• Nick Cafardo says the Cubs might be a possible destination for Jacoby Ellsbury down the road, especially if the outfielder has another huge season in 2012 and/or 2013, and commands a mega free agent contract. It seems an odd bit of speculation, given that (1) Ellsbury is still two years away from free agency, (2) Ellsbury will be 30 when he reaches free agency (Cafardo hints at an 8-year deal), and (3) the outfield may be the one area where the Cubs’ future looks pretty bright in-house. I know folks like rumor-y goodness, but I don’t see a lot here right now.
  • Cafardo adds that he expects the Player to Be Named Later that the Cubs still owe the Red Sox will be “someone close to Carpenter’s ability.” I don’t expect that to be the case, but I do think the PTBNL will not be a nobody. I’d be surprised if we’re more upset about the PTBNL than we are about Carpenter, but it could be a young, high upside guy that many folks really like.
  • Jeff Samardzija isn’t second-guessing his decision to choose baseball over football, and stick to it. Maybe that’s a minor part of the reason I’ve always felt a little extra tie to Samardzija as a fan – he had another option, and he chose to play baseball for the Cubs. Sure, he got a heck of a lot of money to do it, but he could have made as much money in the NFL (in theory). I guess I just want guys like Samardzija (and Matt Szczur, for example), who choose baseball over football, to succeed. It’s good for baseball.
  • The Cubs Bunt Tournament had its second half of the Sweet Sixteen yesterday, and Dale Sveum was bounced by Paul Maholm. Now, I’m not saying Sveum took a dive, but I did note a weekend interview with Theo Epstein, in which Epstein said it might be time for Sveum to bow out – Epstein was ostensibly joking, but, well, Sveum lost. I hear he was pretty upset about the loss, though. David DeJesus, Randy Wells, and Starlin Castro were the other winners, taking out Jeff Baker, Jeff Samardzija, and Joe Mather.
  • Tyler Colvin, whom the Cubs traded to the Rockies (the team the Cubs played yesterday), sounds like he’d like to show the Cubs they made a mistake. “[The Cubs] have their ideas of what they want,” Colvin said Tuesday to CSN. “Of course, you can look at it that way and say, ‘Hey, they didn’t want me. Well, these guys want me and it’s a fresh start.’” I sincerely wish Colvin nothing but the best, though I do hope that Ian Stewart is equally interested in demonstrating that his prior team made a mistake.
  • FanGraphs ranks each team’s shortstop situation (starter and backup), and has the Cubs at 8th in baseball on the strength of Starlin Castro starting and … Adrian Cardenas backing up? Well, strictly speaking, Cardenas can play shortstop, but I doubt he’ll see too much action there. But, in a way, he is kind of like the backup shortstop: if Cardenas makes the roster and doesn’t win a starting job, he’ll play at second base when Castro needs a day off, with Darwin Barney sliding over to shortstop.
  • Matt Garza and Dale Sveum are developing a bond, it seems. Garza likes to engage Sveum about things other than baseball.
  • While being as complimentary as he can, Sveum strongly suggests he doesn’t think Junior Lake can stick at shortstop long-term because of his size.
  • Alfonso Soriano is feeling good after his two-homer, one-double day. His legs feel good and his swing feels good. Ok – stay that way for the next few months. Please.
  • Chasing MLB Dreams interviews Cubs prospect Marcus Hatley.
  • MLBullets over at BCB – Angels fans are going nuts, ticket-wise, for Albert Pujols.
  • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

    BAM! A+ intro. 😉

  • MichiganGoat

    Cafardo just can’t help himself, he knows that his spotlight has diminished now that the Theo drama is over but he just keeps milking a dead cow. Next rumor: Cubs ask for Crawford as the PTNL in exchange for Castro. Maybe it’s BanHammer time for Nicky.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m trying to figure out who he could mean as “someone close to Carpenter’s ability” that doesn’t conflict the other info on the PTBNL that we’ve seen.

