A variety of bits on various Cubs positional players as Spring Training opens up. Positional players are due to report February 18 …
- Jed Hoyer said at yesterday’s press conference that Starlin Castro is the Cubs’ shortstop. Emphatically. “Castro is our shortstop,” Hoyer said. “We have all the confidence in the world that he’ll remain our shortstop. I think he’ll keep working hard and he can keep improving. He knows there’s still growth there. He turns 24 in March. I think he’s got time on his side.” There are no thoughts of moving Castro off of shortstop any time soon. Full stop.
- At third base, Hoyer expressed support for the Luis Valbuena/Donnie Murphy platoon that performed surprisingly well last year. The expectation laid out by Hoyer’s comments was that the tandem would be starting at third to open the season, and only after a follow-up did Hoyer mention that the Cubs are going to see how Mike Olt looks in the Spring, hope he looks good, and then make a decision then about his future. At first, I took Hoyer’s comments as a signal that the organization doesn’t have much hope for Olt returning to his 2012 form, but, upon reflection, I think that’s a bit too much reading. Given Olt’s unique situation – top tier prospect in 2012 on the verge of a breakout, injury/eye-troubled disastrous 2013 season, but possible job for the taking in 2014 because of a trade – there was no other way to address questions about him. Valbuena/Murphy will start at third, and there is absolutely no pressure whatsoever on Olt to come out dominating. He might need adjustment time anyway. No pressure.
- Hoyer said that the Cubs plan to give Junior Lake plenty of plate appearances this year, and the hope is that he carries forward his success from last year into the Spring, and grabs a starting spot. Hoyer stopped short of saying Lake would be the starting left fielder, suggesting that there is still the possibility that Lake moves around (almost certainly in the outfield, though). I remain hopeful that we’ll get a really good look at Lake in center field.
- Not that we expected anything different, but Arismendy Alcantara is going to be the second baseman at AAA Iowa to start the year (as opposed to moving around a bit, I suppose).
- Javier Baez might get exposed to some more second and third base this Spring, but he’s the AAA shortstop to start the year.