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Cubs News and Notes: The nuance of language, the need to cling to something, Vitters to LF, Grimm to close?

Cubs News and Notes: The nuance of language, the need to cling to something, Vitters to LF, Grimm to close?

Maybe Felzz is starting to rub off on me or maybe it's a way of coping because as I endured the Cubs 7-0 loss yesterday, I couldn't help but play The Smiths in my head...

How come someone hasn't noticed that I'm dead and decided to bury me? God knows I'm ready.

Much like the "This Charming Charlie" peanuts mash-up that will soon be gone (check it out if you're a fan), I think the Cubs season can be put to The Smiths lyrics and it would suddenly make a lot of sense.   But let's try not to think about the record and look forward to next year...because we all need to cling to something.

UPDATE 3:28 PM:  Javier Baez will not be going to the Arizona Fall League.  After his first full season plus a stint in the playoffs, the Cubs have decided that he'd be better served with some rest instead.  No word on who will replace him or if Albert Almora will transfer from the taxi squad to the everyday roster.

(UPDATE 1:00 PM) More thoughts on Maddux.  If you want to know my opinion on this. It's that the Cubs aren't 100% committed to Sveum but they are close and they are not on the verge of firing him.  Rather, I think they are leaving the door slightly ajar.  They won't fire him for the sake of firing him, but part of me thinks their heart still skips a beat for Mike Maddux. He's the guy they wanted to help develop their pitching in the original search.  It also helps that he's already been through the very long interview process and I think Farrell's success with their old friends in Boston only strengthens the appeal for a pitching guru as manager.  The Cubs have been careful with their words because it gives them an out either way.  They've given no vote of confidence, yet if he is to stay, they can say they said all along there were no alarms and reiterate the positives they spoke of earlier with Sveum.  I'm not saying the job is Maddux's if he wants it.  I'm just saying the Cubs are legitimately being thorough with their evaluation and, until they make a formal dccision, they are leaving the door open...just in case, but... I still think that Sveum stays in the end.  But if he doesn't succeed, maybe Maddux looms as an option down the road.

