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stoveThis past week, there were a couple of chats obscured by all of the Wrigley and Scott Hairston focus.

First, from Bruce Levine

  • Bruce believes Matt Garza, if he’s built up enough arm strength, will be with the Cubs and starting on Opening Day. (It’s possible he was only predicting the Opening Day starter part, and not the if he’ll be traded part, though.) He goes on to add, later, that the best case scenario for the Cubs would be Garza pitching well in the Spring and then signing an extension early in the year. I could see a couple best case scenarios, but they definitely each start with Garza looking fully healthy in the Spring.
  • Bruce remains adamant that the Cubs and Phillies haven’t spoken about Alfonso Soriano since November. I’d add that, with Delmon Young in the fold, the Phillies may have elected to go that route for right-handed outfield power anyway.
  • Bruce says Ian Stewart “was not honest” with the Cubs about his injury last year (in terms of what? how much it was hurting?), and says that some in the organization questioned why he left the team to rehab at home.
  • The Cubs would have to get “a heck of a deal” to consider signing Michael Bourn. That isn’t likely.
  • If the Tigers were interested in a Cubs reliever, the Cubs would probably try and work out a trade for Rick Porcello. So far, no dice.
  • Bruce says NL owners have never wanted the designated hitter, and right now no one is pushing them to adopt it. Well, consider me pushing.
  • Bruce believes there is nothing Brett Jackson could do in the Spring to change the Cubs’ minds about starting him out at AAA this year.
  • Carlos Marmol is likely dealt in the Spring, when teams realize they don’t have enough relief pitching. I’d add only that Spring trades are quite rare.

And then, from Ben Nicholson-Smith at MLBTR

  • Like me, Ben sees the Alfons Soriano trade market as related to the Scott Hairston and Jason Kubel (and Vernon Wells) markets. With those two off the board, I’ve got to believe Soriano is looking mighty attractive to the right team.
  • Ben expects the Yankees to add another player before all is said and done, and my guess would be a right-handed hitting outfielder.
  • The Rangers, too, will do something, but it could be in the lineup or the rotation.
  • Matt Garza isn’t a serious trade candidate until he shows he’s healthy, at least in Spring Training (which we all know).
  • Rcleven

    Seems Levine has been sleeping in for the last month.

  • Jon

    Yes, bring the DH to the NL

    • Southern Cub

      No, absolutely not

  • Blublud

    I don’t want the DH in baseball either. If you wanna play, you need to he able to hit and play the field. The DH should be done away with in the AL.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The DH rule is not about letting guys bat without fielding. It’s about not having pitchers embarrass humanity (and higher primates in general) by batting.

      • Blublud

        If you wanna play, you need to be able to bat. It works both ways. If you don’t wanna embarrass yourself as a pitcher, you have 4 days in between games, worl on you hitting. In fact, I like the article that said Price would like to come to the NL because he wants to hit.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          That is ridiculous. Nobody can learn how to hit MLB pitching by working on it 4 out of 5 days. The tool sets for pitching are completely different from the tool sets for batting: you might as well expect a basketball player or a football player to learn to hit MLB pitching that way. Indeed, it would even beg the question of how they would do it: where are you going to find MLB caliber pitchers to throw game-level pitches for batting practice?

          Price might want to hit, but I do not want to watch him: I want to see MLB batters hit, and nobody else.

          • Blublud

            And MLB pitcher is a MLB level batter. Zambrano seemed to have decent success, so I don’t think it’s impossible.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Have you ever watched baseball? Not a single pitcher is in MLB because he can hit at MLB level. Those rare pitchers that can hit relatively well almost never are good enough to stay in baseball if they lose the ability to hit. Rick Ankiel is one of the only recent examples: and he really was not good enough to be a starter.

              Pitching and hitting are two fundamentally different athletic skill sets: they have zero basic athletic tools in common. We don’t ask batters to pitch, so why should we ask pitchers to bat?

