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las vegas signThe Cubs finish up their two-game set in Las Vegas against the Mets, while the other half of the squad faces the Indians at Cubs Park in Mesa. The good news is that Vegas game will feature starters like Kris Bryant and Dan Vogelbach … the bad news is there is no broadcast whatsoever. No video. No audio. Hamburgers.

The game in Mesa is on CSN, though, so you can at least sate yourself with some viewing of that one.

Travis Wood starts against the Indians, and Chris Rusin – who remains very much in the mix for the fifth starter job out of Spring Training (though, with the ability to option him to Iowa (no such option exists for James McDonald and Carlos Villanueva), I don’t see it happening absent some additional injuries) – starts in Vegas against the Mets. Arodys Vizcaino could get into the game in Mesa (televised, eh hem).

The Vegas lineup is particularly interesting, with Darwin Barney getting another start at shortstop (Jose Iglesias injury, say wha), Ryan Kalish getting a start in right, and Bryant/Vogelbach/Szczur all in the starting lineup.

Over in Mesa, Luis Valbuena gets a start at second base while Emilio Bonifacio starts at short (and Chris Valaika goes to third). That is all to say that Valbuena could have easily started at third today, and his placement at second is very purposeful. Good to get him some time there, obviously – it’s where he played most of the Winter in Venezuela. MIKE OLT! is the DH.

Lineup against the Mets:

  1. Darwin Barney, SS
  2. Ryan Kalish, RF
  3. Ryan Sweeney, DH
  4. Donnie Murphy, 2B
  5. George Kottaras, C
  6. Kris Bryant, 3B
  7. Chris Coghlan, LF
  8. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
  9. Matt Szczur, CF

Lineup against the Indians:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, SS
  2. Junior Lake, CF
  3. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  4. Mike Olt, DH
  5. John Baker, C
  6. Ryan Roberts, 1B
  7. Chris Valaika, 3B
  8. Josh Vitters, LF
  9. Brett Jackson, RF
  • http://BleacherNation blewett

    CBS Sportsline is reporting that Carlos Villanueva will start the year in the Cubs’ rotation, with Arieta going to the DL.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Link? It may wind up that way, but the 5th starter has not yet been decided. They may be making an educated guess.

      • http://BleacherNation blewett

        They’re referencing an article in today’s Chicago Sun Times. I read the link and it does say that, FWIW. Not sure how to share the link, but I’m sure someone can figure it out.

      • DarthHater
        • willis

          If true that is swell. Villanueva>>>Rusin and McDonald. He did pretty well in his starting opportunities last season so hopefully that report is accurate.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Yeah on the line ups. When is the next cut?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Any time. They’re not really scheduled.

  • Cheese Chad

    The original spot about Villanueva. The key line is that Bosio says he’s the wild card. Doesn’t specifically call him the 5th starter.

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/26214181-573/carlos-villanueva-can-do-more-than-hold-space-in-cubs-rotation.html

    • http://BleacherNation blewett

      It does sort of say that in the 7th paragraph.

  • Cheese Chad

    It’s funny that they don’t call him a 5th starter and then CBS headline reads that he is the 5th starter according to the Suntimes. Did they even read the article?

  • Diehardthefirst

    The book Tipping Point argues that a single well timed event can change entire course of history…. Injuries to starting SS for Cubs and Tigers could be that event.. Fans would accept Castro for Porcello trade if other players added by Tigers

    • Assman22

      Not happening…Tigers paid a pretty trade penny for Iglesias and like him a lot…Tigers don’t have what it’d take to land Castro…Tigers will grab a short-term rental to replace Iglesias…

      • DocPeterWimsey

        You don’t think that the Tigers will go for Drew, then?

        I’ve read “they must” and “they cannot”: given their finances, I could see Drew being too much for them, but on the other hand, this might provide them with the “excuse” to justify going over budget, too. I really have no feel for what the Tigers will do, but they will be a LOT scarier if they sign Drew than if they don’t: even after Iglesias gets back.