  • The Cubs are going to give Josh Vitters a shot in LF next spring and they'll give him the opportunity to force his way on to the roster.  It makes a lot of sense with the impending log jam of 3B prospects, starting with the defensively superior Mike Olt, who probably gets first crack at that job.  Kris Bryant, Christian Villanueva, and possibly Javier Baez loom in the not too distant future.  But getting back back to Vitters, I think this is both a great idea and a difficult opportunity.  The short side of the platoon is tough for any player, especially a young one like Vitters.  Playing time is sporadic .  You hope to play at least one game for every 3 the team plays.  The Cubs have tried Dave Sappelt and Scott Hairston in that role and neither found success.  But perhaps Vitters natural hitting ability can come into play here and we know he has hit LHPs much better than he has hit RHPs at the AAA level.  Instead of signing another Hairston, why not try to fill the role internally and cheaply.  What's more, I like the language the Cubs used here.  They want him to "force his way into the picture".  I've often thought that if Vitters wants to prolong his career with the Cubs, he's going to have to get after it.  Nothing would please me more than to see him come to spring with a chip on his shoulder and ready to show the promise scouts once thought he had.
  • Meanwhile neither Vitters nor Brett Jackson will be going to winter ball this year.  I like the idea of letting them take the time off, clear their minds and get a fresh start next spring.  Maybe everything they've been taught sinks in and they can let their natural abilities take over.  At least that's what I'm hoping.
  • Another intriguing development is the idea of Justin Grimm as the Cubs 9th inning guy.  We mentioned the other day how he brings mid 90s heat in short spurts and we know he has that curve, which is an out pitch when he commands it.  Guy with two potential plus pitches -- why yes, that would work just fine in a closer role.  As expected, Pedro Strop would also get a look and the Cubs haven't ruled out bringing back Kevin Gregg.  But I suspect that would be more of a fallback.  According to Dale Sveum, Strop will get a shot at closing a game or two before the year is out, so it appears that he is the favorite if the Cubs don't retain Gregg.
  • More on Dale Sveum as this will become the story until Theo Epstein steps in and gives his decision on the Cubs manager.  I was reading Gordon Wittenmeyer's column today in the Sun-Times and, while I don't know what the Cubs will ultimately decide, I think some of the language used blurs the line between what we actually know and creating narrative.  I agree with Wittenmeyer and have said that Sveum will likely be judged on his toughest task, which is player development, but Wittenmeyer calls it "the biggest red flag" (assuming of course, that there are other, smaller ones).  Meanwhile what Theo Epstein actually said was, "That's something that gets addressed after the season. No alarm bells to ring. That's a subject that gets addressed as a matter of process and is routine after the season, after a period of evaluation that we're in the midst of right now.''  So is a red flag the same thing as an alarm bell?  Who knows? They seem pretty synonymous to me, but Wittenmeyer must either feel they are different or that Epstein isn't being straightforward.  Whatever the case, I suspect language will play a big role in the Dale Sveum story.  Epstein calls it routine and a matter of process -- it gets reported as "no vote of confidence".  Epstein says they are "in a period of evaluation".  Filter it through the media and out comes charged words like "hot seat" and "lame duck".  And thus, a narrative is created.  Just like that.  Gotta keep moving the needle.
  • For what it's worth, I agree that IF the Cubs make a change, that Mike Maddux has to be at or near the top of the list if available.  The Cubs have already gone through their extensive process with him and they'd be able to make that decision quickly.  The hire of Maddux would also likely mean the end of Chris Bosio, who is also undoubtedly part of this evaluation process.  The development of the Cubs pitchers will factor here.  My guess is player development in general is what's still being evaluated.  The Cubs aren't going to rush through that evaluation.  They'll be prudent and make sure they get a good handle on how much Sveum and/or the coaching staff is to blame for what seems to be a step backward for the core.  I imagine they'll also evaluate whether this step backward is a productive one -- in other words, will it bear fruit next season?  Was it one step back to take two steps forward?   I think it's a more complex question than it seems at first glance and the Cubs will not rush to judgment here.  I expect them to be thorough with this portion of the evaluation.
  • For those of you who stand on your heads when you look at the standings, the Cubs are in 4th, 3 games behind the White Sox and 2.5 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins and 4 ahead of the Seattle Mariners.  A top 5 pick seems pretty certain while the Cubs will need the White Sox to get hot if they want the 3rd pick.  Most probable scenario is that the Cubs will stay where they are at #4.

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  • I hope this move will being out Vitters potential. I wish the Cubs
    would have did this with Dunston with his great arm. Just the
    Cubs luck that the White Soxs, Twins, and SF have very bad
    years or they would have the 3rd pick. I hope there good
    enough not to win more that 5 of their 10 remaining game.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I would prefer we go 7-3 rest of way and win 70 games, even if that means having the 6th pick instead of 4th. Very unlikely to happen given the schedule and how brutal they are playing.

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    I'm going to root for them in all 10 games because as I always say, it's not going to have any effect on whether they win or lose anyway ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Whatever else they do I just hope they sweep the last series of the year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I haven't seen you report anything previously about the possibility of Maddux coming on board. Is there something I missed or is this fresh material today.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Just some speculation on my part. Nothing to back it up. I want to reiterate that the odds are still that Sveum stays, but I think if the Cubs are indeed keeping the door open, it'd be for Maddux.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm impressed that you know The Smiths!!!

  • In reply to giamby:

    Oh man, I was all over the 80s underground music scene!

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Some say Dunston would have been a phenomenal CF'er. The arm gets talked about a lot -- and rightfully so, but his range on pop-ups is still the best I have ever seen from a SS.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I remember in 1989 when he ranged out into left center field to make a great basket catch and fired it to 1st to double up Juan Samuel to end the game.

  • In reply to Larry H:

    Good one. Thanks for the reminder. I think Juan Samuel was shocked Dunston got to that ball.

    Here's that replay for those who didn't see it. Very first play in his 89 highlight reel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMrjRRFV4IQ

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ah... the boys of Zimmy!

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    Dunston didn't have the offensive profile to be a corner outfielder. His arm would have been wasted in left.

  • I really hope the Cubs are drafting in the late 20's soon.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Me too.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    I hope they pick in the early 30s.

  • In reply to John57:

    Even better.