              • NyN

                Actually the power behind pitching and hitting are both generated in the explosive rotation in the hips. So technically, they do have one thing in common

              • OCCubFan

                An older example is Babe Ruth.

                A less-ancient example was Stan Musial though he only pitched in the low minors.

                • Spriggs

                  Smokey Joe Wood is an even older example.

                  I agree with Doc, though. Outside of a few odd examples like we mentioned and recent guys like Brooks Kieshnick, and even fairly recent college hitter/pitchers like Winfield and Olerud – pitchers cannot hit. If a guy does have both skills, the MLB team forces them to focus on one or the other (Casey Kelley, Frankie Rodriguez) and we never really see the one left behind.

                  To say someone is the best hitting pitcher in baseball today is sort of like picking out the best looking pig in sty.

            • Adventurecizin’ Justin

              If you invested millions of dollars in a guy for his arm…why would you want him to bat and run the bases?

              Do you realize that after high school, most pitchers are DH’d for at collegiate and minor league levels? The National League rule needs to either get in sync…or every other entity needs to eliminate the DH. The National League is the bastard-child as it stands! They should get on board, in my opinion.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Cubs fans in particular should be sensitive to this. The injury that ultimately ruined Rick Sutcliffe’s arm was not from over-pitching, but from trying to pitch around a hamstring injury incurred while running the bases. (The Braves had a habit of watering down the infield heavily when facing NL East teams with a lot of high steal guys; Sutcliffe slipped in the mud and tore his hammy; a month or so later, he destroyed his shoulder in San DIego after radically altering his delivery to accommodate the tear.)

                Sutcliffe reinvented himself as a junkballer, but losing his raw stuff really hurt the Cubs in ’85 and ’86.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Oh, and d’uh: there was Mark Prior, too!

              • Mike

                The Lakers invest millions of dollars in Kobe’s shot so he should not have to play defense because he might get hurt! The brewers invest millions of dollars in brauns bat but he still has to play defense! Castro has to play the field even though we pay him in large part because of his bat! Just because someone is great at something doesn’t mean that they don’t need to do the other aspects of the game!

    • Drew7

      OhYeah, and football players should have to play both sides of the ball, too. After all, everyone knows a QB isn’t a “true player” unless he lines up at Strong Safety after he throws a TD pass.

      That just sounds stupid. I mean, who would expect someone to be skilled enough at playing QB be able to possess an entirely different set of skills good enough to play defense too?

      Hitting and pitching require 2 very different sets of skill. Very few have the ability to do 1 of them at the highest level, and almost no one has the ability to do both well enough at that level. Matt Garza looks like a monkey f***ing a football with a bat in his hands. It’s not because he doesn’t practice, its because he doesn’t possess the ability.

      • Blublud

        No one mentioned football. Football is a more brutal sport and no one can take that pounding on a consistent basis. Hockey players play both sides, Basketball, soccer, and every other baseball player.

        Maybe the Lakers should petition the NBA to allow them to swap out Gasol and Howard at the change of every defensive and offensive possession. I always knew that’s why they were struggling this year.
        Or better yet, maybe golfers should be allowed to have designated Drivers or Putters for which ever one they aren’t good at.

        Pitchers are no different the any other fielder. They should have to play just like everybody else. They are professional athletes. All I care about in sports is competitive balance, not that a pitcher shouldn’t hit because he bad at it.

        • dob2812

          No they don’t. Leo Messi possesses gifts we can’t only count ourselves lucky to witness. Would you put him in goals? No. No you wouldn’t.

          • Mike

            A DH ruins the aspect of coaching as well! Do I put a pinch hitter in or trust my pitcher can do something productive! Or if you have a DH it’s oh ok David Ortiz go hit a home run I’m gonna sit here and do nothing!

  • DocPeterWimsey

    If I never have to watch a pitcher bat again, then I’ll die just a little happier in the end.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Me, too! Pitchers are supposed to produce outs with their arms…not with bats, too!

      • Paul Popovich rules!

