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arodys vizcaino cubsNo game at Cubs Park today, but I’m still going to head over that way to see if I can take in some practice and/or minor league stuff. When in Rome, do as the nerds do.

  • My eyes didn’t deceive me yesterday: Jeff Samardzija, who was hit a bit, was solely working on his four-seamer and his sinker yesterday. No breaking stuff. He’s not saying yet whether he expects to be the Opening Day starter, although I’d imagine that’s everyone’s expectation at this point, barring an injury or surprising trade.
  • Arodys Vizcaino tells Patrick Mooney he can’t remember the last time he felt this good, which is swell. That said, it sounds like the Cubs are taking it very easy with Vizcaino, because of the injuries and because of the upside. There’s no sense in derailing anything this year permanently when 2014 isn’t what really matters when it comes to the young talents like Vizcaino. As I’ve written before, given the need to manage Vizcaino’s innings and service time considerations (and the glut of bullpen arms), starting the year in the minors makes the most sense. Just keep the young man healthy, bring him back slowly, and keep an eye on 2015 for the year when he could really be a huge contributor.
  • A profile on Chris Coghlan, who has dealt with injuries for the better part of the last four years. He says he’s healthy now, and we’ll see if he’s the guy that grabs the fifth outfielder job. Someone from the Coghlan, Wells, McDonald, Cunningham contingent figures to get the gig (I haven’t seen Mitch Maier get playing time yet, and Kalish/Vitters/Jackson figure to be ticketed for the minors for now). I didn’t remember that Coghlan’s original injury occurred when he tried to do the shaving cream in the face thing and slipped, eventually leading to knee surgery. As the piece indicates, that was a rough thing to deal with for Coghlan for years, as he was the butt of many jokes.
  • Nate Schierholtz would really like to face more left-handed pitching this year, which you can understand from an outfielder in his walk year. From the Cubs’ perspective, it just depends on the makeup of the rest of the outfielders on the roster, and how they want to contour Schierholtz’s performance. Assuming Emilio Bonifacio makes the team and can play in the outfield, the Cubs will be able to go with a pure platoon outfield if they wanted, though it sure seems like Junior Lake is going to be given an opportunity to get regular starts in center field.
  • Richard Justice profiles Mike Olt as another “now healthy” type. One thing is for sure at this point: the critical mass of authority is that Olt is completely over his eyesight issues. Whether that’s enough to push him into successful starting role in the big leagues this year, we’ll just have to see. It may not come until midseason, by the way.
  • Top Cubs pitching prospect C.J. Edwards is up to 167 pounds, according to Jesse Rogers, which is about 10 pounds up from his playing weight last year. It’s a good start for the wiry, 6’2″ pitcher who could stand to add the weight to help his durability long-term. Some of that weight will probably come off naturally throughout the season, but, hey, as he enters his mid-20s, some of that insane metabolism will fall off, right? It sure as hell did for me.
  • Jonathan Mayo likes Albert Almora as a prospect a little better than fellow center fielder George Springer.
  • Matt Spiegel took in Cubs Park this week, and wrote up his experience with an eye toward the rebuild. Good read.
  • A story about Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras and his comeback from serious ankle surgery – it’s a reminder of how fragile even the best of prospects can be, and, yeah, it’s a little bit of SCardenfreude. I guess Taveras is having trouble convincing himself that he’s fully healthy, and can go at 100%.
  • CubFan Paul

    “though it sure seems like Junior Lake is going to be given an opportunity to get regular starts in center field”

    versus RHP
    LF Sweeney
    CF Lake
    RF Schierholtz
    1B Rizzo
    2B Bonifacio
    3B Olt
    SS Castro
    C Welington

    versus LHP
    LF/RF Ruggiano
    CF Lake
    RF/LF Bonifacio
    1B Rizzo
    2B Barney
    3B Olt
    SS Castro
    C Welington

    Until the kids start coming up, it’ll do

    • C. Steadman

      I sure hope Olt makes the MLB club, i’m getting tired of platoons

    • JadeBos

      I think I’d prefer Valbuena at 2B vs Righties. He had good numbers against them last year 715 ops 12 hrs in 300 AB