        • Xruben31

          Castro for Smyly, Porcello & Austin Jackson? Because they don’t have a farm system, besides Castellanos.

      • Diehardthefirst

        What if Tigers add Bentacourt and Collier?

      • PcB

        The Tigers don’t have what it takes to get Castro? Castenellos? Smyly? Porcello? I think they do.

        • Assman22

          Filling one hole and creating another isn’t what Tigers would be interested in…they’ll fill SS with a viable stopgap…

          • jp3

            Barney would be perfect for them, unfortunately Barney’s not worth much in the way of a prospective trade.

  • shlenny

    “Meaningless” as SB may be, I’d really like it if Vogel plays 1B well and gets a knock, Vitters plays left well, and Vitters, Lake, Jackson, & Olt combine for 400 OBP, 3R, and 4 RBIs.

    • PcB

      I’m not even sure what this means. 3 Runs? 4 RBI? I think they’ve already done this. So… you’re happy?

  • DarthHater

    Yea, but it could turn out to be the event that causes an asteroid collision that wipes out all life on earth.

    • DarthHater

      F-ing reply button.

      • Diehardthefirst

        You need a time out

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, the non-avian dinosaurs would agree with that possibility!

      • Diehardthefirst

        That he needs a TO?

        • DarthHater

          There are many possibilities. For example, since a single well-timed event can change the course of history, it is possible that any imaginary occurrence one pulls out of one’s ass could be that event.

          • Diehardthefirst

            Your TO was obviously too short to regenerate your brain stem cells

            • DarthHater

              You keep right on thinking with your brain stem. I’ll stick with the frontal lobes.

              • Diehardthefirst

                Yours appear to be down 2 quarts

  • BlameHendry

    Not totally related, but seeing these prospects in the line-up just makes me wanna dream for a moment…

    Line-up
    1. SS Starlin Castro
    2. CF Albert Almora
    3. LF Kris Bryant
    4. 3B Javier Baez
    5. 1B Anthony Rizzo
    6. RF Jorge Soler
    7. DH Mike Olt
    8. 2B Arismendy Alcantara
    9. C Wellington Castillo

    Rotation
    1. Max Scherzer (dreaming…)
    2. Jeff Samardzija
    3. Arodys Vizcaino
    4. C.J. Edwards
    5. Pierce Johnson/Kyle Hendricks

    Under the completely unrealistic assumption that every single prospect reaches his potential, it looks like a dream team…

    • Diehardthefirst

      Are the Cubs in the AL now? I missed that breaking news

      • BlameHendry

        Again, dreaming. I’m hoping one day the NL adopts the DH. But even if they don’t, they could still put together this kind of line-up in interleague games.

        • PcB

          Vizcaino won’t ever be a SP again.

          • blublud

            I think he’ll at least get a chance.

            • PcB

              I think with his injury history, Theo and Co. don’t try to push their luck with him. Let him be a dominate reliever and be happy with it.

              • blublud

                If the same had been said about Chris Carpenter, the Cards might be without a World Series or two.

                • PcB

                  I don’t think Carpenter was the linchpin on those teams.

    • blublud

      If the NL had a DH(God I hope it never happens), then that would most certainly be Vogelbach’s position. Baez at 2nd, Olt at 3rd, Either Almora or Alcantara on in CF with the other as utility or traded for pitching.

      • PcB

        Why would you never want that to happen? It would even the playing fields considerably.

        • blublud

          Because baseball is played on both sides, in the field and hitting. If you wanna make the playing field even, get rid of it in the AL. I like NL baseball better.

          • PcB

            Do you honestly enjoy watching a pitcher hit? I know I don’t. It’s not exciting watching a groundout or a sac bunt. I understand there’s more strategy involved, but MLB wants more excitement, not boring pitcher AB’s.