      • MichiganGoat

        Um according to Nick Garza and Castro are at Carpenter’s level. Just send them Bobby Scales he is at the same level.

        • Fishin Phil

          My new life rule ever since the Theo deal started is never believe anything coming out of Boston. If Nick Cafardo told me it was going to be dark tonight, I would put money down on the sun not setting again.

          • Smitty

            Especially Cafardo…he clearly is throwing stuff out to get hits for the paper.

        • Eric

          Don’t we get a PTBNL out of the deal, too? (I have a vague memory of it being Carpenter+PTNBL for a PTNBL, to make it at least appear as though we aren’t trading players for FO people.) If that’s the case, it seems that Ellsbury is probably reasonable to expect. You know, similar level to Carpenter.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Yeah, the Cubs do get a PTBNL, too, though Jed has conceded that the relative values of the PTBNLs will not be equal (the Sawx will get the better of it).

            • Eric

              Thought so. And that of course seems reasonable.

              Oh, and Ellsbury was a weak attempt at a joke. Just trying to set the bar for humor as low as possible, here.

              • MichiganGoat

                If Ellsbury was a Cub Nicky C. would have the same argument.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Oh, I knew the Ellsbury part was a joke. No worries.

      • Tony S

        How does Zych compare to Carpenter?

        As for the PTBNL how about we try and make the best of it. Lake (marketed as an OF prospect) + Wells/Cates for Matt Barnes.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I know one way he compares to Carpenter: he’s four levels further away from the bigs than Carpenter. But several years younger.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I’m hoping Lake starts playing regularly at third in Tennessee this season, and not short.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      I’m hoping he improves on his hitting approach; no matter what position he’s playing.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Word is he made some progress in the AFL, but there is plenty of room for further improvement.  He’s still fairly young, though, so as long as we’re seeing progress I’ll probably be content.

        • Cedlandrum

          I agree they should move him to 3rd, but will be unlikely to happen especially if Cerda and Watkins are both in AA. I would like to see them however make the shift that makes the most sense. So with that said I think Cerda will be more of a Baker/Dewitt-3rd/2nd baseman. So let him get his work at 2nd. let Watkins play SS. he can easily transition back to 2nd later on and let Lake kill it every day at 3rd. He has the most upside of the 3 put him where he belongs.

          The only other real option is to have Watkins at 2- Lake at 3 and Elliot Soto at SS. I know some like Soto, but I am not one who does. He is a good Defensive SS who won’t hit. It might be a push to put him in AA because he probably should start in daytona.

    • CubFan Paul

      who’s scheduled to be Iowa’s SS to start the season? Vitters is blocking Lake at 3B. What if Lake is amazing in 70games at Tennessee (like .280/.360/.400)? I know Vitters played some LF but he should only move if the Front Offc sees Lake as the guy to make it to the majors 1st

      But then again this all depends on how well Ian stewart is doing ..& doesnt Lake profile more as a OF? size speed power..

      • Cedlandrum

        Jonathon Mota? Unless by some chance we get Marwin Gonzalez back.

      • DocWimsey

        Lake is never going to post a line like that because his isoD is atrocious. Instead of 0.280/0.360, he had 0.280/0.320 last year (and that was rounding up!). Batting eye is not something that can be fixed by “approach”: you have a good idea what the pitch is 10′ from the pitchers hand or you don’t.

        With the Sox, Theo usually didn’t keep these guys around: I wouldn’t be surprised if he & Hoyer trade Lake just as they traded Colvin.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          I foresee a Junior Lake line looking more like 50 innings pitched, 9k’s/9, and (hopefully) less than 3bb’s/9

        • ferrets_bueller

          And in all honesty, I wouldn’t be disappointed if they did….especially if this ‘hype’ continues to grow, possibly to the point of making Lake seems like more than just the Lotto ticket he is.

          • DocWimsey

            The Yankees and Mets used to excel at that: they’d hype their prospects over the moon (with the NY media being a great tool for that), and then pawn them off for good players. The Mets in particular made a couple of their key 1980’s acquisitions using “propaganda” players to get guys like McReynolds, Hernandez, & Carter.

