Quantcast

cactusThe return of Starlin Castro wasn’t enough to bring the Cubs’ bats out of their general funk, as they were shutout by the mighty Rockies pitching staff. Far more importantly, Castro came out of his return to the lineup unscathed, and was tested often in the field.

  • Castro was just fine at the plate, too – he had a single and a walk in his two plate appearances.
  • Luis Valbuena finally had a hitless game, but he did walk once. Darwin Barney had a couple hits as well. All in all, the Cubs had some chances, as they had six hits and three walks.
  • Jorge Soler didn’t get in on the action, though, as the prospect went 0-4 with a strikeout.
  • Brent Lillibridge, who’s been out with a groin strain, returned to action late in the game, getting just one at bat.
  • Edwin Jackson had a nice tuneup for the regular season, going five innings, striking out two, walking one, and giving up three hits (1 ER).
  • Kyuji Fujikawa was erratic for the first time, loading the bases with a couple walks and a hit, and giving up an earned run. He struck out two, though.
  • Non-roster invitee relievers Cory Wade and Jensen Lewis each had uneventful scoreless innings. Also an uneventful scoreless inning? Carlos Marmol.
  • (Probably meaningless factoid: Jim Hendry, now a scout with the Yankees, was at the game.)
  • Rcleven

    Good for EJ today. Nice to see the pitchers from our starting rotation look like MLB a starter.

  • Segal27

    OMG THAT MUST MEAN THE YANKESS WANT SORIANO!!!! ERMAHGERD!

  • Morken

    I believe Edwin Jakson is poised to become a dominant starting pitcher. To this point, he’s flown under the radar as an undervalued, consistent innings-eater. Now, with the security of a long-term deal under his belt, and years of maturation manifesting, I see Jackson anchoring a strong Cubs’ staff, going forward.

    • Pat

      He is a quality pitcher, and by far the best offseason acquisition, but he probably isn’t going to improve much at this point. He also doesn’t need to. If he stays healthy he will be well worth his contract.

      • MightyBear

        He’s not the best offseason acquisition by far. He was a good acquisition. The best acquisition was Scott Baker.

        • Rebuilding

          I agree with that if he comes back fully healthy

        • Spriggs

          Too many ifs right now for me to call Baker their best acquisition, but potentially, yes, I agree.

          • CubFan Paul

            The best acquisition(s) for 2013 will happen in June/July (Fire Sale). That’s what this team was built for (2yrs in a row). We should get back some solid blue chippers.

            • TWC

              OH MY GOD! WE’RE HAVING A FIRE …

              sale.

    • Cub2014

      Hopefully next year he will be the cubs number 4 starter.
      Then we have something to get excited about.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Jackson is one of the most inconsistent pitchers you’ll see. Looks great for a start or two and then falls apart for a game or two. He’s erratic like that stiff soriano is.

      • Cubbie Blues

        So, you are saying he is a #3 pitcher? Good thing that’s what he signed him to be then.

    • Kygavin

      Always has had good stuff and a power FB but never really has had the results you would expect. FB is straight which makes him fly ball prone (also home run prone) and that worries me in a hitters park. If the wind is blowing out in one of his starts it could get ugly

      • Smitty

        How often does the wind actually fly out? I remember someone having that information and sharing that in the past. If you recall, please share.

  • North Side Irish

    John Sickels released his Top 150 prospects today, including five Cubs…no real surprises. Javier Baez (18), Jorge Soler (25), Albert Almora (44), Dan Vogelbach (98) and Arodys Vizcaino (112).

    http://www.obstructedview.net/minor-leagues/john-sickels-top-150-prospects.html

    • North Side Irish
    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Would like to see the top one million prospect list so I can really feel great about the minor league system that king theo put together. Anybody have an idea when that’s coming out. We have had only about 100 lists out already. Back in 08 no self respecting cubs fans talked about a prospect list.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I did.

        But I’ll admit I might be an exception…

        • jt

          It has been said by many but… your lists are interesting.
          not only are guys listed but there is a clear understanding of your thinking.
          cool stuff that helps get through the winter.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “Back in 08 no self respecting cubs fans talked about a prospect list.”

        That works on so many levels that I have trouble choosing a single response. Do I point out how hilariously inaccurate that is with simple links? Do I make a crack about how “maybe if the Cubs took prospect lists seriously back in 2008 we wouldn’t have had to watch this miserable pile for the last four years”?

