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junior lake cubsIs today going to be another marathon of Matt Garza updates? I sure hope not. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind doing it. But The Wife has some friend commitments today, so I’m going to be on a lot of daddy duty (with a two-year-old and a five-month-old, no less). Not sure how obsessively I’ll be able to keep up with things if it goes like yesterday, but I’ll do my best.

  • Speaking of Garza rumors, the pitcher offered his answer to the media for how he deals with the constant stream of “coulds”: quoting ‘Finding Nemo,’ Garza said “just keep swimming.” After that, Garza went out and did his normal pre-game work, and you wouldn’t have any clue that a certain departure loomed.
  • Henry Rodriguez cleared waivers and was outrighted to Iowa yesterday. That’s good news, as I’m sure the Cubs were hoping to be able to keep him in the organization after the DFA. As I said when the Cubs picked him up in the first place: you can’t teach a 100 mph fastball. Hopefully the Cubs can teach him to harness it. At 26, there’s still some hope.
  • It was fair to expect that Jeff Samardzija would come out of the break with a good start. Working hard when he’s got time off, and focusing intensely on putting himself in the best position to succeed seems to be what he’s done continuously since he started his professional career. He worked on his mechanics at Wrigley Field over the break, threw a couple bullpens, and got right back on the horse last night after a few rough starts to close out the first half.
  • As for the other star of last night’s game, Junior Lake pretty much bought himself a regular set of starts, at least until David DeJesus returns from the disabled list. “Since I’ve been here, that’s the first kid that’s come up and really looked like a Major Leaguer,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “Was aggressive on the bases, did a great job. Swung the bat really nice.” The tape on Lake has always been that of a guy who looks like an obvious future superstar one day, and then a low-level minor leaguer the next day. Last night was clearly the former, and hopefully Lake just becomes one of those guys who needed the challenge of the big leagues to put it all together. He was fun and exciting to watch – we’ve needed that – and he didn’t look lost in center field.
  • That said, let’s not Activate Unreasonable Expectations. He’s still young. He’s still got a long way to go. And it was just one game.
  • I enjoyed Patrick Mooney’s take on the Junior Lake debut.
  • Scott Baker made rehab start number two yesterday at Kane County and it … did not go well. Baker labored through a four-run first inning, and gave up two more over the course of his subsequent inning and two-thirds. In all, he gave up six earned on three walks and six hits, striking out one. That wouldn’t concern you too much if it hadn’t come after a rough first rehab start, and if there weren’t reports from those at the game that his fastball was sitting in the mid-80s. Bruce Miles has a more complete take on Baker’s start, as well as quotes from Baker. The righty says he feels fine, physically, but it’s a long mechanical road back.
  • The Cubs decided to convert reliever Alberto Cabrera back into a starting pitcher this year, and sent him down to AA to get the process going. Well, step one has been a complete success, with Cabrera, 24, dominating to the tune of a 3.20 ERA and 107 Ks and just 39 BBs in 112.2 innings (and an ERA well under three over his last 10 starts). With that success sewn up, the Cubs promoted Cabrera to AAA Iowa. We’ll see how he does in the more hitter-friendly PCL, and it’s conceivable that he could be a second half fill-in at the big league level late in the year, depending on how deep the sell-off goes (since he’s already on the 40-man). I expect that the hope is that he’ll put himself into position to be considered for a starting job with the Cubs next Spring. Cabrera has excellent stuff, so that part isn’t a question. It’s his ability to harness that stuff over seven innings and command it all game.
  • The Kane County Cougars are expected to see their 10-millionth fan today. Not, like, this season, but all-time (which is still pretty great, since they are the first Class A organization to get there).
  • David

    I can’t see Lake playing .2nd base. He looks too big/ tall.

  • DarthHater

    So, Samardzija spent the All-Star Break working on his mechanics? Man, what a head case! :-P

  • Daniel

    Maybe “James” is Jim Hendry…

    Would explain alot

  • James

    Ok people you are taking this way too far…my point is to bank the whole future of the club on non proven prospects is silly you have to keep some kind of core together to build around trading core type players is not smart. Shark Garza wood Villanueva and another solid pitcher would be a young core of pitchers that can win now and into the future plans. Sorry im no Jackson fan. Do a little revamping in the bullpen I like Strop Russell Parker they should be mainstays too. Rizzo Castro Bryant Barney and Soler should be built around for pos players. Use Baez Almora and few others to land a possible young stud cough cough Stanton wishful thinking but possible. I love Sweeney as a bench bat same for valbuena. So I believe we are not far off maybe even next year being a contender with the RIGHT moves. Not trading away core pieces so we have to wait even longer. You can still build for the future without sacraficing trying to win. Call me old school but I like to follow my fav players on my fav team without having to worry if they will be traded for prospects. I guess a little player/team loyalty went out the window with alot of you ” what have you done for me lately fans” that need jumbotrons and hotels to enjoy the

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “my point is to bank the whole future of the club on non proven prospects is silly”

      No one, anywhere in the history of ever, disagrees with this.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Ace, I’d like to go to ever sometime. Is it a nice place?

