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So that Michigan/Alabama game was a total crapshow. I didn’t expect Michigan to win, and I didn’t even expect it to be all that close. But I hoped they’d look quite a bit better than that (and stay healthy). The turnover on the lines for Michigan was bound to be an issue, and Alabama is just tough. I’m sure glad I made sure not to hear anything about the game while I drove last night, and then got up early this morning before the kiddo arose so that I could watch my DVR’d version of the game…

  • David DeJesus making me heart him even more: “I want to be the guy [the younger players] see working hard every day, putting the time in, on and off the field, and who gives 100 percent on the field. That’s ultimately all I care about is being the guy you can rely on every day.” As long as the production remains steady, DeJesus is a great guy to have on this team, regardless of its competitiveness.
  • Newly-arrived outfielder Dave Sappelt, acquired in the Sean Marshall trade, understands what he’s shooting for right now. “My goal, whenever I play, is to show I can come off the bench and hit,” he said, according to the Tribune. “I think that’s going to be my contribution, like Reed Johnson.We have a couple of guys who are going for that role so the competition will be in September. My job is just to prove I belong.” He had a down year at AAA, and, as a guy holding a 40-man roster spot, he’s really going to have to show the Cubs something this month for them to keep him rostered over the Winter, what with the Rule 5 Draft looming.
  • Dale Sveum understands that he can help Darwin Barney win the Gold Glove by, not necessarily campaigning, but making sure to mention how good Barney has been defensively when he has a chance. I have no issue with this, particularly given how difficult it can be to win a Gold Glove if you don’t have a big name or a big bat (neither of which should matter). Further, it’s not like Barney doesn’t actually deserve the award – he does. So say his name all you want, Dale.
  • Sveum says he’ll work in some of the September call-ups – Tony Campana, Adrian Cardenas, and Sappelt arrived yesterday – occasionally, but the core starting lineup will remain in place most of the time. I tend to think you’re not going to see more than a start or two for any of those three, or third catcher Anthony Recker, who will be up soon. Otherwise, they’ll hope to get a pinch hit appearance here and there. Mostly, the value in being up is working with the coaching staff every day, and being evaluated at that time.
  • Sveum added that the whole starting-the-regular-core thing will be especially true when the Cubs are facing teams in a playoff race, which, like, whatever. I understand that philosophy (it’s unseemly to gift a playoff appearance to the team that you happen to be playing), but, let’s be quite clear (and sort of paraphrase Charles S. Dutton’s character from ‘Rudy’): in this life, the Cubs don’t owe nothing to nobody but the Cubs. Play your core if you think that’s what’s best for the Cubs long-term, but if playing some bench types for evaluative/development purposes is the best thing long term, and the Cubs happen to be playing the Pirates, well, so freaking be it. Play them.
  • The Astros continue to work outside the box (a cliche I rarely use, save for when it’s really, really on-point) under GM Jeff Luhnow, hiring BP writer Kevin Goldstein on as the organization’s new Pro Scouting Coordinator. It’s great news for Goldstein (and for the legitimization of the idea that you can be useful to a baseball organization as a smart dude who isn’t necessarily an “in” baseball lifer), but a bit of a bummer for those who like Goldstein’s work. I count myself among that group, and, while I know not everyone feels that way, I’ll miss his articles and tweets.
  • die hard

    like to see Barney given time at leadoff over next 30 games followed by Jackson, Rizzo, Castillo, Soriano, DeJesus, Castro ….may yield more scoring chances

    • dob2812

      For the other team?

      Look, I like Barney and I’d be really happy to see him as the Cubs’ utility guy but putting a .290 OBP at leadoff is no way to attempt to generate more scoring chances.

  • dan

    Darwin Barney!
    Darwin Barney!
    Darwin Barney!
    Darwin Barney!
    Darwin Barney!
    Darwin Barney!

    That should help!

    • Eric

      My goodness. Did you just say DARWIN BARNEY!? Yeah, quite a chap that DARWIN BARNEY, isn’t he? DARWIN BARNEY.

  • Derrek

    David DeJesus rules. I think he has even made Soriano better. In all seriousness, DeJesus is a great guy to have around a team of young players. I just hope the Cubs keep him down the road because it would be pretty rewarding to see him with the team after this big turnaround happens.

    Sveum has not made many, let’s call them “Quaker” decisions (Quade+Baker, cute right?) this season so I am not going to question his decisions when it comes to playing guys that came up with the expanded roster.

  • Believe in 2015

    Amaya seems to really be excelling at Boise. Him and Watkins will definetly be pushing that starting 2nd base position in the years to come. How much trade value do you think Barney would have if he won the gold glove this year?

    • JayAndersonJr

      If Barney continues playing like he is, maybe we should ask how much trade value does Amaya and Watkins have. Barney is to valuable to trade, because teams under value defense.

      • The Show

        I don’t know about that. Depending on Watkins development at AAA or how he transitions if he makes it to the big leagues, so far, Watkins shows he can hit for average, draw some walks, hit for decent power and steal some bases. His defense may not be as good as Barneys but he is still pretty good defensively.

