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Around the League: The Amazing Adventures of J-Roll and Ryne

Around the League: The Amazing Adventures of J-Roll and Ryne

Some commotion started in Philly on Tuesday when Jimmy Rollins said of his 0-fer the day before, "Who cares?"

This apparently rubbed manager Ryne Sandberg the wrong way, as he promptly removed Rollins from the starting lineup.  Actually, that's a bit of an understatement: he whited out Rollins's name.  (I think Sandberg may have played for the Cubs at one time)

In 2012, Rollins was benched for failing to run out a pop up.  Perhaps Sandberg has seen similar behavior as he said of replacement Shortstop Freddy Galvis:

Freddy's a guy that will get playing time at various positions.  He's a guy that I like in the lineup. I felt good about what he brings to the table. The biggest thing I like is his energy and his positive influence. His positive influence on everyone around him.

When asked if Rollins brought the same energy and influence to the team, Sandberg replied "No comment."

On Friday, Rollins was back in the lineup and Sandberg was claiming it was not disciplinary.  He just wanted to see Freddy Galvis play three days in a row.  Right.

Listen, I like Sandberg but this was Bush League.  First, Rollins is in the right here: who cares about spring training stats?  This is about getting ready for games that count.  Then, instead of talking with Rollins, he simply pulls him from the game.  Following this, his player is beaten up in the media for three days.  At the end of that Sandberg isn't even willing to own his decision and hides behind excuses that absolutely no one believes.  He wanted to lay down the law and show that everyone has to play hard every day.  But this was an overreaction and leaves him minimized in its wake.

Around the league,

Monday

  • Barry Bonds appearance in uniform for the San Francisco Giants is re-igniting the debate on his Hall of Fame candidacy.  Craig Calcaterra and Ken Rosenthal have differing viewpoints on it.

Tuesday

  • This is starting to become serious.  Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras is still struggling to get playing time and will likely not be on the Opening Day roster.  However, Stephen Piscotty is taking advantage of the opportunity that Taveras's absence has given him.
  • David Price had an outstanding outing for the Rays, striking out 8 in five innings.  Price is a wild card.  If he's on the market, he instantly becomes the best starter available and reduces any return for Jeff Samardzija.   However, the Rays, who expect to be competitive in the AL East, could use him as much as any other team out there.  Moreover, they may be unwilling to trade him withing-division to the Blue Jays, keeping Shark as the best option available to Toronto.
  • A minor but fun story: Yahoo has replaced CBS Sports as the official fantasy game of MLB.

Wednesday

  • The first "are you kidding me?" injury of the summer: Brewers RHP Francisco Rodriguez stepped on a cactus.
  • Ryan Braun has picked up his first post-suspension endorsement deal, with cleat manufacturer 3N2 paying him a fraction of his old Nike deal.

Thursday

  • Some cactus league controversy.  After Kevin Towers said this offseason he wanted his pitchers to hit more people, Diamondbacks' P Tommy Kahnle responded to a pitch that hit OF Mark Trumbo in the back with a fastball off of  SS Troy Tulowitzki's leg.  Fortunately for the Rockies (unfortunately for the Cubs' pursuit of CarGo), x-rays were negative.  However, there seems to be more than a little bad blood between the two teams. 

Friday

  • The A's are dealing with injury problems of their own.  Pitchers A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker will be seeing doctors following elbow issues.  Parker will be making the dreaded journey to Dr. Andrews.

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  • How soon before the next big cut from the ST roster. Any surpises?

  • Wow. I was never really in the "hire Sandberg" camp, but I have to say that after that episode with Rollins that I'm pretty glad that the Cubs have Renteria who (thus far) seems a great communicator and positive influence. I wish Ryno luck and hope he can regain credence in that clubhouse, but.... ugh. That was weak.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Agreed - Renteria was a better choice for the current team.

  • I am never a fan of managers trying to make a point through the media. If you have a problem with a player, then talk to them face-to-face. That kind of stuff needs to be kept behind doors. Also, by doing it the way he did, Sandberg could potentially rub some other veterans the wrong way.

  • I had mentioned the Price thing before, but his situation brings up an interesting dilemma for the Rays.

    If the Rays are in the thick of things in late July, and by all accounts, they should be, they cannot trade Price. They have to go for it because they are a legit WS threat.

