arodys vizcaino bravesSo, that Batkid thing was pretty amazing. Not only was it an amazing experience for that little boy, but for all of us.

  • Bruce Miles reports that Dave Otto, Todd Hollandsworth, and former (brief) Cub Ron Coomer are candidates for the open WGN radio position on Cubs games, recently vacated by Keith Moreland. Bigger “names” Kerry Wood, Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe, and Eric Karros are not likely candidates, according to Miles.
  • The story of Rick Renteria’s interview process, which was made unique by the hip surgery that preceded it. Teams had to come to him for interviews, as he got around the best he could with a walker. It has a very nice conclusion, with RR getting his offer, and celebrating that moment with his wife.
  • Carrie Muskat answers questions, including thoughts on whether Darwin Barney will be the Cubs’ starting second baseman next year, on the Cubs’ desire to add a starting pitcher, and instant replay, among other things.
  • Muskat also updates on Arodys Vizcaino, who turned 23 earlier this week. The Cubs pitching prospect missed all of 2012 after Tommy John surgery, and then missed all of 2013 recovering from that surgery and a subsequent bone spur surgery. Vizcaino was going to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, but was then (unnervingly) shifted to the Instructional League. Then, he threw just three times in instructionals. Muskat’s update doesn’t mention anything about Vizcaino pitching in a winter league, which is what you would have liked to have seen. At this point, you’ve got to figure he’ll come to Spring Training as a reliever, and only a reliever for now. There is no way the Cubs could expect him to throw 120 innings next year, let alone 180 to 200. If he’s healthy, you might even see the Cubs start him out in relief at AAA to break him back into things. It’s been a long, long layoff.
  • Even before his injuries, there was a concern that Vizcaino would be limited to the bullpen because of his build and prior arm issues. That, together with the Tommy John recovery, was part of the reason the Cubs were able to get such an impressive prospect for Paul Maholm. And it’s not like Vizcaino doesn’t have huge upside as a reliever – the stuff is unquestionable. If he can, you know, still pitch.
  • The AFL Championship Game is today at 2pm CT (on MLB Network), and there’s a game preview here.
  • The annual Spring Training games in Las Vegas are set for the Cubs on March 15 and 16, and they’ll face the Mets.


  • Hee Seop Chode

    Mark Prior much?

  • Curt

    Vizcainio sound very fragile , hope thts not the case.

  • Frank

    Brett,where do you see Eli Whiteside? I see him as depth in the minors. Some people actually believe he is the back up with the cubs.

    • Brett

      Depth. Will discuss more in a separate write up.

  • Clean up Poster

    The Bat kid thing was one of the best things i have seen in a long long time. It restores a tiny fraction of my faith in humanity, and makes me wish i was there helping with the wish in some way. Like maybe dressing up as a villain or something for the kid to beat to a pulp.

    • Clean up Poster

      I’d give up baseball for all time for that kid to live a healthy happy life.

      • Tony_S

        I’ve got a 3 y/o boy, I’m sitting here bawling after watching that vid… Great stuff.

  • http://Permalink papad1945

    Why do we take on so many injured pitchers and believe they will be great. Last year we gave Baker 5 million. I just don’t get it. Is pitching that scarce.

    • Die hard

      Yes given MLB lowering of mound, enforcing brushbacks, strict balk rule, smaller strike zone, letting batters call time , etc all have worked to make pitchers obsolete and support the argument for using a pitching machine instead

      • MichiganGoat

        Ah Saturday morning Die Hard sarcasm… is there anything better?

        • scorecardpaul

          Hey, I heard from a good source that Lady Gaga is some smart guy dressed up in drag.

        • Die hard

          Serious as a heart attack-pampered sluggers put undue pressure on hard pressed pitchers … Relief for these hurlers is long past due.. Raise the mound 6 in and eliminate balks and then 5 balls for a walk and 2 strikes for a strikeout and foul ball on 2nd strike is out would level playing field

          • Drew7

            Offense has seen a pretty sharp decline since 2008, and last year, hitters posted the lowest league-OPS since 1992.

            • Professor Snarks

              Is there a theory to why that is?

              • King Jeff

                Steroids is probably the knee jerk theory. I don’t really have any reason to believe it’s not at least a contributing factor.

                • Rich H

                  For the first time since the early 90’s we have a long stretch without expansion watering down pitching.

                  Just a theory but there have been a number of statistical studies between expansion and league wide pitching numbers.

                  • Mrs. Howell

                    Rich H, that theory makes good sense along with more arms coming in from around the world.

    • King Jeff

      As many as 1/3 of all MLB pitchers on opening day rosters last year had undergone TJ surgery at some point in their career. Pitching is scarce, and a pitcher who hasn’t had arm surgery is even more scarce.

  • Deacon

    I was stunned in Carrie’s Q. & A. that when asked to name a potential #1 starter who comes out of the farm system she included Corey Black in her long list.

