Official 2020 Chicago Cubs Season Thread (7-2)

Joined Feb 6, 2007
A new era is being built. Not even about the 100+ years stuff, just an era of youth, and hope built the right way by a guy with a proven track record.

Your future for the next generation of Cub fans. :pimp:

1B Anthony Rizzo
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IF/OF Javier Baez
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3B Kris Bryant
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OF Jorge Soler
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C/OF Kyle Schwarber
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SS Addison Russell
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OF Jason Heyward
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All under the age of 26. Not even including CJ Edwards, Arodys Vizcaino, Pierce Johnson, Eloy Jimenez, Corey Black, or the #4 pick we have coming up in June. :pimp:

This isn't about winning a World Series this year, or any curses, this is simply a new era for the Cubs, being run properly, building thru the draft, and not having a single 100 million dollar contract on the books.

Soooooon. :pimp:

Let's Play Ball.

Edit 9/2

SP Jake Arrieta
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SP Kyle Hendricks
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The Cubs first big Free Agent buy in the Theo era

SP Jon Lester
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2B Ben Zobrist
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SP John Lackey
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CF Dexter Fowler
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2016 Trade Deadline
RP Aroldis Chapman
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Edit 7/22/2015
Next wave of prospects

OF Eloy Jimenez
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OF Albert Almora
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2B/OF Ian Happ
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C Willson Contreras
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OF Eddy Julio Martinez
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Edit 1/15/2016
The One That Started It All

Starlin Castro
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Thank you 13. :pimp:

And the pieces that brought us Chapman

SS Gleyber Torres
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OF Billy McKinney
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Three Years Later:

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Joined Feb 6, 2007
Looks like it's just me this year. :lol: :lol:

An article from Pro in the MLB thread about some of our youth.....

Cubs' Top 10
Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Javier Baez, SS (7)
2. Kris Bryant, 3B (15)
3. Jorge Soler, OF (26)
4. Albert Almora, CF (28)
5. C.J. Edwards, RHP (67)
6. A. Alcantara, 2B (71)
7. Pierce Johnson, RHP
8. Jaimer Candelario, 3B
9. corey Black, RHP
10. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
Chicago Cubs
Org rank: 4

Farm system overview

The Cubs' collection of offensive prospects is extremely impressive, with three high-impact bats at the top of the system, followed by two guys who can contribute on both sides of the ball.

Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Jorge Soler all look like stars; Baez has the explosive bat speed to be a guy who hits for average and power, and he can play somewhere in the middle infield, even if the Cubs don't have room for him there. Soler has the biggest risk, although some of that is because he missed so much of 2013 after breaking his leg; I think everyone, the Cubs included, would feel more confident if he had played a full summer and continued to show gradual improvement.

They're still light on arms; C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson are the only pitchers in the system I'd project as more than fifth starters, and neither looks like a potential ace or strong No. 2. That said, they did load up on pitching in the 2013 draft, and lefty Rob Zastryzny (No. 11 in the system) could grow into a third or fourth starter role, while right-handers Scott Frazier (No. 13), Tyler Skulina (No. 14), and Trey Masek are all current starters who could go either way but are now more likely to head for the pen.

Corey Black is an interesting case, built like a reliever, aggressive like one as well, but he'll at least show four pitches, two of them plus, and I would at least let him start a little longer before conceding the point. Eloy Jimenez (No.12), the 17-year-old jewel of the July 2 international signing class from last year, is all fantasy at this point, a kid with a huge, projectable frame as well as the swing to eventually have 30-35 homer power.

2014 impact

Arismendy Alcantara probably starts the year in Triple-A, but I think he's an upgrade over Darwin Barney right now, an above-average defender at second who can actually hit. Baez should make his major league debut this summer, although the position is up in the air and depends on Alcantara's arrival and whether Starlin Castro gets his head on straight.

The fallen

Mike Olt's vision problems have put his career on hold, in practical terms; if you can't see, you can't hit or field, and until he and his doctors find a solution, he won't be able to produce on the field. Arodyz Vizcaino missed his second straight year due to arm problems, and Juan Carlos Paniagua fell apart once he got past visa problems and managed to take the mound, trying too hard to guide the ball for strikes instead of just airing it out.