            • blublud

              I enjoy the overall style of the NL. AL baseball is boring as he’ll. Its to predictable and there is no strategy to it. A pitcher is a baseball player, and the game I love says if you play the field, you also hit. I can’t remember the last time I watched a whole AL game. I’ll flip through the channels and watch for 20-30 minutes, but thats about it.

              • mjhurdle

                So if you love NL baseball, and think AL baseball is “boring as hell”, then I assume it would be safe to say the only things you find entertaining in baseball are pinch hitters and sacrifice bunts?
                I personally enjoy watching great pitchers, or great hitters, or rallies in the late innings. Those things happen to exist in both leagues, so I can actually enjoy both.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  And lineup flip flops! Man, those are *thrilling.*

                  The irony is that the AL actually uses more tactical SH than do NL teams. Last year, 5 of the top 6 teams in tactical SH were AL teams.

                  Moreover, *most* NL games never feature the tactics that thrill Blu so much: the top pitcher-bunting NL team last year had SH by pitchers in fewer than a quarter of its games. The *I-can-Barely-Breathe-It’s-So-Thrilling* lineup flip-flops occur in only a fraction of games.

                  So, if AL games are so boring that Blu can watch only 20-30 minutes, then he also can only watch about 20-30 minutes of the vast majority of NL games: and because it’s improbable that there will be a sacrifice attempt by the pitcher, a pinch-hitter for the pitcher or a lineup flip in that time, he actually won’t watch many at all because he’ll get bored watching batters bat and pitchers pitch.

                  • blublud

                    The AL game is slower, longer, 20 minutes between each pitch. And yes, enjoy watching a manager determine rather to take out a pitcher with 2 outs in an inning, and his spot up in the order in the next half inning, or rather to let the pitcher get out of the jam himself. You may not wanna pinch hit for the reliever after just one at-bat, specially if you have certain guys you don’t wanna have to pitch that game. A double switch, or decideing rather to pinch hit or pinch run because you know you have to save guys for the pitchers spot in the lineup next time around. There are many other things also. So while you guys may not enjoy watching these decisions, I do. Maybe it’s the coach in me, or may I just like watching the guy in charge make strategic decisions, no matter how few or many times it happens during the game. I’m also the guy who plays maddon in franchise mode to make decisions and build teams, not to actually play. You guys like your style, I like mine.

                    • mjhurdle

                      you are assuming that, because i can watch an AL game, i don’t enjoy lineup decisions.
                      It *can* be entertaining watching a manager decide when to take a pitcher out. However, the misnomer that somehow AL managers are swapping pitchers every AB simply because they don’t have to pinch hit for them is silly.
                      An AL manager is still going to try to get the most out of his SP, because he doesn’t want to burn a RP simply because he can. That isn’t the best strategy for the game, or for managing a bullpen load throughout a year.
                      Doc said it best. the actual times that a manager in the NL cant replace a pitcher when an AL manager would is rare. And while it may and a wrinkle to that game, most games you will never see it. So the point remains that, if an AL game is un-watchable, the vast majority of NL games are un-watchable as well.
                      I understand the difference in leagues, and I don’t disagree with the idea that people prefer one over the other. I just disagree with the “This league is the best, the other isn’t real baseball” over-reaction.

                    • blublud

                      I am willing to bet that the Almost every game there is a point when a AL team can leave a pitcher in when a NL team can’t. If not almost every game, every other game in the least.

                      Relief pitchers can’t go 2 innings in the NL if his spot comes up next inning after pitching one, when an AL team doesn’t have to.

                      The DH is not the only reason I prefer the NL, its just one of the reasons. Every try watching a Yankees/Red Sox game. OH MY GOD. It’s hell. I kid you not. Its slow. Pitching stepping off the mound every pitch. Hitters stepping out the box every pitch. The AL games all around are just horrible.

