Chat with Jesse Rogers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Tuesday, Jesse Rogers stops by to chat about the Chicago Cubs' offseason.
Rogers joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join Rogers Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Jesse Rogers (1:05 PM)
Hi all. Welcome to our weekly offseason cubs chat...been quiet with the cubs but thats got to change soon...Lets get right to it. Fire away
Terry (Syracuse, NY)
Does the Samardzija to Toronto rumor have legs? Their top 5 prospects are pitchers, so I'm assuming 2-3 of them would have to be part of the return. Is it reasonable to expect Cubs fans to be satisfied with one more mid-60's win total. I'm OK with one more year like that but 2015 needs to be a winning team...
Jesse Rogers (1:07 PM)
Samardzija to ANY CONTENDING team has legs not just toronto...I imagine the cubs will entertain a myriad of offers at the Winter meetings..there are prob half dozen to 10 teams that have talked about it internally or with the cubs...how about the yanks? That would be a good fit if they had the prospects...still think they might circle back to AZ but toronto is a possiblity..so is Nats...thought maybe SF at one time but not anymore...youll prob get one more yr with that win total btw
Jesse Rogers (1:08 PM)
BTW<,just wrote about why Samardzija is a goner...check it out in the blog
Ron champaign, IL [via mobile]
I think the Cubs should sign Ellsbury. He would make Castro and Rizzo better by batting in front of them. He gives them a true lead off hitter which is missing in the minors. Gives gold glove defense in CF then LF when Almora is ready plus a 2 time WS champion. Can't get much better of a veteran presence then that!!!
Jesse Rogers (1:10 PM)
In theory but I wrote recently I wouldnt do it...It'll cost in a normal circumstance, here I think the Cubs will have to overpay...yes, he can move to LF but who knows what youre getting by year 3 of the deal...If an Ellsbury type was out there next offseason or one after that then I might pull the trigger...you are right about vet thing..that's the one reason to do it but I wouldnt spend $100 mil now on him
Are the CUBS looking to trade Jeff Samardzija? Why is his name in the news every other day? I thought the CUBS were high on Samardzija.
Jesse Rogers (1:11 PM)
Again, read my blog today..explains everything...timing and his age are the problems
Michael Nolte (Little Rock)
I saw the Mesa Solar Sox this fall and was very impressed with Kris Bryant and most of the Cubs participants, but Jorge Soler struck me as a bit of a Prima Donna that didn't hustle, walked to and from his position between innings, jogged after foul balls that could have been caught if he'd put forth the effirt, I just got a really bad vibe from the guy. Have you heard any concerns about Soler's attitude at this point?
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)
Yes, I heard the exact same thing s from scouts when I was there...He wasnt in town when I saw them play in-person so I cant say I saw it but enough people said it that I wrote a blog on it...His coaches defended him by saying he was just getting back into shape, etc but not sure that has anything to do with what you;re talking about...he has a little asterik right now...his suspension, benching, etc. have people wondering...until he proves different, its ok to wonder..and remember, he's already been paid
Zaxh Talyor (Palos Park )
Will Mike Ott play 3rd base on opening day
Jesse Rogers (1:14 PM)
I dont have a crystal ball...He'll have a good chance to win the job in the spring so it's there for the taking if he rebounds..
Don (Kansas City, MO)
Do you believe that Samardzija is that good of a pitcher I think he is no more than a number 4 pitcher what do you think. A life long cub fan
Jesse Rogers (1:16 PM)
As I wrote in the blog, quoting a scout, "I would like to see him pitch on a contender." I do think his focus wanes some on this team which bothers me a little if I'm a paying customer but I can forget it if he shows up when the Cubs are good..Simply put I think he's a better pitcher on a better team...If the Cubs were contending..he can be a No.2
Matt/Kyle Sheahan (Orland Park/Chi)
We're brothers! What are the odds Cubs fan will get to see Baez and Bryant at some point in 14?
Jesse Rogers (1:16 PM)
This is a weekly question..All signs point to yes on Baez and no on Bryant but that is subject to change...
Mike (Bass Lake)
I'm confused in our pursuit of big name players...I get Epstein says there's no young market right now but why not try at least? Sign Ellsbury, Granderson, or Choo. I feel like Cub's fans are starting to get angry at the organization. I ask a simple question: What do we have to look forward too?
