cactusGood thing Spring Training results are totally meaningless, right?

Today the Cubs were shellacked by the Angels in Tempe, and it was all downhill after an efficient first inning by Chris Rusin that included a nice swinging strikeout of Mike Trout.

  • James McDonald followed Rusin with a six-run, three-walk, two-homer inning of his own. He and Rusin are battling for the fifth starter spot if Jake Arrieta is out, which might sound like a scary thing if you went by today’s results. Keep in mind: we don’t know precisely what guys are trying to accomplish in Spring starts. Keeping runs off the board at all costs isn’t always the M.O. Obviously giving up homers and walking guys are almost never in the plans, but at least the guys looked healthy enough …
  • After McDonald, the Cubs pitched a slew of non-roster and minor league guys. Jonathan Sanchez, whom Chris Bosio has praised as having electric stuff out of the pen, struggled with his command and didn’t complete an inning. Paulo Espino, a minor league signing late last year that drew a little praise from me, probably had the best day, striking out two in 1.1 innings of scoreless work.
  • On the offensive side, there wasn’t a lot to cheer unless you’re really into prospects.
  • Oh, wait, we’re TOTALLY into prospects! Javier Baez started at shortstop and scalded the ball, but didn’t have a hit to show for it. Kris Bryant worked a full count in his at bat, fouling some pitches off, and then bombed one to deep center. Albert Almora ripped a double down the left field line. Dan Vogelbach grounded into a double play, but he hit the ball very hard, looked as fit as those pictures have indicated, and got down the baseline pretty well.
  • Darwin Barney had a couple hits – an infield single and a deep homer to left. He’s not ceding his job, Emilio!
  • davidalanu

    Oh, No!!!! We suck again!!!!

    • SalukiHawk

      Oh no!!! Yet another idiot who doesn’t know that spring training games (especially the second one of the season) mean nothing. Or perhaps my sarcasm meter is broken.

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only their aliases. There real names are Baez, Almora, Bryant, and Soler. They formed the crest of the Chicago Cubs cyclone…to come.

  • http://www.ehanauer.com clark addison

    I watched the Angels feed on MLBtv and listened to Pat and Ron Coomer. Not a good first effort. They talked too much about Coomer’s experiences and the new catcher rule while the prospects were hitting. I realize in a blowout nobody is hanging on the play by play, but they totally ignored what was going on on the field and continued their conversation. If I hadn’t been watching on TV, I’d have really been pissed.

    Oh well, announcers need spring training too.

    • tobias

      You’re complaining about that. You do realize that this Coomer’s first year as a radio guy for the Cubs and most listeners might not know Ron Coomer. I see no problem with them talking about Coomer’s experiences because they need to introduce him to the Cubs radio audience. The catching rule needs to be talked about because it’s a pretty big rule change and the audience might be confused on how the rule is going to be applied.

    • SalukiHawk

      Tobias, you have listened to spring games before right? Half the time, they’re talking about things other than the action. Most of the time, they get the player’s name wrong because of all of the substitutions. “There is Sweeney coming in and makes a nice catch. Oh wait, that’s not Sweeney….looks like, um, it appears to be number 97…we don’t have a 97 on our scorecard…so, oh well…” Cut ’em some slack. It’s spring training for them too, and considering how many are predicting our season will go, get used to a lot of non-play by play banter!

      • SalukiHawk

        My apologies Tobias…you were replying to Clark…and that’s who I intended to reply to!

  • Diehardthefirst

    Yes it’s only ST but its only ST for Angels too and they showed why they are contenders and Cubs are pretenders- will Mgr Rick report for work tomorrow? Showing up is half the job

    • DarthHater

      Right. That’s why the Twins, Astros, and Marlins are contenders and the Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals – who those three teams beat today – are pretenders.

  • Jon

    Maybe it’s unfair compared against the sweet silky sound of Pat Hughes, but I did find Coomers voice a bit awkward and annoying

  • Kyle

    A spring training battle for a pitching spot should be decided by scouting in the last two weeks. Stat lines can be deceiving at any point in ST, but especially in the beginning when pitchers are just trying to get work in. I remember two years ago when we chose Volstad over Wood on the basis of spring training stat lines.

    Kris Bryant’s homer today was pure dreaminess. Cleared the 420-sign in center with plenty to spare, and it wasn’t dead-pull, swing-from-his-heels. Just easy power.

    Vitters continues to look awfully like an afterthought in the way playing time is being divvied. Oh well.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “I remember two years ago when we chose Volstad over Wood on the basis of spring training stat lines.”

