Kris BryantDon’t forget: there’s a special on BN apparel (like that there swell t-shirt you see on the right side of the site) going right now where you can get free shipping on any order. Just use the coupon code “BNSHIP,” and get your order in before August 19.

  • Jesse Rogers wrote a controversial piece yesterday for which the title says it all: “Bryant Should Be Cubs’ Starting 3B in 2014.” In the piece, Rogers argues just that about Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, who was drafted in June, and was just promoted from short-season low-A ball to High-A this week. Pointing to Bryant’s early success, lack of huge holes in his swing, and ability to take walks, Rogers says that Bryant should be able to win the third base job out of Spring Training for the Cubs, given their obvious need there. I’ll credit Rogers for making a bold argument, and offering a lengthy piece in support of that argument. Too often, writers will throw out controversial bits just to drum up attention/clicks/discussion, and won’t even bother to offer any kind of rationale for the position. Rogers isn’t doing that. If you read the article, he makes his point, and then he goes through a wide variety of supporting arguments (including taking on some of the obvious counterarguments). Rogers even acknowledges that he’s going out on a limb a bit. I don’t agree with Rogers in a number of ways on this one, but I don’t think he was just trying to get attention.
  • That all said, I just don’t see any way that Bryant breaks camp with the Cubs. Setting aside the unlikelihood of jumping from High-A to the majors – and doing so in the players first full professional season – there are roster and service time considerations at play that would likely outweigh any thoughts that Bryant might be so much better than the other third base options that he just has to start in April. Primarily, if the Cubs keep Bryant down at least a month, they’ll get an extra year of control over him (in his prime), the value of which is extremely hard to quantify. If the Cubs keep him down until at least mid-season, he’ll likely not qualify for Super Two (and an expensive extra year of arbitration). No one wants to publicly talk about those considerations, but they are legitimate. I think the earliest we see Bryant with the Cubs is mid-2014, and even that would require him coming on like a freight train.
  • If the Cubs do not even consider pursuing any third basemen this offseason (and I don’t expect them to), it could be a signal that the Cubs expect Bryant (or Mike Olt, or Javier Baez) to be up with the big club at some point in 2014. In the interim, they could continue with a Luis Valbuena/someone else platoon (maybe bringing back Donnie Murphy or Cody Ransom on the cheap).
  • Keith Law with Jason McLeod on his podcast? Yeah, that’s *must* listen. One big “news” piece that came out of the interview: the Cubs are planning on having Arodys Vizcaino pitch in the “fall league,” which I take to mean the Arizona Fall League, as opposed to instructional ball. That would be awesome, and would set the Cubs up to be able to really evaluate where he’s at in terms of game-readiness, heading into 2014. Vizcaino, you’ll recall, was on his way back from Tommy John surgery this past year when he suffered a setback that forced him to have a second elbow procedure, and caused him to miss the season.
  • Matt Guerrier won’t be back with the Cubs this season, but he’s getting a second opinion on his torn flexor mass (it’s a forearm thing) before getting surgery, which would put him out six to eight months. He’s a candidate to return to the Cubs next year on a minor league deal.
  • Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro continue to struggle.
  • Tim Baffoe interviews the creators of FacebookCubs, which, in case you didn’t know, brought us the beautiful “#Cubes.”
  • Alfonso Soriano has four homers and 13 RBI in his last two games with the Yankees. In the process, he raised his OPS by 44 points. Good for him.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers have won 40 of their last 48 games. That is *insane.*
  • MLB owners could decide today on an all-encompassing instant replay system, which would kick in for 2014. It would include the ability to review all plays except balls and strikes. This would obviously be huge news, so we’ll be on the lookout.
  • Kevin F.

    Jesse Rogers was a hack covering the Blackhawks, where he fell in love with Big Buff and lamented his departure for 2 years, and he’s no better covering the Cubs. Pencil-in-eye “journalism”.

