alfonso soriano hittingThis time of year, there’s always more going on over the weekend than usual. In case you missed it, there was a fresh Obsessive Matt Garza Trade Watch piece, the Marlins traded Ricky Nolasco to the DodgersJavier Baez was promoted to AA Tennessee, Travis Wood was named an All-Star, and the Cubs signed high school catcher Tyler Alamo. Well, and then there was the pending Scott Hairston trade, which technically was reported late Sunday night.

  • Alfonso Soriano is super hot right now, as he often becomes (in recent years, that’s especially true when the Summer months roll around). In his last 13 games, Soriano is hitting .309/.304/.709 with five homers, five doubles, and a triple. He’s hit safely in 11 of those 13 games, and the only thing he hasn’t done – as his inverted BA/OBP tell you – is walk. He actually hasn’t taken a walk since June 9, but, hey, when you’re smoking the ball like Soriano is, there’s no need to take walks, right? Dale Sveum says the hot streak is partly due to Soriano picking on good pitches to hit right now. “The one thing you notice is he’s hitting the fastball,” Sveum said of Soriano, per Carrie Muskat. “When you have the confidence when you’re hitting fastballs and you lay off hitting breaking balls, or whatever it might be, and the bat speed is there, and you feel that good, you start doing a lot of good things because you’re laying off a lot of bad pitches.” It does seem like, in the last two weeks especially, if you make a mistake to Soriano, he blasts it. I’m assuming Soriano will be DH’ing tonight in the makeup game against the White Sox.
  • Darwin Barney discusses his first error of the year yesterday. Dude just doesn’t make mistakes.
  • Small sample size fun: since being acquired by the Cubs last week, relievers Matt Guerrier and Pedro Strop have combined to throw 8.1 innings without allowing an earned run. They’ve given up just four hits and three walks, striking out three.
  • Jon Greenberg offers a take on where thing stand with Starlin Castro. It got a little blowback on Twitter last night when it was published, but I don’t really find it to be overly negative – just a summing up of what has gone wrong for Castro this year, and what it could mean for the future. I tend to think, on that latter part, that it doesn’t mean a whole lot. The Cubs have actively been working on Castro’s approach and swing, and he’s a 23-year-old learning on the fly. This was the year to tinker, and hopefully it all pays benefits in 2014 and beyond (when the performance might matter more).
  • A Wrigley Field usher is getting some negative attention after asking a TV reporter to wrap up his live shot in the stands because he was blocking folks’ views behind him. The video doesn’t look/sound good, but in these situations, I always like to caution that you don’t know what preceded this event. Maybe the reporter was taking an inordinately long time with his shot. Maybe the folks behind him were extremely impatient and kept complaining to the usher until he did something.
  • Len Kasper praises the front office for their approach to international free agency.
  • Remember how the Cubs wanted to add a handful of 3:05pm CT starts on Fridays as part of the Wrigley renovation framework? Well, they got those games, and the first was last Friday. Walk-up sales, according to Cubs VP of Communications and Community Affairs Julian Green, by way of Jon Greenberg, were pretty huge – as much as 100% higher than on a typical day. It’s a lot easier to decide on a whim to head out to a 3:05 Cubs game on a Friday than a 1:20 game.
  • A random reminder: if you want to have a little picture with your name when you make comments (an “avatar”), we use gravatar.com here at BN. So just go there, set up an account with your preferred picture, and make sure you use the same email address there that you use here when you comment. That’s it.
  • Jim

    Now with Hairston gone and Soriano might be moving this month, how quickly will we be seeing Junior Lake? I am very excited to see him in a Cubs uniform. I think he will be better than people expect.

    • BluBlud

      I would love to see Lake up on the team. Also, I suspect the FO is thinking it’s time to move a little faster with the prospects. I don’t know about Almora, but I wouldn’t be suprised to see him in Tennessee this time next year, Baez in the bigs this time next year and Soler, depending on injury, close to being in the bigs this time next year. Alcantara will probably be in the bigs or close also. By ST, 2015, I suspect Baez, Soler, Alcantara, Almora, Johnson, Szczur and Watkins will all be big parts of this team if they are not traded.

      • On The Farm

        Almora in TN is possible, especially if they put him on the same plan as they have Baez now (but remember Almora missed time due to his injury so the FO may want him to get more MiLB at bats). I hope Almora gets to Daytona to recieve a significant amount of PA so that we can see a midseason bump to TN. Almora really hasn’t been challenged in KC as evidence by his 7 BB in 169 PA.