  • Kolek or Fisher at the 4th pick
    http://sbb.scout.com/2/1318151.html

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    I am a big fan of Kolek.

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    The Cubs are getting closer to locking up that fourth overall spot in the 2014 Draft, just so everyone knows.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/powerrankings/majors/

    And for those interested, Mack Ade of Mack's Mets recently did a mock draft where he predicted the Cubs to take NCSU SS Trea Turner. The link is posted below, and it came to me via Kevin Gallo and BLF, which has a page dedicated entirely to mock drafts. That link is also posted below.

    http://www.macksmetsreport.com/macks-mock-draft-v1-0/

    http://bigleaguefutures.net/1/mlb-mock-draft-central-2014/

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    My bad John, I should've read all the way down before posting this.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I am sure A lot will change before the draft.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Yes, I might have a fun piece once the season is over, but someone will emerge and someone will fall. It happened last year with Gray shooting up to #3 and guys like Ryan Stanek and Sean Manaea falling. There's a general idea of who will be there, but the picture isn't complete yet by any means.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Indeed, and I'll admit my SEC leanings were giving me a big hard on for Stanek, but when it mattered, he didn't make the grade.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Oh, I know it will, but to me, talking about the draft is as much fun as talking about the trade deadline.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think there a few players that will be of major interest to the Cubs.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Turner and Hoffman are my two favorites, with Jackson not far behind. I'd feel better about Jackson if I were sure he could stay at catcher.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I agree with you on Jackson.

    I see it where C. Rondon & Turner are probably off the board with by the time the Cubs pick at 4. If either one is there the Cubs would jump on them.

    Hoffman, Jackson, Kolek, Beede, Toussaint & possibly Gatewood are in the mix at this time. With Hoffman and Beede being the only college players from this group.

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    In reply to SouthsideB:

    I've heard where, outside of Rondon, they like Hoffman better than any of the other pitchers, and while I've nothing to confirm this, it is my suspicion, based on how the Cubs FO operates, that if the draft were held tomorrow and Turner were still there, the Cubs would take him.

    It's very hard for me to imagine this FO taking a high school pitcher that early, and high school catchers taken that early probably have a worse track record than high school pitchers, though Jackson's bat and athleticism would allow him to move.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    They do like Hoffman and Turner makes sense because he's the up-the-middle athlete/college bat they like. I doubt very much right now that they'll take Jackson unless he convinces everyone that he is a long term catcher. Jury still very much out on that.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Hopefully its Carlos Rodon slipping to the Cubs!

  • The one thing about the Sveum situatuon is that he is under contract next year and why not say that he is safe for now, which takes the specualtion out of the equation going into next year.

    If the new regime decides during the 2015 season to make a change, that's another matter.

    But to say "it is under evaluation" is not a decision. It tells me that Sveum could very well get the zxe.

    Will he?

    I have no idea.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    My thought on this is that they are still evaluating the player development portion, which is probably the most complex evaluation. How much has to do with Sveum? How much with the coaches? How much with the players? I'd venture to guess that this will be the key to him staying.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    The new regime is all about accountability and their time table. So what's the hurry is saying someone is safe or is not? If I'm Jed/Theo, I do not let outsiders create false urgency on anything. Sveum has an extra year on this contract. I don't think he's done enough yet for the Cubs to worry that another team is salivating to hire him after the 2014 season. I also can easily can see Jed/Theo not resolving his contract this off-season just to blow the whole "paid ballplayers building their own careers won't play hard for a manager in the last year of his contract" myth. If they think Sveum has earned an extension, they'll give him one in the off-season. Otherwise, they are right to use the last year as a final motivating year for Sveum to continue to improve his skills as a manager of men.

  • When it comes to dale I don't always agree with his in game strategy,lineup or handling of players but I would not mind him coming back next year. But theo might make a change if he sees a manager that develops young talent and is viewed as a long term manager. I don't know who that is but theo might have someone in mind.As far as draft position I think the cubs being in fourth is not a bad position. The cubs don't have to get the best impact talent but one of the best. Matt harvey was taken seventh, mike trout was taken even later and thats not even mentioning pujols.

