ian stewart cubsI’m trying to sandwich the Bullets in between the reveal of the Cubs’ mock-up of the JumboTron and hotel/plaza this morning, and Tom Ricketts’ comments on the progress of the renovation stuff coming later this morning. Also there’s a Lukewarm Stove coming and a fresh podcast episode. Busy start of the day.

  • Ian Stewart is not ready to play in the big leagues. That’s what he told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register yesterday. Stewart seems to be acknowledging that his numbers aren’t there right now, and he’s hopeful that he’ll feel more confident in a few days. Why are the few days relevant? Well, as I’ve said before, Stewart’s rehab stint in Iowa is up on Friday. At that time, the Cubs will have to make a decision about what to do with Stewart: activate him? Send him back to Mesa to work on his swing? Put him on the 60-day DL? That last one’s going to be a tough sell, because Stewart has said for quite some time that he feels perfectly healthy. Would the Cubs consider just letting Stewart go? It’s hard to see that, but it’s also hard to see him displacing the Luis Valbuena/Cody Ransom platoon right now, given how well those two are performing. It seems like the best route right now would be to option Stewart to Iowa – he’s got one option year left – but he would have to consent to being sent to Iowa, because of his veteran status (it’s complicated, but that’s the gist). Of course, if he declined the option, he would lose his guaranteed $2 million contract – so he’d probably accept.
  • Randy Wells has announced his retirement, which is a bummer for him. The former Cubs starter had a couple nice years with the Cubs, but arm injuries in the last two years really derailed his career. He was never an overpowering guy, so any slight downturn in his velocity or command was going to do him in – and it seems like that’s what happened. I’ll always remember Wells as the example of how guys can come out of nowhere in Spring Training and become contributors, even in their mid-20s. It’s rare, but it happens.
  • Edwin Jackson on last night’s ugly start, which he called one of the worst of his career, and his first month overall (per ESPNChicago): “It’s been a pretty disappointing month from my standpoint – to myself, to the teammates, to the organization and to the fans, but it’s a test of character. It’s one of those times where you can crumble and fold or fight and bounce back. And I definitely have not been one to be known to fold.” Jackson was booed by the fans last night on his way off the mound when he was yanked in the 5th.
  • What jumped out at me in Paul Sullivan’s piece about Alfonso Soriano’s generally power-free Aprils as a Cub is that his final season total of homers tends to be higher when he has fewer April homers. Two of his three lowest season totals came in seasons in which he hit 10 (2011) and 7 (2009) homers. So maybe his power-free April this year is a good sign!
  • Dale Sveum loves Darwin Barney’s defense as aggressively as a manger can love a player’s defense.
  • You can share your Cubs story for the “Committed” campaign. Details here.
  • Kyle

    As crazy as it sounds, Edwin Jackson has been the same pitcher he’s always been. He’s just pitching in absurdly bad luck.

    • Zogie

      This is true based on his current FIP stats. His ERA is 6.27, but his FIP is only 3.47 and his FIP+ is at 3.67. His BABIP is also at .333 with LOB% at 51.7%. His career average for LOB% is around 71%. Edwin will bounce back when luck starts going back his way. Also Carlos Villanueva has a 2.29 ERA with a 4.06 FIP and 3.23 FIP+ with a 91.3% LOB with a BABIP of .176. So he has been quite lucky. This is why we cannot judge pitchers are any player based on small sample sizes because they will fluctuate throughout the season.

  • Cubbie Blues

    “Ian Stewart is not ready to play in the big leagues.”

    Now that is an understatement. I guess that’s about as much as he could troll himself.

  • mikeakaleroy

    “It’s hard to see that, but it’s also hard to see him displacing the Luis Valbuena/Cody Ransom platoon right now, given how well those two are performing.”

    Raise your hand if you ever thought you’d write or read that sentence.

    • Smitty

      Did I really see that Valbuena has 5 homers? That puts him on pace to hit 30 homers. I cannot believe that will happen.

  • RoughRiider

    I want to say, don’t worry about Soriano. He’ll get his Home Runs and RBIs. When it doesn’t matter. But I wont.

    • hansman1982

      “When it doesn’t matter.”

      So…in November, December, January and February?

      • ssckelley

        After April. 😀

    • Justin

      Wasn’t it last yr around this time when Soriano dropped 1 ounce of his bat weight and starting mashing? Everyone made a huge deal of it I think. Why not drop an additional ounce? Sounds stupid, but why not? Soriano has such a heavy ass bat for a slender old baseball player anyways..

    • koyiehillsucks2

      He will hit home runs when the cubs are 20 games under 500…

  • ETS

    I could think of worse things than making $2m playing baseball in des moines.

  • ssckelley

    To bad about Wells, he over came incredible odds to go from a 38th round draft pick being drafted as a catcher to being a starting pitcher on an MLB ball club. He was a decent pitcher before the injuries.

  • itzscott


    Okay, I’m in!

  • willis

    Ugh, Smokies game delayed…no new start time announced yet. God doesn’t want Garza to pitch for the Cubs ever again. I’m convinced.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett


      • Cubbie Blues

        Throw him on a plane for Kane County already. He needs a start.

        • willis

          Something, anything. I just want to see how he looks and feels. I would do cartwheels up and down the block if he could throw two innings and be feeling ok. It just seems we cannot get to that point.

  • willis

    First pitch 12:30 my time, 1:30 eastern. C’mon Garza, bring it baby!

  • willis

    Garza-2.2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0K, 42 pitches.

    Now we see how he feels.

  • RY

    Geez, no shit Edwin, everyone agrees with you! Also, I would be fine letting Stewart walk.