Dealing with a Very Crowded Outfield and Other Bullets

alfonso soriano hittingI’m taking The Little Girl to her first dance class this morning. I’m a Dance Mom!

  • The Cubs did some roster-movin’ late yesterday in advance of the game, though neither had any impact on the big league roster. Steve Clevenger, who’s been out with an oblique strain, saw his rehab stint come to an end, so the Cubs had to activate him from the 60-day DL. They did so, and he was optioned to AAA Iowa (where he already was – insert joke about him taking three days to report). To open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Clevenger, the Cubs moved Zach Putnam to the 60-day disabled list as he deals with the bone spurs in his elbow.
  • Travis Wood’s 2013 season has been something of a revelation, but it doesn’t sound like there’s some dramatic secret sauce change to his success. “Things are going good in that aspect,” Wood said, per Cubs.com. “I feel I’m more advanced as a pitcher. I’m not just up there throwing. I have a game plan and how I want to attack hitters and the offspeed stuff is better and command is better.” The secret to being a better pitcher? Pitch better.
  • Dale Sveum already perceives a potential issue when David DeJesus returns from the disabled list in a couple weeks (hopefully), because the outfield is already crowded. “You’re gonna have to see what happens because a couple of them might be part of our future,” Sveum said, per CSN, referring to Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic. “They’re left-handed hitters that are athletes, two-way players that can hit the ball out of the ballpark. So we’ll work it [out and] figure out the playing time.” It’s not an issue this week, as Alfonso Soriano can DH, and Sweeney and Bogusevic can each still start. But by this time next week, assuming a trade hasn’t already sorted things out, Sveum is going to be presented with the unenviable task of sorting out who should start and who should be benched (and that’s with Julio Borbon and Scott Hairston already on the bench – there is zero chance the Cubs keep seven outfielders on the roster, by the way, so something’s going to happen when DeJesus comes back, for starters). It’s not easy to bench a player like Soriano, who has the veteran status and the track record (and, well, the big contract), and it’s even harder when there are trade implications. I have a very hard time seeing the Cubs putting Soriano on the bench in favor of anyone in advance of the Trade Deadline. There may not be any trades to be had, but they’re going to want the option. And benching – or even platooning – Soriano would kill that option. Whatever happens, I suspect the glut will be solved come August 1.
  • It doesn’t sound like Dale Sveum thinks Starlin Castro’s troubles are behind him just yet. “I think the mechanics of his swing are probably the same,” Sveum said, per Carrie Muskat. “He’s mixed in some hits which are nice. That’s usually what gets you going sometimes. He’s still struggling a little bit with the fastball. The mechanics are the same. Hopefully, he keeps gradually understanding what he has to do.” In other words, Sveum would like to see Castro actually implementing whatever mechanical changes they’ve been discussing (“quieting his movement” before the pitch is probably one of them).
  • Scott Baker, who’s been out all year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery last April (and then a setback in Spring Training), is throwing simulated games in Arizona, and Sveum told the media that his velocity has been good. Don’t get too excited just yet, though. He still is not expected back until August at the earliest.
  • If you missed the turnout in Grant Park to celebrate the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory, you’re going to want to check this out and muse upon what Chicago would look like if the Cubs won it all. (And you should “like” the BN Facebook page while you’re there.)

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

47 responses to “Dealing with a Very Crowded Outfield and Other Bullets”

  1. CubsFanSaxMan

    Brett, have fun with dance. I did it with the daughter for 15 years (age 3 – 18). Have everything ever done on video. Two pieces of advice, save your money for recital outfits and enlarge your closets! Again, have fun with it!

  2. Rich H

    And the good news about all those Bullets is that Baker is going to be back so we do not have to go with the 4A crew in August and September.

  3. Justin

    The Soriano train needs to come to an end. If the can get a couple Million in salary relief from a east coat, warm weather, nice field, and winning team the Cubs need to take it. #NTC’sblow

    1. JoeyCollins

      he has 10 and 5 rights NTC is irrelevant.

