Chat with Jesse Rogers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Tuesday, Jesse Rogers stops by to chat about the Chicago Cubs.
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 noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Jesse Rogers (1:04 PM)
Hi folks. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. I'm in Chi while All-Star festivities take place in Minny. Got a chance to see 1st round pick Kyle Schwarber play yesterday for Kane County...little did I know it would be his last game there..Anyway, it's the all-star break. Plenty to talk about re first and upcoming second half. Fire away.
Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)
Do you think there is a chance Kris Bryant gets a call up before September 1st?
Jesse Rogers (1:05 PM)
Never say never but I highly doubt it. They do change their minds of course but they've already said they don't foresee it. Neither do I. Money will be a big part of the equation with him. Prob wait until next year but nothing is 100%.
Ryan (Central IL)
Please tell these fools that Castro, Alcantara, Russel, Baez arent going anywhere. Having too much talent at one position is a good problem to have. Furthermore these guys are BASEBALL PLAYERS. They have the ability to move around on the field and be successful
Jesse Rogers (1:07 PM)
Well I can't say that for sure but if your point is they all play SS and one HAS to move because of that reason, you're right. Now, one might be moved to bring back another need. That makes more sense but it won't be JUST because they play the same position.
Who's our starting pitching rotation post trade deadline?
Jesse Rogers (1:09 PM)
Good question. They've stated that Jackson, Wood, and Arrieta will pitch this weekend then we'll see what happend starting next Tuesday. I was told there would be a little rotation among the guys that just made thier debuts plus Dan Straily and if one or two emerge they'll get more chances..that could change. It's a fluid situation right now but expect more starts for Hendricks for sure and prob Wada and Beeler as well. Just don't know how many, etc. yet.
Any updates on CJ Edwards?
Jesse Rogers (1:10 PM)
Think he tweeted this morn he would be back on the mound on July 23. It's been slow but at least there isn't anything major going on in his shoulder. Hopefully, it's like Arrieta. Some soreness that goes away and he's strong as ever.
Could Price possibly be on his way to Wrigley? He talked about how it would be great to help a team like this win a ring, so he has interest in coming. What do you think it would take, and what is the probability of this happening?
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)
I just don't see it but I've been wrong many times. Cubs aren't ready to win. Signing hm would cost a ton. Look at Tanaka as well as many others. I think the Cubs are going to pounce on pitching exactly when they need it and not much sooner. I can't tell you the details of who or when but if I'm Theo, everyone looks like a risk these days. Heck, EJax was a risk. Unless min money, I wouldbe careful unloading prospects for Price right now. Don't see it. Diff when he might be the last piece to the puzzle. I could be wrong but the landscape for pitchers has changed.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
Why does this team love Valbuena so much? Any chance they'd move him? Maybe in a package deal?
Jesse Rogers (1:14 PM)
Sure, I think they would. He is what he is. Gives a good at-bat, can have a streak like he did earlier. Not a bad back-up but if he's the final piece in the deal, they won't hesitate. Got him off the scrap heap so if he turns into something, great.
How is Schwarber doing? I saw that he was called up, so obviously he's doing fairly well. But how is he progressing in comparison to some of the other Cubs key prospects?
Jesse Rogers (1:16 PM)
Hitting lights out. The feeling I've gotten from being around the team is they were higher on this guy -- and for a longer time before they drafted him -- than Bryant. So if they think that -- and we know they liked Bryant -- maybe he is going to be special.
What do you think Bonafocio's role will be when he returns?
Jesse Rogers (1:17 PM)
1) trade bait2) trade bait3) trade baitIf the Cubs were contending, great role player. But they have the great Alcantara now. Does what Boni does but better and with more pop. At least that's the first 5 games and potential.
Edwin Galletti [via mobile]
If Alcantra can continue to develop on the MLB level, will this increase the likely hood that management would be more comfortable moving Baez and Bryant up sooner and even possibly in September?
Jesse Rogers (1:18 PM)
Doubt it. I think they take each case by itself. Just because one is ready doesn't mean the other is. That kind of thinking. Theo has already said Bryant isn't coming. Then again they said Alcantara was only going to be up for 2 days.
Matt (Los Angeles)
Soler has been going bonkers in Tennessee! Any chance he makes it up in September? There's no "clock" implications like the other big time prospects and Puig made a similar type of jump to MLB at the same age...
Jesse Rogers (1:19 PM)
I would say no way because they want him healthy and doing this for a long period of time. I think he starts next year at AAA and then moves up. They have said over and over no one is skipping.
Alf Yellon (Melmac) [via mobile]
Any chance we contend two years from now? I've waited long enough!
Jesse Rogers (1:21 PM)
I could see it. Definitely. I know the puzzle isn't complete by a long shot so I mostly say that based on the parity in baseball and the fact that the Cubs have SO much talent. It would be hard not to have a run. Right now, and this isn't saying they will win the world series, but if the Cubs DON'T have a run it'll be because of some really bad luck or Theo makes 2-3 disastrous decisions you could not see coming.