        Pitchers are supposed to produce outs with their arms…not with their gloves. So you should favor a rule change in which a ball hit to the mound is considered dead. And hitters are supposed to produce outs with their arms…not with their feet, so lets have mandatory designated runners. Still can call it baseball, even if it is not.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Well, having a good fielding pitcher is a plus. However, no pitcher is good enough at fielding to make up for poor pitching. And a lot of very good pitchers have been very poor fielders. We’ve never seen a pitcher sent to the minors for being a bad hitter or a bad fielder! But we’ve seen many a good fielding and good hitting pitcher sent to the minors for being a bad pitcher.

          Again, it’s a situation where the tool sets for being a good infielder and being a good pitcher have very little overlap. Basically, there is throwing: and baseball pitching is such a specialized form of throwing that being good at that does not mean that you’ll be good at infield-style throwing. Really, being a good pitcher is almost an athletic savantism: you can be flat out bad at everything Joe and Jane Smith consider to be “athletic” and still be a good pitcher.

    • NyN

      Is it our pitcher or theirs? Because i enjoy watching the oppossing teams pitcher bat. We can usually get him out.

  • leo l

    If they go DH then I will die a little sadder

  • Paul Popovich rules!

    Pitchers already got it easy. Only work 7 innings every fifth day. And you want to make it easier for them? OK, give them part-time salary for part-time work. See how they like the DH rule then!

    • Hansman1982

      Pitchers impact far more PA than positional players

      • Patrick W.

        Indeed pitchers impact every plate appearance. The pitcher is the only player who touches the baseball every single play when he is pitching. Outfielders can go entire games without touching an in play ball. Pitchers work plenty on the mound, let them focus on that.

  • ETS

    can we just not bring up the dh? Everyone here knows the arguments for and against it. It’s pointless to rehash them every time there is a side note about the dh.

    • TSB

      Can we just not bring up Tony Campana? Every one already knows the arguments for and against him…

      • mudge

        Can Tony Campana DH?

        • Hansman1982

          I thought that is what both debates were centered around.

        • Jimmy James

          I think I would rather have the pitcher bat….have campana run for them out of the box though :)

  • Toby

    Spring trades might be rare, but I’m guess they’ll be more common because if a team acquires a player on his last year of a contract, they’ll be eligible for compensation unlike in earlier years.

  • http://punshouse.com Nate Corbitt

    If the Yankees were interested in Soriano, who would they be willing to give up? Would the give up Hughes?

  • JR

    Bruce Levine= Mr. obivous. I literally could pull together as much info on the Cubs while doing internet searchers as that dude.

  • Marcel91

    I’ve been saying it all along(and even getting bashed for it by the Bourn lovers) but i’ll say it once again because it’s becoming more and more concrete. NOBODY wants to sign Bourn for even market value(which some estimate at around 13mil AAV), let alone what was reportedly asking for. He’s a bad investment on a 3yr+ deal and losing that pick + slot money.

    He’s simply not the type of player you spend big money on at age 30 with speed being his main asset. Multiple teams have been said to only look at him if it’s on a bargain contract. Even 3yrs is starting to look too long. I wouldn’t go more than 2yr with every intention of flipping him to get the value of that pick back + more.

    • Blublud

      Ludicrous

      • DocPeterWimsey

        And yet the GMs of baseball seem to agree with Marcel91.

        • Blublud

          Trust me, abourn is holding out. If Bourn was willing to take 13 million for 4 years, he would have a deal. He wants more, so he’s holding. He has nothing to lose by waiting. Remember, we had this same convo with Fielder and Boris last year, suggesting 1 year deals. How did that turn out.

          • Hansman1982

            Fielder had signed by this point last year and teams weren’t begging the MLB to let them keep their pick.

            • Blublud

              That just good business to try and keep your picks, and the Mets actually have legit claim.

