Cubs Notes: Real Baseball! Bryant, Rivero impress in AZL opener; Sweeney re-signs; Girardi decision "sooner rather than later"

Cubs Notes: Real Baseball!  Bryant, Rivero impress in AZL opener; Sweeney re-signs; Girardi decision "sooner rather than later"

Real baseball is back.  It doesn't count in the standings, but it'll be fun to follow Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora and few other  Cubs prospects get some much needed work.

The other real baseball related news is that Ryan Sweeney re-signed.

We'll also look at the latest on the Joe Girardi saga and we have a Rob Zastryzny interview sent to us from the folks at Canadian Baseball Network.

UPDATE 8:00 PM:  Nick Cafardo is reporting that sources are telling him that Manny Acta impressed in his interview yesterday.

ESPN's Manny Acta had a very good interview with the Cubs according to sources.

The interest seems to be mutual according to Patrick Mooney,

“I spent a few pleasant hours with the Cubs front office,” Acta wrote in an e-mail Tuesday morning. “We got to know each other and exchange philosophies. It is an attractive opportunity due to the track record of the front office, the talent coming thru their system and of course the great city of Chicago.”

Mooney also states, "While waiting for Joe Girardi to give the New York Yankees some answers about his future, people familiar with Acta and Cubs executives describe a potential fit, a Plan B option."  He also describes Acta as fluent in sabermetrics and relentlessly upbeat.

 Cubs Fall League Recap

Unfortunately can't watch these games and things haven't worked out where I can get to Arizona this year, but we'll follow along on GameDay and give you the recap on all Cubs.  Opening day was today and Jorge Soler started in RF and batted 3rd while Kris Bryant got the start at 3B and batted 7th.

  • Jorge Soler struggled to get his timing back and started off the day at 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts....but he stuck with it and got perhaps the biggest hit of the game for Mesa, a go-ahead RBI double in that big 8th inning for Mesa in which they roared back with 5 runs to turn a 7-3 deficit into an 8-7 lead.  Unfortunately, Glendale came back to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th.  Soler was 1 for 6 as of the 10th inning.
  • Kris Bryant drove in a run with a single in his first AB and was smack in the middle of that late rally, doubling in in another run.  He also scored 2 runs and went 3 for 6 overall.  Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but I think this kid is going to hit.  On a more serious note, former scout Bernie Pleskoff was there and was impressed with his defense, "I really liked watching both 3B play defense today. Kris Bryant and Colin Moran looked comfortable and agile. Made plays."  A good offseason may get him to AA to start the season, and if so, we may even see him in the majors by late next season.
  • RHP Matt Loosen didn't fare too badly but an error led too two unearned runs.  After Micah Johnson got on via error, he stole 2nd and 3rd then scored on a single.  Loosen then gave up another single then a sac fly.  He wasn't hit hard but he did allow 2 unearned runs.  His second inning was uneventful except for getting mega-prospect Byron Buxton to fly out. Overall he went 2 innings, allowed 2 unearned runs, allowed 2 hits, walked one and struck out one.  Most encouraging aspect of Loosen is he threw strikes, 21 of his 34 pitchers were strikes.
  • Lendy Castillo is apparently a last minute addition and like Loosen, he was the victim of a key error.  Castillo, however, got hit pretty hard too and allowed 3 runs in his one inning of work, though all of them were unearned.
  • Armando Rivero came in and after the team made an error behind him too, he struck out the next 3 batters, including Buxton swinging.  Impressive debut to say the least.  Speaking of players who can help the Cubs next year, Rivero has to be a candidate to make the bullpen at some point next year.  Pleskoff said this about Rivero when I asked him via Twitter, "One inning, three strikeouts. Looked very solid. Big guy. Want to see him again. Showed some stuff."

