The Chicago Cubs’ moves on the big league roster in 2012 were a mixed bag. David DeJesus looks like a good sign, and Paul Maholm was a steal. Ian Stewart was a bust, though, and none of the cascade of waiver/scrap-heap pick-ups did much of anything.

And then there was Chris Volstad.

On the one hand, he didn’t do much of anything positive in 2012. On the other hand, he cost the Cubs Carlos Zambrano, a guy whom they had to dump anyway (and the Marlins were the only team biting, offering up a guy they were about to dump as well).

Given that background, it’s kind of hard to call the Volstad move a bust. It, like the moves that surrounded it, was kind of a mixed bag.

But that’s all over now, as the Cubs have waived Volstad, and he was picked up by the Kansas City Royals, undoubtedly intrigued by the promise of a tall righty with a sinker and a pedigree. That’s really all Volstad is at this point – besides young (26), I suppose – but you can’t really blame the Royals for taking a flyer. If they tender him a contract, he’ll cost them almost $3 million in 2013. That’s an expensive flyer, so you can’t really blame the Cubs for waiving him.

I’m sure the Cubs first asked Volstad if he would re-sign for an amount less than he figured to get in his second year of arbitration, and he must have declined. That, too, is understandable.

So, where does that leave us? If all of this reads like one big shrug of the shoulders, that’s probably by design. It’s hard to get too worked up about losing someone who so consistently didn’t show even a flash of the supposed promise. But the promise … she’s a good one. Maybe Volstad will finally put it together for the Royals. His advanced stats continue to suggest he’s mostly an unlucky guy who could be a decent number five in a big league rotation, just as they did last Winter when the Cubs picked him up.

We saw how that turned out.

Volstad was far from a lock for the 2013 rotation as it was, so his departure doesn’t really mean anything other than one fewer competitor for the back-end of the rotation in Spring Training.

(Yes, I know there were additional roster moves this afternoon – they’ll be getting their own post. Volstad deserved a separate discussion.)

  • Spencer

    VOLSTAD IS GONE! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    • Brett

      There you go.

    • TWC

      October 26th is forevermore Spencer’s Day.

  • Jason

    For me, this day is only surpassed by the day we got rid of Kevin Gregg. That guy just sucked.

    • daveyrosello

      For me, this day is only surpassed by the day we got rid of Kevin Gregg Lenny Harris. That guy just sucked.


      • daveyrosello

        Hmm, html tags don’t work with this commenting system? I entered the combo surrounding Gregg’s name in the above post.

        • Brett

          Weird. On the back-end, I can see the strike-through, but not on the front end. Hmm. Not sure what that’s about.

  • Tommy

    I had been convinced that it would be good to keep Volstad around considering his age and ability, but if I’m being honest with myself, seeing this news really doesn’t bother me at all. Can you imagine how he’s going to get shelled in the AL! The pitcher was about the only out he could get half the time when he was pitching for us!

    And congrats Spencer on your very own special day. We’ll miss hearing your excitement preceding and following every Volstad start!

  • Bret Epic

    Corpas elected free agency.

  • nkniacc13

    So when do the cubs claim someone else. Its looking like they are clearing a bunch of spots up take another rule 5 guy?

    • Kyle

      They’ll need the 40-man spots for free agents and trades before the Rule 5 draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if we kept one spot for another Rule 5 guy, though.

      • nkniacc13

        How many more get moved off the 40 man that ended the season?

        • Kyle

          Just Camp, the only FA.

      • terencem

        At one point, someone made a good case that the Cubs need to clear something like 10 spots total to protect who they need to protect and make room for trades/free agents. In a way, they had over 40 players on the 40 man at the end of the season if you count 60 day DL players.

  • Cyranojoe

    Unlike Gregg, Volstad had potential. At least, everybody else kept telling us this. So I’m not as elated as when Gregg finally finally finally got the boot. But I’m relieved we don’t have to keep wondering, Is this the game when Volstad actually figures it out? and saying, hey, Volstad didn’t have a mega-bad inning last game, maybe he can keep it go- uh, nope.