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    In reply to seankl:

    My problem with dale is moreso lineup management and the way he handles the media(or lake thereof). He also seems to play favorites. Those are really my only gripes.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree, It does seem like he play favorites. I don't see how he let shark second guess the philosophy and one of his coaches but gets in jackson's face for not wanting to come out. Shark wasn't mad at the shift when votto hit a bullet up the middle and castro was there to make a play.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    How would you say he plays favorites?

  • John, I was going back & forth will Felzz on this but I have a strange sense of optimism about Vitters. If he and/or Olt pan out, that provides an enormous amount of flexibility with roster construction & trades.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    They are doing the same thing with B Jackson. It seems a long shot but it would be a great story if he turned the corner.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    True, but I think Vitters is done at 3B. I never liked his footwork there. I think he's a role player until he shows he can hit for consistent power and/or improve his approach.

    That's not to say he can't have value. Maybe he turns into Matt Diaz or if you go old school, Gary Roenicke in the old Orioles platoon.

  • There have been several 3B prospects who moved to LF in the years I have been watching Baseball. One of the more recent good transitions (although it was made after a couple of years of subpar 3B performance to LF) was the move the Royals made a couple years back with Alex Gordan.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Don't forget Ryan Braun.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    PED issues asside,... another good example Marcel.

    Although he was also a horrible defensive 3B if I remember correctly.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Yeah. Worse than Vitters last I checked. True butcher over there.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Better athlete, with better range, but his hands were absolutley terrible. Cinderblocks. Braun also seemed to lack flexibility. In football terms he would be considered a waist-bender because he struggled to bend his knees and sink his hips when fielding grounders.

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    I like that they still want to give Vitters and Jackson chances to be productive with the Cubs and not another team. I think Vitters could flourish in LF without the defensive responsibility that comes with 3rd base.
    Who knows. Maybe he starts off platooning but forces himself into a full-time role. Even if he doesn't, he is capable of playing RF,3B, and 1B. So he play mainly LF while being Rizzo's backup at First, and maybe giving Shierholtz a breather in RF. He seemed to wear down late. Very interested in this. Helped Alex Gordon's career take off.

    Kinda disappointed hearing about Grimm. Don't get me wrong I think he could be a damn good reliever. But I feel he should remain a starter as long as possible. It's not like he's a bonifide #5. There's #3-good #4 potential in there. Same with Cabrera. Starters with mid-rotation potential don't grow on trees. Relievers do. To say you can never have too many starters but then make 2 or 3 of them(with the highest potential I might add) relievers without giving them a chance seems contradicting.

    Either way I trust this FO to make the right move.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I feel the exact same way about Grimm. You echo my thoughts that #3 starters don't come around as easy as one would hope, at least in the past with the Cubs. I know that they will have a lot of pitchers with starters ability, I want them to bring Baker back as well, and some will have to transition to the pen. We should not go into spring training with any of the potential starters being looked at as closer until they are set with their starting rotation. IMO.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree with the sentiment of keeping Grimm & Cabrera as SP if possible. But remember, this could be temporary. Nothing saying they won't get stretched back out in a year or two. This could be organizational need more so than anything else. They do not want to spend heavily on the BP, but need a complete overhaul from the squad they broke camp with this year. As other power arms come up through the system, they can be evaluated or reevaluated if you prefer, for SP consideration.

    I believe competition fuels the best in us all. The Cream always rises to the top. One or two years in a RP role could actually help these power arms (Grimm, Cabrera, etc) as it gives them less to focus on and worry about. Just focus on locating your FB and commanding that out pitch consistently.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I could really see it working out that way, HD, Who knows, it might be for the best. It's just hard with the transition from starter > reliever being easier that reliever > starter. But like you said. Sometimes it's just organizational need to shift people around.

    The positive is you have to have a surplus of good pieces to even be able to shift some around. In our case we are developing a deep stable of high potential starters so we can afford to shift a few to the bullpen. I just hope it's not permanent or predetermined in October. Let them battle it out and the losers go to the pen until they inevitably need to start again.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    These things usually have a way of sorting themselves out, regardless of any pre-determined spots. Injuries, poor performance, etc (either by themselves or others) all play a role. This FO has made no secret that they plan to attack the SP &Power RP arms in "numbers". You have to have the mindset of "some will, some won't, who cares, who's next?"