            However, with so much more information freely available, it has to be a lot tougher to do that these days: it’s probably not a coincidence that this ceased after the 1980’s!

            • Mike Foster

              The Mets got Hernandez from St. Louis because of the “snow storms” surrounding him in St. Louis, he needed to “get out of town” was the rumor at the time.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Sounds like Cafardo is trying to draw some internet traffic.
    Brett, start a similar topic saying that Boston might be a destination for Castro when he becomes a free agent.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. If I weren’t worried about my credibility (no comment on Cafardo, mind you), I would.

  • cubsin

    If I were Junior Lake, I’d be begging for a position switch to 2B, 3B or OF rather than stay at SS. The Cubs aren’t going to move Starling Castro elsewhere to make room for him there.

  • RoughRiider

    Hopefully in 2014 the Cubs prospects will prove out and there will be no talk of signing a free agent outfielder for big bucks. I don’t see the Cubs going for Ellsbury in anycase. Lake moving to third now my be a good idea but I’d like to see him at second base. He’s not going to push Castro off of SS and his best bet at this point is second or third.

  • Ryan

    I really wish they’d do away with this bunt competition. Others may disagree and that’s fine, but I’m not a fan of it.

    • MichiganGoat

      I agree it’s gone on too long, it would be fun if it was a one day event but it lost its luster after the first day.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        I don’t think it’s supposed to have any “luster”, despite what it has turned into. They should work on bunting everyday for a few minutes anyway, so I don’t see the big deal.

        • MichiganGoat

          They made it into a publicized “competition” it was suppose to be an event. I agree it was practice turned into an event and that bunt practice should be a daily exercise, but this is as much a PR event as it is practice and for that reason it has lost the excitement as a PR event. I think it’s a fun and unique idea but to drag it on this long takes away the fan excitement and PR power it could have as a one day event.

          • rcleven

            By who “they” are/is the press, there just justifying their job. I think it was a pretty good exercise to teach basic skills. As always the press ran with it and beat it to death.

    • RoughRiider

      Maybe they should take it into the season. They could devide it into Pitchers and Players competition. The pitcher with the most successful sacrafice bunts. And the player with the most bunts for hits and sacs could share a bonus at the end of the season.

    • King Jeff

      I disagree. It was originally a team building exercise designed to get everyone to work on bunting while having fun doing it. If it was designed for fans, it would make sense for it to last only a day or two. It’s not though, it is designed to keep the whole team paying attention to and working on a fundamental skill throughout the spring, while still keeping it fun.

      • MichiganGoat

        I’m sure that’s correct and it’s the media and fans that ran with it. I hope next year they can incorporate a day competition while continuing to build the fundamentals. I’m sure Dale and the coaches are surprised it took off as it has, but what do you expect when you announce a “competition” regardless it was a good idea for multiple reasons.

  • Tim Mo
    • NL_Cubs

      Good article and thanks for sharing. I liked the Stewart/Colvin trade. Both needed a change of scenery and both have potential upside, with the Cubs, IMO are getting the better side of the deal.

    • Ron

      Brett, a while back you asked for “evidence of current Cubs working with Jarmillo in the off season with good things to say. Here it is, good find Tim Mo
      “Stewart would like to forget last season. But not his past. He’s going back to an old philosophy offensively after working with Cubs hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo. They began sessions in January.

      “I am back to being aggressive. I am going to strike out, but that’s also when I am hitting my home runs and getting on base,” Stewart said. “Working with Rudy has been such a blessing.”

      Read more: Ian Stewart looking for jump-start with Chicago Cubs – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_20117488/ian-stewart-looking-jump-start-chicago-cubs#ixzz1oRW6jI7N
      Read The Denver Post’s Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yeah, I’ve been working on a post on that article this morning. It’ll be up soon.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That one is getting its own treatment.