              • Kygavin

                But according to the new CBA they dont have a legit claim. The CBA specifically made the change that compensatory picks are part of the protected ones, so in reality they shouldnt have any chance of winning this

                • Blublud

                  That doesn’t mean the CBA didn’t get it wrong. It stupid for the Mets to suffer because the Pirates either A. Toom a chance and drafted a player they couldn’t sign or B were to cheap to sign. They should lose that pick and it shouldn’t be replaced.

                  • Kygavin

                    Why would the player association agree to that? That means guys would be signed under value because no one would take a chance on a tough sign. And if the CBA was wrong why did the MLBPA and the owners agree to it?

                    • Blublud

                      There is stuff that is agreed to all the time that later both parties agree were wrong and needs to be changed. The Mets are right. If Pittsburgh does get a replacement pick, then it should not be allowed to be in the top ten, or the protected picks should be top 10 plus however many replacement picks.

                      If Im the Cubs, and I have the number 2 pick this year, I can use my first pick to draft a player I know I can’t sign, then go over slot to sign the rest of my top 10 picks. Why would I do this. Because I feel like the talent at the top of this draft is weak and I know next year I’m going after a couple big names that will cost me a pick. Oh, and the projected talent for next years draft is really good. Like Strasburg and Harper good. So as a GM, I tank the season, finishing with the worse record in the league. Now I have 2 top 10 picks, both protected and even if I sign 10 comp players, they can’t touch my picks. Now I just manipulated the CBA in 2 minutes of thinking.

                    • Kygavin

                      All Im saying is that they changed it in the CBA to specifically show that the top 10 picks are protected no matter what, and since that change happened recently the Mets claim really carries no weight

                    • Blublud

                      Correct, and all I’m saying is that they got it wrong.

                  • Tom A.

                    I disagree.

                    In baseball, some draftees like Appel can refuse to sign and the punishment is not great — they simply can be drafted next year. That does not happen in football, given the faster rise directly into the NFL and shorter career life. I know we all were sweating out the drafting of Almora this past year (not because he is not a fine prospect), hoping he would sign with the Cubs for what they were allowed to spend on him. If the Cubs could not have signed him, would they then be cheap ? And, if they can’t sign the drafted player, should they lose their draft slot with nothing in return ? Big picture, aren’t they trying to slot in contracts for baseball, like is done for football ? Again, how does any of that make the drafting team like the Pirates cheap ?

                    The protection of 10 draft picks is by agreement and not a right or entitlement. If they now protect the Mets pick at number 11, it will never be because of a right or entitlement — rather it will be because of legal manuevers to get around the agreement.

                    • Blublud

                      Right, but that is the chance you take. And honestly, I don’t understand whypro leagues haven’t been on the total legality ofa professional draft. If I am not a MLB player yet, then I am not able speak my opinion on the CBA. Now that I am ready, why am I forced to join a union to play in a league and have to follow what other players decided was good for them. This is a total different argument that I don’t wanna discuss more because my political views are tied to it, but what you stated about Appel, he should have that right. The Pirates had conversations with him before they drafted him I’m sure, so they knew the situation.

        • Blublud

          If bourn was willing to sign for 13 million, he would already have a contract. Remember, they said the same thing about Fielder last year, but Boris delivered.

        • Tom A.

          And, I agree you are correct about the GM’s opinions on Bourn.

  • Fastball

    I doubt Soriano, Marmol or Garza are traded. All 3 are worth more to the Cubs than what we would get in return at this point. Extend Garza for 2 years if healthy. Soriano will play out his contract in Chicago because he isnt’ going to approve a trade to any team at this point. Marmol will have the best 1st half of his career and we will keep him.

    • Sandberg

      If Marmol has the best 1st half of his career, there’s no way we keep him.

    • Kygavin

      Marmol has little value to the Cubs. What good does a “closer” do for a team that is rebuilding, especially one as up and down as Marmol? They should deal him as soon as they get an offer that gives them any kind of long term value. ESPECIALLY if he has the best first half of his career

  • I like trolls

    Sports is supposed to be entertainment. There is nothing entertaining to me about watching a pitcher flop around like a fish in the batters box. It sucks and I hate it. So much.

