Significant AFL Roster Shakeup, With Baez and Vizcaino Out and Other Bullets

javier baez aflYou’ll have to forgive the lighter content this morning, as I am headed out to do some deep sea fishing in the Hamptons. That is a true sentence, and one I never thought I would say in my life. (Some good friends of ours are getting married out this way, and I’m taking the opportunity, because why not.)

  • In a bit of a bummer, the Cubs have announced that Javier Baez will not be participating in the Arizona Fall League after all, so the absurdly-ridiculously-amazingly awesome prospect explosion of the AFL will now just be an amazingly awesome one. Jed Hoyer told the media (e.g. that Baez was “emotionally and physically drained after the season,” and will thus be resting/working otherwise in Arizona instead. It’s a little odd, given that the AFL decision came just a few weeks ago. It’s the kind of decision that necessarily lends itself to conspiracy theories, but which is probably just about a combination of minor things – it really was a long year, he really probably could use some rest, maybe he’s got a nagging minor injury or two (Hoyer mentioned not wanting to see Baez get hurt), and it’s not like he absolutely needs the AFL experience. If the Cubs plan to push Baez next year – he’s expected to begin the season as the starting shortstop at AAA, and then possibly get a look on the big club mid-season (all at just 21) – more offseason rest makes even more sense.
  • In a more significant bummer, Arodys Vizcaino will also not be participating in the AFL. While seeing Baez in the AFL was all about gratuitous enjoyment, seeing Vizcaino there was about his progress from 2012 Tommy John surgery, and then a second procedure earlier this year. The AFL was going to be his first time pitching competitively since the Spring of 2012. Now, he’ll instead throw in the Instructional League, which I can’t help but suspect isn’t a great sign. I guess we’ll see what reports out of Arizona say about his progress (the Instructional League gets underway next week).
  • With Baez and Vizcaino out, the Cubs will have some options for replacing them on the Mesa Solar Sox roster. They could bump Albert Almora up to a full-time spot, rather than a taxi squad spot (he could play only twice a week), for example.
  • Theo Epstein suggests that the Cubs may be done trying to tinker with Starlin Castro’s approach at the plate. Trying to get him to become more selective was a laudable goal (he would have taken more walks, and likely would have improved his slugging, as well), but it just never “took.” Castro will now go back to “see ball, hit ball,” and the Cubs will hope that some of the selectivity preaching will organically take hold over the long term. It might.
  • Pedro Strop might get the next save opportunity as the Cubs look ahead to 2014.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

228 responses to “Significant AFL Roster Shakeup, With Baez and Vizcaino Out and Other Bullets”

  1. Spriggs

    Bummer about Baez and Vizcaino. I was more worried (still am) that Soler would be held back. Hopefully Almora will get the bump from the taxi squad at least.

  2. SenorGato

    Baez had a long year as it is so this is fine. Hopefully Al.ora can play full time.

  3. hansman1982

    “the Cubs will hope that some of the selectivity preaching will organically take hold over the long term. It might.”

    I still think it’s gonna just click with Castro and he’s gonna get scary good scary fast.

    1. Spriggs

      Scary to think about…

    2. TC

      me too, Hansman. He also looks like he’s going to be able to put on 10-15 more pounds of muscle, so when/if it clicks, I think he has the chance to be a .280 hitter with a .170-.190 ISO, so roughly .280/.330/.460. Which, with average shortstop defense and down offense league-wide, would make him a very valuable player

      1. hansman1982

        I think .280/.330/.460 is what he was capable of before the tweak process

        I was thinking more .300/.375/.500.

        1. TC

          Agreed, I just don’t think the patience and selectivity will be quite that strong. I think he’ll retain some of it as he grows as a player, but reaching numbers like yours would be quite impressive and borderline shocking to me.

          As a side note, I don’t really think Castro’s a .300 hitter going forward, but I suppose if he was .375/.500 OBP/SLG the increased selectivity and balls over the fence will outweigh the continuing BABIP decline

        2. C. Steadman

          dang, a .500 slugging almost always mean 20 or more homers in a season too…starlin with 20+ homers would be nice(and definitely plausible)

        3. DocPeterWimsey

          Maybe. The problem with developing batting eye is that there simply is no way to practice. Having a player spend a lot of time watching real pitches is the only way to do it. (And, no, AAA doesn’t cut it: MLB has too many guys who can throw very different pitches with nearly identical motions; AAA has those guys for a few weeks before they get called up to MLB.)

          We need a holodeck!

          1. ETS
    3. JM

      Just yesterday, USA Today had an article about trout and his approach at the plate. See it/ hit it. Now I’m not comparing Castro to Trout, but if the approach works for one, it can work for the other.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        It is not about approaches, but about basic tools. Trout has an excellent batting eye, which Castro does not. Trout already has 100BB on the year. This is not a new “approach” that Trout has adopted, either: he was walking 11.5% of the times as a minor leaguer, too. (The 14.8% rate this year is actually a big uptick: but with so many MLB players, you’d expect to see a couple of them “improve” by that much just by chance.)

        As Castro (and the vast majority of Cubs players) lack this basic tool, the “approach” cannot work for them.

  4. #23

    Brett, wouldn’t you assume that this decision is just about managing Vizcaino’s workload and being cautious with his recovery?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      I wouldn’t assume anything when it comes to two surgeries on an elbow.

    2. Luke

      He really hasn’t had much of a workload this year. Being cautious is probably a big part of this, but that still leads to the question of if there a heightened reason for caution.

      Hopefully reports from the Instructional League are positive.

    3. The Dude Abides

      There definitely managing his workload, so far it’s zero since joining the team.

      1. willis

        Nicely done. I’m beginning to wonder if this dude really exists and if he does, will we ever see him pitch?

        1. cjdubbya

          He does, in fact, exist. I saw him doing long toss in Arizona back in March, and got a picture of it on my phone. I’ll see if I can’t find it. Getting it to post is another matter entirely…

        2. cjdubbya

          If you check my Twitter feed, I just posted a couple shots of him. I assure you that it’s Vizcaino on the left in both of them.

        3. Funn Dave

          He does. In fact, he abides.

    4. C. Steadman

      Bruce Miles tweeted that the Cubs did this to manage his rehab better

      1. When the Music's Over

        I wonder if the Cubs also put on his condom for him before sex.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Don’t be jealous.

      2. willis

        Because the cubs manage TJS rehabs and set backs that come along with the rehab so well?

        1. hansman1982

          Don’t miss an opportunity to (correctly or not) bash the Cubs!

          1. MichiganGoat

            “SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED” ***who to blame*** “THE CUBS FRONT OFFICE, MANAGEMENT, AND PROCEDURES OBVIOUSLY” ***whew I was afraid something simpler or obvious was the answer… thankfully I got my Cubbie FO answer always ready***

            1. mjhurdle


        2. MichiganGoat

          Really? How did Baker’s and Vizciano’s set back reflect on bad Cub management, training, and/or evaluation? You are connecting two pitchers who did not succeed after TJS to the Cubs FO, so basically you’re saying whenever a player gets injured its a result of a poor teams FO, rehab procedures, and evaluation.

          You see who the two are directly connected? The Cubs could have done everything perfectly and the pitchers body just didn’t respond and failed. But I know its easier to attach anything negative to the FO but its not valid.

