Now We Know Who the 9th Starter is and Other Bullets

Because Friday is reserved for merriment and absurdity tied to nothing at all, I offer to you the musical stylings of Jan Terri. The Wife and I had a veritable Jan Terri dance party last night. A particular recommendation? Get Down Goblin. You’re welcome for the life-changing introduction.

  • Jeff Samardzija was understandably thrilled to make the rotation, suggesting that it could be one of his greatest professional accomplishments. “You don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to get to start,” Samardzija said. “Once you become a reliever and have success, a lot of times that’s where you end up in your career. I really wanted to give this a full head of steam and a full shot. I think that showed my growth and where I’m at today. Normally, I probably would’ve tried to throw 100 [mph] and try to strike everyone out and I didn’t do that. I came out and threw strikes and continued what I’ve been doing all spring. I think it shows a little maturity on the mound.” Samardzija as a starter remains a high risk, high reward proposition: if he’s really developed the kind of impressive control he’s shown this Spring, as well as good movement down in the zone, he could be a very good starter. If there was any year for the Cubs to throw caution to the wind and give him a shot, this was the year.
  • Casey Coleman says the reason he was sent to AAA Iowa rather than making the bullpen is because the Cubs would prefer to keep him a starter. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Coleman said. “I know I put myself in position to make the team but in the end, they need me more as a starter. I can’t argue with them about that. They’re the ones making the decisions. Wherever they need me, I’ll try my best …. It’s a good thing that we have more pitching, more depth. I hope this spring showed guys I can do both. I can go up there in the bullpen as well. That was the opportunity they gave me and I hope I proved I could do it.” Coleman, right now, is the Cubs’ 7th or 8th starter, behind Randy Wells, and probably behind Rodrigo Lopez, too. If Travis Wood shows quickly that he’s ready to go, Coleman is then probably the 9th starter. Insert Theo-and-Jed-know-who-your-9th-starter-is jokes here.
  • Randy Wells couldn’t have been thrilled to hear Dale Sveum say this: “Welington Castillo was probably the most difficult [decision], and one where you had to make him understand that he’s an everyday catcher and will make a lot of money and probably play in All-Star Games. He just needs to go down and play every single day.” Good on Castillo, but you’d think demoting Wells was a slightly harder decision, given that one of Castillo and Steve Clevenger was going to have to go down no matter what.
  • The Braves have shown interest not only in Marlon Byrd, but also “lesser available Cubs,” according to David O’Brien. Does that mean Cubs who are less available, or available Cubs who are of a lesser quality than Byrd? If it’s the former, pretty everyone is available for the right price. If it’s the latter, could the Braves be interested in super utility player Jeff Baker? If so, that could explain why a guy like Tony Campana is hanging around camp despite everyone knowing he’s not going to make the Opening Day roster (…unless someone like Baker is traded).
  • Jed Hoyer says the Cubs are still looking to add a reliever, preferably a left-handed one. That’s fine with me – right now, James Russell is the only lefty, and the last few options in the pen aren’t overly exciting – but it makes you wonder what the front office/coaching staff saw in Scott Maine that they didn’t like. The lefty  appeared in eight games (7.2 innings) and put up a 1.17 ERA, holding batters to a .192 average. Perhaps it was those seven walks…
  • On the bullpen, we’re pretty sure Rafael Dolis is locked in, together with Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, and James Russell. ESPN’s Scott Padilla (link above) and Paul Sullivan agree that there is another pitcher locked in, but they disagree on the identity. Padilla says it’s Rodrigo Lopez, while Sullivan says it’s Shawn Camp. I’d lean toward Lopez as closer to a lock if I had to choose, but I don’t know that either is a certainty at this point. Lendy Castillo, Manny Corpas, and Frankie De La Cruz are also trying to grab a spot. Total guess on those last three spots (which changes every day)? Lopez, Castillo, and Corpas, unless the Cubs pick up another lefty (which I think is at least 50/50).
  • When I heard about Chris Carpenter’s elbow surgery, my first inclination was to be nervous about what the Red Sox might do (gee, can’t imagine how that feeling has been fostered in me over the past several months). Fortunately, Jed Hoyer came out and said the Cubs had no idea about any elbow issues for Carpenter (and, indeed, he’d passed a physical with the Cubs and was participating in all activities at the time he was traded), and Nick Cafardo had a source tell him nothing more was going to happen. Exhale. Er … not so fast. Now Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says “the Sox said yesterday they do not consider the talks officially over. The club is weighing its options about what to do next, said a Red Sox source.” The article goes on to lay out the facts – everything was conducted in the open, Carpenter passed a physical with the Cubs and with the Red Sox, no one thinks the Cubs were trying to pull a fast one, and neither side knew about the bone spurs when the deal went down. So, like, what the hell else is there to talk about? Unless I’m missing something, that falls squarely into the “shit happens” department of baseball trades.
  • Twitterer @GoMirrus has an early look at the new LED board and patio area in right field. To me, as expected, it looks incredibly not intrusive (and not a big deal).
  • SI projects the 2012 Cubs to win just 66 games, fourth worst in baseball (better only than the Astros, Orioles and Mariners). If the Cubs are going to lose that many games, I hope they go big, and finish worst in baseball. I think they’ll lose a lot of games, but probably not quite that many.
  • Jason Jaramillo is no longer with the Cubs, by the way, having been released a while ago (no one noticed), and now has signed with the Brewers.
  • MLBullets over at BCB – Magic Johnson is already telling the world about how much money the Dodgers are going to spend on free agents. Swell.

