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alfonso soriano hittingThe Cubs head to Philadelphia for a three-game set this week, as my vacation continues. I say that not to brag about vacationing, but as a reminder to those who’ve missed it: I’m on vacation this week, and will be doing just one catch-all post like this one per day (absent earth-shattering news popping up).

  • Yesterday, the Cubs picked up outfielder Thomas Neal off of waivers from the Yankees. The 25-year-old was a top prospect with the Giants earlier in his career before injuries (and a lack of pop or speed) held him back after coming to the Indians. In the minors, Neal has been a guy who doesn’t strike out much, gets on base (.377 OBP) and hits well (.301 BA). But he doesn’t offer speed or much power, and it sounds like Yankees folks weren’t too bummed about losing him, because they say he wasn’t much defensively, either. Still, as the right-handed half of an outfield platoon – he’s played primarily in the corners, but played a handful of games in center field in 2012 – Neal could be productive (though he hasn’t yet shown it in the bigs in limited opportunities).
  • Although Neal’s expected to come to the big club today, the real difficulty is going to be in sticking on the Cubs’ 40-man roster all offseason. He’s a fringy type, no matter how much he shows in the next couple months, and it’s hard to imagine the Cubs devoting a spot to him when they’ve already got to make decisions on outfielders like Ryan Sweeney, Brian Bogusevic and Cole Gillespie. As with some of those guys, if the Cubs like Neal, they may simply try to sell him on the idea of returning next year on a minor league deal.
  • Side note on Neal: he was sent down by the Yankees to make room for Alfonso Soriano.
  • To make room on the 40-man for Neal, the Cubs transferred Rafael Dolis to the 60-day DL. He hasn’t pitched since early June with a forearm strain.
  • A great background piece from Carrie Muskat on the Cubs signing Junior Lake and Starlin Castro. The former was the favored son for the first couple of years, and it’s fascinating to read about how their signings/development played out.
  • Ryne Sandberg on leaving the Cubs’ organization, joining the Phillies, selling his place in Chicago, and on his time with the Cubs. Sandberg says he’s not bitter about how things played out, but you do get the sense that he was very disappointed to have been passed over in favor of Mike Quade for the managerial job in 2011. To my mind, all the Cubs did was spare Sandberg the indignity of managing a train wreck or two, and having the city’s meatballs turn on him, before he was ultimately fired for things out of his control.
  • Alfonso Soriano, who is back in Chicago as the Yankees (and Alex Rodriguez, in case you hadn’t heard) play the White Sox. Soriano spoke with ESPN Chicago and CSN about his time in Chicago and PED stuff, and noted that he might be willing to return as a coach with the Cubs after his playing days are over. Soriano would be a pretty great coach/ambassador for the Cubs.
  • ABK

    I would love to see Soriano return in a coaching capacity.

    • demz

      just not a hitting coach!

      • hansman1982

        It depends, does he know how to evaluate and optimize a hitters batting profile and can he effectively communicate that to the player to get them to implement the changes needed?

        I am sure there are a lot of folks out there who would make fantastic hitting coaches who either sucked as a major leaguer at the plate or never played professional ball.

      • Cyranojoe

        Why not? Better a hitting coach than fielding, no? As long as he doesn’t let them swing a bat that’s gotten too heavy for ‘em, and otherwise does what hansman just said, then he could be quite good.

  • Kevin F.

    I did not like the way Ryno played into the press’ angle of his “managerial development program” when he was hired to run Peoria. It was bad enough that coverage tended to portray him as the guy who would completely change the team’s philosophy, because with the talent available that wasn’t gonna happen. He did nothing to contradict that writing. In retrospect, anyone would have been a better hire than Quade, but the Sandberg Campaign was a sour note to close that phase of his Cub career.

    • Kyle

      For a guy who took a shot at an ex-teammate in his HOF speech about knowing where the camera was in the dugout, Sandberg sure has shown a knack for self-promotion since his second retirement.

      • davidalanu

        I agree, but I don’t really blame him. When he went into managing, the first questions were about if he had the personality for it, is he too quiet, can he handle the media, etc. I think he felt that he had to come out if his shell to answer those questions.

      • JulioZuleta

        There is nothing worse than a guy who pulls the “But I paid my dues” card too often. You know when he says “I paid my dues” by riding busses and raking fields as a minor league manager for 3 years he’s really saying, “I’m a HOF, give me a job,” because there are probably a few thousand coaches/managers in baseball that paid more coaching dues than he did.

        • CubsFaninMS

          The “paid my dues” approach, in general, is an excuse many low-productivity/low-results individuals use to justify promotion. No, results and success should be an indicator of paying your dues, not “paying your dues” i.e. working for a long time. Just my thoughts.