    And the Zambrano era is now totally over in Chicago. For that, I suppose we can be glad.

    • Pat

      He did have potential, but at some point, and for me that point is when he’s due another three million or so, you have to cut bait. I was really hoping the Marlins were making a mistake when the trade happened, but one decent year and three bad ones just isn’t good enough.

  • Ben

    I agree with everyone else. The idea to acquire him wasn’t flawed, but he just didn’t pitch like a major league player, let alone one who will make almost 3 million this upcoming season. I’d rather send a younger, cheaper flyer to the mound. We know what Volstad is at this point, and it’s just not good.

    I’m glad we are clearing some space on the 40 man. Opens up our options going forward.

  • nkniacc13

    Well yeah they will stil nd to make some moves because of the needto add atleast 2 pitchers among others So after Garza and Vizcano are put on the 40 man from 60 day DL that should give the Cubs ho many open 40 man roster spots 7? I know a few will go to protecting some players the cubs have to put on or take chance at losing

  • The Dude Abides

    Volstad just tweeted he saw the writing on the wall when we signed Carlos Gutierrez.

    • Brett


      Those two events have nothing to do with one another. Odd.

      • The Dude Abides


        The bigger question should be – You follow Volstad on Tweeter?

        It’s a joke – they both suck!!!

  • Segal27


  • FFP

    I may eventually have something important or at least analytical to say, but first let me say:

    Volstad was my first Cub. I feel bad.

    I will still hope that he figures out how to pitch. He didn’t here.

  • calicubsfan007

    Brett, how do you rate the Wood acquisition from the Reds last year? Volstad has been really given tons of chances, despite him not really producing on a consistent basis. I guess potential can carry a guy a long way in the MLB.

    • Jeff

      I’ll rate it…how about a C- and that’s being generous! Let’s be honest here, the only good trade this front office has made is for Anthony Rizzo, the rest so far is suspect.

      • wdcock2

        Personally, I would grade the trade at a B- with the potential for it to increase. I was a huge fan of Marshall (put up outstanding numbers again), but he was under contract for only 1 year. He signed an extension where is he paid 4.5, 5.5, and 6.5 mil. The Cubs are rebuilding, and rebuilding teams don’t normally spend that on a reliever. The Cubs got Travis Wood (4-5 starter under control through 2016), a good prospect in Torreyes, and a potential 4th outfielder in Sappelt. I believe that is a fairly good return on a reliever with 1 year left on his deal. Depending on what Wood and Torreyes do in the next couple of years will determine if the grade should increase.

        • Cubs1967

          in 2016; will wood or saffelt even be on the cubs? NO
          and torreyes may or may not make the majors; most .261 hitters in high A don’t project and there is barney, bruno, villeneuva ahead of him.
          this was an avg trade at best; fills a role while the cubs lose on purpose.
          D at best.

          i know this site is full of theo lovers, blind to how bad this trade, stewart, big Z and demp trade really was……….but please a B-??………

          • wdcock2

            To answer your questions (my opinions) Sappelt will not be with the Cubs, Travis Wood will be the 4-5 starter or at the very least a lefty out of the bullpen. Torreyes is 20 and may or may not become a quality player, which can also be said of Bruno and Villaneuva. Do you believe the Cubs should not have made this trade and let Marshal walk for nothing? or sign Marshal to an extension to be an expensive set-up man on a rebuilding team? To answer the other trades: Stewart- bad D- or F, big Z- wash (neither were good last year), Demp- C (Demp sure didn’t help and we at least got Villaneuva who is a legit prospect instead of nothing), Vizcaino and Chapman- B- (Viz has high potential but high risk and Chap could contribute next year).

            • Jeff

              I think they could have received a greater return for Marshall at the trade deadline. I think we could have easily given him the same amount of money that CIncy did to resign and I’m not really worried about how much money that is on a “rebuilding” team. He would be a hell of a lot better than what we had in the pen, plus we could trade him in the future even if he re-signed.