      • CubFan Paul

        Valbuena wouldn’t bring the speed or consistent OBP that Bonifacio would in the lineup vs RHP

        • C. Steadman

          we need speed in our lineup, but i dont think you could go wrong with either Valbuena or Bonifacio at 2B…just play the hot bat

          • C. Steadman

            ” but i dont think you could go wrong with either Valbuena or Bonifacio at 2B”

            meaning in a 2014 Cub lineup…wouldn’t want either be a fulltime starter going forward

            • CubFan Paul

              That’s better.

              • C. Steadman

                i would like Valbuena in the future as a backup on future Cubs teams however, I’m a fan

                • Funn Dave

                  I agree. I’ve always been a fan of Luis as a non-starter.

          • CubFan Paul

            “i dont think you could go wrong with either Valbuena or Bonifacio at 2B”

            With Valbuena, there’s no speed so that’s going wrong when you need speed in your lineup.

            • C. Steadman

              “we could use speed in our lineup”

              Fixed that for myself, that saying Valbuena brings better defense and SLG, their OBP are similar unless Bonifacio reverts back to his 2011 self(then he better be leadoff everyday if its 2011 Emilio) and Bonifacio brings speed…if i were RR i’d play whoever is doing better with the stick at the time

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

              We need speed in the lineup? If Valbuena is going to give you a better OPS that beats a lower OPS with speed.

              “Have you ever seen a double? Have you ever seen a double…ON SPEED???”

              • CubFan Paul

                “We need speed in the lineup?”

                According to Steadman, we could use it. I tend to agree.

                “If Valbuena is going to give you a better OPS”

                I think he could only out OPS bonifacio if he was platooned properly.

        • Noah_I

          Bonifacio’s career OBP has been anything but consistent. Valbuena brings a more guaranteed league average-ish OBP due to the high walk rate, and brings better power than Bonifacio. Bonifacio’s ability to play all over the field could also be used to the Cubs’ advantage, and he could get 4 to 5 starts a week just moving all over the field.

          • CubFan Paul

            “Bonifacio’s career OBP has been anything but consistent”

            Minus the at bats shortly after his injury, his OBP was above average 2011-2013

          • Noah_I

            I don’t particularly love the “but his OBP was good when he wasn’t injured” line because it’s too hard to prove for a player like Bonifacio. If Bonifacio can put up his 2011 line, he should definitely be the starting 2B and leadoff hitter, but I don’t look at the KC 2013 numbers as anything that he could likely repeat because they relied on such a high BABIP. If his 2012 line is accurate, and I’d buy the .325 BABIP more than the other numbers, I’d rather have Valbuena’s near identical OBP and power advantage than Bonifacio’s speed, especially since I think Valbuena would be a better defensive 2B.

            With that said, I think the odds are that this is moot to start the season. I think the Cubs send Olt to Triple A to make sure he’s right, with Valbuena and Murphy platooning at 3B, and Barney getting most of the starts at 2B. I expect that Bonifacio will get about 2 starts a week at 2B unless Barney suddenly can hit, and then 2-3 starts additional starts a week in the outfield positions.

            • CubFan Paul

              “I don’t particularly love the “but his OBP was good when he wasn’t injured” line”

              Well, it’s kind of sort of important or I wouldn’t have brought it up

    • Noah_I

      If Olt wins the starting 3B job out of spring training, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Valbuena/Barney platoon at 2B, with Bonifacio serving as the utility guy.

      • CubFan Paul

        Versus RHP, Bonifacio could help the team more than just being the utility guy.

    • jp3

      So I’m not a huge Castro lover but on THIS team he’s better than batting 7th no matter who you’re facing.

      • CubFan Paul

        That’s not a game lineup, its a position lineup/depth chart

        • C. Steadman

          i dont know, barney in the 5 hole seems like a dang good lineup to me

        • jp3

          Ah, my mistake CubsfanPaul. I was like, whoa he was terrible but damn.

