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Javier Baez promoted to AA Tennessee

Javier Baez promoted to AA Tennessee

Huge news on the minor league front in that Javier Baez has been promoted to AA Tennessee.  I'd been suspecting as much since the day the Cubs basically gave up Ronald Torreyes for pool money.  Here is what I said a couple of days ago,

Of course, what makes it even easier to absorb that loss is the presence of Javier Baez, who has made significant progress this season and is having an excellent season at Daytona.  He may be ready for a promotion to AA and while Torreyes was a 2B and not technically blocking Baez, there was SS Arismendy Alcantara, whom we consider the Cubs 5th best prospect.  Should we read anything into the fact that Alcantara has strictly played 2B since Torreyes was dealt.  Could the Cubs be making room for Baez at Tennessee?  The consensus has been that Alcantara would eventually move to 2B anyway and now that he is perhaps a year away from the big leagues, the Cubs are beginning that transition now.  If that's the case, they weren't going to let a decent, but not great, prospect like Torreyes get in the way (of Baez).

I expect Arismendy Alcantara to move to 2B to accommodate Baez, though it's possible both players could move around a bit.  As to who plays at SS at Daytona, I expect that to be either Tim Saunders or Wes Darvill.  If it's Saunders and he moves in from CF, the D-Cubs might need someone to replace him too....hmmm.  Any thoughts on a CF from Kane County who could possibly handle the Florida State League?  But I'm getting ahead of myself here.  Let's get back to the new Smokies shortstop...

Javier Baez was hitting .274/.338/.535 with 17 HRs and 12 SBs.  Perhaps more importantly, he has changed his approach and has walked at a much higher rate recently -- 10.2% since June bringing him up to a career high of 6.2% for the year.

Moreover, Baez seemed to understand what he was supposed to do. We mentioned this piece from MiLB.com the other day.

On his approach:

"They are working with me to slow things down and not guess at the plate. I'm ready to hit the first good fastball, but I can't chase pitches out of the strike zone."

On his defense:

"I'm working on my footwork and making better throws. I like shortstop, but I'd play anywhere the Cubs want me."

On having the spotlight on him:

I don't think about it. I have to do my job, just like every player."

We saw this improvement coming back in May when we talked about how the approach was already changing -- but that sometimes results lag behind process.  It's funny to think now that there was some concern at the time.

Ten days later, we read some similar thoughts from his manager Dave Keller,

“That’s a beautiful thing,” Keller said, “when you get up there and you have your balance and you swing at good pitches. That gives him a chance to get his ability out there.”

“He has plenty of power and plenty of bat speed and he’s been patient and he’s been getting good pitches to hit.

“He hasn’t been chasing pitches out of the strike zone and he’s been keeping himself under control. He’s taking nice, tension-free swings. When that happens, the ball jumps off his bat.”

This wasn't something that came out of the blue, Baez has been steadily improving throughout the year after a slow start.

Now we get to see him in Tennessee.  If you haven't suscribed to MiLB.tv, maybe this is the time to do it.  And I'm thinking a road trip to Tennessee is in the near future.

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  • fb_avatar

    John, it's five hours to Kodiak from my house. Just say'n!!!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'll pick you up on the way!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Or you can leave your car here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    And if Adam wanted to go, he could leave his car in Cincy. It's not that far out of the way from house. You just get on 75 there instead of in Lexington.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm sure Moody, who lives in Nashville, could be talked into meeting us there.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Speaking of Moody, Spott, who lives in Hop-town, and him could car pool. They know each other from the old Yahoo Groups. He'd have to go through Nashville anyways.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Hop aboard!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh, and since you have to drive through Indianapolis to get to my place, you might as well pick up Gallo on your way through.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Sure. We'll rent a bus.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We will take my wife's mini van.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Good, that means we can put the mini-bar in the very back then.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm jealous guys that it was sucks about being soooo far west

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    You do know that round trip from Phoenix to Nashville on SWA is less than $500?

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Mike, i would love too but shopping for a car today...
    $500.00 I wish i had

  • Javier's "homecoming" Smokies @ Jax Suns 8/2-8/6. I'll be there!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That works for you. Baez has to be circling that date too.

  • When this season started an early July promo for Baez was really a best case scenario. Much was made about his plate discipline and whether he'd accept the advice of his coaches. I'm happy for the kid.

