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cactusThe Cubs went down early last night to the Mariners, and although they came back to take the lead in the 6th, the Mariners won it late.

  • It was a rough start for rotation hopeful James McDonald, who did perhaps the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to win a job as pitcher in the Spring: he couldn’t find a strike zone. McDonald walked five over just 2.2 innings, and some of the walks were ugly. Out of his 64 pitches, just 26 were strikes. I suppose the one bright spot is that he gave up just two earned runs despite the walks. At least McDonald says he was trying to work on a new two-seamer (it sounds like it’s almost a sinker).
  • Let’s admit it, the best parts of last night’s game were the Baez bomb and the two Mike Olt bombs. In case missed them, you can see them here. #Swoon.
  • Those homers came off of Randy Wolf (one each player), who is trying to come back this year, and off of Charlie Furbush, a fairly legit lefty reliever (Olt’s second). Does the fact that the homers came off of a come-back player and all off of lefties diminish them? Eh, maybe a little. But they’re still fun to watch, and part of being a successful player is taking advantage of situations like that. You’re not going to homer every time you face Felix Hernandez, but, the thing is, you won’t always be facing Felix Hernandez.
  • James Russell made his Spring debut, giving up a solo homer and striking out one. Tsuyoshi Wada, who has an outside shot at the fifth starter spot, gave up two hits and two walks over 1.2 innings.
  • Although they were cut earlier in the day, each of Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, and Albert Almora got a couple plate appearances last night, with Almora singling and Soler walking. Other cut-ees Matt Szczur and Logan Watkins saw time, too. It only now occurs to me that Christian Villanueva, who started at third base last night and took a walk over three plate appearances, was not cut with the rest of the prospect crew yesterday. I don’t think he’s a threat to make the team, but it’s probably a nice compliment.
  • In the third catcher battle, Eli Whiteside played last night, but is still looking for his first hit. John Baker started and notched two hits, including a double. One or both of these guys will head to AAA Iowa, assuming both Welington Castillo and George Kottaras remain healthy (knock on wood).
  • Ryan Kalish had a single in his three at bats, and stole another base. Junior Lake got a hit off of, but then was picked off by, Randy Wolf.
  • Spoda17

    as an FYI… the Cubs are the 30 clubs in 30 days on Friday at 7:00 p.m eastern on the MLB network.

    • Patrick G

      I was hoping someone would say something it’s hard to track MLBN for 30 days to see when their on. Thanks!

    • Funn Dave

      Awesome. Thanks, du.

  • Cubs-Win

    McDonald looked like a 12 year old bum last night. It looks like Olt found his vision too. He is a lock for the third base job to start the season. Let’s just hope that he keeps up this pace.

    • Edwin

      A 12 year old bum?

    • baldtaxguy

      a lock?

  • Idaho Razorback

    I just finished watching the game on the local Mariners station we get up here in North Idaho. It was great to see all the young players I’ve been reading about. Of the “under the radar guys” I was most impressed with Dallas Beeler. Everything about him reminded me of Roy Halliday.

    • Diggs

      Yeah, when Dallas Beeler started the final Arizona Fall League game last year, the announcers were comparing him to Roy Halladay.

  • JCubs79

    It seems to me like the Cubs FO really loves Christian Villanueva. The guy is flying under the radar and he had a great year last year. 40 doubles isn’t too shabby.

    • ari gold

      I agree. If he can get his OBP up a bit, he would be a real nice player.

  • Greenroom

    Olt looks like he is seeing the ball well ha. I will take his k-rate and good glove for 25 more home runs like that. I hope he rakes in Iowa and we see him up soon.

  • Soda Popinski

    Any idea if Olt starts the season with the big league club? A performance like last night has to help his chances.

    • cub4life

      Personally I think if he keeps close to what he has been doing so far he is a lock, unless his .063 service time come into account.

      • Jon

        He’s 25. Service time should be of no concern.

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

          If he geniunely needs some time at AAA for whatever reason, then there is no reason to call him up before mid-June and gain that extra year of control (it’s always useful).

          If the Cubs FO thinks he is ready to go, then no, they shouldn’t send him to AAA for service time considerations.

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

            Olt probably needs to stay up for the reason that we need to know if hes a long term option at 3rd or a role player. It then allows you to determine how to transition Bryant Villanueva et al. If Olt has ability to stick…lets see the miracle working FO make use of the knowledge to a greater end.