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

57 responses to “Now We Know Who the 9th Starter is and Other Bullets”

  1. Kyle

    How many we lose depends on how quickly and how fully we dismantle the team in midseason trades, and if most of our upside-heavy longshots turn out poor.

    My optimism is waning as it starts to sink in just how bad this offense is. And I’m beginning to think they have every intention of dealing Soto, which will make it that much worse.

    1. Luke

      I think either Soto or Castillo will be dealt.  The offense in the first half will be bad, but I think it could improve a fair amount in the second half just from the promotions of Jackson and Rizzo.  Both are left handed and both are more OBP oriented than the guys they would likely be replacing.  They won’t turn the Cubs in the ’29 Yankees by any stretch, but they could lift the Cubs’ offense from ‘Abysmal’ to just ‘Really bad’.

  2. Caleb Duncan

    Any chance there is any video of this Jan Terri Dance Party?

  3. cubs4life

    Is it just me or does the Carpenter injury seem like the universe kicking the red sox in ass for being such a pain in all of those compensation talks… KARMA…

    1. Katie

      I totally agree. While I feel terrible for Carpenter being injured, the Red Sox have got to be viewed as the biggest tittybabies in all of baseball, no?

      1. hcs

        That sounds too cute to be derogatory….

      2. Caleb

        Katie did you say “tittiebabies?”. And, if so, that’s a bad thing, right?

        Well played.

        1. Brady

          I say the trade is done and they can suck it. If they would have finished this deal sooner then they would have had Carpenter several months earlier and maybe got some more use out of him.

        2. Katie

          Why yes, I DID say tittybabies. And yes, it’s a bad thing. I don’t know what the hell Boston is thinking.

    2. bluekoolaidaholic

      Maybe “Lucky Lou” is just “Unlucky Lou” after all.
      Serves him right for being such a jerk.
      You are right, true Karma.

  4. ColoCubFan

    I’m a little scared. Both Epstein and Cherington said “No comment” when asked if the negotiations were over. What a bunch of whiners!

    1. gocubbies

      Epstein is a lawyer, so he’s probably just being uber-safe. Anything you say can and will be used against you, after all.

  5. Branden

    I’m surprised the team didn’t put Coleman in the pen if he is really considered their 7-9th starter. Not that I disagree with the decision though. Coleman is still young and can be a valuable back of the rotation (5-6) starter at a cheap price for years to come.

  6. hcs

    This is a question that has been posed many times amongst my friends… What if Jan Terri and Wesley Willis had reproduced? Those kids would be some amazing specimen.

  7. Eric

    Anyone have any precedent for elbow bone spur removal recovery time? Unless I’m missing something, this sounds pretty easy and that Red Sox are just using any excuse to milk more out of this. On one hand, you can’t blame them for trying. On the other, kid passed a physical – end of story. He still going to be a good reliever so quit whining.

  8. Eric

    Brett, you might be reading too much into Sveum calling the back-up catcher the most difficult decision. He was probably just trying to reassure Castillo and wasn’t thinking about Wells and wasn’t aware of the superlative nature of his statements or what that might imply about other players on the team. I bet if he were asked about Wells, he would have made that decision also sound like it was the toughest.

