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I am genetically predisposed to being fairly tolerant of the cold. If it’s above 40, I’m wearing shorts (unless I know I’ll be outside for more than 20 minutes). If it’s above 30, I’m wearing flip flops. These things draw me funny looks whenever I’m out doing errands or whatever, but I gotta be me. Howeva, persistent cold on your skin – even if just in short doses, but spread over a long period of time (like this ridiculous Winter we’ve had) – damages your extremities. So, for example, I look down this morning and notice that my toes have these red sores on them (not anything gross, just red inflammation). They’re fairly painful, so I did some digging, and it turns out that they’re from the aforementioned cold exposure. I did it to myself. Learn from my mistakes. Invest in socks.

  • It’s probably worth pointing out that yesterday’s departure of Donnie Murphy doesn’t guarantee that Mike Olt will make the 25-man roster to start the season. Consider that, even taking Olt out of the equation, the Cubs could have been trying to find roster spots (both 25-man and 40-man) for Emilio Bonifacio, Ryan Kalish and Ryan Roberts, and trying to find playing time for Bonifacio, Roberts, Darwin Barney, and Luis Valbuena. As much as we want to point to the Murphy move as confirmation that Olt is sticking around, the Murphy move is equally consistent with, for example, Roberts sticking around and working his way into the 2B/3B rotation. That all said, Olt has certainly shown that his eyes are not presently something holding him back from big-league-caliber success. Whether he would struggle in an extended look in the big leagues in April and May for other reasons, well, that’s the question that faces every prospect. Starting Olt in the big leagues would be a nice cookie for the fans (but, no cookies!), however this front office is all about the long-term development of players, and the long-term health of the organization. If there are legitimate reasons for Olt to start at AAA, he will, regardless of the surrounding throng. From where I sit, I’d give it 65/35 that Olt breaks camp with the big team as *the* starting third baseman. That’s probably the direction I’d go, too, but it’s close enough that I can still see some upside in a little tour at Iowa to start the year.
  • Obligatory:

mike olt!

  • (Patrick Mooney writes about the Olt roster issue, and notes that there is at least some internal belief that Olt could benefit from some time at AAA to continue working out any kinks (particularly those related to the sore shoulder).)
  • As for the George Kottaras release, while it did open up a 40-man spot, that spot will be taken by the man taking Kottaras’s job – now back-up catcher John Baker. I don’t see any Olt impact there.
  • Starlin Castro played successfully in another minor league game yesterday (TCR), going seven innings in the field without incident and running the bases at full speed. The Cubs have to decide – probably today – whether they’re going to start the season with Castro on the DL, or active. If he plays in today’s Cactus League game, they could backdate his DL stint only to tomorrow, meaning that he would miss upwards of 10 games in the regular season. If he sits today, and then starts on the DL, the Cubs could backdate his DL stint to March 21, meaning that he’d miss only four or five games.
  • Jake Arrieta threw three innings of a simulated game yesterday (Cubs.com), and came out feeling good. I’d think he’ll need three or four more appearances to build up to a big-league-ready pitch count, which would put him on pace to return around the third week of April.
  • Bruce Miles notes that Jake Arrieta will make his next simulated appearance (or side session) in Pittsburgh, which means he’ll be traveling with the team, rather than staying back in Arizona to gear up for the season. I like that. Probably a slightly positive signal, too, if you needed one. It’s possible that, rather than appearing in extended Spring Training games to get ready to return to the big leagues, Arrieta will play in minor league games (the minor league seasons kick off late next week).
  • Jeff Samardzija believes his splitter – which is a wipeout pitch – will move much more effectively once he leaves the dry, warm air of Arizona. (Cubs.com) Separately, Samardzija wouldn’t comment when asked whether he or the team will set deadlines for negotiations (i.e., will they negotiate during the season?) on an extension. (CSN)
  • Yesterday’s Murphy/Kottaras moves saved the Cubs about $1.6 million in salary, but, keep in mind: they have to be replaced on the roster. The guys who replace them will probably make about the minimum (around $500,000), so the actual savings yesterday are right around $600,000.
  • I missed this over the weekend, but I offered up some season preview thoughts on the Cubs to Three Rivers Burgh Blog (keep in mind, those thoughts came a couple weeks ago, so we’ve received some new data since then).
  • Fishin Phil

    You’re gonna look mighty funny with socks and flip-flops.

  • PejaO42

    I wonder if Mike’s father does tricks–errr illusions as a profession

    • Darth Ivy

      he makes boats disappear

      • PejaO42

        And he makes HUGE mistakes

        • Ed

          Does Mike Olt’s dad have a hermano?