        As far as Baez goes I think you are being too aggresive with him. Unless for some strange reason the FO trades Castro for a haul this offseason, I see no need to rush Baez. Especially if everyone thinks Lake is going to play 3B, where would you put Baez on the big league club. I say he starts next year in TN, gets called up to Iowa around this time, and gets his September cup of coffee and that’s about it (baring injuries, etc.).

        • cub4life

          I agree with you… Baez will not be in CHI next season (baring a 2014 sept call up) because there is no where to play him yet. Either we have to trade Castro (don’t see it happening and don’t want it to either) or he has to get playing time at another position (which if i’m not mistaken he hasn’t done yet) so no to seeing Baez this time next year IMO.

          As for Almora and Soler baring an injury I can deffinately see them in AA next year if not by the end of this year (and that would be aggressive butit could happen).

          As for the other players mentioned If they aren’t in AA now I don’t foresee them being on the Bigs roster before a 2014 sept call up or 2015.

          • BluBlud

            I didn’t say they would all be on the team by ST, 2015. I said a big part of the team, meaning at that point, we should pretty much know when, or close to when, we will see them.

            Baez in the majors this time next year is definitely not out of the question, and if he is ready, their is not one player outside of Castro that will keep him from the majors. Not Valbeuna, not Barney, not Watkins and not lake. Also, I think this time next year, Alcantara will also be in or near the bigs because I’m almost certain that Barney will be on a different team. So lets say August 1st, 2014, Lake will be in RF, Schierholtz in Left, and possibly Ha in CF, Baez at 3B, Alcantara at 2B.

            It’s definitely not certain, but it’s certainly possible.

            • cub4life

              I guess I read the part on the majority of players wrong… and your right none of those players will stop him from making it up, what will stop him is if he isn’t ready to play the position that he will play. If for the next year he only plays SS and so does Castro where does he play? If I’m the owner/FO I don’t waste his service time trying a new position, so what they need to do IMO is if they keep him thru ST either him or Castro (most likly Baez from all I see on here) needs to play a differant position.

              Now back to everyone else I think by sept of 2014 we will know what we have (I know we are guessing now but all these guys will be coming up or .5 to 1.5 years away) so yea Back to the Future 2 might have just predicted it right…………………….

              • ACA

                How many innings did Manny Machado play at 3B in the minors before joining the big league Baltimore Orioles?

            • On The Farm

              It will really depend on how many games Baez plays at 3B. I don’t think he has any professional expirence at the position and I really don’t think the FO will pull a Machado like situation with Baez. The major factors I see about Baez getting to the bigs before September are:

              1.Has he been getting enough games at 3B that he will be good enough to play it at the highest level?
              2.Have Castro, Barney, or Valbuena (2 of the three) been injured? If so the team’s hand may be forced and between Alacantra and Baez whoever is playing the best ball or whoever fits the positional need better (i.e. 2B as opposed to 3B replacement needed.)
              3.Finally, by time Baez has had adequate seasoning, is the season already lost that aribitration plays a factor and the FO can justify leaving him in AAA to contiune to work on his swing/D.

          • On The Farm

            Agreed, there is a difference between affressive promotions and being reckless with player development. The AA level is where guys see the highest ceiling prospects. The AAA has value (which often gets overlooked) in that the guys there have MLB expirence. I am fine with the FO deciding that each prospect needs some time there. I don’t know if a full season’s worth of ABs are necessary (but I am not the professional), but 250-300 seems like a reasonable amount so the guy doesn’t get overwhelmed in the show.

    • magilljl

      I wouldn’t count on seeing Lake in Chicago too awful soon. Mid to late August if at all this year IMO. I’m as excited as anyone to see him play in Chicago, but living in Iowa, I also enjoy him playing here.

      Plus I think he’s a guy that needs to play every day right now.

      • Aaron

        As a Des Moines resident myself, I share your sentiments.

        • cub4life

          agreed, unless there is a Sori and/or DeJesus trade then he MIGHT be up.

  • BluBlud

    Sori wants to win a ring. He knows the only way to get out of town and on a good team is to start hitting the ball. I hope he gets traded to a contender, and we get a decent prospect in return. That would be a win for everybody. Sori really is a good guy, and I wish nothing but the best for him.

