Chat with Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs beat reporter Doug Padilla stops by Thursday to chat.
Padilla covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at 12:30 CT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Doug Padilla (1:30 PM)
Before I check out that new Yuck tune the kids from the office just sent me, let's get going with the chat. Lots of Byrd questions today.
Marlon Byrd is really struggling at the plate and his at bats until this point have been hard to watch. Will the cubs look into pulling up Brett Jackson a little sooner than planned kind of like when Castro was called up? Or will they wait until mid season to give him a chance?
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
Everybody knows early-season struggles get magnified, and as the players say, "If this was a bad week in the middle of June it probably wouldn't get much notice." There is no hurry to say Byrd's season will be a complete bust despite the disappointing start. There is also no rush to bring Jackson to the big leagues. He's still on pace to be here later in the year.
Scott Payrits (Amherst, NH)
What do you think it will take for Rizzo to finally be called up to the Big's, he continues to tear it up in AAA and the team is struggling already for offense?
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
Like Jackson, there is no rush on Rizzo. LaHair has looked just fine in the early going over at first. Rizzo's arrival date is midseason at the very earliest so there is no rush. And even then he probably doesn't get the call unless LaHair is hurt.
Doug, have Marlon Byrd trade talks cooled since Spring Training? His "slow" start can't be helping his trade value for the Cubs. How patient will the Cubs be to call up Brett Jackson? Arbitration clock the most important factor in that decision?
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
Theo has said that starting the clock on these guys isn't a consideration. The wait is simply for them to get a chance to adjust to each new level as they reach them so that the big league level isn't as much of a shock as it might otherwise be. Confidence is valued too and an early recall could hurt that part of thier game.
Matt D (Chicago)
Any rumors on the trade wire?
Doug Padilla (1:38 PM)
Nothing major right now. Just like the Cubs, teams aren't going to panic after a week. It'll probably be a couple of months before things just start heating up.
What makes it so hard for people to understand Jackson and Rizzo are staying in the minors until July? June at the earliest? You guys tell them every day.
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Can't assume everybody has read everything Dan. Although it does feel like it is mentioned often. I won't post your other comment. No reason to get hostile.
Am I crazy to think the Cubs might lose 100 games this year?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
What has become obvious is that they don't have somebody that can carry them for a stretch. It's as if everybody needs to get two hits a night minimum for the offense to have any flow. But I'd be surprised if they lost 100 games. The starting pitching should help avoid that and you figure the bullpen has to get better as the season progresses.
Are Jackson and Rizzo for real or are people just hyping them because it's like the backup quarterback in the NFL?
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
There is some backup QB syndrome going on here, but both are legit. They are going to have long major league careers. They just have to pay thier dues right now.
Greg Shriver (Winchester, Va.)
What happened to those promises of "grinding at bats?" Where's the plate discipline?
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
Actually, Sveum knows he has guys that aren't comfortable getting deep into counts. Some aren't comfortable being behind in the count and some get off track when they let that first-pitch strike go by thinking that was probably thier best chance in the at-bat. Sveum's only request is that if they do swing at a first pitch, it better be a fat one right down the heart of the plate. That hasn't always been the case so far.
Matt (Greenfield, IN)
Doug, what are your thoughts on Soriano thus far? He still doesn't get to some balls that most LF's get to but he has made more diving catches already than anyone expected and he has been the best offensive weapon so far.
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
He's still shaky out there and it's not only getting to balls, it's his decision making when getting the ball back to the infield. That said, he does look at least a little more confident and he has given new OF coach Dave McKay a lot of the credit.
Alex Maidy (Elgin, IL)
Is there any chance of Sveum being on the hot seat? I am sick of "fans" already abandoning the team. Isn't this YEAR ONE of a complete rebuild?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Alex you seemed to answer your own question. No hot seat.
Doesn't the trade of Sean Marshall now look like a bust, in light of Wood's inability to get it done (twice) in the 8th inning against the Nationals? Was using Wood as the setup man the plan all along? If it was, can we find somebody else instead?
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
No it doesn't look good right now, but we can't call it a bust yet. There are signs of life from Travis Wood down in Iowa. He will be the key to judging this deal when all is said and done. But they knew they took a risk by tapping into the bullpen talent. Dealing Cashner and putting Samardzija in the rotation also took from the pen.
Hey Doug! Thoughts on Samardzija this weekend? can/will he shut down the Cards? thx
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Gonna be really hard for Samardzija on Friday. He's going to have to recover from a 110-pitch outing in his debut and that won't be easy. Plus it's a day game leaving a half day less of rest. I'd be surprised if he went much over 80 or 85 pitches.
Doesn't Travis Wood deserve a longer leash because he pitched for Dusty the last 2 years?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
No. That's funny though.
Mike Hunt (Weed, CA)
What are the chances any of the following players are on the roster after the deadline in July? Marmol, Soto, Soriano, Dempster, Byrd and Garza
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
Garza and Byrd are at the head of this list, in that order. Doesn't mean they'll go just that they have the most value because of talent level and thier contract situation. Marmol isn't going anywhere because he doesn't have much trade value. Same with Soriano.
Love the aggressiveness on the bases by the team so far (at least when they get to the bases). It does seem Campana is a perfect fit for Sveum style. Do we seem him sooner rather than later?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
Yeah, Campana would probably thrive in this style, but they went with their best 25 and Campana wasn't that high on the list. He'll probably be the first guy up if an outfield type goes to the DL in the first half. But in the second half Jackson might move past him on the recall list.
Any way the Cubs would be buyers at the deadline? Or will they continue to unload talent like Garza for younger players?
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
Nobody is expecting them to be buyers this year. Garza could bring a nice haul, but they might also sign him to an extension and build a rotation around him.
Erik (Bloomington, IL)
How has Ian Stewart looked so far? Any chance he will ever meet his potential?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
He's been fine. But he's a streaky guy and those players have a tendency to frustrate when they are in a lull. He's the kind of guy where it's best to look at his final numbers to judge him.
Joel (Anchorage, AK)
Josh Vitters has started well in Iowa. Is he in the picture at all for the future? All the talk seems to be about Jackson and Rizzo.
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
He's on the depth chart for sure. Tons of ability there. He just needs to continue to stay healthy. But with Stewart on board for a couple of years, there is no hurry.
I get why they are keeping Soriano around, but I just want him gone. He symbolizes everything that was been wrong with the recent Cubs. Will they ever release him?
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Release? No. He's signed through 2014 and they aren't about to eat that much money. He had 88 RBI last season. They'd take that again this year.
Why is Lahair in a platoon with Baker?
Doug Padilla (2:03 PM)
Baker is getting the starts against lefties. They want to tap into his history against left-handers and since LaHair hits from the left side he sits those days.
What are the chances that there is a switch with Marmol and Wood at sometime this year? I think both would do much better in the other's role.
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
It's not ideal. You can't lean on Wood as much as you would need to if he was the closer. It forces you to close with different guys all the time. But if Wood gets rolling at some point, he might get some chances to close if Marmol needs a day.
David (San Diego)
Any chance Clevenger starts getting more starts? He swings a pretty good bat from the left side
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
He might get two a week, but probably not more. Where he will get more chances, where other backup catchers don't, is to be used as a pinch hitter in the 8th or 9th innings.
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
Thanks again for the questions. Flying to STL tonight to check out this ring ceremony. Read what Cubs players have to say about it at ESPNChicago.com. Talk to you all next week.