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regret storm trooperToday’s the day for the BN Fantasy Baseball Contest, so you’ve only got until this evening to sign up. The full details are here.

  • Carlos Marmol is not the closer, but, well, he might kinda be the closer again. Dale Sveum says he’s not going to name Marmol the closer, in part because Marmol “pitches great when he doesn’t know he’s the closer” (CSN). That was probably half joking, half serious. Marmol was given the save situation last night, and he saved the one-run game in quintessential Marmol fashion – allowing two base runners and striking out the final batter. Maybe Dale’s Jedi mind trick will continue to work on Marmol.
  • Sveum has conceded the problem the Cubs face with respect to Luis Valbuena and Ian Stewart, something I wrote about earlier in the week. With Valbuena playing well, Sveum doesn’t sound too eager to have Stewart back. “He’s got to earn it,” Sveum said of Stewart, per CSN. “He’s got to go down there and play well. He’s not swinging the bat very well at all …. Valbuena’s one of our most consistent players right now. It’s going to be very difficult to move one of our more consistent players out of a spot.” The problem for the Cubs is that Stewart’s rehab stint is going to be up in a week, and then they’ll have to make a decision. If they aren’t going to call Stewart up, I suppose they could send him back to Arizona to keep working on his swing and/or transfer him to the 60-day DL.
  • It sounds like the Cubs are tentatively more convinced that Matt Garza’s most recent issue was indeed just run-of-the-mill dead arm. He’s expected to throw this weekend, and then throw a bullpen session thereafter. From there, he’ll make a rehab start at AA Tennessee. If he requires only two more rehab starts after that, he could still return to the Cubs by the second half of May.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig is eager to see the final plans for the Wrigley Field renovation, including the JumboTron in left field. It doesn’t sound like he has any concerns, mind you. He just wants to see what’s up. So he’s like everyone else in that regard.
  • FanGraphs with an in-depth look at that horrible Alfonso Soriano at bat against Jonathan Broxton the other day. A pleasant-ish note at the end: “As an interesting twist, in both 2011 and 2012 Soriano was above-average at driving in runners from third with fewer than two outs. Last year his conversion rate compared to those belonging to Billy Butler and Derek Jeter. Soriano hasn’t been dreadful, situationally, but over his career he has been decidedly below-average, and on Wednesday he was awful.” It is unsurprising that Soriano has been below average in those situations for his career, but it’s nice to know that he was above-average in the most recent two years.
  • The Cubs’ VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod is once again mentioned as a future/up-and-coming GM type by Jim Bowden. I’ve already girded myself against McLeod leaving at some point. Given his obvious talent and the two men ahead of him on the depth chart, so to speak, it would be completely understandable for him to be poached eventually. In some ways, you hope he gets that opportunity (if he wants it). In other ways, you hope he never leaves.
  • A Q&A with Anthony Rizzo.
  • arta

    didn’t something like this happen last year and as soon as Stewart came back he started!

    • Kenster

      stewart started the year A starting 3rd baseman and once he got hurt he was done for the year

  • Ron

    Would McCloud be considered a flipable asset?

    • Ron

      Mcleod….damn edit button!

    • EQ76

      the “McCloud” sounds like a fluffy desert treat from McDonalds.

      • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

        Highlanders everywhere are unhappy with that comment.

        • Hansman1982

          Unless it is the only fluffy dessert treat.

        • DarthHater

          Virgin. :-P

  • CubFan Paul

    ‘He’s got to go down there and play well. He’s not swinging the bat very well at all’

    That’s a quote from one of the three hitting coaches on the major league staff. Awesome.

  • AA Correspondent

    Smokies have (4) more games left on the homestand and rain is expected Saturday and Sunday. What do you think the schedule is for Garza as it relates to making an appearance in a game at Smokies Park? Threy have an off day Tuesday then go on the road to Mississippi braves for 5 games. I doubt he would travel with the team….and I am sure he’ll be getting tired of eating his meals at the Cracker Barrell soon.