          • On The Farm

            Who is this Hermano guy?!

            • Ed

              It sounds like someone you think is named hermano is about to get his ass kicked.

  • Darth Ivy

    I kind of want Olt to start in the minors so I can stash him in the N/A list on the fantasy team. He’s definitely worth keeping him on the watch list, though

    BTW- I picked up Chris Carter for Revere. Carter has some nice power for a free agent. He should have more RBI opportunitie this year and he’s still young, his BA might be on the upswing (although I’m not counting on that, just a hope)

  • Chad
    • Chad

      All you would need is a fanny pack.

    • jp3

      JORTS JORTS JORTS JORTS!!!! Love the Jorts

  • half_full_beer_mug

    I thought the prevailing logic was that if Olt was at Iowa then we would most likely play 1st or DH, allowing CV to continue playing third. If he’s indeed going to AAA to work on his shoulder and shake off what ever “rust” wasn’t removed during ST does CV stay in Iowa or do they switch off between 3B and DH?

    • jp3

      I think another positive in sending him down would be to bring him back up (healthy obviously) when Baez comes up to maybe shift some of the focus off him? All eyes will be on Baez but maybe a little glare will be off him with another newcomer joining the team as well to watch?

    • ssckelley

      But even if Olt starts in AAA I doubt it will be for a long period of time. I am guessing CV will get most of the work at 3rd this season at Iowa.

      • CubFan Paul

        He should get some AAA experience at 2B too, imo.

        • J. L.

          Olt or Villanueva?

          • CubFan Paul

            Villanueva.

            I could see him flipped by this time next year to a team needing a ML ready 2B/3B

            • J. L.

              When they traded for Villanueva I was hoping they would get a good long look at him at 2B. But they didn’t. I would think there isn’t much chance they’d do it now. I believe it would be pretty rare for a guy to switch to a more difficult defensive position in AAA after having played at an easier position for so long.

              • CubFan Paul

                “But they didn’t”

                CV was busy trying to adjust his approach at the plate, plus Alcantara was at 2B.

                “I believe it would be pretty rare for a guy to switch to a more difficult defensive position in AAA after having played at an easier position for so long”

                3B is easy?? …he’s also played 2B before

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

        If Olt is in Iowa I would think he’d see a good number of starts at 1B and DH (am I correct in thinking that the PCL only DHs some of the time (something to the effect that if both teams agree to it)) for the first couple of weeks and then a couple weeks at 3B to get the throws down.

        That’d put him at a May 1 callup, enough time for small sample size artifacts to go away at the big league level and allow for some shuffling.

        • ssckelley

          Any ICub game I have gone to has had the pitcher batting (I think). Is it based on which park it is in, AL minor league affiliate or NL affiliate?

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

            It appears that pitchers hit when both teams are NL. I think if it’s one of each, then it’s manager’s discrection.

            http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/here-are-10-ways-to-improve-minor-league-baseball-13181/

            Fun bit out of the article:

            “Alternately, baseball could expand use of the DH to the NL, which along with Japan’s Central League remains the only league in professional baseball worldwide that still features pitchers hitting.”

            Mmm…such a grand tradition of pitchers hitting.

            • ssckelley

              I can go either way on the DH thing, I definitely like the DH in the minors for development purposes. But at the major league level I just want both leagues playing with the same rules, either both leagues have it or both leagues don’t. I can make arguments either way, sometimes I have enjoyed the strategy of having a pitcher hit but on the other hand having another 1st base type of slugger in the lineup is fun as well.

  • Pistol Pete

    I don’t understand why Valbuena even has a roster spot. Send him and his .222 career avg packing already.

    • CubFan Paul

      Put your guns away.

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

      Are you just looking for a fight?

    • Smitty

      Did you pay any attention to his performance last year? He is a very valuable platoon option who gives you good defense, some would argue great defense, at 3rd and 2nd.

      • CubFan Paul

        He’s definitely a plus defender. & after another long season and winter of working on his defense and approach he’s making a case to play everyday, at least against RHP.

        I’m all for Barney going to the bench to start the season with Olt(!) at 3B and Valbuena/Bonafacio at 2B

        • half_full_beer_mug

          I just don’t see how you move Barney to a true bench player on this team. He’s for sure a better glove man than either of those two, and as the RH part of the platoon probably gives enough offense to be well above replacement. I can see a pretty strict platoon with Valbuena, but I don’t see how he looses his job to Bonafacio barring injury.