        I think I’ll keep it more ethereal:

        I love Cubs fans who hate the Cubs.

        • Jeff

          Do you love Cub fans who hate Cub fan’s who hate the Cubs?

        • Hansman1982

          Ummm…your post is wrong for soooo many reasons:

          1) why must you shout down a critic of the front office? Clearly you have no reapect for people who don’t blindly worship theo

          2) westbound Willie clearly loves the Cubs. Nuff said.

          3) you’re just “projecting”

        • Pat

          I love Cubs fans who realize that 104 years without a championship indicates that maybe everything the team does isn’t the cat’s pajamas. (fixed that for you)

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Which is a totally reasonable point, since I was ardently supporting everything the 1954 Cubs did.

            • Pat

              That’s right. I forgot. It’s a new tradition, year one, etc. so far this team has done absolutely nothing to improve the overall product on the field. Until they do, there is no reason to believe anything has changed over the years.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I love the Cubs! I’m a huge fan! I just hate every single thing about them!

                (To be clear: this is playful ribbing.)

        • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

          Just tired of these lists that are 99 percent worthless anyways. The guy that makes it is probably ranked 235 th right now and nobody knows who he is.

        • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

          Let me post this for the sixth time. I was listening to an interview with Rick Hahn a couple months ago and he was saying that back about ten years ago the sox had five guys ranked in the top 100 and only one guy made an impact from that list and that guy was joe crede who lasted a couple years. Projecting a bunch of 20 year old kids is like looking at a second grade class and picking out the Ivy League student. All I have to say to that is

          Next

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Haven’t we had this discussion a few times before? People trot out the numbers about what proportion of 1st round, 2nd round, 3rd round, etc., draft picks make the bigs (showing that it declines steeply), what proportion of All Stars are 1st round picks (single most common draft round), etc. Then you allege that the numbers are wrong, citing a first round pick who didn’t make it and a 5th round all-star as if those two points negate the overall pattern.

            Then Gandalf summons the sun and you go away for a while!

            • hansman1982

              After he is done summoning all-stars and HoFers out of thin air with 0 time in the minor leagues.

          • Drew7

            Knowing for certain this won’t change your mind (and being almost as certain you won’t even read it), I’m not really sure why I’m posting it.

            Anyway, here’s a link to a pretty good piece on the success and failure rates of prospects and there respective rankings:

            http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

            • cubfanincardinalland

              Really interesting article, thanks. When you see that 77% of top 100 pitching prospects averaged less than a 1.5 WAR, it shows you how hard it is to develop good starting pitching. Cubs are doing it right, by trying to get strength in numbers, and hope a couple make it big.

      • cubsnivy56

        Here’s the deal, when you say King Theo you come across as a non believer, a non CUBS fan, basically an ass. I’m not saying you have to buy every thing going on but c’mon, King Theo, don’tbe a dick. Okay the top one million…… if you don’t think the CUBS hae improved the farm system just stick your head in the sand, go root for the Pirates, or the Cardinals, whatever, and don’t whine when the CUBS are on top.

        • cubsnivy56

          response to WW

        • Crazyhorse

          After 101 loss performance – the title should be Little Theo the snake oil salesman.

          • fromthemitten

            yeah because that was all his fault and nothing to do with Sam Zell or Jim Hendry

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Can someone explain to me how the “Little Theo” thing is clever, and isn’t the laziest, most juvenile kind of middle school name-calling? I must be missing something.

            • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

              I’m sure there are a lot more juvenile names for theo than little theo. over the next three years you will see about 200-300 new names for him after this fiasco that he is orchestrating ends and he gets booted out of town.

              Stayed tuned.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Oh, ok. Well that answers it.

        • scorecardpaul

          Yes, this and more +++++++

  • Jeff

    Rizzo…imponente!!!!!

    • Jeff

      Feel like some pasta now..

  • http://Prospects IACub

    The problem with Cub fans and the prospect lists is that usually we’ve expected these young men to come up and save our seasons, when more often than not, we’ve been disappointed. Hopefully these guys we’ve been acquiring can contribute on the major league level, but for every stud that comes up, there are about 5 or more than just fizzle away in the minors and end up elsewhere. You see rosters like the Cardinals (ugh!) who just seem to keep bringing someone in to reload for another shot…here’s to hoping we’re on our way!