  • From a numbers standpoint and plate appearance I guess monthly splits aren't exactly a good indicator (says Keith Law), but when you put it into context and the what Dave Keller says I think the monthly splits are a good sign.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    I think it depends. Sometimes they indicate a trend, sometimes it's small sample size -- but to say it's not a good indicator is just assuming it's always only sample size -- which I think is incorrect.

  • This is my first year of really following the minors, so what is the time table for Baez to make it to AAA? I know it won't be this year, but is starting there next year reasonable? I see the Smokies have 50 some games this year, and then he will have spring training next year to develop.

  • In reply to rlh21:

    If everything goes right I'd think JB could make it Iowa by next June with a September call-up. Starlin and Barney should be feeling some pressure to perform with Baez and Alcantara moving up. But both those guys need to be much better defensively.

  • In reply to rlh21:

    I think mid-season next year is realistic for AAA. They're moving Baez faster than your average prospect, though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yup, 213 ABs @ Peoria & 379 in Daytona. That newfound patient approach will be needed in the Southern League.

  • Good for Baez - and hopefully good for the Cubs.

    One step at a time though,....

  • When was Pappaccio promoted to KC? I see where he went 2 for 4 tonight and played 3B. And Cabrera with another great outing for the Smokies... along with Hendricks those guys could be bumped up too.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Was going to write about that in the recap since I was there today. I liked him. Athletic build, looked like a pretty decent runner. Should have timed him. Nice footwork on defense, made a couple of nice players and one great play. On offense he squared up on every hit. Even his outs were hit well. Good day for him.

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    I do have to wonder how long Baez and Alcantara will play together at Tennesse this season. It's not like anyone at Iowa is blocking Alcantara, and like Baez, it's probably best to keep him at SS until he has to move.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    It's possible, but Alcantara has yet to play a full season anywhere -- then again, neither has Baez, but I think Baez is more the guy you make the exception for.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Also, if I'm Theo and Jed, I want to hedge my bet on Castro in case things don't work out. It might also not hurt things if Castro knows he isn't irreplaceable.

  • John, who might be ready by Sept. 2014 to start

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Baez, Alcantara, maybe Soler, maybe Almora -- but I think you'll see those guys in 2015 for sure. Alcantara has the best shot of the top prospects to make it by 2014.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm thinking Pierce Johnson will be auditioning for the rotation by then as well. I could see him starting off next year in AA. It's aggressive but he's pretty advanced so Cubs might want to test him.

  • I wonder if Soler would've been promoted too... He was more polished than Baez before his injury, hopefully they're both in AA next season.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I think Soler goes to the Fall League and catches up, then starts in AA with Baez.

  • I am ecstatic to see what Baez can do in Tennessee. I am anticipating some growing pains while he adjusts to the league, and the even more advanced pitchers at this level. Even if he struggles I hope he keeps up his approach from the last month and a half or so. I kind of hope that they keep Alcantara down with Baez at AA so they get some experience playing together as double play partners. Plus, Alcantara hasn't had too much experience playing 2B, so aside from letting him get more time at one level, he can feel out the position with Baez, who's still figuring out the SS position as well.

    And since we're on the topic of call ups, do you foresee Almora getting called up maybe at the end of this month if he keeps hitting the way he's been going?

  • In reply to Jamato:

    Agreed. I think he's really going to struggle for awhile.

    I do think Almora will get to Daytona before the end of this month.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I do too, and I have a feeling that he's going to remember what those struggles were like back in Daytona, and how he didn't do himself any favors by swinging out of his shoes to get out of it. I have a feeling that he may struggle for a while, but perhaps it won't be so long as it was in Daytona between last year and this year.

    I really would love to see Soler come totally healthy for a little while this year to see those two patrolling the OF together. And do you see Almora joining Soler in the AFL this year to make up for the month plus he missed out with the broken hamate bone?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have a good feeling he's gonna pick up right where he left off in Daytona.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I hope so. But even if he struggles the rest of the way it's okay.

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    I'm so hesitant to say this, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's time to seriously think about moving Castro. I'm beginning to think it's in his head now, and he's going to have to have a change of scenery to ever become the player he could be. I hate the fact that I just typed that, but if packaging him with Garza got you Bogaerts or Lindor, it might be worth it in the long run.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    You cannot trade Castro when his value with his value so low. Even if he has second half as bad as his first half, he would still command more in the offseason than he would right now.