            • gocatsgo2003

              Wouldn’t that be better discovered if he were getting regular at-bats at the AAA level rather than spot starts and DH duty at the MLB level?

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

                As Cameron said why hold him in AAA. Considering hes had 400 abs in AAA as bad as that was what do we gain. I would play him greater that 50% of the time. Murphy can be the bench dude…thats been his whole career. Valbuena might as we split time with Barney. Olt is just like Grimm: why else did they acquire if not to play them? Time to gain something…either hes better than Texas envisioned and we keep in house or hes useful for some MLB team and we get trade value in their eval. Villanueva probably needs his AAA abs too.

                • JB88

                  In a lost season where the Cubs are projected not to be contenders and with two good to very good 3B prospects on the horizon, I’d much rather see Olt as the full-time starter and let him get his lumps (and successes) at the ML level.

                  Neither Valbuena or Murphy are going to be pieces of the Cubs when they are good so why worry about them now? If anything, I’d rather see Valbuena work in a platoon with Barney until Baez is ready.

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

                    Unless the FO feels that Muphy/Valbuena/Barney will outproduce Olt/Barney/Valbuena and Olt could benefit from more time in AAA.

                    • JB88

                      Yeah, I guess my point is that who cares if Murphy/Valbuena/Barney will out produce Olt. 2014 is a season in which the Cubs are not likely to compete and outside of Valbuena I can’t see any of those players in the longterm plans of the clubs (and Valbuena only in a bench role).

                      In that scenario, if you really don’t think Olt is going to improve that much more at AAA, then start him at 3B. You’ve always sort of been dealing with a lottery ticket with Olt, he’s 25, and you have serious 3B prospects nipping at his heels in AAA and AA. Might as well figure out what he can do now and see if you have a legitimate piece or not.

                      The only way I probably wouldn’t start Olt at the ML level is if his shoulder is so wonky that he needs rehab time and then I’d start him in AAA to keep hitting and playing 1B/DH until he is ready to start throwing across the diamond.

                    • Head and Heart

                      I think I would start him in the bigs simply because he is 25 and already worked his way through the minors. He mashed AA in 2012 and struggled through eye stuff last year in AAA. If the eyes are working and the throwing arm is fine then what does he have to learn in AAA? I feel the same way about Vitters actually. Start him in left. He’s done with the minors. Let’s see what we’ve got in these two. See if they can hit in the majors. And if not? Nothing is really lost and we can move on.

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

                      Exactly. Are we going to lose anything from trying Olt? Was he ever expected to be a key piece? (Isn’t that CJ Edwards label – the centerpiece?)

                      Plus, the Cubs need some power in their 2014 lineup. Does anyone besides Rizzo or Scheirholtz have 20+HR potential? Right handed?

                      Olt, certainly can park it – I’d say the raw power is there. It’s whether he hits the ball that is the 64K question.

            • gocatsgo2003

              Sorry, not DH — PH.

              I’m all for Olt staying up if he’s going to start at 3B, but keeping him up in order to sit on the bench wouldn’t do much good for anyone.

              • cub4life

                if he is up he will be starting, and with Valbuena/Murphy slated to start over there, easy decision to start him if he is past the vision issues (which it seems his is).

                • baldtaxguy

                  I hope you are right. I’d like Olt to have 250 PA’s by the break, whether its in Chicago or Iowa.

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

      FWIW, Dave Cameron pretty much said its time for Olt to play in games that kinda matter. His words: kinda matter.

      • Norm

        He was referring to letting him prove it in AAA first:

        Comment From BassmanUW
        If the Cubs’ brass are convinced, or reasonably believe, that Olt’s eyes were both his problem last year and he’s resolved the issues with his eyes, should the Cubs give him the starting spot at 3B on opening day? Or should they send him down to Iowa for at least a month or two regardless?

        Dave Cameron: No harm in letting him prove it in games that at least kind of count.

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

          Do the games in Iowa kinda count? Or do MLB games kinda count? Prove it –tends toward a higher level, not a lower one in my opinion.

          Really, did Cameron definitely answer that straight on? No. But I would think he implied that MLB proof>>>than AAA proof.

          If Olt were 22-23, I’d said yes put him in AAA to start. (But then, we would not have be able to acquire – thus he’s a Cub.)

