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The Astros are supremely good at losing. They took the Nationals to the 12th inning last night, when they went down 3-2. Then, they put two on base, and Brett Wallace drilled one to deep center. It had all the look of a walk-off double, but Nationals’ center fielder Roger Bernadina made an incredible catch, leaping and crashing into the wall. It takes skill to place the ball so perfectly.

  • Arodys Vizcaino, the Cubs’ main prize from this trade season, is recovering from Spring Tommy John surgery, and he joined the Cubs in San Diego to meet with the training staff about that recovery, including the plan going forward. He’s currently rehabbing in Mesa, and is already throwing on flat ground. Moreover, he is expecting to be ready to pitch in Spring Training next year. The time table for Tommy John recovery can be a fairly wide range, but it is generally getting shorter and shorter – 12 months isn’t out of the question. That said, expecting a major contribution from Vizcaino in 2013 would be a mistake. Although guys are often able to pitch a year after surgery, they usually don’t return to pre-surgery effectiveness for two or more years. Further, Vizcaino has had a history of other, more minor arm troubles. Given that the Cubs’ interests are more in the long-term future, they aren’t going to push Vizcaino next year unless he’s tearing it up. I’d expect him to start the year in the minors, and perhaps stay there for most of the season. Anything the Cubs get from him at the big league level next year is just gravy.
  • Dale Sveum on Brooks Raley (pre-start): “[The coaches] liked what they saw [in Spring Training]. He was a guy who had a lot of poise, could manufacture four pitches, five pitches — a four seamer, two-seamer, cutter, curveball and changeup. His changeup is probably his best pitch — an above average changeup. He’s a great athlete, can handle the bat, run really well. He can make things happen because of his athleticism.” Raley is expected to get at least a couple more starts with the Cubs.
  • Sveum has been doing his best to keep a young roster thinking positively, telling them not to be afraid to fail, and to just play the game hard. What else can you say, right? This is a learning experience, and a time for evaluation. It’s not fun to keep watching the Cubs lose, but winning today’s game is not the priority.
  • Bryan LaHair clearly isn’t thrilled about his new bench role, but it’s not like he’s asking for a trade or anything. ‘‘It’s nothing positive,’’ LaHair said. ‘‘There’s nothing positive about a manager telling you your playing time for the next two months is very limited …. But I have a role now, and I’ll just accept that role and try to do the best I can …. I want to be a Cub. And just because I’m not an every-day player today doesn’t mean I won’t be tomorrow. I’m sure I’m going to get another opportunity. A lot of things happen in baseball.’’
  • Tom Ricketts is on his annual tour of the minor league teams, and yesterday took in the Daytona Cubs’ game. He sat for a brief interview, too, with the Daytona Beach News-Journal. On the direction of the organization: “I think one of the things I’ve been most impressed with by [team president] Theo [Epstein] is he brought in a lot of other guys to round out [baseball operations]. They’ve been working very, very hard. They are information junkies. They make good decisions based upon all the inputs that they can get their hands on. And I just know that over time, you give these guys enough time and resources, and they’ll get the Cubs to where they have to be to challenge for that title every year.”
  • BN’er (and photographer) Andrew Phares snapped some great pictures of Brett Jackson’s debut in Los Angeles, which you can see on the BN Facebook page.  My favorite is easily the one where Jackson walks off the field with the Dodgers celebrating their walk-off win in the background. So much message there.
  • It’s official: Rock Shoulders has the best name in the minor leagues. We already knew it to be true, but it’s nice to have confirmation.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the issue of moving in stadium fences to increase offense. It “worked” for the Mets this year, so the Padres and Marlins are considering the same.
  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Brett– great stuff. I swear this site is updated earlier than espn. Also I swear 670-the score gets their info off your site. Way to go

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Andrew.

  • Curt

    You do an amazing job Brett, you have a tough job ahead if you keeping our heads up and giving hope, you know something though my dad passed away a few yrs ago and he never thought he’d go through his lifetime and never see a cubs world series win at least one, I’m 48 now and I hope theo n company can spare my generation that fate. I have faith that theo, Jed, Jason and everyone will git er done. Keep up the great work Brett.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Curt.

  • Atfinch

    Please tell me the guy that has 1 homer and 3 RBI despite starting most of the time since July 1st isn’t complaining about playing time. Boo fricking hoo Bryan LaHair.

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      Read up, friend, before throwing vitriol. He isn’t complaining about it. He just doesn’t like it. Would you like him to be content with pine time? I like a guy who wants a chance to play.

      • Tommy

        Amen – what’s with all the hate on Lahair lately? Guy has done nothing but want to be a Cub and I have no doubt he’s doing his best. He’s not out there causing problems, beating up coolers, or fighting with teammates. Give the guy some slack folks!

  • cubloserz1211

    105 years of general awfulness and losing turns people mean and nasty, and by reading posts on this site, it extends wholly to many of the posters and it shows in the text

    I would say some feel bad for you, but I won’t because its part of what makes
    the Cubs cursed, jinxed, and awful for a big market organization in a pretty cool city.

