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 noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Doug Padilla (1:01 PM)
Welcome to another Cubs chat. Seems like it's been a while since we've done this. Here we go.
Do you think there is any help coming to the bullpen.
Doug Padilla (1:03 PM)
Mark, don't know if you've been out to watch Blake Parker at Triple-A since you're from Iowa, but he's headed this way tonight. I'm sure that's not what you meant, though. No plans to ad an impact reliever. The kids and the vets down there need to figure it out and get healthy.
Realistically, regardless of what Theo and co. say publicly, this team wasn't built to compete this year. But this bullpen (identified early as a problem) has got to be a morale-killing element to the team. How long until the other players start saying "it doesn't matter what we do the first 6 innings of this game..."?
Doug Padilla (1:05 PM)
Everybody knows it's a team game and the guys who aren't struggling aren't immune from mistakes either. There has been no uprising or internal squabbles. But yes, quietly, everybody is probably frustrated with the bullpen's performance, especially members of the bullpen. The Cubs have a good group of guys, though, from what I have seen, and they continue to pull for each other.
Brad (Hagerstown, IN)
What are the chances that Demp gets traded before All-Star Break, and do you see him bringing in decent prospects, or just salary relief? Thanks! GO CUBS!
Doug Padilla (1:08 PM)
If a guy like Dempster gets moved, and remember that he can veto a deal, it almost surely is to bring back prospects. Salary relief is nice, but the Cubs need to make an impact for the future and paying some of his salary this year to get some very good talent in return makes sense. If they get nothing back for him, he might as well stay on board.
If the Cubs decide to trade Matt Garza, what team is most likely to get him and what do the Cubs expect to get in return?
Doug Padilla (1:11 PM)
It's not good that Garza's throwing issues to first are front a center just as scouts are filing their reports on potential trade targets. Garza can still get guys out though. Haven't yet heard of a team that has made Garza their main focus, but all of the usual contenders are in play. Once again, solid prospects are wanted. It still seems as if the Cubs want him around long term, though to partner with Samardzija as an impressive 1-2 combo.
Adam (Daytona Beach)
Is there anything to look forward to in the way of production from the 3B and catcher spots? It just seems like once they get past the cleanup spot, it may as well be automatic outs 5-9.
Doug Padilla (1:14 PM)
Stewart has gone through his share of bad luck. His low BABIP (batting average on balls in play) seems to back that up. But he's always been streaky. Any Rockies fan can tell you that. Offensive consistency has been a big reason the team can't get any type of win streak going. They might not have been shut out this season but they have been held to one run eight times.
Brad (Hagerstown, IN)
It seems to me that the current play of Brett Jackson doesn't warrant a summer call up for permanent playing time (not saying that getting some spotty work isn't a good idea). Do you think that his play so far this year in addition to the pleasing play of Campana will lead to Jackson hanging back in the minors even after Rizzo gets the permanent call up?
Doug Padilla (1:16 PM)
It isn't always the hard numbers that tell the story. Teams just want good at-bats from their top prospects. But yes, he still needs work in that area as well. Still wouldn't be surprised to see him in Chicago at some point this season. He has the ability and the Cubs would like to see it first hand. At the very least he's a September guy.
Is there any moves that the Cubs can make, either in the organization or not, that can improve their bullpen?
Doug Padilla (1:18 PM)
Nothing seems to be on the horizon, other than mixing and matching guys in the organization, like the Parker call up. When he's healthy Marmol needs to get better, there's no other way around it. He threw a bit in the outfield Wednesday. Wood needs the innings to get on a roll. He seems to be improving but his health history will force the Cubs to take it s.l.o.w.
I've read conflicting reports on whether Anthony Rizzo will be called up this year. Theo and Jed have both publicly said that the team plans to keep him in AAA based on their perception that he was rushed up last year in S.D. Other outlets report that fans can expect Rizzo to arrive shortly. Any intel on which to beleive?
Doug Padilla (1:20 PM)
Unless we get Theo to spill the beans we will never know exactly. He might not know exactly. All that Rizzo offense is begging for a chance in the big leagues, but the Cubs aren't ready to pay Soriano a bunch of money just for him to sit, and LaHair has done nothing wrong at first base. Still think he comes up at some point after the All-Star break.
Doug, will Dolis remain the closer after Marmol returns ?
Doug Padilla (1:23 PM)
It just depends on how he's throwing then. Nobody has taken hold of that closer spot and until somebody does, everybody is eligible for it. It might be that multiple guys get a chance all season. Not the best set up, but it will have to work until somebody shows they deserve it. Even with his struggles, Dolis seems to be the bust guy for the job right now.