Cubs re-sign Ryan Sweeney

 According to Bob Nightengale, the Cubs signed Ryan Sweeney to a 2 year, $3.5M deal with an option.  The 3rd year is at $2.5M but the Cubs can buy it out for $500,00o.  I'm a big fan of this move at this rate.  Sweeney showed he can play a solid CF defense (10.1 UZR/150 in a limited sample size) and provide some left-handed discipline and pop.  He can add a lefty presence to Nate Schierholtz and Anthony Rizzo and is young enough where if he really is starting to reach his potential, he can stick around and be a long term solution.  It's a very low risk deal to try and find out.  Sweeney will be 29 next year and hit .266/.324./.448.  It's a short sample but his slugging percentage was a career high, as was his .182 ISO.  He had a solid .337 wOBA and was a slightly above average wRC+ of 110 with 1.1 WAR. His 6 HRs tied his career best even though he played in just 70 games last year.  It's not unreasonable to think he can breakthrough and hit 15-20 HRs next year, much as we predicted for Nate Schierholtz last year.

The Girardi Saga

Yesterday we heard that the Girardi decision could extend all the way through the month or more, but that was really just the Yankees saying they were willing to let him take as much time as he needs.  It appears he isn't going to need a lot of time according to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.  Per a tweet from ESPN NY Andrew Marchand,

Hal on Girardi: This will go down sooner than later

  • Sun Times writer Gordon Wittenmeyer writes that a source told him that he expects a decision today.  He also says that Girardi wants to explore Cubs interest further but that may cause the Yankees to rescind their offer.  It may depend on how confident Girardi is that the Cubs are willing to beat his offer.  The indication here in Chicago is that the Cubs will indeed beat the Yankees offer.  So if Girardi turns down the Yankees, all signs would seem to point to him deciding on the Cubs and trusting them to beat the offer and there is no reason to believe the Cubs won't do that. Their intense interest in Girardi is well-established.
  • Some of the national writers are starting to chime in.  Bob Nightengale thinks Girardi's preferences in order are 1. Yankees, 2. TV Job and 3. Cubs.  If you're an optimist and know about our terribly cynical stance about Nightengale's accuracy, then you'll take that as 1. Cubs, 2. TV Job, 3. Yankees.  So depending on what you think about Nightengale that is either very good or very bad news.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN also believes Girardi will stay in New York, in part because his ties to Chicago aren't as strong and in part because the Cubs are still 2-3 years away from winning.  Then again, Bowden hasn't been a whole lot more accurate than Nightengale.
  • For what it's worth, based on what I've been able to put together  Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch seem to be the top candidates with Renteria being more of a fallback.  A couple of industry sources told me they felt Acta would be the best fit but one of them also said he likes Hinch's potential to be able to communicate with the front office when it comes to development philosophy and analytics.  Acta has some of those qualities as well and also has more recent managing experience.   Those are the two candidates with whom the Cubs have spoken first, so there's that.  Acta hasn't caught on with the some of the mainstream media, but that may be because he was a bit of a surprise candidate.  Not here at Cubs Den.  We had him at the top a week ago.  The Cubs are likely to get a clearer picture after they talk to each candidate and then have their internal discussions.
  • Here is a nice story from Floyd Sullivan, a fellow ChicagoNow blogger who writes "Waiting for Cubs".  The piece is based on a personal experience with Girardi.

Rob Zastryzny

A site called Canadian Baseball Network did a podcast with Canada native and Cubs 2nd round pick Rob Zastryzny.  You can listen to that here.  Check out their site as they have more coverage on Zastryzny.


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  • fb_avatar

    I agree on Sweeney; it's a very low risk deal. He played better CF than advertised, (UZR likes his defense there), and he showed more pop than in the past.

    The question for me is whether Sweeney can sustain that power. He was a top prospect at one point based on the assumption that he would grow into power that never developed. He's always been a disciplined hitter, but power is key.

    But either way, very low risk here. We needed a bridge to Almora, and he fits well; can also platoon with Lake.

  • I like the Sweeney move, got him back at a great price.

    I do think the Cubs needs to add another OF though. As of right now the OF is full of platoon players and question marks. There's no one you look at that strikes fear in the opposition. This has to be one of the weakest starting OF trios in all of baseball.

  • Bryant seems to be getting things down rather quickly. No K's today and still hitting good.