          As is, at his age 25 (26 during the season) it’s time to play MLB. If he’s legit, he’ll be around through his peak years (28-29)….if not, we’ll have Bryant, Villanueva, Baez, or someone else to critique.

          Aside from Rizzo, who else has a power stroke? Olt can be Mark Reynolds-lite with a much better glove, but no speed, for all I care.

          • Norm

            I really don’t want to debate on what “kind of” counts vs. what “counts”, but I’d lean towards Major League games “counting” and minor league games “kind of counting”.

            And “no harm in letting him prove it” means, to me, there is no harm in playing in AAA to prove he’s ready.

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

              For the Cubs, this season, MLB games only kinda count. ;)

              I think we can agree the team wasn’t constructed to win the NL pennant. So we got a season to test anyone we would hope has some future in Chicago in 2015-16-17. Olt seems to be a test case. Got control, might as well.

              • brainiac

                2018 is my projection for just *beginning* to be competitive. this *elective* rebuild strategy will have taken 7-10 years when it’s over, and it’s completely unclear if it will be successful due to the FO decision to not follow usual development protocols for their players.

                it’s a mix of irrational rigidity and panic promotions of 20 year olds. amateur hour at its finest, and funniest, if i wasn’t so dead set on the cubs winning the pennant.

                • Jason P

                  Your projection stinks.

                  • brainiac

                    says the guy who thinks whatever he’s told to think

                    • bbmoney

                      Apparently not whatever he’s told or he’d have just taken your “projections” at face value.

                    • brainiac

                      i didn’t mount a 10 million dollar PR initiative to tell him what everything “means”. i stated my opinion based upon evaluation not just of the minor leagues but knowledge of organizational infrastructure. these ricketts initiatives are business decisions that have a long and predictable history in business, and they’re being applied in sports for the first time, at the expense of sports.

                      over time they’ll shift gears for an assortment of reasons, and then the team will start to compete.

                    • bbmoney

                      ……….oh you didn’t mean that literally? Neither did I.

                      It was my over the top take on your own over the top take on his sheeplikness…try to keep up.

                    • brainiac

                      ill tell you what i did mean literally: that the cubs will not *begin* to compete until 2018. not a 500 record, a winning record of some note…something like 88 wins. and even then it’s questionable due to jed’s dire mismanagement of the development process, admittedly under artificial constraints.

                    • mjhurdle

                      your projection still stinks

                    • brainiac

                      what you mean to say is that the situation stinks, but your making a transference to fellow fans out of dire personal disappointment in your faith in others

                    • mjhurdle

                      nope, i meant it literally

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

                  I just like to have some reason to watch the Cubs. If Olt isn’t any good, well, that’s not because he hasn’t been in the minors, or dealt with adversity, blah, blah. Gotta take a risk sometime..and there is no risk really here. Upside huge, downside – well he wasn’t the centerpiece.

                  I don’t agree with the Owner’s decision (or requirement) to take down payroll (satisfy debt structure) – and they could have improved the team’s playable assets this off-season. That’s all.

                • roz

                  Good to hear. Remind me again, what’s your professional baseball experience?

          • Jason P

            I’d be fine with keeping him down for 3 weeks to gain the extra year of control, but at 25, it’s time for him to get almost a full season under his belt.

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

              That’s a fair middle, if only for that.

              It’s funny how fans/or analysts are doing all the ARB thinking for FOs. Do we think we’ll be having Olt around for 5-6 years? Before last night, no one wanted him past the next exit on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

            • Brocktoon

              It’d take keeping him down for 2.5 months to gain an extra year

              • JB88

                That’s not accurate. Keeping him down for a few weeks would garner an extra year. Keeping him down for 2.5 months would avoid Super 2 status.

                • Head and Heart

                  He played 16 games in 2012 in the bigs. Does that impact it at all?

                  • JB88

                    Yeah, but it basically means they need to hold him down for an extra 16 days. The ML season has roughly 183 total days, with 172 days on the 25 man roster counting as a year of service time. So long as Olt was on the active roster for less than 156 total days, another year of service time wouldn’t accrue. Basically, if he was in AAA through April, he’d be fine.

                  • JB88

                    To clarify that, inevitably, the number of days it took him to play 16 games would be greater than 16, so effectively, you’d need to subtract whatever those total days from the 183 to figure out the precise date Olt could be called up.