    Do you think there is a chance that we wont get to see garza pitch in a game for the Smokies this weekend? Or could it just be side sessions and bullpens?

  • ssckelley

    It would be tough to bench Valbuena right now as he has been one of the hottest hitters as of late. But what we all have to remember is what will benefit the Cubs more long term and who has the bigger upside. Stewart and Valbuena are both 27 and bat left handed, they do not even make a good platoon. IMO I do not think either of them are the 3rd base answer for the future but if I am forced to pick one Stewart would be my answer. Valbuena’s value is the fact he can play multiple positions but I do not think he will ever be anything more than a utility type player.

    • CubFan Paul

      I liked that Sveum played Valbuena at second base over Barney the other night. The defense didn’t skip a beat.

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      Stewar sucks right now and has sucked bad the last few years, there is no indication that he will get better. With a team struggling so bad offensively it would be a very bad idea to take out one of the better hitters…

      • ssckelley

        The Cubs are not going anywhere this year, this is not a playoff team. If I thought the Cubs had any shot of making the playoffs then no way you bench Valbuena, but they don’t and the Cubs winning a couple extra games with Valbuena in the lineup does not make much difference.

        I agree Stewart is not showing any signs of improving but IMO he still has a higher ceiling than Valbuena. Long term Valbuena probably has a better chance of sticking with the Cubs, but as a utility player not the starting third baseman.

        • willis

          Kind of sick of people talking about “his ceiling” being higher. If you never reach anything near you ceiling, when does it become just fact that you blow at baseball? He’s terrible. Valbuena is better. You play Valbuena.

  • JulioZuleta

    Hah. Dale makes his feelings on Ian Stewart very clear.

    • Diggs

      I love reading Sveum’s quotes on Stewart. He really does not like him.

    • Jp3

      Yeah my favorite part of it is that Dale’s feelings don’t matter😐. Paging Dale to Theo’s office… “Hey umm dale we can’t flip Stewart as an asset if you keep him on the bench, emmm Kay? And I’m going to need you to go ahead and come in on Saturday too… greeeeaaatttt….” Theo probably is going to tell Dale what do you think we’re trying to win games around here or something?

      • willis

        That is unfortunately true. As much as I have been irked by Sveum’s managing skills, his comments on Stewart this year are gold. He didn’t want him during ST, doesn’t want him now or in the future. Quite the divide here between the front office and Dale.

  • kmr1453

    While the hand is hot, he plays.

  • BD

    Here’s hoping McLeod loves working with Theo and Jed, and doesn’t want to leave the organization.

  • dumbledoresacubsfan

    Brett,

    When do you think Garza will make this start for Tennessee? I’m trying to gauge if he’ll be here before Final Exams are finished.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I can only guess based on usual time lines and assume health: he’d throw on Sunday, and do a bullpen on Tuesday. Then he’d start on Thursday.

      Your best guesses are probably Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

  • cub4life

    Valbuena is one of the most consistent hitters?????

    [img]C:\Users\jwright\Desktop\Capture[/img]

    Am I blind or something?????

    • cub4life

      [img]file:///C:/Users/jwright/Desktop/Capture.PNG[/img]

      • Cubbie Blues

        You have to link to the http where it is publicly visible. The pictures don’t actually download.

