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With the surprise twin promotions of Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters yesterday, you can imagine that the info mill was working double time on quotes and relevant bits. Your hopefully useful collection …

  • Though he described himself as a “zombie” on the way to the park (they played late the night before), Vitters was clearly excited to arrive. “It seems like half the guys here are guys that started out in Iowa,” Vitters said. “I couldn’t think of a better situation to be in right now.” Vitters also said that the call-up was the payoff for a season of hard work. “I had a goal in my mind,” Vitters said. “I had a goal that I wanted to be here. I did everything I possibly could. I looked at myself as a player and I wanted to improve all of my weaker points and make them better and improve my strong points as well to make me a better all around player. I think the dedication paid off.”
  • Jackson, duh, was also excited. “I’ve just been soaking it in,” said Jackson. “I was thrown into the game and was in game mode all day. I’m sure it will sink in more tonight. I caught myself laughing a couple times — ‘You’ve got to be kidding me right now.’ It’s a pretty indescribable feeling, inspiring. I look forward to the days and hopefully years to come.” Jackson added that he understand his strikeout levels have been a concern, and he plans to work on it. “I knew how close I was and I pushed myself a little too hard to be here,” Jackson said. “I’m here now, and I’m going to play my guts out and my heart out every day, that’s the type of player I am and that’s the type of player I’ll always be.”
  • Dale Sveum told reporters that he expects Jackson to play 80 to 90% of the time, and obviously he’ll be playing in center field. Although it went unsaid, you can bet that the biggest playing time hit will go to Bryan LaHair, as David DeJesus slides back to right field. The Cubs will continue to shop Alfonso Soriano this month, which could open a spot back up for LaHair.
  • Sveum wasn’t as eager to commit to Vitters playing every day, or even regularly. Instead, he said that there would be a “mix and match” situation with lefty-hitting Luis Valbuena. Sveum said Vitters would face some right-handed pitchers, though, so I don’t think we’re looking at a strict platoon situation (which would be insane – why would you call up 22-year-old Vitters, who hasn’t yet had a full season at AAA, just so he could sit four out of five games? That not only doesn’t help his development, it doesn’t help the Cubs evaluate his readiness to take over full-time in 2013).
  • To that point, GM Jed Hoyer isn’t concerned with the further development of Jackson and Vitters being an issue with these promotions. “I think it’ll be a good experience for both of these guys,” Hoyer said. “They get a chance to come up and get a taste of the big leagues. They can help us win for sure and they also can figure out what they need to do up here to have success. If they have success, wonderful, and if they struggle a little bit, hopefully they’ll learn from those struggles and spend the offseason learning from those things. I don’t see a downside for either of those guys as far as their development goes in coming up here and experiencing what the big leagues is about.”
  • Hoyer added a nice parable from his experience with Anthony Rizzo in San Diego. “We had that with Rizzo in San Diego,” Hoyer explained. “He came up and struggled and spent the whole winter working on [those] things and it’s obviously really helped him this time around.” We’ll have to keep that in mind if we see either or both of Jackson and Vitters scuffling this year.
  • Flashfire

    Interesting quote by Jackson. I remember when Bryce Harper was called up — despite, um, less than spectacular numbers in the minors — people said the problem was he was pushing because he wanted to reach the show. (Yes, I did see Bull Durham, why do you ask?) If that was the cause of Jackson’s strikeouts, he could be a very, very pleasant surprise in center.

  • Cee-Dee-Vee

    Why is Sveum in love with Valbuena so much? Is it the pose that he does every time he puts the ball in play? Idk if you guys have noticed that little pose but I think.that’s a good reason why he doesn’t swing the bat well. Hopefully you’re right about Vitters’ playing time Brett.

    • Fishin Phil

      I’m convinced that Valbuena has compromising pictures of Sveum.

      • Tommy

        quote “I’m convinced that Valbuena has compromising pictures of Sveum.”

        LOL!

        • Katie

          I tweeted that the other day, except I added “from that trip to Tijuana”. Spencer correctly added “What happens in Tijuana, stays in Tijuana”. So true.