        • Hansman1982

          Eh, it’s hotter than dung in a timestable this time of year but the fall and spring are beautiful.

    • frank

      James, on the whole, I agree. And I’ve said in the past, that at some point, you have to start building around proven players, or “assets.” The problem is not whether or not Garza van be one of those players–it’s more whether or not the Cubs are willing to pay the price it’ll take to keep him. If not, then they must, in the best interests of the organization, get what they can rather than lose him to free agency outright. I too like to follow players on my favorite team, but the reality is that the times you’re talking about didn’t go out with jumbotrons and hotels–they went out with the advent of free agency in the late 60s.

  • James

    Watching the Cubs. And yes ive made a good living off the odds to I claim to be an expert? No but I do know Baseball with the old school approach and it hasnt failed me yet without buying into all the advanced metric crap.

  • James

    Brett I read BN everyday mutiple times a day at that…and all ive seen is trade garza trade castro trade barney shark and get prospects for when the other prospects are ready I mean come on really?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Garza is a free agent at the end of the season, and the Cubs have not had success – for whatever reason – in getting an extension done. Therefore, their options are (1) keep him through the end of the year (a non-competitive year) and try to re-sign him (fighting against every other team) and maybe get a draft pick; or (2) trade him for far more value than a draft pick right now.

      There’s really not a decision here. Trading Garza (or anyone else) for prospects =/= relying completely and wholly on prospects.

      • Hawkeye

        Yes at this point it seems like trading Garza is the only option after Garza has been told he’s going to be traded. I contend that the Cubs should have extended him, I don’t know exact numbers but I truly get the feeling the Cubs weren’t really interested in doing so unless they got him well below his market value. Now I don’t know what the off season has in store but if the MLB payroll goes to around the 90-95 million point, I am going to feel this is less about a “plan” and more about running this team on the cheap.

        • DarthHater

          “I don’t know exact numbers but I truly get the feeling”

          Translation: I choose to have strong opinions without any real factual basis.

          • Hawkeye

            Darth, I’m sure your a really cool guy and that was a super funny translation however I did put “feeling” in there to express that it was only an opinion not a fact.

            • DarthHater

              It wasn’t that funny. And now you made me feel bad. :-p

    • MichiganGoat

      There only a few foolish folks on here that go on and on about trading core players like Castro, but when a pitcher wants a contract a team is not willing to extend then the best option is to trade him for meaningful prospects (ie Garza) or when a pitcher is exceeding his value on a one year deal you trade him (Feldman). The players on short term deals aren’t helping us get to the playoffs so trade them for a future that will reach the playoffs. It’s not all SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS or TRADE ALL THE PLAYERS… It’s about making the right move at the right time.

      • Starlin Backer

        Well said.

        • DarthHater

          Not bad for a goat, anyway.

          • MichiganGoat

            Bah bah bah

            • DarthHater

              Oh no! MG has lost the ability to speak!

              • MichiganGoat

                Blah blah blah… Snark snark snark… GARZA for PROFAR… burbon foreskin… These last few days have stripped of my ability to give a crap ;)

                • DarthHater

                  Whew!

              • wvcubsfan

                Probably trying to communicate on the trolls level.

                • DarthHater

                  Goats and trolls have a storied history of not getting along.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    That’s right – BILLY GOAT GRUFF was a prophetic story that is just now being fully realized.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    btw “Burbon Foreskin” is a great band name

                • MichiganGoat

                  It’s my new Master’s Thesis: Die Hardian Communiction – How a Sith & Goat Discoverd the New Rosetta Stone.

                  • wvcubsfan

                    Development of the Die Hardian dictionary and thesaurus would be a worthy task as well.

                    • chrisfchi

                      i may not have been here for a long time like MG, but i do believe one would lose their sanity attempting a die hard dictionary. maybe die hard for dummies?

    • turn two

      James, the area i don’t understand in your posts is that you keep saying your old school and you want to watch your favorite players. That’s what this front office is doing! We are trying to create homegrown talent that will sustain us, guys who start with us in the minors and stick here long term. It takes more than a couple prospects to do that, do e’er are getting a waves of them. Theo mentioned it from day one that a world series will mean more this way…egger old school way than NY trading for superstars. i get the sense you aren’t really old school you are just pretending to be to sound noble in some way. We are doing the old school approach its just going to take time and a pitcher in his prime right this moment is two years late to excel with us when we reach the finish line.

      • Hawkeye

        Every team in MLB is trying to create homegrown talent that will sustain them. That’s the perfect plan for everyone, that’s why you so rarely see a top prospect traded. I’m all for putting resources into scouting and development. But It’s also about adding necessary components to your ball club (i.e. bullpen) through other ways.

  • mudge

    A ghost loomed toward us from somewhere behind the Oldsmobile. It was an Olds ghoul approach.

    • DarthHater

      [img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3784/9327762385_c278561bde_o.jpg[/img]

  • James

    Trading players for prospects is not homegrown talent….drafting the players is getting homegrown talent…just sayin

  • Sandor

    Lake is the Future. Villanuts is a scrub

    • another JP

      Heh, you bet. Scrub with a 2.0 WAR so far this year… best of all position players on the team.

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