    • Jay

      If he cared about winning a ring, he would have gone to SF last year instead of whining about the weather there.

  • Fishin Phil

    One of my all time favorite quotes about Soriano being on a hot streak, I think it was Brenly:

    “He’s so hot, you have to wear oven mitts to high-5 him!”

  • Jp3

    Ok I’m sure I’m having a brain fart here but how is Soriano’s slash line OBP lower than his BA?

    • BluBlud

      I believe a SF will not cause your BA to go down because it is not scored as an at-bat, but because OBP is based of of PA and not at-bats, it will cause your OBP to drop.

      • magilljl

        Correct. Sac Fly is the answer.

        • Jp3

          That’s impressive Sori… Don’t believe I’ve ever seen that before.

      • BluBlud

        A SF is sored as a PA. I could be wrong, but I think I’m right.

        • Jp3

          Thanks blublud

  • ssckelley

    That usher is awesome!

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I think Texas would be a great fit for Soriano. The hot weather could be beneficial to his knees. Berkman’s option probably won’t vest for next year, so they could have a cost-effective LF/DH for next year (and make it easier to re-sign Nelson Cruz). Package Soriano + cash with Garza and get an awesome return:

    Martin Perez, Engel Beltre, Mike Olt, Neil Ramirez, Jorge Alfaro

  • Pat

    What, no Profar also?

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

      Any trade with Texas should include Profar!

  • Carew

    I wasnt very impressed with the Pirates’ crew

  • mjhurdle

    Strange how someone wearing no visible credentials cant understand why people that pay good money for a seat don’t want to stare at his back for a half-hour.

    That usher handled everything as well as could be expected, given the attitude the reporter was giving him.

    • Jon

      No visible credentials? He had a mic and was wearing a polo shirt with the logo of his network station. What more are you looking for?

      • Jp3


      • hansman1982

        Hey, I have a John Deere polo, think they’d mind if I started walking around the factory floor?

      • mjhurdle

        i have a jersey with the Chicago Cubs logo on it, and i can carry a bat and a glove.

        I guess that makes me an official Chicago Cubs employee!!

  • David

    I know this may be dumb/ not an accurate analogy, but I’ll do it anyway. Here are some of Lake’s projected AAA stats, given a 162 game schedule:

    Doubles: 39
    Triples: 10
    Homers: 19
    RBI: 73
    Stolen bases: 44
    Runs: 122

    I know he’s “defensively challenged”, but With his arm/ speed/ athletic ability, why can’t he work at being an average left fielder instead of a higher skilled position like 3rd base. Trade Sori and throw him in left. His speed in the 2 hole would look great. Love his “projected” 122 runs scored. Seems like he has a knack of scoring.

  • Jon

    Wrigley Field ushers are wrinkly old pricks, all of them. Sorry it’s true

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I have met some very cool ushers at Wrigley.

    • hansman1982

      If you had to deal with thousands of drunken idiots every day, you’d turn into a wrinkly old prick pretty quickly.

      Never underestimate the power of the masses to make you hate humanity.

    • ISU Birds

      They were all awesome to me on Saturday. I was wearing a Blackhawks shirt because Q and the cup were gonna be there and 10 of them stopped me asking if I was excited about it coming and how cool it was to see everyone wearing Bhawks stuff to Cubs games.

    • Cubfanbob

      They do their job well unlike ushers ive seen at other stadiums

  • ISU Birds

    Alright maybe I don’t know as much about this rebuilding process as I thought I did. Why is it that everyone needs traded away? I saw on a comment today that we should trade Strop and Guerrier asap because their trade value is high right now. And how we should get rid of the whole starting rotation other than Shark and Wood. At what point do you start holding onto some of these guys. I don’t get how it is rebuilding if all you do is become a feeder of players to other teams for maybe-maybe not prospects.

    • On The Farm

      The important thing to remember about the people who comment are not Jed and Theo (you know, the guys who make the actual decisions). Take each person’s opinion with a grain of salt.

      • ISU Birds

        I get that but I feel like Brett sees or hears or says things like I mentioned as well. And I take his statements as someone who knows more about the team than all of us.

        • hansman1982

          It’s about acquriing as much talent as possible. If you think trading everyone will get you more talent next year, you do it.