      • jp3

        Yeah I saw Rizzo in the cleanup spot both lineups and just made that jump.

  • JCubs79

    Loved that Matt Spiegel article. Puts some things in perspective.

    • Ron

      I agree. I would like to hear Spriggs’ updated take on the new facilities after spring training has gotten under way. On the message board he seemed a bit disapointed in the how things were run when everyone was reporting.

  • Jon

    Yeah, keeping Vizcaino out of the Chicago cold might make sense. (maybe even send him to Tennessee vs Iowa)

    I was hearing this weather nonsense in the Midwest could extend into May..FML.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Cubs are going to be very careful with Vizcaino. If he can get over the injury and surgery recovery hump then he can be a truly special arm. He’ll be on an innings and appearance limit in 2014 for sure. Hopefully he hits Wrigley for good by the summer.

    • Noah_I

      Another reason to send Vizcaino to Iowa: you can manage his appearances. You can say he’ll pitch the 7th inning on a regularly scheduled basis, or stretch him out to two inning appearances on a schedule (like he throws 2 innings, gets 2 days off, throws 1 inning, gets two days off, throws 2 innings, gets two days off, etc.)

      In the Majors, you need to pitch Vizcaino when you need him. Considering he likely has the most pure talent of anyone competing for the Cubs’ pen, that might mean needing to bring him in during the 6th inning with men on 1st and 3rd and one out in close games, which means you’re immediately throwing him into high pressure scenarios.

      One more thing: Vizcaino’s service clock has been running for the last two seasons while he’s on the DL. Keeping him in Iowa could delay arbitration for a year, or at least garner the Cubs an additional year of control through Super 2 status.

  • Blackhawks1963

    There are some interesting position roster spot battles. Right now, I would not presume Junior Lake makes this roster. Nor Mike Olt. Both have great opportunity before them, but both also may be sent to Iowa to start the year unless each shows exceptionality in camp. My pessimistic view on Lake is well documented. I think the best course of action for Olt is probably to let him get a month to 6 weeks of playing time at Iowa before calling him up…hopefully for the long haul.

    I would guess the outfield shapes up as Schierholtz, Sweeney and Ruggiano as locks…Lake in the mix but not guaranteed anything…and Coughlan, McDonald and Kalish battling for one spot.

    Of interest to me is the battle for bullpen spots. I have to believe that TheoJed will trade away a reliever or two near the end of the month. And maybe include Barney if Olt shows he is ready right now? Interesting to watch.

    • itzscott

      BHawk-

      As much as I’d like to see Lake & Olt plugged in to start the season, I would tend to agree with you at this point only for the following reason….

      The Cubs start the season with a tough schedule facing some pretty good pitchers. It would probably be best to plant Olt & Lake in Iowa where they can hopefully build their confidence rather than risk shattering it by digging themselves a hole against top pitching and the pressure to try to climb out of that hole as the season progresses.

      • Funn Dave

        I’m sorry, but that seems like a pretty shaky reason….

    • Norm

      I’d say Lake is a lock at this point.

      • ssckelley

        He has to be, for Lake it is pretty much either make it happen (I had another word here) or get off the pot.

      • Noah_I

        I agree. I think Lake will fail, but he’s a lock to have a starting spot in the outfield on opening day.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    There seems to be a lot of near desperation from fans for Olt to get the job out of ST. I’ts not the end of the world if he if he plays six or eight weeks at Iowa. He can play 1st base and DH there and give Villanueva an occasional days rest at third. I believe it would be more detrimental to his development to have him start at wrigley and fail, as opposed to letting him work things out at Iowa where there will be less pressure. But it isn’t an all or nothing situation like Vitters or Jackson are facing.

    • DarthHater

      I haven’t seen anybody suggesting that it would be the end of the world (or anything close) if Olt starts the season in Iowa.