          • Cyranojoe

            Generally true. But Sandberg’s also had a pretty good history of success as a coach in the minors so far. I’m not convinced he’s a golden boy, and I know he’s been handed some pretty talented teams from the get-go, but he’s not *just* a guy claiming “paid my dues” without at least a bit of productivity and results to go with it.

            • CubsFaninMS

              I would agree with that.

  • Jono

    I would also love for Soriano to return as a coach!

  • ssckelley

    One would think a player as big as Thomas Neal could hit for more power. He did hit 22 in one season for the Giants minor league team. I read somewhere he has had some injuries that has impacted his power numbers.

    • Spriggs

      I would have thought so too. He did display some power early in his career, but I would have thought he’d have showed a little more at some point by now. He always seemed to be getting on base when I saw him, and I know he is capable of hitting the ball a long way! Hopefully he can still be a useful player for the Cubs.

      • ssckelley

        Spriggs, you still making it to the Arizona games? If so how is Alamo looking? Have you seen Remillard yet?

        • Spriggs

          I just got back from a long vacation. Only saw him play once (last night). I have no opinion really – at this time.

    • Coop

      I’m shocked that in the Yankee’s system he didn’t “learn” to hit for more power….

      • JM

        Are you saying you’re surprised he wasn’t injected with power while in N.Y.?

  • MichiganGoat

    This wasn’t in bullets but today Paul Sullivan is no longer the Cubs beat reporter for the Tribune.

    • jh03

      Is he switching to the Sox?

    • Spriggs

      Best news of the month so far. How in the world that unfunny, sarcastic, cynical little prick held the job for so long is beyond me.

      • jh03

        I still don’t know who’s worse between him and Jesse Rogers….

    • hansman1982

      And there was a collective, “Well, that’s good” and everyone forgot about the hobbit.

      • MichiganGoat

        Oh until he does a national piece that gets picked up about how much the Cubs suck. He no longer has to play nice because he doesn’t have be liked by players. We will here from him again.

        • Spriggs

          I don’t think any of the players liked him to start with. All spring long when he was anywhere near the field, I rarely saw any player talk to him. Never saw a player come over and initiate anything with him. He chums with Muscat and that’s about it.

          • MichiganGoat

            Well Darwin Barney interviewed him:
            http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-76919653/ (not sure if pay wall blocks this it comes from PS’s twitter and I don’t pay for the Tribune)
            What’s funny is DB doesn’t really seem to know who he works for.

            • MichiganGoat

              Yup pay walled… Just go through PS’s twitter timeline and look for the interview.

        • Werner

          If ever there was a man who openly hated his incredible job (and left lots of evidence as proof), it was Paul Sullivan. If he was playing nice, then him with his fangs out should be something to see.

    • CubsFaninMS

      Hopefully his tweets will stop showing up on my Bleacher Report Team Stream app for the Cubs. He strikes me as a wise ass.

      • MichiganGoat

        Your first mistake is having anything to do with Bleacher Report.

        • CubsFaninMS

          It’s decent. Bleacher Nation is my primary Cubs news spot… but the Team Stream app is pretty good supplementary.

          • MichiganGoat

            Maybe it’s gotten better since CNN but the last time I checked it was still full of useless Top 10 slide shows and poor writing.

            • Danny Ballgame

              It is still pretty sloppy. But something is better than nothing

            • Hookers or Cake

              My wife once sent me an article from “that one site you like” and I had to show her the difference between Bleacher Nation and Bleacher Report.
              One is written by middle schoolers who aren’t even Cubs fans or if they are are amazingly inept. The other is the best one stop shop for Cubs info anywhere.

              • Danny Ballgame

                Truth

            • CubsFaninMS

              Well, the Team Stream includes articles from other sources, not just Bleacher Report. I agree that the majority of Bleacher Report articles are poorly written. You’ll catch a decent article from them here and there.

        • Kurt

          Bleacher report and Rant sports both seem to revel in being antagonistic toward Bears/Cubs. Hardly ever click on either site, anymore.

          • JulioZuleta

            Never heard of Rant Sports and Bleacher Report is probably the worst website that I’ve ever come across. 80% of the commenters on this site could write more effectively and successfully about the Cubs than the BR writers. (That being said, the last time I read it was probably over a year ago).

      • http://cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

        A lot of it depends on the writer. B/R gets it’s reputation because about 75-80% of its writers are clueless, but there are a few hidden in the rough who are actually decent.

        Unfortunately, none of them write about the Cubs.

    • kmr1453

      Mark Gonzales is the new Cubs beat writer.
      Colleen Kane is the new White Sox beat writer.
      Sullivan moves to do more in-depth reporting on both teams

      • MichiganGoat

        “more in-depth reporting” yeah that should be entertaining.

        • kmr1453

          It’ s their word, not mine. I’m just glad he is moving on.

        • DarthHater

          [img]http://weknowmemes.com/generator/uploads/generated/g137581295012532061.jpg[/img]

          • DarthHater

            There, now. Nothing hyperintellectual about that. :-P

  • Kevin

    Glad we got Dale Sveum to turn things around.

