This week will bring a flurry of GM rumors and analysis – I gathered a great deal of material this weekend – so prepare to obsess along with me. In the meantime, bullets…

  • On last night’s broadcast, Bobby Valentine shredded Starlin Castro and Mike Quade for Castro’s apparent lack of focus in the field. And then cameras showed Castro standing with his back to home plate, staring off into the stands, glove in his right hand, while James Russell threw a pitch. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’m not exactly “old school,” but if I’d have seen that while I was manning the bench, Castro would have been removed from the game *immediately.* It is inexcusable, unacceptable, and frankly, inexplicable. If there weren’t already a whole bunch of Starlin-Castro-is-kind-of-lazy-and-unfocused smoke, I might not be reacting so strongly. But this is a 21-year-old kid who can’t be bothered to pay attention to each pitch. That’s a big, big problem, and portends even bigger ones down the road.
  • Also on the broadcast, Tom Ricketts said something we’ve all been assuming. When asked if he thought Carlos Zambrano would pitch with the Cubs again, Ricketts said he “had a hard time imagining it.”
  • Andrew Cashner is set to start a rehab assignment tomorrow with AA Tennessee. He’ll pitch an inning or so, and then do that a few more times. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Cubs in early September.
  • The only thing that gave me pause in the way the Cubs dismissed Jim Hendry over a one-month period related to the signing of draft picks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the Cubs did it, but I could see a couple of these kids feeling a little tricked when they’ve got Jim Hendry leaning on them to sign, telling them how great the organization is and how “we want you” to be a part of it for a long time… and then Hendry is let go, announcing that he’d actually been let go a month ago. Overslot stud Dillon Maples didn’t sound thrilled about it: “Because I’m new and I’m coming in, I had built kind of a relationship with him because my dad was talking a lot to him throughout the draft and all that. So him being let go, I mean, it made me feel a little less comfortable, I’d say, but you’ve got to move forward.”
  • Interim GM Randy Bush says Tom Ricketts hopes a great deal of the organization stays in place, particularly on the amateur side.
  • Tracy Ringolsby shreds Tom Ricketts for firing Jim Hendry but retaining Crane Kenney. But then Ringolsby goes on to criticize “the Cubs” for giving Carlos Zambrano an eight-year extension, and his credibility on all things Cubs fizzles to zero. Also, he wears a big, black cowboy hat.
  • Ryan Theriot hearts Jim Hendry.
  • MichiganGoat

    The thing that started the whole Castro criticism is the fact that his back was turned to the mound while Russell threw a pitch (as the screen shot above shows), but I seen a lot of people critiquing Bobby V over the sunflower seeds. Bobby was right on and showed a national audience a core problem with the Cubs, the are lazy, unfundemental, distracted players that ignore simple “head in game” lessons that every little leaguer learns.

    • Brett

      It just really, really worries me to see this kind of thing from a 21-year-old kid, who should be the MOST engaged player on the team on every play.

      • MichiganGoat

        I wonder how often he does this? Watching a game on TV you don’t see what he’s doing every play. Regardless he needs a break, he better nit be playing the next game.

  • Dean

    So, some guy from Colorado, who I’ve never heard of, let alone read, has the Cubs all figured out? I wholeheartedly agree that Crane Kenney has to go, but to act as though it was Kenney who gave out all those bad contracts and not Hendry is just stupid.

  • jstraw

    I’m glad I’m not the only one not on board with the “yeah but Valentine is a doofus” defense of Castro and his coaches. I was embarrassed for the Cubs and Valentine was right to shine a spotlight on that, even if he did eventually belabor the point. Brenly would have done the same thing. That this got addressed before a national audience is no one’s fault but Quade’s. I’m sure he’ll throw the kid under the bus…again.

    Also, the way the sunflower shells and drool cascade down Starlin’s lower lip and chin is kid of disgusting.

    • Brett

      I’m glad it was a national game. It clearly needed spotlighting (Sportscenter has been all over it this morning, too).

      • jstraw

        I have this feeling that this is the moment where Quade’s tenure truly jumped the shark. I think the illusion of his chances of returning is in ruins.

        • Brett

          He just sounds like such a bumblef*ck talking about it – “well, gee, willackers, I didn’t see it – I have a game to manage!”

          • jstraw

            Is there interview video of Quade being asked about this?

            • Brett

              Not that I have seen. Just quotes in the various papers.