  • The woods are replete with a zillion, OFs. I'd say if a need arises it will be easy to meet.

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    I like the Sweeney signing. Have a feeling they will try to capitalize on Nate's year to package him for a COF with a little more power.

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    I have a feeling they will keep Nate for a little while. Within two years our corner OFs could be Soler and Bryant. Why do we need to trade for a COF with a little more power? And by the way Nate had 21 HRs this last year. How much power are you looking for?

  • A.J. Hinch? Manny Acta? Anybody Not Named Girardi? You can almost hear the collective groan across Chicago. It's either Girardi or Fail. I think Theo is savvy enough to know that if he's able to hire Girardi, he himself is no longer on the clock. At least for the length of Joe's contract. Any other hire and Theo himself goes on the clock. Going into year 3 of his own deal, Theo doesn't want that.

  • It should not be Girardi or nothing, I hate when the media does this. So if Girardi say no thanks I'll stay in NY or take a year off, any other candidate will look like leftovers. I hate this talk radio all or nothing stuff I hear, a good manager can make a good team better but too think he IS the guy to take the Cubs forward and no one else is short sighted.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Most of us are short sighted then.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't think he's the only guy who can move the Cubs forward. There are other good candidates out there as we've mentioned before.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I suppose, but I'm underwhelmed.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You're preaching to the choir John. The sycophants are as incapable of reason and logic in regards to the Cubs as they are about the things that really matter, and you've seen my FB page. So you know what I mean by things that really matter.

    The media says Joe's the savior. Therefore, it must be so, and you know what? Joe Girardi might just be the right guy, in the right place, at the right time for this team, but it's the way most people have come to that conclusion that just totally pisses me off and turns me against him. It's emotion based thinking versus rational based thinking.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    There are reasons to like Girardi but for me I don't care about the sentimental ones (local guys, former Cubs, exciting the fan base). I think he is the best leader with the most experience -- and that will instantly commmand respect, but as far as things like development, analytics, game management, I don't think he has an edge over the rest of the field.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Sentimentality is not a good reason, but that's what most Cubs fans are basing their preferences on. Yes, there are valid/logic based reasons to think Girardi might be THE guy, but there are also valid/logic based reasons to think he might NOT be. However, you can't tell the sycophants that. They've had their minds made up for them, but then they approach the rest of life the same way.

    I'm at the point I see it as a no win situation no matter how it goes. Girardi has a rock star following amongst Cubs fans right now, and if he is hired, expectation will be unreasonably high. On the other hand, if he turns down the Cubs or if the Yankees just refuse to let him talk to them and the Cubs move on because they'd like to get this thing over with, then FO and ownership are going to be blamed, and whoever they hire isn't going to good enough for the mob.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I do think it's going to be a tough sell if it's anyone but Girardi with Alomar being the second favorite. After that, I imagine fans won't be excited about Acta, Hinch, Renteria, or Martinez.

    One thing that can change minds in a hurry is good baseball. Yankee fans weren't excited about Torre, Red Sox fans weren't doing cartwheels over Francona...winning can change that.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't think for a minute that the reason Cub fans want Girardi is because of anything to do with what the media is pushing. Cubs Den is my media. Your post just is not accurate in my case. Also, emotion plays a role in baseball success.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    The kind of emotion that pushes teams to excellence is not the same thing.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'd say most Cubs fans are excited about his past history of success (which is probably the same reason the media likes him). I'd say it's likely players will respect him for the same reason. That's his advantage over every candidate. He comes with instant respect because of his track record and because he's a good manager. The hard part with the other guys is that they'll have to earn that respect.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The players will respect him for that, but we're talking about Cubs fans here. You know those people who kept filling the Tribune Company's coffers even though they were putting an inferior product on the field.

    I've always thought the real problem with the Cubs didn't lie with ownership. It lay with a fan base than continually allowed itself to be taken for granted.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think that may have been the case with the Trib, but Wrigley didn't always sell. People didn't go in the 70s and early 80s and the Wrigleys still didn't do anything to improve the team. They just sold it. People just didn't go until Dallas Green got them winning just enough and then the marketing machine took over from there. The White Sox fans don't go unless the team wins and they've been only slightly more successful than the Cubs over the past century.