    So they don't trade him, the season ends - what are the Rays to do? They can't sign him and don't have the rights to him so they can't trade him. All they can do is give him a QO.

    So now the Cubs would be in a position to go hard after Price and give him 7 years $200MM. The Cubs will have no bad contracts (Soriano will finally be paid off) with only Castro and Rizzo's long term deals on the books and those are both affordable.

    The Cubs will have either traded Shark or locked him up and that would give the Cubs a TOR of Price, Shark and Woods with some very good young arms ready to fill in the back end of the rotation.

    Drop in the fact that Baez and Bryant will be on the team in 2015 with the likes of Almora and Soler knocking on the door, you can start to see the future finally getting here.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Pretty sure TB has Price for two more years.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    TB has control of Price for 2014 and 2015, but they do like to trade their surplus veterans for the boatload of prospects two years before they run out of control. That obviously didn't work out for them as they would have liked. If all the stars line up maybe we could luck into getting Price without having to pay a boatload of prospects.

  • if Almora dominates AA this year and has a good 2015 ST He has the make up and skill to be the 2015 starting CF . Not many guys would I accelerate like that but Almora I am 100% sure could handle it and hold his own . Stay healthy this year !!!

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think this is where the business side over rides... Bryant & Almora both are represented by Boras. The Cubs can not count on them signing a team friendly deal, assuming they are successful. After years of suffering to make us competitive year in and year out, why call up 2 of our "core 4" before the super two date and lose an extra year of cost control?

    It's not like we'll be in a position to go for it all in 2015. Even if Almora finishes this year dominating AA and is electric in ST next year, I don't see him making the team out of ST. Kind of like the Baez situation this year (even if he was a finished product) it's bad business to lose that extra year of cost control in the future for a half season now when we aren't going to be in the thick of the playoff race. Hey, if we surprise and are contenders then it's certainly possible.. But that's not likely.

    But yes, his biggest challenge right now seems to be staying healthy for the whole season.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    understand completely I was talking purely baseball side not the financial side, I expect both Almora/Bryant to be up for good after super 2 passes.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'd have to disagree with:

    "It's not like we'll be in a position to go for it all in 2015."

    I think the Cubs would have a very good shot to make the playoffs in 2015. And if you can make the playoffs, anything can happen.

    If Theo's idea of "progress is not linear," has any credence. It's possible we could see a huge jump in the amount of wins we would have from one season to the next. There is also one more offseason for Theo and Jed to work their magic. Next winter could possibly be their most important as a Cub.

    Just my 2 cents...

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I fully expect the Cubs to be extremely competitive in 2015 with a real shot at the playoffs.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Even if they don't have stud pitching they will have stud hitters hopefully. 2015 is my focus year right now. Bryant and Baez should start the season in the majors, and there is a chance they see time in 2014. Almora could also make the team out of spring training. Who knows what will happen with Soler also. And also not even factoring Alcantara and a hopefully established Olt. Plus Rizzo and Castro. I know that is a lot of what if, but even if 1/3rd of those players make an impact that's a huge deal

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Hey I'm optimistic for this year... but the reality is, unless the planets all align, they could replacing 40-60% of their starting rotation in 2015, again. Baez & Soler (because he's already on the 40 man) are likely the only 2 of the big 4 to get a cup of coffee this season. And Soler is not a lock. I don't see them bringing Bryant up til after the super 2 date next year. It's what would be best for the team in the long run. Why lose out on having him cost controlled during 2021 when we are uber competitive for an extra few months of him in 2015 when those couple of extra wins aren't likely to mean the chance at a title... They haven't been able to build a playoff contender out of the spare parts thus far,. I doubt next year is any different.

    If they are somehow competitive this year and able to extend Shark and go get a decent #2 guy like Masterson or Schurzer, etc... and none of the prospects take a step back, then sure... I can see it. The reality of all that happening is small though.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I would have to say you are assuming a lot as well. We know that Theo will have money to spend if the right player is a fit. We would probably agree that the player that would be needed is a pitcher or two.