    I thought it was almost unanimous that Black’s future role with the Cubs would have to be as a reliever since he has no plus secondary pitch to go with his fastball?

    • waittilthisyear

      anyone who complains that Brett is a mouthpiece for the cubs should take a look at Carrie’s work and see what a mouthpiece actually sounds like

  • Tommy

    Trading with the Braves rarely ends well. That is a smart organization, especially with pitching, and when someone (especially pitching), they usually get the best of it. Let’s hope Vizcaino still comes back to shine, but up to this point, he’s hardly pitched an inning for us, has he? Not looking good up to this point as all he’s done for the Cubbies thus far is age.

    Ah well, every trade can’t be a C.J. Edwards! I say even if he turns into a complete bust, the scale is still weighted heavily in the Cub’s favor when it comes to trades the current FO has made.

    • Kyle

      I mean, we were giving up Paul Maholm here. We could have probably gotten a less interesting, less risky return, but we shot for the moon and I can’t say I dislike that even if we get nothing out of it in the end.

      Although it is a little disheartening to think that’s not hard to imagine we end up with nothing out of the 2012 trading deadline. Nothing we have from those trades strikes me as ‘sure-fire productive major leaguer’ right now.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        Kyle Hendricks looks like a quality 3/4 starter. Villanueva looks like a future above average starter at 3B. And Vizcaino still has potential to be a very good pitcher.

        • Kyle

          Those are *very* optimistic portrayals of those prospects.

          Kyle Hendricks is going to have to prove himself to even be considered a fifth starter in the majors. Christian Villanueva doesn’t look right now like his bat will play in the majors. And Vizcaino is one setback away from retirement.

          • Luke

            I think that’s overly negative on Hendricks. His Double A numbers should be enough to put him on the edge of the fifth starter conversation in spring training which would, by definition, make him considered for that role in the majors.

            He would be well down the list of candidates going into camp, but I strongly suspect he’ll be on the list.

            Now, had you said he’ll have to prove himself to be seriously considered anything more than a fifth starter I might be more inclined to agree. His stuff has worked so far, but as stuff goes, it just hasn’t been all that stuff-y.

            • cub2014

              I agree on hendricks, their isnt 1
              current cub who had numbers that
              were close to his in AA or AAA. I think
              he projects as a #4 on a good rotation
              and if he continues to get people out
              who knows his ceiling.

            • jt

              not to ask you to get ahead of yourself, but your reports on prospects seem to have a truer ring than our speculation.

          • Lukas

            Why so down on Hendricks? He seems to have some pretty impressive numbers.

            • Kyle

              Well, there’s two portions to projecting a minor leaguer.

              If the numbers look good and I’m down, it’s a good bet I don’t like the other half: his scouting reports.

              Major Leaguers tee off on 88 MPH fastballs most of the time. He might be able to be one of the few who can pull it off, but the scouting reports don’t seem to be super optimistic.

              I’m not saying he has no chance, I’m just saying it’s not hard at all to imagine him not making it.

              • MightyBear

                I disagree. While its true his fastball isn’t enough to get out major league hitters consistently, its his slurve which is his out pitch and keeps hitters off balance. It has late movement and he’s been able to throw it for strikes. He spots his fastball so hitters cant sit on his slurve. He has been able to get hitters out in AA and AAA and he doesn’t beat himself by walking guys. I believe he will be very successful at the major league level when he gets his opportunity. You don’t have to throw hard to get major league hitters out.

              • jeff1969

                Kyle, what scouting reports are you reading that suggest that scouts “don’t seem to be super optimistic” about Hendricks & Villanueva. Maybe you meant just Hendricks. The worst recent scouting reports I’ve found on Hendricks suggest he has excellent command of 4 pitches, 3 of which are above average with the curveball being the lesser. His fastball ranges from 87-91. Most reports believe he will be a rotation arm with a ceiling at 4th. I don’t think the return for Dempster was poor because the FO isn’t good at their job. Remember the debacle that whole scenario turned out to be. Much of it caused by Dempster & leaks to the media if I remember correctly. And Dempster made it public that he “only” wanted to go to the Dodgers? Right? I enjoy reading your comments Kyle, but in this case I think you are being too negative on a couple of decent (not spectacular) prospects. This will be the season we see if Villanueva is really anything other than a utility guy. The same for Hendricks. I think we agree that the return on the deals hasn’t been as rewarding as we all want but let’s hope these guys have that extra TWTW to push them over the top. Tongue firmly placed in cheek there.

                • Kyle

                  There has been some talk that scouts just don’t see Villanueva’s bat as developing enough to be a meaningful starter on a good team.

                  “Ceiling of a 4th starter” is generally applied to guys who have a realistic chance of never being anything.

                  I didn’t say anything about the front office “not doing its job” or anything like that.

                  • Kyle

                    “This will be the season we see if Villanueva is really anything other than a utility guy. The same for Hendricks.”