    • Kyle

      He’s 25 and turns 26 later this season. There shouldn’t be any development left. If he’s not a better 3b than a Valbuena/Murphy platoon right now, then six weeks in Iowa probably won’t change that, and then he’s probably not as good as we hope.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        The time in Iowa isn’t about changing anything; it would be about confirming that he’s back to where he was, and about giving him confidence before exposing him to big league pitching (that kind of thing matters).

        • C. Steadman

          “about giving him confidence”

          nothing better than playing in the PCL, except home games in April will be a little less SLG than league average, heres to hoping Iowa starts the year further west

        • Kyle

          Our brilliant scouting staff can’t see that he’s back where he was in six weeks in Arizona?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            I can understand scouts being skeptical of spring training results and wanting to see how he does against real competition.

            • Kyle

              They’re scouts. They shouldn’t care about results at all.

              • Eternal Pessimist

                They might care about small sample size, though I would generally agree on pushing him anyway (barring service time benefits of starting in the minors – not sure they would be preserving servive time for him)

        • Kyle

          Playing armchair psychologist about confidence is exactly the sort of “can be used to fit any conclusion and is completely unverifiable” analysis that I don’t have much use for.

          His confidence is soooo fragile that he’s probably going to be the starter soon, but we can’t treat him like the starter in ST or let him face big-league pitching at the age of 25? That doesn’t seem likely.

          • DarthHater

            I’m confused now, Kyle. What about believing that every statement made by team coaches and management is some kind of made-up excuse to avoid accountability? Are you suggesting that is a verifiable analysis? Or is it just the sort of “can be used to fit any conclusion and is completely unverifiable” analysis that you have a lot of use for?

            • Kyle

              I’m not sure what the question was there. Can you rephrase?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            You just took a simple point and tortured it to say more than it did. Players coming back from injury and/or protracted periods of ineffectiveness (and especially when they’re young and haven’t yet succeeded in the bigs) need confidence. That’s not pop psychology, it’s been a factor in player development for decades.

            You don’t have to have use for it. But I’ll thank you not to twist it all up.

            • ssckelley

              Especially a guy that had gotten concussed from a beaning. Didn’t they say that might have been part of his problem?

            • Kyle

              So what he needs is a six-week program where he can face live pitching in a slightly-less-competitive setting in order to get his rhythm and used to the feel of playing baseball after an extended time off?

              That seems like it’d be a good idea for all the players. Maybe we could set something like that up in a warm-weather climate and make it a yearly program.

              • C. Steadman

                the condescending tone really helps your argument…also the ST in-and-out of the lineup card probably isnt good for Olt “to get his rhythm and used to the feel of playing baseball after an extended time off?”…especially since he hasnt been in the MLB since 9/30/2012

                • Kyle

                  “the condescending tone really helps your argument”

                  It’s my trademark.

                  • C. Steadman

                    fair enough haha

      • CubFan Paul

        Dig in, until proven wrong..

        • Kyle

          Analyze, then only change based on new analysis and not hope or desire for a different result. Much of the Olt love is being driven by just how awesome it would be if it were true.

          • CubFan Paul

            “Much of the Olt love is being driven by just how awesome it would be if it were true”

            Not for me. Knowing that he was playing injured all of last year and waited til October to actually diagnose and treat the problem is enough for me not to be pessimistic

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

        This coming from the guy who hates it when teams award starting MLB jobs based on Spring Training.

        • Kyle

          I do. If they planned on Olt being the starting 3b, they should (and I think would) have been acting differently from the beginning.

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

            They didn’t have any game data to know if Olt was back to normal.

            • Kyle

              They need game data to see if a person can see properly and is recovered from post-concussion syndrome?

              Besides, it’s the way they are getting the game data that should be a pretty good indicator that they still aren’t considering him a serious candidate.

              I hope like hell he goes back to being on a .260/20 HR in the majors type path, but a bunch of spring training fluff hasn’t given me any more hope than I had before. He’s still deep on the depth charts afaict.

              • CubFan Paul

                “it’s the way they are getting the game data that should be a pretty good indicator”

                ?