    • cubfanincardinalland

      I just don’t get this fascination with the Cardinals like they are some great organization at developing players. Please tell me other than Pujols, who was a rookie 12 years ago, and Molina, who are the great players the Cardinals have produced? Now we hear about all these can’t miss starters they have, please list the even average starting pitchers the Cardinals have produced in the last 40 years. They are a team on the decline, Cubs will blow by them in 2 years.

      • Edwin

        David Frees has been a good player. Adam Wainwright is a great pitcher. Craig looks pretty good. Their farm system has been strong enough over the years to allow them to trade for players like Matt Holliday, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds. Currently their farm system is ranked as one of the best in baseball (better than the Cubs, by most). They make great trades, and make great FA signings. They’re one of the best run teams in baseball. It sucks, but they are.

      • DB KYLE

        Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright are both in their rotation right now and proven to be at least average, and I’d place pretty good money on Shelby Miller joining that club this year.

        The Cardinals are consistently good because they leverage all possible avenues of player acquisition. They sign free agents, they make trades, they draft and develop well. They never say “well, winning is hard and free agents are risky, so let’s give up.” They just make good baseball decisions day after day.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          ‘They never say “well, winning is hard and free agents are risky, so let’s give up.”’

          No team does; certainly not the Cubs. In other words, that was purely flaming there at the end of your comment. You should be careful about those kind of lazy, baiting additions, because you will throw out the good will you’ve built up by being an otherwise intelligent, thoughtful guy. It gives people an excuse to ignore you.

          • DB KYLE

            I’m sorry, but that is *exactly* what the Cubs said (well, said with their actions) going into 2012. Not quite as much in 2013.

            • hansman1982

              Edwin Jackson, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston, Scott Baker and Feldman are on line 2 for you. They disagree. Oh, and Anibal Sanchez is on line 3.

              • Rebuilding

                If that is the list then I think you made Kyle’s point. When you’ve slashed approx $30-40 mil from payroll and Edwin Jackson is your most significant FA pickup then I think it can be reasonably argued you’ve punted on free agency. Anibel Sanchez? Are we counting people we finish second on now?

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Not for nothing, but Jackson’s deal was the third largest pitcher deal this year, and sixth largest overall. There weren’t 15 premium free agents available in the first place. By your definition, like 25 teams punted on free agency.

                  • DB KYLE

                    1) I said “not quite as much in 2013.” Those are all 2013 signings.

                    2) How many of those 25 teams shed $40 million in payroll the last two seasons?

                    They treaded water in 2013, which is nice and better than nothing, but doesn’t begin to make up on the punt that was 2012. They just managed to not lose more ground.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I wasn’t addressing your point here. I was addressing Rebuilding, hence my response to Rebuilding.

                    • DB KYLE

                      And I was actually addressing Hansmans. It’s a reply-function party and everyone’s invited :)

                    • hansman1982

                      I am sure I could find plenty of cases were a team over spent for a couple year run and then had to reign in the spending over a couple seasons.

                      It’s pretty bad when you have to backload a 1-year deal.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Jackson had to settle for a one year contract last year and prob would have had to this year, as well. He never sticks anywhere which says something. With that said – I think he will earn his contract so I think it was a good move. Over the last two years you’ve had people available to fill our biggest needs which would have definitely made us a wildcard contender: Aramis Ramirez (inexcusable given our 3b situation – 6.5 WAR), Yu Darvish (after seeing what CJ Wilson got it wasn’t hard to figure out what the bid there was going to be – 4.0 WAR), Yeonis Cespedes (we were outbid by the A’s, enough said – 3.4 WAR).

                    That’s 13.9 wins last year from positions where we had absolute black holes. If the Cubs would have just resigned their own guy and bid another $20 mil bucks (by reports) then we could have been in the wildcard hunt LAST YEAR (we were on pace to win 71 before the dump) and not given up ANY draft picks.

                    • hansman1982

                      We were actually underbid by the A’s. Cespedes gave up close to $10M for hitting free agency 2 years sooner.

                • CubFan Paul

                  yea, Hans did himself a disservice there :)

                  • hansman1982

                    No, they acquired a bunch of the top free agents available this year and spent a fair amount of money.

                    I guess we should have acquired Greinke, Hamilton and Bourn.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Hey, the Other team signed each one of them: why couldn’t the Cubs have done it instead of Them?

                      (I think that they have unblinking blue eyes and melt if you stab them with obsidian blades, too….)