    It would be ten times more fun watching a guy who is a professional hitter who could hit in the 4 hole, instead we get a 9 hole flopping fish seizuring in the batters box. Pitchers look like how I would look against major league pitching. Nobody should want to see that mess.

    The only thing harder on the eyes is watching Garza flail around helplessly trying to throw a ball to first base. I almost broke my tv last year watching that.

    • Ptbnl

      Fielding is an entire different skill set than pitching or hitting. There should be a Designated Fielder (DF) able to stand next to each teams worst fielder in case the ball gets hit there.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        That is not quite true. Both fielding and hitting rely in part on the ability to (nearly) instantaneously judge where a ball will be as soon as it gets going. Both fielding and base-running rely in part on (nearly) instantaneously judging where a ball is going to land *and* the ability to accelerate strongly.

        But here is the biggest difference. The best pitchers thrown in MLB regardless of how lousy they are at hitting. Unless management is incompetent (see Mariners, Seattle), the best fielders play in MLB only if they hit well enough to stay there. Most organizations have multiple guys that can field better than their starting position players: but organizations do not have multiple guys that can pitch better than their starting pitchers. (If they have even one, then he’s a hot prospect whom they are not “rushing” for philosophical or financial reasons.)

  • Sandberg

    At some point, Bourn is going to be better off signing a 1 year deal with a team that will trade him at the deadline. That way he can still get a 2-4 year contract next year and it won’t be tied to draft pick compensation.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I think that the issue at this point might be whether a team is willing to give up a draft pick for Bourn.

      At what point under this CBA do the Braves lose the compensation pick?

      • Hansman1982

        I e seen may 15; however, I’ve also seen draft day.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That’s the opposite side of the coin people usually ask about – he costs his signing team a draft pick if he signs before Draft day. I would assume the same date is true for the compensation pick going to the Braves, but I haven’t looked at that specifically.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          huh, I almost wonder if that might not happen to Bourn. People might remember Tim Raines basically being forced to sit out the first six weeks of 1987 because of the new rules that the owners put into place about when FAs could re-sign with their “former” team.

          This case is a bit different: Raines was just turning 27, an OBP god (he had 0.390+ for the prior four years) and relatively good power (the numbers were dampened a bit by his home-field and the rest of the NL East save for warm summer Wrigley), and the only penalty for signing him was that you had to write an apologia to the other GMs that would later be used as evidence in a collusion trial!

      • Sandberg

        If you’re the Cubs, why wouldn’t you sign Bourn to a one year deal and flip him at the deadline? Surely he would bring back a play more valuable than your 2nd round pick.

        I suppose there is always the risk of injury or suckitude, but the risk seems worthwhile for the chance to upgrade.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I suspect that a pitcher like Lohse would be a better investment for the “buy and flip” tactic.

        • waittilthisyear

          i’ve been thinking the same thing. i saw another post proposing arguments against it (along the lines of risk of losing pick for what could amount to nothing) but i was not swayed. Give him big money for a year, flip him at the deadline for someone much closer to contributing than a YTBD second round pick

  • mudge

    I like watching pitchers hit, seeing the pitcher in both roles, and much prefer national league baseball. Gives the game much more rhythm and interest.

  • North Side Irish

    Speaking of National League DHs, Vogelbach was named the #8 1B prospect by MLB.com. I don’t put much stock in their rankings, but it was interesting to notice that 6 of the 7 in front of him are older, including Darin Ruf who is six years older.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2013/#list=1b

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I thought that list was stupid, but I’m sure I’m biased. Most services would have Vogelbach in the top 3, easy.

    • Blublud

      That is extremely low. Vogelbach should be in the top three or four of any list at a minimum.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    So how has Lendy Castillo cleared waivers? And can the Cubs option him to AAA Iowa?

