Chat with Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs beat reporter Doug Padilla stops by Friday to chat.
Padilla covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Friday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Doug Padilla (1:00 PM)
Hello from Minneapolis. Great city, fantastic new ballpark. Here we go.
Chris (Quincy, IL)
There has been alot of hoopla over Castro's on field gaffes but do you think that if the Cubs record was reversed or if they were close to .500 that there would be less said about his mistakes? It just seems to me that when a player on a bad team makes mistakes they get magnified but if he is on a winning team the mistakes get masked.
Doug Padilla (1:02 PM)
Honestly I think it probably would be a bigger deal if the team was better. More concern about him losing key games and wondering how soon he could get his head straight as the team tries to get into contention. It feels like now he might be able to figure out his focus issues as the team's talent develops around him. But it would be a major issue no matter how the team was playing.
Any update on the bids for Soler which were due yesterday?
Doug Padilla (1:04 PM)
No update, just what everybody knows, that the Cubs are extremely interested. But as the Cespedes negotiations showed, the Cubs have their price and they don't figure to overpay by much. This is a guy they want, though, and it's the last chance to sign international guys without restrictions. It's a perfect storm, so to speak, so he shouldn't come cheap.
How many more starts this season does Ryan Dempster make as a Cub?
Doug Padilla (1:07 PM)
He probably has nine more before the trade deadline. It would figure that the Cubs take as long as they can to work out the best deal possibly. We'll call it a 75 percent chance that he goes. Figure on maybe eight more starts if he does get dealt.
Doug Padilla (1:17 PM)
Tech issues restored.
Bobby B (Newport Beach, CA)
Hey DougI have no problem being patient when it comes to rebuilding but why does Baker, Johnson and Hill play? They have 0 trade value and are taking valuable at-bats away from LaHair, Cardenas, Campana and Clevenger. The season is over why ever start these guys?
Doug Padilla (1:18 PM)
Ah, the right-handed lineup issue. Lots of questions here on the same subject. Sveum always wanted to make sure his bench got work. He's doing his best to get some offensive balance and make sure guys like LaHair or Campana aren't overwhelmed by left-handed pitchers. I understand what he's doing, even though the results don't show much. But it would be nice to see LaHair with more chances against lefties.
Will the Cubs trade Lahair now while he is performing well and the cubs don't have a fit for him in the future?
Doug Padilla (1:20 PM)
We'll see when Rizzo comes up in July. If he's off and running, it would make even more sense than it already does. Tons of teams could use a lefty power bat at first base. LaHair is one of the few Cubs players with lots of trade value. Sure would be nice to see LaHair and Rizzo in the same lineup, though, and not just for a few weeks.
Steve (Camp Lejeune, NC)
Given the iminent rebuilding time the Cubs presently face. Do you See Dale Sveum being a long term staple throughout, or a scapegoat in the making?
Doug Padilla (1:22 PM)
Lots of Sveum questions as well. Look, the club the guy got had tons of holes. The reason he stays is because he has the respect of the clubhouse and the players are working hard even if the results don't seem to show it. The poor results aren't because the manager has lost the room.
Doug, what the heck is going on with Ian Stewart? Looks completely lost right now.
Doug Padilla (1:24 PM)
A power guy who doesn't hit for average will have those runs where he looks overmatched. It's been a rough season. It started with him not getting any luck on hard-hit balls and hasn't gotten much better. Nice glove, but more run production is needed.
john alsip [via mobile]
when do you think they will officially bring up anthony rizzo, would it even be this season?
Doug Padilla (1:25 PM)
Just after the All-Star break seems to be a good guess. As long as his wrist is feeling better and he gets on track again, there is nothing left for him to accomplish at Iowa.
Seems like Theo & Jed are replenishing the minors quite nicely. Do you forsee us having one of the top farm systems in the league the next couple years? Hoping for Soler to complete this years crop of youngsters
Doug Padilla (1:27 PM)
If they don't have a top 10 system in a few years and a top 5 system by the end of the decade, then something went terribly wrong. As mentioned before, Soler is a guy they want, but they won't go crazy trying to get him if somebody throws a ton of cash at him.
Ty (San Francisco)
Doug, our payroll is low this year and probably even lower next year due to zambrano and byrd off the books - is that money being saved to spend when we contend? Shouldnt Theo have flexibility to have a $150M+ payroll when the pieces are in place?
Doug Padilla (1:31 PM)
It's never about just spending, it's about spending wisely. Those 32-year old pitchers who are cashing in on the open market aren't what the Cubs want to focus on. Not to say they won't look into any of those deals, but don't always have the best success rate. Building from within and signing smart additions are what they will concentrate on. Being the team with the highest payroll isn't the title they are after.
Any worries about Almora's comments or are the Cubs confident they'll sign him?
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
Seems like a negotiation ploy. I say they get the deal done at the wire. At the No. 6 pick, Almora only risks moving down the draft board if he goes to school and makes himself available later down the line.
