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 (1:02 PM)
Welcome to another Cubs chat. Thanks for joining on the off day.
Tim (Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman)
Is Kerry Wood going to join the team in a front office job or maybe a coaching roll in the near future.
Doug Padilla (1:04 PM)
Although not ready to be an official coach, Wood said he will return by the end of the year to help out the pitchers. He also figures to be a guest instructor in the spring. He and the team will talk at a future date about a role in an official capacity.
Kirk (Punta Gorda)
One would have thought the Cubs would have traded LaHair to a American League team. What gives?
Doug Padilla (1:08 PM)
LaHair was looking like a solid trade piece in early June, but his production fell off considerably. It didn't help that he wasn't playing against lefties. Don't blame Sveum. When he did get a chance vs. LH pitching, LaHair was overmatched. LaHair's argument could be that he wasn't getting the chances to make adjustments. There just wasn't interest at the deadline.
Is it realistic to think Cubs can get value for Garza in the off season if he doesn't pitch this year? The less time a new team has him, the less he's worth
Doug Padilla (1:10 PM)
He isn't expected to pitch before the season ends which limits his offseason trade value. The chances of him being dealt this winter are slim. Expect him to go to spring training with the Cubs and once he starts to show he is healthy again the calls will start coming.
Any other prospects that might be called up before the end of the season?
Doug Padilla (1:12 PM)
Since the big names have already been called up, September doesn't figure to be that exciting. The Cubs will probably bring back Campana and Dolis. One guy that could emerge is Junior Lake. Wouldn't be a bad idea to give Castro a rest one day a week over the final month.
I know they have said Vitters will be seeing more time. But why oh why does Valbuena continue to get any starts? Why was he getting starts before Vitters got called up? Mather could have played, Baker could have played, Sveum could have played, YOU could have played... Anyone but Valbuena..
Doug Padilla (1:14 PM)
Sveum is starting to ramp up Vitters' playing time this week. They took it slow the first week to get him acclimated.He played in all three against the Astros and figures to get the bulk of the time from here on out as long as he doesn't start to get seriously overmatched and his defense doesn't go in the tank.
rich (san diego)
I see that sveum criticizing castro this past week then starting him the next day as if nothing happened. On surface, seems just like quade from last year holding no one accountable. Is there more going on behind the scenes? Is sveum an upgrade over quade after all?
Doug Padilla (1:18 PM)
Sveum didn't say he would bench him, only that he was considering it. Castro met with both Soriano and Sveum before the next game and was remorseful for basically showing disregard to the situation in a game vs. the Reds. Sveum has done well with what he has been given this season but Castro's ability to stay focused is clearly one his more high-profile challenges.
Doug it seems like all we hear is about the young POSITION PLAYER prosepects the Cubs have ( Rizzo Jackson Vitters Soler Almora etc etc) what about pitching??? Is Maples are best and how u think until he arrives in Chicago???? And what about Trey McNutt?
Doug Padilla (1:21 PM)
Maples, McNutt and Dolis were the top arms in the system at the start of 2012, but the organization is definitely thin on impact pitching. It's why they wanted to focus on arms at the trade deadline and would have done better than they did had Dempster agreed to go to ATL. Expect all upcoming trades to focus on young pitching and the 2013 draft to be heavy on hard throwers that could project to being either starters or relievers.
Brett Jackson + Dale/James = Trout like performance in 2013? Seems they know the tools are there and he is getting developed in the right place and time?
Doug Padilla (1:23 PM)
Yeah, don't think Jackson is going to project to a Trout type. That's not to say he won't be good eventually, but he doesn't figure to make that huge of an impact. Long odds that Jackson is an MVP candidate in just one season. Jackson still has plenty of growing to do, especially when it comes to his two-strike approach.
Why are the cubs set on getting rid of sorino? they don't have a replacement and he gives them some offense
Doug Padilla (1:26 PM)
He isn't going anywhere yet. But they would move him simply because he isn't in the future plans. Theo/Jed are retooling this team in their vision. If they can get somebody to take some of his future salary off their hands and give up some prospects they will do it for the sake of the future. It isn't about not having an LF to fill his production for the rest of this season. They aren't too worried about this season.
David (Libertyville, IL)
OK so how many more changes are we gonna see on Theo's Staff? He alluded to more coming shortly.
Doug Padilla (1:29 PM)
The word is that at least 2 or 3 guys are mulling over reduced roles or considering offers to change job titles. It's mostly on the scouting and development side which Theo has considered key for turning around the Cubs from within.
Doug!!! your thoughts on the firings yesterday with guys like Fleita sent packing??
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
Rough day. Sad to see for everybody involved. But his future was in doubt when Jason McLeod came on board. There is never a good way to handle that but everybody seemed to understand what was happening. Change at the top often means changes internally. If Theo is going to have success or failure, he clearly wants to do it with his guys.
Darwin Barney for gold glove?
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
He obviusly looks to deserve it, but it's so hard to get a guy to break into the Gold Glove group for the first time. Sveum has done his best this season to campaign for it. Let's just say this award is one that sometimes doesn't go to the most deserving guy.