    • ETS

      I don’t think castillo has even been put on waivers yet, has he? I thought he was dfa’d which means the cubs have 10 days before he has to be put on waivers.

  • I like trolls

    @madge

    Yeah, it’s great fun watching pitchers strike out and weakly ground into double plays in their feeble attempts to try and make contact. That really does add so much rhythm to the NL game. Having a guy who can mash hr’s full time in the 4 hole really would ruin the NL’s rhythm. You are really smart and I’m so glad you commented.

    • mudge

      it’s roy again…

    • Twinkletoez

      I get that the DH is a better hitter then pitchers but can we please put to rest this 4 hole HR masher myth.. The DH is no longer that position.

      I like no DH much better, not because I like watching the pitcher bat but because of how having the pitcher bat changes the game. 1 run game 6th inning, 2 outs, runner is scoring position, do you pinch hit and go the bullpen or do you leave your starter in? The NL game just seems to be more of a strategic game where as the AL just doesn’t seem to have much in game management.

      That being said with full time inter-league play something does have to change, and the NL adding the DH is the only realistic solution I can think of.

  • Die hard

    Before DH good hitting pitchers allowed to show that they could hit and some even converted to position players like Babe Ruth and Stan Musial. If there was a DH back then would either have had the careers they had? We never would have known they could hit. This is only one reason to stop the DH and there are others

    • DocPeterWimsey

      So, we get rid of the DH in the hope of repeating something not seen in 75 years? Guys who have been decent baseball players and football players have been more common: and those two sports have very few skill sets in common.

      Another player from that era, Ted Williams, stated on many occasions that he never saw a pitcher who could actually hit. Now, Teddy’s standards might seem high: but he comprehended batting at a level that few have. And he watched the game for a long, long time. People need to stop pretending that there is such a thing as a “baseball player”: a guy who can both pitch and hit well is basically a two-sport star. I’m happy to lose what few might exist to not endure any more pitcher PAs.

      • leo l

        what you are getting confused with is that just because a position is not very good at another aspect of the game doent mean it shouldnot be part of the game. a quarterback is not a good tackler but if the ball is turned over because the receiver dropped the ball (you know since he is a great quterack it wouldn’t be his fault),he may still need to tackle the defensive player to prevent a touchdown. but the nfl could change the rules and make it two hand touch for qunterbacks afterall they ususally are highly invested players and they could get hurt nd probably will do a poor job of tackling.

        yeah, they often will not make a big effort to tackle to avoid injury but I dont want to see the rule change to 2 hand touch for quterbacks to get players down.

        I like the rule the way it is.

        • Blublud

          No. What they should do is on an interception is blow the whitsle as soon as the defense has possession and everybody on the field has to pause. Then the real defensive players can run onto the field and take the exaxt positions of the offensive play they match that was on the field. DT for C. DE for the LT and RT. CB for the recievers. Once everybody takes the spots, you blow the whitsle again and the play continues. I mean who wants to see a running back make a tackle on an interception.

  • Die hard

    Houston is looking for DH and Sori would hit a ton there

    • Kygavin

      Not a good fit tho. Houston is in complete rebuild and wouldnt give young talent for a old OF with hurt knees.

  • ssckelley

    Could it be in the realm of possibilities that the Cubs could get together with another team and arrange for a sign and trade for Bourn? The Cubs would only lose a 2nd round pick, perhaps. I wonder if it would be worth a prospect to a team like the Mets to be able deal with a team like the Cubs or is something like this against the rules?

    • Blublud

      Illegal

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    I like Lendy…wish the Cubs can hold on to him!..instead were stuck with Campana!

  • notcubbiewubbie

    if you like the dh so much you could always jump ship.the dh SUCKS>

  • Die hard

    Why is team counting on Garza given arm history?

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  • http://www.Chicagocubstalk.blogspot.com ChicagoCubsTalk

    I really hope that the Cubs do not sign Bourn…unless it is one heck of a deal. he would prb end up like another Soriano…

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