        • cub4life

          that would do it….. I took a screen shot….Thanks

      • cub4life

        ok I can’t seem to get the picture to show up

        RK Player Pos G/AB/ R/ H/2B/3B/HR/RBI/BB/SO/SB/CS/AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
        1  Borbon CF 6 / 6/ 1/ 3/ 1/ 0/ 0/ 0/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 0.50/0.571/0.667/1.238
        1  Ransom 3B 2 / 6/ 1/ 3/ 1/ 0/ 1/ 1/ 0/ 2/ 0/ 0/ 0.50/0.500/1.167/1.667
        3  Castillo C 17/62/ 4/20/ 4/ 0/ 1/ 5/ 0/19/ 1/ 0/0.323/0.344/0.435/0.779
        4  Schierholtz RF 20/64/11/20/ 8/ 0/ 3/ 9/ 4/10/ 3/ 0/0.313/0.362/0.578/0.94
        5  Castro SS 21/91/ 9/25/ 4/ 1/ 2/ 8/ 3/17/ 2/ 1/0.275/0.298/0.407/0.704
        6  DeJesus CF 20/66/11/18/7/ 1/ 3/ 6/ 8/14/ 1/ 0/0.273/0.351/0.545/0.897
        7  Soriano LF 21/81/ 7/22/ 4/ 0/ 1/ 2/ 3/16/ 3/ 0/0.272/0.306/0.358/0.664
        8  Valbuena 3B 18/59/ 5/14/2/ 0/ 4/ 9/ 8/12/ 1/ 0/0.237/0.338/0.475/0.813
        9  Gonzalez 2B 11/23/ 3/ 5/1/ 0/ 1/ 2/ 2/ 6/ 0/ 0/0.217/0.269/0.391/0.661
        10  Rizzo 1B 21/81/ 9/14/2/ 0/ 6/ 14/ 7/26/ 1/ 1/0.173/0.256/0.42/0.675

        (this is from the Cubs site)

        The only thing that this shows me is that he can get walks and strike out. What am I missing that impresses everyone so much??

        OPS?? wow all that shows is that he can take a walk and he can make it to second when he makes contact, to me this is over rated…

        and every time I catch a game it seems like he is over matched out there….so what is it???? please enlighten me.

        • cub4life

          so no one has any answers?

        • JoeyCollins

          Two things. The first is personally i am not in love with Valbuena, but in comparison to the rest of this current team he has been one of the more consistent hitters. To say he is one of the more consistent hitters on this roster is not the best compliment ever, but is a true statement. Second, OPS does tell a lot, if you want to discount one of the more widely used stats on this site as not being a true reflection of offensive ability then you are going to miss why people are liking his bat. Personally i prefer to look at wRC+ over OPS and even this early in the season 118 is really good. What stats do you look at most often? IS it the AVG that is turning you away, or just the eye test from watching him play?

          • cub4life

            Well first of all the eye test to me is the most telling. But second i know I am in the minority bu yea the average is telling. I know its not the best way to gauge how a guy is playing but to me it tells a lot. It tells me that he doesn’t consistently get hits (which to me is the definition of a consistent hitter). Yes he does walk the most on the team, but again that’s walking and not hitting. Now i’m not saying that when Stewart comes back that he will be any better (more chances of K’s and HR’s maybe) but I just don’t see the fuss about a journeyman utility player that wouldn’t be starting on 2/3 to 3/4 of the teams out there (that is opinion and I have no facts to back it up).

            as for wRC+ what is it, how is it detremind and what are the top 5 cubs numbers. Thanks

            • JoeyCollins

              I guess the problem here is what do you want in your lineup, a guy who is as you define a “consistent hitter” or someone who gets on base any way possible. Personally i would take a guy who goes 1-3 with a walk and a 2B than a guy who went 2-4 with two singles, despite what the averages might say.
              Cubs wRC+ top 5
              Schierholtz 155
              DeJesus 145
              Valbuena 118
              Castillo 115
              Castro 91
              I excluded Ransom and borbon due to sample size
              Heres the fangraphs link explaining wRC+
              http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/wrc/

              • cub4life

                I can understand that (about Ransom and Borbon)……unfortunately i see a 1-4 with a 2 walks and a double or 2-6 with a double/HR and a walk….so if that is the case i want the second.

                The other thing I see is this stat means that we should be better then we are so how is this really eveluated? I mean with this stat Schierholtz has to be one of the best players in the league and I’m not to sure about that and DeJesus has to be near the top…..

                So well i guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

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