    • Jon

      He was one of those hockey “elitists” too. Really talked down to fans he perceived as not knowing much about the game. It’s quite ironic now actually.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Not defending Jesse Rogers in general, but Big Buff was HUGE for the hawks and still doesn’t get enough credit. Could play forward or defense, got in front of the net, where others feared to tread (or were too weak to hold their position), and had some good speed.

  • hansman1982

    “but I don’t think he was just trying to get attention”

    I also don’t think it is an article that is quite to the level of someone who is the Cubs beat writer for ESPN.

    • CubFan Paul


  • Noah

    For what it’s worth, I asked Klaw during his chat yesterday what he thought of Jesse Rogers’ opinion on the Kris Bryant subject, and he said that he strongly, strongly disagrees.

  • JM

    Great article. I’m among the rest that would love to see Bryant come up, but only if he’s ready to come up and stay. If not, I can wait.

  • Norm

    ah, the roller coaster that is Starlin Castro.
    People say he regressed get shot down with “It’s just a slump”.
    People who said it was just a slump, start saying “told you so” when he goes on a short hot streak.
    Now we’re back to slump and the “regressed” people will go back to “I told you so” to the “It’s just a slump” people.

    I wonder when the next arbitrary end point will kick in…

    • TWC

      August 24th at 3:17 PDT.

    • Ivy Walls

      no slump, just no development. He has turned into a RF hitter.

      His BABIP has fallen to league average after his first two years operating just under .350, last year it fell to below .300 and now it is in the poor range. OBP is below league average.

      What I see is the inability to recognize the pitch and he relies on his high level hand coordination and striking the ball, that said the league is pitching away, away and away

      Look at his hits and outs. hits are bunched to left field in the OF but outs are bunched at the SS/ 3B and 2B, fly ball outs are bunched in Center left and Right Center while almost no flyouts to Left,

      • Ivy Walls

        sorry the picture didn’t load Castros numbers, here is his BABIP[img][/img]

        • terencemann

          That img isn’t working, either.

  • EQ76

    Best case scenario for Bryant (IMO) is that he keeps killing it this year in high A, starts off 2014 in AA and keeps up this ridiculous pace, then gets a June/July 2014 call up. Really, if a player’s ready, he’s ready, no matter how fast it happens. However, my gut says that he’ll slow down the pace a bit and maybe even go through a slump or two and still be on track for 2015, but who knows? I’d love to see a 2014 call up.

    • EQ76

      Bryant is who I’m referring to.

  • GoCubsGo

    Jesse Rogers is a hockey reporter not a baseball guy. ESPNChicago should be embarrassed they put him on the cubs beat

    • cls

      He’s not even a hockey reporter. He was AWFUL covering the Hawks for ESPN. He’s terrible no matter what sport he covers. He doesn’t understand the teams he covers and comes up with these wild pure speculation stories in an attempt to get fans to click on his articles.

      Trash, pure and simple.

      • GoCubsGo

        Well I’ll disagree with you there. I thought he was a pretty good hawks beat reporter. The problem is he just doesn’t know baseball. I feel like most educated commenters on this site are more more knowledgeable then he is. He doesn’t understand player development or anything about advanced statistical analysis. I think the reason ESPNChicago likes him is bc he is actually really good on radio. He may not know a 100% what he is talking about but whenever he’s on ESPN 1000 (which is fairly often) he definitely is a pretty solid radio personality but that does not justify him getting the cubs beat. (He has admitted before on radio that he’d much rather have the Blackhawks beat).

        I think “Serious Cubs Fan” suggested it a couple day ago but I think Sahadev should take over the cubs beat full time for the cubs. I think there trying to find an eventual replacement for Brucd Levine who is getting a little long in the tooth

  • Korean Goat

    A male ballet dancer’s 2-run homerun yesterday :) He is Esmailin Caridad’s team-mate.

  • jt

    Christian Villanueva’s OPS for July and August just about 0.900.
    Short Sample Size? His OPS for the year 0.794 despite a horrible April.
    I too consider Alcantara to be the better prospect but his OPS for 2013 is 0.790.
    IMO, Villanueva should be getting AB’s in Iowa while Olt should be reestablishing himself with The Smokies.
    What would Villanueva’s trade value be if he could establish himself at AAA and even 100 PA’s in Chicago before the 2014 AS break?