      You remember incorrectly – or at least incompletely. There were service time considerations there, and also potential flip value. Plus, one guy could be optioned and one guy could not. It wasn’t *just* about the stat lines.

      • Kyle

        The service time *might* have played an issue in the front office’s thinking (but didn’t we end up calling Wood up like a few days too early? Or was that someone else?).

        But Volstad’s ST stats definitely had something to do with how the fans perceived the decision, and it sure seemed like it was driving the club’s decision as well.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          We called Castro up a few days early, i believe. I don’t remember any impact pitcher called too early.

          • Kyle

            There was definitely a guy in the Epstein era that was called up just a week before a year of service time would have been delayed. I can’t remember which pitcher it was.

  • itzscott

    Realistically, can Vitters be anything OTHER THAN an afterthought by this time?

    Double-Realistically, he’s the throw-in when Samardzjia gets traded.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Because he has hit very well in Triple A while young for the lead, has shown solid improvement at the plate each of the past three years (when healthy, that is), projects to produce enough office to hold down a corner outfield slot on a regular basis if his glove can stick there, and production from the outfield is one of the biggest questions on this team.

      The negatives basically consist of a meaningless stint in September and the fact that he has been in system so long many fans assume he is too old to be a prospect.

      He’s not a lock for stardom or anything of that nature, but he is more than an afterthought. There is a very reasonable chance he could be a useful part of the Cubs both this year and in future years.

      If has a good first half, though, he would be a nice trade chip in the right deal. But then, you can say that about just about anyone on the 40 man roster right now.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        lead = level.


    • Kyle

      Vitters is coming off age 22 and 23 seasons in which he excelled at AAA. He’s already on the 40-man and he fits a roster need (RH 5th outfielder who can back up 1b). There’s every reason for him to be given every chance to make the team.

      • willis

        I’d love to see them give Vitters a few starts in a row here soon. LF, RF, 1B…whatever. Just get him out there and see how he looks.

  • Diehardthefirst

    No- Shark is the throw in on any deal to any team desperate enuf to want him

    • DarthHater

      Excellent point. Thanks for the insightful input.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Burbon was the first part in the Garza trade duh, and Marmol will be starting next year.

        • DarthHater


  • Diehardthefirst

    Shark is a # 4 at best but more likely a middle reliever because after 4 innings he’s a batting practice pitcher- If Theo gets anybody who is a Cub 5 yrs after trade then Theo deserves GM of the decade

    • another JP

      You might think Samarjdiza is a #4 but Fangraphs says much different:


      Some pretty decent talent evaluators have Shark #29 out of 115 ranked starting pitchers. For some perspective they have EJax @ #87 and Wood @ #89. Look at who he’s ranked ahead of… CC Sabathia @ #31, Jered Weaver @ #33, Jake Peavy @ #50.

      That makes Shark a solid #2 and borderline #1. The only people that think he’s a back-end starter are folks that pass their time on these message boards.

      • DarthHater

        Fangraphs. Another one of those organizations that deals in “facts” and “evidence.” Bah!

      • Soda Popinski

        Who needs Fangraphs when you’ve got Diehard’s eyeball?

        • DarthHater

          “Who needs Fangraphs when you’ve got Diehard’s eightball?”



          • Soda Popinski

            Haha. Touche, sir.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Marmol will have a better 2014 than Shark cause the former has learned how to pitch while the latter only knows how to bitch

    • Soda Popinski

      That’s a troll too far, Diehard.

    • DarthHater


  • Diehardthefirst

    For whom the bell trolls; it trolls for thee

    • DarthHater

      Half a brain, half a brain,
      Half a brain onward

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Don’t you jerks scare Die hard away. He is a treasure.

        • Soda Popinski

          Agreed 100%

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Like I said he is our Dick Tidrow and we need him more than ever.

        • Drew7

          Would he be on the BN-Mt. Rushmore?

          This feels wrong, but I think he’d almost have to be :/

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          If it hasn’t by now…he’s too dumb to be scared away.

          • Cubbie Blues


  • Funn Dave

    Great headline. Obligatory Spring Training Blowout.

  • Mreverything

    I was most irritated by Jim Rose’s 10 PM Cubs hit. While Rose is most irritating always anyway, he hit a new low. Besides Cubs news being an afterthought (which it usually is on Ch. 7), he (or his editors) decided to show video of one home run hit by the Cubs in their game against The Angels. Of course it was Barney’s not Bryant’s. I ask you, Jim Rose, which was more newsworthy?

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