Jimenez is more likely to show up on the 2016 top 100 than the 2015 one; for next year's list, we're more likely to see Jaimer Candelario, who has been on the fringes of my top 100 for two years now. He's a mediocre defender at third, but his bat has a chance to be special -- he has a fluid swing, stays inside the ball well, and has shown doubles power to both gaps already at age 19.


formerly slp product
Joined Feb 8, 2005
Nothing but youth this year...the real rebuild begins.
Can't go anywhere but up....we just need some arms to solidify the roatition.

I still hope that Theo can bring in some veteran slingers.
Joined Sep 7, 2011
I just wanna see out young players continue to develop and not regress. I think before the trade deadline Theo flip Jeff Sarmadija for Pitching Prospects.
Joined Jan 7, 2004
I just wanna see out young players continue to develop and not regress. I think before the trade deadline Theo flip Jeff Sarmadija for Pitching Prospects.
I believe the market and interest on Shark limited or prevented Theo from going all-in on Ma Kun (Tanaka).
Joined Nov 25, 2003
Not a Cubs fan, but their new spring training facility is right across the street from my condo so I will be attending games whenever possible.
Joined Feb 6, 2007

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs introduced Theo Epstein as their president of baseball operations on Tuesday, hoping he can end a championship drought the way he did for the Boston Red Sox.

"To me, baseball is better with tradition, baseball is better with history, baseball is better with fans who care, baseball is better in ballparks like this, baseball is better during the day. And baseball is, best of all, when you win," Epstein said during a packed Wrigley Field news conference.

"I firmly believe that we can preserve the things that make the Cubs so special and over time build a consistent winner, a team that will be playing baseball in October consistently and a team that will ultimately win the World Series."

"I've waited a few weeks to say this, but it truly feels great to be a Cub today," Epstein said, who agreed to a five-year deal for a reported $18.5 million.

The Cubs haven't won a title in 103 years and haven't been to the World Series since 1945. The Red Sox endured an 86-year stretch without a title, but Epstein built a team that won it all in 2004 and again in 2007.

"I don't believe in curses, (and) I guess I played a small part in proving they don't exist, from a baseball standpoint," Epstein said. "I do think we can be honest and upfront that certain organizations haven't gotten the job done. That's the approach we took in Boston. We identified certain things that we hadn't been doing well, that might have gotten in the way of a World Series, and eradicated them. That's what we'll do here."

Why does he think he can do what no one else has been able to in Chicago?

"When I got to Boston they hadn't won in 86 years. We didn't run from that challenge. We embraced it," Epstein said. "We decided the way to attack it was to build the best baseball operation that we could, to try to establish a winning culture, to work as hard as possible and to bring in players who care more about each other and more about winning than the people around them thought or the external expectations, the external mindset. That's something that is going to be important to us here as well.

"We're going to build the best baseball operation we can. We're going to change the culture. Our players are going to change the culture along with us in the major league clubhouse. We're going to make building a foundation for sustained success a priority. That will lead to playing October baseball more often than not. Once you get in in October there's a legitimate chance to win the World Series."

Epstein vowed to build a better scouting and farm system for the Cubs.

"We won't rest until there is a steady stream of talent" going to Wrigley Field from the minors.

"We're going to have to grind our way to the top," he said.

Epstein was asked about changing the Cubs culture. From the curse of the billy goat to the moniker of lovable losers to the 1984 collapse to Steve Bartman in the 2003 NLCS, the Cubs have a rich history of failure.

"Every opportunity to win is sacred," Epstein said. "It's sacred to us inside the organization and it should be sacred to the fans as well. They deserve our best efforts to do what we can to improve the club, and put the club in position to succeed in any given season."

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts introduced Epstein at Wrigley Field and said he knew he had his man after 10 to 15 minutes of discussions.

"We began this search in August, and I said at that point we were looking for someone with a background in player development, someone who had a proven track record of success, someone who had a strong analytical background and someone who had experience in creating a culture of winning," Ricketts said. "It was also important to me that this person would not be someone who was content with their past successes, but someone who would build on those successes to improve themselves and improve the organization that they're with.

"Given these criteria that we laid out, I simply cannot imagine a better person for this job than Theo Epstein."

Few additions to the Cubs -- players or managers -- have generated as much buzz as Epstein. "Cubs Welcome Theo Epstein" lit up the famous Wrigley Field marquee at the corner of Clark and Addison on Tuesday morning, and the conference room for Epstein's introduction was packed.