    It's been ownership. It starts there. It starts with making a full commitment of putting their resources toward putting the best product possible on the field -- spend on scouting, development, the front office, the players -- anything that leads to putting a top product on the field. The problem is ownership isn't always adept at creating the best product, they seem to find it easier to heavily market a mediocre one.

    To me this is the best ownership the Cubs have had in my lifetime and I expect that we will soon start seeing it pay off.

  • Saw Bryant play three games in Daytona this summer. I don't think it will take him long at all to move through the system. No surprise to me that others (who know way more than I do) are impressed when they see him play for the first time.

  • In reply to Jayhawk81:

    I'm excited to see him play for the first time. Will have to wait until he gets to Tennessee and then maybe I'll take a road trip.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agree 110% with your above previous post. Our time is coming when the solid foundation, instrumented by the ownership/FO begins baring fruit. I've been following the Cubs for 65 years, so a bit longer with their approach seems prudent.

    BTW, heard the news that Andy Pafko, one of two remaing Cubs from the Cubs 1945 World Series has passed.[ Len Merullo, being the other] Really a good man in all respects. R.I.P.

  • I absolutely love the Sweeney deal. Predicted a 2/3.85 so I was 350k off the mark. I am a little surprised how quickly this went down but not too surprised given the fact that this is a guy who's never had a guaranteed contract and he's getting two guaranteed years. I just thought he would field offers but ultimately show loyalty to the Cubs. He's a quality player.

    I noticed on yesterday in the write-up on Almora and Soler and the fall league and they listed all the Cubs players who were playing in the AFL. They had (and still have, I just checked) Armando Rivero listed as Armando Rivera! That's so F'n weak, Carrie Muskat. No respect!! Where is your editor?? Hopefully his name will be correct on his jersey when he's helping us win ballgames!

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Sweeney couldn't shop around. Like Schierholtz, he was/is under team control, but was/is arbitration eligible.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I just checked another source and I'm sorry, I was wrong. Sweeney was indeed headed for free agency.

  • John, great work on this blog! I've been reading Cubs Den daily for three months now. Told my dad about it and he reads it daily too! Thanks for your hard work. Concerning Girardi, I know family concerns plays a big role in his decision, but it seems the national media doesn't get it. Joe grew up a Cubs fan, was drafted by them, played an important role on their team two different times, and is from Illinois. He understands what we understand, to win the World Series in Chicago as a Cubs manager would be the highlight of anyone's career and bring tears to thousands of Cubs' fans faces. This is why I believe Cubs will get him as their manager. If not, I'll be surprised. As a Cub fan, I get it, and believe Joe gets it too!

  • In reply to David23:

    It also has the possibility of being a failed project with Joe at the helm, and then all those great things you mentioned, which is almost his entire childhood and playing career, and leaving them all with a sour ending as the last memory in Chicago. Same goes for Ryno, it's hard to have a former city favorite come back in a manager role because if they fail it's worse for everyone involved by a large magnitude.

  • In reply to David23:

    Thanks David for the kind words and spreading the word on the blog.

    I think there's a bit of a bias toward New York in the media. They see it as the ultimate place to play or manage. His ties to Chicago aren't as strong as they used to be, but I do think he still has fond memories and I think he'd love to be the guy to get the ring in Chicago. Is it enough to sway him? I don't know. He seems to really be struggling with the decision, but it goes to show how much Chicago still appeals to him.

  • I think I remember someone saying that Bryant could stick at 3B and would move through the Cubs system like a rocket.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    We're not worthy! LOL

    Nice call Kevin if it holds true.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KGallo:

    Nice one!

  • Who was that? I kid, I kid ;) Nice job.