                    So maybe you are looking at 12 + 20 (so say 32 days). If you tack on another week, maybe we’re talking about mid-May.

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

                      Good analysis – I hope the Cubs do some mathematically jiggering along that line.

                    • Kyle

                      Olt has 63 days of service time.

                    • ssckelley

                      BR lists his service time as .063, does that equal 63 days or is BR wrong?

                    • Kyle

                      That’s how service time is listed.

                      Years.Days

                      So 0.063 is 0 years and 63 days.

                    • ssckelley

                      Gotcha, so it has nothing to do with the decimal system. The math was not adding up.

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

                  This is wrong. He has 63 days of service time so far. To not count as a full year, he has to stay under 172. That means he can only acquire 109 days of service time this year (missing out on 73 days).

                  That’d put his callup date sometime in mid-June.

                  To far out, considering his age, to do it just to do it.

                  • JB88

                    Well, if he has 63 days of service time and turns 26 in August, it is all the more reason to just play him. By the time he’s a FA he’ll essentially be out of his peak years at this point anyway.

                    • Kyle

                      Agreed.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Yeah, with Olt, I don’t see any reasonable reason (?) to play service time games. Not enough to be gained. If he’s the guy, play him.

                    • ssckelley

                      I agree, I do not see any reason to play service time games with someone that cannot be a free agent anyway until he is 30 years old.

                  • Norm

                    Arguello @ CubsDen saying he hears its Olt’s job if he can make the throws to 1B

                    • Javier Bryant

                      [img]http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m85f1wNTPV1qbc6b5o1_1280.jpg[/img]

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

                      Ha, how Cubs is that…

                      He can finally hit the ball well enough to get a starting job, yet, he can’t play his defensive position which was never in question.

                    • Head and Heart

                      Well lets hope he can make the throws soon. Imagine a guy seen as a almost a throw in on the Garza trade turning into a useful major league third baseman? The kind of long shot I’d like to see go the Cubs way.

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

                      It would complete the cycle of the Garza tenure with the Cubs that started with Sam Fuld.

      • Kyle

        Why on earth should anyone give weight to Dave Cameron’s opinions?

        • Edwin

          Why not? He’s not a total idiot when it comes to baseball.

          • Kyle

            Sure. But he’s nothing special, either. He’s just some guy who writes occasionally interesting articles.

            If he writes something with good support for his opinion, I’ll buy it, but he hasn’t earned any special credibility imo.

            • Edwin

              Fair enough.

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

              “He’s just some guy who writes occasionally interesting articles. ” The same can be said for everyone aside from Shakespeare [or Brett], or maybe not: “he’s just some guy who writes occasionally interesting plays…[or blogs]”

              • Kyle

                Neither Brett nor Shakespeare have enough cache to make me take notice of their baseball opinions either.

                If Dave Cameron says “I think X, because Y” and “Y” is credible and well-argued, then I buy it. And he does that reasonably often. But I haven’t seen anything from him that would make me take “I think X” from him as enough with the “because Y.”

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

                  Oh Kyle, you’re so…Kyle. Its doubtful anyone has cache enough for you…even the Porcellian Club.

                  [img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FYznhFiaRC4/TubNMcL7zCI/AAAAAAAAAKQ/tAeY9PS6mxU/s400/ElitePorcellianClub.JPG[/img]

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Kyle agrees with every opinion I’ve ever had. Don’t let his bravado fool you.

                  • Kyle

                    I have a secret inferiority complex to lawyers.

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

                    And Shakespeare gets the dirt nap to bestill his ramblings on the stitched leather afluttering before Baez halts its flight.

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

          FWIW – For what its worth. Doesn’t that say it all?

          Some here live religiously off what Fangraphs puts out. I just notice the comment stream, that’s all.

          Arguing that we are going to set back some “grand plan in 2014″ by giving Olt the nod at 3rd, to me, seems pretty funny. Heck, he’s at least something to talk about…since Baez won’t see the MLB until he “proves it” in AAA.

    • JadeBos

      A lot of people on this site had written him and his preivious 17 PAs off before last nights game. Now he’s a lock for 3B. Cubs spring training. So it goes.

      The Cubs sure look a lott better if Olt makes the club. Murphy would obviously be gone and maybe Barney would be expendable. Or at least his lifetime 600 OPS vs righties could relax on the bench.