    • MichiganGoat

      Are you saying that Ryno would have “turned things around?” Because that’s just stupid.

      • Scotti

        The interesting thing is that the Cubs COULD hire Sandberg (and prolong the misery, er, five-year plan) after Sveum serves his purpose. A hire like that would get many fans excited and cause a good chunk of Cub fans to extend grace (the disposition not the player) to the team and its process (he might even be good at developing the young “stars of the future”). The problem could come with Sandberg having any actual success. It would be very difficult to fire him at that point. Kind of like firing your grandma–not popular with her fans.

        • CubsFaninMS

          (Terrible mental image of Ryne Sandberg licking a handkerchief and wiping food off of Jeff Samardzija’s face)

        • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

          Grace? She passed away 30 years ago!

          • Bric

            “Clark, what are you going to do with a hammer?”

            “I’m going to catch it in the coat,… and smack it with the hammer!”

          • FullCountTommy

            The BLESSSSSSSSING

            • CubsFaninMS

              “You couldn’t hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.”

    • caryatid62

      There isn’t a manager alive who isn’t thought an idiot by a large percentage of his team’s fanbase.

      • jh03

        I was thinking that maybe Rays fans don’t have a large percentage of people who think their manager is an idiot.. but then I thought, “I bet there’s 5 Rays fans who think Joe Maddon is an idiot.” So that’s gotta be about 50% then, right?

        ::rimshot::

        • hansman1982

          Considering there are, probably, a large number of Rays fans who are old folks, old folks hate change, and Joe Maddon uses an insanely high number of different lineups throughout the season, I’d say there is, easily, a majority of Rays fans that don’t like him.

          • jh03

            I was just trying to make a funny joke about their small fanbase…. There’s going to be a large number of fans who don’t like the manager even if he makes the correct decision 100% of the time. Depending on the definiton of “large,” I guess.

          • terencemann

            If other teams only took one thing away from Maddon, I would hope that would be the way he changes his lineups around. I hate how batting order spots are treated like positions by most teams “This guy is the leadoff hitter, this guy is the #3 hitter, etc.” You can’t ask every manager to be as smart as Maddon but some of his strategies would be easy to emulate.

            • hansman1982

              It’s all about the data. The Rays organization seems to actually value data pretty highly. They were one of the first (if not still the only) organization to also utilize the speed of the ball off the bat to determine how a batter is doing at the plate.

  • SalukiHawk

    Brett…great work. You remind me of my old boss, who “only” worked 8 hours a day during his vacation! Hope you’re having a terrific time!

  • X the Cubs Fan

    “‘He’s got that incredible physical ability, amazing tools, where when he is locked in and seeing the ball well, he can do some things on the baseball field that make you drop your jaw,’ said Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.” about Junior Lake.

  • SalukiHawk

    I totally agree on Sandberg. He would have been set up to fail, and fail miserably. You can say a good manager can bring the most out of guys, but at the end of the day, there has to be some talent there, and the Cubs were falling apart at that time. I also felt that Cubs fans were looking too much at his gravitas as a Cub legend and not necessarily on whether he would make a good manager. To this day, some five years later, he’s still not managing in a ML dugout. Doesn’t mean he won’t some day or that he’s not deserving, but it’s not like other teams beat his door down when the Cubs turned him down.

    • Scotti

      The only reasonable timeframe for him to manage the Cubs was 2011 and that’s just 2.5 seasons ago. Lou Piniella had the gig while Sandberg was managing in the minors.

  • Cubbies4Life

    I do hope Sori can return to the Cubs someday in a coaching capacity. And I would love to just once hear him say, “baseball been berry berry good to me!” (People of a certain age will know what I’m talking about!)

    • Jed Jam Band

      I get it!

  • Ivy Walls

    The article about Lake and Castro is quite revealing as both were signed in the Dom Rep at similar times though the Cubs looked at Lake as having a higher ceiling. Castro should be developing into the premier offensive shortstop this year, 23 yrs old and now he is sporting a negative WAR (-0.4), he is worse than what an average AAA replacement (Murphy or Wadkins), his wRC+ is a sick 71, (29 points below the league average) because his wOBA stinks, .280..

    compare that to his best year in 2011 when he was 21 yrs old when his WAR was 3.2 even when his defense sucked.

    Castro is a young flash and the league has figured him out. He cannot recognize the breaking ball and if you throw a strike later in the count or a FB you are stupid. He made it to the Show because of his talent of being able to hit most balls thrown for a strike, but he never developed the sense of setting up the pitcher, in recognizing the benders out of the zone so he is load. Cubs signed him to a long contract. Hopefully they can unload him and open spots for better players on the come.

