brooks raley cubsWith the holiday weekend in the rearview mirror, there’s a whole lot to discuss today. So, stay tuned. If it isn’t in the Bullets, that’s probably because I’m writing about it separately later today.

  • Now that the minor league seasons are over – and the AAA Iowa Cubs did not make the playoffs – it sounds like you can expect another four or five September call-ups. The obligatory third catcher is likely to be one of them (JC Boscan), and the rest will probably be pitchers. Brooks Raley is a lock, and Justin Grimm is probably close behind. Scott Baker is also possibly in the mix, as well as fellow rehabee Rafael Dolis. From there, the Cubs could put a new player or two on the 40-man roster.
  • Scott Baker’s rehab stint ended yesterday – not necessarily because he’s ready to return to the bigs, but because the minor league season ended. Baker threw 5.2 innings at Kane County, giving up 7 hits and 2 ER, but no walks. He struck out 4. It’s uncertain what will happen next, per Even if Baker is now activated (I’d expect him to be, because why not? Assuming the Cubs can open up a 40-man spot for him), he won’t be starting this month with the Cubs, said Dale Sveum. He’d come out of the pen.
  • Travis Wood wasn’t trying to groove a fastball to Henderson Alvarez yesterday when the Marlins pitcher hit a no-doubter three-run homer. Wood simply missed his spot – it wasn’t a matter of the Cubs being unaware that Alvarez can hit.
  • Dale Sveum tells Bruce Miles that winning in the minor leagues – the Cubs have three playoff-bound affiliates – can help mold players for the future. They come to understand what it means to focus on every single pitch, every single play, etc.
  • fantastic read from Patrick Mooney on the Cubs’ selection of Javier Baez at the top of the 2011 Draft.
  • Jesse Rogers looks into what so many appearances in the last couple of years could mean for James Russell, and whether it might be worth easing up on him considerably over the last month (yes please).
  • Donnie Murphy has power (his eight August homers led the Cubs), but Giancarlo Stanton has POWER.
  • Set those DVRs: the E:60 special on Matt Szczur, who donated bone marrow to a stranger (and is probably going to get a whole lot of love after this thing airs), is tonight at 6pm CT. You can see the trailer here.
  • Don’t miss out: for the DraftStreeters among you, they are offering us a 100% bonus on the deposits of new users. That means, if you decide you want to try out the cash fantasy games at DraftStreet, make sure you use the code ‘BN100’ when making your first deposit.
  • Andy

    Sappelt tweeted that he is not coming up

    • Spencer

      Moreover, Muskat suggested there will be only 4-5 callups right now, a catcher and more pitchers. Made no mention of position players.

    • Brett

      Hadn’t seen that tweet. I’ll amend. Thanks.

  • CubFan Paul

    Olt has to be called up. I bet the three hitting coaches are dying to work with him.

    • Brett

      I don’t know. Cubs might just be ready for him to take some time off.

      • mdavis

        agree with you Brett. Regardless of Olt finishing solid in his last 10 games, i think he just needs to get away, regroup, hit the reset button and come in ready for ST.

        I think Raley, Grimm, Boscan, and another pitcher will be the call ups.

      • terenceman

        I wonder the same thing: does he just need a break and a chance to go into the cage this winter and grind out whatever’s going on instead of dealing with all the mental aspects of playing in a game while trying to work on hitting?

      • cub2014

        I would think LIm and Rosscup will be added
        I think both could be part of bullpen next year.
        I heard Dolis left last game of year with injury.
        Olt should be up what harm is going to do, if
        he needs time off (not a good sign) if FO wants
        to give him time off slightly understand it but I
        would get him up there.

        • Jim L

          re: your Olt comments. Well, he had surgery to correct some vision problems then spend most of the year adjusting. So he finishes the minor league season on a uptick and you want to bring him up to face major league pitching and possibly ruin the confidence he may be feeling after the strong finish?

          There’s nothing wrong with letting him regroup and work on his swing in the off-season and come into camp ready to compete.

          And what do you mean not a good sign that he needs time off?

    • Spencer

      Mike Olt is on his way home. Not getting called up.

      • cub2014

        Bummer on Olt I wanted to see him in september

  • Cedlandrum

    Apparently Dolis left the game yesterday hurt. So he isn’t likely now.

    • J.L.

      Yeah, and it didn’t look good.

    • Brett

      That sucks. Can’t catch a break this year.

  • ruby2626

    I saw Baker pitch yesterday in Kane County, if that game was any indication he is simply not ready. Consistent 84 and 85 MPH fastballs, the Cardinal guy was throwing 91 and 92 so it’s not as though the gun wasn’t working correctly. His curve seemed very sharp especially as the game went on but if the fastball isn’t there we’re looking at Justin Germano part II. Unless he is willing to take about an 80% paycut for next year I say we should just cut our losses. Would like to know why all our TJ surgery guys seem to have nothing but setbacks while on other teams guys seem to be back in a year at 100%.

    • cms0101

      I agree. Baker looks done. He threw junk enough to fool low A hitters for 5+ innings, but he’s not a major league pitcher. Let him take his $5mil and go home at this point. And yes, Dolis did leave the game injured yesterday too. He was hitting 94mph consistently before that, so hopefully it isn’t anything too serious.

      • willis

        I agree adding Baker or thinking he’ll be an effective major league arm next season probably isn’t a great idea. The guy just never could make it back from his TJS and I just wish this organization would stay away from these types, let alone throw 5.5 million at them (waste). As strapped as they are for cash…that wasted 5.5 looks like a huge number.

