Media take their turn at Cubs predictions for 2013

Yesterday we at Cubs Den gave you our predictions based on 10 questions that John compiled.

It included me scratching my originally intended 75 wins and going with a last minute change to 79.  It was a Saturday night, but I hadn’t started drinking just yet in case you were wondering.

I decided to check in with some of my media friends.  A group that includes some serious Cubs fans among those who cover the team on a daily basis.

Here is the line up for your media picks. We are very excited to have them play along.

 Dave Kaplan @thekapman

Co-Host of Cubs pre/post on CSN Chicago

 Marc Silverman @WaddleAndSilvy

Co-Host “Waddle and Silvy Show” ESPN AM 1000

 Matt Spiegel @MattSpiegel670

Co-Host “McNeil and Spiegel Show” WSCR 670 AM

 Jordan Bernfield @JordanBernfield

Host of “Cubs Weekly” Sundays 12pm

 Jimmy Greenfield @jcgreenx

Chicago Now Community Manager/ Author “100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die”


1. What will the Cubs record be?

  • Kap: 72-90
  • Silvy: 74-88
  • Spiegs: 70-92
  • Jordan: 68-94
  • Jimmy: 55-107

2. Which Cub or Cubs will be All-Stars?

  • Kap: Starlin Castro
  • Silvy: Castro/Samardzija
  • Spiegs: Castro, maybe Soriano
  • Jordan: Castro
  • Jimmy: Castro

3. Who will be the first veteran traded?

  • Kap: David DeJesus
  • Silvy: Carlos Marmol
  • Spiegs: DeJesus
  • Jordan: Matt Garza
  • Jimmy: DeJesus

4. Which Cubs will win a Gold Glove?

  • Kap: None
  • Silvy: None
  • Spiegs: Darwin Barney
  • Jordan: None
  • Jimmy: None

 5. Who will be the Cubs surprise/breakthrough player?

  • Kap: None
  • Silvy: Nate Shierholtz
  • Spiegs: Junior Lake
  • Jordan: Scott Hairston
  • Jimmy: Wellington Castillo

6. Who will be the Cubs surprise/breakthrough pitcher?

  • Kap: Jeff Samardzija
  • Silvy: Kyuji Fujikawa, Honorable mention: Travis Wood
  • Spiegs: Fujikawa
  • Jordan: Fujikawa
  • Jimmy: Nobody

 7. Who will be the Cubs top rookie?

  •  Kap: Castillo
  • Silvy: Fujikawa
  • Spiegs: Fujikawa
  • Jordan: Fujikawa, Nick Struck could surprise
  • Jimmy: Nobody

 8. Who will be the Cubs core players by the end of the season?

  • Kap: Castro, Rizzo, Castillo, Samardzija
  • Silvy: Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Soler, Baez
  • Spiegs: Castro, Barney, Rizzo, Samardzija, Maybe Baez, Fujikawa, Russell?
  • Jordan: Rizzo, Samardzija, Castro
  • Jimmy: Rizzo, Castro

 9. What is one improvement you’d most like to see the Cubs make?

  • Kap: OBP
  • Silvy: Less leaks to media as Cubs trades are being discussed.  Would also like to see Theo and Jed “win more” with acquisition for the Major league roster.
  • Spiegs: It’s a big Starlin year for me.  I want to see him reclaim and own a spot in the top of the lineup.  Be a 2 hitter in full.  You don’t have to walk 100 times, but take some pitches, control some more AB’s, and stress out pitchers more.
  • Jordan: One improvement?  Can’t they make 300 improvements?  This team ultimately needs far more pitching, but they’ll address that through the draft and likely in trades.  For this year, find a third baseman that isn’t, well, bad.
  • Jimmy: Develop or trade for a core starting pitcher.

 10. Which prospect(s) are you most excited to see?

  • Kap: Baez
  • Silvy: Baez
  • Spiegs: Baez, Baez, Baez
  • Jordan: Baez
  • Jimmy: Arodys Vizcaino


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  • Based on his predicitions, the name of Jimmy Greenfield's book should be “100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know And Then Die”

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Ha! Yeah Jimmy has a Hindenberg type outlook to this season.

  • The Astros won last night.
    We'l never catch 'em now!!

  • Kaplan's answer to #9 says it all for me. Happy opening day!

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    In reply to Eddie:

    Thank you! To you, as well! The Cubs might be seen in 2013.

  • I just figured Jimmy must be a Sox fan.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    He's a huge Cubs fan.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I see he's letting it get to him then. ;>)

  • Question number 11: What will the attendance be after a 95-100 loss season?