The 37-year-old Epstein left the Red Sox with a year left on his contract as general manager. The Cubs finally made the announcement Friday night, but held off on the news conference until Tuesday, a travel day for the World Series.

The compensation package the Cubs will send to the Red Sox still has not been finalized. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig gave the teams a Nov. 1 deadline before he steps in to resolve the matter.

Epstein arrived in Chicago on Monday and met with his front office staff at a restaurant near Wrigley, but it wasn't his first venture into the area. In the beginning of talks with the Cubs, there were unconfirmed reports that Epstein was seen at a Wrigleyville Starbucks. Epstein confirmed the report after the news conference.

San Diego Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod will join Epstein with the Cubs, sources told's Bruce Levine, who reported that both man have been in Chicago for the past three days. A news conference to announce those moves is expected within a week.

Epstein replaces Jim Hendry, who was fired July 22 but stayed on to help the team with the draft and trade deadline.

Among the questions facing Epstein is what to do with manager Mike Quade, who has one year left on his contract. The Cubs finished a disappointing 71-91 in 2011, which was Quade's first season as a full-time manager in the majors. Quade succeeded Lou Piniella at the end of the 2010 season on an interim basis.

"I've already had a couple of nice phone conversations with Mike Quade," Epstein said. "We have plans to meet in person sometime over the next week. Mike seems like a great guy and he has developed a great reputation over many decades in this game. I'd like to hear his vision for the organization. We have to talk up some things that have happened the last year or so."

Would Epstein consider bringing in Terry Francona, who left the Red Sox before he did.

"I have a close personal relationship with him. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him," Epstein said. "Is he going to be a great manager for somebody again someday? Absolutely. Is he able to contribute to organizations in other ways, and serve the same role he served with the Indians, where he was a special assistant, made some good evaluations in the draft and the minor leagues? Absolutely."

Citing a policy he had in Boston, Epstein would not say what the Cubs' payroll will look like next season, but said that the baseball side of the operation will have plenty of resources. He did not say if he would go after big-name free agents, such as Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but he did say that he has learned some lessons on that front.

"The key is to pay for future performance, not past performance," he said.

The Cubs do have several question marks on the roster, including pitcher Carlos Zambrano, whose tumultuous career in Chicago seemed to reach a dramatic conclusion this season when he left Atlanta's Turner Field during a game in August and said he was retiring. He later changed his mind.

Hendry put Zambrano on the disqualified list, and though he was activated after a grievance was filed, many assumed Zambrano's days with the Cubs are over. He has one year and $18 million left on his contract and a full no-trade clause. The Cubs may have to eat the bulk of that to move him.

Alfonso Soriano has three years left at $54 million and also has a no-trade clause. Ricketts will have to decide how much of Soriano's deal he's willing to absorb to facilitate a trade, if that's Epstein's suggestion.

Under Epstein's guidance, Boston went 839-619 (.575) in the regular season and a 34-23 in the playoffs, winning more than 90 games in all but two seasons. He acquired such stars as David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Jason Bay and Adrian Gonzalez, though he also will be remembered for bringing in highly priced players who fell short, including Edgar Renteria, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and John Lackey. This season it was Carl Crawford who didn't meet expectations after signing a big contract.

Epstein has a history of smart draft moves (Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz) and he has spent freely. His tenure in Boston ended poorly when the Red Sox collapsed in September and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
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Joined Jan 7, 2004
Theo got a steal in Rizzo for 7/$41M. I fully expect him to challenge Goldy in terms of 1B competing with Votto.
Joined Dec 23, 2003
I'm getting excited for this team again. I know they will be garbage but I get a feeling all these moves are actually laying a foundation. Also, I gotta cop one of those caps with the 100yr Wrigley Field patch on it.
Joined Nov 13, 2001
I'm excited about our young prospects as well, but we might only have one guy make the opening day roster. Some will get called up come Summer time, but that is a looooooooooooooooooooooooong ways from now.
Joined Feb 6, 2007
I'm truly not even worried that it will be a while. It's already been 100+ years, what's 2-3 more? :lol:

I just want at least 2 to come up this year and play. Baez and Bryant for instance.

Then next year, bring in Almora and Soler.