              If Wood had the potential to be any better than a #4 starter, there is no way Cincy would have traded him to a division rival. PERIOD!

              • nkniacc13

                Im not sure with the new rules the Cubs would have made an offer to Marshall if they had kept him thru the year. Im also not sure that they could have gotten a lot more than what they got for him at the time. I mean he could have gotten injured like Garza and not been dealt at all. I also think that had they kept him at till the deadline they would have gotten nothing that would have helped this coming year or next year for that matter and the cubs would have set a new loss record. Id give the deal a B-

                • Jeff

                  How is that any different than what Cincinnati did???? They traded for him and extended him for three more years at a reasonable salary. We could have done that, I’m not sure how the “new rules” would have prevented us from doing that.

                  The only explanation is that Ricketts said, “Start dumping salary, were going to tank it this year.”

                  Your not sure they could have gottten more for him, but that’s just an opinion much like that he could have gotten hurt like Garza, but he didn’t, he pitched the whole season.

                  The real travesty is that they didn’t move Garza last off-season, and I’m completely baffled by what their intentions are for Garza. Do they want to keep him , do they want to trade him??? If they want to trade him, they have blown it on the timing of it and what they will get back in return for a guy with one year left to free agency.

                  • nkniacc13

                    I understand that they could have signed him to that kind of reasonable contract but had he reached the end of the year with a qualifying offer of 13 mil im not sure that makes sense. Im not really sure what the plan was for Garza. I think they wanted to make a blockbuster but wanted to see what the Cubs had in the system to decide other than pitching what else they wanted and then Garza got hurt so couldn’t make that deal.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    They traded for him and extended him for three more years at a reasonable salary.

                    If Marshall had stayed on the Cubs, then he probably would have tested free agency waters hoping to land on a contender. However, the Reds currently are contenders and probably will continue to be for the next 2-3 years.

                  • jt

                    If you plot Wood’s ERA as a running avg instead of just a static line and plot his ERA/game as a second curve, you will find the ERA/game spends most of its length far below his ERA as a running avg.
                    He really really sucked between 20% to 25% of the time. He was really really good between 75% to 80% of his MLB starts.
                    I’ll take that from my fifth best starter.

                    • Kyle

                      What you are describing is true of virtually all MLB starters.

                  • David

                    You’re kind of trying to take both sides on when to trade players. You say that the Cubs could’ve gotten more for Marshall at the trade deadline, so trading him over the winter was wrong. But because they held onto Garza and couldn’t trade him at the deadline because he was hurt, that was wrong, too.

                    • Jeff

                      Yeah, your right David! I’m saying Thed kind of botched it on that one. Glad you got my point.

                      The Garza situation is a mess and the longer it drags on the worse it gets.The only real solution now is to sign him long term. If they do try to trade him as they have hinted, he won’t bring back the monster return they are hoping for due in part to his recent injury and being that close to free agency.

                      The lesson learned from this summer is that Thed should have focused on moving Garza first, not Dempster. Dempster would have moved regardless and they ended up getting less for him than they thought they could get.

                      Now Garza is in the same situation as Dempster was, so I expect teams will squeeze Thed because the advantage is more in their favor then our front office.

                      Everybody seems to think Thed is a genius, the reality is, he’s just human like the rest of us.

                      As far as the Marshall trade is concerned, I don’t hate Wood, I just don’t see him having the stuff to be anything more than an average to slightly below average #5 starter and I don’t think he has much longevity. Others will supplant him soon in the rotation.

                      I think Cincinnati had vetted him enough and knew he wasn’t a long term solution and probably laughed all the way to the bank on that trade. Three mediocre players for a top left handed reliever, that’s a dream trade.