          • hardtop

            It’s kind of funny because you, Brett, and most of us on here, were very critical of Quade for laying into Castro, often publicly, for bad play. In hindsight, it looks as if we were wrong. At this point we are calling for Quade to “reprimand” Castro, and we are criticizing Quade for not doing enough to force Starlin into better playing habits. It appears q-ball probably knew something we didn’t. If Castro’s focus and preparedness in last nights game is representative of the season, I would speculate that most of his errors could have been avoided. Imagine how huge his range would appear if he actually had his glove on when the ball was struck. And if he got to balls quicker, imagine the time he’d have to setup and make throws. Anyway, maybe calling Starlin out publicly was part of a strategy to get him to be more engaged and effective defensively. Of the many strikes I had on Quade, I’m erasing that one… of course I’m adding one back because whatever strategy he employed, it didn’t work, as can be seen on television last night
            I can’t believe anyone thinks bringing a pocket full of seeds into the field is acceptable. I’m disappointed that as a player, he doesn’t have the common sense to make these decisions for himself. We are in a great position where we have the ability to bench him because the best we could hope for this season is to reach 500 where we would still be 20 games out of the wildcard. But Quade still thinks wins might save his job, so where is the direction going to come? It was an embarrassing moment for the club and I think the chairman should see to it that Castro rides pine until he’s ready to redeem himself.

            BTW, with all the losing, poor management, playoff chokes and blowouts etc, I’ve never been embarrassed to be a Cubs fan … until last night, watching the player I touted as our future, be a complete lazy bitch!

            • Internet Random

              … good point regarding Quade’s earlier statements about Castro.

            • MichiganGoat

              My complaint and many others was the fact that he always critiqued in public and often without consequences. I was excited, and a reason I gladly drank the Q-Kool-Aid, when he was benched last year for not running out a pop fly. What everything has pointed o is that Q or is staff is not coaching Castro and that’s my problem with everything he’s done this year.

              • Brett

                Yeah… not to be defensive, because it’s an excellent point, hardtop; but the first time Quade benched Castro and gave him some lip, I applauded it. The second time, I didn’t say much. The third time, I ripped Quade. But it was mostly because he kept doing it in public. I think I’ve generally been pretty consistent on worrying about Castro developing bad habits.

            • jstraw

              There’s a world of difference between ripping on a kid publicly, repeatedly throwing him under the bus….and actually *coaching* him.

              ONE of the things that makes Quade a lousy manager is that he appears to fear the veterans and prefers to deflect any negative attention onto the kids. Castro’s lack of development may be more because of the way Quade calls him out than in spite of it.

            • awesome

              we were critical of Quade picking on Castro and not others who were doing worse, you know the guys with experience.

              if you believe Quade, and he says he/they look at video after every game, then it hasn’t happened before.

              i don’t believe he looks at video after every game as they do in football, i believe he’s covering his ass.

  • Internet Random

    “Ryan Theriot hearts Jim Hendry.”

    Hopefully Theriot can get Hendry a job in the St. Louis organization.

  • Dave

    It was interesting to see this get called out on national TV and will be more interesting to see if anythign is done about it. My son (10 year old little leaguer) and I went to a few early season games and he drew my attention to this then. I was a bit shocked to see it still going on this late in the season with very little attention being given to it. Of course, now my 10 year old son thinks he is smarter than he should be at that age cause he pointed out Catro’s lack of fundamentals months ago. Dealing with a “too smart for his own good 10 year old” fun, fun. Maybe he is interested in helping Q out? Castro is still in his top favorite players, although he understands he lacks enthusiasm.

  • chris margetis

    Isn’t this exactly the kind of stuff Hollandsworth was calling out Aramis for and saying he was a bad influence on Castro and Barney? It appears he was correct.



    • Brett

      /caps lock.

  • NL_Cubs

    It was an eye opener and refreshing to have Bobby V openly and honestly critique the Cubs and expose on a nationally televised game the culture in which the Cubs play.

    No surprise that Castro has developed attention deficit disorder on the diamond. I was concerned when he first came up and learned he was under the wing of lazy Sori-ass-ano. There’s a role model we can expect the kid to learn from…NOT! And being flanked by the slug Ramirez doesn’t exactly help either.

    As a previous posted commenter suggested, any chance of a Quade return in 2012 as the manager of the Chicago Cubs has been eliminated. The lack of accountability, fundamentals, leadership and discipline has been witnessed all year by those of us who watch Cubs baseball regularly. Thanks to Bobby V, everyone has been introduced to “our” problem.

    Now that the national spotlight has exposed the problem, we should see the light shining brightly off of Q’s head, the sports talk shows should be all aglow with this fresh meat that Bobby V has introduced the rest of the baseball world. Hopefully that 7th inning rant by BV will help bring harsh criticism and attention to the organization about what’s wrong with this Cubs culture and will promote the necessary changes needed to bring about culture of winning.