          • Fishin Phil

            Katie has been planting subliminal thought inside my little puppet brain.

            • MightyBear

              She will do that and you’re not the only puppet she’s done it to.

          • D.G.Lang

            Except when the inevitable offspring come to America claimi American citizenship and child support from the father.

            Not to be left out, the mother also comes here claiminh that the father owes her support as well including free everything and citizenship.

            • TWC

              Man, WTF?! Take it somewhere else, pal. Like, maybe, a political website instead of this, a baseball site. Crickey, you’ve got a short fuse.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          He learned the trick from Koyie Hill.

  • 100 Years of Tears

    I think Valbuena has had plenty of opportunities this year. His bat has been ok here and there, and his fielding has been less than stellar. Why not give Vitters 80-90% of the games and see what he can do in many different situations? His glove can’t be that much worse than Valbuena and his bat should be a nice addition.

    • koyiehillsucks

      Agree

    • DocPeterWimsey

      What might be blinding Sveum is that Valbuena has been relatively successful (9 for 30 with 7 BB) with RiSP. He is 15 for 103 with 8 walks otherwise. Superficially, he looks “clutch” and disciplined (he’s walked over 10% of the time). However, this is just small sample size for the clutch, and even if he’s good at drawing walks, he’s not a good hitter. (His 0.216 BABiP has hindered him a little, but he’s clearly got singles power and thus is going to be Eris’ pregnant canine in the BABiP dept.)

    • willis

      That would be what people call logical. Unfortunately, this manager does not seem to like anything that is logical. Of course you don’t bring Vitters up to sit. Completely stunts his development, and even worse puts the team/organization in a horrible spot. ONLY good can come from playing him every day. Absolute worst case he sucks donkey butt and there is still a hole to fill at 3B. How will we know that with him sitting?

      Sveum…Lord have mercy.

      • Flashfire

        It just doesn’t seem likely to me that Sveum is acting on his own here. Sveum wants to keep his job. Theo brings Vitters up to evaluate him. Sveum benches Vitters. It seems to me the next sentence here is: Sveum is fired on the spot. I don’t think sporadic playing time for Vitters is a good idea — if it plays out that way — but I think the playing time call is coming from Theo, not Sveum.

        • willis

          In most cases I’d agree but I just can’t see the point of bringing him up if that is indeed true. Epstein and Co. don’t seem the type to bring a dude up and “quade” him. Hopefully it’s all just a bunch of crap and the plan is to let him play almost every day the rest of the season.

      • Turn Two

        I think Jackson is getting “his shot” and they believe his minor league development time has concluded. Vitters they are giving a taste to, with the hopes he will secure a spot, but who knows maybe he needs a little more time. This was a part of the Jackson plan since spring training, Vitters has earned a chance to at least see where he needs to improve.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        You might be using the wrong premise. If Sveum’s premise is to win, and if he is assuming (unsoundly) that Valbuena is “clutch” and (soundly) that Valbuena is a much better fielder than Vitters, then Sveum’s decision makes sense.

        The issue is, should Sveum care about this year? Only if you accept as true the premise that early failure ruins a ballplayer. Certainly people have suggested that this is true: but these are based on cherrypicked examples with innumerable counter-examples.

        • Turn Two

          Obviously early failure will ruin some players and not others. It’s a matter of the human mind and how conditioned one is to overcome failure. I don’t think it plays a role here however, he is simply giving Vitters favorable matchups and seeing how Jackson does in the fire.

      • Scotti

        This isn’t really rocket science, folks. Vitters has only 110 AAA games under his belt. They expect him to start next year at AAA (ala Rizzo, Pedroia) but, of course, if he winds up being lights out here with the bat and glove, as well as over the winter and next spring then he’ll have a shot to win a gig for 2013. Even Jackson is somewhat shy of 162 games so that gives them some wiggle room to send him down to start next year if he isn’t gang busters.

        In regards to stunting his growth…. Iowa has about three weeks left. How is 50% playing time over three weeks going to stunt his growth? Simple, it isn’t.