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      (Spoiler alert! I knew that’s what the obsidian was going to be for … )

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “I guess we should have acquired Greinke, Hamilton and Bourn”

                      That’s weak Hans…las year your quote was “I guess we should have Pujols & Wilson”

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Oh, crap. No, um, that was a reference to, um the Robert Jordan series! Yeah! Nothing whatsoever to do with anything written by Martin, I mean, Tolkien: why did I think that Martin was involved?!?!? It’s a reference to Tolkien’s little known aborted sequel to Lord of the Rings! Yeah, that’s it!

                    • hansman1982

                      “That’s weak Hans…las year your quote was “I guess we should have Pujols & Wilson””

                      Ya, I admit it’s a gross over-simplification of your side of the argument. Just like their “throwing season X” is a gross over-simplification of what Theo is doing.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “Just like their “throwing season X” is a gross over-simplification of what Theo is doing”

                      No, it’s not. Especially when Theo has admitted that’s exactly what he’s doing…2013 is all about the Draft bennies too

                    • bbmoney

                      Where has Theo admitted that? I think you’re inferring a lot from what he actually said. I think you should check the quotes again.

                    • bbmoney

                      To clarify, you can infer whatever you want….you may in fact be right….but don’t treat it as fact, it’s opinion.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      bbmoney if that’s not what Theo&Co are doing then they should be FIRED immediately.

                    • hansman1982

                      “bbmoney if that’s not what Theo&Co are doing then they should be FIRED immediately.”

                      Ahh yes, this argument. The “either Theo and company are destroying this franchise by tanking seasons or they are completely inept” argument.

                      You want to know who is bad at being a GM? Ben Cherington. He took over a team with the best offense in all of baseball and proceeded to lose 15 more games than the year before.

                    • DB KYLE

                      Christiansen can’t be blamed for that, because I have it on good authority that when a new front office takes over, the previous regime is responsible for the first year.

                      So whatever goober let the Red Sox get into that position before Cherington, that’s who has to take that blame :)

                    • CubFan Paul

                      HANS, when/where did i say “either Theo and company are destroying this franchise by tanking seasons or they are completely inept”? Or even tried to make that ignorant arguement?

                      Tanking seasons for DRAFT BENNIES is totally different and “good” for the Franchise.

                    • hansman1982

                      “Christiansen can’t be blamed for that, because I have it on good authority that when a new front office takes over, the previous regime is responsible for the first year.

                      So whatever goober let the Red Sox get into that position before Cherington, that’s who has to take that blame ”

                      Ya, damn that whole best offense in all of baseball.

                      “HANS, when/where did i say “either Theo and company are destroying this franchise by tanking seasons or they are completely inept”? Or even tried to make that ignorant arguement?”

                      You just did:

                      ““Just like their “throwing season X” is a gross over-simplification of what Theo is doing”

                      No, it’s not. Especially when Theo has admitted that’s exactly what he’s doing…2013 is all about the Draft bennies too”

                      followed by:

                      “bbmoney if that’s not what Theo&Co are doing then they should be FIRED immediately.”

                      So either they are throwing the season or they are inept.

                    • hansman1982

                      FWIW: I think they are doing a little of both. They set up the 2012 team knowing that they would need 6 things to go right. Since all 6 of those things didn’t go right, they tanked the remainder of the season for draft picks.

                      2013 has been set up so that only 4 things have to go right (Schierholtz/Sappelt/Hairston platoon works, Baker/Feldman/Villanueva/Wood are an effective 3-4-5, Stewart becomes a meld of 2010 and 2012, Soriano hits 25-30 dingers again)

                      2014 will be 2 things need to go right, 2015+ will be “we are making the playoffs even if 1 or 2 things goes wrong”.

                      Their hope is that by doing this, rather than having a window of “we are making the playoffs even if 1 or 2 things goes wrong” is 2-3 years wider than having 2 more seasons similar to what I think 2014 will be like.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Hans you totally misread me (and everything else i typed). its fine, I was talking to someone else anyway.

                      But to clarify and not come off like a dick, when i said

                      “if that’s not what Theo&Co are doing then they should be FIRED immediately”

                      I was saying they’re holding back & not trying to win for draft bennies. and if they’re not trying to do that then: we have a problem because its been 2 offseasons and the major league team still sucks.

                • hansman1982

                  Sometimes, it is better to finish second than first. Sometimes all you can do is finish second.