  • Off topic (actually just added as update)

    Cubs reportedly impressed with Acta after interview. Acta also very interested in job as well, likes Cubs direction.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And with that being said I hope the guy never has a chance to manage the Cubs. When a team quits on the manager or tanks the way Cleveland did a few seasons ago it tosses up some red flags. I know he's a preferred candidate for several reasons but I'd rather go with Hinsch if we had a choice between the two.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Woah now... Kaplan reporting a ML exec saying to avoid Hinsch like the plague. I guess it's Girardi or-- Acta? I sure hope Joe tells Cashman & Steinbrenner no thanks.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Rick Renteria also will get an interview and I think guys like Alomar, Martinez and maybe someone like Pena (if Girardi decides to stay in NY) could be in the second round.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What's your insight on Renteria John! Things have moved fast so I don't think you've laid out the case for his candidacy like you gave for the others yet. Great job covering the search so far.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    I do know he's well respected around the game. Reportedly understands players very well, their strengths, weaknesses -- I think he'd be solid as a developmental type. Don't know about his other skills though.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Spoke to an ML exec who likes him though. Could go either way.

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    In reply to Paulson:

    I heard that too. Apparently one ex-MLB GM told Kaplan that Hinch was one of the worst managers in the last ten years. Wow, that's scary bad. Quade bad, even.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Your right the Indians were so boring to watch when he manage them and they did quit on him. He knows baseball but so do others. I will be disappointed if they hire Acta. If the latin connection is important (I'm not sure thats so important) then Alomar or Martinez I feel would be a better choice. If its Girardi or Acta please Joe come to Chicago.Btw I may be anti Acta because of what I read Indian fans were very happy when he was fired.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    He's pretty well respected throughout the industry. If there are red flags, it doesn't seem to stop him from drawing interest from some of the smartest execs in baseball.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    As I remember, they were impressed with Sveum, too, for whatever that's worth.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    I think Sveum can still be a good manager in the right circumstances.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I feel sorry for Acta and them if they do hire him. It's going to be extremely unpopular. All the boobirds will see is his record. Never mind he had less to work with in both instances than Sveum.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    You know, who cares what people think, Some of the best managers started off not so well. Torre comes to mind. LaRussa as well. Not all managers come out of the box swinging. Like so many others, I believe the correct choice will be made by this FO

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    This same FO that you are so confident about also hired Dale. If they don't get their number one choice this time, how can we believe in their pick this time?

  • Yeah- seems like someone was dreaming about a scenario would Bryant wouldn't be taken by the Astros long before the season ever started this year. Said the kid could rake like no tomorrow... wonder who that soothsayer was?

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    Thanks for the great coverage, even in the offseason John. I have to say for the past year or so your website has been a must read for me each and every morning on the can. Well done! With that being said, while contemplating what I would do build a Cubs champtionship for next year, I thought about maybe making it a contest. While Sveum's bunting tournament is left in the dust, why not start another one that may last longer than the average manager? I can leave the specific rules to you but maybe have a cap on team salary for the year (something like $120 million) and leaving 3 out of our top 4 prospects intact. You can be the judge and with the Olympics right around the corner in February, you could give us your top 3 winners in the form of a gold, silver, or bronze medal. You could judge the probably of the trades each contestant makes and the likelihood the free agent signing contracts are on the open general, the over feasibility of the plan. Just thought I'd add a little something to our offseason. What do you think? I've already got mine about 90% done.

  • In reply to Ryan Kalasz:

    Thank you Ryan, I appreciate the kind words.

    Sounds like an interesting idea. Will definitely mull that over.

  • Somewhat OT, but Jed and Theo are considerably younger than every single candidate (with the exception of Hinch) that they are interviewing and working with. What a strange dynamic, don't you think?

  • I'll be surprised if Bryant isn't in the majors by July.

  • In reply to clarkaddison:

    Wow, that's pretty optimistic considering he's had a month in A ball.

  • An absolute steal of a deal to land Sweeney. Could have got double on the open market.
    Last year I predicted Travis wood will be a break out player. Sweeney is me choice for next year.
    Kind of funny with the yanks, its like they think if they make the cubs wait, they will give up on Joe. One thing we cub fans can do is wait.

  • Ha ;) Very true, nobody is better at waiting than Cubs fans.