          1. TC

            No, don’t you get it? Every professional athlete is the exact same and should experience identical returns from injuries. If Adrian Peterson returned from an ACL injury in 5 months, Derrick Rose should have, too. If 80% of pitchers return from TJS in a little over a year, so should the rest of them. Major reconstructive surgery aint no thang, MG.

            (as a side note, Baker’s TJS and rehab was conducted with the Twins for the most part. He was supposed to be healthy enough to go by mid-April, which means very little of the rehab failures can be pinned on the Cubs)

          2. willis

            Easy…Jesus Christ you defenders of all things Theo/Sveum/Ricketts are so goddamn sensitive. It was a sarcastic post. I’m sorry I didn’t put that in parenthesis after I typed it. It was a post against the cubs and their luck, not this FO, not the last FO, not Lee Elia, no one specifically. Just the cubs, in general, and the fact that the organization doesn’t have the best luck with elbow injuries and lately they seem to be acquiring those who have had them and the rehabs always seem to hit massive speed bumps along the way. It was not an indictment of any particular person/management. Holy hell.

            1. mjhurdle

              “you defenders of all things Theo/Sveum/Ricketts”

              why does it always have to go there?
              Im not sure there is a single poster on this site that i haven’t seen criticize the Front Office for something, yet somehow this line always seems to come out.

              1. willis

                Because I got ripped (twice) for a sarcastic remark from an all go never say anything bad about the cubs poster. This FO can do no wrong. I’m sorry I made a terrible awful sarcastic remark about the fact that the gem of a trade can’t get his ass on a fucking mound. Let’s all take it way too seriously and defend the FO when it doesn’t even need defending. Sweet….

                1. hansman1982

                  To be fair, my response wasn’t that much of a “rip”. More of a scuff.

                  1. TC

                    mine’s more of a rip of a lot of sports fans in general. sorry Willis

                  2. willis

                    I wasn’t referring to you. Your response made me laugh.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      No mine was a direct shot to sink your battleship.

                2. mjhurdle

                  to be fair, your sarcastic remark has been said over 2.6 million times already by other people in an effort to bash the Cubs and their Free Agent signings.
                  So it stands to reason that when you say it for the 2.600001th time, people will assume you are taking that route as well.

                  1. willis

                    I think the valid point to some fans’ opinion is that this FO, directed by ownership, is having to go cheap/risky in their routes to acquire players. Therefore, TJS reclamations are attractive. Easy buy low targets. That mixed with the fact that this organization is as lucky as a squirrel who zigs when he was supposed to zag…there you have it. I do think it’s a valid concern. Now, I was taking the luck and elbow injury history and being an ass in an attempt to be sarcastic.

                    1. TC

                      I understand that viewpoint, but I think it’s unfair to apply it in with respect to the Vizcaino trade. The Cubs unloaded two pieces with almost no value for him in Paul Maholm (0.7 fWAR this season) and Reed Johnson (a fifth outfielder). Getting someone like Vizcaino for those two was quite an impressive return, almost regardless of the risk with Vizcaino (which was and is still high, but he is still really young). Realistically, the Cubs should not have been able to get much more than a future 7th inning reliever or role player type for the guys they moved, but they got a guy who, if he ever gets healthy, could be a lights-out closer

                    2. mjhurdle

                      I understand what you are saying, but my problem is you using the word ‘having’.
                      I don’t think the Cubs are *forced* to do these things, i think the Cubs, unlike other competitive teams, have the roster space and time to buy these lottery tickets.
                      I think it is a choice (and in my opinion a smart one) to buy as many tickets as possible and hope that one or two hit big.
                      I would rather get a Vizcaino with the possibility of being really good than another Casey Coleman who is more assured of reaching his ceiling, but whose ceiling is long-relief.

                3. MichiganGoat

                  So if people agreed with the initial post would you play the sarcasm card? Maybe if the majority of comments were connect dots A,B,C to X,Y,Z by a line that blames Ricketts/Theo then I’d suspect sarcasm. Its okay for you to believe that the Cubs organization screws up TJS players but its also okay for me to call out the logical fallacies of your argument.

                  1. willis

                    Yes, it was a genuine sarcastic shot at the cubs for their injury/rehab success (lack thereof). Regardless of response, that was my post. You took it offensively. When really, there was no reason to do so.

                    But, it was a chance to rip someone who actually sometimes doesn’t agree with the management (mostly ownership) of this organization. God forbid we don’t all get on our knees to pray to TR and Company.

                    1. mjhurdle

                      “God forbid we don’t all get on our knees to pray to TR and Company.”

                      there it is again…
                      why is it only people that don’t like the front office that feel the need to put everyone who might like the Front Office down?

              2. MichiganGoat

                I also find the “you defenders of all things Theo/Sveum/Ricketts” rather humorous, somewhere after two years of losing the attitude has switched from “lets give them time to let the plan unfold” to “OMG WTF FIRE THEM ALL.”

                I honestly believe some fans need the negative to keep the fanatic flowing. Some believe if they don’t have anything to complain about they don’t have anything to say.

                1. willis

                  One has nothing to do with the other. Some of you see no wrong in anything this FO/ownerships does. Others question some of the actions. That’s it. You are a staunch defender of everything this organization does. Hell they could sign a dead guy with no arms to pitch, and you would spin it positively. Others call it like they see it (much like you do with your opinions) and that’s fine. But the fact is when a slappy remark is made it immediately turns into a all in all go let’s defend the cubs argument, when really it’s not needed.

                  1. Jimbotron

                    Don’t feed the trolls, willis.

                  2. willis

                    @mjhurdle…because whenever we question anything, we get slammed by a certain few posters. And it’s not all or nothing. Disagreements happen and regardless of who your favorite teams are and who runs them, I would think most people wouldn’t agree with everything. But around here, if you comment negatively about anything this FO/ownership does, you get hammered for it.

                    For the record, I love having Theo Epstein running things in the FO. I despise the ownership. And unfortunately, ownership>POBO.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Yes if you connect dots with lines that don’t exist you will get called out for the fallacy. Sorry I will stop looking for responses that have the semblance of logical discourse. I will be sure to stop “bashing” posters so that everyone’s feelings are all rainbows and sunshine. And my koolaid sippin self will allow the sky is falling crowd more room to feel safe and good about themselves.

                    2. willis

                      Goat, do you have no reading comprehension skills? For God’s sake I’ve said it a bunch that my remark was an ass hole slap sarcastic jab at the injury history with the cubs. That’s it. No dot connecting so accusations…a simple jab. And look what it’s turned into. And you continue to go off about it.

                      Call me what you want and preach from your make believe BN pedestal on which you think you reside. Hope you have fun with it.

                    3. MichiganGoat

                      Wow you just completed Coop’s description of this conversation… nicely done.

                  3. Jono

                    I happen to like pretty much everything the ownership/FO does, but having a critical point of view is definitely a good thing. Independent, critical thought is a rare thing these days, in any aspect of society (cough cough politics cough cough). I have no problem with people criticizing something/someone that I like and agree with. The problem is when people blindly accept things b/c they like the person making the decision.