    I may be wrong. Either way, I’m not worried about it, and Wells shouldn’t be either.

  9. North Side Irish

    I think Brett will end up being right about the last three bullpen spots.

    Lopez has an edge since he’s the only one who could realistically be called a long man. Everyone else seems like more of a one inning guy. On a team like this, Castillo is worth a risk to see what they’ve got, so the last spot comes down to Corpas vs. Camp

    Both guys have had success in the past, but Corpas has shown steady improvement throughout ST while the Cubs haven’t had as much of a chance to take a look at Camp.

    Plus I think De la Cruz was waived yesterday.

    1. Eric

      Sounds about right. I don’t like Lopez getting that long spot however. I’d rather see Wells or Coleman I think…

  10. Cub Style

    Am I being wishful in thinking this is a 70-75 win team?

    1. Fishin Phil

      I don’t think so. I’m guessing 75, and hoping they surprise me.

      70 would be worse than last year, and I honestly don’t believe that will happen.

      1. Eric

        I fully expect this team to out perform expectations.

        1. hardtop

          ha!

          1. Eric

            It’s not hard to out perform 66 wins.

        2. hansman1982

          I think the Cubs and Marlins share a very similar trait – their 2012 seasons will either far exceed expectations or fall waaaay short of expectations. The Marlins for their clubhouse chemistry and the Cubs for their long shot candidates.

          Now what that means in the standings are two different things. Either the Marlins will run away with the NL East and the Cubs will be 3-5 games over .500 or the Marlins will be lucky to hit 75 wins and the Cubs will battle the Stros for the #1 pick next year.

      2. bluekoolaidaholic

        Totally agree Phil, we gain a bunch of games just getting rid of Quade and cleaning house.

  11. Chris

    “So, like, what the hell else is there to talk about? Unless I’m missing something, that falls squarely into the “shit happens” department of baseball trades.”

    LOL!!! One of my favorite lines you’ve ever written, Brett!!

    1. bluekoolaidaholic

      DITTO!

  12. CubsfanKevin

    Brett! How in the world did you find this video?!?!?

    My sister showed me this “music” a few years ago. journey to mars is also another awesome/hilarious train wreck. in fact last night driving i started singing journey to mars and my wife and i started cracking up about journey to mars and jan terri. That is too funny.

    on a side note….keep up the great work, loving the updates.

  13. Caleb

    “that falls squarely under the ‘shit happens’ department of baseball trades.”. Right on,Brett. I hope Theo uses that line if the red sox call.

    I predict samardzia wins 36 games with 8 homers and 15 stolen bases. He’ll also make a few highligh catches in center while spelling marlon Byrd. Good numbers, but he’ll never match old hoss radbourn.

  14. mark

    Kudos to management for assembling a promising looking infield/catcher roster. Obviously Stewart and LaHair still have to prove themselves for a full season, but given what they had to work with ya gotta give Epstein/Hoyer credit. Now, about that outfield… Everybody keeps talking about the bullpen, which I totally understand, but at some point the outfield may need offensive shoring up.

  15. mark

    “Lesser available Cubs” for outfield help? Who would they be? How “less unavailable” could Soriano or Johnson or DeJesus or Mather be than Byrd? I mean, other than for free–for some theoretical price? What’s so untouchable about ANY of them? Or Campana?

  16. hansman1982

    The Red Sox are squarely in Theo Epstein is the Devil, Bobby Mode. I was listening to MLB Network this morning and they had our buddy Nick Cafardo on. They were discussing Carl Crawford and Nickie said that he had no idea what in the hell Theo was doing signing Crawford and it was a terrible signing. I do think Theo grossly overpaid for Crawford.

    Combine that with Bobbie V’s recent comment that the Red Sox, as assembled, aren’t that great of a team, it sure sounds like they are setting up any failure of this season to be put squarely on the “mess” that Theo left.

    1. Smitty

      I was under the impression that Larry forced Theo to sign Crawford. And since our favorite puppet Carfado is talking about it…I am more inclined to believe that.

      I couldn’t agree more about them setting Theo up if this is a failure.

  17. MaxM1908

    I see your Jan Terri and raise you Die Antwoord. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cegdR0GiJl4. Music starts around 0:45.