  • I'm starting to wonder if Girardi is waiting for the Yankees to pull the offer so he doesn't have to reject it and can save face with New York.

  • Off-topic, but: why aren't the Cubs showing interest in Jose Abreu? Would he not be the RH middle-of-the-order power bat the Cubs need to replace Soriano and protect Rizzo? Dude can play in LF, and the Cubs have no viable internal options for that spot (Vitters, really?)

    After watching Cespedes and Puig rip it up, I want Abreu in Chicago, Lord knows we need the bat.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Abreu can't play LF. He can barely play 1B at an adequate level. He's essentially a DH, but you can live with him at 1B if he can hit. I think AL teams will be more aggressive.

  • Wow, I do not comment much, But check everyday as to the happenings on this site. I truely adore the content as well as the well conceived insights of John and others. Man where do I start. Girardi is the sexy choice. But all I have learned and read here is Alomar and Acta are bad either. I check AZ Phil on occasion. I was wondering when a little love for the AZL was going to appear here knowing today was the kick off day. And low and behold, tonight good coverage. Thank you John and many others for making this site the BEST for my Cubs addiction.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Thanks Wild Bill.

    I think Girardi would be a great choice and there's a lot to like there. I'll be happy if they get him. Like you, I'm not Girardi or bust. I think there are some good baseball minds out there.

  • okay being the chatterbox I am. I read that Baez opted out of the AZL this year due to playing a 130 games this past season and needing some rest. Good or bad? Reading comments from Almora and others they are so excited to keep playing ball. I recall as a kid playing until dust not wanting the game to end. But is Baez saying enough is enough and I just want some rest? I have thought this as well. With Soler and Almora whos season had been cut short, I can see then not being burned out. But with Baez I don't blame him. He had a full season. Time to recharge the batteries and look forward to 2014

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    In reply to Wild Bill:

    I agree. let the kid rest. I think we saw Bryan LaHair suffer from a bit of fatigue after playing a full winter season. Being moved to 5th and having Steve Clevenger for protection certainly didn't help his cause either.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Almora, Bryant, Soler, and pretty much the whole AZL team got their seasons cut short.

    Baez played the whole season and he plays pedal to the floor all season long, including the playoffs. I think he's just worn down. There is a school of thought that says sometimes rest can be more helpful than more reps depending on the situation. Baez may be a guy who may benefit from the opportunity to recharge. We know he isn't going to take it easy once the season starts!

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    Off topic but...Koji Uehara - Holy Cow. 101 K's and only 9 BB all year. That's downright Eckersleyesque.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Amazing. He's been a favorite of mine since he's been at Texas.

  • It will be interesting to see if the Cubs make a run at Choo or Cargo. I like the Sweeny signing. If they can get a left handed bat, I think they would trade Nate. I hope for a LHRP.

    If they got Choo and signed Cory Hart to a similar Sweeny deal, that would give them
    some versatility in the outfield and first.

  • In reply to ejs1:

    I don't think the Cubs will sign Hart. I doubt they're looking to sign more low OBP RH bats. Not only that, but they're moving beyond the "sign and flip" phase into a phase in which the priority is to establish the young guys. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but I think they'll take a pass.

  • Glad to see the Sweeney signing,.... he looks to be a quality guy who we got at a quality price.

    And I would not mind seeing Acta get the shot myself. He did a good job with a woeful team in DC a few years back when they were in a (given, much earlier) rebuild stage. Always seemed to be teaching and upbeat. No talent on those teams did him in like the lack of talent did in Sveum (IMO).

    Now - I would love to see the Cubs work on an extension for Wood - next on my offseason 'wish-list'.

  • John... Pleskoff is not the only one impressed with Krist Bryant... Jonathan Mayo from thinks he's had the best pro debut of this year's draft class... Jim Callis thinks it is Jonathan Gray... Mayo thinks Bryant should've been #1 in this class, apparently, although it is debatable and has a very nice piece about him.