    As for Lake, he seems to see the ball better, he has more power, more speed and a better arm. Interesting irony. Same irony that Soriano was traded for AROD but now the NYY fans welcomed Soriano back and reject AROD. Irony that the player waived to make room for Soriano finds himself on the club that traded Soriano and could be playing LF as the Cubs might move Lake to 3B.

    • Scotti

      “Castro is a young flash and the league has figured him out.”

      Flash = 2.5 years?

      • wvcubsfan

        Well it was an old camera.

        • frank

          LOL

      • Ivy Walls

        yes when you are yrs old and peaked. Snipe all you want, but fans cannot forget how the downward line regarding his production has gone since last year. (-0.4 WAR)

        wake up

        • Scotti

          You mean his .292/.339/.442/.781 in July? Or maybe his .277/.296/.420/.716 April? Oh, you’re talking about the s l u m p he had in May/June. Yeah, baseball players don’t go through slumps. Especially not guys who are, perhaps, the 10-15th youngest in his league. That doesn’t happen, right?

    • hansman1982

      So, based off 2 weeks you’re proclaiming that Lake is a better ballplayer than Castro who has had 2 years of success and has hit pretty well over the past 150 PA?

      • Ivy Walls

        more snipes. Not that 150 AB’s prove that Lake is better, but as lines of progress go Lake is going where? UP

        And Castro has been going where for the last two seasons?

        • Scotti

          Last year Castro, per Baseball Reference, had his highest overall WAR.

          • Cyranojoe

            LMAO. Could you more effectively burn someone’s argument to ash than that? Dang, man.

        • hansman1982

          If we are using WAR, Castro’s 2012 was basically identical to his 2011 season. This year he had a 2 month slump and since then has a stretch of 150 PA where he has returned to his 2011 and 2012 seasons.

          So what we have is rougly 1500 PA of Castro being a 3 WAR player while Lake was in AA and AAA. August will be an interesting month for Lake. For the past 2 weeks, he has been outhitting Castro, can he keep that up?

    • mjhurdle

      Totally agree!!!
      We dont want players on our team that have only 2 All Star appearences by their 4th year in the league at age 23!!
      We demand All Star years EVERY YEAR!!!
      Which is why Junior Lake is such a prime example of what a Cub should be! He has never played a full Major League year without being an All Star!!!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Sori was very popular among Yankees fans, who viewed him as a “clutch” player due to some dramatic post-season hits. Until 2009, they were still talking about Sori’s HR off of Schilling that “should” have won the 2001 WS.

      As for the rest of your post, no, Lake is not rising, and Castro is not sinking. However, if you see a polyp, then call your doctor.

      • DarthHater

        “if you see a polyp, then call your doctor.”
        +1

        • mudge

          -1. Guess it’s hip to make vicious obscene insults here as long as they’re couched in hyperintellectual terms.

          • DarthHater

            And yet, it will never be as hip around here as a juvenile overreaction.

            • MichiganGoat

              +1 since that’s what we are doing now

              • DarthHater

                Your unprovoked attack makes up in viciousness what it lacks in hyperintellectuality. And you’re also a poopy head.

          • Bric

            dude, he’s just disagreeing with you. Vicious, obscene insult is a little over reactionary. Maybe a little off color but that’s about it unless you really did have a polyp. In that case I’m sure Doc would apologize. I’ve been reading his comments here for years and he’s generally very respectful.

            • DarthHater

              The robot has been getting a bit snarky lately. He probably needs a good hard drive scan to search for polyps. ;-)

          • Cyranojoe

            Obscene? Do you even know what a polyp is, dude?

    • hansman1982

      “Castro should be developing into the premier offensive shortstop this year, 23 yrs old and now he is sporting a negative WAR (-0.4), he is worse than what an average AAA replacement ”

      1. Castro is only 23 years old. The 10th youngest player in the league.
      2. a .4 WAR in either direction are a few singles that found a gap or a couple errors that a different scorer would have called a hit.
      3. The replacement player in WAR, typically, isn’t yet in AAA by the time they are 23 let alone being comparable to HoFers based on actual MLB production.

    • Cubman23

      The irony is that you’re declaring Castro a ‘flash’ after 2.5 successful years yet saying Lake is better after only a couple of weeks. Hilarious.

  • jeff1969

    I liked what Soriano said about using PEDs that got lost in the morass of the A-Rod drama yesterday. Though he wasn’t what I thought he was going to be a player on the field during his career as a Cub, he has proven himself to more valuable as a person, teammate, mentor, and possible future coach.

    • Scotti

      For me he WAS what I expected when he signed the contract until he got hurt. Then his numbers were well south of his former self but he worked his ass off and has put together a couple of decent couple of years here at the tail end of his contract. He’s far better now than ARod is, and Pujols will be, for their respective teams at the tail end of their deals.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      I like Soriano personally, and he was able to provide some good things at the plate, and at times in the field, but I don’t see anything about his history that tells me he is sound fundamentally. Don’t know if I want him as an instructor at any level.