  • Assman22

    Soriano Update: Tampa, Pitt, and Oakland all in on him but still needs to approve trade….

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’ll be writing on it soon, but a source says he won’t accept a trade to Pittsburgh. He’s also said that the Dodgers are the only West Coast team to whom he’ll approve a trade. I remain pessimistic that a deal can get done.

      • Flashfire

        Oakland would seem to be out, too, since there was the report that the Dodgers are the only west coast team he would accept a deal to. Thus: “Hey, Tampa, can we can Chris Archer back and call it even?”

        • Thatgifguy

          The Rays don’t seem to be the kind of team Sori would approve a trade to. He probably wants to go to a first place team.

          • rhino70

            I don’t know about that. I don’t think anybody catches the Yankees for the Division, but Tampa is 2 games back in the Wild Card race. Longoria is due back in a week or so.

            Adding Sori’s bat to that lineup, along with Longoria’s return could make the Rays a Wildcard threat. I hope that would appeal to Sori’s competitive side.

      • Assman22

        Definitely 100% not going to Pitt or Oakland

        • Chris

          Tampa or bust I guess… More likely bust. Does anybody know if those Detroit rumors were complete garbage or just silenced due to the deadline passing?

          • J R

            I think Tampa makes perfect sense for Sori. But 2 things. Would Sori agree to that? And is Tampa going to finally grow some nuts and become buyers for once? I have my doubts..

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            The latter. I was the first to report the Detroit rumor, so I guess I’d be smacking myself if I said they were garbage … :)

        • art

          IMO he doesn’t know what he wants. last year he wanted to be Aram, this year it’s dempster.

    • TonyP

      I would be shocked if Soriano is traded before the off season.

  • Thatgifguy

    Sveum wasn’t as eager to commit to Vitters playing every day, or even regularly

    http://i.imgur.com/bC4pR.gif

  • djriz

    This is just the part of sports that softies like me love. There are a lot of big moments in sports, like championship celebrations, breaking records, and getting an Olympic gold, but nothing is sweeter than a Cub rookie getting his first hit. Congrats Brett, and tonight’s for you, Josh. Do us proud, guys.

  • cubsin

    It should be easier for Jackson and Vitters to play for the Chicago Cubs than the Iowa Cubs. In Des Moines, those two were the only players worth watching. In Chicago, they’ll have better teammates and lower expectations from most of the fans.

    • Quintz

      You should wait until Jackson steps up to the plate against Aroldis Chapman later this week and yell out “this should be easier for you!”.

  • Dan

    Lovin’ that Jackson quote…

  • Nathan

    Anybody else hear that Jackson was put on waivers?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The list of players not put on waivers (probably) is both shorter and more interesting.

      • Flashfire

        I do wonder if they even bothered putting Rizzo and Castro on waivers.

  • Pat

    Brett, I’m not sure how you view linking to another site from here, so feel free to remove if it’s against the rules.

    This is a link to great view of the Dempster trade talks written by Andy over at Desipio.

    http://www.desipio.com/?p=4128

    • Ogyu

      Fantastic

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As long as folks aren’t spamming, I’m wide open about links to other sites. The more the merrier.

      • farmerjon

        Brett, got my blue on blue ringer in the mail box Saturday, looks great and fits great. Thanks again for all you do!!! I’ve always considered myself a pretty educated Cubs fan, now thanks to you (and Luke and all of the awesome commenters), I can say…obsessing since 2011. Thanks Ace!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Sweet! Thanks, Jon. Glad you’re enjoying.

    • scorecardpaul

      Pat, that is a must see !! thank you for posting the link

  • BleedingCubbieBlue

    Do we know if Soriano has been paced on waivers already?

    • David

      If he hasn’t been, theo has to give back his gm merit badge.

      • Jumbo

        Is it possible there is a benefit to not putting him through yet? I may be missing something, but if the Cubs think it’s more likely that someone will decide they want him closer to 9/1 than today, maybe they don’t send him through waivers until then. For example, if they put him through now and he clears, they have to make a trade (and likely eat a bunch of salary). But, if a few DH types get injured in the next month and suddenly there is demand for Soriano, maybe they put him throuh waivers then, and one of the teams with an injued player decides to claim him. and the Cubs get rid of him amd save the $$.

