Randy Wells is a Good Soldier and Other Bullets

A lesser-discussed piece of the new CBA’s changes to the Draft is the ability to trade draft picks … well, the picks acquired in the competitive balance lottery, anyway. The other picks remain off-limits. And, even then, if you acquire one of those picks, you get only half the slot value of that pick added to your bonus pool (in other words, it’s kind of like getting the pick, but having to select a much lesser player with that pick). Not much of a real draft pick trading system. Certainly not like the NFL, where I just read that the Redskins have *insanely* agreed to acquire the number 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft in exchange for their number 6 overall pick, the number 38 overall pick, and the Redskins next two first rounders. All of that to move up four spots and grab Robert Griffin III. Makes you wonder what kind of insane baseball trades we might see if draft picks were fully tradable.

  • Randy Wells, who entered yesterday’s game in relief (bases loaded, one out, and coaxed a double play ball), sounds a whole lot like 2010 Sean Marshall, who had the best Spring of any rotation competitor, but who could better help the team in the bullpen. Marshall was a good soldier, and repeatedly said that he simply wanted to make the team, and do whatever he could to help. “[Starting] is just what I’m comfortable with,” Wells said. “I’ll do whatever it takes. What the team wants me to do I just want to be here. I think we’re on the right track. I think we’re onto something special and I definitely want to be a part of it. Whatever way I can be a part of it that’s what I want to do.” Wells added: “Hopefully, I put myself in position to earn a roster spot here or whatever they want me to do.” You’d hate to think that a guy would be bounced from the rotation competition because he was too kind not to bitch, but it’s nice to see a guy saying he just wants to do whatever he can to help the team. It’ll be interesting to see if Wells gets some bullpen looks, but if his arm is feeling good and his velocity is back where it was two years ago, Wells may be the best rotation candidate of any trying to win one of the back two options.
  • Rick Sutcliffe, who’s been tooling around camp the last week or so, helping guys out here and there, had some harsh words for where things stood last year at this time in the Cubs’ organization. “There’s some nice things going on here,” he said. “I wasn’t here last year. I wasn’t on board with what was happening and I love the Cubs, pull for them, but I didn’t feel I was welcome. I’ve been around the Phillies and the Yankees, and when you go down to a bullpen and watch five or six guys throw, you sit back and almost every other guy, you go ‘Wow, he’s got a chance.’ There wasn’t a whole lot of ‘wow’ going on here [in Cubs camp]. It was disappointing. You’ve got to know where you’re at to get better …. There’s the truth and the fact that this is a mess. To me, the chain of command was broke, people were going in different directions with no leadership. There’s leadership now.” It’s easy to criticize after change has been made, but, man, if Sutcliffe is being fair, it paints a pretty bleak picture of where things were before the recent transition.
  • Dale Sveum was complimentary of pitching prospect Trey McNutt, who was re-assigned to Minor League camp yesterday. “He’s got the stuff, he’s got the makeup,” Dale Sveum said of McNutt. “He’s just got to be more consistent with his breaking ball. He’s got to understand how to use it and when to use it. He works as hard as anybody. His makeup is great. It’s just a matter of going out there and being more consistent on an every start basis.”
  • TCR’s Arizona Phil puts together an exceedingly helpful piece on Minor League camp, including a camp roster for each of the Cubs’ Minor League levels (players are technically on the Spring roster of one of the Cubs’ Minor League teams). Those rosters change frequently as players are sent to Minor League camp from the Major League camp, and as players are shuffled up and down levels. That said, the rosters can give you an early idea of where the Cubs are thinking about starting various prospects out (a very rough idea).
  • Dale Sveum and White Sox manager Robin Ventura are chummy, having been former teammates.
  • Semi-forgotten back-up catcher candidate Jason Jaramillo apparently tried to play through his quad injury, and is paying for it now in a protracted recovery. “I thought I could get through it, and it didn’t go away,” Jaramillo said. “It came to the point where I had to say something and had to get it fixed. Where I’m at is I’m getting a lot better. I’m hoping to get out there soon.” Trying his best to make the team and continue his career, you can understand Jaramillo’s hope that he could play through the injury.
  • Aramis Ramirez defends Carlos Zambrano by, well, criticizing him. “He did a lot of wrong things. He did a lot of things that you’re not supposed to do. He disrespected his teammates a lot – he knows that – by leaving the field or packing his stuff and going home. You don’t do that. But at the same time, he’s human. He made a lot of mistakes; he’d be the first one to tell you.’’