  • Ivy Walls

    OKAY I am going to be more radical and offer this response to Rogers.

    No I don’t see Bryant coming out of Spring Training for all the contractual-financial reasons that Brett offers substantiated by the fact that the Ricketts family is all about finances and how that is the foundation of their empire and thinking. Yes we could see Bryant sometime near July if he continues to ascend through the system. What I expect is that out of ST Bryant is moved to AA where the Cubs have already moved Villanueva to AAA at the start.

    But more radical is the development that the Cubs traded Castro in the off season for LH pitching and a young MLB ready catcher. I suspect the deal will offer Cubs prospects/AAA players in return, but using Castro to build more pitching (more is better, more) and also opening a path for Baez. In the process Cubs will move Barney to SS, put Valbuena at 2B platooning with FA pick up who hits RH and also bring up Olt at 3B.

    That is radical and smart. It unloads a young player who is not performing or developing and was given the mantle of a star and would send a message throughout the organization that production and work is key.

    • Ivy Walls


      ubs have [will] already moved Villanueva to AAA at the start [of the `14 campaign].

      I will add that Villanueva is prime trade bait now that the Cubs have Bryant, Olt and Candelario who has earned the promotion to A+ when Bryant is moved to AA

  • Cubbie in NC

    I only want to see Bryant at 3rd next year if the decision has been made that he is going to stay there. That means that Olt and Baez are in other positions or traded or are not performing. I see no reason to rush him up if he is going to have to make a position change in the majors.

    • willis

      Hey, I’m in North Carolina right now.

      But your point is well taken, if he is going to have to make a position change, then I think there is plenty of time to groom him in the minors under much less pressure then rushing him up to play a new position. This kid is going to be a cornerstone for this organization’s rebuild, no need to f that up.

  • CubFan Paul

    The all-encompassing instant replay system has to include balls and strikes or i’m not interested.

    Umping has fallen off by a mile in recent years, but I guess they have a union too.

    • Kevin

      Unions are a joke! Corrupt people lining their pockets while limiting new technologies to improve the product.

      • terencemann

        Let’s not go there…..

      • CubsFaninMS

        Yes, that is a topic heading down a dangerous road. Read the book “Shadowbosses” if you have an interest in that subject. Very eye opening.

        • cubmig

          ……Book must be about the corrupt corporate greediness lording over everything that threatens protecting their lust for money…..

    • Eternal Pessimist

      I’m remembering the radically wide strike zones of the 80’s, and thinking the umpiring is probably not worse for balls and strikes…and may be a lot bigger. Anyone have evidence one way or another??

      • Eternal Pessimist

        ‘bigger’ = ‘better’

  • GoCubsGo

    Jesse Rogers, Go Home Your Drunk!!!!

  • Bwa

    I think the only way we see bryant next year is if he is killing it at AA and the cubs are making a playoff push and need his bat.

  • Rizzofanclub

    The only way the Cubs bring up Bryant in 2014 is if they make a few moves this off season and find themselves in the playoff race midseason with a black hole at 3rd. Give Olt or Villanueva a chance first and Baez is or should be our 2nd baseman. Bring Bryant and Soler up midseason 2015.

    • GoCubsGo

      Exactly. Completely agree only bring him up if its a Manny Machado situation with the Orioles. If they need him for a playoff push and nobody steps up then that is the only way I see him getting called up but he’d still have to be hitting well in the minors to even be considered getting called up midseason next year

  • Jason Powers

    No supporting the Bryant thing just for doing it, BUT:

    1) if by June 1st, he’s tearing up AA-AAA ( .320BA+.550SLG, so, promoted for good reasons), I can’t see the problem in moving him to the show, then.

    (Evan Longoria had about 800 ABs before his promotion at 22 in 2008. Bryant had 600 ABs in college – roughly Rookie/A+ ball. So if Bryant gets 250ABs at/above AA, he “could” be ready. He too is going to be 22.)