    Some very nice assets (as Theo refers to players) in the minors and I like the picks over the last couple of years (Please pick Appel this year) but everything else about the organization scares me.
    Bad TV deal and not to be corrected anytime soon.
    Heavy debt.
    Sinking attendance.
    Wrigley improvement mess with the city and rooftop owners.
    Astros move to AL.
    Theo's interview over the weekend shows frustration and Gordon Wittenmeyers article yesterday does not paint a pretty picture for the next few years, this a very important year for the cubs organization and more importantly the major league team.
    I will be watching today with a smile on my face and hope in my heart as a 40 year fan should, but if ownerships debt has tied the hands of the GM's spending on the parent club and they are counting on the big three in the minors to save the day (all's it takes is one injury to derail a career) they are rolling the dice on fans patience.

    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Rock:

    I don't think they are counting on the big 3. I think they plan on continuing to add young talent rather than past their prime free agents.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree that no one wants the Cubs to sign a Swisher type player to play right field, but what the Cubs are missing out on because of $$'s is 22 yr old RF Yasiel Puig, hitting 500 for the spring. Or how would 27 yr old Yoenis Cespedes's ,290 23HR 82RBI .356OBP look in center field this year. How about 24yr old Yu Darvish 191in 3.90era 1.28whip 221 so 89bb in the AL. Hyun Jin Rye at 24 yrs old a lefty starter who has good spring numbers. All these free agents were scouted by the Cubs and fit a current need so if they secured 2 or 3 of these players(Yu is too expensive maybe) how would the roster look with the other 20 something players Castro, Rizzo, Garza, Barney you would have serious hope for the parent club in the NL Central. I know we would not be looking at 90-100 loss season.

  • If you could get Cano to sign a 6 year very high aav deal would you consider it? I think it will take more in the 8-10 range at which point I think the Cubs would be out.

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    In reply to Nick Nesler:

    Not a chance. He'll be 32 next year so every year after your be paying the premium for declining performance. Even worse considering he's a 2nd basemen.

    I feel sorry for whatever team hands him a huge deal. You'd think organizations would have learned their lesson by now.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I think a lot depends on Baez's performance this year. If he fails to take the next step, I could see Team Theo deciding they need to address second base production from outside the organization -- and paying for declining performance may be the best option on the table.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Theo Epstein has said several times that paying for past performance is just something you don't do.

    It's not an option at all.

    Why would a rebuilding team, that's still at least a couple years away from contention. pay huge money for a guy thatwill be around 35 years old when they're set to compete? That's the problem we're trying to fix right now with Soriano.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Key quote:
    “If we are really, really, really good at our jobs in scouting and player development,” Epstein says, “we’ll never have to sign a single free agent.

    “But I can guarantee you right now that won’t happen. I can tell you that there will be a press conference or two over the next four years. We will stand up and hold up a jersey and we will be happy we signed the player. I hope we can be in on some of the top free agents. But we will do it with our eyes open.”

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I didn't say we will not sign a free agent. I said we won't pay for past performance.

    Edwin Jackson is a good example. His career thus far has been very respectable but he has plenty of gas left in the tank and one could argue he hasn't even peaked yet. He's low mileage relative to his experience.

    If David Price becomes available that's another good example (I realize if we trade him it will probably be by trade, but that trade will preempt his pending free agency, so the contract we theoretically give him wouldn't be any different than a FA contract). An elite pitcher that's still relatively young and has many years left.

    Those are deals where you're paying big money expecting for performance justifying the salary.

    Cano will likely have a monster year this year because it seems like players are able to dig extra deep in contract years, but then what? a 31y/o, high-mileage second baseman on a team that's still rebuidling.

    Cano will be older at the end of the season than Soriano was when we signed him. Not good baseball.

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    I love the Arodys Vizcaino pick from Jimmy. Obviously the big 3 prospects will be looked at under a microscope, but you can argue the emergence and health of Vizcaino is more important. If Arodys can actually be a healthy starter, the Cubs just got a young, cost controlled top of the rotation starter. That would make this rebuild and this season much easier to watch.

  • In reply to Demarrer:


  • Time to point out why it's amazing some these guys have jobs:

    Cubs surprise/breakthrough player:
    Spiegs: Junior Lake (that'd definitely be a surprise, because there's probably a 10% chance he's up before September)

    Cubs top rookie:
    Silvy: Jorge Soler (even though there's a 0% chance he plays in the major leagues this year)

    Cubs core players:
    Spiegs: Maybe Baez, Fujikawa, Russell? (a 32 year old guy that's signed for 2 years with an option is a core player? A lefty out of the pen?)

    Congratulations to Kap, Jordan and Jimmy on not embarrassing themselves!

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I think Lake could actually see some time sooner.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I think Speigs meant Russell and Fujikawa could be pieces on a contender.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Agreed. And I'm wondering how Kap considers Castillo a rookie.

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    Jimmy didn't embarrass himself? What do you call his 55-107 record prediction. I think the 68-74 win total range of the other four is in the ballpark

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    We'll see. The Cubs won 61 games last year and like it or not I think they're actually worse this year.