            • Carew

              You seem to forget that torreyes struggled at first, then started raking

              • David

                Exactly, at age 19 in High-A. Most 19 year-olds would have been in Mesa or Boise playing short season ball. It will be interesting to see what they do with him next year. If they start him at Tennessee, he could well have the same struggles to start the year that he did at Daytona, but after what he did there the last few months of the season, I’m not sure he needs to repeat the level either.

    • Brett

      Good question – I should have included that one. The turnout, so far, hasn’t been great. Wood was OK, but was not the number three we hoped for. Sappelt, outside of a September that’s hard to trust, had a really disappointing year. Torreyes was Torreyes for half of the year, but he’s still so young.

      That said, I still think there’s upside there, where I don’t think Marshall would have made sense for the Cubs, even on an extension. Still a good deal, though not yet a great one.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        The thing that we will never know — and in my mind makes or breaks the deal — is what else was being offered by other teams. It may be that even in retrospect this is the deal they would have made — as you say, keeping Marshall made no sense. Or it could be that the Brewers offered a package build around Mike Fiers for him, and Theo currently spends his spare time bashing his head against a wall saying: “Why didn’t I take that deal? Why?????”

  • 5412


    I think the moves to acquire and dump Volstad were both good. I posted many times that kids were given the chance of a lifetime. They were given an opportunity to play at a big league level and show what they could do. For every kid who got that chance with the Cubs, there are 1,000 or more that would beg for the same opportunity.

    One of the best parts about the way it played out is those who auditioned made it pretty clear, they were none of the record number of kids given a chance that fell in the middle gap of a “maybe”. Volstad had his chance and did not perform. My synopsis in one word—-NEXT!


  • Jeff

    This goes back to hansmann on a previous debate: The White Sox have promoted Rick Hahn to GM. Guess that answers your question on when he will become a GM.

  • ColoCubFan

    I don’t understand why so many trades involve established players for 2,3, sometimes 4 question mark players in return. If the team on the other end of the trade really wants your guy, make them fork out an established player in return. Or, at the very least, someone just around the corner that they may really want to keep around.

    I find it hard to believe that Marshall couldn’t have brought back a quality player that would be a sure thing in return.

    • Bill

      I agree with you. Marshall is one of the best left handed relievers in all of baseball. The Reds got him to sign an extension at a reasonable price, so not sure why the Cubs couldn’t have done the same. Money isn’t a problem for this team. We got Wood, who really doesn’t just project as more than a number 5 starter; Sappelt, who’s ceiling is a reserve outfielder; and Torreyes, who looks like a utility infielder at best. To me it seems like the system has plenty of Sappelt’s and Torreyes, with Wood being the only thing in this trade that filled a real need. I would rather have gotten one player in return, with a higher ceiling than any of the guys they got.

      To me, it seems like the Cubs did what they did so much of during the 70’s. Trade a good established player for quantity, instead of quality. I know people are going to disagree with me and most love the Marshall trade, I’m just one of those in the minority who never liked the trade and still don’t. To be honest, it’s really not fair to evaluate a trade until a few years have passed, because we are talking about young players.

      • Jeff

        I totally agree with you Bill, that trade left me shaking my head. I might look at it differently if they traded Marshall for say, a Tony Cingrani. I would much rather have one high ceiling player than 3 “filler” level players. I feel like Cincy got the better over Thed on this one

        • Tommy

          Marshall pitched 61 innings, Wood pitched 156. Marshall had a couple shots at being a starter, and did ok, but I think people make the mistake of thinking that his middle relief numbers would translate over to starter numbers, which they most assuredly would not.

          Wood put up decent starter numbers for the Cubs this year, and had a handful of straight up outstanding games. We also received Sappelt and Torreyes who both seem to be performing well. Let’s give this trade a year or two to play out before concluding that it was a bad one.

          • Bill

            Wood had a handful of outstanding games and he had a handful of downright awful games. He was hit or miss. Marshall started his first two seasons, while trying to get his feet wet in the bigs. Didn’t pitch badly, pretty similar to T. Wood. I’m not saying the Cubs should moved him back to the rotation but he was about as lockdown a reliever the Cubs have had in a few years. He didn’t just come in for one inning either. THey usually called him in to get 5 or 6 outs.