                    • blublud

                      That 2nd paragraph should have said an AL team doesn’t have to make those decisions. Let make these managers earn their money.

              • PcB

                I can’t wait to see Peyton Manning play safety. That will be awesome. Players specialize in things for a reason. That’s what they’re good at. I don’t want to see someone who hits as good as I do, bat in an MLB game. Period.

                • blublud

                  This about the dumbest comparison. Football is not baseball.

                  • PcB

                    Ok. So you really wait to see Travis Wood take an AB? That’s a thing you get pumped up for?

                  • PcB

                    Also, players used to play both ways in football until they realized it was terrible. They evolved… into the most popular sport in America. Just sayin’

                    • blublud

                      That’s not the point. Its not about an individual player or a pitcher hitting. If a pitcher shouldn’t hit because football realized players should play both ways, then weshould have a sdesperate defense and offense all together. We should have 9 pinch hitters in every lineup. I mean if Travis Wood shouldn’t have to hit, why should Darwin Barney. He is clearly in the league because of his glove and not his bat.

                    • blublud

                      Also, players don’t play both ways in football because its probably not healthy, but skill wise, most good corners could probably be decent WR, and vise versa. A lot of LB could play TE. A lot of linemen could play on either side. And most QB would have enough awareness to play safety, though the slower ones like Manning and Brady would probably struggle only because of speed.

                    • jp3

                      You don’t believe that do you blublud? Yes corners are like WRs athletically except for the fact they’ve shown coaches along the way they’ve got terrible hands and moved them to the defensive side of the ball. Manning could potentially play safety if not for having underwhelming speed? It’s like saying Peter Dinklage could play center on the lakers if it wasn’t for his hight.

                    • blublud

                      I coach and referee football, and I have been very successful doing so for 10 years, so i will claim expertise on this. The point is those positions require similar skillsets. Playing QB and safety are the 2 most mental positions on the field. A good safety, Ed Reed or Troy Palumalu have to have as much knowledge of the game as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Speed is not important at safety. Its like having a fast 1st baseman, its nice, but not required. Now Manning and Brady are much to slow, but guys like Vick, Wilson, Kapernick, even guys like Rothlisburger, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and several others all have the physical attributes to play safety or middle linebacker. Mentally, or football IQ wise, they are no more or less smarter than most safeties. When is the last time you seen a fast safety.

                    • jp3

                      Earl Thomas, 4.43

                    • blublud

                      Also, I would disagree about the WR/CB point. In the past, the difference between most corners and receivers was height and quickness, not hands. Tall guys with long strides were typically put at received while shorter, quicker guys were put at CB. In the last 10-15 years, since pro ball has gone more to these spread offenses, and LB’s have gotten faster, Smaller, quicker guys have been transition over the offensive side and played inside in the slot position. Guys like Steve Smith, Wes Welker Erick Decker, Santana Moss and so on. Those guys would have been converted to CB or 5th or 6th the receivers 15 years ago.

                    • blublud

                      I don’t consider 4.43 elite speed. It is fast, but I can name a received on most teams in football faster than that. And he may be the fastest safety in the league.

                    • jp3

                      You don’t consider 4.43 speed elite? That’s fair but do you know Peyton Manning has no chance of playing safety seeing he would run it in the 5 range. Eric Decker ps isn’t small, he’s 6’3″ 210 pounds. Yes I do agree some of the placement of wr/db placement also has to do with height.

                    • blublud

                      Why do keep you mentioning Peyton can’t play safety. I have stated twice he couldn’t. But more than half the QB’s in the league could.

                      Also, I don’t know why I put Eric Decker considering he’s not small and doesnt play the slot. I meant Danny Amendola. I guess the whole Manning/Brady thing got me confused.

                    • Drew7

                      I coach and referee football, and I have been very “successful doing so for 10 years, so i will claim expertise on this.”

                      Why didn’t you say something earlier, Blu? Argument over.