    And Castro alone should get you Bogaerts or Lindor. No reason to package him with Garza.

    In fact there really is no reason to trade Castro. If he is still struggling come next trade deadline, then I think you could consider it, but you can't do it now.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    What if he continues this slide and his value only continues to go lower? Have you considered that possibility? Sometimes, you have to cut losses. Theo once Nomar Garciaparra out of Boston, which I realize is a little different situation, but don't tell me you can't do it. Sometimes, there just isn't a choice.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Don't you think that's a little premature?

    Granted, he hasn't been progressing the way you hope a 23 year old shortstop progresses, but except for 3 months this year (actually, 2 months since, believe it or not, Castro actually had a pretty good April) Castro's been producing at a fine clip for his position.

    Plus -- and we've heard multiple people in the Cubs organization reiterate this -- the bat speed's still there, the physical tools are still there, and the athleticism is still there.

    After 3 years of solid play, I think Castro deserves a little more than half a season to prove he hasn't permanently regressed.

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    In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    I've never questioned his bat speed, physical tools or athleticism. I think it's all in his head. I'm questioning his mental makeup, and his ability to adapt, and there isn't a regular on this board who wants to be more wrong.

    When he goes to the plate, he looks as lost as any number of Cubs prospects from the old regime. Corey Patterson especially comes to mind. He has no clue what's coming, and in the field, I'll grant you he's getting to balls most shortstops couldn't get to, but you always have to wonder when a brain fart is coming.

    Maybe he'd be better of with an organization that doesn't have issues with how he wants to play the game. I think we're almost at a point where, if things keep going for him as they are, he's going to start getting booed like Marmol and Soriano, fair or not.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The thing is, though, Castro has shown the ability to adapt. There's no way a player can get through 3 successful years in the bigs without adapting.

    If we get to the point where he is being mercilessly boo'd every time he steps to the plate, then maybe I'll reconsider my stance. But until that time comes, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be able to work through his slump without a change of scenery.

    And even then, trading him would be the last option. If it got bad enough, there's always the possibility of sending him to the minors and letting him work out the kinks there under less pressure.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I tried to bring this topic up about a month ago. I'm not in the Castro should be traded because he sux camp. But rather a trade might be good for a change of scenery for Castro as well as bring back a nice haul for the Cubs camp. But there are some that will just simply mock you for talking such ideas while the others that just think Castro sux will applaud your efforts.

    Hard decision to make, imo.....

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I really really like Castro, and I'd hate to trade him bc he just oozes so much potential. The scrutiny he gets is ludicrous, and I feel for him. Is some of it warranted, of course, but almost every mistake he makes is like the sky is falling. I wonder if you're right about it. I want to see him succeed very badly, and if that means seeing him do it elsewhere then fine. Just so long as we were to get back a Bogaerts, Lindor or Profar type prospect that's almost "can't miss" among others I would be happy for him. I just hope he figures it out, and we don't have to do that.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    I'm sorry Jamato, but the guy is currently hitting .236 with a .272 OBP, the guy absolutely deserves the scrutiny right now. And that is what he is supposed to do well.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    In the last 14 days he's hitting .273/.319. In the last 7 days, .286/.348.

    I know. Small sample size, but at the same time, given the scrutiny, one would think people would notice. And how long does he have to hit .286 before he is no longer regressing?

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    During a hot streak he should be hitting .320 + ! That is his standout tool!

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Like I said... some of the scrutiny he gets is warranted. His batting average is a bit concerning, but as John has stated numerous times after speaking with scouts in the game that they all think this is just a prolonged slump. A slump combined with the fact that he's trying to totally alter his approach at the plate in the show doesn't make for a particularly successful recipe for success. My point was, I just feel bad for the kid. He's a year younger then me, and is ALWAYS in the spotlight, and has every media outlet in the 3rd largest city in the US crucifying him over every little mistake. If I was in his shoes I would probably have to be committed by now.

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    In reply to Jamato:

    I'd don't disagree with a thing you've said. I'm more concerned with how I see all the scrutiny affecting him. I think he is in anguish right now. You can see it in his face every time something goes wrong.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Now, I haven't been able to watch many games the last couple of weeks, but just checking the box scores and Castro has a quiet 6 game hitting streak going. He's hitting .300 in his last 9 games with a couple of walks. I see a bit of an upward trend at the plate since he finally got a day off. I can't speak to the look on his face lately, but I feel like regaining his confidence at the plate will carry onto the field as well...maybe wishful thinking. In any case, I'd hate to see him traded, and I don't think it will happen, but if the haul is right...