Frankie (Dinner table)
Do you think we'll ever see the MLB Draft showcased like the NBA and the NFL drafts are ? With prime time coverage and such ?
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
I think they are doing the best they can with it. We know all the guys being picked by the NFL and NBA because we watch their college games. College baseball, and especially high school baseball, don't have that audience so the players that are to be selected don't resonate as much.
Is anyone interested in Soto when he returns healthy? I'd rather see Clevenger/Castillo than Soto who just can't seem to get it going consistently
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
Once again, Jason, not to knock your evaluation skills, but if you know he isn't worth much, then other clubs certainly know. The expectation is that Soto shares time with Clevenger equally when he gets back.
What is the latest news on getting public funding for the Wrigley renovation?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Still waiting to hear. Since it became a political issue last month it would seem like they go lower profile with that. As of last week the Cubs still had not heard back from the mayor. Not necessarily bad news, but probably a sign that they are waiting for things to cool off.
Ry (Austin, TX)
How were we able to pick Rizzo up without giving more in return? Did it have anything to do with Hoyer coming over to the front office?
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
Getting Rizzo cost the Cubs Cashner. Not a easy price to pay.
Kirk (Soutwest Florida)
Where in the heck are the cubs going to find a closer?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
It's got to be figured out in house. You don't go out and trade for a closer when you are on pace for 100 losses.
I know Sveum is tinkering with the lineups and you've already somewhat addressed the Lahair issue, but why does he continue to stick Stewart in against lefties when guys like Lahair and Campana are taken out?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
With the way the roster is constructed, at least one left-handed bat will have to be in the lineup against a lefty. A lot of the time, that one lefty is decided by who is hitting the best or who has the better numbers against that lefty pitcher. Brace yourself: The Cubs will face a lefty on Saturday and Sunday.
certain players i understand you should wait till closer to july 31st to trade. but soriano is as hot as he has been since spring training, lahair seems to be starting to heat up again as well.. and i heard teams are interested in dejesus.. do u think we will trade them soon rather than later.. GET THEM WHILE THEY R HOT!!! : )
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
That is absolutely the ideal way to do it, it's just that the trade market isn't heating up yet. You can't just make a team deal because your guy is hot. It's will be a chore to move Soriano but if the Cubs have any hope of doing it he will have to stay hot well into July as well. His production in AL parks as a DH will be interesting to see. Wonder how many AL teams will be watching?
Tarun (Bay Area)
Doug, grade our draft? how do you feel about passing on Appel, how many "impact prospects" did we get?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
Looks good. I guess a B is a good grade. Not sure there are 8 all-stars in that group, but the word is that the pitchers they got are guys who can deliver. I can't speak from experience since I didn't watch them pitch, but they needed some guys with velocity and upside and by all accounts they got that.
C.Williamson (Robinson, IL)
Doug, how is the weather in Minnesota?
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
Warm, muggy. Bring a water bottle.
Dan (Green Bay)
Other than Dempster, Who do you tink has the best possibility of being traded at the deadline?
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
Garza and LaHair are the others that will draw a bunch of interest.
Tim (Cayman Islands)
Do you think Jeff Samardzija will be the next 20 game winner and opening day starter?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
Way too soon to tag him with the title of a staff ace. It's been impressive to see somebody get the chance he got and embrace it in the way he did. Sure he can win 20 games one day, but the hope seems to be that he can be a solid No. 2 guy for years to come. Not bad after what he looked like exactly one year ago as a so-so reliever.
C.Williamson (Robinson, IL)
With Soriano playing DH for this upcoming series against the Twins, who do you see getting the most playing time in Left Field?
Doug Padilla (1:55 PM)
Gotta assume it will be Joe Mather.
JJ (carol stream Il)
Will we see Brett Jackson on the field this yr
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
At this point it's looking like a September call up. But injury can change that.
chad (joliet il)
Doug, sorianos defense has been so much better this year. what took so long?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
Not sure. I know Dave McKay has been working with him not only on technique, but to have more confidence. He seems to be going over the options in his head before the ball is hit instead of figuring it out on the fly. But Soriano himself has given McKay a ton of credit. The impressive part is that he has looked better on that sore knee.
Grade the 1st 1/3 of year 1 for Theo & Co. I like they're building through the farm and being patient, but it's going to be a looooooooong 2-3 years before the cubs are good again
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
Hard to just judge them on wins and a whole lot of losses. Nobody expected them to contend in Year 1. They got the coaching staff in order, meet their pitching needs in the draft and the Samardzija move to the rotation was a slam dunk. Nice to not panic on a Rizzo move either. Nobody said rebuilding would be easy, but they at least seem to be moving forward with their long-term plans.
Doug Padilla (2:03 PM)
Thanks for the questions. To those coming to Minneapolis, have a good time and be safe. It's a good-looking ballpark.