                      I can’t believe the pomposity of going to *that* well again after the “I played college baseball” line.

                    • jp3

                      La sigh, I just gave up and joined his team after the goal posts were moved so many times during the argument, he brainwashed me and I forgot what the argument was.

                  • jp3

                    I think a lot of WR could play DB because of their athletic ability but not necessarily vice versa. Some guys no matter how athletic don’t have the same set of hands as each other, some look like they’re trying to punch the football not catch it… That’s when the supremely talented kids when they go to college the head coach says “hey how would you like to play defense?”. Their are outliers to this of course like Champ Bailey, And Primetime but that happens A LOT in D-1 football.

                    • blublud

                      It actually a lot easier to make the switch to offense. It is also done more often then making the switch to CB. It happened right there in Chicago with Devin Hester. He wasn’t great, but he was good enough. I’m willing to bet, in fact, I know for fact that hands has less to do with it and physical attributes has more to do with. In fact, before the turn of the century, most corners were 5`9 or 5`10″ and recievers 6′ plus. Now, it’s about the same, you have tall and short guys on both side.

                    • jp3

                      Troy polamalo ran a 4.33 coming out of school too. I’m not saying you have to have blazing speed to play safety as much as I am that outside of world class track guys you mentioned Vick and Kappernick you still have to be more athletically gifted than manning and other immobile QBs.

                    • blublud

                      Freeman, Newton, Brees, Romo, Vick, RG III, Rodgers, Kapernick, Wilson, Geno Smith, Tennehill, EJ Manual, Luck, Locker, Gabberts, Alex Smith, pryor are all 2013 opening day starters who easily have the physical attributes to play safety, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few.

                    • blublud

                      A few could play FS, most could play SS and the few that may struggle could easily slide in at MLB. I forgot Rothlisberger.

                    • jp3

                      So ok I thought you were insinuating manning could play there and I was just thinking dan Marino is more capable at this point. My mistake for reading that wrong. I don’t disagree that half the QBs could play safety, Kappernick, Wilson, Vick , rg3, Newton, tannehill (played wr at Texas a&m), Rodgers, Ponder, and Pryor. It’s more common to convert players from offense to defense IMO. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

                    • jp3

                      Damn Blu we both did a list with a lot of the same guys on it:). Let’s agree freeman can’t be on that list, he doesn’t give a sh!t about learning the play book on one side of the ball, I think it’s safe to say he would put 30 seconds into learning a new position.

                    • blublud

                      Also, if i remember right, Palumalu ran no where close to a 4.33. I think he ran a 4.4 something at the combines. Any official time not taken at the conbine is not accurate. Most college and high school times are based off the twitch of someone’s finger on a stop watch. If he ran a 4.33, he would have been the first pick in 2002 or 2003, and know he wasn’t.

                    • blublud

                      I’m a Bucs fan and worse decision we made in the last few years is letting him go. I hate Schiano worse than I could ever hate Chris Volstead or Dale Sveum, and probably Derek Rose also, and I absolutely hate Derek Rose.

                    • jp3

                      It’s past my bedtime blu but this was the only thing I could find at 1st glance… He’s pretty dreaming fast was my point though I guess..

                      http://brandlegendary.com/troy-polamalu-10-year-anniversary-of-legendary-nfl-draft/

                    • jp3

                      I’m with you on rose but forget about Ian Stewart in the hate fest, he sucks worse.

                    • blublud

                      Mine too. Gotta be to work in 6 hours. I headed to bed. NCAA tourney starts Tuesday for me.

                      Let’s got NC State Wolfpack.

                      Goodnight.

                    • jp3

                      Damn blu, I almost liked you then you said wolfpack… I live in Durham but.