    If those two top line pitchers are added I could also see Bryant starting with the big club right out of Spring Training. Yes I understand that it may be beneficial financially speaking for the Cubs to wait until July or August to call up Bryant. But this also assumes that the Cubs will remain to keep spending like a small market team. They are not a small market team and the only reason money wasn't spent like a drunken sailor was due to Theo's long term plan accompanied by the debt issues that may be currently hampering the works. This is only a temporary issue, imo. The #1 goal is and has always been to win multiple WS. Bryant is a big part of this as well as others identified as the core.

    But Bryant is a special guy. He will be starting in Tenn THIS year. That's less than 1 year after being drafted. He tore up the AZL. I can see Bryant being the type of kid that breezes through the system.

    With Bryant, Baez, Castro and Rizzo and Olt all on the big league squad, the offense has to be producing runs. Money spent to bolster the starting rotation gives these guys a real shot to make hey. So why delay, delay, delay. The only reason would be money.

    If the Cubs are the big market team they say they are and the rest of the league say they are, trying to justify keeping a player like Bryant who will probably be ready next Spring is just not warranted.

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    You people have been Cub fans for so long that you accept trash. Losing breeds losing. Bobby Cox would have done the same thing. When do you "turn it on?" To say that today I will try and tomorrow I will is BS. To think otherwise is ridiculous.

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    In reply to Dave Cookfair:

    If you are going to take the time to comment - try to be coherent or post sober - your comment is totally non-sensical and you add nothing to this site..

    FYI - talent is coming, patience is a virture...

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    In reply to Lee Shannon:

    Lee, I think Dave was responding to the blog post, not the comment chain. His post is not nonsense. In fact, I agree with him that Sandberg's actions were not as bad as others make them out to be. And any fallout with Rollins will not be a big deal, because I don't think Rollins contributes much to the Phillies these days. Other vets may be offended however, and that could be a problem. But the Phils had to know what they were getting in Sandberg, and must have decided that he, and the type of player who will respond well to his managing, is what they want now. Remains to be seen whether it will work out.

  • In reply to Robert Devetski:

    I like the competitiveness of Sandberg, he expects everyone to play hard on every play. That is the way it is supposed to be.
    "We talkin' 'bout practice" it doesn't fly with Sandberg. He may have success he may not, but he will be in charge.

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    In reply to Dave Cookfair:

    Any sane manager would say that spring training is to get ready for the regular season. There's an important difference between not caring about the game and not caring about spring training statistics. Spring training statistics are utterly and completely worthless -- otherwise Scott McClain would be a hall of famer.

  • On another note, it sounds like the Vandy/LSU duel last night was a barnburner while Beede and Nola were on the mound. I'm thinking John will probably be posting something related to this later today. Not sure if Nola is the type of arm the FO will be looking for; but he certainly hasn't hurt his overall draft stock thus far this season.

  • The article mention the Cubs pursuit of Cargo.

    Was that sarcasm, or is there any reason to think the Cubs are actually pursuing Cargo? I doubt that he is even on their radar screen at the price that would likely to be asked.

  • I have been saying Nola is the safest pick this year to reach his ceiling , has been dominant the last 2 years and its not smoke and mirrors

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    yes you have and he will likely make the team selecting in the 10-20 range quite happy. But from most scouts public comments & reports, there's not enough there to warrant a top 5 consideration.

  • there is zero chance he wont go in the top 10 ill put a hand shake bet on that one , ZERO chance unless he gets hurt .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    You might be right, but neither of us control or influence any of those ten picks. So we can't really say for sure. I'm just repeating what I've read about him as I've never even seen him pitch live.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    fun conjecture , see to me for the Cubs it would go Rodon , Beede, Jackson , Nola in that order , iwould be thrilled with any of them

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Adding to the four players you mentioned are Turner, Kolek and Hoffman. I don't see how we don't get a stud this draft in the first round.

  • 54 scoreless innings and 12 SO in each of his last 2 games against 2 BBs . He can flat out pitch and every team that passes on him is going to look foolish if he stays healthy . Beede hasn't hurt his stock either this year and deserves top 5 selection for sure, I am not minimizing Beede in my praise of Nola for the record.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I like Nola as well, I think 4 is a stretch, but I wouldn't hesitate if I was later in the top 10.

  • I don't particularly agree that Price going on the market drives Shark's price down. It makes him number 2 on the wishlist that's for damn sure, but when teams see the outrageous, future mortgaging price that the Rays ask for, they may warm up to the idea of going for the second best arm available and realize the Cubs demands aren't too much after all in comparison.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    This is a great point. Having a better, more expensive, product on the market can just aseasily raise the value of Samardzija.