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    The Orioles should have taken this approach with Arietta, now it may be too late. Had he broken in as a reliever he may have been able to gain consistency and confidence more quickly and then he could look to transition back to the rotation at about this point in his career. Instead, if he would be moved to the pen now, he'd be looking at transitioning back to a starting role near age 30, which almost never happens.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm on the fence now about Sveum, and 6 weeks ago I was clearly in his corner. On the one side, the FO has dealt him a bad hand. No one could win with this roster. So his in game decisions are of little consequence. I give him a break there because he is new himself. On the other side, the one thing he has been asked to do, which is to develop the young talent, doesn't seem to be happening. There are moments when it appears to be, but then they regress again. So who really knows.

    Overall, I see the big picture, and though I hate losing, I hate meaningless wins just as badly. I want that 4th overall draft pick. I make no bones over it, but if this team won the rest of it's games because on the backs of it's young players, that wouldn't be meaningless either. However, if they did it on the backs of their veterans, I'd be mightily pissed.

  • I like to think I've had some affect.

    It's funny, Chris Bosio is actually my #1 reason for keeping Sveum. I think he's done a really good job. Wood, Feldman, Gregg, Maholm, Rusin and others have improved under his watch. Ground ball rate is up significantly and walk rate is down.....lots of good stuff.

    And if by some miracle Girardi was availble and the Cubs were interested, who wants Larry Rothschild as pitching coach when Pierce, Blackburn, and Hendricks are ready to join the big club? Not me....

  • Sveum should be kept for 2014 then a new manager for our
    better 2015 roster. The 4th pick brings more money to spend.
    I think Vitters will still have a role in our future

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    Whomever the next manager is, be it 2014 or years from now, they need to stop hiring guys who decide to publicly rip kids. No good comes from that, period. It doesn't help the player's confidence nor does it help with the fans, who in this town have an easy time finding something to nitpick on. Don't feed the fans negatives. Any critique of players should be done in private with those players.

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    john, how do you compare samardzija and arietta? Seems to me they have similar pedigrees, and both flash unhittable stuff interspersed with one bad inning where they lose their focus. I'm not sure why people are so ready to take Arietta out of the starting rotation (while leaving Jackson in as a given) and put him in late inning relief; I think he should be given at least the slack and time to improve that was given to T Wood and is still given to Shark.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    The difference in both cases is track record and while neither Shark or EJax have consistent command, it's more consistent than Arrieta's.

  • Mike Maddux? Really? Does anyone remember his interview last time? He was the only one who didn't come dressed for a job interview, and his attitude before and after with the media was so blasé and shrugging that he seemed to be looking for Theo/Jed to sell him and not the other way around. And then the whole thing about bringing his brother Greg onto his staff as a redundant pitching coach who may or may not spend half the time in Vegas with his family didn't strike me as a professional approach for constructing a new coaching regime and clubhouse attitude. I'm sure Jed/Theo kept everything cordial and professional, while noting all the red flags.

  • John. Will you be in Wrigley Saturday?

  • In reply to cubs25:

    No, unfortunately. It's going to be a crazy 6 weeks for me and I'll probably have to cancel my AZ plans even.

  • What is the collective feeling regarding Arrieta as @ SP? I'm of the mindset that they should continue to pursue it , as long as possible. With the usual caveats about comps, Cash was a guy , for a long time, who looked like he couldn't make it over the hump as a SP and most of the pundits had destined for the pen.
    Given the outsize value of SPs relative to pen guys combined with our scarcity of power SPs,
    I think it makes sense to plow ahead until he succeeds or it becomes glaringly obvious that he won't. A possible Shark trade would only underscore this for me.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    I agree with this. The stuff is just too good to give up on. I'm of the mindset that it's nowhere near too late for him to become a TOR or even good mid-rotation starter, which will outweigh any role he'll have in the bullpen. I don't follow all this "it's make or break time for Arrieta" stuff. He's 27, not 32. Give him a full year in a rotation where he's not counted upon to be the ace and see how he does.