Jesse Rogers (1:19 PM)
Again, it's a risk/reward/maxing out issue...first off, believe them or not, Theo says they don't have the money to spend...plus I think it would be a RELATIVE waste in the sense that these players have a good chance at not being as productive as their salary dictates by the time the Cubs are ready to win...we are a yr or so away from those signings and to tie up the money now would be a risk..I'm not saying they cant take a chance on one-- just like they did on Edwin Jackson -- but unless one falls into their lap I wouldnt overpay, etc. You have Baez, Almora, Hendricks, Bryant, Soler, etc to look forward to right now..
Richard (Macomb, IL)
Has there been any recent reports on Arodys Vizcaino... Will he be ready to pitch with the Cubs this yr....and when he makes it up with club is he a solid setup man or long relief?
Jesse Rogers (1:20 PM)
He'll go to spring ready to pitch I believe...right now middle relief would be it but could develop into a bigger role...hasnt pitched in a while..needs to build it back up, etc. A project but a good arm if he gets it back
I think Cubs fans would love a realistic yes/no answer on this one: will Team Theo achieve an above .500 record before his (first) 5yr contract expires?
Jesse Rogers (1:21 PM)
Hmm..so by 2016? Yes.
Nick (South Dakota)
Is there any concern among management that the lack of a middle of the order threat could/has hurt the development of guys like Castro, Rizzo, ect or is their development independent of having support behind them? Thanks!
Jesse Rogers (1:22 PM)
Yes, a little. I think thats why they were careful in bringing in the right manager (positive attitude type, etc.) But the bottom line is they will learn from all this and be that much better when the lineup is more stacked..It still comes down to see the ball hit the ball as Rizzo likes to say
Chad Schweighart (Mechanicsburg P.A.)
Let's be real, if Baez and Bryant hold their own in Spring Ball, why not let them break camp? Bryant can be tested either in LF/RF or 3B, and Baez can be tested at 2B. Might as well see what you have. This is not the Rays where money is an issue, starting their clocks a year early is not going to put Ricketts in Chapter 7 anytime soon.
Jesse Rogers (1:24 PM)
They might tell you they are like the Rays but I'm with you...But it doesnt really matter..they are on the track...Baez dominates a little at AAA and he's here and they avoid some arb issues down the line...I'm ok with that...Bryant moves up as quickly as he dominates..if we're all right, and he is ready, then he should crush it down there and move up accordingly..so it's a matter of a little more time...not the biggest deal, as anxious as everyone is
Dave Sappelt. He was part of Marshall deal but hasn't seen that much time. Why didn't we see McDonald in September instead of Sappelt? Have the Cubs given up on him?
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)
Yes, given up...they gave him a chance..Sveum promised us he could hit lefties but it didnt really materialize..
Even though I do not agree with your article on Samaardzija. And I am starting to get really sick & tried of hearing about rebuilding with the Cubs. Who do you think are the best trade opinions for the Cubs with Samardzija?
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
Agreed..this is a step back in my opinion...he's not THAT old and now you have to replace him and what he brings...I still think they could circle back to Az. I'm looking for pitching prospects and they have a few either already at the major league level or down on the farm so a combo would work...they just won't give up their best so think that's why the Cubs are looking elsewhere...just another situation where they have to hit a home run with this trade
Zack (Lansing, MI)
With the Cubs unlikely to sign a high priced FA OF like Choo or Elsbury, who do you see the Cubs pursuing?
Jesse Rogers (1:30 PM)
I think it's guys like Nate McLouth...kind of another version of DeJesus...I dont think they will get McLouth but someone like that...he is on their list...there aren't a lot of attractive names out there after the top few guys
Ryan (Indy) [via mobile]
Heard Samardzija's agent is his older brother. With the same situation applying to D. Rose, R. Theriot, is this a common practice? Just hope they know what they're doing...
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)
Not his main agent...his main guy is Mark Rodgers..he's calling the shots.. A vet...knows his stuff..and won't give in, etc.
Dann (Marion, IA)
Name a Cub we are not hearing about already, that could possibly break camp on the 25 man opening day roster.
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)
Only because you asked for one you're not hearing I'll say Kyle Hendricks..but very doubtful it will happen..
Adam (central Illinois)
Will the Cubs re-sign Navarro? If not, who do you think they will look at to backup Castillo?
Jesse Rogers (1:32 PM)
No..or at least prob not..since FA began, he's been fielding a lot of calls and now he's about the last hitting catcher on the market...Kurt Suzuki, John Buck, names like that...
What is the Cubs asking price for Shark and do you think it is actually reasonable?