                      Go Heels

  • BlameHendry

    Wow, BJax really let Wood down there in the 1st. That ball was totally catchable, BJax completely mis-read that one. Looked like a little league outfielder there. He’s the hero yesterday and then pulls this today, lol

  • NorthSideIrish

    Josh Norris ‏@jnorris427 50s
    So, Jen Ho Tseng is pretty damn nasty. Up to 94 with two very good secondaries. Video later. #cubs

    BA writer at Cubs Minor League camp…

    • NorthSideIrish

      Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler 9m
      Great job by the Cubs staying on Jen-Ho Tseng last year. 91-93 with an above-average curveball today.

      OK, two BA writers watching today

  • ThatCubsGuy

    Damn…Olt put some wood on that pitch but barely stayed in….Good to see against a top notch pitcher in Masterson

    • Danny Ballgame

      How was his AB overall?

      • ThatCubsGuy

        Short but sweet. Took a pitch and swung on the second one. Masterson is in regular season form and has a ton of movement on his pitches. Threw a pitch up and out but Olt put some good wood on it. Stopped at the warning track, would of been gone if it was Vegas

        • Danny Ballgame

          Thanks man

  • roz

    D’backs Patrick Corbin likely out for the year. Anyone up for some more Samardzija to D’backs rumors?

    • Jr 25

      Don’t think Dbacks gave what it will take to land Shark since they aren’t willing to give up Bradley. Jays still seem to be best fit if Theo drops his price. (Meaning no way AA gives up Sanchez and Stroman).

  • NorthSideIrish

    BP at the back fields today too…Parks says he’ll have another write up tomorrow.

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 26m
    I did. He was pretty filthy; 91-93, touch 94; legit 74 mph bender. It was very good. RT @Drewboke: @ProfessorParks you watching Tseng?

  • NorthSideIrish

    Vizcaino hitting 98 on the radar gun vs. Lindor…easy gas.

    • Danny Ballgame

      Awesome

  • ThatCubsGuy

    Yeah its becoming more apparent that Olt needs to be in AAA for some more seasoning….I feel he is close but not quite there yet. The platoon tandem of Valbuena/Murphy should be able to manage for awhile

    • Jon

      Someone wanted an Olt comp the other day and I, half jokingly, said Kevin Orie. It was pretty funny to see 5-6 people lose their shit over that. As if Olt is some generational prospect that absolutely won’t fail.

      • Drew7

        Bolt and Orie are both white and play 3rd, which is where the similarities end. Just a guess, but *maybe* that’s why people disagreed with you.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Also, Orie could have been a useful player if more people had paid attention to OBP 16 years ago.

          • Rich H

            Absolutely agree. 15 years ago 3rd base had mostly guys like Ken Camminitti(sp?) and Matt Williams setting the bar. A glove first high OBP guy was not getting a lot of love if he name was not Boggs.

          • ssckelley

            A career .320 OBP should have kept him around?

      • DarthHater

        Orie once gave the Cubs 2.3 WAR. If Olt managed that, I’d consider him a fairly successful salvage job.

        • jp3

          Orie was a stud😜

      • jeff1969

        Jon, nobody lost their shit over anything. If you want to make comments then expect people who disagree to sometimes challenge you. Of course, now your comment was half jokingly, actually at the time you tried to pull back like you weren’t doing your typical unchallenged take down because your comparison was obviously just a jab at Olt being another Cub 3B failure. As the person who I believe responded to you the most on this subject, I did not and do not consider and never made any comment that could even remotely be considered anything like Olt being a generational prospect. Now you’re just talking shit. Or lying to try to command the respect of other readers. Consider your self treated.

        • D-Rock

          I was another who challenged the Orie comparison. So, disagreeing with Jon about a comparison between a failed Cubs 3B prospect and one who is still at the beginning of his MLB career is “losing their shit”? Ok, Jon.

    • VittersStartingLF

      Jed Hoyer was on during the game talking up Olt. He commented that even though he was 0-4 yesterday that he hit the ball well all game. Then he talked about how he just missed a homer today. Sounds like they want him to win 3b job.

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