    • FromFenwayPahk

      Thanks for the link, Tim Mo and Ron

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        For what it’s worth, it was in my pile of Bullets links, but I decided it needed its own post. It’s a good article, indeed.

        • FromFenwayPahk

          The Stewart one? I must of missed it. (Scanning at work during lunch…)
          I also liked the Garza/Sveum link you provided in the “pile”, Brett. I know sometimes we write this stuff off as fluff, but I think some of it will translate into wins; and most of it translates into a baseball narrative, the pathos that makes fans like us care.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I hadn’t posted it yet (it went up at 11 CT – a few minutes after my comment). I was just didn’t want folks to think I’d ignored it in the Bullets. I thought it was too important for a Bullet.

            • FromFenwayPahk

              Just read the article and the comment thread that follows it. I like the way you cite your own thoughts back when this move happened. Also I want to point out that the article kicked off a string good quality comments/posters. That thread makes me feel like baseball is here. I mean now…And at BN.

  • rcleven

    The Samardzija decision really isn’t that surprising. Would I rather choose a sport where my brain gets scrambled, I wont be able to walk without hip or knee replacement as I age, can be cut any time and loose all hope of guaranteed money? Makes my decision pretty easy.

    • Andrew

      Yeah but the upside is pretty clear. Play 16 games a year, get a big guaranteed signing bonus, play in the more popular sport, not have to spend a few years wallowing in the minors. There are definitely good reasons to choose football over baseball so if the Cubs didnt pay him as much as they did, he probably would be playing football in my opinion.

      • Deer

        Shark probably would have been a #3 WR in the NFL. Health, $10M, and playing for your favorite team near home sealed the deal.

  • Hawkeye

    “Jeff Samardzija isn’t second-guessing his decision to choose baseball over football, and stick to it. Maybe that’s a minor part of the reason I’ve always felt a little extra tie to Samardzija as a fan – he had another option, and he chose to play baseball for the Cubs.”

    I had no idea that you also had the option to play professional football, but you instead chose internet journalism. Lucky for all of us that you made the choice you did.

    • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

      It’s good, but his heart has never been in journalism. It was all about the Benjamins.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My other option was actually to play baseball for the Cubs.

      … I really screwed the pooch there.

      • Packman711

        Wouldn’t have mattered. Q would’ve played the vets over you anyways…

      • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

        I thought you did, wait, you aren’t Aaron Miles?

  • Chris

    Repeat: we are NOT upset about Chris Carpenter. Who is upset about him? Honestly? A dime-a-dozen, hard-throwing, relief prospect…

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      I think most fans around these parts are upset with WHAT we gave up, not necessarily WHO we gave up. This guy was an organizational top-15 prospect and ML ready.

  • SteveO

    Junior Lake can’t stick at short stop because he isn’t good at playing the position.

  • DocWimsey

    The Sox have a couple of big contracts coming up, but I will be very surprised if they do not tie up Els pretty quickly. It gets back to the discussion yesterday: if you want to sustain success, then you have to keep your good young ballplayers. If there is an “expendable” guy, then it’s Youk: but Papi can’t keep DH’ing forever, and Youk can play passable 3B and corner OF. (Bucholtz, Lester, Pedroia, Youk and Els is a lot of very expensive homegrown talent for the Sox!)

    At any rate, the other 29 GMs are fools if they are banking on any particular player hitting the free agent market in 2012, never mind 2014.

  • Nick Nesler

    not sure if its been posted yet but tonight on mlb network they are previewing the cubs for the 30 in 30 series. it will be on at 7 central and is an hour long.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thans for that, Nick. I meant to mention that. Good call.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Ballplayers can say the most stupid things. Come on Colvin, your really going to dog the Cubs, and play the disrespect card.
    In 80 games last year, you hit .150 with on on base percentage of .204. Of players with 200 or more at bats, you were dead last in batting average in the big leagues. Can always tell who the winners and losers are by how they handle adversity. Losers always look to blame someone else.
    I should be a ballplayer press agent. Try this next time Tyler. “I didn’t perform up to expectations last year, and I understand the Cubs trading me. I have been working hard and still have confidence in my game, and I hope a fresh start will help me improve.” Ain’t that complicated knucklehead.