                    1. Jono

                      “pretty much everything” does not equal everything. I didn’t like the Jackson signing, mmm, can’t think of anything else I didn’t like. The baker signing didn’t thrill me, but I had more person reasons to like that deal.

                    2. On The Farm

                      I don’t mind the Jackson signing, there is still some time for that one to turn into a positive and I have always felt you are getting a 200 IP work horse out of Jackson and honestly, I am chalking this bad season up with Rizzo and Castro’s and saying its predicated on the rest of the team being so poor. As for the Baker signing, you got something against Oklahoman’s or something?

                    3. Jono

                      And jackson will at least be a decent trade chip in a couple years. Getting to 200 IP does help the bullpen, so there’s a plus. And yes, Im extremely prejudice against people from OK. For instance, I would never interact with one on an internet board

                    4. On The Farm

                      Thank god I am from Iowa. But back to Jackson, he didn’t quite make it to 200 this year so that really hurt and is a reason to be sour on him, but I have a feeling next year he will just provide average mid rotation stuff, he reminds me of Jason Marquis, but his stuff shows that he should be better when he is on his game.

                    5. mjhurdle

                      I will start the post by saying that Jackson has had a very disappointing season.
                      if you look at his post-All-Star game stats, he has had a very good second half of the season.

                      i don’t say that to diminish the fact that his season has been sub-par, but rather to offer hope that maybe next year he can pitch all year like he has the second half of this year.

                    6. On The Farm

                      I remain optimistic for Jackson’s 2014 campaign. I think he has what it takes to be the guy that is going to go out and give you 6+ IP most of the time. Hopefully Samardijza has learned from this season as well and just get more consistent going forward and we will have a real good rotation to open the season.

                    7. Jono

                      Maybe his lack of innings this year has to do with Sveum?

                2. MightyBear

                  Like Red Sox fans.

        3. Napercal

          Any reports on whether he has taken up the towel drill? I’m not panicking until he starts on that program.

      3. Aisle 19

        Wouldn’t you think they would have thought about that before putting him on the team?

  5. oswego chris

    with Theo already stating that Baez is starting in AAA, I am fine with him missing the AFL…

    1. Spriggs

      If you lived in Mesa, you’d be bummed big time though.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        He will still be in Arizona, he’ll just be working with the team instead.

      2. oswego chris

        yes…..yes i would.

      3. On The Farm

        If you lived in Iowa you would be pretty excited.

        1. C. Steadman

          amen, I’m seein him for sure for the price of an I-Cubs ticket(about the same price as an Old Style at Wrigley)

      4. miggy80

        Thrilled if you live in Des Moines.

  6. When the Music's Over

    Was the season longer for Baez than his other teammates? Just curious.

    1. On The Farm

      Well he was there for Spring Training with the big league club and has 200 more plate appearances than the previous season. As for Almora, he missed time with his hand? injury at the start of the season and a bone bruise at the end of the year so he could use the extra work. Kris Bryant, while his college baseball season started early in the year, he did take June-July off (when he didn’t sign his contract) so he has had a nice breather from the game (not to mention he is getting half of September off after the FSL playoffs). And Soler has missed a majority of the season with his fractured leg, so Baez is the only guy who has been grinding from March until mid-September straight.

      1. TC

        yep. There’s not much reason to keep playing a guy so much after he’s exceeded his previous PA total by such a significant amount. Especially a guy who plays as hard as Baez. Apart from risking an injury, a fatigued player can fall into swing habits that are counterproductive to their development as a way to cope with a tired body. Just let the guy rest and have him fully prepared for big league camp next spring

        1. MichiganGoat

          Agreed he’s played nearly a full MLB season worth of PA at age 20 but I think this is as much to do with the mental exhaustion as the physical. He’s had a ridiculously amazing season and faced his first run of heavy media attention. I’m sure he’s exhausted and the FO wants to make sure he has an opportunity to unplug and recharge before the media storm restarts next year.

          Rest up and get ready Javy

          1. When the Music's Over

            Yes, mental. There you go. To say he shouldn’t be able to handle it physically is something I cannot get on board with. There are plenty of athletes that play sports year round at or near age 20, and those sports are much more taxing on the body than a MLB position player.

            1. TC

              I think you are severely underestimating the wear and tear on a 20 year old playing shortstop every day for 6 months. If he was a calmer player, maybe I could agree with you, but Baez is MAX-EFFORT with every swing at the plate and every play in the field (a good comp for his #want might be Brett Lawrie, who is always dinged up due to the speed with which he plays the game). Combined with the mental exhaustion, it really takes a toll.

              Other athletes may play near-year-round and be fine with it, but few at age 20 require the extreme precision and body control that hitting professional pitching takes, and any fatigue on the body can cause you to alter your mechanics to avoid it (and, again, considering the many, many moving parts in Baez’s violent swing, any small deviation from what he’s been doing could lead to the whole swing being out of whack)

              1. hansman1982

                “I think you are severely underestimating the wear and tear on a 20 year old playing shortstop every day for 6 months.”

                We also have to take into account that he has played a metric crap-ton of baseball in the past 18 months. He played a full year last year, AFL last fall and Spring Training last spring. He also, obviously, spent a ton of time in the cages and with the staff tweaking his approach. This is, undoubtedly, more baseball than he has ever played before.

                Christ, bitch about the usage of Russell (I mean, a 25-year old kid shouldn’t wear down with high usage) and then kvetch about letting Baez rest up.

                1. When the Music's Over

                  I wasn’t bitching, but if you want to perceive it that way, that’s up to you.

            2. mjhurdle

              care to explain exactly why you think a full season of professional ball isn’t taxing on a body?

              I have no experience that could relate, so i cant say for sure one way or the other. But i have heard many players talk about how physically demanding it is, and how you have to learn how to handle yourself throughout the year to keep yourself from wearing out towards the end of the season.

              1. When the Music's Over

                I didn’t say it wasn’t taxing. I said there are plenty of near 20 year old athletes that compete near year round in sports that I believe are more taxing than baseball. Soccer, basketball and tennis are just a few of them. Some of these athletes play multiple sports.

        2. When the Music's Over

          I asked in a passive aggressive smart ass manner because his season ended at the end of August. He’s already had a month off to recoup his body. If we all need to operate under the assumption that any player that plays past the end of August is in risk of serious injury or falling into nasty habits, may as well just end the major league season on August 31st.

          I would buy mental fatigue over physical fatigue for a 20 year old who will not have played baseball for over 30 days before the AFL begins.

          1. On The Farm

            Actually it ended 9-9-13 since Tennessee was in the playoffs. Still he has seen a significant increase in PAs since the last season so his body might be physically fatigued, which in turn can affect him mentally since his body isn’ able to perform at it’s peak condition. Kind of like Mike Olt, sometimes you just need to tell them that they need to take some time off, recover, and get ready for next season.

          2. On The Farm

            And I am not sure if I was the smart ass you were referring to in this post, but you asked if his season was longer, and I just pointed out how Almora and Soler have been injured so he has had a longer season then them, and Bryant has already had time off after his team was eliminated in June from the College World Series, until he signed his pro contract, so I was merely answering your question.

            1. On The Farm

              Damn I am failing this morning I read “I asked in a passive aggressive smart ass manner” as: “I asked in a passive aggressive manner smart ass”. Maybe I should just give up today

              1. mjhurdle

                just take a page from the Brent Lillibridge playbook and keep on trying, no matter how many times you fail

                1. On The Farm

                  Ugh, if I am on Brent Lillibridge’s level I may retire.