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

41 responses to “Randy Wells is a Good Soldier and Other Bullets”

  1. Norm

    “And, even then, if you acquire one of those picks, you get only half the slot value of that pick added to your bonus pool (in other words, it’s kind of like getting the pick, but having to select a much lesser player with that pick).”
    -
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that means you have to take a lesser player with the pick.
    So the Cubs have about $8M in draft pool dollars. The #6 overall pick they take Giolito and spend $4M of that.
    They have $4M left and acquire one of those bonus picks (so add half the slot to the $4M). They can still spend $3M or so, and just have have $1M and some change left to sign the remaining picks and possibly losing future pick if they go over 15% of slot?

    So my point is, I *think* a team can still pay for the best talent available at the expense of spending on later picks and possibly losing a future pick.
    A team like the Brewers or Phillies or Giants might not worry about losing a draft pick if they gain one for losing Greinke or Hamels or Cain.

    Am I wrong in understanding the new CBA?

  2. Brian Peters

    Aramis is STILL a crooked…..well, you know.

    1. Reality Check

      You sir, are a moron.. Or a bent tool.. You choose.. :))

    2. bluekoolaidaholic

      Agree Brian, Mr. No Hustle. lazy millionaire should worry about cleaning things up himself and not what happens with others.

  3. CubFan Paul

    ‘Wells may be the best rotation candidate of any trying to win one of the back two options’

    Why do u have such a hard on for Wells? He’s 29, with no upside. Samardzija, T.Wood, & Volstad are all younger, cheaper, with far more upside than Wells. We’re rebuilding therefore making Wells the least best back of the rotation candidate.

    Theo&Co built this rotation without Wells on purpose and got a nice spring surprise from samardzija to complicate things further

  4. Dustin S

    That Sutcliffe article is pretty eye opening. It’s even more surprising that it’s an article from the Cubs website which is usually a little toned down.

    Not that it’s something that everyone doesn’t know, but another harsh quote from that article was “Those guys [they drafted] in ’02, ’03, ’04, they’re supposed to be carrying us now,” Sutcliffe said. “Those guys are no where to be found [with the Cubs].” Ouch.

  5. Ivy Walls

    Last year an old high school friend who made it AA went to Spring Training in Mesa and told me that the Cubs organization was atrocious that the Cubs were going to suck in 2011, that Quade and Co were running a friendly camp instead of training. That Quade simply wanted to be liked by the vets and had no authority or respect of the players.

    Unfortunately my friend passed away suddenly this winter so my annual personal report is never to be there again. But Sutcliffe offers a more practiced and knowledgeable eye and quite a slam within MLB circles.

    1) “but I didn’t feel I was welcome” translated, Sutcliffe was a threat in that he is also a national broadcaster even though his affection for the Cubs comes through.

    2) “when you go down to a bullpen and watch five or six guys throw, you sit back and almost every other guy, you go ‘Wow, he’s got a chance.’ There wasn’t a whole lot of ‘wow’ going on here” translated the Cubs talent pool sucked last year.

    3) “You’ve got to know where you’re at to get better …. There’s the truth and the fact that this is a mess. To me, the chain of command was broke, people were going in different directions with no leadership” translated, the Cubs were lying to themselves and believing their own marketing BS.

    Turnarounds happen faster because few things are actually linear, more like snowballs. I see this team getting better quicker, possibly 10-12 games better next year and coming in around .500. I think Sveum will demonstrate some things as decisions present themselves. Soriano might see the bench much of the time, Castro if he doesn’t play fundamental defense might also see the bench. Players will respect the AB and play to move runners or put the ball in play and not seek the fence at every AB. And if BJackson has a great spring and shows he is ready, they might just pull the trigger.

  6. college_of_coaches

    Interesting break down of the Sutcliffe quote. Also, I agree with the comment on the above dialogue regarding Steve Stone. The friendly exchange of well-thought opinions is one of the reasons I enjoy this site. Regardless of our fond memories for Stone as a broadcaster, he’s clearly moved on. Also: for those who insist that Harrelson is the worst announcer in the game, need I mention Marty Brennaman? Worst. ever.

    …sorry to bring up his name.

  7. Cheryl

    On the analysis of the minor leaguers, any more word on Hayden Simpson?

  8. Mugsy

    If Wells can grow up and keep his ass out of the bars late night, he will be better than that WAR rating. He’s got the makeup of a decent pitcher, he just needs to grow up. I agree with Brett that he has good trade value especially if he performs well early.

  9. Joshua Edwards

    Wells is underrated because his stuff isn’t flashy, and he’s never posted eye-popping stats.
    (Though I’d argue that his WAR of 3+ in 2009 and 2010 is exceptional, as Brett points out. Because no matter how you measure it, when the same calculation is applied to every other player in the league and he consistently outperforms his peers that means something.)

    To me, his success despite a lack of traditional numbers and a clear strikeout pitch illustrate he knows how to pitch. And I think he gets more mileage out of his mediocre stuff than several more capable players can get from theirs. I want that guy around young pitchers.