Josh (Ft Wayne)
Is Randy Bush going to lose his job also? He is not one of Theo's "guys".
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
Randy Bush is safe as assistant GM. He isn't a Theo guy but his input has been of value. It's been obvious from the start that Randy was looked highly upon.
So if Junior Lake comes up in September and does well is there a chance next season the infield could be Vitters Castro Lake and Rizzo?
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
No chance, especially since Barney is in the future plans. Sveum has already said that just because Jackson and Vitters are up doesn't mean their spots for 2013 are guaranteed. Lake still has plenty of developing to do. They will have no problem puting him down at Triple-A to start the season.
Ray (Brewer country)
Who will Marmol be pitching for in September?
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
Good question, but it would be a surprise if you got him up in "Brewer Country." He is certainly a different pitcher than he was last season and the first part of this year. He has reportedly cleared waivers too so that gives the Cubs the chance to work with multiple teams on a teade and get a better return. Somebody might take a chance on him as more of a setup guy. Stay tuned.
When do they pull the plug with Volstad?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
If they had more options perhaps they would have done it already. But it's hard to quit on a guy who a big intimidating pitcher like he is and shows some very good stuff on occasion. Tired arms and sinkers usually are a good combo so we'll see if Volstad can use it to his advantage here in the final six weeks.
Is Theo an honest believer in the 162 Games at AAA or did he just have to say something about Rizzo and not mention his service time? And if so, does he feel that way about AA?
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
I think he would take it when he can get it, but in the Rizzo case it had some to do with his service time, sure. Their thinking seems to be that a full season at each level is ideal. Mostly, though, they preach that players show they are ready to move on by sustaining a solid approach for an extended period.
How has Dillon Maples done this year? Has be progressed in his first season in the minors?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
Maples has finally started playing at Mesa. Four outings have been solid. Might find his way to Boise or even Peoria for the last few weeks of the season.
Everyonebis saying et rid of soriano...but aren't their gonna be more interleague games next year? Couldn't he be a DH more?
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
You're kidding right? You don't hold on to a $19 million guy if you have a chance to move him because of nine games in AL parks next year. Yeah, you were kidding.
Dino (Des Moines)
If Jackson and Vitters continue to struggle, do you see Theo going into next year putting DeJesus back to CF and Stewart back at 3rd base, assuming he is even healthy and an option?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
I don think these final six weeks are going to be make-or-break for Jackson and Vitters. Everybody knew they were probably going to be overmatched on occasion. Can definitely see DeJesus coming back since his versatility lets him cover whatever OF spot that is open. Don't see Stewart coming back. Guessing he is non-tendered this winter.
brent chi [via mobile]
Do you see the cubs going after a top free agent in the off season?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Plenty of versions of this question. Still don't see the Cubs adding an upper-level free agent this offseason. Silly to pay a guy top $$$ for next season when they are still in rebuilding mode. When they start moving forward with better play then they will add impact free agents to fill voids. Probably won't be until after the 2013 season at the earliest.
Whats the deal with Jackson? I know he was always projected to strikeout some but he looks lost most ABs and can barely make contact. Is it his swing or his pitch recognition?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
A lot of it is mental and pitch recognition has a lot to do with it, especially when he gets behind in the count and looks to be on his heels, so to speak. The big worry is that while he has always been a strikeout guy he seemed to regress this year. He's been at least a little better since those first few days with the Cubs, not that he could have gotten much worse.
Doug I dont see Soler in anybodys prospect rankings. Where is he ranked in cubs system???
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
Most of those will come out in the winter. It would be shocking if he wasn't at least top 3 in all of them.
Ty (San Francisco)
In a few years when competitive, can the Cubs support payroll that matches Boston, LAD, LAA, and Phily? or will be stuck in the tier below these teams? And if the answer is lower tie, why doug, why?
Doug Padilla (2:00 PM)
They will certainly compete with those teams. Maybe not Boston or NY, but certainly LA and Philadelphia. Remember a new TV contract is coming up and those have been cash cows for teams, even more than in the past. It will be interesting to see if WGN keeps the Cubs after all these years. It would also be interesting to see if the Cubs have any interest in starting their own network.
Josh (Ft Wayne)
Any chance of seeing Matt Szczur called up in September?
Doug Padilla (2:01 PM)
Probably to soon for him. He is on the 40-man roster, though.
Doug, do the Cubs see Barney as the 2nd baseman of the future?
Doug Padilla (2:03 PM)
Absolutely. Look, not every guy on the roster is going to be an automatic All-Star, which isn't to say Barney can't make it one day. Defense has value too and if you want to have a solid pitching staff you better have very good defense up the middle. He's even made strides on offense and has an excellent work ethic. A lot to like there.
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
Took my son up to Cubs-Reds games last weekend. His first trip to Wrigley. He was treated fantastically. Thanks Cub fans.
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
We close with a compliment to Cubs fans. Thanks for the questions. Let's do this next week after the road trip. As always, you can also follow and interact on Twitter at @ESPNCiCubs.
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
Make that: @ESPNChiCubs. Thanks again.