            I’m not saying the Cubs got ripped off, I just would have rather they kept Marshall for the return they got. I think Marshall was more valuable than the guys they got back. If they would have gotten someone like a Villaneuva (I know, different team) or Delgado type prospect I would have liked the trade.

            Wood is pretty much a soft tosser who has to hit his spot. When he couldn’t paint the corners, he got killed. The other players the Cubs got will never be starters.

            Again, unlike the Stewart trade which I would give an ‘F’, this trade would probably get a “C” from me.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I still can’t believe he is complaining about the trade. Let it go.

  • ssckelley

    I am grateful Volstad came to Chicago and pleased with his performance. That #2 pick in next years draft will come in handy.

  • ruby2626

    Sorry but I don’t see Torreyes ever being more than a utility player at best. 5’7″ no power, no walks and average defense. To me we have about a dozen better prospects at 2B than him. I agree Theo’s trades other than Rizzo haven’t yielded much, the improvment is in the guys they drafted, early returns have this being a very productive draft. At least we got a couple guys with major league arms unlike the prior regime who was always looking for the next Greg Maddux. Way too early to judge the Maholm trade, Vizcaino has the potential to make that trade look like a steal. Funny that history may show that Hendry had his best year just before getting canned. Baez, Vogelbach, DeVoss, Zych, Dunston and Dillon Maples. Disappointed in year Maples had but again time will tell.

    • Tommy

      Torreyes may not hit homeruns, but he hits doubles and triples, along with stealing bases. You say he doesn’t walk, but you didn’t mention that he strikes out even less. If you judge him solely on his performance from his first year in A+ ball, then yes, he doesn’t look like much. If you look at his numbers overall from the minors, he has an outstanding .OBP and .OPS.

      The kid was 19 years old playing at high A ball and struggled early, but I think it’s way too early to write him off as only a utility player. And there are plenty of players of smaller stature that have made an impact at the major league level.

      Do we have other options coming up at 2nd base – yes. But that doesn’t mean we should write off Torreyes at age 20.

  • cubchymyst

    I know I am in the minority but I would have liked for the Cubs to have keeped Volstad and left him in AAA for another year. I remember Volstad was placed on revocable waivers earlier this year so maybe it wasn’t an option to keep Volstad in AAA without putting him on waivers. Him being on the taller side probably means it will take longer for him to find consistency and his promise as a big starter with a sinker I think as worth a 3M gamble, especially since it with the Cubs current budget.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah I think he couldn’t be assigned to AAA without going through waviers

  • lou brock lives

    Best 3 position players in first draft by Theo’s boys will turn out to be Almora – CF, Bruno 2B, & Saunders at SS. My early take on these players & in the depth of position players in the Cubs system is that we have a wealth of right handed hitting, but are extremely lacking in left handed position players as well as left handed pitching. Look for the Cubs to concentrate on these areas moving forward.
    Rizzo & Vogelbach , appear to be the only left handed high average/OBP power hitters we have & they play the same position. We basically have no power arms or TOR starters who throw left handed at any level in our system. I suggest Manaea from Indiana State as our # 1 pick in the 2013 draft. I also would be making trades to acquire LH hitting OF depth & 3B help.

  • ramy16

    Dont forget Soler! Sooo much upside and still young


    Volstad’s issues are that he doesn’t have consistent command of his breaking stuff, and he is really devoid of a swing and a miss pitch in his repertoire. So I can’t chalk it all up to unluckiness. The Marshall/Wood deal worked for me because I got to hear my wife say to Sappelt “How’s it going little dude?” at every I-Cubs game from our third base box seats. .

    • FFP

      These two Volstad shortcomings are probably related. IF he gets control over his breaking stuff, he’s going to jelly-leg a lot of guys and be able to climb the stairs against others.