          3. C. Steadman

            i think its a little bit of both(mentally and physically drained), mixed in with why not end on a high note with him winning Minor League player of the year for the Cubs and on a bunch of minor league all star teams…its not like he’s taking all of october off, he’ll be practicing with Cubs personel in AZ without all the media swirling around..let him have some rest from competition and hit 2014 Spring hard with a chance to be in the MLB lineup at some point

            1. When the Music's Over

              I brought all of this up in the first place as a precursor to perhaps next year.

              What happens if the Cubs are in a playoff race next August and Baez is up and contributing to the major league team. Do they shut him down 9/9/2013 because they don’t want him to get injured?

              I understand the circumstances aren’t exactly the same, but I just can’t get on bored with the whole “he’s tired” explanation.

              1. When the Music's Over

                Sorry, 9/9/2014

              2. C. Steadman

                well if they shut him down 9/9/2013 then he probably isnt contributing much to the team next year..haha

              3. mjhurdle

                i would say at that point that it is fairly obvious how they handle things.

                They do a risk/reward analysis, and determine if the risk of pushing Baez even farther in an already long season is worth the reward of him getting some ABs in an instructional league.

                If they were in the middle of a playoff push, then that would change the entire equation to the point that it is irrelevant to the discussion.
                What the Cubs would do with a player in a playoff race has absolutely nothing to do with what they do with prospects in an off-season instructional league.

                1. When the Music's Over

                  Much of that was sarcasm, which is hard to detect in print. No, I don’t think they’d shut him down in the middle of a playoff run. That doesn’t apply to hitters, only pitchers. Again, I just don’t buy that he’s tired and needs to rest.

                  That is all. I think we’ve all hammered this topic enough today, as I really don’t care if he does or doesn’t play, and had no clue my original comment was spark up this much debate.

              4. TC

                Well, next year, his body will have likely adjusted (through gained strength and hopefully Baez adjusting his game to conserve energy over a season) and he’ll be able to push past his previous total even further. Learning how to play a full season without physically falling apart in the later months is a big part of player development. Its why a lot of players go to short-season ball first, why full-season ball is such a jump and such a difficult test, and why teams try to limit how much extra baseball a prospect is playing every year. For Baez, it was a very short 2011, a short 2012 (he didnt go to Peoria until mid-season), a full minor league season in 2013, and hopefully a full 2014 that ends with him playing for the Cubs into at least early October.

                1. When the Music's Over

                  Short season ball is much more for pitchers than hitters.

                  Either way, I guess I’m not as worried about babying position players as others seem to be. Baez is 20 and is just entering the peak physical years of his life. He should be perfectly capable of playing a month of baseball after just having had a month off.

                  Also, I personally think having him play in the AFL this year while mentally, and perhaps physically, fatigued is a wonderful exercise in getting him mentally (and physically) prepared for the rigors of a long season next year, something all of us hope happens.

                  As for why the front office pulled the plug. I agree, they probably did conduct some sort of C/B analysis. I just don’t necessarily agree that it was largely because he was tired.

    2. josh ruiter

      I don’t know that his season was any longer, but as a young guy in his first few years he showed signs of fatigue at the end. His average dropped 10-15 points in the last two weeks, his power shut off a bit, and so maybe this is just about if he is fatigued why expose him to criticism and negative prospecting when he doesn’t need to be. Better to let him emotionally ride the high of a phenomenal season. He has already seen the AFL, albeit briefly, and the work he really needs to work on is fielding drills and pitch recognition. Him and Castro ought to just work together with coaches in Arizona all winter. They ought to use the infamous Bonds drill. where each tennis ball has a different number written on it and you can’t swing until you read off the number – its a soft toss drill – but instead of see ball hit ball, ya gotta identify the ball. helps a lot with pitch recognition come live pitching as you have trained the unconscious to identify a pitch as quick as possible.

    3. Hookers or Cake

      He played alot more than Bryant, Soler, and Almora. 570+ plate appearances.

      Hoyer had said a few weeks ago the plan was to have Baez play a bunch of different positions in the AFL to get up to the big club ASAP, but then Theo came out a few days ago and said he’ll be the starting AAA SS and try to see some work at other positions to help the big league club.

      1. I think it would be a bigger strain for Baez to learn 3rd/2cnd or OF in front of everyone at the AFL
      2. Maybe Baez said no, I’m a SS and am staying at SS.

      Its gonna be real interesting next year if Castro continues to struggle and Baez destroys the PCL and plays ok SS. Whattya do?

  7. Edwin

    “as I am headed out to do some deep sea fishing in the Hamptons. ” Sure you are. Sure you are.

    1. On The Farm

      God, who knew the Bleacher Nation business was so lucrative?

      1. mr.mac

        “I am headed out to do some deep sea fishing in the Hamptons.” – can we offically say this is the moment Brett sold out?

        1. Edwin

          I’m sure Brett has a house out in the Hamptons. With a master bedroom that opens out into a solarium. Two Solariums. And he has horses. Snoopy and Prickly Pete.

          1. Patrick W.

            I believe his horses are named Badger and Skinny Pete.

            1. mr.mac

              Damn, you just made me sad to think about only 2 more episodes of Breaking Bad.

              Magnets, bitch!

              1. Patrick W.

                No kidding. However, AMC just ordered a season of “Better Call Saul”, a prequel to Saul Goodman meeting Walter White.


  8. MikeW

    Glue factory for Arodys

    1. cub2014

      It has to be some issue with his arm. You dont
      sign him up then change your mind unless their
      is some physical issue. Hopefully its arm strength
      isnt their yet. Not a horrible sign but not a great
      sign for sure.

  9. Joker

    Vizcaino will never throw a pitch in a Cubs uniform. Mark it down.

    1. willis

      I said that about Baker, and he is starting today and has been pitching ok. So I’ll agree in hopes that Vizcaino does indeed pitch for the cubs someday.

      It is a huge red flag though, once again, on his rehab. Whether it in reality is or isn’t a big deal it signals that the kid is having more issues. Hopefully not.

    2. mr.mac

      Let’s hope this isn’t true. I had high hopes that he would pan out.

  10. Stu

    Was the FO played by the Braves with regards to Vizcaino? The Braves have a history of knowing when to dump a pitcher.

    1. On The Farm

      No the Cubs knew they were getting a guy off TJS, but it just so happened he experienced another set back. Its not like the Braves have never been screwed out of a pitcher, off the top of my head Adam Wainwright was traded from them, and they traded Neftali Feliz to the Rangers. I think we were just unfortunate with our Tommy John luck.

      1. When the Music's Over

        Neftali Feliz has had a litany of injuries and missed time, including TJ surgery last year.

        1. On The Farm

          So you are going to ignore that he was one of the best closers in 2010 (ROY) and was 5th in saves the next season. I think it is a bit too soon to consider Feliz a Braves win for trading an injury prone pitcher. Do you feel the same way about Wainwright? He has missed time for multiple injuries. Can’t have a double standard.

          1. When the Music's Over

            Wainwright has logged a shit ton of innings. Feliz has not. Bad comparison.