          • CubFan Paul

            “He’s for sure a better glove man than either of those two”

            Valbuena is a pretty slick glove man in his own right. He’s put in the work (repeatedly).

            “and as the RH part of the platoon probably gives enough offense to be well above replacement”

            I would still rather have Bonafacio’s speed or Robert’s bat & versatility

            “I don’t see how he looses his job to Bonafacio barring injury”

            I see Bonafacio playing everyday, leading off barring injury.

            • half_full_beer_mug

              I’m just glad we’ve only got four more days of speculation. Opening day can’t get here soon enough.

          • ssckelley

            half full, I have the opposite point of view. After the season Barney had last year how can you justify handing him the 2nd base job? Players lose their jobs all the time due to performance, I don’t understand why Barney is any different. If you have players on the team that would object to Barney being benched then those players should not be on the team in the first place. The players that give the team the best chance to win should be out on the field, not a supposed leader that cannot lead by example.

            • half_full_beer_mug

              I don’t see any other player that preformed that much better (as a total player) on this squad. Either last year for a different team or this year for the Cubs in ST.

              Given that scenario, IMO, the job goes to the returning starter since he wasn’t “beat out”.

              I do think that if Olt is at 3rd (which he should be) the Barney should be given limited AB’s against right handed pitching, and almost none against RH starters.

              • ssckelley

                In looking through Barney’s splits he is a better hitter in the spring, in the 8 spot, and against lefthanded pitching. So let him get off to a good start and trade then him before June.

                • CubFan Paul

                  He’s ignoring the Bonafacio’s potential impact through Barney-blinders.

                  • ssckelley

                    Perhaps I am as well, honestly I don’t see Bonifacio much more than a backup. He may end up seeing more time in center field than 2nd base.

                    Although I admit it would be nice to see someone at the top of the order capable of swiping 2nd base.

    • Edwin

      Don’t take your guns to town.

  • Dustin S

    I think it was Bosio in one of the spring training interviews who mentioned that the team gave the SP too much time between starts last year and that they were going to try to get closer to having them start every 5th day this season. With the Cubs having off-days 4/1, 4/7, 4/14/, and 4/17 over the first few weeks, it might not be out of the question to just go with the top 4 until Arrieta is back in mid-April. Especially early in the season when they are likely to have shorter outings, that early “5th” starter might end up being just more of a bullpen arm. Of course they might just stick to the traditional 5 even though whoever starts as the 5th may only get 1 or 2 starts before getting moved to the pen or Iowa.

    • Spoda17

      I think that’s what Sveum did last year.

  • Evolution

    As a Jewish man with a Jewish mother…I feel the need to admonish you for your frostbite.

    “What’s wrong with you? Put something on! You’ll catch cold! Don’t be a schmuck! Oy vey!”

    That said…I don’t think I’ve worn socks since Springsteen was invented.

  • Evolution

    Can’t Kalish play some 1B, too?

    I actually love Valbuena as a role guy…if Olt plays to desired form. He’s also nice insurance for an Olt injury or letdown. Same for Bonifacio, with different skills and positioning options.

    Ryan Roberts is interesting…does he give us a distinct upgrade over the other two?

    If Barney were to go, then Roberts is a no-brainer…if not, I’m not seeing it.

  • J. L.

    Okay, I don’t get the “MIKE OLT!” joke.

    • PejaO42

      Stop whatever you are doing and watch the entire series of “Arrested Development”
      http://arresteddevelopment.wikia.com/wiki/Steve_Holt

      • J. L.

        Oh, that’s what this is? Yeah, I’ve been meaning to watch it for years. I will eventually. Thanks!

        • Smitty

          no, Peja is correct…stop what you are doing and watch Arrested Development immediately! It will be well worth your time.

          • J. L.

            I don’t doubt it at all. It’s just that my employer probably wouldn’t care for that…

            • FFP

              Sheesh. I came here to ask this question today. Thanks.

  • Ivy Walls

    Geez BN Nation, who many times does someone have to repeat this:

    “There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening. And this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams. …People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.

    Mike Olt is about RUNS, Murphy & Kottaras were not. The other side strategy that the FO appears to be providing Rentera is versatility. Barney is not as versatile as Roberts and Barney costs more, plus Barney is not about RUNS.

    Now I could see the Cubs making a deal with Detroit or the NYY that includes Barney. The rest of the press regarding Valbuena, Roberts and Bonafacio is on the margins and are holding spots until the system starts bringing future run producers up.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      “Barney is not as versatile as Roberts and Barney costs more, plus Barney is not about RUNS.”