        • Scotti

          I don’t see any trades being made until guys are MLB ready to start and I see Watkins as a utility guy (and, based on the number of times he plays other positions, so do the Cubs). That leaves Torreyes as the next closest but he could move soon.

          Trading either Torreyes or Amaya from the low minors would be like selling your crop in the spring–you will never get anywhere close to full price. Selling one once you settle on the other would.be silly, IMHO, as well. No reason to make up your mind until one of those cats wins the job AND you like what you see. Let them push eachother. Let one be an insurrance policy against the other.

          In terms of ROI and trying to net pitching in return, you would target moving a Rizzo if A) he’s doing well and B) a, say, Vogelbach is reaching his considerable ceiling and ready at AAA.

          • SwarthouJim

            Got 2 give props to the best organization in the land, and to the best front office guys who are so into baseball success even though they made campfires as teens versus playing the game………..Just a reminder who the Twits are, the guys in Mommas’s basement

            YOU and Theo

            lose losing losing

            • Flashfire

              Who have won two World Series. But ignore that part. You’re right, Theo is clueless!

            • Scotti

              Warthogjim, when you sobber up give that another shot. I literally have no idea what you were trying to get at there. Seriously…

    • cubchymyst

      If Watkins or Amaya can provide average defense with above average hitting then Barney’s job will be in jeopardy. However, I agree with JayAndersonJr that will come down to who has the most trade value. The cubs could use a few more power arms in the farm which will lead to 1 or 2 of them being traded. I’d say a good pitcher has more value an MLB second basemen. Unless the front office thinks one of them is a potential perennial all-star then any one of them can be traded.

      • AB

        You’ll be hard-pressed to find a team that will give up decent pitching prospects for guys like Watkins or Lake.

        • cubchymyst

          True, but as a throw in along with another player they could help bring a better pitcher.

          • AB

            i do like Watkins ALOT….he’s gotten better offensively at every level. I love it when a middle infielder adds power at age 21/22.

            • cubchymyst

              I like everything I have read about Watkins as well and would like to see what he could do in the majors with Cubs. However, if adding Watkins to a trade would net a better starting pitcher prospect than adding Barney would, I’m fine with trading Watkins and I won’t be upset with the cubs sticking with Barney.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          This is correct.

        • Flashfire

          I think we should offer the Astros Lake and Szczur for some of their pitching prospects. They’ll be all over it with their new scouting director running things.

          • Scotti

            The floor is so low on Lake that you just are not going to get a decent ROI for him. You’re more likely to get a better mound prospect by just sticking Lake on the mound.

            Trading Szczur is just plain short-sighted. The team needs a high OBP leadoff hitter and he’s that and he’s in AA this year. The Cubs have only four top OF prospects (Jackson, Szczur, Soler and Amora). Trading just one means you have to bat 1.000 on the other three.

          • Twinkletoez

            If i am playing theo and need to throw in Lake and Watkins, please for the sake of argument list the players you are expecting back in return because they better be B+ at worse

      • art

        IF?

  • Mysterious4th

    I would LOVE to see barney take home a gold glove award andwith his errorless streak I think more people are hearing his name and it increases the chances of winning the award

    As for David Dejesus he’s a guy id like to see the cubs extend beyond next year. Maybe add 3yrs to it so he can really help the younger players we will see in 2013-2015. He has the work ethics, attitude, knowledge that would help them a lot. I wish he would have been a cub when castro came up!

  • bails17

    In a perfect world…DeJesus would be a great 4th OF to have on the club. Love the guy…but I don’t think you are going to win it all with DeJesus in your starting OF. Just sayin.

    • Jesus

      why? the guy covers the outfield great. he has great OBP for a leadoff man, takes his walks, grinds atbats. not everyteam has an outfield full of allstars

      • Twinkletoez

        Great OBP is a stretch, he has a good OBP that in the current state of the cubs looks better then it actually is… DeJesus does not have the speed or the OBP to be a leadoff hitter in a first place lineup…

    • Mysterious4th

      I totally agree with you! He’s a great mentor, after his playing career id love to see him brought back in a coaching capacity! Same with kerry wood, I hope he comes back and works with the bullpen or starting rotation!

    • baldtaxguy

      Would love to see DeJesus age into the 4th outfielder when younger players take the top 3 positions. He would be a great 4th outfielder for a young performing outfield.

      • Flashfire

        I’ve thought about this, if his skills don’t drop off too much, he could be valuable as the starter and 2-hitter in the 2015 lineup. I see it something like this:

        1. Watkins 2B
        2. DDJ LF
        3. Castro SS
        4. FA 3B/RF
        5. Rizzo 1B
        6. FA 3B/Soler RF
        7. Jackson CF
        8. Castillo/FA C
        9. Pitcher

        • sclem21

          Baez…??????

          • Flashfire

            Don’t think he’s going to be ready. If he is, it’s a bonus.