                  Sanchez very clearly wanted to play in Detroit unless someone threw crazy amounts of cash at him. The bidding was very quickly becoming crazy amounts of cash.

                  The Cubs were very interested at signing him and offered a very strong contract. At the end of the day, the player also has to want to play for your team.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              No. It isn’t. That’s your glib gloss on the highly-nuanced “thing that they said by their actions.” I don’t know why you’d want to give folks a reason to disregard your thoughtful points – which are controversial in the first place – in service of a sound byte.

              • CubFan Paul

                Theo&Co did have some quotes pre 2012 & recent about not spending on free agency and hurting the future b.s.

                That sounds like giving up to me (in order to suck and get Draft benefits)

                • hansman1982

                  The quote was not paying for past performance and paying for future performance. The reported offer to Pujols (5 years 30-35M per) would be an indicator of that.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    That’s just 1 on the quotes on free agency spending.

                    Now we know it’s all a lie, because the fog has lifted.

                    Draft Bennies.

              • DB KYLE

                The fact that people disagree with me is all the reason they need to disregard me. That’s just how people operate, and I’m okay with it.

                Didn’t you argue yesterday that they aren’t really trying to win this year? Didn’t you argue yesterday that trying to win in the short-term would risk sticking you with onerous payroll obligations?

                I do like a good, glib sound byte though. Guilty as charged.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  You’re arguing that they “gave up” in 2012 (and you’re bordering on saying it for 2013, but you realize that would be silly in the face of a few FA deals, so you dance around it), and they are doing a bad job for that reason. I’m arguing that they focused on building for 2014 and beyond, starting in 2012, and are doing a great job for that reason (because trying to win in 2012 and 2013 was going to be a fool’s errand that would hurt their MUCH BETTER chances in 2014 and beyond).

                  Does that clarify things? Did we really need that reminder of each other’s position?

                  • CubFan Paul

                    ‘because trying to win in 2012 and 2013 was going to be a fool’s errand’

                    what about being competitive? No one is saying put a 90-95 win team on the field in ’12 & ’13

                    That’s my beef/clarification. Had Theo&Co said they were going to tank 2-3yrs after getting hired to reap CBA bennies then all would be well (sorta) instead they said the opposite “every chance to win is sacred”

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      I think that’s fine for you to feel that way. I don’t think they could reasonably say publicly that they were going to tank. But Theo has recently said that there’s no point, in his opinion, in finishing with 75 wins instead of 70. It’s either be competitive for the playoffs, or be terrible. There’s no point in anything in between. For the most part, I agree with him, so I don’t really care about the whole “every season is sacred” narrative. I care more about what they actually do. And I like what they’ve done so far.

                    • hansman1982

                      You are missing another quote of his, that (and I’m paraphrasing a bit), at this point, they won’t sacrifice the future for the present. Then there is the “The key is to pay for future performance, not past performance,” quote.

                    • DB KYLE

                      The problem is that “sacrifice the future for the present” used to mean one thing, but Cubs fans (and maybe the Cubs front office, but I’m hoping not) have twisted it to mean something totally different.

                      It now seems to mean “using any resource whatsoever on the present that could have been used for something in the future.” i.e. signing a free agent to help you is sacrificing the future when you could have signed someone flippable for prospects.

                  • DB KYLE

                    It’s not that the positions need clarifying, it’s just that you are bristling at what I think is a completely accurate (and you think is an unnecessarily dramatic) restatement of them.

                    Whether they gave up in 2013 doesn’t lend itself to binary “yes/no” answers. They did about as good as they could have done in the offseason between 2012 and 2013 in preparing to win for 2013, but that wasn’t nearly good enough because of the smoking shell of a roster they left themselves after 2012.

                    If they had planned for 2013 before 2012, they would have been in much better shape for 2013, so in that sense they pre-gave-up on it.

                    As for building for 2014? I think it’s pretty murky. If you’d said 2015 or 2016, I’d agree. But the projected offense for 2014 looks pretty awful right now unless we get a rush of brilliance (always possible with this front office, but not something you can completely count on) or some huge breakout years in 2013.

          • hansman1982

            You’d think an off-season spent acquiring major league players ONLY through free agency would convice people that Theo isn’t as scared of free agents as they would like to believe.

            • DB KYLE

              Unfortunately, the damage was done the year before. He stopped the bleeding this offseason, but he hasn’t exactly sown up the wound that 2012 created.