      • Scotti

        A) if DR kids (and their families) know that they will work with Soriano as soon as they sign then that is a HUGE advantage for the Cubs. B ) Soriano’s work ethic is off the charts. If those kids pick up any of that then that is a HUGE advantage for the Cubs. C ) You would have other coaches who would be working with the kids on fundamentals. Soriano would, likely, not be committing to full time coaching in the DR.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          You’re probably right about his utility for a PR guy (PR in the DR), and agree on his work ethics, which would also be good for the young guys to see. As long as he isn’t instructing the kids on the “bunny hop” he would be good to have around in some capacity.

  • mudge

    We could think of Neal as part of the Soriano trade.

    • DarthDieHard

      Soriano was the down payment on Neal.

      • MichiganGoat

        You forgot the emoji
        👇💰

        • DarthDieHard

          You think I’m not serious?

          • MichiganGoat

            You are obviously behind on The Diehardian Handbook… All post must use pictures to say words… didn’t you get the 📋 (emoji picture of a memo)

    • wilbur

      Exactly, Neal is a direct result of the soriano trade. One of the reasons to launch Fonsi was to regain the roster spot on the 40 man roster. Having Sori parked there with no real longterm benefit has meant that the cubs’ 41′st guy was exposed to waiver claims by other teams. For a rebuilding team having your 41′st guy repeatedly swiped by other teams because you lack roster flexiblilty due to bad contraccts of ageing veteran players is a serious setback. Shedding Sorinano added roster flexibility,and caused the yankees to tie up their 40 man roster with sori and have to expose Neal to the cubs waiver claim. The cubs in effect received in the deal, a class A pitcher in Black, and then a class AAA. RH OF that they can use this year on the big league club when the rosters expand. I think Neal has a good chance of sticking with the clubs over the winter too. He may be seen as having more potential than some of the other 40 man AAA level players who aren’t seen as ongoing prospects at this point. Getting rid of the last player with a no trade clause and among the last big league roster Hendry guys is progress and enables the front office to start to operate like a pro franchise and not a retirement home for overpaid comfort class players.

      Doesn’t even matter if Neal makes it or not, at least the team can make the move and evaluate him, maybe he surprises everyone and fits as a platoon player. Worked for Shierholtz and keeps the team from having to overpay to try and sign a free agent OF to fix a need/gap for next season. Great move by the FO, so nice of the yankees to oblige.
      Now the FO has a bit more ability to backfill the void of prospects in the higher levels of the cubs farm system. Waiver deals like the Neal pickup is the kind of move that is needed until the higher rated prospect in the cubs system can move up from A ball to AA and then AAA. This is still going to take awhile to happen, I’d say two years minimum and three is more realistic. No compensation picks next year either if you want to keep the prospects moving up and being replaced, which means guys like Neal have a real shot at playing time on the big club.
      Sorry for the length of this, but the tie up of the 40 man roster spot was probably my biggest gripe with having Soriano parked on the cubs for year after year. Made it much harder for the team to get better. The cubs 40 man roster is going to see the same thorough turnover that the 25 man has now, and it is about time. .

      • another JP

        That’s a great analysis Wilbur and brings up how important it was for the FO to shed the difficult contracts that blocked other prospects or waiver pickups. The Cubs now have the ability to upgrade immediately at virtually any position if the opportunity presents itself- even SS or 1B if they wanted to.

  • terencemann

    “To my mind, all the Cubs did was spare Sandberg the indignity of managing a train wreck or two, and having the city’s meatballs turn on him, before he was ultimately fired for things out of his control.”

    I’m with you %100 on this sentiment. I feel like this was probably hard for Sandberg to swallow since people like him, who have rarely failed in life, probably believe they can make a difference against impossible odds.

  • mudge

    Sandberg felt he’d earned a chance to manage in the bigs. Quality of the team might not be germane to his feelings.

    • wvcubsfan

      Since he’s still not a ML manager perhaps he’s the only one that feels he’s earned a chance.

    • Nate

      Didn’t Don Mattingly have a similar issue. He thought it was his ‘turn’ to manage. He got his shot and so will Ryno (I think). There have been other manager positions open up and he hasn’t gotten any of them either

      • mudge

        He’s being groomed in Philly. Should be a fun gig.

        • Noah

          The Philadelphia job won’t be a fun one. That’s a mediocre and aging team with a GM who refuses to admit that his team has gotten old, a maxed out payroll, and a mediocre at best farm system.

          I wouldn’t be shocked if the Phillies finish last in the NL East 2 or the next 3 seasons, unless Loria sells off all of the Marlins’ young, cheap talent for younger, cheaper people. Because all Loria likes is cheap players.