    2) if cost is the sole reason, it is really no reason at all.
    A)the payroll is substantially down;

    B) other talent is in the minors (Cubs have 3-4 3B prospects of note: 2 of which Olt and Vitters are likelier by the day, busts. But they all could turn out – creating a GOOD log jam) and these other talents are currently cost controlled;

    C) the team needs a marketing/revenue plan too – Is it Castro, Rizzo, Bryant and who’s on 2nd? (Barney) – gives them immediately a youthful infield identity.

    If Bryant quickly proves to be the real deal Holyfield, you lock him up to an extension before arbitration kicks. Solves the cost structure – paying for young, performing athletes, while avoiding high-priced FAs. I mean, that seems to be the course you take if you really like a guy (Rizzo, got the nod.)

    Will Castro be a trade piece? The evaluation of talent process never ends.
    Not mad if Castro or Barney are trade pieces to a grander scheme.

    I won’t be sad if Bryant is on the MLB club early June. And I am not worried about payroll. We traded Soriano – and got 6.8M of that back – so, worse things could transpire.

    Just my overall opinion.

    • Ivy Walls

      I will bet that Alcantara is at 2B and leading off for a years to come. He has the savvy evidenced by stealing home…has pop and switch hitter.

      Yes I very well could see the Cubs fielding an everyday lineup of Alcantara, Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Soler, Almora and Lake; they need at least one possibly two left handed bats. Catcher would be nice and an OF’er where Lake turns into a super utility starter giving rest and injury starts across the OF and IF.

      Of course if the NL goes DH (soon) they have a thumper in the minors but also there is this big Cuban who is said to be better than all.

      • Jason Powers

        I didn’t want to muddy the waters with Alcantara, but he’s on track to come into the fold.

        I will be curious to see what trades are done in the off-season to clear up the vision forward. Rule 5 draft guys, the marginal players in MLB, Bullpen pieces, and what, if any FAs we acquire. Let’s see what shakes out.

        Good response.

    • JM

      Who’s on first…

  • rich

    Agreed , Rogers is a hack ! He was less then average covering the Hawks , and he’s very condescending . Bryant won’t have a chance at the Cubs before midseason 2014 I don’t believe .

  • kubphan82

    Rogers disguised his efforts in trying to grab attention. The Cubs have other 3B to start the season on the 40-man already. That includes Christian Villanueva and Mike Olt. Yes, Bryant probably has the talent to overtake them; however, the Cubs would be sacrificing some control over Bryant AND completely losing two young prospects in Olt/Villanueva.

    I wouldn’t have been surprised if after a little research that the conclusion of the the article should have been “Bryant is the most talented 3B option for 2014, look for mid season call-up”. Because Villanueva/Olt will have more of a shot to make the team out of ST with Valbuena moving to utility or 2B.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      I think his article is rooting from the fact that there is no better option at MLB 3B than Kris Bryant in 2014.

    • CubsFaninMS

      If I were the front office, this would be my plan, contingincies included of course:

      Luis Valbuena – Keep him around in 2014 and possibly use as starting third baseman as a placeholder.

      Mike Olt – It’s sink or swim time for Olt. If the Cubs see significant improvement by the start of next season, have him take Valbuena’s place. A platoon role may not be wise but is a possibility.

      Christian Villanueva – If they see significant improvement from Olt, move Villanueva up to AAA. If Olt does not signficantly improve, use Villanueva or Olt as a trade chip in the offseason or spring training.

      Kris Bryant – Promote based on K rate, walk rate, pitch selection, and fielding prowess. Nothing earlier than a mid-season 2014 call-up and that is only if he’s absolutely killing the pitching in AA next season.

      • willis

        Olt needs to show a shitload more to the organization before he is even a thought at 3B for the Cubs. He had another sterling 0-4 with 2 Ks today. I think it’s fair to say he’s terrible. I’m much more intrigued with the idea of Villanueva finishing strong and getting some time at AAA next season then coming up to split time with Valbuena until Bryant is ready.