      • Kyle

        It’s generally not the same people.

        I remain a heavy Olt skeptic. I’m certainly a bit more optimistic than I was yesterday, but one game doesn’t seismically shift my opinion.

        He had a four-game stretch in the middle of his awful season last year with a 1.400 OPS, including a 2 HR game. It happens.

      • ssckelley

        Yes some people were already writing off Olt after his first 17 spring training PA’s, now other people are wanting to lock him in at 3rd base after last night. Both views are too extreme as the sample sizes are too small to go one way or the other. The only thing last night might have done for Olt is put him on the radar to be considered for the opening day 3rd base job. I think if they feel Olt can produce as well as the Murphy/Valbuena platoon with as good of a glove (if not better) I cannot see any reason why they would not go with Olt. I would think that would make Murphy expendable and free up a 40 man roster spot for someone else.

        • gocatsgo2003

          Though I agree in general, the required sample size to get excited about Olt’s prospects is probably smaller than for other players because it is more about confirming that he is over his vision problems than anything else. If the vision problems were still an issue, it would likely crop up pretty quickly.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Yes, this is much closer to a case where you are wondering if a pitcher has recovered from an injury than it is to most issues for batters. If Olt was still seeing poorly, then even bad MLB pitching would overwhelm him. I suppose that this might still be a problem if pitchers have really good breaking stuff: but those guys present problems for all but the best hitters when vision isn’t an issue.

            • Head and Heart

              The reason I found yesterday to be encouraging was that he seemed to recognize mistake pitches right away and crush them. It wasn’t a case where he just swung and ran into one. He got a mistake fastball up and belted it 430 feet. Then what looked to me at the time like a slider that didn’t slide which he crushed to left over the bullpen. He said after the game he had some timing issues early which is pretty common for spring training. (or a common and convenient excuse) But it appeared he saw a mistake and crushed it not once but twice. That’s what is encouraging.

    • Kyle

      It’s too early to tell. They are giving him every chance. The power is nice. The K-rate to this point has not been, and he still hasn’t been healthy enough to play 1b.

      It’s a looooong way from a good ST game to a good MLB season, but he’s a tiny step closer than he was 24 hours ago.

      • Lou Brown

        I am curious how much the K rate is going to factor in. He has always had a high K rate. Is that something they are going to live with, and maybe try to work on at the MLB level? If he is healthy enough to play 3b, and his OBP and SLG are there, and the alternate is Valbuena, do they just go with Olt.

        • Kyle

          The problem is that if he can’t make consistent-ish contact, then the OBP and SLG won’t be there.

          If he can keep the Ks down to 25%, then his power and BB-rate will probably carry him just fine. If it’s 35%, then they won’t.

          • Norm

            Almost a Pedro Alvarez type. But probably not as much power.
            If Alvarez can put up a 3 fWAR last year with a 233/296/473 line (111 wRC+), with 30% K’s, can Olt’s defense make up the difference in power?
            Even if it can’t, I think it could make him at least a 2 fWAR player with that crappy slash line.

            • Head and Heart

              Not sure there’s really a gap in power between the two. Scouting reports on Olt are easy plus power with potential plus plus power. 60/70 grade power. And in 202 games between AA and AAA, even with vision problems, Olt hit 43 bombs.

              • Kyle

                I don’t think those are the scouting reports on Olt that I’ve read.

                43 in 202 minor league games isn’t in the vicinity of plus-plus.

                It’s just what it is: Plus power.

                • Head and Heart

                  Ummm okay. So like I said. Easy plus power with potential for plus plus power. Potential.

                  • Kyle

                    No, not what you said.

                    It’s just plus power. Not “easy” plus power. And “potential” is a vague enough term, sure, but the jump from 60 to 70 is significant and not something very many guys make.

                    • Head and Heart

                      “Scouting reports on Olt are easy plus power with potential plus plus power.” It’s all right there. You only have to scroll up like one post. I got that directly from a scouting report. A credible one from a legit talent evaluator. It’s pretty easy to find similar reports. Whether or not many guys make the jump from 60 to 70, and whether or not Olt does, is irrelevant to the point.

                    • Norm

                      You got “scouting reports on Olt are…” from a scouting report?
                      So this credible legit talent evaluator references other scouting reports on his scouting report?

                    • Patrick W.

                      Christ, Kyle, really?