              • Jacob

                Question: How exactly could they have “sown up the wound that 2012 created” this offseason? What could they have done?

                • Edwin

                  Part of Kyle’s point, if I’m understanding it correctly, is that they could have done more the past offseason, in which case they would theorectically have less to do this offseason, and even less next offseason.

                  The Cubs could have signed Edwin Jackson last year. They could have kept Aramis Ramirez, signed Carlos Beltran. For better or worse, there were moves they could have made last year that would have put them in better position this year.

                  • Jacob

                    But that negatively effects the long-term plans. There would be no point in running out a .500ish team, to strictly be “competitive” but not be competitive enough for a World Series. It makes more sense to tank and build up the farm.

                    • Edwin

                      Tanking to build the farm system negatively effects the short term, and is no gaurantee of long term success. The point of running out a .500 team is that the .500 team is closer to being a .600 team than a .400 team. If the Cubs had added some good players last year, maybe they would have been in a position to add some players this year and have a shot at making the playoffs this season.

                      Signing free agents doesn’t always mean it hurts long term plans. A good front office should be able to both build the farm system and add good FA at the same time.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                And the shitty 2012 team was entirely Theo and Jed’s fault, and what they did instead of signing pricey free agents was unreasonable, even if it marginally helped the future. We get it.

                • DB KYLE

                  Epstein and Hoyer stripped the bullpen bare and made no real effort to replace what they took. Epstein and Hoyer gave 3b to Ian Stewart. Epstein and Hoyer broke camp in April with Mather/Volstad/Clevenger instead of Sappelt/Wood/Castillo. Epstein and Hoyer Epstein and Hoyer let the payroll drop by $40 million or so.

                  I don’t think whether it was “entirely” their fault matters. It was enough their fault that they get some fingers pointed at them.

                  If you don’t want to talk about 2012 anymore, I’d love to talk about the future, too. I think it’s interesting that I haven’t seen nearly as much in-depth analysis of the Cubs’ medium-term future as you’d think from a fan base that is focused on that time frame.

                  For 2014, the Cubs have almost an entire roster already in place:

                  Hairston/Jackson/Schierholtz
                  Stewart/Castro/Barney/Rizzo
                  Castillo

                  Samardzija/Jackson/Wood/Villanueva/Vizcaino(? that’s an iffy one, still think he ends up in the bullpen)

                  and a whole slew of bullpen arms.

                  Including arbitration estimates, I think that’s about $75 million committed.

                  I’ve got mixed feelings on that roster as far as being a year out goes. I don’t think it’s likely we see any other prospects break into that lineup (stiill a Junior Lake skeptic, Vitters doesn’t seem to be in favor, and I’m not going to put guys in A-ball into an MLB roster 13 months away).

                  The pitching staff looks solid, albeit without an ace unless Samardzija takes another huge step forward. I don’t see how they are going to fix the offense in that time frame, but I’m not going to say it’s impossible.

                  Off the top of my head, I’d suspect that St. Louis and Pittsburgh have better 2014 outlooks, and Cincinatti’s got to be in that conversation too.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    As I’ve said before, I expect the Cubs to be very involved in post-2013 free agency, and ML-ready asset acquisition. That they have a weak-looking projected 2014 roster today is pretty immaterial. Just look at how much turnover we saw in this front office’s first year, alone.

                    A big part of my 2014 window opening expectation is further additions to the big league roster. (And, so that my words aren’t twisted, I’ve never said I expect the Cubs to be in the playoffs in 2014 or even “good.” I simply expect outside viewers to believe, entering into 2014, that the roster has come to a place where we could reasonably see them being a .500 or better team in 2014.)

                    • DB KYLE

                      Those just seem like platitudes to me. That’s just “sure, it looks mediore, but our front office is good and will fix it” in paragraph form.

                      It’s an awful free agent market in 2014, and the new money coming in to baseball is going to make it harder to convince small-market teams to trade their more expensive guys. We missed a window of opportunity, imo. We needed Headleys, Cespedeses, Darvishes when they were there. As you said, .500 is probably pretty doable, but we’re still looking at being underdogs to a playoff spot.

                      2015-16? That should be when the Pirates are peaking, and everything we have to look forward to, the Cardinals have more and better. And the Reds aren’t exactly run by idiots.

