Chat with Jesse Rogers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Tuesday, Jesse Rogers stops by to chat about the Chicago Cubs' season. Rogers will be joined by Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel at 1:30 p.m. CT.
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 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET!
Jesse Rogers (2:31 PM)
Hi folks. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. I'm sitting here with pitcher Jason Hammel, just across the street from Busch stadium where it's raining lightly. Hammel picthes tomorrow. We'll let him answer some questions first then I'll stay on and keep going with out chat. Fire away!
Having seen Descalso pitch in relief last night this got me wondering; what position player would the Cubs pitch if necessary? My friend and I theorized Schierholtz, Olt, or Barney. Also, any clue when the last time a position play did pitch for the Cubs?
Jason Hammel (2:33 PM)
Barney for sure. He has a college history of pitching and playing catch with him he has the best stuff. He has a pretty good curveball. It comes kind of natural for him so definitely Barney.
Aaron Chicago,IL [via mobile]
In the clubhouse who would you consider a leader for the team besides Rick? Who stands out to you as a good leader?
Jason Hammel (2:35 PM)
Rizzo is making a good run for it. He's adapted that role. I think he wants to have that role. Edwin Jackson as well. Carlos Villanueva and Emilio Bonifacio take pride in helping out the Latin players. Jeff Samardzija as well. There isn't one guy that's more vocal then the next.
Harry (Port Orchard, Washington)
Saw you pitch way back when; you were great then and looking super now! If you continue to show it, what would look for in terms of a contract going forward to pitch for the Cubs?
Jason Hammel (2:35 PM)
I'm not going to talk numbers but I would love to be here. That stuff always takes care of itself.
Pitchf/x has Jason's pitch selection as4 Seam FBSliderSinkerCurveand once in awhile a a changeupDo they have it correct?
Jason Hammel (2:37 PM)
Yep. that's right on the money. I haven't thrown as many changeups because I'm trying to find a comfort level. I've been trying different grips. With addition of my 2Seam coupled with my slider it's been a good mix for me.
Who is the funnest guy to be around in the clubhouse?
Jason Hammel (2:38 PM)
Carlos Villanueva. I think most of the players would say that. That's why those we got those t-shirts made up with his face on them. He's pretty quick on the draw in terms of making light of anything.
jan b (carol stream,il) [via mobile]
Grimm reaper was on here last time I saw and he said the cubs player he wouldn't want to face was junior lake..After yesterday I believe him. Is he the guy you would also not want to face on the cubs or is there another guy you wouldn't want to face? (Name everyone so they can all start getting hot)
Jason Hammel (2:40 PM)
In the past Nate Schierholtz gave me troubles because back then I didn't have that 2Seam. Now I think I would do better against him so I'll say Rizzo. I might end up walking him because he would be tough.
Bruce-Chicago Heights [via mobile]
Hammel with the way shark has pitched this year the cubs should ante up and pay him like an ace,
Jason Hammel (2:41 PM)
It's amazing what he's done and I would agree.
Bob W. (Summerville, SC)
Jason, hope you are enjoying your time as a Cub. What kind of competition, if any, do the starting pitchers have as far as hitting? I've noticed that you can swing it a little, and with Wood and Samardzija's hitting prowess, I wonder if there are any side bets, or just some good natured ribbing?
Jason Hammel (2:43 PM)
There's definitely ribbing. The balls run into my bats once in a while. We do have some side bets running but it's a year long thing so I'm pacing myself. But right now, Wood is leading.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
Really like The way you work and pitch! Why aren't they teaching prospects in The minors to throw strikes and work faster?
Jason Hammel (2:44 PM)
I'm sure they are but that comes with time. There's a lot to be said about experience. Most people don't think how big that year.
Aaron Chicago, IL [via mobile]
I've seen GM Jed Hoyer in the past trade away good arms and talent in order to build the cubs farm system, would you be surprised if Jed Hoyer doesn't trade you when the trade deadline comes up?
Jason Hammel (2:47 PM)
Honestly I don't know which way to lean. I'm so focused on pitching every five days that I'm not worired about it. You would like to think every rebuilding process comes to an end and you stick with a few guys so I'm hoping we're at that point.