While that takes place, we draft a Pitcher at #4, lose plenty this year, get another top 5-8 pick, select another pitcher next year, and then we should have enough arms in the minors + all the hitting talent we have already built up.

That doesn't even consider the international talent we've stocked up in the 17-18-19 year old age range overseas. If 1-2-3 of those start to filter up, even better for us.

Bottom line, instead of us getting 1 or 2 prospects like we always have, Grace, or Sandberg, or Maddux, Wood, then Prior, we'll be bringing up an entire system of talents, together. 6-7-8 guys, instead of just onsie-twosie like past years, that left us with gaping holes on every roster still.

Hopefully everyone stays patient with Theo and let's this all develop.
Joined Dec 23, 2003
I'm pissed MLB has instituted an "International Signing Bonus" cap. Cubs (and other bad teams) could have used it to restock their minor league system with cheaper options than high draft picks.
Joined Feb 6, 2007
Jesse Rogers (1:03 PM)

Hi folks. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. I'm back from Az for a few days. Will return there this weekend..Cubs hired Ted Lilly as special asst. Like the fact they've brought in a couple of recent retirees like him and Eric Hinske..always easier to connect to players that have played recently..anyway, fire away with questions! Plenty to talk about.
Tim (Downers Grove)

What will the Cubs lineup look like opening day? And what could their lineup look like at the end of the year?
Jesse Rogers (1:06 PM)

Right out of the box with a biggie..lets go with Castro, Lake, Rizzo, Ruggiano?? Schierholtz, Murphy/Valbuena, Castillo, Barney?? Start with April lineup for now...Lake could be further down and maybe Barney up...hard to know with new manager right now...BY day 2 Bonifacio could be in there anywhere from CF to 3b to plenty of options even if they arent hall of fame type ones..
Matt L (In class)

Hey Jesse love the chats..Is there any player(s) that really has the team/staff excited from these first few weeks of spring? Biggest surprises?
Jesse Rogers (1:09 PM)

I think Bonifacio has fit right in. As you can imagine, there's a talent hole at the major league level so he might end up being pretty important...of the young guys, a few have looked good like Bryant and Baez but no one is going nuts..Hendricks today should be interesting against big league hitters...Matt Szczur in the OF has flashed some leather that the coaches have noticed..
Demario (Chicago)

I know its only been a few games but who do you think will win the last outfield spot? Do you think Bonafacio will be the fifth outfielder/backup infielder and they go with Olt to play 3b/1b?
Jesse Rogers (1:11 PM)

It is too early to know. Have to see if Olt can hit nd if they project him as a starter rather than a role player...if he's a starter and doesn't win the 3b job outright then he should play every day at AAA. That's where I think he starts but that's a guess...As I just wrote, Bonifacio is def on the team...but there is one more spot open..Not sure where it goes right now..
Travis (South Elgin)

I understand Theo & Co. have a very specific plan for Bryant, Baez, Almora, etc. but do you think that the failures of Jackson and Vitters are making the front office a little gun shy? I know to take Spring Training ABs with a grain of salt, but they seem to look comfortable at the plate.
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)

To a small degree, yes. They said as much at the convention. Maybe they rushed those guys. But they mostly aren't in a huge rush because they know they can't win right I've said in the past if they are ready then they will dominate in the minors and be up soon's not like we're talking years and's months in Baez case and maybe even Bryant's. Worst case Bryant is opening day 3b next year, in my opinion. He finishes this season at AAA then he's a little more pateince!
mike indiana [via mobile]

What's ur realistic expectations for the cubs this year
Jesse Rogers (1:15 PM)

Win/loss? Not very good at all...Still kind of a transition year (the last one) with some vets leaving and young guys coming up and so it won't show up in the standings..But if all goes well, Baez is here in July, maybe Bryant in Sept or else knocking on the door..Hendricks takes that step, etc. But again, win/loss wise I really think we see a jump from 90 losses to 90 wins in 2016..something like that...maybe a gradual thing next year but then there will be a jump and people will be smiling again in Wrigleyville. (MAybe) 67 wins this year
Joe (Highland park,ill)

Who is best trade partner for teams trying to get pitching from cubs?
Jesse Rogers (1:16 PM)

Toronto or Atlanta in my opinion...maybe Az still but they moved some this offseason so unless they move their top guy, they're out I think..
Adam (Beverly)