    Epstein will not be your savior.

    As far as all prospects, consider they all get to play the game while internet posters take their frustrations out by bashing them, and also bashing other posters from Momma’s basement.

    • Flashfire

      Unintentionally hysterical. Thanks so much, I needed the laugh after a long day.

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

      Why do no life losers like this spend their time trashing other teams to try to make them sound smart or funny? I can’t stand pathetic trolls like this. @cubloserz1211, you are the true “loserz.”

    • Jonski

      Sounds a lot like another jackass I know that post on Cubs.com by the name of Boiler maybe your his twin brother !

  • Assman22

    Heard the Cubs will look into acquiring Delgado in the offseason in a non-Garza trade…

    • nkniacc13

      im not sure what they have that Atl wants that would get them Delgado

      • Internet Random

        There’s always cash.

      • Flashfire

        Vogelbach and Torreyes might be a good starter. Both would be dealing from strength. (Though, given Rizzo’s last two weeks, maybe first base isn’t as strong as we thought…)

        • BetterNews

          First base is the only thing the Cubs have going for them at this point, sorry to say.

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

            Really? Only First base? How about SS?? Castro, Lake, Baez, Alcantra? I know Baez will be at third eventually but he does play short… First is strong. Shortstop might be stronger.

            • BetterNews

              I speak of this moment. Castro is tanking, you have to admit. I am not talking about prospects bro.

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

                You want me to admit a 22 year old who has been too 2 all star games and led the NL in hits, he is tanking? Uhm, no? Most 22 year old ball players are still in the minors. His defense is also improving every day, every year. Yeah, he has had a down year, there is no denying that, but at his age, and with his skills, in no way shape or form can I say “Castro is tanking.”

                • MichiganGoat

                  Someday just a helpful suggestion, it’s best not to engage BetterNews he will just continue to argue even when he is wrong.

                  • BetterNews

                    Nobody arguing.

                • BetterNews

                  What do you consider tanking then? A fall from a .300+ avg. to .243 since May is tanking in my book. People keep bringing up his age an excuse. I don’t buy it. I don’t buy the bad luck theory either. I am a realist. Everything I see ponts to a bust unless somebody does something to straighten him out.

                • Pat

                  .333 April, .304 may, .264 June, .235 July, .089 August. The D is much improved, but that’s pretty much tanking by any definition.

                  • BetterNews

                    Pat–LOL! We wrote that at the exact same time. And wes, that is tanking by any definition.

                    • BetterNews

                      *yes

                    • Pat

                      I don’t see him as a bust though. He’s still a valuable piece, but there’s no benefit to portending he isn’t having a rough time of it right now.

                  • BetterNews

                    I probably shouldn’t have used the word bust at this point. But I did qualify that by saying unless somebody does something.

            • nkniacc13

              Id guess Lake would be part of that deal

        • Cheryl

          I hope they wait on Vogelbach. He’ll be more valuable later on. If they want to trade some from the 2011 draft maybe Shoulders or Dunstan. But I’d hesitate until they get a bwtter read on some of these players including the latter two.

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

      Non-Garza trade… Prospects for Delgado then?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        If Atlanta would want middle infielder prospects, the Cubs could do a deal and not even feel the loss. They are extremely deep up the middle right now.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I would think that the conversation would start with Javier Baez, though. And the Cubs would say no.

          • Jonski

            Wow that would be a tuff trade to make…for a Delgado type arm and nothing else.

          • Turn Two

            If the prospects are legit, I am not sure the need necessarily for Delgado. It seems we are letting our considerable talent grow. It would take a big time stroke of luck to get some kids and have them pitching just as the position players peek. With our options wide open, I think ideally we get the kids a few years to grow, see what we have in the field and then buy the top two pitchers on the market. Pitching prospects are too fickle to bank on. We get young pitchers to bring in the waves, but as far as the building goes, I think we have Shark and a few of our other pitchers we are hoping work out, but the #1 and #2 on a world series winner are probably (realistically) not gonna be grown in our minor leagues.
            Long story short, I don’t want to trade our kids for “elite” young pitchers that are a dice roll. I’d rather have 7 good outfield prospects and 4 good second base prospects, etc. and hope that 1 works out at each position and then use our “major market” status to cheat small market rebuilding that we have going on right now and score the top pitchers available.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I don’t think you’re wrong, but the other side of that discussion is that, at some point, you’ve got to get pitching talent. You can hope to pull it in via the draft, but the Cubs already *have* the positional talent. If they can flip a positional prospect at a crowded position for a comparable pitching talent, they’ll have to consider it.

              But not with a guy like Baez, whose ceiling is through the roof. We’ve just got to understand that, if the tip top positional guys are off the table, then no tip top pitching prospects are coming back this way via a prospect-for-prospect swap (which is very rare anyway).

              I guess I’m just saying if we think the Braves are going to give the Cubs Delgado for Vitters and a fringe prospect, I just don’t see it happening.