            • art

              on the Rozner/Spiegel show that comes on the score Saturday or Sunday, a baseball guy (name escapes me) said many baseball people think Baez could be here next year. they also said he could be a ML SS. he added that many BB people think Barney is a better SS than Castro.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Barney probably could be a better defensive shortstop than Castro. But that doesn’t mean the Cubs are playing them in the wrong spots.

        • Bill

          Rarely do I agree with Steve Stone, but he’s right that you can’t have a left fielder who isn’t a run producer unless he’s a base stealing threat. DDJ isn’t a run producer (not enough power) and he doesn’t have the speed to steal bases, therefore, he shouldn’t be an option in LF. I am a big DDJ fan but he wouldn’t/shouldn’t be starting on a good team (I know the Cubs are horrible). He has a CF bat but isn’t a good enough fielder to play CF every day.

          • Flashfire

            But if you get plus power out of your center fielder and shortstop (which the Cubs have), it changes things. And he is a cheap option with a plus glove for left who is one of the very few true #2 hitters in the game today.

        • gutshot5820

          Not to be a downer, but if that’s the futire lineup for the Cubs, we are really going to suck.

  • Ben (BG2383)

    I thought about you when I watched the game last night. I wish UM luck the rest of the season.
    Roll Tide Roll :)
    I would like to see Sappelt get some starts to see what Cubs have in him.

    • Ben (BG2383)

      I will miss Kevin Goldstein quite a bit. He left 10days after I changed from a monthly to annual BP subscription. I will certainly miss #weirdneighbors and #weirdbaseball. I am happy he gets to go do his dream job though and I won’t even have to pull against the Astros since they will be in AL West.

  • nkniacc13

    Barney will have more trade value that either of the other 2. Is Watkins on the 40 man or if not up on this year could he be picked? I think the Cubs may go with if they don’t get a great package for barney then keep him till the deadline and if Watkins is doing well in AAA then maybe trading Barney for a couple decent prospects.

    • Flashfire

      Watkins will almost certainly be placed on the 40-man this off season, or he’s a goner to the Rule 5 draft. (As I understand the rules, this season is his first of eligibility.)

  • OCCubFan

    Brett, I respectfully disagree with your position on the Cubs not owing a penant contender anything when they play another contender. I agree with Sveum that you should put on the field something close to your best lineup when playing a contender. Think about a situation where the Cubs and Cardinals are in a dead heat for the division lead in late September (we can dream). Suppose the Cardinals play a team that is going nowhere. How would we like it if that team fielded a AAA team while the Cubs had to face the best their opponents had to offer. I consider that philosophy to be “respect for the game.”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Like I said in the parenthetical, I understand that philosophy, and I don’t begrudge anyone who feels that way (that is to say, I don’t think you’re a dope for feeling that way). But, at bottom, the Cubs have to worry about the Cubs. And if a decision comes up that could benefit the Cubs a teeny, tiny bit in one direction, or could benefit another big league team or two in the other direction, I’m choosing the Cubs every time. In your scenario, that other team would be making a choice to help the Cubs. Why should we expect them to do that?

    • art

      it’s happened to the Cubs before. you do what’s best for the Cubs not any other team that’s a contender or not. JMO.

  • Josh

    DeJesus is the kind of guy you need to have on a rebuilding team and, dare I say it Alfonso Soriano as well. Both have been great to the Cubs younger core. Next season will be rough because we won’t have any big call ups to look forward to but hopefully some of the guys we traded for this past year can come make an impact and if we upgrade the rotation we can be solid at least

  • cubsin

    , The Cubs still have six games against the Astros and three against the Rockies, so Sveum can look at the call-ups in those games, at least.

  • Bric

    The funny thing about professional sports is whenever a team thinks outside the box, the box quickly moves back on top of them (think wild cat offense).

    I’m not surprised at the Goldstein aquisition especially when you consider it’s the Astros who signed him. Since their world series run (2005?) that team has been in free fall and haven’t produced any note worthy prospects despite high draft picks (Bourne and Hunter Pence aren’t exactly show stoppers or the foundation of dynasty). The “baseball” guys they had were only showing one thing- how to “F” up 7 consecutive drafts. The move makes total sense.

    Actually, the Cubs and Astros are fairly similar despite the financial desparity which is why they’ve both been passed by the other 4 teams in the division. So the only question is which team is the next to hire a BA anylist for scouting purposes?

  • terencem

    I am so sad the Up and In Podcast is coming to a close. Goldstein and Parks were great hosts. It’s the only podcast I’ve ever made a point to download ever week. If you’ve never heard it, there are 100 episodes sitting on iTunes waiting for you. It’s pretty non-topical, so it isn’t dated like an old Baseball Today podcast would be. If you want to learn more about how scouts watch baseball, it’s a great starting point.

  • downstate cub fan

    Keep Darwin Barney
    everyone seems to assume that logan watkins will hit better in the majors then barney
    at AA in 2009 darney hit 317 3hr 32 rbi
    this year at AA watkins hit 281 9hr 52 rbi
    to dump barney in hopes of watkins being better is insane
    minor league stats are no guarantee of major league success
    remember Lahair, Hoffpauer etc

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