Soto's more concerned about his looks rather than being a productive hiiting catcher. What are the chances of trading him and who might we get in return? Does he have any value?
Doug Padilla (1:24 PM)
Hahaha. He does have great hair. Seriously, though, probably not a lot of value there. He's a guy that could be a salary dump at the trade deadline.
Any news on Soler? What are the Cubs doing to fix their bullpen issues?
Doug Padilla (1:25 PM)
Sorry Al, still no word on Soler becoming a free agent. Nobody expected it to drag on this long. And we have addressed the bullpen.
Wells doesn't seem to cut it as a starter, could he be an answer as a bullpen guy?
Doug Padilla (1:26 PM)
The Cubs haven't given up hope that he can be an effective starter. And they aren't about to quit on him in that role now especially if he can be packaged in a deal come July. But relief is always an option as early as the second half.
Joe (Walla Walla)
When Rizzo is called up, what happens to the logjam in the outfield, assuming LaHair is moved there? Does LaHair get shopped, or do the Cubs need to look into moving DeJesus, Johnson, or... Soriano (please)?
Doug Padilla (1:29 PM)
Look folks, if you don't want Soriano at his current price and he offers nothing to your club, why on Earth would somebody else just take him from you? Everybody sees what you see, and more.
Despite the losing record, this is the most fun Cubs team to watch since the 2008 squad. The resilience they show is refreshing and has resulted in a few exciting rallies. Is this a reflection on a new, improved clubhouse atmosphere or are the two unrelated?
Doug Padilla (1:31 PM)
It's probably more about ability than chemistry, but it's not like chemistry has zero role. What makes the offense interesting at times, especially since Campana has come up, is that they have some versatility. Consistency is their biggest issue, though. And the lack of power has been hard on them. If Soriano, Stewart and even Soto can show more slugging percentage they would really be fun to watch.
Bryan (Orland Park)
Doug: When could we expect some official word on the start of the Wrigley Field renovations and do you think the team will have to be relocated during that time
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
Sounds like it's coming in two or three years, perhaps. But when it's brought up everybody talks like it's a forgone conclusion that it will get done. (Remaining confident perhaps?) The Cubs have stressed they won't be relocated for a short period, but not sure all the details have been hashed out.
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
Hey, thanks for the questions. Should be an interesting weekend at Wrigley. Cubs-Sox is as fun as any series in baseball. Yes, even as fun as you Yankees-Red Sox.
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
What the heck, let's continue chatting until 1 CST.
What will happen to Campana if LaHair must be moved to the OF to make room for Rizzo?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
Not sure Campana goes anywhere. He's been the spark that has helped the offense to turn around. Injury would be the easiest answer to get LaHair in the outfield and Rizzo to first base. If the Cubs get a serious offer on DeJesus that could make the LaHair-Rizzo combo come together as well. But DeJesus has done a solid job getting on base out of the leadoff spot.
Razzle Dazzle Rizzo (Chicago soon enough)
Isn't it possible for DeJesus to move to center and have LaHair at right field? Everyone is focusing on moving LaHair to left, but right field seems realistic. Put me in coach! I'm ready!
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
DeJesus to CF isn't out of the question. When you have the chance to put power guys like LaHair and Rizzo together you take chances in other areas to make it happen.
Brad (Hagerstown, IN)
Hey Doug, due to some blown saves and a top-5 toughest schedule to this point this season, do you forsee the Cubs starting to climb the NL Central (we're talking to maybe 3rd?) as their schedule cools a bit and (fingers crossed) the bullpen settles down? Thanks! GO CUBS!
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
Let's not blame the schedule, the Cubs just weren't playing well early in the year. The starters were doing their job but the offense and bullpen weren't getting it done. If the Cubs can take care of their own game they'll be competitive and fun to watch, whether the schedule is tough or not.
what kind of offseason do you thinks the cubs will run ?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
Don't look for the Cubs to be crazy spenders. The plan they have embarked on relies on building from within. If they add via free agency look for it to be a smart deal. That Dodgers' deal with Capuano is the ideal for any GM.
mike tinley park [via mobile]
This club can compete this year. What do they need to do to make that happen?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Your optimism is outstanding. Not sure this was a World Series club in anybody's mind, but there is talent that continues to come to the surface. It has been every bit the transition season, which doesn't mean they can't be interesting at times.
David (Cherry Valley)
How much longer can we watch the bull pen blow games- the cubs could be in 2d or 3d if the bullpen did their jobs! And now we're heading into the easier part of the first half schedule- what do you think they should do?
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
The bullpen always had the biggest question marks attached. That hasn't changed. They are going to have to fix it with what they have.
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
We'll leave it at that. Thanks for the questions. Talk to y'all next time.