        As far as the theme of TJS arms bot bouncing back and doing well with the cubs, that is true. I don’t think the return is as good as it seems with other organizations, but this organization has had no luck with it lately.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      Key phrase: “seem to”.

  • Ian Afterbirth

    I should have first mentioned that that was an excellent eyewitness report which I greatly appreciate, Mr. 0101.

    • Ian Afterbirth


      Mr. 2626!!!!

  • Jon

    Shoulda signed Lirano instead of wasting time on Baker

    • mjhurdle


    • another JP

      That was a coin flip call IMO and it turned out rosy for the Pirates. A lot of pitching acquisitions have turned out great for the FO but Baker and Fuji aren’t two of them… $10M down the drain on those guys.

  • Jim

    So looking at 2014 Spring Training, I am guessing that Ransom won’t be back, so it should really be: Valbuena, Murphy, Olt, and maybe Vitters competing for the starting 3B job? Kris Bryant might be up sometime in 2014, but the jury is still out if that will be as a 3B or an OF. Baez is another interesting candidate. Do the Cubs give him a full year of AAA or do they bring him up in 2014? If they bring him up, where does he play?

    Personally I would like to see Olt come up this month just to get his feet wet and play with a clean slate statistically speaking. He could also give Rizzo some days off by playing 1B.

    • mjhurdle

      I tend to agree on Barney-Watkins, but maybe the FO is set on trading Barney this off-season, so they want him to get as many ABs as possible so that maybe he gets a little hot streak in that helps his value even a little.
      Maybe that is way off, but whatever the reasoning, it is strange to call up Watkins just to sit him on a bench.

      • Jim

        Barney may also be playing because he has a chance at consecutive Gold Gloves at 2B. This also would help his trade value.

    • cub4life

      I agree Ransom won’t be back next year and as of now it looks like Valbuena and Murphy (Maybe?). But Olt isn’t quite there (maybe he just needs this offseason and will be awesome in the spring) and there is almost no way that vitters is up next year unless they bring him up this month and he is awesome.

      As for Bryant I don’t see him up until around the deadline of 2015 at the earliest (he still has not played about High A yet) but prob more likely Sept of 2015.

      • http://It'searly Mike F

        He’s dominating high A. Daytona is the Cubs High club. He will start in AA next season. Bryant is ahead of schedule. Baez is ahead of schedule.

  • ajbulls23

    I would think at this point they would sit Barney and the entire 3rd base platoon and bring up Olt to play everyday at third. Plus, start Watkins everyday at second to see what he can do in the majors.

  • Curt

    If they bring baker up why wouldn’t he start if you have any designs on bringing him back next yr wouldn’t the cubs want to see him pitch to major leaguers just wondering.

  • Aaron

    Darwin Barney is a solid backup infielder with a nice glove that can be valuable in later innings. However, his batting skills have really hurt the Cubbies this year.

    With this position, either you bat near the top of the order and can get on base and have speed or you hit a bit lower in the lineup with the ability to hit for power. Barney is neither of these. His batting average for the season is .215 and his OBP is .269. That’s 100 points lower in each of those categories compared to some of the top second basemen in the league. He’s also stole only 4 bases.

    Time for an upgrade in 2014.

  • cub4life


    Any word on Putnam? is he done for the year?

  • On The Farm

    As expected, Raley, Grimm, and Boscan have been called up. Putnam was brought up as well. I also think I saw Sappelt was DFA’d

    • willis

      Am excited to see Rosscup getting the call up. Even more excited to see Sappelt DFA’d.

      The others, meh. The only thing intriguing is if the long term plans for Grimm are bullpen seeing him in some games could be cool.

      I have loved what Rosscup has done, I think he’ll be a second lefty in the pen next season.

    • cms0101

      Where did you see news about Putnam? He’s still on the 60-day DL, isn’t he? They’d need another 40-man roster move.

      • On The Farm

        My bad I saw Putnam’s name in the post above mine while I was typing and got the two names switched in my head. Rosscup is what I was thinking (but not what I typed). Thank god its a short week.

      • cub4life

        according to he is on the 15 day dl

  • Jason

    Quoting Theo in that dynamite interview that you can read at The Cub Reporter site. Theo speaking, “The big league picture is not pretty. We know that. We can’t help but be disappointed that we haven’t provided more consistent improvement with our young players at the MLB level. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard at the big league level.” If I am a coach and read that a shiver just went down my back and I call the wife to double check the condo lease.

    • mike

      From that looks like some coaching changes this winter.

  • Chef Brian

    I think the decision to give Olt some time to work things out is a a good decision. Hopefully he will be recharged for ST. IMO Barney has seen his last days as an everyday player with the Cubs. They definitely need to find an upgrade. I’m not sure if we don’t see Vitters traded in the winter. His spot on the 40 man is very valuable and I don’t think the FO knows what they can get from him on a day to day basis out if he can stay healthy. I’m excited to see how much progress some of our young pitchers have made (Grimm, Raley, etc.) and if Rusin, Arrietta can keep improving. I feel/hope we see Bryant by September 2014. I’m feeling very good about the direction of the team. Another good offseason and draft and we be in great shape.

    • jaslhill

      Man … I love positivity.

  • Andrew

    Couldn’t manage to get home in time to watch Matt Szczur on E:60 are there going to be any replays or can I watch it online somewhere? Dying to see it.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    The decision on Olt was the right one, an easy no-brainer.