      1. Justin

        He would have never gotten 10/5 rights if didn’t have that damn NTC. Sori would have been traded way before the 5 yrs with the Cubs kicked in. Thats why the NTC blows.

        1. BT

          That’s absurdly incorrect. First of all, the Cubs were trying to contend in the years leading up to his 10/5 kicking in, Secondly, once it became apparent he was not going to live up to his contract, there was far too much contract left to deal. If you are arguing they could have dealt him before his 10/5 kicked in, that means he would have had a minimum of 4 years and 73 million left on his contract, when he was 35 and 2 years removed from an OPS+ of 84. No one on the planet was going to deal for him at that point, so the NTC had zero to do with him still being on the team.

          1. Cyranojoe

            Thank you. That’s what I thought was the case.

  4. fromthemitten

    I was going to college in NYC when the Yankees won the WS in 2009 and everybody was going wild even though that’s routine for them… it was incredibly depressing for me and the subway workers were all getting drunk or listening to the game because my train took an extra hour to get to my apartment.

    1. fromthemitten

      Especially depressing because of the NLDS sweep

  5. Mvandy524

    I would be happy getting the bare minimum back in a Soriano trade. He has been one of my favorite cubs for a while but at this point I see him as roster space.

    1. David

      What in the world has he done in a cub uniform that made him one of your favorite cubs??????? I remember 2 or 3 streaks in which he was unbelievabley hot, but that only lasted a week or so. Please explain this crazy post.

      1. Justin

        Yeah I am not a Sori fan in the slightest. I am still frustrated that it took 6 yrs as a Cub for him to figure out how to play a decent left field. I don’t but into the “finally coached correctly” crap that people would say about his defense. He has been an extremely frustrating player in many many ways. I hope this is the last month we have to see him in a Cub uniform.

        1. X the Cubs Fan

          He was a decent defender until his knees went out.

      2. Mvandy524

        Well I you ever attended a cub game he brought great energy and posted solid numbers I.e. 32hrs and 108rbis last year. Maybe not the numbers to justify the unrealistic contract the hendry regime gave him which is not his fault. He also interacted with fans in the bleachers and was very funny all game and his friendliness alone made him a favorite which countless friend who are not cubs fans have said that was their favorite part. So for all those reasons he was a favorite. One last thing, every article I have ever read about him the speak how good of mentor he is to young players and that is appreciated with the young core we have.

  6. Die hard

    Theo should show some courage and release Soriano … He didn’t sign him and so not his problem.. Then he should 60 day DL DeJesus … Then bring up 2 kids and throw them in the deep end for awhile … Will pay off in long run … He can show some real cahones and send Castro down til Sept call ups but that would be too much to expect

    1. Rich H

      And what two kids would that be? There is only one kid at AAA at this point that is even part of the outfield future and he just got there. Ha is still a couple hundred PA’s from being even in the conversation on being promoted.

      1. Die hard

        Why stop at AAA— again for umpteenth time …. Unlike how Castro was handled in a season where Cubs to lose 100 games who cares who is brought up? Select some kids with promise and show them what it takes to stick by throwing them in the mix for 30 games and then back down to work on issues– will get them ready for next time — Castro never had this oppty and it shows– he’s lost

        1. Rich H

          OK I will play your little fantasy. Who in AA ball even deserves to be in the conversation for the big club? Szcrur? Maybe.A definite stretch but maybe I will give you. Remember you were talking about outfielders not the problems with you favorite whipping boy.

          1. Justin

            The only dude I care about in AA or AAA is Alcantara. The rest of the players at those levels are close to worthless.

            1. Die hard

              Doesn’t have to limited to OF … Any players.. Theo could start a rotation of 2 -3 kids every 21 days … Like an internship .. Include A ball too

          2. Die hard

            I was Castro’s biggest fan until I saw him in a road game where I had box seat tkts ( a rarity ) and tried to focus on him several innings in the field … This was 2 yrs ago … I can still recall the alarm about how he appeared lackadaisical actually turning around enjoying the Jumbotron Between pitches !!!! ( another argument against installing one in Wrigley)

            1. Carew

              so your saying you gave up on him when he was a rookie? come on man

        2. JOE

          There is a reason that no front office in the league operates this way.