Jim (San Antonio)
To Mr. Hammel- I 100% agree with you about the pitcher wins vs. losses stat and how they don't mean much and how WHIP is a much better stat and how quality starts are also not that significant. I also read what you said about the season being early a couple weeks ago. Do you think the pitchers as a group are feeling confident even though we have a few more losses than wins? I hope you stick around because I absolutely enjoy watching you pitch! Keep up the great work!
Jason Hammel (2:49 PM)
As a group we are very tight and very confident. Both the starters and relievers. We put it on each other to push each other. We know playoff teams are built with pitching.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
How is it working with Chris Bosio? What has he done for you?
Jason Hammel (2:50 PM)
He's helped me with my change-up right now. Overall just doing some minor adjustments from start to start. When I get off my mechanics he has useful tips to get me right.
Sam (Lincoln Park)
2 questions about the devastating Fernandez injury; do you think baseball will change the game to address this epidemic, ie lowering the mound or adding extra pitchers? And 2, doesn't Samadzija's health/arm strength skyrocket his value?
Jason Hammel (2:54 PM)
It's a shock to see so many go down. I'm not a fan of pitch limits. I think what he's doing on the mound at that moment should determine if he's in the game or not. The idea of protecting him because of pitch count doesn't make sense because pitchers used to throw a lot more. We should be able to deal with the demands of the game. Maybe at the very young ages they are putting demands on their arm like we would be now as professinals. All I did between starts was play some long toss when I was younger.
Jesse R (Kenosha, WI )
What's your favorite Chicago restaurant?
Jason Hammel (2:55 PM)
Right now I'm a Frontier guy. On Milwaukee. It's good. Kind of barbecue place.
Hey Jason, Great start to the season, has been a real pleasure to watch you deal.To start the year, is there something specific in terms of stats that you set as a goal? I know the statheads out there would love to hear your thoughts on your favorite stat to judge your performance by. Or do you set goals more on how you pitch in terms of helping the team win games? It has been a very heated debated b/c of what is happening to Jeff about wins as a meaningful way to judge performance.
Jason Hammel (2:57 PM)
I've said this before I think WHIP is a very good scale to how a pitcher is commanding his stuff. If you're not walking guys and giving up fewer hits you're doing your job. You can be unlucky but over time it should be telling. And this is using just one basic stat without getting too deep. I like WHIP.
Big Z (Indy)
Coolest thing about wrigley that us fans will never get to see......GO
Jason Hammel (2:59 PM)
I haven't seen it yet but the ivy!! The coolest thing so far are the conditions inside the bowels of the stadium. It isn't exactly modern down there but it's an old place. Compared to the new stadiums it's kind of eye popping.
Jason Hammel (3:00 PM)
Thanks everyone for the questions. I'm going to head over and get ready for tonight and my start tomorrow. It was fun.
Jesse Rogers (3:01 PM)
I want to thank Jason for hanging out for a while. I'll stay on for at least another half hour. Keep 'em coming
Why have the Cubs been more successful with flipping Pitchers versus position players? Strategic or just result of player performance?
Jesse Rogers (3:03 PM)
Think its has to do with the position. Starting pitching is a hot commodity around the trade deadline (or anytime really). Plus, you have to judge each case differently. Soriano is in his late 30's. The Cubs weren't going to get an A+ prospect for him. So it just depends.
Hi Guys, quick rookie question: Is Olt showing exactly who he is right now- a .200 avg with 30-40 HRs? There is obviously some value in that, but its not at all aligned with Theo's high OBP mentality. Is he due to hit the trading block to make way for a streaking Bryant? I have to figure his value is at its highest after a 4 homer week.
Jesse Rogers (3:05 PM)
I think it's premature to call him a .200 hitter, etc. He's learning the game still. Now he prob doesn't scream .330 but let's give him some time to adjust. And teams aren't going to be reacting to a 4 day stretch anyway. He may very well be trade bait but not at this moment. Let's let things play out a bit.