        The idea of Bryant in 2014 is fun and exciting, but is it the best thing? We’ll see how he continues to develop as he moves up. No need to rush things.

        • Edwin

          Maybe we should see how Villanueva handles AAA first. I think Olt deserves at least one more season to see if he can get back to 2012 form.

          • willis

            One more season in AAA? That’s fine with me, and put Villanueva at 2B, playing 3B on Olt’s off days.

            I don’t want Olt anywhere near the big league team at this point. He just isn’t very good right now. There’s no point. I do think Villanueva has proven just about enough at AA to warrant starting in AAA next season. I also believe he’ll be a better major leaguer than Olt.

    • jt

      “Because Villanueva/Olt will have more of a shot to make the team out of ST with Valbuena moving to utility or 2B.”
      Just a really well thought out and well presented post.

  • cubsfanforever

    It’s beat up on a reporter day… What about the possibility that they feel they need to put a player out there that fans actually care about coming to see. The gates are getting worse and at some point you have to fill the stands. OK maybe not Bryant but someone that can bring some excitement and a reason for hope and a reason to spend your money to go to a game.

    • Jon

      Wouldn’t that be the job of Carrie Muskat then? I thought she does the fluff/feel good pieces. That’s not the job of beat reporters who don’t work for the team.

    • DarthHater

      The FO has a responsibility to determine where Bryant should play based on what is in the best interest of his overall development and in the best interest of the overall development of the ML team. If they bring him to Chicago any sooner than that in order to appease fan whining, they should be fired.

      • hansman1982

        This. The second they get a guy just for the fanbase is the second this FO group is doomed to failure.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Except that the gate money buys extra players. Not sure how much Bryant would increase the gate, but if he could bring in an extra million, clearly not worth it. If he could bring in an extra 10-15 million, maybe worth it after all…that buys one extra 10-15 million dollar player.

          • ssckelley

            The Cubs are about to surpass 2 million, they had 33K announced for a Tuesday night game. For a team that has no hopes for the playoffs they are still 7th in the NL for attendance. Bringing a kid up prematurely to bring a few extra fans to the ballpark is not going to do much for the payroll.

      • CubsFaninMS

        I agree, Darth. One reason clearly outlined in his article was that there was a dire need for a third baseman at the big league level. That is an illogical argument. You call up the Donnie Murphy’s and J.C. Boscans to fill immediate roles. You don’t call up the Bryant’s, Baez’s, and Almora’s for that need. It’s no secret that our higher prospects need to be ready before you throw them into the spotlight.

      • Die hard

        Almost a FO criticism — but still smacks of shilling as you complimented them at same time– it’s almost as if u had to say something borderline negative to quash suspicions that you may be Theos best friend– thus– Shill alert 👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻

    • JM

      Screw the gates… marketing is certainly a part of their business, which an end goal is to make money. But bringing in a guy to fill the stands for a few weeks brings in peanuts compared to a competitive team heading to the World Series.

      Only when he’s ready!

  • SenorCub

    Bryant is not coming up in 2014, period! The minors have three top 10 prospects (Bryant, Olt, Baez) vying for the 3rd base of the future. So it’s either you hope that one of the three turns out to be your stud for many years to come or you simply have too many at that position that could be traded for better prospects elsewhere. Sounds like Baez is the closest at being ready.

    • EQ76

      eh.. not sure.. really, we don’t know how close Bryant really is or isn’t. We need more time to see. If he keeps destroying the ball in high A, he’ll probably start next year in AA and we’ll see how he does. If he’s ready, he’s ready.. despite all of our “expert opinions”. Probably 2 of the other 3B prospects will get dealt within the next 2 years anyways.

  • baseballet

    I like Jesse and I also like his article. I don’t know if Bryant will be ready for the majors so soon, but if the Cubs think he’s truly a game changing talent and that he’s ready then I want them to bring him up. It costs Ricketts more money in the future but the Cubs need a jolt of excitement. It’s been too long without any exciting position players. If they’re not going to spend on any free agent bridge players to give us a decent team to watch then the least they can do is absorb the additional cost of an early promotion.