                    So basically, we agree. And *if* the answer is negative on both of those questions, and Vizcaino can’t stay healthy, then we got nothing from the 2012 deadline, which would be disappointing.

                    • jeff1969

                      I think we mostly agree. It would be disappointing if all three of those guys washed out. I think I might have a little more somewhat blind optimism than you when it comes to prospects, but I think Hendricks has a better than average shot to reach his potential, based on his command, than most other guys with a low average fastball. As for Villanueva, I don’t think the corner inf. power is ever going to come, but he has to improve on being a more productive offensive player, probably with a future at 2b. Not exactly what Cubs fan were hoping for I agree.

                  • Jason P

                    Except Hendricks has a much higher floor than others who generally get the “ceiling of a 4th starter” label. Taylor Scott has the ceiling of a 4th starter. So do James Pugliese and Michael Heesch. Now that Hendricks has pitched well at AAA, I’d say he has a good chance being in a big league rotation, and if not, at least being a useful reliever.

                    Villanueva has a fairly high floor as well, but I agree he probably is at best a fringe starter.

                    It would certainly be disappointing if none of the 2012 deadline prospects panned out, but it’s not like we gave up much.

              • GP1

                Get a clue!! Have you ever seen the kid pitch? Sounds like you are another one that totally believes in a radar gun!! Throws 97 and straight but can’t hit the broad side of a barn. In at 97 & straight. Out about 450 feet!!
                Oh by the way he throws a 4 seamer at about 94 but only once or twice a game

                • cub2014

                  when you trade guys like; feldman,
                  dempster,garza,maholm you are doing
                  so to build up your prospect quality and
                  since they were going to be lost to
                  Free Agency anyway it makes sense
                  when you are rebuilding.

                  These guys can be replaced every year
                  in free agency.

      • TheRiot2

        Putting things in perspective,you summed that up nicely in the Maholm deal.To the moon we go or bust.

  • http://Yes Dude

    Braves traded Feliz, Andrus, Harrison to Rangers and Wainright to Cards… So the Braves aren’t perfect by any stretch.

  • Kyle

    First reference to Edwin Jackson being a tradeable commodity. And a reporter reporting (not speculating, but actually reporting) that the front office used to think that 2015 was our breakthrough year but now are aiming for 2016.

    • Jason Powers

      Read that too last night.

      Goal posts move, activate!
      Trade ALL the players, activate!
      Media powers, activate!

      Theo and Jed, activate![img][/img]

      • Ron

        Am I missing something? There is nothing there to indicate the front office moved the goal post really. What he reported was speculation and seemed to be opinion as well informed as Kyles or yours really. Personally, I hope they don’t trade either because that would be clear evidence of moving the goal post but as it sits now it all seams to be speculation and hyper reactivity to opinion.

        • Kyle

          When a reporter in a news story states definitively that the front office has changed their minds from 2015 to 2016, that’s not speculation. That’s his reporting.

          • Ron

            “Where the Cubs had internally viewed 2015 as a breakthrough year last winter, now they are focusing more on 2016 in the big picture.”

            Well you would know better than me, it is not like Epstein or Hoyer would come out and explicitly say it. Guess I am just hoping they announce an exstention for Shark this off season. That alone would change a lot of the conversation.

            • Kyle

              You have to read between the lines a little bit. Reporters like to leave all these little clues that they assume readers know what they mean.

              “Would seem to indicate…” or something like that means the reporter is speculating, or reporting the general speculation/consensus.

              Statements of fact without direct sourcing generally mean the reporter had a source who told him that, but the reporter was either asked not to attribute it directly or didn’t think it was important enough to need a direct source.

              When you’ve got an article with a bunch of quotes from Cubs executives, and then a statement of fact (and a rather important one) thrown in without attribution, it’s a good bet that it came from one of those executives with a request not to directly attribute.

              • Tony_S

                Mmmmm. I agree with your assessment reading the quote, but it also think it could be Mooney spinning a little, eg: last winter, Jed told Mooney, “Watch us in 2014.” Then this week, Jed says something to the effect of, “we’re behind where we thought we’d be.” Mooney says “a year?” And Jed says, “Yeah, maybe.”

                I’m not saying mine is right and yours is wrong, and the real answer is probably somewhere in the middle. I just think it’d be a little bigger deal if they were saying, even in hushed tones, that this thing is still TWO FUCKING YEARS away from being serious, and this offseason isn’t even over yet.

                Of course, that may be just wishful thinking……

              • Tony_S

                And to all of this, look at Theo’s quote in Muskat’s mailbag:

                “Our business plan and our facilities plan and our baseball plan are all a couple years away from reaching fruition, and we’re going to be as aggressive as we can given our situation,” Epstein said. “We’re going to look for moves that make sense for now and for the future.”

                A couple years would be after 2015.