Marc Gonzalez [via mobile]
Who would likely be the next player to be traded
Jesse Rogers (1:23 PM)
Hmm.. if Bonifacio was healthy and playing, which he will be soon, I'd say him. Still think Schierholtz could be gone. Or of course Ruggiano. But lefties needed more than righties. I'd say Boni if he proves he's fine.
Seth A (PA)
I don't understand your argument about the Cubs not promoting Soler because they want him healthy. Isn't he just as likely to get hurt playing in Tennessee as he is in Chicago? I don't think you worry about him playing too many games since he's missed so much this year, and we're paying him like a major leaguer. I'd say bring him up and see how he responds. He won't do worse than Junior Lake!
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)
It's healthy AND playing. He hasn't proven enough down there. At least let's see it for a few straight months either at AA or AAA. I don't see how they can claim he needed minor league team since he hadn't played much since coming over from Cuba and then after 2 very injury riddled years they bring him up because of one hot streak. AAA first and I'm not sure that will be this year.
Mike (Chicago) [via mobile]
Do you think Coghlan is a guy they'll hold on to, or will he be dealt later on for pitching?
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
Good question. I didn't inlcude him in my trade thoughts but he is left-handed and hitting right now. But that could change after the break. Let's put it this way, the way this thing works, whoever is hot that last week or 10 days of July has the best chance of being moved. So right after the break let's see who's doing what. None of these guys have a long enough track record so scouts will go off what they are doing right now for the most part. Unless the Cubs pull a minor deal coming up to make it easy to keep Alcantara.
Henry A (Deland fL)
Rondon has been having rough go in the 9th. Any chance Ramirez or someone takes over as the closer?
Jesse Rogers (1:30 PM)
I disagree. He's been alright. EVERY closer, especially new ones, are going to have some rough spots. He's not melting under the pressure. He's blown one or two on little rallies not big, mammoth home runs, etc. Now, Ramirez has a great arm but I don't think Rondon has done anything to lose the job. Remember how bad that role has been for the Cubs. Compare it to Rondon. Not too bad right now.
Ty (San Francisco)
Jesse, no offense to Rizzo, Castro, Alcantara - love them buttt if we put a team of our top prospects together - Bryant, Baez, Schwarber, Almora, Soler, McNulty, Russel - I think they would outhit our major league squad - agree or disagree?
Jesse Rogers (1:32 PM)
I agree on Bryant. But if Baez is hitting .240 wit ha billion K's in AAA and Almora is just now at .270 at High-A and Soler has ONE hot streak going,etc. how can you say they would hit ML pitching? Not that the Cubs are great but they would be better at this moment I think. Anyway, I have no problem with the arguement bring them all up and learn together and take their lumps..but I also have no prob with being patient. Only harm can come from rushing, none from waiting. Except fans harming themselves cause it's taking so long! lol.
Jeff (Cubs HQ)
Why does RR continue to put sub .250 hitters batting leadoff?
Jesse Rogers (1:33 PM)
Alcantara has mostly been there over the last few days but what choice does he have? It's either a .250 guy or Castro...
Davie L. (Asheville, NC)
Why is E-Jax on the team still? He just can't play, and it is alway a l on his day. Can we replace him and DFA him?
Jesse Rogers (1:34 PM)
Not with 2 years left on his deal and not with the Cubs not winning anything and not with the Cubs having the need for starters after the trade, etc. ,etc. ,etc.
Eddie (Orland Park)
How would you compare the astros vs cubs rebuilds?
Jesse Rogers (1:35 PM)
I think they are on similiar paths. Both will have some kind of run soon enough. Hou with more pitching right now for sure.
Davie L. (Asheville, NC)
Will Baez get the call this summer?
Jesse Rogers (1:35 PM)
I do think he will see Wrigley Field before the end of the season unless he regresses,etc. Sept at least..
Jon NC [via mobile]
Which player has the best long term upside of Baez, Bryant, Russell, Soler?
Jesse Rogers (1:36 PM)
Bryant, Bryant, Bryant, Bryant. Did I mention Bryant. Russell might be next
When the Cubs start contending in the next few years, what kind of role do you think Neil Ramirez will have? A potential closer?
Jesse Rogers (1:38 PM)
Hard to say. His motion and injury history might prevent him from starting but I still think they will give him a look there first. I am believing he has the make-up for a closer. Great teams have a set-up man that can close...that might be Ramirez. It is right now it looks like.
Seth A (PA)
Call it gamesmanship or by chance...but we've seen in the past with Cardinals managers managing the all-star game that they don't seem too inclined to play Cubs players. Specifically, I remember Tony LaRussa playing Rafael Furcal almost the entire game over Starlin Castro. Having said that...what type of time do you see Castro and Rizzo seeing on the field tonight?
Jesse Rogers (1:40 PM)
I think Castro for sure since Tulo won't play the whole game and he's clearly the next deserving SS on that team. With Rizzo voted in by fans, I don't know if a manager would think he's prob just happy to be there and feel less obligated to play him plus other first baseman ahread of him I'm guessing. Maybe an at-bat? More sure of Castro being in there. Matheny is a good dude and it's not like a Cardinal is in front of Castro.