      2. Josh

        Ha Classic Die Hard

  7. wvcubsfan

    Die Hard land, where even fantasies don’t make sense. Do you get lonely living there by yourself?

    1. Die hard

      There’s 60 others in this nursing home helping me– do you think I can do this by myself? Yeesh!!

  8. Chrisfchi

    I was at the Blackhawk rally yesterday. Never seen that many people downtown. It was tons of fun, hopefully ill be around for the cubs rally

  9. Internet Random

    “The secret to being a better pitcher? Pitch better.”

    I wish he would have told Marmol.

  10. The Dude Abides

    Wood is a keeper for the Cubs, hopefully they keep this guy. Part of his success can also be attributed to off seasons working out with Cliff Lee, it sure can’t hurt to have him talking baseball with this guy all winter.

  11. Rcleven

    Embattled Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, who currently sits in DFA limbo, may be able to draw some kind of trade return after all. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that three unnamed teams have shown some interest in Marmol.

    This from Jeff Tod: MLB TR.

  12. someday...2015?

    Buster_ESPN Buster Olney
    When the Diamondbacks and Cubs talked briefly about Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs asked about Archie Bradley/Tyler Skaggs; those talks ended.
    39 minutes ago

    Good to put that to rest.

    1. someday...2015?

      More from Olney…

      Buster_ESPN Buster Olney
      Rival execs believe the Cubs should be able to get more than the value of a first-round draft pick for Matt Garza; trade expected soon.
      36 minutes ago

    2. Assman22

      Talks didn’t end, they’ve been tabled…Hoyer working exclusively with Daniels on Garza + OF and quite possibly a blockbuster…Hoyer has fleeced Daniels before…

      1. Carew

        thanks for the info

      2. someday...2015?

        Thanks assman. Appreciate all the inside info!

        1. nkniacc13

          Im going to guess it may take a 3 team deal for Garza to Tx?

  13. Tom

    Hopefully for diehards this year, this is the last of the selloffs. Season ticket holders might be hard to sell to next year if they don’t dramatically show a willingness to spend money and put a legitimate team out there for 2014.

  14. someday...2015?

    Minor league update.

    @BoiseHawks make 3 roster moves – P Mike Hamann promoted to Kane County; 5th Rd Pick Trey Masek/6th Rd Pick Scott Frazier to Boise
    8:41am – 29 Jun 13

    1. someday...2015?

      -tweeted by @BoiseHawksRadio

  15. AB

    Die Hard is the Charlie Cahill of Bleacher Nation

    1. Roughriider

      I was thinking more along the lines of Morton Downey Jr.

  16. TC

    Since when is Brian Bogusvic a guy who can hit the ball out of the park? He’s got a career .118 ISO and a career OPS+ of 80. Ryan Sweeney isn’t going to hit a lot of homers but he’s shown much more ability to be a competent player in his time in the majors (96 OPS+, 2.15 rWAR/650PA), and I’d be really upset if he lost playing time or was cut in favor of Brian Bogusevic.

  17. nkniacc13

    Gotta think that by the end of the A’s series cubs will have to have a trade made so that they can get rid of an OF atleast.

    1. Crockett

      I totally agree. Unless the offers are just low-balling it, I can’t imagine the Cubs even let Garza make more than one more start in a Cub uniform. And I have a feeling that an OF will be included in his deal to sweeten the return.

  18. RicoSanto

    Tell Sori take the trade ( whoever will take him ) or you are on the bench as a pinch hitter and DH. Enough is enough Time to move on. Sveum is not a good manager. Knows the game , good hitting coach, great guy , so was Quade. Horrible at managing the bullpen. Developing Castro.

    1. BT

      In other words, tell him “Take the trade, or we will make absolutely certain you are completely worthless to us”.

      That seems like a bad idea to me.

      1. 70'scub

        BT he his not worth much to a team like the Cubs who are in a complete rebuilding mode. He needs to take the trade this time, enough of his “value” BS! Not to mention the time the Cub FO has to expend dealing with it!

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