            I’m not saying anything about career projections here. You threw out Feliz as an example in a conversation about healthy pitchers traded from the Braves. All I said was that Feliz has had a lot of missed time due to injury (including shoulder and elbow issues).

            1. On The Farm

              He has also won a ROY, finished 5th in saves in his second season, and was pretty solid as a starter last season before the injury. How you can consider that as the Braves unloading an injury prone pitcher is beyond me. Also you could even say he hasn’t given up a run in all of 2013. :)

              And actually I pointed out two pitchers the Braves traded (both have been injured on their new teams) and both have done some really awesome things for their new teams.

              1. When the Music's Over

                Wow, I’m done. I simply said he’s missed alot of time, and not just because of TJ surgery. Guy has had DL a DL stint or two for shoulder issues as well. That was it. Wasn’t meant to be some comment so undo the previous comment, nor something I wanted people to get cranky over. All I said was he’s had a lot of injury issues, which is accurate. Saying he’s awesome while he’s pitched is also accurate. Those two can be mutually exclusive. He doesn’t have to be injured and bad or healthy and great. He can be both.

                1. On The Farm

                  I am just trying to debate you that he had 2.5 really good years to start out, then he got injured in 2012, and the 2012 injury held him out until this season. I guess if you want to think that I am attacking you that is fine, but I am just trying to have a discussion. I did incorrectly site you as the original poster on this, but you naming Feliz as a injury prone guy seems incorrect because to me 2012 was his injury year which cause him to be out this season.

        2. TC

          Sure, but Feliz was 1) amazing when healthy and 2) given the context of that trade, you cannot possibly declare it a win for the Braves, regardless of whether they knew Feliz would be injury prone, because it wasn’t a dump of Feliz. They moved Andrus, Harrison, and Saltalamacchia with Feliz, one of the more ridiculous overpays in recent history

          1. When the Music's Over

            Again, I’m not declaring winners or losers. Simply was commenting that Feliz missed a lot of time in regards to a conversation where Feliz was used as an example of a healthy pitcher the Braves organization traded away.

            Dude was lights out for 2.5 years (or only 160 IP) , but has barely pitched since the latter of those two years.

            1. On The Farm

              But you are, you originally asked if the Cubs ‘got one pulled over on them’ by Atlanta by dealing an injured pitcher, and then point out how Feliz has been injured. And actually he has been lights out for all 200 IP of his career and to say “only” 160 IP is unfair because he is a RP, so its not like he is “only” pitching 160 innings as a starter.

              1. When the Music's Over

                Just for the record, so we’re all clear, someone else posed that question. I just said Feliz is injury prone.

    2. Edwin

      The Cubs probably knew what they were getting into. The only reason they were able to get a player of Vizcaino’s talent was due to him being injury prone. The Yankees had already given up on him, and now the Braves were giving up on him due to injury concerns.

  11. Coop

    I would like to make an unsubstantiated, intentionally negative, and inflammatory statement. When you correctly criticize me for it, I will claim I was being sarcastic and tell you to quit being such a brown-nosing front office supporter. When you call me out on using the same unintelligent comeback that the other trolls use, I will restate that I was being sarcastic and you are the jerk. Then I will stubbornly keep restating my point to *prove* I was being sarcastic and that you take things to seriously and you lack reading comprehension skills and I am the only real Cubs fan here because I call it like I see it and you wear rose-colored glasses.

    There, I think I pretty much captured most every comment thread for the last few weeks on the message board…

    1. MichiganGoat

      Nicely played Coop

      1. Coop

        Except I forgot to include Hansman randomly interjecting his love for hamburger milk shakes…

        1. willis

          Have you ever dipped a hamburger in a milkshake? Lord hold the hand of mercy that is the combo.

          1. hansman1982

            I was hoping this wasn’t directed at me.

            1. willis

              No, it’s directed at me because coop is awesome and really funny. He’s probably working off to the delight of his comment right now. Watch that keyboard dude.

              1. On The Farm

                Willis, I don’t think it directly is directed at you as much as it applied to you on this thread. I personally find you to be very vocal about what you find negative about this team. That’s not a bad thing, I don’t come on here to read everyone agreeing with Hansman about Hamburger milk shakes. While I don’t always agree with you, or when I do agree with you not to the extreme that you do, I find you input just as valuable as the next person and enjoy the discussions. But then again I am the kind of guy that likes to listen to NPR and Rush Limbaugh (which side I lean is irrelevant) because I like to know how both sides think of each other. I think its good for the brain to know both sides of an argument.

                1. willis

                  Yep, I am. I love this team. Always have since I can remember. WGN was always on in Mississippi when I was there and my parents would take me to a few games a year as a kid. I will voice my displeasure. But, I also comment a ton on the positives of this organization. I appreciate your comments in regards to the post. It’s all well and good. I just don’t why posters get ripped for letting their views go on a cubs site. Oh well.

                  1. mjhurdle

                    just my opinion, but i think it has more to do with how someone voices their opinion than simply ripping someone for having a different opinion.

                    If you look at most of the people that get ‘ripped’ around here, 90% of the time it is the posts that have no factual basis (“I don’t care what the stats are, he is horrible!”), or make broad sweeping assumptions based on small pieces of data (“Campana is amazing!”, “Russell is the best Reliever ever”, “Russell is the worst reliever ever”), or the ones that make generalizations about people that do not agree (‘Cubs are cheap, and only Theo-loving fan-boys would disagree’).
                    Very rarely do i read someone that puts out a post with a differing viewpoint that is explained and backed up that gets ripped.

                    1. willis

                      I hear ya. And you and I have disagreed about plenty and kept it respectful. Funny thing is that this whole load of crap started because I made a snarky remark about the rehab of a pitcher that has taken forever…with an undertone that the cubs don’t have the best history in rehabbing electric arms (or any arms for that matter). It wasn’t an indictment of anyone/anything, just a barb at the fact that we haven’t seen the best of luck when it comes to this stuff as cubs fans.

                    2. Coop

                      ^ This!

                      Willis, nothing directed at you (…mostly). My problem has been with the comment section in general lately. It seems like we have a constant war of words the last few weeks; this boils down to (1) you like the direction the team (lead by the front office) is headed, and you want to focus on the positives, or (2) you hate the losing, and the result is a focused rage at the things that haven’t gone well (which is generally attributed to inept front office decisions).

                      I think you can surmise that I fall into group #1. And I have little patience for the complaining that generally comes from group #2. Now that isn’t to say that everything the front office has done has turned to gold. The prime example is Ian Stewart – a complete ass that was a waste of money and had the potential to poison other players. Now, I must confess that I was actually supportive of the trade to acquire him and was again supportive this off season when we resigned him. I (poor judgement and all) recalled his minor league success; I also bought into the reasoning (i.e., excuse) that injury had robbed him of productivity – now he was healthy, and I really hoped for a campaign of .260 with 25+ HR to go with solid defense. Clearly, I was wrong. The signing was a disaster. BUT… I don’t want to tar and feather Theo and Jed for this. I still believe this was a calculated gamble that just didn’t work out. Sure, hindsight says it was stupid, but at the time, I still saw the logic behind it. This is just one example.