        • Wester

          If they put him on waivers, and someone decides to claim him just to screw with us, and we pull him back we can’t put him on waivers again, and still have the option to pull him back. So unless they have a deal in place it makes no sense for them to just put him on waivers.

          • HawkClone

            No, if he gets claimed we have the option to just let him go to the claiming team and they would have to pay his full salary…no one will claim him

            • hansman1982

              yes, if someone is dumb enough to claim soriano they can have fun paying him $40M

              • HawkClone

                I would give up Christmas this year for that

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No, but he’ll be placed on waivers in the first third of August.

  • BluBlud

    I think both these guys might surprise some people. I still think with the infield depth, this is Vitters chance to win a starting job on another team, as I don’t see him in the plans 2 years out. I think this is what his promotion is all about. The Cubs know they have plenty of talent behind him, and may use him in the offseason to obtain more young pitching. I see no down side to this either way.

    As for Jackson, don’t be suprised if he is here for a while.

  • Chris

    I’d love to see both of these guys excell and stay in Chicago for a long time. I hope that Vitters is going to play 70% of the time, at minimum. It’s a waste for him to be in Chicago otherwise. Valbuena should take his seat next to LaHair on the bench, where they both belong. If/when Soriano gets moved, Maybe LaHair can work into a platoon with Joe Mather in LF, and Sappelt/Campana will be the backups. I know there are more well regarded infielders in the minors that could pass Vitters up eventually, but none of them are going to be ready by opening day 2013, so let the kid play Dale. I assume they’ll non-tender Stewart, but they’d probably feel a little more comfortable about it if they know what they with Vitters playing in Chicago.

    • KidCubbie

      I think i would actually like them to keep Stewart and let Valbuena walk. I would like at least one more look at a healthy Stewart.

      • MightyBear

        Agreed

      • Wilbur

        My two cents, assuming the surgery and recovery go as hoped, Stewart is the Cub’s third baseman going into Spring Training.

        The only thing that makes that change is Vitters has a glove hand and throwing arm transplant with a Brooks Robinson clone …

        • farmerjon

          i guess i wouldnt mind seeing vitters with the cubs long term as a 1b, 3b, lf, rf, back up and pinch hitter

          • Tim

            I dont understand why people are always saying they wouldnt mind seeing vitters at 1b long term. Anthony Rizzo is going to be our long time first basemen. no questions asked

            • Frank

              I think he meant Vitters would be a long term backup at 1st base as well as those other positions.

        • MichCubFan

          I wouldn’t mind seeing what Stewart can do if he is healthy. I also think Vitters could end up in LF if we could get rid of Soriano.

  • Jay

    Love the site Brett! Long time reader, first time commentary. Perhaps the non-committal to Vitters’ playing time is due to the “maturity” issue that has been reported over the years. Maybe Sveum and Co. want Vitters to feel like he has to earn a full time spot, as opposed to just handing it to him.

  • MichCubFan

    I think they might be shielding Vitters from less favorable matchups. Whether that means they are trying to make him look good so they can trade him in the off-season or just build up his confidence for next year…i don’t really know.

    • Cheryl

      Sounds familiar.

  • Leroy K.

    I hope both the FO and Sveum are on the same page when it comes to evaluating the new guys and the September call ups…

    • Chris

      I think if they aren’t, it won’t take Jed too long to put Dale on the same page. There won’t be a Quade -like problem. Sveum does what the FO instructs him to do. If Vitters sits, then the FO doesn’t have long-term plans for him.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, Quade also was trying to do what last year’s FO wanted: try to win now. Whether Quade chose the right tactics is another matter. Many of the fan complaints were that Quade was not playing youngsters: but managers trying to win now always go with “proven veterans.” (It’s a known panacea for the old school, albeit a known placebo for the new school….)

        • farmerjon

          i feel quade was serving his own best interests and not the best interest of the organization…he was hoping to save his job.

