in the case of the Cubs it's important to put their resources in Soler-Baez-Almora time table, and this would be a way to do that.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    This whole idea sounds suspiciously close to collusion to me. I doubt the league approves eating the salary under these circumstances.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    I am not sure how it would be collusion. And I am certain the players would be in favor of it, since they could get higher salaries.

    There's less obviously shady examples than I mentioned. In reality is what I am suggesting that much different than what the Marlins did? Or even the Red Sox? Sign a bunch of guys to high priced long term deals and then dump them for prospects.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    Collusion comes into play for me with the draft pick manipulation. I don't think the league should tell what the Dodgers or Blue Jays to do with their own prospects. But they do need to maintain the competitive nature of the draft considering it affects each and every team.

  • another qestion: why isn't boise televising games in 2013? what gives?

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Because that's not a team we're affiliated with?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Boise Hawks A- Short Season team. They don't televise games, but I think they have some on MiLB.TV I know they had the playoff games available.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    their 2013 schedule showed milb tv broadcast games as recently as a couple of weeks ago (they were also listed as a 'participating team' on the milb tv web page at the time). their 2012 schedule also had icons for televised games on milb tv (non-playoff).
    i wrote to who i think is the relevant person in the boise organization to find out what's up. it would be a real shame if the only 'a' ball that's available on milb tv would be a handful of kane county matchups versus the timber rattlers.

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    My bad. Brainfart mixed up the hawks and chiefs.

  • I don't get why people think Boras is a magician again over this Lohse deal. May not make a ton of sense for what team did it, but 3 years at $33M (with a bunch of money from the first year deferred) is not an awful contract for Lohse.

  • I spent the morning at the Cubs Minor League camp. The Kids look good. Watch Taylor Scott throw in the pen and looks head and shoulder better mechanically better then he did last last year. Watch Underwood warm up that ball comes out of his hands with some much life. It is a great sight to see.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Thanks for the update Kevin. It's always good to hear what the kids who aren't in our top 5-10 prospects are looking like. We will need a bunch of them to emerge to be successful.

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    If Clevenger and Castillo both play to expectations, they Cubs will not need Navarro. I would imagine that someone would want a veteran backup catcher. The return could be a true utility infielder, a relief pitcher. extra outfielder or prospect-whatever they need at the time. Certainly not a blockbuster but the insurance policy they bought in Navarro could have a decent little payoff.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    they'll need Navarro for sure this season. I can see Castillo getting injured at some point and Clevenger is below average on defense (especially throwing out runners) despite his good OBP. Navarro brings some pop (but not a high average) from the left side and plays excellent defense.

    I'm happy to have both on the team for this year.

  • Olney tweets,"Officials not involved in MILW/Lohse's talks estimate the annual present-day value of his deal, considering deferrals, at about $9.5m."

    If that's true, we can stop the Boras love. That's not a great deal for Lohse.

  • A quick note to follow up on the Wrigley discussion: I have a hunch that the worst thing for the park's future would be for the Cubs to win a World Series. The curse would be broken, and the park would lose some of its mystique. That, along with the obstinate alderman and rooftop owners, might be enough to finally bring the wrecking ball.

    I try not to be sentimental about these things, but I have to admit that if the Cubs finally win a World Series, it wouldn't be quite as special if it took place in some glossy new park in the outer suburbs.

  • In reply to Taft:


  • New article up: 15 guys who just missed top 25.

    Later we'll have the top 10 (or so) sleepers.

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