    Here's the link:

  • I seen the game today...Soler was off, but what really disappointed me was his lack of hustle on a broken bat grounder that just died between the mound and first, he could have beat it out...Bryant seemed relaxed at third, and made a good snare of a high hopper to his right, forcing the runner at second...most impressive, though, is White Sox 2B Micah Johnson; he will a solid player for the South Siders.

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Don't you think his "lack of hustle" could be the result of him still rehabbing from a FRACTURED TIBIA? I mean, if you broke your leg, don't you think doctors will tell you to take it easy for a while? Why would be be out there running 110% and risk his legs during Fall? I think he's got to ease himself back to 100% and focus on getting his timing and mechanics back.

  • In reply to Caps:

    He ran hard in the outfield on a couple of gap doubles...he hit the ball and gave up on it, when he realized the ball just died he tried to pick it up, but was too late...Caps, don't excuse his play when you didn't even SEE his play.

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    You're right, I didn't even see the play, but you're jumping to conclusions without even analyzing the facts...

    And let's analyze the facts that you're using to jump on Soler and judge him... This is what you just said... "He didn't realized the ball just died he tried to pick it up, but was too late'.

    It doesn't sound like I'm excusing him, it sounds like you're giving the perfect explanation, that's not lack of hustle, he was just not aware the ball had died and then he picked it up but was too late... Meaning, if he knew from the start, he would've likely ran hard out of the box, but it seems that he thought he was an easy out until he noticed what was going on... That's not lack of hustle, that's poor judgement or field awareness.

    Also, I don't think the Front Office would like to find out Soler re-injured his bad leg because he was trying to beat a swinging bunt in the Fall League, which is more instructional than competitive.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Geez...tone it down a little. You sure have quite the analysis for someone who didn't see the play.

    He's not still rehabbing from the injury, if he was still rehabbing he wouldn't be in the AFL. The injury happened in late June and he was slated to come back two months ago but was shut down because the minor league season was winding down. I'm sure the leg is fine.

    Thanks for the insight JCG, hopefully people like this don't discourage you from writing what you saw.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    You're telling me to tone it down, yet you're the one with the disrespectful tone here... Soler had not seen action until something like last week.

    I didn't see the play, but JCG just said he misjudged it or was it lack of hustle? I rather analyze, things before I judge than to come to conclusions without ever knowing the facts... Was Soler benched afte rwards? No, maybe the manager knows something we don't.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Just because he didn't see action until something like last week doesn't mean he's still rehabbing.

    Just because he didn't get benched doesn't mean he didn't hustle.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Just because he didn't run hard out of the box doesn't mean he didn't hustle... He did, he just wasn't aware of the play at the beginning... Thanks for proving my point, hope you understand where I'm coming from.

    I saw Soriano early this year hit a rocket to 3B and not run hard out of the box... People thought he was not hustling, but he wasn't aware that the 3B had dropped the ball, he thought it was caught... When he started running it was too late... Was that lack of hustle? I don't think so, it was lack of field awareness.

    That's what I think happened with Soler... You see, before I jump to conclusions, I try to find a reason for everything... Having seen Soler play often, other than the no-hustle incident, he's definitely not the lazy type of player.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Do you have any more analysis of the play you didn't see or are you done?

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I've got all the analysis you need... Just ask away, maybe you can learn a thing or 2 from me... Like respect... Now, go back to school kiddo... Oh and if that's offensive, then I'm sorry, you just give me the impression that you're a 12 year old who doesn't know respect or how adults debate... For you to reply with such a lame answer after I gave you 3 paragraphs of a detailed analysis shows you definitely do not know how to debate... Have good day at school.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    That's the point, detailed analysis of something you didn't see.

    People like you bring down the quality of this great site.