                    • Patrick W.

                      No, Norm. He got the easy plus to plus plus from scouting reports. He was quoting himself.

                    • Edwin

                      Talent evaluators frequently reference a collection of things they’ve heard from other scouts. It’s a convienent way to make your write up of a player sound more convincing.

                      Now whether those scouts are credible, or whether the talent evaluator is just throwing something out there for opinion shoppers is still up for debate. It’s why I take almost any scouting report about a player with a grain of salt.

                  • Kyle

                    “Christ, Kyle, really?”

                    It’s my never-ending noble crusade against prospect creep. Find the highest-rated scouting report on a guy and repeat it as the consensus.

                    • Patrick W.

                      I get that, and I agree, but come on. How small a nit you gotta pick to get there on this post?

                    • Head and Heart

                      Find the highest-rated scouting report? It was the FIRST scouting report I found from a legit source. And then a couple more I found seemed to back that original source up with similar ratings. I am not suggesting Olt is the next Hank Aaron. I’m not suggesting he is going to be a major league player. I am not commenting at all on his overall ability as a baseball player. I was simply pointing out that Olt has huge power potential that potentially would take a back seat to no one at third base.

                    • miggy80

                      You see, my dear, all certified mail is registered… but registered mail is not necessarily certified.

                    • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

                      I’m kinda with Kyle here insofar that “potential” generally means “ceiling” not current skills and another “plus” generally means an entire standard deviation above plus power.

                      I do think that regardless of his power potential, when Olt gets to the MLB level, his ability to make contact will be a leading indicator of whether he reaches his power potential.

  • CubFan Paul

    Whatever the hell MacDonald was throwing, it wouldn’t stay down. I look forward to his next start to see if he can adjust&execute

    • Jon

      I look forward to Arrietta being healthy, so McDonald can be DFA.

      • willis

        Oh my, me too. McDonald is awful. Arrieta has huge potential. At this point I’d give that 5th spot to Villanueva for a couple weeks, bring Arrieta up mid-late April.

  • JakeMac

    I would love Olt to start at 3b on the big league club out of Spring Training. But, I don’t think it’s a lock. I actually think the odds are better he’s shipped down to start the year. The FO has continually said someone needs to dominate their level before a call-up. That definitely wasn’t the case for Olt last year.

    In the grand scheme of things, what’s two months in the minors during a likely wasted year?

  • waffle

    olt will start in AAA, book it.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    no doubt about it valbuena and murphy have more upside. just kidding.

  • Lou Brown

    I read an article the other day about the FO wanting Olt to win the job. I think it is all performance. If he sees the ball, hits, and the shoulder checks out, he will be the opening day 3B. I don’t think service time is a consideration. They want him getting MLB at bats, if he can handle it. If Bryant or Villanueva make Olt expendable, think of the trade value of a 26 YO plus defender who will hit 25+ HR a year.

    • Napercal

      If the Cubs intend for Olt to be a future trading chip, they need to put him on the opening day roster (assuming he is not injured). They have to act like he’s a major leaguer right now .. not in May or June. If he can’t handle the job, better to find out right away. With Villanueva, Bryant and Candelario in the pipe line and the possibility of Baez playing at third, the FO needs to find out what it has in Olt. If he performs well, not only does he make himself more valuable, he makes everyone down the pipe more valuable too because he/they become more expendable.

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

        I agree. Then when some other franchise has a vacant lot called, “3rd base” we are on the phone saying, “yeah, I feel your pain. I got a spare one, lightly used, that I can trade for a nice healthy 95MPH having pitcher that locates well, has 2 other really good pitches, and is young too. Let’s do that deal….”

        • Stinky Pete

          I’m not sure how Olt’s service time works, like is the clock ticking? Because if it’s not and they are starting the season with him, I think that’s a pretty big billboard that they don’t care how much he will make beyond this year. (You know, like the plan was to trade him all along.)

        • Head and Heart

          Third base is also not that strong right now. Lots of teams would love a 3B that can OPS 800 or more. I’m not sure Olt can do that but if it turns out he can or can come close? Then a lot of teams would be calling. 7 guys, not counting Cabrera, had an OPS over 800 last season. Young guys like Machado and Arenado could crack that barrier this season as well. But that still leaves a lot of teams with holes to fill that Olt could help. Of course if he is OPSing 800 or more then maybe the Cubs keep him and move someone else like Villanueva for pitching and stick Bryant in right field. LOTS of ‘ifs’ but I guess my point is the Cubs may as well see what Olt can do at the major league level so they can figure out how to move forward with or without him as a piece of the puzzle.