      Yet last year (the worst for Barney) BR has him with a dWAR of 1.5 and an oWAR of -1.7
      the previous year those were 3.6 and 1.5

      Roberts last year were -.1 and .3, where 2012 as .7 and -.1

      Not sure that Roberts is worth more “RUNS” than Barney either.

    • Norm

      I’m guessing you’re talking about *scoring* runs?
      And I’m also guessing you’re not including *preventing* runs?

      • Ivy Walls

        precisely, with Olt on the club Barney is not going to see 500 PA’s or defend 500 PA’s so his defensive WAR will greatly diminish. Therefore his value to the club diminishes.

        It matter’s little since by July 1 Baez will be playing 2B and next year unless Castro returns to a true All Star status Alcantara will be there and Baez at SS.

  • JAllman

    If Olt is at AAA and Ryan Roberts actually gets starts at 3B vs lefties I think I’ll puke. Olt is a big boy and the vision problem seems to be a non issue. We have crazy organizational depth at 3B. Olt was nothing more than a wild card flyer just a few weeks ago. I have always hoped he could be the long term solution at 3B with Bryant moving to the OF. You can call Olt at 3B a cookie for the fans but man we’re starving here! The risk is minimal and rewards are many. Even if Olt struggles he could be sent down. The idea that his confidence would be permanently blown is just silly. Like I said, he’s a big boy. At some point you have to just do it! here is my hot sports opinion, not only will Olt be our opening day 3B, he will be penciled into the 4 hole. Go Cubs.

    • ssckelley

      I agree, reward the guy for having a good spring. If he proves he does not deserve it then send him down. But right now I think Olt is the Cubs best option at third base and having him with the MLB team frees up Valbuena to be used at 2nd and Barney to go play some where else. Give the team a chance to win some games!

      But something tells me this FO wants to build trade value in Barney and Valbuena. So it is my guess Olt starts the year at Iowa, Barney starts at 2nd and Roberts/Valbuena being platooned at 3rd. They don’t want the future to be now, right now they still want to build trade value which to me does not make any sense. Leave Arizona with the best team to give you a chance to win, and if it blows up in your face then pull it apart. Just my opinion, but probably why I am not the GM of a baseball team.

      • half_full_beer_mug

        I’m seeing this a lot, but does anything Barney do before the trade deadline really build trade value? If I’m a GM I’ve already seen plenty of evidence as to what type of player he is. I know what his strengths are and I know what his weaknesses are. On his best days he’s going to play a gold glove level 2nd (and probably short) and be a league average bat. On his worst days he’s going to play a well above average second and be a black hole in the lineup.

        He is what he is and if someone needs that type of player they’ll give up a fringe A ball prospect. I don’t think that anything is going to change that.

        • ssckelley

          No, not really. I believe the hope is Barney hits like he did in 2011 and 2012, if he does then there is a little value in him with his gold glove defense. If he comes out hitting like he did in 2013 I hope they sit his ass on the bench.

  • DarthHater

    [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/500x/47757369.jpg[/img]

  • miggy80

    Brett, you should try that Mack Weldon link. They have some pretty sweet socks. I’m thinking about getting a banana hammock.

  • ccado

    What about Olt service time? He has time with the Rangers. Probably they should deal with Olt the same way they handle Rizzo

    • CubFan Paul

      Service time isn’t a concern for older prospects if they’re ready.

    • ssckelley

      The difference is Olt is already 25, will be 26 in August so even if he gets a full year of service credit this season the Cubs still have control of him through his prime years. With Rizzo it was a little different since he was only 22. I doubt the Cubs play service time games with Olt.

  • newsguy23

    If Olt is not the starting 3B to start the season then Theo is full of crap with his every season is sacred. What he will be saying is we want to suck again this year to get that top draft pick. I realize Olt is not the end all beat all but I think you have to give it a shot. Maybe give the Cubs fans some hope. Hell if he works out you start to have a great nucleus with Castro, Rizzo and Castillo behind the plate. Add in Baez in June pretty good infield.

    • Chad

      NO COOKIES!!!

  • CubFanBob

    Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 1m
    Olt and Kalish make the team, per Hoyer

    • ssckelley

      OMG, if true this just made my day!!!!!

    • roz

      God damn I love seeing that.

    • mjhurdle

      MIKE OLT!!

    • C. Steadman

      +1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1

  • md8232

    OMG Brett has teh foot AIDS!!

    1. “Invest in socks”
    2. ???????
    3. Profit.

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