    Happy Opening Day!

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Totally agree. Virtually the same lineup with less pitching. They had that miracle July last year that has little to no chance of being repeated this year.

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    In reply to Floyd Sullivan:

    Miracle July? They won 15 games. The Astros won 15 games in Sept/Oct after they had purged what little talent they had.

    They'll definitely get more out of the C, CF & RF positions based on a full season of Castillo and the OF platoons. The pitching is actually deeper that last year.

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    In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    The Cubs essentially are using the exact same team they had last year. There are a ton of ifs in the lineup and two of the Cubs top 3 pitchers will be out until god knows when. I don't think your prediction is that outlandish Jimmy. I am predicting 65.

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    In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Seriously doubt they're worse.

    Unless disaster strikes, Castillo will be an improvement on Soto, DDJ/Sappelt is an improvement on Byrd/Campana, Schierholtz/Hairston has potential in right. The bullpen is light years better with Fuji, Takahashi, and Rondon there. The rotation is arguably weaker at the top without Dempster, but -- no matter how rough a season they have -- Villaneuva and Feldman are better than Volstad.

    This is not a great team on paper, but it is better than last year by a significant amount.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    What happens if/when the Cubs trade all these guys away though? We already have major injuries, and odds are we will have more. 70 or more wins would actually shock me, mainly because of the mid season sell off.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Dempster and Maholm are gone and both had fantastic years.

    I can't say Villanueva/Feldman is an improvement until they actually show up and pitch. Feldman didn't have a good spring even. Maybe he was working on some stuff. I hope so.

    You say Sappelt is better that Campana and Byrd but he couldn't even make the team last year.

    There's no guarantee that Castillo will be better than Soto. Castillo had a small sample size last year and played awful during spring.

    as for RF, any position that REQUIRES a platoon can not be considered an area of strength.

    If you want to predict improvement, I'm perfectly fine with that, but there's little evidence this team is better on paper.

    Outside of better DEPTH at pitcher, we didn't improve. And if injuries continue, the depth is nonexistent. And the level of talent certainly went down, so If talent goes down and depth goes up...who's to say what side wins?

    Again, we COULD improve, but that can't be shown on paper right now.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    This is kind of a reach.

    Villaneuva and Feldman are veterans, we can look at their history and say -- objectively -- that they are better than Volstad, another veteran. The hope is that they are even better than they have been, but they're better than Volstad right now. Looking at Feldman's spring training numbers will just needlessly panic you. He's a sinkerball pitcher and the sinker is notoriously difficult to throw in the dry Arizona air. Matt Garza also got shelled in spring training 2011. That year turned out okay for him.

    You know who else didn't make the team last year? Anthony Rizzo, ergo Bryan LaHair is better than Anthony Rizzo. The reason Sappelt didn't make the team is because the spot he was going for -- the right-handed fourth outfielder -- was taken by Reed Johnson. They wanted him to play in the minors where he could play every day before being moved into his long term role. This is the treatment of most minor league players, not a ding on Sappelt.

    You're right, there are no guarantees on Castillo. Thank God we Navarro and Clevenger are hitting well, huh?

    And to knock right field just because it's a platoon is kind of short sighted. You use a platoon to get maximum value out of your players, not because your players are terrible. Will either be an all-star? Probably not. But, between them, they could *easily* provide average to above average production in right field.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Rizzo was held back because he's a MAJOR prospect and they wanted to get an extra year or arbitration out of him. Period. They held him back until they could bring him up without hitting super-2 status, and once that deadline was passed he was on the team.

    Sappelt is not remotely close to the same situation, so let that go.

    The rest of your points aren't necessarily untrue, but they aren't proven commodities either.
    If Castillo struggles, you're relying on Clevenger, who hit .200 last year?
    No telling.
    Navarro is unpredictable. he could hit .280 or he could hit .180

    The right field platoon could very well produce above average production... or they could combine to hit below the Mendoza line.

    I'm not stating i think definitely these spots will be bad, just pointing out that you cannot objectively say that we're better on paper. It's just untrue.
    The changes COULD be improvements but there's no promises.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Demp and Maholm had solid years last year, but what was there W-L record? They combined were 3 games over .500 when traded. Yes, both deserved better and the bp blew several of there games, but the overall lineup this year is somewhat better. Rizzo for the entire year, Castillo cant be worse than Soto was, even Valbuenna is a marginal im provement over Stewart was last year. No, they wont contend, but if healthy, I can see a 10-15 win improvement over last years disaster.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Demp and Maholm had poor W-L records BECAUSE of the hitting.

    If you throw 7 or 8 innings and only allow 1 or 2 runs, thats pretty good. But you'll still end up with a L if your offense can't muster ANY run support.