    • ssckelley

      Right now the Cubs are all about acquiring young talent. The FO has been completely honest and up front about this since they came here. Once this farm system is built up then it will be used to help the MLB team. The idea is just not to build a team that will win 1 season but to win consistently year after year.

    • JulioZuleta

      If there is a guy that isn’t going to help you win next year, or in 2-3 years, it is best to deal him now to stock up the farm system. Matt Garza’s only value to the Cubs is what he will bring in a trade. The quality of his starts (other than trade value implications) has ZERO value to the Cubs, at least in my opinion. The fact that with Matt Garza that Cubs might win 73 games, but without him they’ll only win 70 games has no value to this team, in this season or in seasons to come.

      Guy that are under contract like James Russell also should be moved in the right circumstances. If a desperate team is going to make you a substantial offer to put them over the top this year, you need to consider it. No team, under ANY circumstances, should ever have an “untouchable” player. It’s bad business.

      A big adjustment for Cubs fans is going to be learning to detach ourselves from our own players (especially prospects). We all loved Corey Patterson and Felix Pie at one point, such that if they were traded we would have been upset. That kind of thing is going to happen A LOT with this front office, and we’ll be better for it.

    • Cyranojoe

      What’s key is the timing of talent arriving at the big league club, along with free agents becoming available, along with how the rest of the division is shaping up, and everything coming to a head. Garza becomes an FA at the end of the year, and he wants big money + an NTC in his next contract. I love the guy, but that means he’s done at Wrigley. So who’s next? How old are they? What’s the core of the team, and who’s gonna play where? When you trade a Garza for multiple quality players, you’re gambling that in three years you’ll have more talent than when you started, whereas the team that trades for him is gambling that he’ll help them in the postseason NOW and they won’t too badly miss those other players down the road. It’s about tradeoffs and timing, and so far far it looks pretty good for the FO’s strategy. It’s always a gamble, though.

  • Cubbieblue29

    Strange that we aren’t hearing Soriano’s name more linked to Texas besides just Cubs fans mentioning it. Must be some bad blood from when he played there before.

  • Rebuilding

    Soriano has also scalded about 5 balls to the warning track in dead center the last couple of weeks that just missed going out. He is just locked in right now. To me Soriano is a market inefficiency. He has been so rundown by local and national media because of his contract that his perceived value is far lower than his actual value. He is the type of player that if the situation were reversed in a few years and we need a right handed bat (and the other team was going to pick up his salary) ould hope our FO would be all over.

  • Frank

    Wrinkly old pricks are misunderstood.

  • cub4life

    Brett, about what time will you come out with the probables for tonights game? I’m curious to see how the OF looks. Is Bogasevic still hurt (hamstring)? And going agaist a LHP that means that Ransom will prob start at 3B? OF of Bogasevic/Borbon, Sappelt, Scherholtz with Sori at DH? Will the called up guy start?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Usually is available around 3 hours before game time (so 4pm CT-ish today).

      • cub4life

        Cool, thanks man.

  • Cubbies4Life

    ISU Birds, I share your sentiments! All of the trade talk makes me dizzy sometimes. I mean, at some point you have to have an actual TEAM out on the field, right? I understand the logic behind trading Sori, but I will hate to see him go since he has frequently carried the team on his back so far this season. I do not envy the Cubs FO – damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    • Rebuilding

      There is going to be constant turnover to the roster until Baez, Almora, Soler, Alcantara and/or Bryant reach the majors. At that point there will be more stability on the major league roster. Then we should have a 2nd wave of prospects starting to emerge and we will start to use those guys as trade chips to actually add to, and not subtract from, our major league roster. But until the first wave arrives I wouldn’t get too attached to anyone

  • Chrisfchi

    Buster Olney was asked on twitter last night where he expected Garza will be traded to, and he feels Texas is the place. If true, what can we expect in return? IMO I would have to believe it would be a pitcher, maybe Olt, and a PTBNL.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      I would like to see a deal go something like…. Garza, and Soriano for Perez, Jackson, and Font. I don’t think Texas wants to give up that much though, and I think that’s about what the Cubs are asking for.

      • Chrisfchi

        I just don’t see Texas taking Soriano unless there’s salary relief.

    • Rebuilding

      I just don’t see the Rangers giving up Perez. They need more SP with Tepesch going down and Grimm being bad. Perez is in their rotation and I don’t think they want to just swap 1 SP for another. I’m sure they are trying to send us minor leaguers who don’t effect the major league team this year

      • Jp3

        I agree completely.