    • DocWimsey

      Again, this is one of those things that you can spin either way. Whenever you listen to a baseball game on radio or TV and a guy is facing his former team, the ex-ballplayer announcer is almost always guaranteed to say something like: “You just know that he wants to get back at his old team.” It seems that baseball players themselves view this as expressing that they care about the game.

      Now, it might be dumb: but so is going to the vomitorium and then chewing parsley. When in Rome…..

      • TWC

        “…it might be dumb: but so is going to the vomitorium and then chewing parsley.”

        Did Colvin do that, too?  What a dick!

        • Reality Check


    • Deer

      Read the article, he didn’t “dog” the Cubs. You are really reaching to say he did.

      • MichiganGoat

        No but I heard he once punched a dog and kicked a kitty… My source is in Boston his name rhymes with Dick.

  • JR Cubs

    What the hell is the deal with Cafardo?? He sounds like an absolute idiot, that completely makes sh** up… Do people in Boston actually listen to that moron? He sounds like he is even worse than Phil Rogers…

  • JR Cubs

    An 8 year deal for a 30 year old, speed based outfielder. We have played that game before Cafardo, and have been trying to unload Sori since year 3. Just an absolute stupid thought…

  • BD

    2 questons on the FanGraphs shortstop rankings:

    1) How are the Cubs behind the White Sox?

    2) Theoretically, if Jose Reyes gets hurt, couldn’t the backup be Hanley Ramirez? Or is that too much of a stretch?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s based on WAR projections, so I guess, in total, the White Sox are just expected to get more overall value at short than the Cubs (Castro’s defense is the big hold-up). As for 2, interesting question. Seems like, once big-timers like Ramirez are moved to a new position, they don’t fill-in at other positions. The new spot is a home. Whether that’s the right approach or not, I can’t say for certain.

  • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

    Also of note (I have a feeling a few of these will be separate articles):

    Volstad, 6’8 (did I know that? cripes!), is working with Sutcliffe with good success.

    Sveum noted that it’s “vital” to keep Sori healthy enough to “do what he did today.” Days off after night games and road trips. Let’s see if he sticks to that, because he needs to. Fresh Sori = homer-hitting Sori.

    Jeff Shemardzjjizia has been impressive. “There’s nothing not to like,” manager Dale Sveum said of Samardzija, who is vying for one of the openings in the rotation. “His command is probably as good as I’ve ever seen from a hard-throwing guy in live BP. His command of his cutter, his fastball, his slider, keeping the ball down, keeping the ball to his glove side, arm side, wherever he wants to get it, he’s pretty much been on target. He’s on a mission and he’s been as good as you can imagine right now up to this point.”

    Go Jeff, go. I’m with you Brett- I like cheering for the guys who chose baseball because they wanted to play baseball. Remember when he debuted and was throwing 100 mph? That was temporarily exciting!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That first Spring Training, Samardzija was absolutely destroying batters – consistently had a 97 mph fastball with SERIOUS tailing action. Not sure what happened to that, but it vanished fast. I assume it was because that he was just throwing, and the Cubs started the process of teaching him how to pitch.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Side not: Samardzija is starting today. We will good a little look at where he is at. Hopefully KC will have their starters in the lineup.

      • http://calebshreves.blogspot.com Caleb

        Yeah, that’s what I gathered as well. Which, in the long view, can make sense. He’s shown that he has raw talent, but the ceiling was low if he never developed any other tools. I’d love for him to learn to pitch intelligently, master 3-4 good pitches, and come back as a #1 or 2 starter for 15 solid (Cy Young) years as a Cub.

  • die hard

    Is Colvin this year’s Theriot but even more so as hes not subtle in his dislike for the Cubs. Too bad because Covin’s stock was rising until he was impaled by the thrown broken bat. Theriot’s numbers at the end of last year were not the best. Maybe Colvin will do better.