  • I do not have a high opinion of Rollins based upon several examples of him seeming to me to be a horse's ass but, if Ryno wants things done the right way, he should have done so himself.

  • I give Sandburg credit for doing what he did. Nobody knows what has happened to leading up to this. Rollins has had issues before. Sandburg could have had conversations about it before, therefore Rollins knew it was coming. I believe discipline has lost it way in mlb. Nip it in the bud now.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Seems I remember Rollins having issues in the past where he was benched. We really don't know what transpired between Rollins and Sandburg before this incident. It is possible Sandburg attempted to handle it privately. Rollins strikes me as a spoiled ass.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I would agree with this completely if (a) he had responded with "Jimmy is a valuable part of our organization" instead of "no comment" and (b) he had owned the decision instead of pretending that it was about the backup. You can't be good cop to the media's bad cop.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Maybe that was Sandburg's way of protecting his player in the media by saying No comment. If Sandburg tells media everything then people would accuse if throwing under bus.

  • I am not a Sandburg fan, as a manager, but I don't think it is fair to criticize him for disciplining through the media. As far as I can see, he merely took Rollins out of the lineup without comment to the press. It is the reporters that seem to have made a big thing out of it. When he was asked, he said "no comment". What else could he have said.

    He has been criticized for not talking to Rollins about it, but how do we know whether or not he has had private conversations with Rollins?

  • know some philly fans who seem to be taking sandbergs side on this. seems Rollins has had issues before

  • I liked Sandburg as a player and was on board with him managing. It is so easy though to root for former players to manage. I researched it a bit, couldn't find an example of a former player leading his team all the way. Probably wrong though.

  • Sounds like a Bobby Valentine move. 14 year veteran, former MVP , says he doesn't really worry about practice game stats. And this requires embarrasing the player? Going to be a long year for the Phils.

  • Big reader but don't post much. Down in AZ for a few days so I figured I'd send along my thoughts. This might be long and the wrong place to post this but I'm getting old and liable to forget things if I wait.

    I'll start with how much I love the complex. Saw the game yesterday at the new park and it is very nice. Spent part of Thursday morning and then 4+ hours today at the minor league park. Got to talk to folks, my kids got tons of autographs, a ball, and two broken bats. The set-up of the complex is great. 4 fields with home plate converging so you really see a lot at once. Total stimulation overload. After doing drills for a few hours they scrimmaged on two fields. Mostly live pitching but some pitching machine thrown in.

    As everyone knows, Olt looked great Wednesday night. Not only does he seem like he knows what to do at the plate, but I had the sense he was seeing the ball well. Watching the young guys Wednesday night was very different than watching the team on Friday. You got the sense that things could and would happen. I have to say though that I like to watch Valbuena. Baez obviously gets a ton of accolades. I'd say he needs to work on consistently but watching that swing sure is fun. He stabbed a hard ground ball in the field that I thought there was no way he would get. Not hit far from him but hit so hard.

    Stephen Bruno is a hitter. He has some pop and stood out even among a nice group of hitters. Candelario gets a lot of love and rightly so. He had some shots today and was very aggressive on the basepaths. I see why folks are high on Soler. He was getting under everything (including Wednesday night) but the power is pretty obvious. I did not see any loaf in him at all. He motored on the towering pop-up/short flyball he hit on Wednesday night. Today he legged out a play to second. He can go and has an effortless stride. Often smiling and chatting with teammates. Almora and Amaya did not do anything overly impressive but you can definitely see the skill and potential in both.

    Met Eloy. He seemed so happy and thrilled to be at spring training and appeared to be walking around hoping people would come up to him. I asked him if he was going to be in Arizona this year and he said "I hope so." He is a big dude. Did not see him play though. Saw Gleybar Torres play though. Have some video on him at the plate. Could not get a ball out of his glove on one play at short and looked a bit overmatched at the plate. Not too overmatched but he needs some seasoning and growth as expected. Met CJ Edwards. As skinny as advertised but I love that guy. So happy to sign my son's baseball and got the biggest smile on his face when I said that I'd be following him closely this year.