Jesse Rogers (1:34 PM)
Good question and obviously I can't take you exactly but it starts with another team's top pitching prospect and kind of goes down from there...if the top one ...then maybe 2 and 4...and a hitting prospect or two..in my opinion, you have to get 2 pitchers back unless its a stud one..you are handing a team a pitcher coming into his prime with a lot of intangibles..at least that's what the cubs should be saying!
Jole ( Salem,il) [via mobile]
Do you see Barney getting traded this year?
Jesse Rogers (1:36 PM)
He might not even get tendered a contract by next week which would make his a FA now...I don't see him finishing the season as a starter on this team but I kind of think he starts it with them...just because he's a stabilizing force on defense and a decent leader type, etc. They need that until the calvary (Baez,etc) arrives..
You follow this team 24/7. I enjoy your tweets and blog. I know you get paid to do what you love but seriously doesn't this losing weigh you down? I'm a diehard baseball/Cubs fan but I can walk away for awhile and come back when I fell like it. I would have to be popping Xanex daily if I had your job
Jesse Rogers (1:38 PM)
Nah..it's not a big deal..as I wrote last week the main difference covering a losing team is you don't get to write about the actual games as much..like the managerial decisions, etc. At least not when they fall 20 games out...but this is enjoyable in the sense that watching (and getting to know) Bryant and Baez, etc as they start their careers and seeing if this rebuilding plan works out..so there is stuff there just not as fun as actually talking about the games themselves
vic (no cal)
What is Theo's vision for the future? Does he want the Cubs to be more like the Rays, or be a contender to sign a lot of the key free agents? Also, can you name a $150M contract that has worked out well for the team? Let's avoid those.
Jesse Rogers (1:41 PM)
I'm with you on those deal..Pujols, bad. Hmailton , bad. Some think Fielder, bad..now in some cases you bite the bullett to win now..when they get that close then they should do it if it's needed....his vision has been obvious for quite some time...prospects, prospects, prospects..some pan out..some will be traded..but they will be the foundation...they the FA will be added where it's needed...and it dovetails with their business plan since apparently they don't have the money to spend...so they acquire, go on the cheap...those players mature, more money comes in via tv/wrigley then they spend...that's the vision..
As per your article on Samardzija and there only being a "flickering light at the end of the tunnel," is that essentially implying the Cubs are not a winning/playoff caliber team until . . . 2017??
Jesse Rogers (1:42 PM)
It's quite possible..at least the PRIME of their contending years might not come until then..I always think it can go faster, especially when you can add via FA but in terms of the prime years it might be then
Eric S. (Spearfish, SD)
I have finally been selected to get season tickets after being on the waiting list over 12 years...Do I buy them knowing the next 1-2 years are going to be rough as an investment for 2016 and beyond or do I pass and give up a chance I may never get again?
Jesse Rogers (1:43 PM)
I would get them because I just don't think Theo/Jed are going to go down with the ship without at least one run of some sort..simple as that
David f (Shore wood)
What's going on with cubs prospect dan vogelbach he suppose to have light tower power
Jesse Rogers (1:43 PM)
Yep. Nowhere to play him...def in a trade today, tomorrow, sometime...
Do you see the Cubs making any signings/deals before the Winter Meetings?
Jesse Rogers (1:44 PM)
Just on gut, I do. There has already been more action than usual pre-Thanksgiving..I could see a minor signing but a big Samardzija deal prob won't happen..so yes, maybe a small thing
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
Like back-up catcher
Jesse, when does the bidding start on Tanaka? How long until the posting system is sorted out?
Jesse Rogers (1:46 PM)
Rules aren't in place yet right? Will move quickly I believe so stay tuned... wonder if the Cubs have a chance..most don't think so..I'm skeptical of course as well...
I'm not thrilled about seeing Shark potentially traded, but I understand the rationale if they don't agree on an extension. Do you think the Cubs will be gun shy about potentially taking on another post Tommy John injury pitcher as compensation? I think Dylan Bundy may be a possibility for the win-now Orioles, but after Vizcaino (and even Baker), I'm not sure they'd roll the dice again.
Jesse Rogers (1:46 PM)
No, I don't think they will be gun-shy if he's young enough...just because one or two take longer or don't work out doesn't mean the next guy won't..
How does the front office view Junior Lake? While not an elite prospect by any stretch, his .760 OPS was encouraging and they have him under control for 6 seasons. Do you think he'll be a throw-in with a Samardzija deal?