Hey Jesse, with all of this hype around guys like Baez, Bryant, Almora, and Soler. Who is someone that is kind of flying under the radar in their farm system that might be able to come up and have an impact on the big league club?
Jesse Rogers (1:18 PM)

Well people know about Alcantara, he's pretty slick..Like I said Szczur has impressed...Still think you shouldn't doubt Hendricks..Trying to think of a real diamond in the rough and it's not hitting me right now...
mark va [via mobile]

Kris Bryant is a college prospect that in some regard reminds me of Ryan Braun in the sense that the kid can flat out hit. His game including his approach and plate discipline seem more or just as mature as Castro and Rizzo no? And I know you probably dont have an answer but any clue on exactly what goals they want kb to accomplish in minors before they give him a shot?
Jesse Rogers (1:21 PM)

I'm mostly with you. In fact, Carlos Villanueva compared him to Braun pre-roids..I can't say for sure he's more mature than Castro/Rizzo. MLB pitching is TOUGH. Until you see it every day you can't know how tough. And Bryant realizes that. I think he'll need to work on his defense and still adjust to breaking stuff down and away. It's a tough pitch for him to hit. Remember, once they find a weakness at this level, they will hammer away at it..And all of a sudden he'll have 50k's before you know it. Anyway, I think the kid is a stud and when you go with "can't miss" knowing that they still can, he's at the top of my list. I DO believe he COULD start opening day up here and survive but nothing wrong with destroying some AA pitching first..
Austin [via mobile]

Will mike olt win the 3rd base job? Your prediction
Jesse Rogers (1:23 PM)

As I've said many times, I'll go with a default position of no simply because he bascially missed a year and needs to find himself again. Already a little behind in spring in terms of defense with a little sore shoulder. If he lights up AAA then he'll be up here soon enough. I don't have a crystal ball but I think it would take a lot to win the job. I'm pretty sure the Cubs front office isn't expecting it.
Stephen Crutchfield (La Vergne, TN)

Mr. Rogers, from what you've seen how does the "core four" stand as far as skill set and ability with some members of the current roster? Would you say that in some cases they could help us immediatley?
Jesse Rogers (1:25 PM)

What I mostly like about the Core 4 is that they are physical/athletic specimens..In diff ways of course.. Soler and Bryant are big and strong but still can move..Almora is slick..Baez not your classic beefy power hitter but can crush it...they are right there in terms of raw ability
Chase (Carbondale) [via mobile]

Who in your opinion will be the surprise stand out during this years camp?
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)

What the heck..I'll say, knows how to pitch, Maddux his idol..can't throw 98 but can paint it..I'll go with him...ya know, a diamond could be pitcher Eric Jokisch..thre yesterday..neither will make the team out of spring
Luke (Oak Park)

Jesse, lots of fans complain there's nothing to see at the major league level this year, but I feel Shark, Wood, Arieta, Strop, Castillo, Castro, Rizzo and maybe Lake could be part of the core moving forward. Anyone you would add to or delete from that list?
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)

That's pretty much it right there... Maybe Blake Parker or Rondon but bullpens change all the time..I know Bosio wants Rondon to take the next step..working closelt with him..But you nailed it.
Mike (IN)

With Mike Trout signing only a one year deal, will the Cubs try their hardest to get him next year now that we'll have money to spend? He would be such a solid addition....a hard nosed player that can keep us all on the same page...
Jesse Rogers (1:30 PM)

He's Angel's property for a while still..Just because you sign a one year deal doesn't mean you're a free agent the next year..players are property of their original teams for 6 years once they get to the majors (or 6 years in the minors). Can't get him unless a trade.
Pete [via mobile]

What do you think Rizzo can realistically put up this year? .275 with 30 HR and 100 RBI's??
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)

I think he might sacrifice a little power to raise that avg. That would be the natural inclination of a player..the RBI's can be a product of people getting on ahead of him so hard to gauge HOWEVER he hit so poor with runners on last year, that's got to go up..I think. Maybe he can't hack the pressure but it's too early in his career to make that assertion. So I think he's still 25 HR guy but maybe does hit .270 or higher..
Ryan (Coweta, OK)