                • Kyle

                  He’s in the “also-ran” group in the ST rotation.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    Ooh, gotcha. Thanks. Sound analysis.

                    • Kyle

                      It’s all we’ve got for the moment, beyond puff pieces and some ST stats.

                  • C. Steadman

                    “He’s in the “also-ran” group in the ST rotation.”

                    are you talking lineup or BP group or what “rotation?

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

                    Eh, right now he is about a game’s worth of PA behind Rizzo.

                    My money is on the front office deciding that, unless Olt is walking on water in ST, Olt was heading to Iowa. He hasn’t ever done well at that level or in the bigs.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “He hasn’t ever done well at that level or in the bigs”

                      He was playing through injury at AAA and saw 10 starts in his 2 month call-up

                    • Kyle

                      IMO, age is just working way too hard against him at this point for that to be their plan.

                    • Eternal Pessimist

                      Almost all of his suck performance came after injury/eye health injuries…eye think u r putting to much emphasis on age with Olt.

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

                  ST Game performance only matters in Olt’s case. When previous Cubs did well in Spring, the performance didn’t matter.

                  Kyle is suffering from Post-Cubs-Front-Office-Not-Doing-Exactly-What-He-Wants Syndrome that is fogging his ability to see anything else.

                  (Although I am not quite sure what is being debated here.)

                  • Kyle

                    That’s ridiculous and silly.

                    ST stats don’t matter, ever. I’ve never said that in certain cases, you can’t scout there. And Olt is certainly a special case.

                    And in this conversation, I am in no way criticizing the front office.

              • mjhurdle

                “They need game data to see if a person can see properly and is recovered from post-concussion syndrome?”

                I could be wrong, but I would imagine there is a slight difference between deeming someone healthy for day to day operations, and knowing whether the results of the concussion slowed his reactions the .2 milliseconds that it would take to make him completely useless as a MLB hitter.

                I think they can perform tests and say that he is healthy and that there should not be any long term affects. They can test the eyesight and see whether it is back to the level pre-concussion.
                But at the MLB level, the difference between success and failure is so tiny that I doubt the medical profession has a test to run that will verify that Olt’s brain and reactions are performing at exactly the same level they were before.

                So while they don’t need game data to tell whether he has recovered from post-concussion syndrome enough to not have any daily problems, they do need game data to determine if he has recovered from post-concussion syndrome enough to be able to hit professional pitching again.

                • Kyle

                  It would seem odd that Olt is so important and they couldn’t be bothered to find some live, full-speed pitching in the spring to test him against.

                  When he’s broken, he’s a .650 OPS guy in AAA. When he’s fixed, he’s ideally a MLB starter. If our scouting staff can’t tell the difference pretty quickly, I’m concerned.

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

                    “If our scouting staff can’t tell the difference pretty quickly, I’m concerned.”

                    And there is the crux of the discussion.

                  • King Jeff

                    FWIW Rosenthal is saying that the Cubs FO preference is for Olt to break camp as the starting 3b, leaving Villanueva to start for Iowa and Bryant for Tenn. I guess we’ll see how that plays out once Olt’s shoulder is feeling good enough to play 3b.

                  • mjhurdle

                    In this very thread we talk about how meaningless ST performances are, because it doesn’t accurately show what a player will do in actual games. So we all accept that scouting and evaluating ST games only gives a limited view of where the player is actually at.
                    But now we are griping about the scouting department not being able to tell if Olt is 100% back from live batting practice?

                    So which version is it? Are ST and the even more superficial winter batting practice stats insufficient in analyzing how a player will actually perform in real games? Or are they meaningful enough to tell that Olt is 100% back from his injury and ready to perform at the MLB level?

                    • Norm

                      I think most people are equating ‘evaluation by scouts’ and ‘evaluation by stats’. They are two completely different, unrelated bits of information.

                      Stats don’t mean shit.
                      Scouting evaluation does.

                    • Kyle

                      You do understand that scouting is more than just looking at stats, right?

                      Because your post is not indicating such an awareness. We need to clear that up before we can even move on to the rest of your question.