                      I don’t think we should be shocked if we’re looking at Epstein going 0-fer on playoff appearances on his first Cubs contract.

              • hansman1982

                You act as if there is a finite amount of time involved in competing for contention. Like baseball is going to end after the 2013 season.

                Losing out on free agents in 2012 isn’t going to be some franchise destroying move. Would it have been nice for them to acquire a couple more guys for last year to have won a few more games? Sure. Would that have made contention in 2013 easier? Probably.

                Do I think it will greatly impact the 2014 contention window? Probably not. At this point most 2012 free agents will start to cost more per win provided than new free agents. Go back and look at the 2010 free agent class. A LOT of names on there that you wouldn’t want on your team right now for the money they signed at.

                Is that to say that Theo and Jed should run away from free agents ALL of the time? No. This offseason proved they aren’t afraid of free agents.

                • Rebuilding

                  Cespedes is 27, Darvish is 26. Ramirez on a 3 year contract gets you to Baez hopefully. All guys that would make you competitive for the 2nd wildcard last year and this year and cost 0 draft picks. Look, I think the point is that there is a real belief on this blog and in Cub nation that these guys are the smartest guys in the room. I hope you’re all right, but let me ask – what if Almora and Baez get exposed this year because of their lack of plate discipline and Soler becomes a guy who will hit 250 with 25 HRs (basically Josh Reddick who we could have had for 3/20). Then where are we?

                  • DB KYLE

                    Before someone else said it, Ramirez would have meant you don’t get a compensation draft pick for him, which turned into Pierce Johnson.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Thanks, that is true. Ok, no Pierce Johnson for 6.5 WAR from 3b

                  • hansman1982

                    Ya, they all would have been nice. Cespedes is a strange one. He took fewer years and less money hoping for a earlier free agency payday. The Darvish case is interesting as well. Reports before the bid were saying that Darvish would have refused to sign if the final bid was in the neighborhood of what the Rangers offered him. Apparently 28 other teams thought those reports were true. I think Ramirez was done with Chicago and you would have had to put up a 4/$50M to land him. That would have been nice.

                    If Almora bucks absolutely everything that scouts have been saying (and even his own stats (look past the BB rate at the K rate and contact rate and you will see a guy who is really good at hitting the ball)). I doubt Baez starts the 2014 season in the Cubs system…Epstein isn’t afraid to trade away young prospects.

                    Now, here is the question, were Ramirez, Darvish and Cespedes the difference between a 69 win team (which is what the Cubs were on pace for prior to the trade deadline) and an 85 win team. It probably would have taken them to an 80 win team. What guys could you have gotten at the trade deadline to replace Garza and give you an extra push considering noone from the 2011 draft class was trade eligible yet?

                    I wish they would have been able to land all of these guys and Sanchez this year. Darvish is the only one I am particularly upset about (Cespedes is a close 2nd).

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      The Darvish signing also has contributed to the Rangers’ nightmarish winter from a PR standpoint. The revelation that they bid twice as much as necessary to get rights to negotiate with Darvish has left some of their fans thinking that if the Rangers had been “smart” and magically known that nobody else was going to bid more than $25M, then the Rangers could have saved $20M plus and used those $$$ to keep Hamilton, sign Greinke or Sanchez, etc.

                      Of course, the Rangers bid $50+M thinking that someone else was probably going to bid $45+M. Whoops!

                    • Rebuilding

                      You make valid points, Hansman. I guess my point is that by many here and seemingly everywhere there is a cultish like belief that we have the smartest FO in the game and they will make everything ok. In that case shouldn’t they have “known” this stuff. To me Ramirez is a no brainer – Even at his historic 3-4 WAR he was worth 3/50. Cespedes’ people had to be talking to a big market club like the Cubs to get them to outbid the A’s – if he wanted 3 years so be it. With Darvish the Rangers had just lost CJ Wilson for 6/127 where the reportedly bid close. Guess what the posted 51mil and did 6/60 – just slightly less (111mil) than what they lost Wilson for, again not brain surgery. But to me the most damning thing is that a team with the resources of the Cubs should never be giving at bats or innings to below replacement guys unless God’s Wrath goes berserk. Look at the number of such at bats/innings last year. This year they seem to have band-aided the pitching, but there is a 50/50 chance you have Lillibridge/Bugosevich on the roster. That is completely unacceptable for a big market team and doesn’t scream competence

                    • Rebuilding

                      @Doc – That’s interesting. For a 26 yo with ace potential. If Darvish just pitches like he did last year he will be a bargain for that money

                • DB KYLE

                  There is a finite amount of time. Always. Baseball seasons are finite resources for all of us.