                So, going back to Mooney’s quote (and things I and others have said on this very blog), Ricketts ain’t loosing the purse strings for the team until he sees the capital flowing back in, ie the renovation. Now, are there other things at work besides just the rooftop owners’ (credible) threats here? Maybe. Again, I and others have found it somewhat lacking credibility that the RTO are essentially holding the entire org hostage over this. Which has in turn been refuted by people smarter than me who think it makes sense based on the potential cost in time and dollars of such litigation.

                But regardless the reasons why, the money isn’t going to get lavished until the park gets renovated and the money starts rolling in (that, and TV deals). It is absolutely that simple, whether those things happen in 2015 or 2115.

            • Jason Powers

              And also from CSN, partly owned by the Ricketts.
              I doubt they’d run that story if the reporter had any trepidations about the content. But, I could be wrong.

              But we’ve heard how Shark, Scheirholtz, and now, Jackson, are up for sale. Seems we are now like:


              in dumping contracts (or potential ones in Samardzija’s case) whenever we can. But we get prospects…Are the Ricketts finding the Cubs an inedible piece in their portfolio?

              One can wonder…

              • YourResidentJag

                Hard to say..the piece from Wittenmeyer yesterday (I know ppl dislike him on here) alluded to some sort of disconnect between the baseball ops and Ricketts ownership in terms of securing Girardi. It’s probably been said on here, and probably by Brett, but if they were to have such confidence in Girardi being hired (Ricketts), would they be in a position to dismantle as much as they’re talking.

              • Luke

                Let’s not get carried away with language. The reference to Jackson in the article reads:

                “Maybe Jackson’s frontloaded contract – now three years, $33 million – could look reasonable and even get moved in an overheated market where a pitcher like Ervin Santana is reportedly asking for five years, $112 million.”

                Yes, you can claim that reporter would only have included a speculative clause that begins with maybe if he had concrete confirmation from the front office that this was the exact plan and Ricketts himself had signed off on the story if you want to.

                But it is also entirely logical, rational, and reasonable to say that the reported is mentioning that Jackson’s contract is more moveable than some thing and that the pitching market is such that the Cubs could consider moving him for a high return.

                It would, I think, not be reasonable to say that every single speculation made by any reporter is confirmation that such plans have been made and are being executed by the front office.

                • Kyle

                  Always note the language. Reporters do this intentionally.

                  The Jackson sentence uses the phrase “could look reasonable” which is clearly marking it as the reporter’s speculation.

                • Jason Powers

                  Of course.

                  But, it’s also a reasonable observation, considering that Theo stated, “they got a little ahead of ourselves”

                  in regards to Jackson.

                  2nd time it has been out there in a week. Doesn’t take much to lead on to financial considerations trumping.
                  His contract is reasonable, the peripherals are pretty sound (xFIP), he throws hard, and so, yeah, they could want more prospects, and get them – but who wouldn’t seek FAs out first? See if I can bargain to a better deal?

                  With that “frontloaded contract – now three years, $33 million – could look reasonable and even get moved in an overheated market, ” sounds to me like Theo & Jed are repeatedly thinking on how to move Jackson, whether by their desires, or at the Ownership’s insistence or just a can-do-it request. (But slipping it out there…twice in a week.)

                  They are very willing to find a way to get out of that deal, and save $$$ as they don’t see a competitive team until 2015-16. They know likely the fan base is not all that upset if Jackson goes. He’s gone after 2016 anyways…

                  But, will see.

                  • Tony_S

                    Totally disagree. I think it goes back to Theo’s “ahead of ourselves” quote.

                    If they’re blown away for Jackson, do they pull the trigger? Sure. Is that def possible at 3/33? Sure (also, why do you think they were smart enough to front load it to begin with?).

                    Are they actively shopping him, or is this indicative that this thing is off the rails? No. Also, Jackson’s fate with the Cubs is probably largely tied to getting Tanaka, extending Shark, signing a Josh Johnson type FAA, or some combo of all 3, whether they think they can effectively replace him OR whether they get a few more pieces they like (Tanaka) and want to keep him to contribute.

                    • Professor Snarks

                      If we trade Shark and Jackson this off season for prospects, well, who is the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft?

                      (at least the farm system would maintain it’s ranking)

      • Professor Snarks

        Hey Jason,
        You gotta be fair. I don’t remember the FO ever giving a date for competitiveness. That’s come from sports reporters, bloggers and their followers. I’m guessing the internal time frame was never before 2016/2016 to compete. Not if their plan was to limit their player acquisitions to the draft and IFA markets.

        • Jason Powers

          Food for fair thought:
          Mets – 7 years, title
          Expos – 10 years (they got very, very close in 1979, 81 even closer)
          Florida – 5 years, title
          Tampa – 10 years, WS appearance
          Toronto – 8 years, playoffs, then competitive until they bought 2 titles

          Ricketts took over on October 27, 2009 officially. 4 years.

          The Cubs started with much greater resources than ANY of those teams – 3M+ fans in attendance at the park, a honeymoon period after the good finishes in 2007-8, that carried over to 3M fans through 2011.