    Keep him starting every 5th day.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree, but if we land Tanaka and re-sign baker, we have a pretty interesting situation with Tanaka, Shark, Arrieta, Jackson, Wood, & Baker vying for 5 spots and that's assuming Grimm & Cabrera won't be given a look.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Just me, HD, but if they sign Tanaka, I'd have to consider not bringing Baker back.
    Or trading EJax... if possible

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    If he comes cheap enough, too much SP is always the best problem in baseball....

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I'd keep Arrieta a starter until he absolutely proves he can't. Can always switch him.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I think they should keep him as a starter. He did just make his 71st career start today so its not like he's just fallen off the turnip truck into a big league rotation. He's proven a couple of things to me. He's shown that he has good stuff and that he's probably going to be inconsistent. He's a really nice guy to have, especially considering how we got him but I'm not doing cartwheels. He looked really sharp today!

  • What Watkins has done today has no bearing on the following question that has been asked her a million times : what is there left to be evaluated with Barney? We know what he is: a utility player. For a team with glaring offensive, particularly OBP, issues why not give more than a cursory look to the guy who has exhibited some OBP skills-Watkins? I don't think I'll ever get it...

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Could be a few explanations. Keeping Barney's value high by keeping him as the starter. Trying to get him the Gold Glove again. His superior defense is better for the developing staff. I also think they see Watkins as a utility player anyway.

    I'm not saying I don't want to see Watkins play. Just trying to think of reasons.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I'm not ready to bench a Gold Glove winner for someone who only posted a .333 OBP at AAA this year, and has barely topped .200 in the majors.

    That's not to say that I don't think Watkins can be a solid player, I just don't think he's ready to take the reins at second yet. There's also the issue of Alcantara being an all-around better player. Watkins probably won't wind up being anything beyond a platoon player for the Cubs.

  • I can't imagine he has much, if any, real value.

    As far as the Gold Glove, loyalty should be to the org's best interests, always, IMO. I think Theo & Jed get that , generally, Hendry didn't.

    As far as Watkins as a utility player, how can they possibly pigeonhole him without giving him an opportunity in games that don't matter. They've given Barney 2 entire seasons to prove he's not more than a utility player. Why not give Watkins six weeks?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Teams should always show loyalty to their veteran players too -- and that is in the organization's best interests as well. I also think players shouldn't be given opportunities for the sake of it. Watkins had a whole year to prove himself in AAA and he didn't hit, didn't steal bases, and doesn't play as well on defense as Barney. It's hard to say Watkins earned an opportunity with his AAA performance. The Cubs didn't have to bring him up at all. I don't think one 3 hit day changes anything.

    The reality is when you have utility player type skills, you have to force the organization's hand or wait for something like an injury and then seize that chance. Watkins didn't do that when he had his opportunity in AAA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well said. His "opportunity" is getting the chance to collect big league time. He's a good looking bench guy who'll get a chance to play for a couple of weeks sometime when someone gets hurt.

  • FYI ... I saw this on MLB Trade Rumors ....

    The Nationals have acquired left-hander Matthew Spann from the Rays to complete last month's David DeJesus trade, the team announced via press release.

    It's unclear what the Nats ultimately gave up to acquire DeJesus in the first place, but the trade will net them Spann, the Rays' 25th-round selection from the 2010 draft. The 22-year-old southpaw spent the season with Class-A Bowling Green, pitching to a 2.87 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings -- most of which came in relief.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Sounds more like an org arm than a prospect.

  • Update: Javier Baez will not be going to the fall league after all. Cubs decided he needs the rest instead, come back strong for the spring.

  • Hoyer has announced that Baez asked not to be included in the AFL because he was tired. The Cubs agreed to give him time off.
    Is there more to the story?
    John, looks like you have a new Blog post to write.

  • In reply to djriz:

    I just updated it with another bullet. Don't see much there. I think the Cubs thought it over and decided he's already played a lot. Sometimes it's better to rest players and there's a growing school of thought that sometimes you should give players more time to recover.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I totally agree with you on the rest thing. I was actually surprised (yet excited) when he was originally sent to the AFL.

    Jesse Rogers is reporting Baez asked to be dropped, which, considering everything I've read about him, kinda of made me wonder.

    (Spring Training is a long ways away. Where am I going to get my Baez fix? (legally, I mean)).