Jesse Rogers (1:47 PM)
I can't tell you that..I think they like that he's worked himself into the player we saw but yeah, he's no "sure thing" like some other guys look..doesn't mean he won't be better than those guys..happens all the time..but is he some untradeable type? Of course not
Follow up question on Junior: any plans to re-convert him back to the IF such as a second baseman, or do they see Baez or Alcantara as the eventual everyday 2B?
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
Of for Lake..Doesn't he seem too lanky for 2nd? But yeah, they have enough infielders for right now..at least in terms of prospects...those two names you mention are right there
John Huey (Janesville, WI)
We see the changes in management this offseason, and I know we have talent in the farm leagues but who or what positions can we see the Cubs target this offseason, and specifically any real talent?
Jesse Rogers (1:49 PM)
Some OF help, back-up catcher, a starter or two, a couple of relievers including a closer type..high end talent? Prob not...
Cole (Cedar Falls, IA)
Jesse, signing Tanaka would be a great move to energize a skeptical fan-base. I've always thought it would take 80+ million for the posting fee -- can the Cubs make that bid?
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
Ha. No one is paying 80 mil for the posting fee. No one. (Ok, maybe the Yankees but not the Cubs) That's why they are trying to change the rules..that's nuts...and unless I'm wrong, that money is due within 30 days of winning the bid...ALL of it..Ricketts would have a seizure writing that check (wire transfer actually)
Dan (Elgin) [via mobile]
If Olt becomes the 3B and does well does that make Lake the odd man out when Bryant, Almora, and Soler come up?
Jesse Rogers (1:52 PM)
So hard to predict..what if the kid is lighting it up? Have to take it as it comes..they're coming up at diff times,etc. Just impossible and no reason to make a blanket call like that..
max (hollywood Fl)
Would the Rays be interested to trade Price for samardzija?? also could they trade samardzija and some prospects for Jose Fernandez?
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)
First trade puts the Cubs in the same place they are in now, excpet with a pitcher needing a lot more $ to stick around...then again, if he's the Cubs ace for sure for years to come then maybe they make that investment..but I think I know Theo, etc. Price now might not be the same Price in 3 years...whoever is then, that's who the Cubs should get...make sense...same logic with Ellsbury..I know they have to do it at some point..just not yet
Mike (St Louis)
Any idea on plans for Mat Gamel and Danial Bard?
Jesse Rogers (1:55 PM)
Have to believe Bard won't be tendered a contract..not sure what the plan is for Gamel
Evan, Valparaiso [via mobile]
Jesse, wouldn't your attention waiver when 9 of your 33 starts your team scored 0 runs?! HA. Try writing 33 heartfelt articles knowing 1/3 of them might not get published! Anyways, the talk around Samardzija's hometown is opposite of recent reports, the Cubs have actually NOT come back at him and talked an entension this winter. Being on a "winner" with more potential $ in your pocket, seems a lot more enticing than zero run support and signing a discounted deal right?
Jesse Rogers (1:58 PM)
As I wrote in the blog, nothing has changed in the sense that neither side has changed its offer/position..if that's what you are wondering...so yes, I don't blame him and as I write I don't necessarily blame the Cubs...this long rebuild was bound to cost them a player at some point and here we are..it's a perfect storm of circumstances...he has money already, he's nearing 30, he's antsy for a winner, the cubs arent going to rip up two yeras of control to overpay him now...
John (Chicagoland area)
Did Castro or Rizzo do any off season work (i.e. winterball?) Has the new hitting coach started working with them yet or will they wait til spring training?
Jesse Rogers (1:58 PM)
The hitting coach was hired 5 days ago so no...no winter ball...all on their own right now but that will change as we get closer..they'll get some individual attention
Jordan (Decatur, IL)
Which team looks the most likely to give give up young stud arms for Shark; Pirates, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks?
Jesse Rogers (2:00 PM)
As I've been intimating, I still think it's Az. That's a good fit and they need everything they can get at the top of the rotation to compete with the Dodgers and even SF...But it sounds like Az has to up the ante
vic (no cal)
Rizzo and Castro are our major league cornerstones. Based on last year, that is depressing. Is there sincere confidence by upper management that this duo can turn it around?
Jesse Rogers (2:01 PM)
Yes, def. 100 percent...150 percent in Rizzo..they love him...traded for him like 10 times..and threw money at him..quickly..but yes on both...
Jesse Rogers (2:03 PM)
That's going to do it folks..thanks for another great hour of questions..Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs...read my Samardzija blog today and let me know what you think...have a great holiday...we'll go again next week and then live from the Winter Meetings the following one...Cubs will bring in Renteria I believe next week as well so will get to meet him...thanks again..sorry I can't get to all the questions