          We’ve drafted “well” in the last 3 years. Baez, Almora and Bryant, that includes a pre-Theo draft. And we got 2014 to draft “well.”

          So, if it is 2016. That’s 7 seasons since they took the reins, the Ricketts.

          Just to be fair about it.

          • Professor Snarks

            My “be fair” comment was referencing the FO moving the goal posts. I don’t think they did. i don’t remember them ever putting a number on when the competitive window would start.

            I agree this is taking a long time, but tou have to start the clock when Theo came over. He’s not responsible for the mess that happened from 2009-2010.

            As for Ricketts, well I have questions. Why, going into 2014, haven’t we started the remodel of Wrigley.? Why did he allow Hendry to spend so much to just tread water in 2010/2011?

            I’m not happy about how long this is taking, I’m just not surprised.

            • Jason Powers

              Agreed. Will see on what moves come…

              • Mike F

                If true it is exceptionally disappointing. While the Astro’s and some of the bottom junk is getting better Theo wants to be the worst in MLB. 2O16 is the contract year for a guy who said he stayed too long in Boston. I find it impossible to believe that a guy as competitive as he was the previous 10 years is willing to piss it all away. If it is true, and I think it is a huge if, Ricketts should either part ways with Theo or sell the team. I have been on the Theo bandwagon, but increasingly it seems there may be some disconnect between what Theo and Ricketts want. Ricketts clearly wanted JG and Theo clearly wasn’t enthusiastic. Rational people need to start to have some concerns about a 5 year write-off which seems increasingly like a defacto blackmail scheme of fans and the Wrigley neighborhood.

                I am frankly stunned at some of the rhetoric and non-sense. Threats to sue are a fact of life. RE has kept his word and delivered what they have asked. If the organization thinks that attempting to hold the rooftop owners hostage and further destabilizing the ML roster is the right thing to do, their are the morons. They got what they wanted and the more I watch the Cubs operate, the more obvious it seems top to bottom they are significantly dysfunctional.

                It is starting to appear very disappointing. I agree we have hope this is all just media garbage.

                • danimal8

                  Destabilizing what roster? There isn’t a single exceptional baseball player on our team. As for the rooftops, I could care less about what they want. Corporate entities running buildings across the street, attempting to hold onto their nearly free baseball get no sympathies from me. It was different when actual people owned the buildings but this is a different era.

                • Jim L

                  “Ricketts clearly wanted JG and Theo clearly wasn’t enthusiastic.”

                  There was no reason for Theo to be enthusiastic about Girardi until Girardi was available, which he wasn’t. He was still under contract to the Yankees until November 1 and the Yanks gave no indication they would let him speak to other teams. Girardi wanted to stay in NY and got his wish.

    • caryatid62

      …such is life for a small market team.

      • willis

        How encouraging. Makes sense though after what Theo said last week in regards to the Jackson signing. I remember around these parts and talking to many cubs fans that 2014 was circled as the year things start coming together, competitive club, make some good moves blah blah blah. Hell I thought they’d actually start trying to win by then. But these last two years have proven that to be very wrong. Just miserable.

    • cub2014

      alright now I am pissed, if they think most
      fansare going to sit here and suck it up
      until 2016. I think they are sorely mistaken.

      I have been a cubs fan my whole life that
      will never change. I doubt you can say that
      about the majority of the people that would
      come to Wrigley. I was 8yrs old when those
      amazin’ Mets broke my grandpa’s heart. I’ve
      been here through the good with Dallas Green
      and the bad with Bartman so I am not going

      We got our 2 top picks, we have loaded up
      the minors. Its time to start putting a team on
      the field in Wrigley. This CSN story had better
      be wrong. If its right I think FO and ownership
      is making a big mistake.

      • josh ruiter

        I think the track record of lack of success and continual loyal fan base may suggest otherwise, namely if they are seriously competitive for the long term, I don’t think 2015/2016 makes much difference. If its the difference between SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS, and waiting that extra year for Soler/Almora to come along side of Baez, Bryant, Almora, Rizzo, Castro, etc. I think every loyal Cubs fan will step back and be ok with it.
        The flip side is that if they are going to take that approach they are going to have to promote a kid or two a year to showcase the future to the fans, even if they could have saved some time on the FA clock wasted in an otherwise down year. But that is the flip side I guess, spend lavishly on guys over 30 or use up a season of cheap control on an up and comer, both will help ease fans minds and the FO will have to choose one of two most likely.

        • cub2014

          josh I am not saying waste your money.
          I am saying spend wisely on FA and
          there are some trade opportunities that
          make sense.

          But we can sign these bridge and flip
          guys and still go get players that will
          fit the build process. 30 or younger cost
          controlled or no more 5 years tied up.
          If a rookie comes up and is a stud then you
          can always trade any of these guys you
          bring in.

          There payroll is going to be around 70mil
          if they dont bring in any studs! 70mil are you
          kidding me! thats ridiculous!