Nick [via mobile]
Offensive explosion last night! Possible peak into the future for our cubbies? Meaning, are we going to be a team that has to put up big numbers because of our lack of pitching depth?
Jesse Rogers (3:06 PM)
The irony of the Cubs is they have some startig pitching right now but the hitters are in the minors. The reverse could be true when they come up. The offense isn't changing after one night. They are what they are.
Big Z (Indy)
Do you think Baez aweful season in AAA will slow his big league call up, or do you think the front office is fine with pushing him into the majors with a poor batting average like they did Junior Lake? Can we still expect to see him in June?
Jesse Rogers (3:08 PM)
I don't think there is any question it could/will slow down a promotion. I don't think they'll call him up until there is a run of success. He doesn't have to be hitting .300 for the season but maybe just have success for a portion of time at that moment if you know what I mean...We know it wasn't going to be until July anyway so again, let's see how it plays out and how he's doing a month from now. See how he reacts to these struggles.
Jole (Salem, Il)
Jesse, do you see the daily lineup stabilizing more? the lineup we fielded last night is the one that I kind of expected from the beginning of the yr. (not that I expect 17 runs, just that lineup)
Jesse Rogers (3:09 PM)
No I don't. I think you will see what we've seen with some increase in playing time for Olt. But I still think Barney gets some starts, Valbuena etc.
George (Aurora) [via mobile]
Do you think Bryant will go through similar struggles as baez when Bryant gets promoted or are they doing something different with bryant
Jesse Rogers (3:11 PM)
It's not what they are doing with Bryant, it's just how things are playing out. I wrote just yesterday that I think Bryant is special because he knows his swing so well. He is his best hitting coach which means WHEN he does struggle and he has he's able to make adjustments quicker than anyone else in that system in my opinion. Baez is more the norm actually...even the good prsospects have 6 week struggles or even bad years...Bryant might be one of those special ones. I've been thinking that since they drafted him.
James (Charlotte, NC) [via mobile]
Did Samardzija comment about last nights game and Wood's run support?
Jesse Rogers (3:12 PM)
No, will ask today. Wasn't really around afterwards. Not much to comment on. I'm sure he's happy Wood got it and maybe he'll have a laugh over it. It's the luck of the draw.
Aaron Principal Park [via mobile]
If Javier Baez keeps struggling like he is...two strike outs already...do u think he'll even get called up?
Jesse Rogers (3:13 PM)
It's possible he won't be . Definitely. Theo's criteria is to dominate. Until he does he'll stay down unless they just want him around in Sept. or something but they need to see a run. I think he'll have one.
Jesse, two questions: 1) Kris Bryant would likely be the the Cubs best hitter were he on the big league roster, how long can Theo and Co. hold off on calling him up? 2) I am of the opinion that Cashner and Tanaka are 2 examples of elite young SP Cubs brass let get away, with that said, can they really let Samardzija be the 3rd example of this?
Jesse Rogers (3:17 PM)
Good question on Bryant. They will delay, etc for a while. He'll go to AAA at some point here but no gaurantee he ends up at Wrigley this yr. I'm doubtful. Those pitcher comparisons aren't fair. They got a pretty good player for Cashner..We can play the hindsight game but they needed a first baseman at the time just as much as pitching. I realize pitching is more important and I realize they love Rizzo, I'm just saying he's pretty good as well. And The Yanks were not going to be outbid..They were DESEPERATE to get him. Now, I agree it would be awful to trade Samardzija. They prob think they'll be trading at his peak -- and they might be right -- but the moment they trade him they are looking for a pitcher like him, only a lot younger. Not easy to find no matter who they get. I say keep him.
Jay [via mobile]
Could the offensive woes against #1 pitching be the reason samardzija is winless?
Jesse Rogers (3:19 PM)
Of course. I haven't looked at every opponent but starting with opening day he's faced a lot of No.1 and 2's etc. so defintiely has to do with the lack of run support. We shouldn't analyze it too much. He's been damn unlucky and he's playing for a bad team that adds up to 0-3, 1.45
Hey Jesse, love the chats. I have a two part question for you. First, what is a successful stat line for Olt this year? Second, with Bryant tearing up the minors and hopefully getting a promotion to AAA soon. If Olt does continue to hit for power and raises his average who stays at 3rd and who moves to outfield? I left Baez out of the 3rd base race because I think Bryant will be ready sooner.