    Zak Blair is a new favorite. Walked up to my son on Thursday and gave him a broken bat. Talked to him today and it is clear that he is living a dream. Was fun to watch play today as well.

    Spent some time with Dave Keller. He gave my daughter a ball 8 years ago so I made a point to chat with him. A really nice guy and willing to engage.

    Paniugua (sp?) threw in one of the scrimmages. His stuff is good and he keeps the ball down but command is an issue. I liked watching Taylor Scott pitch today. He had a plan and went with it. Hendricks, as discussed already, was outstanding yesterday. Dodgers did not really have a clue and it was not until Crawford's second at-bat that they got good wood on him. I would have liked to have seen him go through Puig, Gonzalez, and Either again though as I wonder whether another go around would have made a difference. I was also impressed with Dallas Beeler. Seemed like the Mariners had some trouble getting good wood on him Wednesday night.

    When you see all the arms they've drafted on the field doing drills it helps one feel more positive about the pitching side of things. My son went up to a bunch of them and got autographs. Very nice guys who carry themselves well. Pierce Johnson was still not working out but was around helping with drills.

    I can't quantify this, but I get a good feel about Renteria. He signed balls for my kids on Wednesday night and then watched him in a variety of settings and situations. He was at the minor league complex on Thursday watching Hammel and Jokisch throw.

    That is all I remember at the moment. Sorry for the length of the post.

  • In reply to jjshook:

    Thanks for the write up, sounds like a great experience! I'm excited to see what Bruno does as well- he's not a top prospect but seems to be a hitter.

    I saw that Olt had a bad day today but did take that last at bat to 12 pitches, really battling.

  • In reply to jjshook:

    Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you and your kids had a blast! That's what it's all about my friend!

  • In reply to jjshook:

    sounds like you had a great time down there. Appreciate the write up. It is good to hear we have a lot of high character guys coming through the system.

  • In reply to jjshook:

    Outstanding post! Don't be a stranger and please post again soon.
    And, by the way, did you hear any of the Cubs utter "who cares"? I bet not.

  • Not much to get excited about here in Surprise today. Shark was off, Big Game struck out 10 with one infield hit. The only good contact was a foul by Vitters, then of course Shields threw him a CB for a strike out, as well as, his next AB. Jackson did make contact..once for a weak infield dribbler, along with his usual K's. Villanueva did have a nice pick at 3rd on a hard shot. Minor update, not sure if the game is on tv or not.

  • Just as I post that, Jackson finally got his bat off of his shoulder, for a 3 run HR. All or nothing with him.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    I will keep rooting for him- seems like a good worker trying to bounce back yet again- but I think this is do or die time and the OF depth is improving.

  • Regarding Sandberg, I don't see the point of upsetting the apple cart in spring training. Taking someone out of the lineup for three straight days is unproductive for the player and the team. We saw what happened with Sveum last season when he decided to dole out his version of "Scared Straight" to Castro and Rizzo. He's back to being a coach and will likely stay one. Sandberg has proven himself at every level as a manager in the minors. I would hate to see him throw away his first (last?) shot at managing in the majors over something that could have been handled in-house.

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    In reply to Cleme:

    I agree sandberg seems to have over-reacted. On the other hand, there may be more backstory that we're not aware of - jimmy rollins maybe imparting a "who cares?" attitude in the clubhouse, and that really is not acceptable. Also "Who cares?" may be the correct sentiment for spring training stats, but not the correct way to express it, and the way we express stuff really reveals more than just the sum of the words.

  • As for Sandburg, we may not know all that went on. But as a fan I hate to see a player state that spring training stats are meaningless. It makes you wonder how hard he plays. You have players that need an example of dedication even if its only in spring training. They learn from the Big Leaguers both positively and negatively.

  • How would we be reacting if Soriano had responded to an 0-fer with a "Who cares?" last spring? Or better yet, what if everyone's favorite lightning rod, Starlin Castro, had blown off a poor ST performance with a "who cares?" I guarantee you that this blog would be responding with. whole lot more than "No comment".

  • Who cares? Ryno!!! Phillies will need strong leadership from the top to wake up that group of veterans resting on their past and living the high life on contracts bloated for what they accomplished years ago.

  • Good for Sandberg, Rollins' attitude has always rubbed me the wrong way.

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