        • Brains

          yeah this post makes two different fallacies, while making an either/or proposition much in line with the PR campaign. 1) that each of these minor leaguers will actually make it, AND be mlb leaders within the first two years. 2) that the reason things are moving half as slowly as promised is because our minor leaguers are just *that* good. in fact beyond bryant they’re still a mixed bag. there are entirely different reasons that money isn’t being released into the system, and they’re not baseball related.

      • Brains

        it seems pretty clear that a good portion of the fans will believe whatever advertisements tell them to believe. and that’s what we’ve currently had, an advertising blitz by the FO.

        the more i think about it the harder it is for me to believe that Theo wants to put together the worst 3-4 years in the history of the franchise as a “winning strategy”. this is really pitiful, but i think we’re not getting the right story from the ownership. one of them is soon to move on – the team will be sold, or Theo will resign.

        • willis

          I do wonder how bought in he really is. He will be overseeing the worst stretch of baseball in a long time, maybe ever, for the Cubs. Granted, he has lead a huge rebuild of the minor leagues, which is great. But I just don’t know if I can see him having the patience to be the face of 4-5 years of pure garbage, because his owner won’t dip into the pockets to allow Theo to piece together a competing team. I just wonder how much of that was really expressed in the meetings by Ricketts to Theo.

          • Brains

            exactly. i gotta think that this was a surprise. and Jed just simply hasn’t known what to do within these limitations. Jed’s done an “D” job, though in his defense it’s not his fault that he’s been so strapped.

    • Luke

      From that same article, it is interesting to see that they are coming right out and saying that they are going to pursue trades for some of the best players in the game.

      I’d be curious which players are making calls about.

      • Professor Snarks

        The two that jump out at me are Stanton (which I doubt) and Porcello. CarGo could be a possibilty, as could Weiters. These guys fill needs and are young enough to make a difference in 2016 and on.

      • jt

        Seems to me that the article is a long rephrasing of “due diligence”.

  • Ron

    Does Vizcaino being out the last two years count against his contract? (I would think that it would) Anyway, what stinks the most is that the Cubs have lost two cost controlled years of his service. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year.

    • Kyle

      Hmm, I was thinking he didn’t accrue service time the last two years, but according to The Cub Reporter (who are always nails on this sort of thing) he has 2 years and 50 days of service time. That means this is his last pre-arb season coming up.

      Not great for a guy who has pitched 25 innings above AA.

      • Ron

        That sucks. Thanks Kyle.

        • willis

          Yeah, 25 innings above AA. Yet there are tons of people that continuously bank on this kid being a big contributor. The kid has a glass arm and hardly any experience, I just wonder what makes people think he’ll contribute anything? Sure he has electric stuff, but he can’t stay healthy and has had one set back after another as a professional ball player. I would advise writing this one up as a lost cause and focusing on players that can stay on the field. If he every throws a pitch for the cubs, it’s a nice boost. But putting any stock in it is fairly risky. Always has been.

      • Tony_S

        Yep, Arizona Phil is the shit on prospect-y stuff, I remember when he was just a poster over there.

        I don’t know Viscaino’s status, but I’m assuming he was on the 40-man and on the 60-day DL, which IIRC does indeed mean he accrues time.

  • Sect109row15

    When do pitchers and catchers report?

  • YourResidentJag

    Well, I predicted Coomer…though that’s not really hard when you give some time to think about it.

  • cub2014

    I am OK with trading mediocre talent:
    Schierholtz,Shark,Jackson those guys
    can easily be replaced. Shark can bring
    back a good return because he has
    potential to be a top pitcher but so far
    he has been below average.

    I dont know how the Cubs are going to
    do it but they need some all-stars. I like
    the prospects but lets not pin our hopes
    on these guys.

    • YourResidentJag

      I’m ok with a trade of Shark and Shierholtz to say Toronto is Aaron Sanchez is the centerpiece plus Anthony Gose and say SP Norris.

    • Tony_S

      I’m cherry picking here, but you don’t just randomly replace 9.0 k/9

  • http://BN Sacko

    I don’t get why he continues to be on the list of top prospects.

    • willis

      This. It’s pretty ridiculous at this point. I can see maybe, right after the trade being excited, but when he hasn’t played in like, forever, how can he be viewed as a top prospect.

      • Professor Snarks

        Put me in the ‘he’s gotta earn it’ camp. In any of my dream scenario for future Cubs rosters, he never makes the team. At this point, him becoming a 8th inning set up guy would shock me.

    • Jason P

      Who would you put ahead of him? Usually he’s around 10th on prospect lists, in front of guys like Candelario — who didn’t exactly light up low-A last season, Christian Villanueva — probably either a backup or fringe starter in the bigs, and Kyle Hendricks — great results, below-average stuff.

      It’s not like Vizcaino’s stock hasn’t fallen. He was top-50 on a lot of prospect lists before TJ surgery. At this point, his upside alone makes him fringe top-10 in the system even if there is huge bust potential.