A friend just asked me about the improvement in wins for the Cubs this year. Realistically, what would you say the improvement would be? 5? If the cubs are hanging around .500 early, does that mean they flip players like Hammel early? I can't imagine that there will be more than a 5 game improvement, you?
Jesse Rogers (1:34 PM)

This is the biggest misnomer about the Cubs...You can't rebuild AND expect incremental improvement. After the rebuild is basically over, that's when the improvement begins. Point is when you are flipping players then you have no chance to get to that win total you're talking about. Theo said it to me in an interview. You can't serve two masters. I think it's physcially impossible for them to be .500 this year. The talent has a ceiling and it's not a matter of IF flipping it's a matter of when. Schierholtz is gone, Hammel, Veras, mayube .500 can't be done. It just can't.
Butch Zahn (Las Vegas )

Cubs are 60-1 to win the World Series out here. At what odds would they have to be to throw your $$$ on them?
Jesse Rogers (1:35 PM)

Save it.
Eric (Waterloo, IA)

Lifelong Cub fan, which will be confirmed by the following... It would take more "IFs" coming true than can be comprehended, but what if the Cubs are close to .500 ball come July? Still have a sell off? My "Ifs" include improvement/reversion of Castro, Rizzo, and either Barney/Bonifacio; breakout by Olt; decent outfield play/batting; Castillo continuing improvement; SP decent/good; and MUCH improved RP. I don't expect this with tough early schedule, but I can dream!
Jesse Rogers (1:35 PM)

They would still sell. Being close to .500 gets you nothing. They were like within 7 of .500 in July last year right? They could be within 7 again but they will sell.
Phil G. (Frederick, MD)

Who do you think is more likely to play in LF, if it came to it, Bryant or Soler? I'm imagining a scenario in which everyone pans out (ha ha ha), and Olt plays third, Lake keeps CF warm for Almora (who theoretically is still a couple of years away), a reborn Castro stays at short, Baez takes over second, Rizzo stays at first, Castillo stays at catcher, and then Bryant and Soler play either right or left. That leaves Barney and Alcantara as the odd men out. When Almora's ready, maybe Lake moves back to left, Soler is in right, Bryant goes to third, and Olt becomes the odd man out. Sorry, I know this is silly crystal ball stuff, but we Cubs fans need our fantasies.
Jesse Rogers (1:38 PM)

No, it's fine to project. Soler probably has the better arm, etc and has been playing right so may as well leave him there. Maybe Lake becomes a 5th OF, wouldn't Barney be a great back-up? He'll probably be somehwhere else by then but anyway, you're on the right track. Olt holds a lot of the cards because he's probably the best defensively of the group so if he wins the long term job that pushes everyone around. All I know is Bryant is going to be a player..I believe that more than Baez not that I don't believe in Baez but Bryant is more of a sure thing right now, in my opinion.
Chris (Iowa City)

Will the Cubs start giving Vitters and Jackson more at-bats to try and win a spot or will they have to do it in the minors this season?
Jesse Rogers (1:39 PM)

I think they will get the at-bats that everyone gets. They are no longer at the top of the list so they have to earn it with the chances they do get. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sam (Chicago) [via mobile]

If Donnie Murphy, valbuena and olt all have a bad year and kris Bryant tears up AA could he be called up skipping AAA I've heard AAA is just to put finishing touches on players an I think he's ready today any chance of that?
Jesse Rogers (1:39 PM)

Just like with Castro's injury, I don't think it matters what happens at the major league level in terms of the prospects.
skmd (wilmette)

Jesse, when you talk to Ricketts or the FO do you see any sign they're beginning to sense the fans' impatience with the rebuild and the lack of activity on the stadium renovation? Will a lot of empty seats change their plans in any way?
Jesse Rogers (1:41 PM)

Oh yeah, they sense it. For sure. But it won't change much. Too late now, gotta see this thing through. They rightly know if the Cubs are contenders for years to come and go deep in the playoffs even once, most of this will be forgotten. A title? They'll own the town. 5 years later be damned
Patty K (Atlanta)

Hey Jesse, if Javier Baez has a monster Spring, is there any conceivable way he ends up on the 25 man roster? This guy is a star and feel like he could contribute right away.
Jesse Rogers (1:42 PM)

