scott feldman cubsThe Little Girl is battling a stomach bug, which means lots of Disney and couch time. Want to hear a song from ‘Beauty and the Beast’? Name it, and I’ll sing it for you from beginning to end.

  • As he was going through a period of struggle, Anthony Rizzo’s swing was under heavy study by the Cubs’ coaching staff, and hitting coach James Rowson identified a minor mechanical issue with the help of video. The issue was corrected just before Rizzo’s huge game on Friday – which is not to say that performance is attributable to the change, but it’s notable.
  • In that same Tribune piece, Dale Sveum notes that he hasn’t  yet come up with who will get bounced from the rotation when Matt Garza returns in mid-to-late May. Nor should he: that’s at least three weeks away, and anything could happen in that stretch. The best case scenario? The decision is as difficult then as it would be today. If healthy, you can’t bounce Jeff Samardzija or Edwin Jackson. If still performing, I don’t see how you can bounced Carlos Villanueva or Travis Wood. That leaves only Scott Feldman, who does seem like the obvious candidate to move to the pen. But – let’s be honest – Feldman’s here for one main thing: to develop trade value by July to give the Cubs the option (but not the requirement) of trading him. If you bounce him to the pen, that doesn’t happen.
  • A profile on Darwin Barney, who can dunk if you lob it up for him. The shop-him-don’t-shop-him story line that I expect to develop in June this year is going to be one of the most interesting – and divisive – stories of the year, I’d expect. Of course, he’ll have to do something about that .184/.244/.289 line first.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer notes that the Cubs bullpen has a 1.03 ERA over the last 10 games. Snuck up on you, didn’t it?
  • Speaking of that pen, and the changes to it, Kevin Gregg got consecutive save opportunities – which he converted 1-2-3 – on Friday and Saturday. Dale Sveum’s current policy is not to name a “closer,” but you’ve got to wonder if Gregg is going to get a little shot to run with it. Considering that no one even thought he would be added to the bullpen in April when he was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month, what he’s done already is incredible. That said, we’re talking about four innings of work so far.
  • It’s a free preview day for, which means you can watch this afternoon’s Cubs/Marlins series finale for free online. Plus other games, I guess.
  • King Jeff

    I know it’s only four innings this year, but he was very good in spring training this year for the Dodgers. It’s obviously not going to last, but it does show how nice it would be to have a sure thing at the back end of the bullpen.

  • Tony

    Hope your little girl feels better. Flu bugs are the worst.

  • JR

    Well since the Cubs obviously don’t care about winning this year how about a 6 man rotation? I wouldn’t want that if the Cubs were contending, but it might make sense this year.

    • MichiganGoat

      It’s all about maximizing trade value, a six man rotation would hurt that.

      • Jay

        Wouldn’t hurt it as much as being a long man out of the pen.

  • Jim

    At this point, it would be hard to not call Travis Wood or Carlos Villanueva the aces of this staff. The Sean Marshall trade is looking better and better! Feldman is really the only option, that is if, Garza makes it back at all. It might be smarter to put Garza in the bull pen when he gets back to help build his arm strength. But of course they are going to try to build his value to move as well. But it is going to be a hard sell if they move any of the performing pitchers out of the rotation.

  • Blublud

    My wife, youngest son and 1 year daughter all had the stomach bug since friday. It sucks when the babies are sick, and even worse when mama is sick, because she can’t take care of them.

  • Myles

    Gaston, go

    • Brett

      “… So I’m roughly the size of a baaaaaaaarge.”

  • cooter

    yah, Barney hustles and has great fundamentals. you won’t ever see him trot to first like some players. I think he sets a great example of professionalism and it’s contagious.

    • Boogens

      Yep, he’s got the TWTW. Problem is, according to Hawk, that we won’t be able to quantify it for another 50 years or so.

      • Alex S

        To be fair, they could quantify the average “trot to first base” time. TWTW tho, that’s not quantifiable. Maybe in 3013.

  • cubchymyst

    I think fujikawa gets the most save opportunities when he comes back

    • mudge

      Guessing Sveum will ride Gregg till he falters. It’s so wonderful to not expect a lead-off walk in the ninth.

  • Kevin

    Why the hate for Barney and not Rizzo? Rizzo is good but he’s got issues too, like striking out too much. I don’t think Rizzo has proven he’s a clutch hitter that warrants a long term contract. Give Barney some time before giving up on him.

    • Blublud

      I agree. I think both should be considered cored pieces that are tradable in the right situation, just like every other player should be. But to put Barney up for trade for no reason is stupid. If the Cubs could find a fairly young, cheap, cost control player who has a gold glove and is under control for at least 4 seasons, wouldn’t we want to acquire him.

      • CubFan Paul

        “If the Cubs could find a fairly young, cheap, cost control player who has a gold glove and is under control for at least 4 seasons, wouldn’t we want to acquire him”

        NOT IF HE CAN’T HIT.

  • Die hard

    Why not keep all current starters and start Garza long relief ?

    • cubbie blue

      Because Garza won’t build up value that way.