      • Professor Snarks

        If Vizcaino’s new ceiling is a set up guy, and he hasn’t pitched in 2 years, there are probably 5 guys you could put ahead of him. Candalerio (he was young for A ball), Blackburn (very young, added strength and mph to fastball), Rob Zastrazny (2nd round lefty), and I’d look at Szczur, Olt, and Ramirez as having more value than him.

        • Jason P

          His “ceiling” is not set-up guy — that’s the expectations, lowered from #2 or #3 starter when they first acquired him. His ceiling is still somewhere in the rotation, it just seems less likely now that he’ll reach that ceiling.

          I could see putting Olt, Blackburn, and maybe Candelario over him, but I still think he’s slightly ahead of Zastrazyny and far ahead of Szczur and Ramirez.

          • Professor Snarks

            Maybe he will surprise, but if I was forced to DFA any of the guys mentioned, I’m picking the guy who hasn’t pitched in 2 years. (and he isn’t pitching winter ball?)

          • Kyle

            The expectation is that he spends the next three years on the DL and then retires.

            • Jason P

              If that were the expectation, Baseball America wouldn’t be ranking him tenth on their prospect list.

              • Kyle

                Why not? 10th prospects aren’t exactly gimmes to be productive major leaguers.

                • Jason P

                  That’s true but they also aren’t “expected” to never throw a pitch in a game again. Especially in a system like the Cubs, where as many as 8 top 100 prospects exist (more likely 6 or 7 but I believe Jason Parks at one point said as many as 8 were in consideration for BP’s final list)

            • willis

              He’s the new face of Towel Drills.

          • willis

            His ceiling is in the bullpen anymore. He can’t handle the load starting pitchers do. That’s been made obvious, hasn’t it? He put some mileage in and he broke down. And still hasn’t thrown a meaningful pitch for the Cubs organization. I guess I just don’t like to lay as much as some on potential, or talent. Results matter, and I view arms that are actually throwing and contributing as way higher prospects than a kid we’ve never seen.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              We have no evidence that his arm problems were caused by pitching loads. TJ is only loosely associated with pitching loads, and the bone spurs that cost him last season probably are unrelated to baseball: they are a side effect of these types of surgeries that happen some proportion of the time.

              The issue is, is Vizcaino one of the increasingly rare guys for whom TJ surgery does not truly work? The success rate is high: but it’s not and never will be 100%. There is not going to be a rhyme or reason to the successes and failures, so there is not much one can do to anticipate the rare failures.

            • Jason P

              All his injury problems the past 2 years have resulted from a single injury (and a setback while recovering from that injury). It’s not like its a long string of arm injuries. Once (if) he can finally get fully healthy, its not out of the question he could work his way back into the rotation at some point down the road.

              • willis

                I admire your optimism and God knows I hope you are right rather than the opinion I have of him. A contribution from someone of his talent level would indeed be a huge boost for this pitching staff going forward. I just can’t get around to that viewpoint when he hasn’t thrown a ball in two+ years. And we haven’t heard hardly a peep from anyone about him other than the non AFL decision.

              • Kyle

                He had regular injury problems before the last two years.

                The single most predictive predictor of future pitcher injuries is past future injuries. The odds of Vizcaino ever being consistently healthy at this point are very slim.

  • CubsFaninMS

    What had me slightly puzzled was Carrie Muskat’s frank response about Barney’s future (or lack thereof) with the Cubs.

  • Bill

    I wouldn’t count on Vizcaino for much if he comes up in the middle of next year then great but I wouldn’t that many expectations on him.

  • anonymous-ly

    “perfection is the enemy of good”

    The small market quest for the perfect number one farm system at the expense of the MLB club and wasted seasons is nothing but a money grab by the Ricketts. An excuse to rake in 100’s millions and build equity by paying down debt,

    Woe be to Theo and Co. if many of the prospects falter or get sick this upcoming year and next. There will be hell to pay and he will get run out of town.

    On the flip side, if they are going to sacrifice a few more seasons, do it all the way on don’t go half-assed like last year. Sell Jackson, Russell, Castro, Samardzia. Anything that isn’t nailed down and a good chance will not be a contributor in 2016 needs to get sent packing. Get the number one pick in 2014 and 2015.

    • cub2014

      getting rid of Castro makes ZERO sense, people
      need to stop saying it. Young, cost controlled and
      coming off his worst year.

      • Die hard

        Agreed — the FO went out of its way to hire a Spanish speaking mgr so as to revive Castro’s career … Not trade him!

    • Die hard

      A good mgr can take any team and make it a winner- Tony LaRussa is example — they have the ability to get the best out of each player and to develop synergies so as to create wins.. I am not concerned about who is playing for the Cubs next year.. My concern is whether the mgr has that same knack .. Time will tell

    • Professor Snarks

      “The small market quest for the perfect number one farm system”

      The Cubs aren’t even that…maybe 2 or 3 in the rankings.