      • Scotti

        Chris, if Vitters sits then the Cubs DO have long-term plans for him. Otherwise they leave him down in Iowa. What they’re doing now is rewarding him for improving his weak spots and giving him MLB instruction/experience so he can further improve.

  • Quintz

    Isn’t it possible that the Cubs are still concerned that Josh Vitters was/is leading the PCL in errors? Maybe that is why they aren’t so cool with playing him everyday quite yet?

    • willis

      That’s absolutely possible and could very well be true. But, if that is the case/opinion, then why the hell not let him finish out at Iowa? Bring him up in September.

      To bring him up to sit, on no level, makes any sense.

      • Quintz

        I agree, seems like a waste of time to pinch hit and start sporadically. If he can’t pick it at third (and he’s shown he can’t) leave him down or move him to the outfield, or something. This confuses me, but those cats are a little more experienced than me, so I’ll cut them some slack.

        • AB

          I’m torn on this. While he should be getting regular ABs, the coaching staff in Chicago probably provides better instruction to Vitter’s defense, which is the limiting factor in ultimately going to decide where he’s going to play: 3b, 1b, or LF.

  • cubsin

    My guess is that the Cubs will offer Ian Steward a minor league contract and an invitation to Spring Training. But if the medical reports are encouraging, they might offer him a major-league contract for the minimum 80% of his 2012 salary, since their expected payroll is so low.

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder who has already cleared waivers on the cubs roster

  • HawkClone

    Anybody else notice Vitters’ numbers in the PCL this year at age 22 are very comparable to Adrian Gonzalez’s in 2004 when he was in the PCL at age 22? Just thought I’d stir things up and give people a chance to tell me this comparison is stupid…but I think it’s important to remember he’s young and could still develop more power and be a legitimate middle infielder (in terms of his bat, not necessarily his glove).

  • MichCubFan

    Maybe they have Vitters up to work with the major league coaches on his defense. He will spend a lot of time and concentration on that while splitting time between the bench and 3B.

    I also think that they want to see Valbuena turn things around to gain some value. His BABIP is really low and he has hit well with RISP. He has shown promise in triple-A, maybe they just want to give him time to adjust to the majors.

    • Smitty

      MCF, I was thinking the same thing. Maybe they want Dale and Co working not just on his fielding, but his hitting as well. Much like they would do in Arizona during the season, do let him play 60% of the time, but then put in some extra instructional time on the off days, more than say a Barney or Castro would do during warmups and BP.

      Just seems odd that they aren’t going to commit to JV seriously after bringing him up at such a young age.

  • Ben

    I was thinking last night and I can’t come up with anyone that had a worse “all-star” season than LaHair….I know Fukudome sucked ,but he was not near that bad

    • Pat

      Well, so far this year LaHair has an OPS of .814 and an OPS+ of 118. Fukudome was at .738 and 89. So actually, LaHair has been better so far. There are plenty of lower examples, but in this case I’d keep it to 1B and outfield.

      • Pat

        I’m keeping it to first and outfield because those should be the better offensive positions. If you just compare offense then Castro is actually pretty close to Fukudome’s year. (.725 OPS and 94 OPS+).

    • bob

      Two words: Steve Swisher.

  • SplitFinger

    Why is it nobody dares to ask questions about Castro? He is tanking and everybody is looking the other way!

    • Pat

      I’m expecting he will have a good run before the end of the season. If he ends the season with numbers where they are now, I’ll be a little concerned.

      • SplitFinger

        I’m hoping the same thing. By contrast, I will be very concerned if his numbers fall or equal what they are now.

  • Dylan

    Brooks Raley to get his first ML start tomorrow night according to several tweets.

  • Flashfire

    This confuses me. Jackson looked really comfortable #2 yesterday. Why not just keep him there?

    Also we now have Darwin Barney hitting second and Castro is still fifth. This is a message to Castro.

    • Scotti

      Jackson has batted leadoff his entire life.

      The “message” to Castro is no different than any other vet who is slumping–stop slumping.

      • Flashfire

        So we put hot hitting Darwin Barney into the #2 slot?