      • chrisfchi

        i agree also. i would expect nothing more than a prospect package for garza, maybe a top 25-30 in there system. throw a few fringe guys with a high upside, and you got the deal done. im not expecting to see any team completely draining their system for garza. i do feel thou that we should net at least one solid prospect.

        • JoeyCollins

          It depends on how strong/deep the system is but i would hope for more than a 25-30 system guy as the main part of a Garza trade. The Nationals have a pretty decent farm and we just got a top 30 guy from them for Harriston.

        • Chad

          If all you get is a top 25-30 and a few fringe prospects for Garza, then Garza’s arm probably fell off during an interview or something. That would be a horrible return when we are talking about potentially a top 100 kind of return.

        • SenorGato

          Im done with this rebuild if Matt Garza is traded for pennies like that.

        • chrisfchi

          well I really dont know how deep their system is. My key point is we should net at least one solid prospect for him. maybe stating a 25-30 guy is selling garza short. I mean the guy is not fergie jenkins. Ill say it like this, IF we trade him to Texas, we should get a B+ pitching prospect, maybe Olt, and a couple of fringe high upside guys.

          Honestly I just dont want the Cubs to get burned. I remain cautiously optimistic

          • Chad

            A B+ pitching prospect is likely a top 10 organizational player. Olt is the #2 player in the Rangers system, so you saying start with a 25-30 is wrong. Garza has a lot of value to teams right now as he is a good pitcher. If he’s healthy the last 2 years we are talking an even higher price. Let’s look at the cubs system right now. If they were trading guys for a Garza you would be saying that the best we could do is one of these guys:
            25.Josh Vitters, 3B
            26.Barret Loux, RHP
            27.Matt Loosen, RHP
            28.Lendy Castillo, RHP
            29.Marcus Hatley, RHP
            30.Trey Martin, OF

            Do you think any of those guys would be a headliner for the cubs if they were trading for a Matt Garza. I would love it if true, but since in reality that would be a joke I’d say no way.

            • ssckelley

              Holy crap, that means the Cubs got a better prospect for Hairston than they can get for Garza.

            • chrisfchi

              Great point. I normally dont look at the prospects (pitchers and feilders combined) when I think about these things.

              easiest way for me to put it would be something like this

              A pitching prospect somewhere near the top of the system, but not their #1 pitching prospect.

              A feilder also somewhere within the top also, and i use Olt as an example as his stock from what i understand is not as high as last year.

              A couple of other guys (doesnt matter if its pitching or feilding) that dont rank high but have the chance of being that “diamond in the rough”

              Just the thought of a guy like vitters headlining the trade would make my head explode.

              • Chad

                Well Olt has dropped a lot due to his vision issues and K rate, and not sure the cubs even want to go there. The biggest thing is that the cubs are looking to add legit near ready arms. That’s the biggest need, and a top 25-30 guy doesn’t do it, as far as the legit goes. So when Brett talks about a top 100 talent he’s at least in the top 3 or maybe 4 of any respectable organization, and that is what it will take. I hope the cubs do go for the top pitching prospect in every organization. If they can’t get that the return should still be pretty good.

      • SenorGato

        Personally don’t think Perez throws enough strikes to win a WS right now. Would the Rangers rather go into the playoffs with Darvish-Garza-Holland or Darvish-Holland-Perez?

        • YourResidentJag

          When is Matt Harrison supposed to return for them?

          • Rebuilding

            I can’t find anything on a return date/rehab schedule. He is on the 60 day DL though

            • YourResidentJag

              He’s expected back in Sept. I wonder if that changes their thought process on Garza. If he’s healthy, that’s like them getting a FA.

          • SenorGato

            If he returns at all there’s further hope that makes Perez someone they will sell.

  • Sprtswiz1

    For what its worth i went back and watched the Pirates feed on Friday to see what happened. The interview went for about 2 minutes and you can see the fans behind him trying to look around to watch the game. He also asks him once and the reporter continues to ask his question which then causes him to get louder. I know i would be pissed if a reporter was standing in front of me blocking my view so i don’t have a problem with it.

  • YourResidentJag

    I wonder what the Royals are going to do with Ervin Santana and if that factors at all into teams’ decisions about Garza.

  • dshea

    Could Soriano actually be gone before the end of the year?? Can’t believe that is a real possibility.

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