Jesse Rogers (3:22 PM)
Seeing what Olt is right now, if he can get to .230 with 25 HR's that's definitely liveable because it means in the final months here he improved greatly. Not saying its great but he's dug himself a hole. And 25 HR's for a rookie is no slouch. Then the strikeout to walk ratio should look better as well. At least you would think so. I would imagine that if Olt gets really established they would move Bryant.
Craig (Waterbury, CT)
Hey Jesse, any chance that either Logan Watkins or Brett Jackson make a reappearance with the Cubs this year? Thanks
Jesse Rogers (3:23 PM)
Only if there are trades or injuries. Watkins will get a call in Sept I'm sure. I don't know about Jackson...
Hey Jesse. Is it fair for me to say that Castro is better suited to bat 5 or 6 in lineup. He seems like he can produce at 22-25 hr in very near future.
Jesse Rogers (3:26 PM)
I've gotten a lot less interested in where he bats. And I'm not sure if he can be that 20 HR guy...5 or 6 in a good lineup is fine with me..He can bat higher as well. Studies have shown the order isn't that big of a deal. I do like my leadoff guys seeing pitches and getting on but that's just common sense. So sure, 5 or 6 but like I said I don't think it's a big deal.
Focus still is an issue with Cubs as an organization, missing cut-off, watching balls hit to right field when rounding 2B rather than watching the 3B coach; it's nice that Renteria gives hugs and shoulder rubs to the down and out in the dug out, but when is someone going to step up and instill some absolute basic fundamentals and focus into some of these guys?
Jesse Rogers (3:28 PM)
I'm sure fans of all bad teams say these things but I don't disagree. I'm amazed at how many times they throw home when they have no chance at the runner but anyway the game is always easier on tv or in the pressbox. You just hate to see the same mistakes made and a few of them (Lake!) keeping making them. But was it diff under Sveum or any other Cub manager? Good players make less mistakes. They need good players. I will say Nate Schierholtz is solid out there. You can trust him. So there's one.
Derek (Dallas, TX)
Because pitching is such a major priority for this organization, is there any chance the Cubs go away from that and pick best position player on the board at #4? This seems to be the Hoyer/Epstein way to go...at least with the last couple of drafts. If so, who looks like a likely pick?
Jesse Rogers (3:30 PM)
I'm going to say no. I know they've said they will take the best player available but you can make a case that any pitcher left on the board at No.4 is as good as a position player HOWEVER, since 3 pitchers are expected to go 1-3 the Cubs would have their choice of ANY position player available in the entire draft. I still think they go pitching but I've been wrong before.
Eric (Downers Grove)
Hi Jesse. Thanks for the chat. What kind of package would Shark bring at the deadline as it compares to what Theo got for Garza or Rick Hahn got for Peavy?
Jesse Rogers (3:32 PM)
I think if they got something similiar to Garza they would be happy. But they deserve better. Maybe a higher ceiling on the top pitcher in the deal. That was a steal but remember Garza was pitching great at the time. Difference is this team will have Samardzija for another season after this one so the Cubs should get more than the haul they got for Garza (plus Samardzija is better and more trustworthy).
Of the current position players who do you think gets traded by the deadline?
Jesse Rogers (3:33 PM)
As long as there is a market, Schierholtz for sure, Bonifacio, maybe Barney. I suppose if someone wanted Valbuena he could be had.
Any update on the health status of CJ Edwards?
Jesse Rogers (3:34 PM)
No, but will get one today and blog it. So read the blog later !!
Jesse Rogers (3:36 PM)
Ok, that's it for today. Thanks for the questions. Hope you enjoyed Hammel joining in. He's a good dude and great to talk baseball with. Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. Check out the blog daily. Have a podcast with tonight's starter Jake Arrieta up now. Been raining all day but hopefully will get it in...chat next week back at home. Ill be on ESPN 1000 at 4:45 pm today with a report from the game.