Never say never but no. If he's that good, he'll go down and prove it during the reg season and be up in late June and the Cubs will save a year of arb and FA, etc. Still think he could use some polishing anyway. Read my blog from yesterday on all this..
Jim (San Antonio)

Thanks for the good work you are doing! Jason Hammel has been talking about a different vibe this year. How is the vibe different this year than last year?
Jesse Rogers (1:43 PM)

It's not. It's the same. All players are hopeful in spring. Plus Hammel wasn't here last year so how diff can it be for him?!?!? There's just hope and prayer. And when the players are honest with themselves they know that.
Jeff (Bloomington)

Do you think Dodgers would be interested in Darwin? Might work out for both teams, just curious.
Jesse Rogers (1:44 PM)

Yes, it's possible. But I don't think the Cubs should just give him away. A gold glove second baseman is worth something. And he WILL hit better. I believe that. Already looking better now. But sure, the Cubs will listen
Mark (Chicago)

I haven't heard much about Arismendy so far this spring. I know he's slated for AAA no matter what but how does he look?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)

Pretty slick. Not many AB's so far. Def think he needs more time, prob the full year at AAA. Or close to it. Need to see him at the plate more in games.
Paul (Chicago)

Jesse, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger. If in 2015 the Cubs have Castro, Baez, Bryant, Rizzo (and maybe Olt if he impresses), the offense looks to be much improved. I know your gut is saying 2016 for real Central Division contenders, but improvement is in the nearer future, correct?
Jesse Rogers (1:47 PM)

Yes, except you have to expect young players to have some struggles. Now maybe I'm wrong, and they have 3 rookie of the year candidates or something. But more than likely they'll have some ups and downs, to me that's what 2015 will be about...then they start to take off. I hate to write this again, but even with a trade or two and FA signing, the peak of this team is like 2018/2019..yikes.
Michael (Chicago)

When Will Baez see some action at 2B and 3rd?
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)

Good question. Maybe when Castro comes back later next week? Not sure.
Britton (Denver) [via mobile]

What are the expectations on Junior Lake? What would you guess his season line would look like by end of year?
Jesse Rogers (1:50 PM)

I think it's a little unclear. He's already shown more than many thought in terms of speed and some power..he may not be a HR guy even though he has some size. He's def not as strong as, say, Soler. Let's go with .261, 12 HR, 61 RBI...decent but not eye popping..
Dan (Lincoln Park) [via mobile]

Just following up a question from last week. Has Baez fielded any position other than shortstop in Spring Training? (I know via your posting he prefers second after shortstop)
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)

Yeah, I haven't seen him do it yet. Maybe he did and I missed it. Will follow up when I get back there..
Brett (Downers Grove)

Do you think Matt Szczur will be on the big league roster this year? He is going to be 25 this year, it seems like it's now or never with him.
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)

I think it's possible he wins the last job..with Bonifacio in the mix they aren't tied down to an INF or OF so it's possible.. He plays D like a late inning replacement should
Adam (Work)

Hey Jesse, I was reading a column by Keith Law about position prospect who are blocked and he brought up the name Jaimer Candelario. Who is blocked at Third base by some combination of Olt, Bryant, or Baez. Who is Jaimer Candelario?
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)

Single A guy but one that's gotten some ink..and yeah, with Christian Villanueva, Bryant, Olt, etc there are a few ahead of him so that's where Law is coming from.
Ryan (Indianapolis)

Jesse, how long is it going to take before I start seeing castro at 2nd. With all the talent coming up at SS, and castro as injury/error prone as he is why are we not moving him to 2nd asap. Could it be that we want barney to excel this year so we have more barganing power when we look to move him at the trade deadline?
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)

1) Castro is not injury prone. And 2) Baez made 44 errors last let's see how it plays out.
Al (Downers Grove)

I understand that none of the prospects will make the team out of Spring Training, but can they play well enough where they start at a higher level? Could we see Kris Bryant at AAA?
Jesse Rogers (1:55 PM)

Not a bad question. I'll still say no. One level at a time. Right or wrong.
Ryan (Coweta, OK)

How often do you get questions about the ST games being televised that you don't repost? Be honest.
Jesse Rogers (1:56 PM)

PLenty. I don't mind helping people but I just want them to know I don't work for the team nor the station that is broadcasting..there are people that do and other places to find. But I'm never going to come down on people that come to me with questions. As long as they read my stuff and listen on the radio!!! Or else, no job. :frown:
Quentin (Oak Lawn)