    I've seen know-it-all's before, never one that didn't see the play though lol

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Thanks Yemi, Caps is a longtime reader here and, like you, he provides great insight. He doesn't bring down the quality of this site. He questioned one reader's assessment/interpretation of a play but he did it respectfully. I'm okay with that. People view things differently and I think it's okay to question a first hand account if you have good reason to back it up, even if you didn't see it. I've sat with scouts at games where two people watched the same play and came to different conclusions. It happens. For what it's worth, a couple of scouts talked about Soler's game and neither one brought up that play. Not saying it didn't happen, but either they didn't feel that way or they didn't think it was a big enough deal to mention. People interpret things differently and that is one of the things we like about this site too.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    And yet, I'm not claiming I've seen and known before, just trying to find the reason for the situation... And who are you to speak about the quality of this website? How much money did you invest in it? As far as I know, not only have I had good discussions with John and Felzz, but I have also contributed with first hand reports to John and I have brought here some of those great posters you're referring to.

    Perhaps I have earned my respect after playing for the Rangers minor league system, having been coached by guys like Felipe Alou and personally knowing guys like Pedro Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez, Odalis Perez, Jose Mesa and others... But that's something you wouldn't know, because you don't know me, yet, you judge him... Which takes me to my original point... I analyze things and find the reasons before I judge... I have never claimed to know-it-all, but I'm glad to share my little knowledge.

    Taking credit for something that is not even yours, like this website, discrediting people you don't know... More evidence that you're just an angry teenager lashing out at adults with disrespect... Yet, I have not said anything about you and honestly, I do not care about you.

  • In reply to Caps:

    No doubt. Honestly, I think you guys are both great contributors to this site and I know you've been here a long time Caps and I appreciate that. Disagreements are going to happen and sometimes things get out of control. I see both of your points here.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I hate seeing or hearing about ball players not hustling or not running out a ball very hard for what ever reason. I was urked when Sweeney didn't run his ball out in STL. I was always taught if you don't know where the ball is after you hit it then run.

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Thanks for the update Jolly. Remember seeing Micah play a lot for Birmingham. Great athlete. If he can hit, he can be a very interesting player.

    Not sure what happened with Soler on that one. Hopefully it doesn't happen again.

  • I'm thinking they should add Kelly Johnson as a low cost starter/backup for 2014. He has some pop, is left handed, and can play a few positions.

    I'm all for Salty/McCann/Castillo or any combination thereof. Personally, I would take a flyer on Kevin Youk as a buy low bounce back candidate and potential placeholder until Kris Bryant arrives.

    I also think they should give looks to Jason Bay, Nate McClouth, Mike Morse, Coco Crisp, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, and Corey Hart as some potential outfield bats that could make some noise offensively.

  • Some good news on Jorge Soler. Someone asked if he was a slower, less talented Puig and Keith Law's response was that "he's faster and more talented, actually".

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think the faster thing is a little off. The potential talent is there but he still has some time to go.

  • True or false - Hendry would have given Sweeney 3/$15M with a full NTC....? :)

    Not to go all off topic here, but that was probably my biggest issue with the previous regime. One or two 3/$15 deals wont cripple a team like the Cubs, but a series of those deal can impact a team's ability to acquire elite talent. Seems like there was a time when we had a bunch of mediocre players / 7th inning guys making $5M (Neffi, Todd Walker, Hawkins, Remlinger, Macias, Howry, Eyre, etc).

    These are the types of role players that a solid farm system should be spitting out every year. Or, teams should be signing to shorter-term / lower value deals. Seems like the Cardinals / Rays never have these deals - rather bring up cheap rookies or acquire talent on the market.

    Paying a guy 500K instead of $5M allows for payroll flexibility and can free up cash to get impact talent.

  • Thanks John, my apologies for the situation, I clearly didn't mean disrespect to JCG, but I just gave my opinion about it, after all, people post here to express their opinions/assessments/observations and read what others have to say about it... Some players are lazy, but sometimes there are explanation for these things, Soler didn't run hard INITIALLY, so, the way I see it, maybe he just wasn't aware of the play, that's all, doesn't mean he didn't want to run...

    Like you, I hope it doesn't happen again.

    Again, I apologize for the situation that was created out of it, though I think, just like JCG, I have the right to say what I think of the situation, even if I didn't see it.

    I could've easily said I did see it, nobody could prove whether I did or not, but I gave an honest response.

  • In reply to Caps:

    That's cool. Stuff happens.

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