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Every time something goes wrong, at least to me, he looks like a kid who is waiting for the other shoe to drop, and speaking of days off, I'm furious at the way Sveum has handled him, but to be honest, I think most of Castros problems go further back.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I know the look you're talking about, and the only reason I haven't seen it lately is because I haven't been watching the games. I just hope his talent carries him out of it and the confidence follows. Also, I don't know who's willing to put together a blockbuster package for him until he does start putting it together...and for me, it would take a blockbuster package to trade him, not JUST a Bogaerts or Lindor.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Nice noticing that Matt. I did not realize Castro was batting .300 over the last 9 games. It looks like he is working through his struggles. It is our job as fans to cheer him on. Maybe if he gets some encouraging fan support it will help him come our of his slump.

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    In reply to Jamato:

    LOL. Profar? This is the exact player I named in a possible trade for Castro scenario about a month ago. Now a month later it's brought up again. Good eye Jamato..... lol

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    Yeah too bad for Soler. He lookedmore ready than Baez for pretty much the whole season but the suspension and injuries really didn't help.

    Best of luck to Javy, it seems kinda rushed to me but I'm not on the coaching staff and Theo&Jed definitely have a plan for development so maybe this is less about numbers and more about what the plan for him is at AA.

  • Great news for Baez... I'm sure he is ready to move and being challenged in AA will keep his mind on the job.

    As an aside and with the discussions about Castro - who whilst I'm concerned about do not believe we should move him, a question to the learned here...

    How safe are the jobs of James Rowson and Rob Deer...? And for that matter Dale Sveum...?

    Had Mike Maddux been chosen as the Cubs manager we would have expected him to have input not just to management but also to see improvement of the pitching on the 25 man roster.

    We are though watching significant regression not just from Castro but also Rizzo and even Barney this year. How much of this can be put in the hands of Rowson / Deer / Sveum?

    I have no issues with the work of Bosio as you generally struggle to put lipstick on a pig, but the batting coaches are working with good, young, coachable talent... Not all, but certainly those showing regression.

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    In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    I think there are 2 things going on with Anthony Rizzo...First off he does not have much protection at all in that lineup and secondly he's in a situation after his extension where he's pressed a bit...I'm not crazy about Sveum moving him all over the damn place though..Thru a bit more than half the season he's hit 12 homers and driven in 48..double it and he's at about 25 homeruns and almost 100 rbi, he's also on a pace to walk like 78 times which is impressive and his fielding unlike Castro hasnt suffered... We all know that Barney isn't gonna set the world on fire offensively but his on base % is horrid just like Castro's..the problem with Starlin is that he seems to bevery hard on himself and he's getting fed too many ideas..The only thing he should be told is to not swing at shit pitches and hustle every play, let the rest happen naturally

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I think Rizzo and Barney just take it all in stride. I'm sure they're not happy, but I don't think they're eating themselves alive either. I'm more worried about what happens when Castro starts getting booed like Marmol. I'm just not sure he is wired to take it.

    I'm also going to say that it concerns me that Soriano is Castro's mentor, in the same way it concerns me that Sosa was Patterson's mentor. Sosa basically undermined everything Don Baylor was trying to do with Patterson.

    Now I know there is a world of difference between Sosa's attitude and Soriano's attitude. Sosa, by all accounts is a self-absorbed dick. Where as, Soriano, by all accounts, is said to be a pretty good team mate, but in terms of what you want to see happening at the plate, Soriano isn't exactly a good influence. Of course, it's the old regime that allowed Soriano to mentor Castro in the first place.

    I'll be honest. Maybe, a trip to Iowa might not be the worst thing that could happen to him. It gets him out of the spotlight where he can figure things out with no pressure.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That's on of the reasons why I wanted Sori off the Cubs ASAP, Castro is swinging at a lotof the shit Sori goes after, down andaway

  • This all about the growth in Baez's approach to hitting he made throughout the month of June.