  • Chad

    Everyone assumes Baez moves to third. Maybe castro moves to second. maybe castro moves to another team in a deal for a legit arm. who knows.

    • GoCubsGo

      If Castro moves to 2nd then his value drops significantly. His profiles better at SS. He’d be fine at 2nd. To have a plus bat a SS is much more valuable then a guy who has the same bat but plays at 2nd

    • Ivy Walls

      Alcantara is a better option at 2B, long term. Castro gets moved. His contract is okay, a team will want experience, youth, control cost and get their guy belief to correct his hitting problem,

      new scenery, new attitude and less pressure.

      Castro represents the old regime (see Samardzija as well) both traded for value and a whole new Cubs Way team is brought up.

      Baez is the SS of the future. Bryant is the 3B of the future.

      • another JP

        You may be right… an infield of Bryant, Baez, Alcantara, and Rizzo would be awesome with the power and speed it provides, but the fielding could be a bit nasty for a couple years with that group. I think Bryant starts 2014 in AA and opens the 2015 season with the Chi-Cubs.

        • Jason Powers

          I’d take some errors: look at this group, 1974 Dodgers of Cey, Russell, Lopes, and Garvey. Russel’s SS play was not special, but he stuck there. And they kinda stayed together for a while….;) (3 WS appearances awhile)

          Not saying this group matches, but the CONCEPT is there.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Red Flags should go up on any regressed player. The heat is on and you’d have to be an idiot to continue using PED’s

    • TWC

      Well, that’s totally reasonable. If your current season isn’t better than your last, you’re probably a cheater. Well thought-out, kid. Very well thought-out.

      • hansman1982

        He’s not saying that the player is a cheater, he’s just saying it’s a red flag, a warning sign, something to watch, intriguing.


        • TWC

          No. It’s just stupid conjecture.

  • cubmig

    The question raised about Castro and Rizzo is one that needs discussion and resolution. Do they remain Cubs? Does the org play musical chairs with them in continued hope Castro & Rizzo “find” their groove to produce with much better consistency? Or are they moved to make way for the promising prospects below them? How does one evaluate the Castro & Rizzo we are experiencing? Is it too early to measure their performance to project future performance (i.e., trust what numbers are saying now – or what the numbers said to get them here)? Add to that how the talk is for bringing up Bryant if (as has been posted) “he’s absolutely killing the pitching in AA next season.” —-which incidentally, lest we forget, is why Castro was brought up in 2010.

    I’m ambivalent about Castro. And truth be told, I would trade Rizzo before I’d trade Castro–though that “truth” hangs on a hairline thread. Nonetheless, there is something amiss in all this, and, it has to do with how numbers are embraced to promote a player, but distrusted when they fail to fill expectations of performance at higher levels. This has always bothered me. It bothers me because players are eviscerated by the clinical application of statistical analysis. Player imperfections (e.g. free swinger, “hitches” when throwing, etc.) —something all players are infected with—get lost in any equation measuring mlb readiness. The cult of efficiency has taken over the business of baseball.

    As I always say, I am not a numbers guy and that may peg me as “old school”. Fair enough. Though in my defense of observation to calculate intangibles, I say numbers are less interested in probing the “Why?” players do some of the things they do; things that may shed light on how those things help or inhibit consistency of good performance. Numbers are too power-driven and may just override such inconsequential “human foibles” [snark].

    So… this Cubs organization moves to put together a contender for an eventual WS winner, I hope the moves are predicated on more than statistical analyses. There has to be a balance in evaluations to factor in the weight of human proclivities that define and attest to the dicipline behind how and why they do what they do. As much a critic I was of Alfonso Soriano, I’ve come to see him an an exemplar of a disciplined professional, warts and all.

    • praying the cubs get ready to win

      I like Rizzos potential but want to know what the Cubs plans are for Vogelbach, another guy with potential?

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  • Die hard

    Cubs may be only sports franchise to put off winning as long as they can… … Will take a Ghandi like fan boycott to change that approach 🐂🐂🐂🐂🐂