                    • King Jeff

                      What are “winter batting practice stats” ?

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

                I think they would value AAA game data more than ST game data or BP data.

                Olt being sent to Iowa to start the season doesn’t change much for me.

                • Kyle

                  As above: There are two Olts. One, we have game data for that says he can probably hit in the majors immediately (his 2012 performance). The other says he can’t even in AAA.

                  I’d like to think our scouting department can tell the difference pretty quickly without needing six weeks in Iowa.

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

                    I believe so as well.

                    Hell, maybe they have already made up their minds and he is on the short list of guys to come North and want to confirm some suspicions about other guys.

                    Maybe they made their minds up a long time ago that he was going to head to AAA unless he was walking on water and their other big leaguers were floating belly up.

                    Maybe they have so much damn confidence that he is a big leaguer that they are going to wait 70 days to call him up and want that age 31 season.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “they are going to wait 70 days to call him up and want that age 31 season”

                      Is it really 70 days?

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

                      For Olt, yes since he already has 63-ish days.

    • ssckelley

      Not so much desperation but there is a log jam forming at 3rd base. You have Villanueva who is ready to be promoted to AAA, if Bryant sticks at 3rd will be pressing the issue, and then a little further down there is that Jeimer guy.

      But I do think us fans are making a bigger deal than it really is. Having that much talent at one position is a very good problem to have, especially at third base where there are so many other teams looking for good third basemen that can hit. In the end it will all work itself out.

      • Funn Dave

        But we don’t currently have any “good third basemen that can hit.” We have a bunch of young third basemen that can maybe hit. It’s not a logjam of talent; it’s a logjam of might-be-ok-hitters-but-we’re-really-not-sure-yet until Kris Bryant comes to town.

        • ssckelley

          In my defense I did say that “there is a log jam forming”, it is not quite formed yet since as you mentioned the Cubs still do not have a good hitting 3rd baseman at the MLB level just yet.

    • Darth Ivy

      My hope for Olt is driven by the opposite of desperation. I’m hoping for a surplus of infielders so Castro becomes tradable. And I’ve discussed the merits of that point of view so many times that I’m not going to get into that again

      • CubFan Paul

        “I’m hoping for a surplus of infielders so Castro becomes tradable”

        Trade all the All-Stars!!!

        …or move someone to the OF, for a more balanced lineup or to push the platoon scrubs to the bench.

        • Darth Ivy

          not all, just one

          • CubFan Paul

            Hatas gonna Hate.

            • Darth Ivy

              huh? unless that’s a joke, it makes no sense as a response to what I wrote

        • Darth Ivy

          and I already said that I’m not going to discuss the merits of why it’s a good idea because I’ve done it so many times. But since you insist…

          impact OF is easier to find that TOR pitching. So I’d rather trade surplus infield for pitching than move it to the OF. And I’d expect to get equal value back in the trade, so using the fact that Castro is valuable isn’t a good argument

          • CubFan Paul

            “impact OF is easier to find that TOR pitching”

            Choo? Cruz? Granderson?

            TOR pitching isn’t all that important when you build a good staff with depth.

            • Darth Ivy

              It’s still a harder role to fill than the outfield. I never said that were should never improve the outfield. In fact, that’s my entire point. It’s easier to fill the outfield than the TOR. So I’d rather use infield surplus to get that TOR pitcher than an outfielder if that possibility is there and that chose is there to be made

              • Darth Ivy

                choice*….damn

            • Darth Ivy

              or if it’s more important to have a bunch of #2s, than trade him for a bunch of #2s. Anyway you cut it, it’s harder to acquire TOR pitchers than good outfielders. So if you have an asset that you can either convert to a good outfielder or TOR pitching (whether 1 ace or several #2s, whatever), I’d much rather go with the position that is a more rare opportunity to fill and address the position that yields more opportunities in the future to fill

              • CubFan Paul

                Prospects can be traded for 1 ace or several #2s also, is what I should of said…

                • Darth Ivy

                  ok…it’s still harder to aqcuire TOR pitching than a good outfielder. There’s simply more good outfielders available than TOR pitchers.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    “it’s still harder to aqcuire TOR pitching than a good outfielder”

                    Everyone knows that.