      • DB KYLE

        And here’s what minorleagueball.com had to say about their farm system, while ranking it No. 1 in baseball:

        “1) St. Louis Cardinals (ranked #5 last year): Strengths: Everything. They have pitching, hitting, high upside, and depth. They have a proven track record of player development. Weaknesses: none really. They could use a shortstop with a better bat but so could most teams.”

        Yeah, we’re totally going to blow by them any year now… :(

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Well, what cubfanincardinaland wrote was that the Cards have not produced *great* players. The flaw is not in his statement – that actually is true – but in the premise that a farm system is good only if it frequently produces great players. The Cards have produced a lot of good-but-not-great batters who produce better OPS than most starters for their position or who hold the other team to lower OPS than most other pitchers. (Also, and as Edwin notes, they use their farm to acquire players like that: and they’ve come out ahead in at least a couple of trades.) If you combine good hitting with good pitching, then you are going to win a lot of games even if you rarely see greatness: and the Cards farm system has helped a lot there.

  • Bill

    Jamie Garcia and Adam Wainwright and that’s just the current rotation.

    • Drew7

      Wainwright was a very solid prospect when he came over in the JD Drew trade.

      • Bill

        I don’t think the poster said the prospects had to be drafted by the Cardinals. Wainwright spent time in AA and AAA with the Cards.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock

    2 college lefties eligible for this year’s draft having great starts so far are Kevin Ziomek from Vanderbilt & Kent Emanuel from North Carolina. If Sean Manaea from Indiana State is not available to Cubs these two guys might be better options anyway. Ziomek just threw a 1 – hitter complete game while striking out 15 against UIC. Remember the Cubs new minor league pitching coordinator is Vandy’s old pitching coach.

    • Die hard

      Bet on Stanek

  • Die hard

    75-25%….wind more in than out which is why team should be built for line drive speed defense and pitching….go go White Sox 1959 is an example

  • Jp3

    I think Stanek is a solid starter but not top of the rotation guy. He hasn’t been dominant like Apple has been against top tier competition, only problem with Apple is his coach has Dusty Baker syndrome

    • Cubbie Blues

      And that is a huge problem to have. He is going to have more mileage on that arm than a 1955 Ford Crown Vic.

  • Jp3

    I read that on this site yesterday, I didn’t realize that his coach was trying to kill his career b4 it began… Any idea where you can find pitching stats on Appel as the season progresses? Even if its not pitch count and just how many innings he’s thrown? How has Boras not made anonymous death threats to this coach yet?

    • Cubbie Blues

      Here are Appel’s stats.
      http://www.gostanford.com/sports/m-basebl/stan-m-basebl-body.html
      Just click on 2013 stats over to the right. It is a pdf. He has started 4 games and completed 2.

      • Jp3

        Sorry for the delay cubbie blu but thanks for that link, you’re awesome

    • DB KYLE

      I’d like to hear from some people with more background scouting college pitchers, but I get the impression that pitch counts that make us flinch aren’t as big a deal in college because they are on the “pitch once a week, but throw more pitches” routine, similar to the Japanese pro leagues.

      • Rebuilding

        I personally think that letting a kid in line to make millions of dollars throw over 110 pitches is criminal. I’m surprised Boras and his father aren’t screaming from the rafters. There is an old piece from Baseball Prospectus that talks about pitch counts that I will try to dig up, the gist of which is that it is basically ok to throw a limited number of pitches everyday. The injuries occur after fatigue (high pitch count) in one start that leads to a breakdown in mechanics. The piece basically argued for 4 man rotations with strict pitch counts (100-110 seems to be the consensus as to when fatigue really sets in). I’ll try to find it

        • DB KYLE

          I remember the article, but you should always be wary of applying studies designed around MLB to non-MLB situations.

  • Rebuilding

    True, but you would think they would err on the side of caution. If I remember correctly it traced many arm injuries for guys back to starts they had a start or two earlier where they threw 120+. It was really amazing that it was guy after guy. Also, I think it showed the loss of effectiveness for Verlander over the next two starts after he threw a 120+ game.

  • Muck

    Brett sorry but it’s 2013 not 2011. Haha in the title I had to point it out.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+