              • Turn Two

                Completely agree, I just don’t know if we have enough high end positional prospects to trade the necessary piece (Baez, Soler, Almora) for the comparable pitcher. Since I trust positional players more, I’d rather not trade them.
                Your right though, we need pitching prospects and they don’t grow on trees. I guess I’m hoping we buy the initial pitchers and then we have “good” depth issues. Aka. Vogelbach turns out to be good and we already have Rizzo. Vitters shocks us and is strong at 3rd and we can trade him or Baez to get the next rung of pitchers (along with the draft).

              • Assman22

                Braves will have holes at 3B and CF with Chipper retiring and Bourn headed to FA, so Jackson could make sense or maybe Vitters for Delgado. Cubs seem to be higher on Delgado than the Braves are.

                • Flashfire

                  If Theo can somehow get Delgado for Jackson and Vitters I will tattoo his name on my butt.

                  • Turn Two

                    Delgado for Vitters and Jackson would be a must.

                  • Assman22

                    Vastly overvaluing Delgado

                    • nkniacc13

                      I wouldnt be shocked if DeJesus and Lake could be in a deal

                    • Flashfire

                      I think you’re overvaluing Jackson and Vitters after this season. Goldstein had Delgado just outside the top-50 at the trade deadline, and Vitters not in the top 100 and Jackson “not close” to the top 100.

          • Flashfire

            If the Conversation starts with Baez, we say no and counter with Amaya? It would hurt — a lot — but it might work. We’d probably have to include another prospect like Lake or Shaffer, too. Maybe even Szczur. It wouldn’t be cheap — but we need arms.

            • Turn Two

              I would take Szczur over Delgado right now. Delgado projects as a middle of the rotation pitcher. Who knows if that even comes true. With injuries and what not, I just am hesitant to trade the work we’ve done. This is a long rebuilding process and to get the kids we’ve got we are clearly sacrificing. I really don’t want to give them up for a potential mid rotation guy who isn’t the answer to the how do you win the world series question to begin with. Now-a-days you need solid hitting, solid d, and 2 or 3 absolutely amazing pitchers. I’d like to keep our positional depth and increase the chances we get 2 or 3 amazing guys buy getting free agent studs and combining them with Shark or potentially a Maples or whatever we have.

              • Flashfire

                A #3 starter is just scouting parlance. Honestly, Shark is a borderline 3 starter the way he’s pitching. Delgado’s upside is high enough that he may be more valuable than any pitcher we have. (Possible exception: Vizcaino.)

                I’m surprised it’s Szczur that got you there — I’d much rather lose him than Gioskar.

                • Turn Two

                  I’d take Szczur over Gioskar- top of the order and potentially great defender/leadoff man. Gioskar and Lake I’d trade. Delgado and Samard. are not, in my opinion, 1 and 2 starters that win you a world series, so I don’t trade a guy I value as highly as Szczur. Hoping Vizcaino becomes that front line starter.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I think the Braves would flatly say no to all three of Amaya, Lake, and Szczur for Delgado. I would if I were the Braves (unless my scouts adored Szczur).

              • Flashfire

                I guess it depends what Gioskar has done to his stock this season. (And Delgado, for that matter.) You’re probably right. The more I think on it, I just can’t see any way for this rumor to be true.

                I do still think they’re considering trading Castro, but I can’t see Theo taking Delgado or Teheran or both, honestly, for Castro. If you’re moving Castro, you’re getting your ace.

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

                Would you say yes to Vitters and Jackson for Delgado?

                • Assman22

                  No. Vitters had a career year this season in Iowa so his value is at an all-time high and Jackson is a top 100 prospect for a pitcher that’s not even a top 100 prospect and projects as a #3 ceiling.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  I’d certainly think about it.

        • Jonski

          I just don’t know what it would take 2 for 1 …I pointed out at the trade deadline Bourne was a free agent .Could a Brett Jackson and Torreyes get it done ???Put the prospect we got from Rangers over to 2nd and Baez,Vitters,Lake are your 3rd base prospects going forward.

      • Scotti

        I’d MUCH rather take on a bad contract (Uggla–.225/.324/.419/.744 with an OPS+ a mere 100 over 20011 and 2012). Dude is owed $39 million for 2013-2015 and he’s 32 this year. They (Braves) have a ton of money coming off the books but I’m sure $39 M is going to cramp their style.

        Before anyone goes all “that isn’t the right way to rebuild” on me, the Cubs have to spend to get prospects ($30 million for Soler) and the rules have just changed on spending. $39 million for Delgado sounds about right (especially since you might be able to flip Uggla after a productive season if you eat some of that contract).

        • Jonski

          That could vary well be what the Braves want ..take a bad contract on so they can resign Hudson,McCann and Bourne or maybe 2 out of 3 .Not sure how I would feel about it,but if the Cubs did it they have a 2nd baseman with pop until 1 of the kids shows they are ready.Good post Scotti

  • Eric

    If we go after Delgado in the offseason the Braves will know we really like him. And that puts us at a dissadvantage. But I must admit, after missing out on him I feel like I would still like to add him to the starting rotation next year. I mean we were pretty much expecting him and it’s sort of like collective blue balls for Delgado.

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