                      What I am most happy about is that the front office clearly has a plan/strategy for building sustained success. No, not every decision is going to work. Theo has been very up front about this too – he has said something to the effect that if even half of your decisions work out you are ahead of the game.

                      It seems like the “front office bashers” rely primarily on hindsight to criticize decisions. This is easy to do (especially when the same folks like to ignore the successes). Collecting the best available data and making decisions that are predicted to be successful is the hard thing. And I personally believe that Theo and Jed (and Jason) are pretty good at this. So I support them. I am frustrated that the Cubs don’t have more money to spend, but I had a bad feeling this might be the case when the sale first went down (I really wanted Mark Cuban, who seems plenty willing to spend whatever he has to to win – although his track record hasn’t matched his spending effort…).

                      The other thing that really irks me is that the folks that “bash” the front office tend to do so in generally trolly fashion. Unsubstantiated claims, which then are recharacterized as merrily sarcastic if they are not received well.

                      That and the immature responses such as implying that someone who is critical of you must be jerking off onto his keyboard…….

                    3. Coop

                      To clarify, my ^This was in response to mjhurdle, not to willis…

                    4. hansman1982

                      “trolly fashion”

                      What is acceptable wear when riding on trolleys?

                    5. Brains

                      People must be trolling when they point out that we have a terrible team. No other explanation. In fact, the team is amazing and tracked to win the world series in less than 4 years. We know this is true because we have 4 minor league prospects who will surely become superstars and take low contracts for hometown discounts and never get injured.

                    6. C. Steadman

                      hey i take offense at the verbage “trolling”…my college team name was the Trolls haha

                    7. DarthHater

                      Wow, I’m just astonished that you guys can waste so much time on so much pointless and divisive bullshit, without any contribution from me at all. :-P

            2. On The Farm

              Like anyone would have to ask if you had done the said dipping of the hamburger. Come on Hansman, give willis a little credit.

              1. willis

                I hate to admit I eat Wendy’s, but there is one literally .5 miles from the house, so, I go at times. But when I do, Wendy’s cheeseburger into a frosty…heavenly. And French fries are good for the dipping as well.

                1. hansman1982

                  French fries + soft serve ice cream = AMAZING

                2. On The Farm

                  You should never be ashamed to admit you eat Wendy’s. I enjoy their fast food on the occasion, but if I am in a hangover bind I will resort to McDonalds.

                  1. willis

                    My hangover needs vary, and around here you can throw a tennis ball and find a good, insanely fattening breakfast spot. But when it’s really bad, I choose Krystal. Those little burgers are a good grab when you’re hurting. I will say though, I hate we have no White Castle around here, because I do love those as well. But Krystal owns the market.

                    1. King Jeff

                      Krystal is all we have in Florida too, and I absolutely hate it. I have a 5 year White Castle crave built up.

                    2. willis

                      See my first Krystal experience was when I was fairly drunk and had just moved back down here after school. So my brain remembered it as awesome. It’s no white castle though. Nashville has White Castle…I endulge when there.

                    3. miggy80

                      If you guys every make it to Des Moines and want a great fast food burger you have to stop at B-Bops.

                    4. On The Farm

                      Miggy, I have a brother obsessed with some place that has a “zombie burger”. Ever been there? I want to know what I am getting myself into.

                    5. mjhurdle

                      zombie burger sounded so intriguing, i had to google it.
                      now i am jealous that i am not going there.

                      deep fried bacon on the menu? yes, yes it is.


                3. C. Steadman

                  Culvers is my favorite fastfood burger place

                  1. Edwin

                    I like their chicken strip baskets. I live 3 hours away from my parents, and when my wife and drive up, there’s a Culvers perfectly positioned in Tomah WI that we stop at every time.

                    1. willis

                      Dad got one about a year ago near his house. First time I had ever had it. Amazing stuff.

        2. On The Farm

          And Blublud, I can’t help but think BluBlud saying Kim DeJesus isn’t that hot should have been included.

    2. Brains

      The major point here is that there’s a reason these disagreements have become stark. No other team has decided that it needed to lose for many, many, many years in order to someday win, while demanding some of the highest ticket prices in the country and reaping enormous profits. Sorry basement dwellers, that kind of logic is an offshoot of internet and video game management skills. I paid to see a ballgame, and the team better resemble my investment within a reasonable frame. The rest of it is hyperbole and anecdotal thinking.

  12. Barry

    Why not send Olt to AFL? He certainly showed some signs of turning things around late in the season at Iowa.

  13. Funn Dave

    Willis made a joke. Goat overreacted.

    100 comments later….

    1. Coop

      While it may have been intended to be a joke, there wasn’t much context to indicate as much. The criticism of the front office’s strategy of rolling the dice on TJS rehabs has been pretty rampant around here. Seemed to me that this was just another case of the same.

      1. willis

        Since I can remember, we’ve been fed bullshit about pitchers and their rehabs when it comes to serious injuries. It has become comical. That was my point. It’s always something…then another round of sunshine will be blown up everyone’s ass, we all buy it, then before we know it, another set back occurs. It’s just the way it is with the cubs. It was before, it is during and will be after this regime is gone. Knowing that, maybe it’s time to quit rolling those dice.

        Saying all of that, the original post was not meant to be critical of anyone or anything, a simple mention of yet another rehab gone poopy. It was an attempt at humor, it failed and turned into an insult filled thread, with some hamburgers and soft serve ice cream thrown in for good measure.

        And I don’t think the “i was “this” to mjhurdle” was necessary, people are smart enough around here to know you sure as hell weren’t agreeing with anything I said.

        1. C. Steadman

          Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster, two successful Cubs after TJS

        2. MichiganGoat

          Here is a list of players that underwent TJS as a Cub

          The only name that really brings memory of promise and failure is Angel Guzman, the rest of the players either return with success or were never anything to begin with. I really think this narrative of disappointing TJS is fueled by Baker and Vizciano and not like the list is an epic tragic.

  14. Riceowl

    Per Jesse Rogers, Baez will play 2nd and 3rd in spring. FO is getting to the point of making tough decisions. I like the idea of him at 2nd.

  15. Die hard

    If Baez can’t handle minor league ball WTF!!– hey Jed sign Petite who will be available in 2 weeks– anchor of the staff next yr LOL 👻👻👻👻👻

  16. josh ruiter

    I’ve said it before, but I think a very simple strategy that could work (no guarantees) is to take the winter like a school semester for Castro. Teach him baseball, the mental side. Mostly, teach him to look fastball middle in when he is ahead in counts, specifically 2-0, 2-1, 3-1 type counts. Look offspeed away on 0-1, 1-2, 2-2 type counts and let his good contact play in the middle counts. It is very basic and shouldn’t complicate….have the 3b coach remind him of the count during the at bat and just use that. Will it fix him? no, but what it will do is help him attack pitches that are in his favor, and not swing just because its a good hitters count. One thing I have noticed about castro, he is a very good coordinated hitter, but never looks for a pitch really. He is 100% see and react, which takes him out of ever really hitting “his” pitch. If they could teach him to look for a specific pitch type in a specific area on either end of the pitch count, heavily against or in his favor, and let him be the see and react hitter in the middle I think he could vastly improve his OPS, if not his avg. as well. You will see him take more third strikes maybe when he doesn’t get the offspeed away when he is down in the count, or maybe letting a few more breaking balls over the plate go by at 2-0, but in the end, if he is reacting to that pitch instead of attacking it you are talking about a single 2 in 5 times as opposed to a strike and a double or better in 1 in 5 times….those are random numbers, no science, but the point stands. make him attack in counts and react in others, based purely on count, and let him grow from there. That is kind of the way Yadier Molina progressed into the hitter he is now. Good average, weak OPS the first two years, then 2-3 down years with avg but slowly increased OPS and getting “his” pitch, and now he is a very competent ML hitter for avg. and OPS as he is in his early 30s.