    Now, will someone get rid of Crane Kenney!!!?

  • Steve

    Not to open another can of worms, but……all of the guys mentioned in the previous post are Latin. Is there some correlation? Drama, lazy, preoccupied, uninterested, etc. Is this a common characteristic?

    • Fishin Phil

      I don’t think of it as a Latin characterstic, there have been plenty of Latin players that are the polar opposite. I think of it more as a Cub characteristic.

  • NL_Cubs

    It has nothing to do with being Latin or not. It has everything to do with establishing a culture of winning, accountability, leadership, fundamentals and discipline, all of which the current Cubs team lacks. Thus the Hendry exit with Quade soon to follow once the string is played out and the new GM is named.

  • fire hendry and quade

    i blame most of it on aramis. he took starlin under his wing and taught him how to be lazy. ive been an aramis fan for years but every year he gets lazier and lazier and now its rubbing off on the youngsters. we better not bring aramis back and definately not soriano. aramis needs to go to a place with good leadership because a leader aramis is not

    • NL_Cubs

      This is why A-Ram did not want to leave the Cubs. He’s lazy and not held accountable. He sits back in his rocking chair, plays at a 50% level with no, excuse the pun “rami-fications”. If he went anywhere else, especially the Angels, he’d actually have to work hard and would be held accountable. Scioscia would never tolerate an A-Ram work habit.

      Why should he leave the Cubs when he knows he’s getting a full paycheck twice a month and doesn’t have to earn it. I have a nickname for Ramirez…Half-man A-Ram. He needs to go.

      Back up the truck in the off season and load up Kenney, Quade, Z, Ramirez and Soriano. That will be a nice start.

  • Matt Murton

    I’ve never been so furious after a game than I was last night… and that’s before I even knew about the Castro thing. The coaching staff has to go- all of them. Quade, Jaramillo, and Riggans. They’re all brutal, and definitely not earning their pay.
    Quade: Nobody listens to a babbling idiot, especially one that doesn’t seem to know anything about baseball. He doesn’t know how to handle a pitching staff, doesn’t seem to understand the idea of aggressiveness on the basepaths (the one time we hit-and-ran, it worked beautifully. It’ll be 10 more games before we see it again).

    Riggans: If I have to watch that stupid jog to the mound one more time, I’m going to punch a baby. Not to mention the mustache is ridiculous… How can anyone take him seriously? Oh that’s right, they can’t. See: team ERA.

    Jaramillo: Here’s one that I don’t think has gotten enough attention. Everyone seems to want to blow Jaramillo and always gives him the benefit of the doubt. He’s the “best hitting coach in the league” and “deserves to be paid that way…” That’s garbage. When I can pick apart the Cub’s lineup from the couch, and then see Larussa’s pitchers go after the lineup the same way- and succeed- then you know it’s either time to start DOING SOMETHING, or just resign. This is the way you’re going to see every staff attack our hitters, and rightfully so, until somebody decides to actually coach:

    Castro: starting to look like Soriano with pitches in the dirt. Pitch him soft away, away, and then hard, up and in. It get’s him every time.
    Barney: Has absolutely threat of hitting for power, and an inside-out swing. Throw him inside, inside, inside. Take your chances on the rare time that his hands are actually quick enough to turn on that pitch (so far it’s happened twice this year).
    Ramirez: Don’t give him anything to hit early in the count (“It’s a Dominican thing”), and then pitch him low in the zone. He definitely has the fewest holes in his swing right now, next to Reed Johnson.
    Pena: Pitch him up, and then up and in. He can’t hit anything up- his hands are too slow, and the hole in his swing just keeps getting bigger and bigger. He’s like Jim Edmonds when it comes to the high fastball.
    Reed Johnson: Honestly, he’s one of the only Cubs I can stand to watch at the plate. There’s no reason he should be hitting 5th for a major league team, but when you have talent like the Cubs, there isn’t a much better option. He’s hitting pitches in and away, and has a good at-bat everytime at the plate.
    Soriano: Helen Keller can pretty much scout what’s wrong with his swing. He needs a longer purse to throw at those offspeed pitches away.
    Soto: He’s my favorite player in the league (next to Evan Longoria, my namesake), but even I can’t ignore the fact that he’s pull-CRAZY. Any pitcher not named Rodrigo Lopez can pitch him soft, away, and get him out every time.
    Colvin: He just needs better pitch selection. His swing looks good, but until he starts laying off the off-speed pitches out of the zone early in the count, he’s not going to put up the numbers that he can (and will) put up.