      “Woe be to Theo and Co. if many of the prospects falter or get sick this upcoming year and next. There will be hell to pay and he will get run out of town.”

      They know that!

  • cubfanbob

    Was Coomer the dude that ripped the cubs for drafting and allowing the kid in the club house that had beamed the batter standing on the “on deck” in college ? Or was that Micky M ?

  • http://BN Sacko

    It’s sounds like he is very fragile as they seem to be protecting him from further injury, not having him pitch at any level. What’s he going to do all winter? Then show up in the spring as a prospect? He’s not even a trade value..oh unless we can find Another TJ prospect. We traded a started for him, I never liked it from the start somebody is ltao Holy… I’ll take criticism on this comment, I just hope you are right. Picking up a TJ for 5 mill was silly also. Are there some positive stats on these injuries? Not for teams that keep them and put them back out there but as trades and FA.

    • cub2014

      On Vizcaino,
      Actually he has had only 2 injuries. TJ surgery
      and bone spur surgery related to TJ surgery.
      So he isnt fragile he is recovering. Most players
      do recover from TJ surgery.

      The real question I havent heard answered
      yet is are the velocity and movement still there?
      He has thrown a few innings in AZ instructional
      league and I heard nothing about his stuff.

      • Reality Check

        he has had 2 injuries back to back and not pitched in over 2 yrs. that’s fragile. horrid trade by theo. he won’t pitch for the cubs this year either; will need the whole minor league season to see his stuff, control, etc. you don’t trade a SP and 4th OF for a fragile reliever. just more of the same; chase the injured pitchers and trade away the major leaguers.

        2016 will the day of reckoning for this owner and FO; it’s playoffs or bust.

        • willis

          You’re right. And the funny thing is that there are still people out there hanging on to the hope that he’ll be some #2/3 starter.

          • X The Cubs Fan

            Reality Check: you are an idiot. How can it be a “horrid trade” we gave up Paul Malholm and Reed Johnson and we received a top prospect who we knew was hurt? If the trade was so terrible why are both of these guys 3rd tier free agents right now?

  • Jon

    Cubs got sold a bad bill of goods

  • Christian

    This might sound crazy but have Furcal ever played second base or can he play second base? After a couple years of injuries maybe getting him on a team friendly one year contract to prove himself would work and improve the team. What do you guys think?

    • Tony_S

      I think that would 100% work if he wasn’t 37/38. I don’t think he’s got the time to do a 1-yr get well contract

      • Christian

        Well, I think he would probably be an offensive improvement over Barney. I like Barny but I was expecting him to have a better offensive year this past season. I thought that he could be a .270 avg. hitter. Barney is probably going to get something close to a million in arbitration so why not non tender him and offer a one year 1M with incentives for Furcal?

  • http://BN Sacko

    Sounds good, but since people are saying the redbirds want a SS, why won’t they take him?

    • mjhurdle

      Word here in STL is that Furcal is not worth a contract. They speculate the only thing Furcal is going to get is a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
      If a team as hard-up for a SS as the Cardinals doesn’t want Furcal, im not sure how much of an upgrade he would be at 2B

  • cub2014

    great, blue-eyed hitters have trouble in day games.
    just figures.

  • Johnnie A

    Kris Bryant may be tearing up the AFL but he is hitting .000 with 2 errors and lots of K’s when I’m watching. I know, small sample size.

  • Cheryl

    Castro and Rizzo were considered core guys when they were given contracts to sew them up. But that was the past. Are they considered part of the core today? IMO Theo hasn’t changed the goal posts he’s changed who he considers part of the core. The players in the minors now will help define that core. Theo & Co. have emphasized plate discipline. So far Castro isn’t an advertisement for that. Although his numbers are down, he could be traded this off-season It’s been said that the hiring of Renteria was to have a Spanish speaking manager so that there would be better communication with Castro. Since when do you hire a manager to benefit one player? Renteria has a track record on the development side. Part of what he’ll do is to assess the current roster, many of the current players may not be around in 2015. By 2014 Bryant will be up. Baez may follow in September. Unless Vogelbach is traded he could replace Rizzo in 2015. Almora could be up in 2015 and Edwards may be part of the rotation then. The entire roster is in a state of flux and it appears we won’t begin to have a handle on what’s going on until September of next year.

  • http://BN Sacko

    I don’t think there is a past for this front office giving 7 year contracts are they definitely made up their minds about Castro and Rizzo. Why they wanted to f… with a 300 hitter is beyond me they should have just left Castro alone. Cubs way? Now have you noticed the ones getting all the attention are the Sweeneys Viscianos and will not be surprised about another contract to Baker. They also found the surprise Schierholtz but since he has proved their point by doing well he is the one most likely to go. This is going to go on for awhile so we can expect another dismal year and improve by maybe another 5 games.

    • TOOT

      What chu saying bro? I think part makes sense.