  17. KJ

    RT @ESPNChiCubs: W. Castillo w a partial tear in meniscus in right knee. Season over, 4-6 wk recovery. Theo says he’s part of the core now

    1. Kyle

      Not that “core” isn’t a meaningless distinction anyway, but it’s kind of doubly meaningless when guys keep shuffling in and out.

      Darwin Barney was core at one point.

      1. C. Steadman

        i agree, core is thrown around too loosely…when i think of core, i think of franchise making players you want to build around..such as Verlander, Kershaw, Trout, Harper, etc

  18. Jon

    I don’t know if it’s been posted, but per WSCR 670 reported David Shuster, Theo met the media today and one of his quotes was

    “It has been a very good year”

    Does he(Theo) think we are stupid?

    1. Kyle

      No. He just has different goals than Cubs fans do.

    2. Jon

      When Theo took the job, he talked about “treating chances to win as sacred” and “parallel fronts”. Well while the minor league front has been great, the major league front, for another season was utter shit. So I don’t know how you can justify the overall objective as great. Complete sacrifice of current opportunities to win wasn’t a perquisite to building the core foundation, or we were told so.

      1. Jon

        Again, full disclosure, I still love Theo(as a baseball man) love the ‘Plan’, but cut the crap with some of these cliches tossed around.

        1. ClevelandCubsFan

          Ehhh…. I think, let’s just look at this year…. We came out of the off season with a team with a lot of question marks but a lot of potential. If Baker and Garza had been ready to start the season, well… that alone would have changed a whole lot. So I think you have to keep things in perspective. This was a team of reclamation projects and young talent (again), but if it’d clicked and if a team above us had some injury concerns, who knows… We didn’t field a winner April 1. But we didn’t field a sure loser. We fielded a if-it-all-clicks-it-could-be-interesting. It’s a cost effective strategy that gives us a chance to win every night and be somewhat competitive.

          1. Jon

            The team fielded on April 1 didn’t have a chance at winning anything.

            1. On The Farm

              Except those 64 things we call wins. Like or not this team did show improvement from last year (even if it is only three wins at this point), and in my opinion, this team looked better this season then they did in 2012.

              1. Jon

                Really? They are the 4th worst team in baseball. Stop with this “polishing a turd” nonsense.

                1. On The Farm

                  Yeah, up from the 2nd worst team in baseball. I didn’t say I was happy with where they are, but this season we may have found two OF options for 2014 (Schierholtz and Lake) and found out Castillo might be one hell of a catcher. We traded for a guy who could be our future closer, and maybe another starter. So while no, its not the greatest season in Cubs history, there are a lot of positives. If you only want to focus on the negatives, that a you problem.

                  1. Eternal Pessimist

                    Jon, I think you are neglecting to factor in the MASSIVE sell-off we had this year. When we were out of it the garage sale opened and business was good…very good. Yes, the end of the year has been painful, but successful can be propelling to the playoffs, or big leaps in the minor league w/ development and aquisitions.

                    The single failing of this season that bothers me is the step back in our “long-term major league pieces.

            2. C. Steadman

              we had some improvements on MLB roster, but also some ?marks as well,such as Castro, Shark, and Rizzo(to a lesser extent)…overall i see some improvement in the MLB, but you cant deny that the minor leagues as a whole took a giant leap forward. That being said i dont think it was no secret 2013 was a throw away, try to lock a top 10 pick year…so we accomplished the goal while making some good trades to strengthen a major farm system weakness which was pitching depth…2014 i think is where the cubs need to shoot for .500 while seeing Baez and maybe Bryant being brought up, while possibly auditioning some back of the rotation candidates(Hendricks, Grimm(maybe just a reliever), Arrieta for a full season)

              1. willis

                I do think 2013 was good for adding pitching depth as you noted. Adding Arrieta, Strop, Grimm, Ramirez, Edwards, Pineryo…then a solid draft of arms, that’s definitely something to look at and say it was a good year. Out of those guys, I’m most geeked about Edwards and Arrieta, with Strop being a good back end bullpen guy.

                For 2014, need to aim for better results at the top and stop the flipping. Got to start working towards respectible big league standing. Tinker with what the cubs have a little and I think they’re heading that way. I just hope that happens this offseason.

                1. C. Steadman

                  exactly, i would like to stop the flipping this year as well, besides a couple smaller deals(Hairston type) to open up spots for Baez, Alcantara and any other prospects that might be brought up during the season

              2. ClevelandCubsFan

                Definitely. But look. I crunched the numbers. Our Pythagorean W% — that is, our expected winning percentage based on runs scored and runs allowed was pretty good with the lineup we had this year… until trade dead line.

                Before the deadline, we scored 428 runs and gave up 447. That’s almost even. That’s good for a PW% of .478. If you consider we did that without Baker (who we hoped would be ready in May) and largely without Garza (who we hoped would be ready in April) in arguably the toughest division in baseball, I would say that’s a competitive team. Like I said, a chance to win just about every night out. And we played a LOT of close ball games. Think of how many years in there’s been where a 38-43 record at the All-Star Break would have left us thinking we still have a shot and packed out the stadium.

                After the deadline we have scored 155 runs and given up 198. That’s ugly, and it marks us down to a .379 PW% for that stretch… which is kinda how things have felt lately.

                By the way, that PW% split looks really good for Sveum. (Last year the Cubs had a .416 PW% at the deadline and a .357 after.

    3. Die hard

      It’s been good to Theos bank account -if Cubs aren’t .500 next year back up the truck

  19. mr.mac

    Theo’s ultimate goal is winning the World Series, and having many years of sustained success. This year was a good year in building towards that goal. I doubt he was asked for his opinion on the major league team and responded with “it has been a very good year.” I am sure he meant as an overall organization.

  20. Jon

    At this point, I don’t think Vizcaino is an actual person. If you have TJS and still aren’t pitching 19 months later, well, something has gone wrong.

    1. willis

      I think he probably exists, but he’s a china doll. Has never been able to stay healthy. It’s unfortunate of course because he had electric stuff. Maybe he can return as a bullpen arm at some point in the future. Too bad that’s the least of the team’s needs going forward.

    2. kscubfan

      Yes something has gone wrong, it’s called a set back and another surgery.

  21. Fastball

    Castro just needs to play his game without hearing 10 voices every time he grabs a bat. I will gladly take him in a little more matured version of his former self. If he gets back to that dont fuck with him. People think playing more games is a good thing. I don’t. This myth of more games is better is actually a big problem that goes all the way back to little league and AAU. Kids play too much and they pitch too much way to young. Practice on the other hand is fine if it’s only about 90 minutes each time. I personally would send these guys home to R&R for a while. You push it too far and you don’t accomplish anything. I am big on kids playing multiple sports. My boys all played major college baseball and I made them play football and basketball every year. If your a good enough athlete playing multiple sports develops a kid even more. For minor leaguers I say send them home and they don’t do anything baseball related for at least 45 – 60 days. Let the body and mind heal and relax. They will come back healthy mentally and physically. I’m cool with a little winter ball just as a toon up. They have ST for a reason.