What roles are the top 5 Cubs pitching prospects projected to have?
Jesse Rogers (1:57 PM)

Several will be at AA like CJ Edwards, etc. Adn a few at AAA like Hendricks and maybe Vizcaino if he doesn't make the team.
Jordan (South Florida)

How has Ruggiano looked so far this spring? Haven't gotten a chance to see the Cubs yet.
Jesse Rogers (1:58 PM)

All or nothing. Big swings and results or K's..That's generalizing but that's my feeling so far.
Steve [via mobile]

Any chance we get a treat and see Almora, Baez, Bryant, Soler, Castro, and Rizzo on the same field before they break up for the season?
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)

I would think so..already seen close to that on the field with the prospects but at some point a few will start with Rizzo etc. Might not be all though..
Jesse Rogers (2:00 PM)

Some goof has sent me like 100 questions about Ryan Roberts making the team. Not going to answer.
Nate (possibly a freezer)

It sounds like Baez is playing SS in Iowa to start the year...why? Shouldn't they get him ready to play with the hope of late a June or July call up? Are they keeping him there to keep his trade value high?
Jesse Rogers (2:03 PM)

I've posed that question and I'll buy their answer. If you play short you can learn to play anywhere and they just want him where he's comfortable. When you get to the majors all bets are off..I don't think it's trade value at all. He made 44 errors there. Not like he's Ozzie Smith. I think they did a dis-service with Junior Lake last year but that was going from INF to OF. I guess it's fine but I kind of agree with this point he's at AAA so you need to prepared.
Tracy [via mobile]

Jason McLeod question: I know I'm getting ahead of myself but could you see him becoming the cubs' gm eventually after his prospects are up and doing well? Kind of makes sense from a continuity standpoint with Jed taking another senior exec title within the org.
Jesse Rogers (2:04 PM)

What, are they going to fire Jed? Or bump him up? Prob not. But yeah, Jason will get his chance somewhere I'm sure.
Jesse Rogers (2:07 PM)

That's it for today folks. Going to keep an eye on Hendricks today against a playoff team like the A's. Haven't seen who is starting for them but it will be a good test...Keep checking the blog daily as I'll have new stuff in there even though I'm not in Az again until Sunday. In fact, Hendricks will have a diary entry on Thurs about his start, etc. I have a piece on CJ Edwards for tomorrow. Follow me on twitter @ESPNChicubs. Now I'm going to eat some bday cake! Talk next week back in Az.

Reading about all these guys just feels good after the wasted stretch we had in the late 2000's.

Interesting what he's saying for this year tho. We have all this talent, + we're drafting 4th again this June, and he expects us to be horrible again overall meaning that we would once again, get a top 5-6 pick for next year. (likely meaning a SP this year, and another SP next year) to develop.

We could have a major league ready lineup in 2015-2016, with pitching prospects on the horizon as well. (provided they draft college pitchers and not high schoolers)

Holy **** that's awesome. And I'm only speaking on the top picks, that doesn't even factor in 2nd-3rd round picks, etc we could hit big on.

We're a ways off guys, but soon, sooooooooon. :pimp:
Joined Feb 6, 2007
I still say trade him and stack more pieces. He'll be 31-32 before we are good. He eats innings, I understand that, but if we can get 2-3 guys in their early 20's along with the basket full of other young 20's, might as well do that and let them all turn into late 20 somethings together.


formerly slp product
Joined Feb 8, 2005
Who u telling.
Lost a childhood friend over that. Homie was a die hard sox fan who kept getting drunk and talking slick. Eventually I had to put him in his place.

That 07 season hurt as well. I remember being clinically depressed for like a week :smh:
Joined Feb 6, 2007
Well......we are on pace to score exactly zero runs in 2014, so things are back to normal at least. :lol:

Rizzo did not look good today, at all.

Smardjailsahdoifhdahf looked great at least, so hope he gets that trade value up. :pimp:

Other than that, we all know the drill this year. At least compete, let the young guys learn and grow, and we're likely lookin at another Top 10 draft pick next year to throw on the farm. And I'm ok with that, 100%.
Joined Feb 6, 2007
Cubs should hopefully be able to score a run by May, could be tough tho.......

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