        • Scotti

          No. If Barney was as hot for as long as Castro has been cold, he’d be batting third.

      • SplitFinger

        Its not a simple slump. He is not the same hitter as he was last year.(See comments on stance and bat position)

        • Scotti

          Yes, it’s a simple slump. Batting stances can be changed more than once.

          • SplitFinger

            Yes, stances are always part of the hitting equation. My big concern is the position of his bat going into the swing! Lots of people have noticed this and said his bat speed has decreased.

            • Flashfire

              Seems like they’re trying to change too much too fast — and he isn’t reacting well. Not sure what the right solution is at this point.

              • SplitFinger

                Right on Bro. Maybe the kid is getting “conflicting” messages and the coaches really haven’t figured out the prob. But I would like to see a more proactive approach by the Cubs instead of waiting for something to materialize.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Castro’s “slump” is a BABiP fluke. It was down to 0.310 (which is low for a speedster like Castro) in June and an amazingly low 0.235 in July. Castro’s core numbers either remained unchanged (K’s per PA and extra base hits per non-K AB) or actually improved marginally (BB’s per PA).

            So, what’s happened is that the balls that were sneaking through for singles have stopped: 30% of the balls he hit went for singles in April and May, but only 18% went through for singles in July. (That was good for 23 and 28 singles in April and May, but only 15 in July.)

            Now, I am sure that people are “seeing” decreased bat speed, etc., but if that were true, then Castro’s extra base hit rate would drop and his K rate would increase. Neither have happened.

            • SplitFinger

              As always Doc, good points.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Awe, my blushes….

                On a side note, ESPN had an article about “tough luck” hitters this year. Derek Jeter is the leader, being the batter/victim on 11 outstanding plays. (That’s over 25 points on the batting average for most guys.) Being Cap’n Jetes, he is most of the article. However, Castro was in a small crowd of guys right behind Mr. Bedside Baseball. There was no breakdown about how the lost hits were distributed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Castro was victimized in July more often than the other months. I mean, how does a guy as fast as him have a BABiP of only 0.235 for a month???

  • JP cubed

    This is a stupid question but where is tonight’s lineup posted?

    • Dan

      Hasn’t been posted yet. It can be found in the Pre-Game post.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Indeed. You can usually find it on Twitter before I get up the Pre-Gamin’, but you’ll always get it in the Pre-Gamin’ – usually about two hours before the game.

    • 100 Years of Tears

      Twitter has it, if that’s how you roll…

      • JP cubed

        #whereatontwitter

    • rcleven

      Jackson, CF
      Barney, 2B
      Rizzo, 1B
      Alfonso Soriano, LF
      Castro, SS
      Castillo, C
      Vitters, 3B
      Mather, RF
      Travis Wood, P

      • SplitFinger

        I thought “Super Joe” was gone.

        • TWC

          I think we all thought YOU were gone.

          • Sweetjamesjones

            Ha! What number alter-ego is this now… four?

            • Drew7

              The other 3 were banned. How sad is that?

          • SplitFinger

            Went to my first game at Wrigley back in 1968. Where were YOU?

  • JP cubed

    Thanks guys, found it on the ever popular Carrie muskat’s tweets. Very interesting, glad to see vitters get in there

    Jackson CF, Barney 2B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Castillo C, Vitters 3B, Mather RF, T. Wood P

  • oswego chris

    I just discovered Olivia Munn on Newsroom on HBO….from an old guys perspective, she will be very tough to beat…

  • louis

    Well, I think it’s time for some nickname! J-Vitt and B-Jax are what i’m hearing a lot, but I know we can be more creative than that.

    • Sweetjamesjones

      Quickly, someone call Mike Quade. He will know what to nickname them…

    • Joepoe321

      Josh Hitters!
      And Brett JACKEDson!

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      B-Jax is good. I hope that stays the same. Vitters… I can’t think of anything good. All I got is J-Vitt and J-hitters

      • DocPeterWimsey

        How about Vital Force?

  • JP cubed

    How about Kjax instead of Ajax? I hope that name isn’t necessary but…

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