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    In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Worse. No way! They are certainly not great but this team is deeper in every aspect than last years team was. Especially where it matters...starting pitching. The 54 starts that Chris Volstad, Justin Germano, Chris Rusin, Brooks Raley, Jason Berken, Randy Wells, and Casey Coleman got last year that will be going to professional MLB caliber pitchers makes a big difference.

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    Most WAR-based projections give us mid-70s in terms of wins, but even those are real tough to predict, because they are based on our roster as of today. If we aren't contending by July, it's a safe bet we will finish the season with a very different roster, as veteran players are traded off for prospects. For this reason, I am pessimistic.

    Offensively, I don't think we'll improve much. Improvements at 3B and SS will likely be offset by regression from Soriano, for a net small improvement

    Pitching-wise, I think we have more depth such that even if we trade away players, we won't see more Jason Berkens and Justin Germanos in the rotation in Aug-Sept like we did last year.

    Thus, I highly doubt we lose 100 games again, but anything more than 75 wins I think is a stretch, and 70 is more realistic

  • Little off subject, but is anyone else think Starlin's contract is looking REALLY good right now?

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    In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Are you talking about the 8-yr, $120mil extension that Andrus just signed? Yeah, Castro looks like a bargain vs. that, though to be fair, Andrus was closer to FA than Castro was

    Still, Castro is on a club-friendly deal no question. He probably wanted security ahead of top-dollar. Shark, on the other hand, apparently wants to work toward top-dollar, which is a risk for him that may or may not pay off

    I can't blame either player, it all depends on your priorities

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I agree. I'm just surprised Andrus landed a deal like that. I recognize that they've signed him through all his prime years and that he's a great SS, but I don't think he has near the ceiling Castro has. That seems like a huge pay day for him, especially with Profar in AAA. Where was the leverage to land that deal?

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    In reply to KSCubsFan:

    The Rangers will now have a middle infield of Andrus and Profar. That is ridiculous.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Profar will end up at 2n d or 3rd. Kinsler is likely gone after this year, and Beltre is starting to age.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    A big part of the leverage is that Andrus can (and probably will) opt out after four years. He'll be 30 then. So he's essentially getting a four-year, $60 million deal.
    Unless he's a Rangers fixture at 1B, Kinsler should be available to other teams in the near future as a 2B. But I don't think he'd fit with the Cubs' plans.

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    I disagree that 55-107 is such an outlandish prediction.

    I don't think the season will be that bad, but that prediction is only a 6 game swing from last year.

    Plenty of people here are predicting a close to .500 season, which would be a 20 game swing, give or take. IMO, that's much more outlandish considering our lack of bats.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    We do lack bats, but the other problem last year was the 54 starts we gave to Volstad, Germano, Berken, Rusin, and Raley. Collectively, they were beyond awful. I don't expect a repeat based on our depth this year. For that reason, I think an improvement to high-60s in wins is a no-brainer, but beyond that depends on injuries and how many guys we trade

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    In reply to Zonk:

    That depth is contingent on Garza and Baker getting healthy and staying healthy. If that doesn't happen, then the depth is non-existent.

    And even then, our pitching performed heads and shoulders better than our hitting last year. We may have gotten some crappy starts from pitchers late in the season after trades were made, but that doesn't negate all the games we lost early on when we were getting GREAT starts from our pitchers but still losing because we scored 2 runs or less.

    Remember how long it took for Dempster to get a win despite having the best ERA in the league?

  • Some of these guys really feel Baez could push his way here faster. Not likely but I cut some of the answers down to be consistent with others.

  • Those who picked Fujikawa realized its silly he is a rookie but he is.

  • Miscommunication with Silvy, he meant to pick Fujikawa for top rookie. Was looking at Soler long term.

  • This season is not about wins and losses. Does it matter much if the Cubs win 65 or 75? This is drvelopement and evaluation year. Who fits into the Cubs future. It should be fun and interesting, but no big celebrations.

  • Don't know if anyone caught this, but the Trib had a quote from Epstein on assessing Sveum's performance last year. I guess he mentioned that the Cubs were on pace for a 69-win season before they traded their guys away and injuries hit.

    Looking at things that way, I think the final record will really come down to trades. If they unload a bunch of talent at the deadline, a record similar to last year isn't out of the question at all. However if they keep their talent, the record will probably be close to or a slight improvement over the 69-win pace the Cubs initially had last year. So I almost think it's LESS likely to just see some "slight" improvement, but more along the lines of a big lift or little to no lift.

  • So, Robert Whitenack was DFA'd.

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    In reply to Caps:

    Pity -- I had a bad feeling that was coming.

  • I'm just looking forward to an opening day win. All I care about today. And I wish they played again tomorrow, that whole 'opening day followed by a day off' thing is an awful formula.

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