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

            Exactly. To actually build the puzzle, you got start with a piece, maybe just one at a time, until….the magic appears. ;)

            After Rizzo and Castro, Olt seems a reasonable one to find out on…2014 isn’t about winning, is it? Development, that was what we hired Renteria for, ain’t it?

  • willis

    Olt’s two jacks were monsters. Baez’ jack was a blast. Watching them last night was fun. I am looking forward to them being regulars on this roster.

    • Lou Brown

      I love those HRs where you know coming off the bat, it is long gone. All three last night were like that. It is nice to see them when the guy in the Cubs uniform is at the plate, instead of pitching.

  • Funn Dave

    It’s funny how when a prospect does bad in ST everybody’s all “oh, it’s just ST, it’s meaningless; but when a prospect does well in ST–even just a single game–everybody gets all amped up and nobody says boo.

    • mjhurdle

      Is that what is happening here?
      Obviously you are going to have outliers on both sides that let single ST games affect them, but I haven’t seen much talk of Olt being an MLB All-Star simply because of a 2 HR game in ST.

      I see a lot of ‘hopefully this continues’ and ‘this has to help his chances of making the big league roster’ and ‘those HRs were awesome!’, but not a lot of over-reacting.

      I think the general vibe is the same as before, if maybe just a touch more optimistic. The Cubs want Olt to earn the starting 3B gig. Fans want Olt to earn the starting 3B gig. the 2 HR game is encouraging, but he still has work to do. I feel like he has a better chance after going 3-4 with 2 HRs then if he had gone 0-4 with 2 Ks, but i don’t think most people are ready to write him in as a ‘lock’ for the starting job yet.

  • ruby2626

    I say no need to rush a decision on Olt, this is only one game, before yesterday he was striking out almost half the time. I would give him 75% of the playing time the rest of the spring and let’s just see where we are at. If it is close between him and the other 2 then you have to go with Olt. Cubs are godawful boring to watch, be nice to at least have a guy or 2 you look forward to seeing bat.

  • Medicos

    Day after day reading and hearing about SABERMETRICS and MONEYBALL used to evaluate possible MLB players. I’ll make it real simple: find out which players can PITCH the ball, HIT the ball, or FIELD the ball. If the individual can successfully do any of those things, put them on the 25-man 2014 roster. During the past the 3-years, our Cubbies have averaged a 66-96 W-L record and it isn’t going to improve much until players on the roster can PITCH, FIELD and HIT the baseball. I’ve had season tickets for nearly 25-years and this will be 1st year I’ve decided not to spend any $$$$ on this TRIPLE AAA team.

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

      Oh…it’s that simple? Well, shit…why didn’t you tell us sooner?!?!?!

      • Edwin

        All box scores can now be replaced by a simple 3 box checklist for every player.

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

          Yup…just think of how this will radically revolutionize most of the big league clubs. No longer do they need computers or calculators or fancy Pitch f/x stuff…

          Hell, the new computer database the cubs built is simplified to having guys pictures and placing them in one of three bins or the shredder.

    • Edwin

      Huh. And here I am, somehow thinking that the entire point of sabermetrics (and somewhat point to Moneyball) is that there are better ways to find out which players can pitch the ball, hit the ball, or field the ball.

    • mjhurdle

      I was told there would be no math…

      • Internet Random

        [img]http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/XMLCTkd76eTb/1e49e79f-1def-477f-bbcc-954cd6d6e7f9.jpg[/img]

  • Segal27

    I saw on twitter that Len was talking about how to pronounce Alcantara somewhere, does anyone have a link to somewhere where I can listen to the conversation?

    • Fresno Cubs Fan

      I don’t have a link, but I heard the end of the conversation and it involved a discussion of whether one should pronounce it, ending in “TARA” or “TRA.” I was multitasking, so it was a bit hard to tell if they were serious.

      • Segal27

        Thank you anyways, if anyone else has a link please let me know

  • Jason P

    “I’ve been told to expect that the 3B job will to go to Mike Olt as long as his shoulder is ok and he can make the throws from 3B.” — Cubs den

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