  • In reply to djriz:

    That makes sense because the Cubs said "they were ok with him skipping the AZL", which seems to imply he asked permission. I have no problem with it. He gave it everything he had all year long and he's never played this long before. Fatigue puts him at risk for injury and he doesn't have much to prove down there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So - who goes in his place at this point then? Would open up a spot.

    Vitters maybe - but he's a bit advanced, and most likely to head to the OF for next season and Baez seems slated for time in the IF.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I hope Almora moves to a full time slot and whomever is added gets that taxi squad spot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Probably the most logical move. Would get Almora some more time playing to compensate for some of the developmental time he missed out on during the regular season.

    And then some IF to the Taxi squad to backfill the spot Almora would have occupied.

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    My thinking on this is that Baez must be further along in development in the FO eyes then we thought. If they still felt he needed more significant development he would go to the AFL or winter-ball to get more AB's.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Mooney just updated the reason here and it does look like it was Baez's idea with the Cubs blessing.

    “He’s kind of emotionally and physically drained,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday at Miller Park. “We have no problem with (him missing the AFL). The last thing we want him to do is go there and risk injury or not feel like he can give his all.

    “He just felt like he was tired. It was a long season for him.”

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I just saw that too. I like this. I like that the FO listens to its players. Hopefully this encourages players to make their feelings known to the FO when something concerns them. That will lead to a better clubhouse and more committed players.

  • I think one thing everyone is discounting on Sveum is this. Is he learning from his mistakes.

    For instance, many people are unhappy on how he called out Castro and Rizzo. If he has learned/been told that this is a mistake, he has learned that moving forward and may not do it again.

    That is just one example, but if we expect players to get better and improve, shouldn't we expect Dale to do the same and therefore be given the chance to show he has learned from his first two years?

    Joe Torre was a disaster his first go around. LaRussa wasn't all that grand either.

    Len Kasper said today on the radion that Dale will be back. He didn't think there was anything to these stories that came out and didn't think otherwise about Dale getting canned.

    I too believe he will be back and given a chance to show what he is capable of with a half way decent roster.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Good point...and I think he did learn from that Castro/Rizzo mistake.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I agree too that when this is all said and done, he'll get another chance. I mention Maddux but I think he's more of an option down the road if it doesn't work out and he's still available. I'll be genuinely surprised if Sveum isn't in that dugout to start the year next year.

  • did Watkins earn another start with todays game? i sure hope so

  • Sveum is not my choice for manager when this club has the talent to succeed. Not only is his bullpen mgmt. poor and comments on his players abrasive, the guy looks like he just doesn't give a damn if the Cubs win or not. As much as Dusty's Neifi love grated on me and Crazy Lou was a bit worn out, at least those guys gave an indication that losing really bothered them. I don't get that same passion from Sveum. And if player development is what will determine his evaluation, I think the regression of Castro, Rizzo, and Shark have to be a big negative. In working personally with Rizzo and BJax in altering their swing, his results have been disastrous- and Sveum's strength is supposed to be as a hitting coach. With that being said, I think the manager next year should be.... Dale Sveum. By dumping him with a year left in his contract it sends a message that the FO chose the wrong guy for the job and it will cost the club money that could be better used elsewhere. With the very real possibility that next years team will win 70-75 games at best, it doesn't make sense to spend extra $$ for a different manager.

  • Agree, Agree. Sveum next year and then don't resign him. Sveum acts like he never unpacked his suitcase anyway. Next year is still a lost cause, but '15 should be good. Bring in someone w/ energy and insight for '15. Letting Sveum go will help wash away the bad taste of the losing years. Maybe Bosio did do well w/ the pitchers, but other than that this team has displayed no signs that they are be guided and inspired by their leader.

  • I have mix feelings about vitters moving to the outfield. If this mean Bryant is ready for 3B then I am for trying this out. If he isn't quite ready yet then my move vitters? There is no reason to think Olt will be ready to have a good year and there is no reason to believe that Villanueva is MLB ready next season, even tho he had a solid AA year.

  • What is the hype over Maddux? He has been a pitching coach his whole career? Why is Theo high on him? Where does he get his claim to fame?

  • I also would rather have lake as my right handed hitting platoon outfielder. If feel like we are over looking lake as any option. hitting over .300 and has unreal speed that we need.

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