  22. cub2014

    Just read it sounds like they are
    grooming Baez for 2B and going
    to try Alcantera out in CF with Olt
    at 3rd and Villanueva at 3rd in Iowa.

    1. On The Farm

      I would be cool with that. I wonder how Alcantara will fair in the OF.

  23. cub2014

    nice to have speed and pop in CF
    but defense?

  24. Aaron

    “Maybe I’ve put a little too much pressure on myself,” Anthony Rizzo.

    The reality is that not only have Rizzo and Castro put too much pressure on themselves, the FO, media and fans have as well. These younger players have felt the weight of carrying this franchise all season long, especially after both signing long-term deals.

    The results for this season are found in their stats. The FO needs to bring up or bring in better players to help these players develop. Dale and his coaches need to do a better job of teaching and putting these two players in better positions to succeed. They have done a better job as of late, which included them not talking into Castro’s ear when hitting.

    1. C. Steadman

      i think(and really hope) starlin and rizzo will improve next season and will put up good numbers…Rizzo had a good year besides hitting not more singles and his low AVG in RISP, so it wont be hard for him to improve on those things, I’m not worried about Rizzo…its castro who i really want to see a good rebound year out of

  25. Bret Epic

    I’m usually somewhat of a regular poster on the site and I must say that when I posted about the possibility of replacing Dale the other day, I was given an endless and futile argument by mjhurdle. I stated the possibility of better options after this season, which included Girardi and Gardenhire, while stating the possibility of positives coming from replacing him. By weighing pros and cons, I came to this conclusion. While trying to make my thoughts known, he apparently felt obligated to challenge every word I said. I wasn’t making sarcastic jabs about the front office, but displaying my opinion after a thorough analysis. I personally am a Theo+Company supporter, but you don’t need to try to tear someone a new asshole every time they oppose your opinions. I’m an Atheist, but I don’t go around telling everyone who believes in God how dumb they are. Please also remember that just because someone bashes a decision that a front office makes does not mean they’re against the front office as a whole. I was against the Ian Stewart trade, but it doesn’t mean I’m against the front office. All that being said, I think everyone should try just a LITTLE harder to be less of a dick. We’re all Cubs fans after all.

    1. Funn Dave


    2. willis

      Very well said. Disagreeing is part of a community of posters that have a common passion, this one is the cubs. Let it ride and have fun with it.

    3. C. Steadman

      Agreed…everyone bleeds blue here

    4. cubsfanforever

      Agreed. Very well put

    5. mjhurdle

      My apologies for not agreeing with you. I assumed you were posting with the idea of generating a discussion. I won’t make that mistake again.

      1. Bret Epic

        You’re even doing it now. There’s a way to disagree in a polite manner while entitling others to their opinions.

        1. mjhurdle

          again, i apologize. I would go farther, but obviously the last time i did that, it left an impression deep enough that you felt the need to call me out while at the same time playing the victim.
          I didn’t mean to cause so much drama for you. so as a result i will make sure that i do not offer my opinions to you anymore, that is the only way to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
          Take care

          1. Bret Epic

            You’re being “apologetic” while being condescending, and I’m not satisfied with that. I don’t mind a discussion, but there’s a certain way to go about a discussion that leaves room for it to be constructive, all while being respectful. If that’s something you’re incapable of altogether, you might want to learn how to do so.

            1. mjhurdle

              Does this count as “endless and futile argument”?
              Just checking, because those things are frowned upon around here.

              1. Bret Epic

                It wouldn’t be endless if you understood, but you don’t, and it’s sad. Have a good one.

    6. DarthHater

      So, let me get this straight. If I take exception to someone engaging me in endless argument, the way to be less of a dick about it is to post an unnecessarily long comment that provokes an endless argument about endless arguments. Funny, because I would have thought it would be less dickish to solve the problem by the simple expedient of stopping arguing with that person. This not being a dick stuff is just too complicated.

      1. waittilthisyear

        i argue that you should not stop arguing

        1. mjhurdle

          you are both missing the fact that the argument should be not just endless, but also futile. Futility is the key.

  26. Aaron

    Hey C. Steadman…I also think Rizzo will be ok, but certainly needs this off-season to relax and unwind after a challenging season where he did some things very well.

    My point of having him putting and having alot of presure to produce is evident in his very low RISP stat. Also, he needs to improve his average against left handing pitching. He appears to be a hard-worker and will make the necessary adjustments needed to take his game up a few notches going into next season.

    1. C. Steadman

      very much agreed, Rizz and Starlin had alot of pressure this year and I would like to see the Cubs maybe getting another bat in the lineup (pick one of either Ellsbury, Choo, Hart, McLouth, Granderson) to take some pressure off of those two…b/c the way the lineup is right now, they will still be pressured i think

      1. mjhurdle

        I think out of the list you mentioned, Granderson is the most intriguing. I don’t think that his price will be near as high as Choo or Ellsbury, but he still can still hit for power and would be a nice addition for the next couple of years.

        1. C. Steadman

          he is a chicago native as well…i think he could be a potential cub signing

  27. Losing makes u better 62-100 > 75-87

    I wonder what Hoyer meant by “emotionally” warnout referring to Baez. I’m sure he’s physically tired but emotionally? Maybe family stuff or being so young and away from HHS family took a toll but we’ll see. Was really looking forward to him playing in the AFL but if he needs time off. I understand

  28. Rich C.

    Interesting timing concerning Baez. One day I read he’s going to play 2B or 3B in the AFL, a day or two later I hear he needs rest for emotional reasons. If I remember right Theo had to sit him down and talk to him previously about playing somewhere other than short. Maybe that has something to do with this?

  29. Aaron

    Granderson, Choo or Ellsbury could be that 1 impact player that Theo talked about adding to the Cubs this off-season. More than likely, it would come down to years and salary per year. The Cubs need to make a nice splash by adding an impact player for their fans and certainly for their young players such as Castro and Rizzo. Castro batting second and seeing more fastballs due to securing a solid lead-off batter would be nice to see, along with Rizzo having more RBI opportunities. I believe one key addition could make a world of difference.

    1. hansman1982

      “Castro batting second and seeing more fastballs ”

      I really would like to see a study on pitch types by lineup spot.

  30. Aaron


    The Cubs have a winning record (.550) when scoring more than three runs. They are (.793) when they reach five runs in a game. But when Cubs pitchers give up four runs or more, they are (.130). Very interesting and revealing stats. Can anyone see if these stats still hold up through August?

    While we should always want to enhance our pitching staff, the stats here scream improve the offense. Baez at 2nd and Bryant at 3rd will be exciting. An experienced professional hitter at the top of the lineup and that can also play a solid center field is what is needed over the next 3 years, then as a plan, Almora would be ready to take over.

    1. MightyBear

      Thank you Aaron. That is exactly correct. The answer is Jacob Ellsbury.

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