    Why isn’t Jaramillo doing anything about this? And if he is, why isn’t the information registering with the players? Oh yeah, because it’s the Cubs. It’s time to clear house and save Castro’s attitude by surrounding him with legitimate major league players while we still can.

    • http://Bleachernation Bric

      I agree with your assessment about the coaching and think a change is coming, except for maybe Jarimillo. The only reason I can think of is all the players and media made such a big deal about his signing (Levine and Soriano were singing from their respective rooftops). Also, Pena’s not alone in having a lefty up and in blind spot. Almost all lefties do.

  • CUB5

    As everyone mentioned, the club stinks right now and there isn’t a good clubhouse leader to keep people legit. Castro might be a case of “too much success too soon.” He’s already an All-Star and has a safe starting position within the club. I don’t think he’d be pulling that shit if there was a different manager there along with another guy who could seriously compete with him for time at SS. Castro needs someone to kick him in the nuts ala A.J. Pierzynski.

  • MichiganGoat

    Completely off topic but did everyone see that Samuel Eto’o will be making 28.8M/yr to play soccer? He will be the highest paid professional athlete (by annual salary) wonder how this will effect the asking price of Pujols/Fielder or FA going forward.

    • Brett

      To be brief: it won’t. They’ll get plenty of money based solely on the ever-increasing spending in MLB.

  • Joyce K

    I have never been a fan of Castro no matter how much he hits. He is lazy and always has been. He can’t throw a good ball to first to save his life, he always looks around like he is in a daze and is always chewing on those stupid sun flower seeds while on base. I hate that. Play the game. Get rid of him now before they throw thrones of money at him for the next 10 years of “play”. The only guys that seem to give a crap are Byrd, Campana, Pena, Demp and Garza.

    Hey Starlin-I have an old lazy boy I am looking to get rid of if that would make you even more comfortable out there.

  • Ashley

    I agree that Castro needs to be talked to by Quade behind closed doors and told that what occured last night can not and will not happen again. I also think a guy like Carlos Pena or Byrd needs to pull him aside and say hey thats not the way things are doen around here.

    Castro is a hitting machine and has been the spark the Cubs need at the top of the lineup and has been a big reason for the Cubs winning as of late. But his defense has been a big thorn in the Cubs side. While I think he will over time fix his problem in the field and tuen into a very good defensive player. I agree that if this issue with hustle and attitude is not nipped in the butt and quick he is going to turn into the Fonzie and Rami in terms of effort!!

    Castro is my favorite player and he has the chance to not only be the face of the Cubs but the leader of that club house. The Cubs are headed towards a youth movement and he will be the guy that is the face of that movement and he needs to check his attitude and lack of hustle at the door. If the incident last night was a one time thing then ok we move on but if it has happened one than once this season it seriously needs to be addressed!

  • Vince

    What you are seeing this year is a fundimental Cub organization fault going all the way back to the Wrigley era. I’ve watched this organization since 1945 and nothing has changed. Same old song and dance with different casts of characters. Compare it to a winning team like the Cardinals,(like day and night). Fans have been “bamboozeled” for years and years. Examples include NO NIGHT GAMES, WRIGLEY’S COLLEGE OF COACHES, ETC. Also an almost non existant minor league system while other clubs were developing young talent.

  • ron

    Castro reminds me of Hanley Ramirez, a lot of tatent but short of focus. I wonder how Sandberg would handle this?

  • MichiganGoat
  • TSB

    Last week, fans were bad mouthing Barney, because although he has a good attitude, he has lousy stats.This week fans are bad mouthing Castro because although he has good stats, he has a bad attitude. Trade them for prospects, the usual pie-in-the-sky solution.

  • Tony

    Does this explain why nobody leapt to Castro’s defence after Holliday’s take out slide at 2B? If he’s dogging it on his team-mates why would they stand up for him?

    • Brett

      Interesting question. Don’t know.

  • Cheryl

    Does Castro even care? We get after Quade and the coaches because of things like not taking pictchers out when they should, etc. But Castro has heard this before and he still has his mind anywhere else but on the game. Whoever the manager is next year will probably face the same problem with Castro. The only way to shake him up may be if he is sent down to the minors to work on his fielding and his attitude. Yes, he’s a good hitter but having his head in the game shouldn’t be the responsibility of the coaches. It’s the responsibility of Castro and he has to learn that there is a right and a wrong way to play baseball.

  • FRED


    • Toosh

      Women, having never played baseball, know little about it.

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