  18. Dick

    This year’s team will get off to an awful start, because they aren’t very good, and they play a killer schedule through mid May. They’ll do much better in the 2nd half. I had them pegged at about 60 wins before I went to Mesa, but they aren’t that bad. I am worried about Stewart’s health..they would be hurting if he isn’t 100%. I was unimpressed with DeJesus and see him as a weak link. The bullpen could be mediocre or awful. I think the team in August and Sept will be much better than the one starting the season. Put me down for 68 wins.

    1. ty

      Dick–We must have been sitting in the same section because I totally agree with the views of Stewart and DeJesus and the bullpen could be horrible–all up to Russell and Marmol to come of age. Dale will be Quade if he has to stay with the veterans too long.

  19. Eric S

    I’d really hate to do this Brett, but we’re going to have to send you to Boston to complete the Theo deal. I mean everything was fine until Carpenter went down and they need more bloggers in Beantown. I hope you understand and wish you the best. Just kidding! Am I the only one really starting to HATE Boston? It’s sad because they are my favorite AL team. The Cubs of the American League. But now, it seems like John Henry and CO. are trying to be like BABY (yes they’re acting like babies) Steinbrenner’s. Let’s face facts, the deal is done you’ve got Kurcz and Carpenter (two decent prospects) for a guy who has never played the game professionally. Consider that a good deal and the fact that this is something that set a precedent for executives and move on. The only other time a player was sent to a team for an executive was when Andy Mcphail left Minnesota for Chicago and the prospect that was sent wasn’t even good! MOVE ON BOSTON!

    1. Brady

      I have always hated Boston because of the many bad experiences I have had with BoSox fans at games. The team I havent minded but the fans, ug. After all these shinnanigans by the BoSox FO I can officially say I hate the team and all. Still cool with the players as I havent heard anything bad about them yet but I hope their team places lower than the Astros in every season for the rest of eternity.

  20. gratefulled

    Yeah, well don’t f*ck it up, Shark.

  21. edgar

    Maybe Ben is mad at red sox owners that they made him look bad when they hired valentine and now he is trying to stick it to them. After he is fired he comes with Theo!

  22. sdcoddi

    I wonder if the Reds would be willing to part with Aroldis Chapman? he’d make for a nice 2nd lefty in the bullpen, or reclamation project for a SP.

  23. Jeff L

    I love what Magic Johnson said in te article. That he wants to spend like the Yankees and Abgels because he wants Championships and he knows that’s the way to win. Damnit why couldn’t we have an owner who cared more about winning and less about making a profit in the short term. You invest in your team on the field and the money will come

    1. DocWimsey

      Magic was a player, and that is a common view among players. For example, the pros often are for limiting signing bonuses for draftees. They’ll make noise about how a guy should “earn” it first, but what they really want is for their management to spend it on a guy they’ve seen beat their team.

      And, of course, Magic never spent a day in an NBA minor league, so he’s not thinking of that as a source of talent!

  24. randy

    bone spur surgery can take one month before rehab and one month to rehab

  25. RoughRiider

    Looks like the neighbors have gotten really serious with the rooftop seating.
    If Boston can go back and get further compensation then maybe the Cubs can go back and get further compensation for Brock.

  26. OkieCub

    85 wins. You heard it here first.

  27. Wilbur

    “since our favorite puppet Carfado is talking about it”

    Fishin Phil is my favorite puppet …

  28. Michael

    I seriously think the Cubs are crazy. Why wouldn’t Campana make the roster? This team isn’t going to hit HRs. They’re gonna need to manufacture runs. Tony is the only guy with speed. No power+ no speed= inept offense.

  29. JasonB

    Wait – you mean the Red Sox are being a bunch of petulant whiners again? I’m shocked

  30. ichabod

    i once met wesley willis at the melody inn in indy. i decided to introduce myself and after i said my name, he quickly grabbed me by my head by both ears and pulled me face to face. as we exchanged our breaths, eye to eye, he ordered me to say “rock”, i shockingly and uncontrollably said “rock”. a headbutt immediately followed . and then, “say roll!” i follow, “roll!”??HEADBUTT after every “rock” and every “roll”, a headbutt. i quickly realized that wasn’t going to end unless i ended it. after the sixth or twentieth headbutt?i freed myself and unconsciously thanked him for changing my life and meaning to those two words………………
    say rock! say roll!

    1. MichiganGoat

      Ah the Melody Inn that is a great bar/venue