                    • Darth Ivy

                      exactly. I’m using simple logic that everyone agrees with. That’s why I’m confident in my argument

                • Darth Ivy

                  Why would you choose to get something that offers more opportunities to get rather than something that offers less opportunities to get? I have no concern about the Cubs filling in their outfield. I do have concerns about getting quality starters. So if they have an asset that they can turn into either an outfielder or a quality starter (or multiple quality starters), it’s simply logic to turn that asset into the pitcher(s)

          • Darth Ivy

            ….easier to find THAN TOR….

  • ssckelley

    Interesting comments by Mayo about him liking Almora more than Springer. This little nugget got me excited: “Almora is the kind of player who invariably ends up on winning teams”.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I see that Vitters is in the lineup tomorrow at 1st base for the game in Tempe. It will be interesting to see if he can get any offense going. At this point I don’t see any chance of him breaking camp with the team unless he destroys pitching in these next few weeks.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Vitters is a man without an island right now. I can’t see him making the big league roster and I can’t figure out what his role / position would be at Iowa either. The ship has sailed on Jackson and Vitters I believe.

      • roz

        I think it’s sailed on Jackson. I don’t think it’s sailed on Vitters yet though. While I don’t think he’ll make the Major League club out of spring training, I think he’s still got a shot to produce in AAA and get called up. Jackson’s K rate just scares me.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        If he makes the major league roster it will be as an outfielder / right handed power bat off the bench.

        If he goes to Iowa, he’ll be one of the regular outfielders, most likely playing in left.

        Since he is moving to the outfield and is coming off an injury plagued year, starting in Iowa makes quite a bit of sense. Regardless, I think he’ll be in the majors by the end of the year.

        • willis

          Vitters still has something to show and something that can land him in the bigs as at least a bench bat. If Olt is in AAA to start, Vitters will be in the outfield. If Olt breaks camp with the cubs, Vitters will probably play some 1B and some OF in Iowa. I think that’s the best course right now. See if he can rake and stay healthy there to begin.

          As the biggest proponent and most confident fan in Jackson’s abilities…I will agree close the coffin and bury him. It’s over. The 2012 call up and the swing change stuff last year combined to ruin this kid. He couldn’t hit AA or AAA pitching last year and is still showing that thus far. He either needs to go bananas these next couple of weeks, or he’s going to be waived bye bye.

  • NorthSideIrish

    BP published their Optimist’s View on the 2016 Cubs…all they have to do is sign Scherzer and trade for Price. At least they are optimistic on the hitting prospects.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22976

    • Brocktoon

      Does their optimist view involve Tom Ricketts selling the team because that’s the only way they committ to Price and Scherzer

      • willis

        No kidding. Good point.

  • Sandberg

    Is it possible that Olt won’t break camp with the big league club no matter what because of service time concerns? Or is he too old at this point for it to matter?

    • King Jeff

      Service time probably isn’t a concern with Olt.

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

      They could get his age 31 season if they held him back until mid-June.

      • King Jeff

        Does that date still apply even with consideration that he has played in the majors already? I’m really bad with the service time rules.

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

          Right now he has 63-ish days of service time, he’d have to end this season with less than 170-ish meaning he needs to not play in Chicago for about 75 days.

          He’d end up being a super-two player.

          • King Jeff

            Yeah, that doesn’t seem worth it. Thanks Joe.

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

              It really doesn’t, unless they honestly believe that his development needs time in the minors independent of service time.

              If, on June 1, they think he is ready, I think it’d be smart to just wait a couple more weeks, but to do it now wouldn’t be.

  • Javier Bryant

    Didn’t see this posted anywhere but I also didn’t read all the comments. Rosenthal’s latest article said the Cubs preference is for Olt to win the 3B job out of spring training

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/03/rosenthals-latest-masterson-burns-olt-francisco.html

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