  • On The Farm

    MLBTR put up their story on reverse standings and since the Cubs have been on their skid they are only two games back of the Brewers (#4) and 5 games back on the Fish (#3). They hold a slim .5 game lead on the Twins for a top 5 pick.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/reversestandings2014

    • wilbur

      Nice. A top three pick is within reach. Not that I want the team to lose, but I do want them to get as High a pick as possible.

      • On The Farm

        A top three pick is the ideal position to be in because it always seems like you *can’t* go wrong that far at the top. This looks like its shapping up to be a pretty good draft so the top 5 won’t be a bad thing, but I would really like the Cubs to be at least at #3 because I like Vandy’s ace.

        • JulioZuleta

          Three’s going to be real hard. The White Sox, Marlins and Astros are really, really terrible. I love watching the Sox sink to the bottom of the standings while also having a bottom 3 farm system. They’re in for a rough stretch.

          • jaslhill

            Good ol’ fashioned White Sox hate. I love it. Too man people in my office trying to be PC, “I just want them both to do well”. No, pick a side.

        • daveyrosello

          Corey Patterson, Luis Montanez, and Josh Vitters all say hi.

          • On The Farm

            I didn’t say it was impossible to make the wrong pick, hence the *can’t*, but thanks for playing.

  • DarthHater

    Wayne Randazzo ‏@WayneRandazzo 3m
    Albert Almora expected to miss a few games for @KCCougars with hip flexor injury. Came out early during Sunday’s game. #Cubs

  • dan

    So we actualy got Blake and Neil for Sori?

    • MichiganGoat

      If that’s how you want to read it but they are two completely different transactions.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    It is reported that E. Sanchez is the odd man out of the pen and being sent down to Iowa.

  • CubsFaninMS

    I guess we can say the Oakland Athletics avoided having a Colon-oscopy yesterday?

    • DarthHater

      Hey, enough with the hyperintellectual, vicious, obscene attacks, okay? :-P

      • CubsFaninMS

        Ha I’ll try man.

  • Dustin S

    Off-topic, but sad to read today that Dave Parker is battling Parkinson’s. Hey could absolutely crush a ball back in the day. I’m just old enough to remember the great Pirate’s teams of the late 70s with Parker, Madlock, Candeleria, Tekulve, etc. Every season if the Cubs don’t make the playoffs, I have to pull for the Pirates and Royals. MLB is better when they are competitive.

    • kmr1453

      Love the Cobra.

    • MoneyBoy

      Talk about an arm from RF !!! Woah!

  • Justin

    Ahhh I hate seeing comments about what pick the cubs could get if they continue to tank. I hate it. I’m just a 19 year old kid, who has been a diehard fan as long as I can remember. I know this is a lost year, but I honestly want us to finish strong and actually win. Having just a little bit of momentum going into next year would be big for guys like Castro and Rizz who haven’t been on a Cubs team that has had any success. Whenever I read about people talking about our top prospects (Baez, Almora, Bryant, Soler, Alcantra, etc.) there is always that one guy that says “Well, more than likely only 1 or 2 of these guys will make it to the majors with success”. So why freak out about getting a top 5 or 3 pick? if we got 9 or 10 that’d be great, because if we are in the 5 spot now it would mean we would end up winning some more games and finishing the year strong. I want more than anything for us to compete, and I think it can happen next year if we give the guys the young guys that have proven themselves in the majors some hope. Just had to rant, thoughts?

    • MichiganGoat

      So you hate it… got it.

    • DarthHater

      I agree. I like to see the team I root for win more games. Just old-fashioned that way, I guess.

    • http://. Sven-Erik312

      You’re wise beyond your years. I’m 60 and agree. Winning is much better that loosing!

      • wvcubsfan

        More we want More!!! It’s not complicated, more is better than less.

        • DarthHater

          Now that I think about it, I want to win more games and get a higher draft pick!

          • CubsFaninMS

            I like the idea of a sort of hop-skip-jump this offseason. Get a good draft pick this season and execute a very strong strategy to compete next season. The teams in the mid-range see no good draft pick and no success at the MLB level. Obviously easier said than done, but I hope they decide this off season is the year to do it.

            • nkniacc13

              Id like a top 10 pick so that if the FO decides to go get a guy that has had an offer they don’t lose that 1st rd [pick. With the new CBA and draft allountment I want wins but understand that losses help increase draft pool. What could be interesting to see is if they have a huge IFA pool is that in trading some of that away next year they could actually get decent prospects back because of how much they have and the penalties that go on in next years IFA market

              • CubsFaninMS

                I outlined a plan a couple of weeks ago that I think would be perfect.

                1) Get in Top 10 protected draft pick status this year, get very solid draft pick.
                2) Make a couple of major splashes this off season that have a draft pick attached to them.
                3) Make a major splash for an ace by trading a couple of players from our thorougly-stocked farm system and a controllable major leaguer (Barney? Russell? Castro?).

                We can have a team north of .500 next year and semi-competetive if all of the cards fall corrrectly.