  • Gcheezpuff

    What are the chances they try and move Villanueva right about the time Garza comes back? He has been pitching the best out of his career right now and it only stands to reason that eventually he may come back down to earth before the trade deadline. They might be able to max his value now, while allowing Feldman and Garza the chance to showcase themselves in the rotation before the deadline. I don’t see Shark, Wood, or Jackson being moved and all should remain in the rotation the remainder of the season. Everyone else is fair game. Plus, if you move Villanueva now, you eliminate him as completion when trying to move Feldman later. Just a thought.

    • JR

      I don’t think teams can trade players that were signed in the offseason until the following July or something like that. But yeah Villanueva could easily fetch the most if he keeps it up.

  • Dr Kenneth Noisewater

    Assuming the middle infield prospects coming up in the system pan out, I’d be open to trading Barney if he brings back good value. Yes he hustles and is great defensively, but we could probably do better than a light-hitting 2B who does a mediocre job of getting on base.

  • Rcleven

    I can see a partial six man rotation when Garza returns. Since Feldman can be lights out for four innings (falls apart in fifth) piggy back another starter to finish up the other four and half innings.
    With the extra starter, who goes? Last in first out from the pen?

    • jt

      I was considering posting such a thing
      To my mind it seems an interesting idea
      Never gunna happen but
      To my mind it seems an interesting idea

  • Rcleven

    For you Tony Campana fans.

    Not surprised he did this. Surprised he got to first in the first place.

  • Carew

    Bleacher Nation was mentioned

    it’s small but neat

    • Brett

      Thanks. Two mentions in the same post, actually – it was appreciated.

  • JAhl

    Also, when Garza comes back and bounces someone to the pen, and Fujikawa comes off the DL, that means two current bullpen pitchers get bumped. Who, and to where?

    And as an aside, the depth chart on the Cubs page lists Shawn Camp as the closer, so there’s that.

  • Dustin S

    Even if Garza pitches pretty well in June and July, they’ll be selling low on him. He isn’t going to return anything like what he might of this time last year. Any other GM is going to heavily factor in Garza’s extremely iffy durability and health issues into an offer.

    That said, being optimistic as Cubs fans are let’s say Garza comes back in mid-May and pitches in good form with a low to mid-3’s ERA and ~1.25 WHIP until the deadline (excluding a post-deadline waiver trade). What might his realistic trade value be in that situation? 2 Bs or maybe a B and a C prospect? Am I low? I know it’s not close to the Porcello/Castellanos/+ talk of last year, but it will be interesting to see where in-between those that the talk lands. Hopefully Garza comes back soon and pitches well enough that Theo can find a desperate playoff contender that will overpay. Garza’s such a team guy that if the offers are too low and his contract demands aren’t too high I’d love for them to keep him and make rotation room with other trades. If Garza comes back healthy and they somehow land Appel in the draft they could really put 2 SP on the block.

    • Voice of Reason

      You are correct about Garza. Villanueva has more value.

      I was in favor of resigning garza, but with this latest bout with arm trouble they need to let him walk at the end of the year if they don’t trade him.

      Another bad hendry deal.

      • Jp3

        I hate to say it but I agree, garza has more talent but Vilinueva is a much better value. He’s not making the kings ransom Garza is getting while being extremely productive. I would just assume to get a bag of batting cage balls for garza as opposed to signing him to an extension.

    • Rcleven

      I have to take the other side of this Garza is damaged goods argument.
      Garza does not have a history of being hurt. Garza probably could have pitched after the Cubs shut him down. It was the Cubs decision to shut down Garza. I still believe Garza will have close to the same value at trade time( less 6 months of service).
      If traded, the team who signs him will have first shot to extend him.
      Some freak things have happened to him in the last three months. As Cub fans there has been a lot of gnashing of teeth. There are many teams who he can still help and other GM’s know this.

  • gratefulled

    Garza = distraction.

    Lets keep winning Cubbies!!!!

  • savant

    Assuming he comes back healthy and effective in mid May, I would think that Garza’s trade value will be as high as ever. He will be a proven top of the rotation talent and will be 70-80 innings fresher than any other available pitcher. I am still not sure that I would not want us to extend him rather than trade him, but it is all about value.

    On the who gets bounced from the rotation question, Villanueva was signed to be the swingman, and seems to take pride in his ability to handle the role effectively. He also really started to wear down last year in Toronto when he approached 150 innings. I would like to see them try to maximize his effectiveness over the entire year, by limiting his innings.

  • willis

    I’m thinking that…thinking Garza will be as effective as normal when/if he comes back is dangerous let down game. His stamina won’t be what we’re used to, and his command will be shotty to begin most likely. How much trade value can he actually build in two or a little less months? I can’t see much unless he’s just lights out, which do we really think that will be the case. Which…leads to a tricky situation of who gets bounced. Feldman is the easiest piece to move with his one year deal and $$, but he also is 6th out of 6 in terms of those 6 starters. Tough thing to figure.

    Feldman is the obvious move to the pen, but if his only value to this team is what his trade value might become…ugh.