    Prior to June 1st, 55 Ks and just 9 BB for a ratio of 6.1-to-1. Since June 1st, 23 Ks and 12 walks for a ratio of 1.9-to-1. It's not just a hot 5 weeks. His improvement didn't just happen. It was coached and learned. It's a benchmark in his development plan that he had to meet before advancing and he met it. He earned this promotion.

    So long as he takes what he learned with him and spends his time adjusting to AA pitching, it doesn't matter how he hits the rest of this year. His numbers will likely dip from what they've been, but I expect he'll do quite a bit better than after he was promoted to Daytona in the 2nd half of last season (.188/.244/.400)

  • Thanks John,Felz ,Kevin, Tom, for all the great insight on this site. I have been reading for the past 8 months while on work assignment in Europe/Israel. You are really on top of the Cubs baseball Strategy, with the drafts, minor leagues, and future moves. Really appreciate it.
    I love how Theo, Jed, John, are building up the minors talent thru the drafts and trades. AA seems to be the first of the "Cubs Way" teams that is being assembled. AAA does not have a future positional starter, and were developed under the previous regime. Lake and Watkins seem to be late developers and are gaining from the "Cubs Way" approach.
    With the promotion of Javy Baez SS to AA, we will see the Cubs try to keep the infield together, with Alcantara at 2nd, Villeneuva at 3rd and soon Geiger at 1st. Will be fun to see where Bryant fits in.

    We also have a strong talent pool at Kane County, where they are learning the "Cubs Way". They are all too young for the league, but Theo and team will keep them together, as a unit. The exception is Almora, since they will fast path him to join the AA team next year with Soler and Andreoli/Szcur.
    Their approach seems to focus on building Waves of Talent, and move them together. The Intl draft, of "Sign all the Top Prospects, regardless of Bonus Pool" fits this approach. They are building the 2015 Boise Team.
    This is very exciting to watch the plan unfold. We need to get a picture of the Jed, Player Development Board. That would be fun to debate. Thanks again.

  • In reply to TROS:

    Your welcome but I only really cover the Draft. The rest of the guys do the heavy lifting

  • In reply to TROS:

    TROS, what an outstanding comment. Love your 'wave' theory. With a little luck (and more pitching). we'll have a top 5 minor league system for years, even with promotions to the bigs.

  • In reply to TROS:

    You're welcome and thanks for the kind words TROS!

    And I like the idea at the end there. Will try and see if we can piece something together

  • Great news to wake up to. Any chance of him starting tonight?

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    I hope so, but I may not be home ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Radar is looking iffy. Probably not a good day for a road trip.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    On second thought, given Almora's performance last night, you might want to drive back to Kane County...

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    He was killing the ball. Just wrote a recap. It was late but I wanted to give Baez promotion it's own space last night.

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    Kevin ,
    This really isn't on topic but I have a friend who is a college coach in Texas. He is raving about Michael Cederoth. Is he really that good?

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    His stuff is out standing! I have some concerns about his health. But he is major talent.

  • I can not add much. But I think I heard something along these lines. One small step for the Cubs, One giant leap for Baez! Great news to start the day!

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Nice!

  • All you guys thinking Castro should be traded are, with all due respect, 100% wrong. It is one thing for CubsTalk to say it, but hard to believe guys like Caldwell -- whose comments are usually very insightful -- would even think it. Such comments only fuel the feeding frenzy.

    I'm quite confident that in two years, if not sooner, he'll be back to leading the league in hits. I can't wait til he is surrounded by other impact players who he can lead. We just need to leave him alone!

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    In reply to Nondorf:

    But think about it for a second. You own posts says

    "I'm quite confident that in two years, if not sooner, he'll be back to leading the league in hits"

    In 2 years we could very easily see Baez at SS. What could Castro command on the market? An open mind should be used in this situation, imo. The Cubs are dealing from an area of strength here. We are solid throughout the system with up the middle type of guys.

    No player on the current mlb roster should be thought of as untouchable, imo.....

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Trust me Nondorf, I'm in the camp for not trading him. For what it's worth, I think he's going to figure things out eventually, and get back to being a productive hitter. If he can get back into the .270 range this season, I'd consider that a pretty big success.

    But like Caldwell said, I can't help but agree that he very well may have a damaged psyche from all of this criticism he's taken. I hope I'm wrong, and he comes out of this stronger.

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    In reply to Nondorf:

    Hey, I can't believe I said it either.

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