          • hansman1982

            I’d be perfectly happy drafting with the #30 pick each and every year.

    • CubsFaninMS

      Justin:

      I think many people on here have just as much of a winning spirit as you do but, in what will largely be seen as a down year, we’re looking at the positives. One positive is the good draft pick; another positive is getting a look-see at some of our youngsters at the MLB level because there is a roster spot open for them. You have a good point, though: We can be a competetive team next year, although being a playoff contender would be a shock. Welcome to the board man.

      • MoneyBoy

        Well said !!!!

        • CubsFaninMS

          Thank you

          • Justin

            Thank you sir. Patience and being a cubs fan don’t mix well. I’m learning!

    • On The Farm

      I wouldn’t say I am rooting for them to lose. When I watch the games I don’t cheer everytime a Cub strikes out or get sad when Gregg gets out of a jam to win the game, I enjoy the heck out of it. But I am not going to ignore the fact that right now the Cubs are projected to get the #5 pick, and that in all likelihood they aren’t that far away from getting a better pick. I think most people can agree if we are going to pick in top 10 of the draft why not want the best position to get the best guy. If the Cubs can get on a hot streak and get close to .500 that will make me happy too.

    • Nate

      More than that I want to see wins with guys like Rizzo, Castro, Lake, Watkins, Rusin, Arieta and whoever else comes up in the next couple of months being the reason why or big contributors in the win. This season is gone but I still watch and root for this team and want wins today and to be able to see lots more wins in the future

    • miggy80

      I think this is the point the front office is pushing (“play hard, play the Cubs way and the wins will come). I really doubt that the Cubs FO would set them up to have more losses. With that being said they will still make moves to see what a guy “gots”, and some of those moves will lead to losses. I believe all of this talk about where we pick in the draft next year is only for the fans to debate as the front office strives to develop the Cubs way, and they will not sacrifice that plan to draft a couple spots higher next year.

  • RizzoCastro

    My question for everyone on here is who do the Cubs go after this offseason? Do we see any trades? Maybe a Castro and Shark deal to the Dbacks or someone else or maybe they give Shark a nice 5 year extension. How many pitcher will they sign this offseason. How many outfielders will they sign. Who will be play 3B next year for the MLB team. Barney is he still a Cub next year. Also who will be the Cubs new Closer? How about Alberto Cabrera… I think he could see some time in Sept. this year. I would like to hear from some true Cub fans on these and more questions.

    • CubsFaninMS

      I believe Samardzija and the front office are playing somewhat of a game of chicken that I predict will come to a head this off season. Samardzija didn’t want to talk contract extension unti he proved he was an ace ($$ payday $$). He has not done so thus far. If he continues at his current pace, either he’ll need to lower his salary expectations or the Cubs will deal him if a key trade opportunity arises.

      • RizzoCastro

        Agreed. If the no sign happens I look for a big deal going to the Dbacks and a ton coming in return.

      • wvcubsfan

        So your saying that contract talks are like acne? Will it be quick and painful (fingernails) for slow and painless (Oxy)?

  • nkniacc13

    Im not sure you will see a bunch of trades I think you wil see a couple but with Arreita and Cabrera out of options I think the cubs will find spots for them first and fore most. If they resign Sweeney then unless they move an OF they may not sign one this offseason. As far as Barney I think they want AA to get some triple a atbats and so they may either move Barney which I doubt or maybe Watkins. I think Strop is next years closer.

    • RizzoCastro

      I agree with a lot of that. I think they may add another OF and add some starting pitching. I also think they will make a big trade. I think they will also sign a few good BP guys.

      • willis

        I think you can re-sign Sweeney and have your outfield for 2014. DeJesus, Schierholtz, Sweeney, Lake and a RH platoon guy. A lot depends on Lake’s development but let’s say he keeps hitting decently the rest of the year and plays ok defense.

        The keys for me are two things-adding a 1/2 type arm and finding production at 2B and 3B. Will they (do they need to) go outside the organization for that? Trick there is that eventually, and maybe even sometime by end of 2014, Baez, Olt, Bryant and Alcantara could be ready (surely not all, but maybe a couple). Going to be hard to get anything decent by pitching to someone they are a fill in until the young talent is ready.

        So my guess is Barney is still the 2B until AA is ready. 3B? Who the hell knows. In the short term it looks as disasterous as it is now. Long term there are three options, two of them insanely good with the bat (Baez and Bryant) and then Olt. But as for who can start there in 2014…anyone’s guess?

        • RizzoCastro

          Cruz on a one year deal with a club option with a buy out looks good to me.

  • On The Farm

    Our rotation is pretty set with Samardjiza, Wood, Jackson, Arrieta since there is no where else for them to go, Villanueva most likely fills the rotation out since he will still be under control. They could go sign another SP to be the #5 and then as far as depth it would go 1. Villanueva, 2. Rusin, 3. Cabrera (most likely starts the year in the bullpen), 4. Grimm, 5. Hendricks, 6. Raley.

