hohokam-park-signThe remade Cleveland Indians make their first top to HoHoKam this Spring (complete with familiar manager, Terry Francona).

Alberto Cabrera will get the ball for the Cubs as he transitions back into being a starting pitcher. With Matt Garza and Scott Baker set to start the year on the DL, both Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva will start the year in the rotation. That leaves the Cubs with a question mark at the “sixth starter” spot, which suddenly looks very important (remember, Theo and Jed say they like to know who the ninth starter is). Maybe that guy could be Alberto Cabrera? He’s always had great stuff, so let’s see what he can do this Spring. Assuming the Cubs have five healthy starters otherwise, Cabrera is likely to head to Iowa to continue the starting makeover.

Today’s game is available (audio) on MLB.com/Cubs.com.

The lineup:

1. Luis Valbuena, SS

2. Darnell McDonald, CF

3. Scott Hairston, RF

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Steve Clevenger, C

6. Junior Lake, 3B

7. Brad Nelson, 1B

8. Jorge Soler, DH

9. Logan Watkins, 2B

  • calicubsfan007

    Is there anyone of these unknown guys who is wowing people?

    • Rcleven

      No big WOW but McDonald has had a very good spring so far. Good enough to make the 25? Let’s see what he can do in center today. Three of the four fourth outfielders have made it a race so far.

  • CubzFann

    Any chance of signing Lohse now? I think he is still available.

    • Noah

      No. Cubs won’t give up the 2nd round pick for him, Lohse is still probably looking for a multi-year deal, and it’s the sort of move you could really see hampering the club in 2015, which the Cubs should not do anything to do. Plus, the Cubs currently expect both Garza and Baker back sometime in late April or early May. You don’t make moves like signing Lohse to make 5-6 starts replacing someone.

      • JR

        But what if the Cubs could tell Lohse they will sign him if he waits until after the draft? Have like an under the table agreement to save that pick. He could help replace the dudes they trade.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Nice write-up on Soler at fangraphs. They refer to him as the game’s next elite prospect

    • COW142

      Great write-up…. It is encouraging and scary all in the same read.

  • Danny Ballgame

    Anyone know how Watkins has looked during ST? I know all about the small sample size, ST doesn’t mean squat, he’s not making the roster under any circumstances, and all that jive n’ jazz. I just have not heard his name very much this spring.

  • Mr.Boring

    Is this a crazy thought? The Cubs are obvious underdogs this season. Why wouldn’t they flip the rotation to have their best pitchers throwing against the oppositions back end of the rotation? Wouldn’t that increase the odds of winning 3 out 5 starts or at least increase the chances of hanging around .500. I don’t get the philosophy of best against best in April. I’d rather see best match-ups to increase chances of winning.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I like those kind of thought-experiment discussions.

      • hansman1982

        Here is the thing, let’s say you have this for projected (even-up winning percentage)

        1 – 40%
        2 – 45%
        3 – 50%
        4 – 55%
        5 – 60%

        (Similar to the Cubs current state, weak-ish at the top of the rotation but stronger at 4 & 5), all you do is take away from the ability to win games 1 & 2 to win games 4 & 5. I would imagine it would have a net effect of 0% gained.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The phrase robbing Peter to pay Paul comes to mind: although we Peters of the world would use a different phrase!

    • hansman1982

      After the first series or two it rarely works out that a series features 1-2-3 matching up against the other team’s 1-2-3.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Why is Brad Nelson getting so many spring training ABs?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There isn’t much of a roster formulation where he is a serious threat to break camp with the big team, so it’s a fair question, especially with the Cubs needing to figure out who can handle first base as the back-up. Of course, then again, if Rizzo went down with an injury, maybe the Cubs want to see what they’d have in Nelson as a full-time 1B if it came to that.

  • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

    Brett, you may need to find a new 6th starter. It looks like the Cubs pitchers are throwing batting practice today.

  • Mr.Boring

    Brett thanks for the cred on the question. Hansman are these numbers accurate or a guesstimation? Not taunting you, just curious how you came up with those numbers? I don’t think there is anyway to prove my theory because of what you said, after two weeks it’s all messed up. Who is who in each line-up? Just a thought in the Iowa snow.
    Is it time to present my 6 man rotation and 10 relievers theory into Cubbie land? Gives you more bench player options, but only until All-Star break. Wow, spring come quick.

    • Hansman1982

      I’m just using an educated guess. In any given MLB game there is a pretty tight chance of winning. Lining you #1 on day 5 just moves numbers around…you’ve now “sacrificed” game 1 to win game 5. Net effect = nil.

      Add in that after the first couple of weeks no one is lined up and now you’ve pissed off your #1 starter for no good reason.

    • Hansman1982

      You’d carry 4 relievers or 16 pitchers? Leaves no bench options if its the latter.

  • Mr.Boring

    Hansman I agree with you, was very serious if those were facts or guesses. It’s just a fun thought to think about in winter. You misunderstood, 6 starters so one guy throws once a week for the first half then you narrow down your options. I’m not saying it’s correct, just something I thought might work until a team settles in on a rotation. 6 starters and 5-6 relievers. That’s what i was saying. All in fun, just stupid things to think about until the sun shines again in the Midwest.