    We will have to see if Lake gets any work at 3B, I would still wager a guess that our positional players that are locked are C- Castillo, 1B- Rizzo, SS- Castro, 3B-Valbuena, RF- Schierholtz, CF/LF- Lake. I think there is a shot that Olt or Vitters could come up and split a platoon with Valbuena, and then when Valbuena plays that Lake shifts to CF, Vitters/Olt play LF.

    The pen should be some combination of Parker, Russell, and Strop near the back end. and the middle relief guys could be any number (Cabrera, Raley and Rusin, Dolis, on and on).

    That pretty much leaves finding a back up catcher, and another SP. If they sign a SP they can have Villanueva in the pen. Sappelt would be the 4th OF. Obviously I left out DeJesus, but I think he could be traded. I left 2B open because I am not sure what to do there. Obviously they can retain Barney or trade him and use Watkins until Alacantra is ready. Just my thoughts

    • RizzoCastro

      All very good thoughts. I agree with most of that. I think Vitters/Olt in LF could be a huge deal for both of them. I think I would have Olt play 3B and LV play 2B. Trade Barney for some pitching depth. Strop, Russell, Parker, Cabrera, Villanueva, sign a couple relief pitchers, and 1 SP through trade or sign. I think they will make a play for David Price. I also think Cruz could be a fit for the Cubs as his value may be low with the PED’s. I don’t want a cheater on the team but I also think people deserve a second chance.

  • CubsFaninMS

    The lineup tonight…

    DeJesus
    Lake
    Rizzo
    Schierholtz
    Castro
    Castillo
    Barney
    Murphy

    • willis

      3B has been and short term will be such a black hole for this team. Another reason to hate Ian Stewart for sucking and being an injury baby.

      • RizzoCastro

        I think LV has played very well this year no he isn’t someone with a ton of power and high avg. but he has a good OBP and he works the count. I think he would play rather well at 2B until AA is ready and put Olt at 3B and let the Cubs see what he can do.

        • willis

          LV has been ok. But the last few weeks he’s fallen on some rough times and now is injured. I actually liked him there this year and thought he played pretty good defense. Now with him struggling and out, with nothing ready for the future, looks kind of gross.

          Out of all the options though, he’s probably the best one when healthy.

  • nkniacc13

    I think they will make a couple of trades because basically they have their roster under contract for next year right now. I think they may make 1 mlb trase and 1 milb trade. They will be able to clear some off 40 man pretty easy but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a 40 man trade as well

  • http://permalink toby taylor

    on the farm– forgot one more sp possibility coming in for next year too.. scott baker if he comes back healthy and possibly signing a 1/2yr on the downside bcuz the cubs already paid him 6 mil this yr not to pitch. so sp is shark, wood, ejax, rusin/arrieta,and baker with cv as the long man outta the pen(he actually works well in that 1-2 inning workout).still need as it seems someone that can get onbase at a pretty large clip and maybe someone with some hr pop-maybe fixed internally or free agents

  • nkniacc13

    I think it maybe another offseason before the Cubs make that really big offseason trade unless Baez is dealt because I just think that the cubs have to get their top prospects to atleast High A before they get good value in a trade for a #1 pitcher or something like that

    • RizzoCastro

      Well most of the Cubs top prospects are at least in high A so IDK about that. I think the Cubs could go get Price or Stanton. If the trade Shark I think they might be able to go get both of those guys.

      • RizzoCastro

        But they would have to clean house with their system and start fresh. I don’t see happening, but I think they could get Price for not to bad of a haul.

      • nkniacc13

        You have Soler, Baez, Edwards and Johnson at High A and that’s really it. As For Price hes likely to cost you atleast 1 of the big 4 plus atleast 1 of their top arms

        • RizzoCastro

          Baez and AA are in double A right now. Soler should be in double A right now but is on the DL. Edwards and Johnson will more than likely move up to double A next year. I agree it will take a lot to get Price, but he is really good.

          • CubsFaninMS

            We would only be getting one year of him, though, right?

            • MichiganGoat

              Any trade discussion with Price would include an extension.

    • JOE

      I could see the FO willing to part with a package of top prospects for somebody like Price or Stanton ONLY IF one of those guys was the missing piece of the puzzle that would yield a championship-caliber team. Obviously that is not going to be the case this offseason, and probably won’t be the case next offseason either. Therefore, I’d be really surprised to see them go after any marquee names in a trade. Free agency may be a different story, we’ll see.

      • nkniacc13

        I doubt you see them go hard in FA this year unless the price drops for some and more importantly they have a protected pick. It will be interesting to see if they make a run at either Price or Stanton this offseason.

  • DarthHater

    Just caught Bert tweeting during his vacation. Shame shame! :-P

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