Kelsey (Norman,OK) [via mobile]
FO has been somewhat quiet as to why Sveum was let go? Any inside info or your hunch?
Jesse Rogers (1:43 PM)
Juxtaposed with Renteria I think there was less of a positive feeling around the team. Hard to put a finger but you can see now guys excelling ,etc under RR. Maybe they would have this year anyway and maybe he got a raw deal but in rebuilding situations it is about the enviornment. Just didn't feel right. As much as we like it as fans, he may have been too "hard" on Castro, etc. I say it like that, "hard" because it's not as black and white as you might think. Anwyay, go back to the enviornment thing. That covers it all.
What is the general view on Alcantara so far. It seems like renteria doesn't want to sign off on having him as the full time starter in the outfield. Can you give me a reason why not? Scheirholz, Sweeney, Lake all batting Sub .220, why wouldn't you give a young prospect the nod on becoming the starting CF?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
Not sure why you think that. If the front office wants him to play and wants him to bat leadoff, he will. If you're reading into anything its that like most managers, RR showing respect to the guys that are there. The vets etc. It can be touchy when a new guy comes in and takes the spotlight as much as he does deserve it. I'm sure RR wants him in there all the time. Helps him win games.
Seth A (PA)
Chris Bosio has been tremendous and seemingly has a gift for getting the most out of pitchers (Feldman, Baker, Samardzija, Wood, Arrieta, Rondon, Hammel, etc.). These are either young guys who couldn't reach their potential, or injured guys who figured it out under Bosio. So 2 part question...who are some other targets that the Cubs may be looking to either via trade or free agency (cheap, but talented) and is Bosio a large reason that Theo & Co. don't seem too stressed about getting more Major League ready pitching prospects? Do they think with Bosio they can create a good rotation on their own? Let's be honest...starting pitching was no the problem in the 1st half.
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
I can't tell you who they are looking at as reclamations,etc but Theo said as much about your second question. They really do like the pitching infrastructure in place and maybe they do feel they can put this together without trading or signing some of the major names. I kind of see a run with the Cubs with the same position players for many years but maybe there is much more turnover with starters. They try to catch that lighting in a bottle with the Feldmans and Hammels but contend with them instead of trading them then let them walk or re-sign a couple or whatever. If the Cubs actually show signs of life there WILL be players wanting to play here.
Wayne Tyrone (Alice, TX)
Are the Cubs going to release Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson anytime soon as they are wasting their time in Iowa and this regime has screwed them up completely. They need a change of scenery to succeed the way that Casey McGahee, DJ LeMahieu, and Ryan Flaherty have done recently.
Jesse Rogers (1:49 PM)
They will be moved, released , whatever when they need the roster/40 man spots. Right now they need outfielders at AAA but yes, they are expendable and will move on in due time.
Stop answering questions from Seth A in PA and give other people a chance!!!
Jesse Rogers (1:50 PM)
Sorry, I don't look at the names..questions just pop up. You're done Seth!
Jeff (Fort Wayne)
Theo signed a 5 year deal in 2011. Do you foresee him resigning after 2016 season or possibly moving on to the next project? Does the possibility of resigning increase depending on how close the Cubs are to being what they envisioned when the management team began this rebuild?
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
He's not going anywhere. If he did nothing else but let these minor league players come up the Cubs would prob have some sort of a run still. No chance he leaves unless he's given like ownership somewhere or something. He's getting closer to at least a chance at becoming a historic name in baseball. I'd be shocked and have been before. He wants his run then we'll see.
Omar (Seattle, Washington) [via mobile]
Bosio said Rondon was his project this year. Not bad. Did Mueller say he has one? How about Lake?
Jesse Rogers (1:52 PM)
Ha. No, don't know who Mueller said or what not. Since he didn't tell anyone he may as well say Castro/Rizzo.
Tracy [via mobile]
They will have to get pitching through trades sooner or later. Question is, how soon? Will they hold onto position guys as long as possible to build up their value or move them to get pitchers so they can take their time and develop them?
Jesse Rogers (1:53 PM)
I think hold onto. I just think they are nervous about pitching as the whole industry is. Get a guy for big bucks now and he's bad (Jackson) in a yr or two or hurt (Tanaka, etc.) I think build-up value and develop their own makes sense.
Tom (Pingree Grove, Illinois)
Hi, Jesse: What was the specific alternative to how Epstein and Hoyer have rebuilt the Cubs? Draft and trade for high end prospects; allow them the necessary development, and build depth for potential sustained success and protection against inevitable failed prospects. No part of this equation can happen quickly. I, too, am a long suffering Cubs' Fan, yet there is no viable alternative to the front office's approach. Thank you.
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)
I think they would have (and tried) attacked the young international free agents. Darvish, Cespedes, Piuig, etc. Then while semi-contending with some of those names, etc would have gone to work on the farm. But of course how would you have bryant, etc if you were winning more games. I've talked to Theo about this and its why I highlighted a quote from him: "This might be the best thing to happen to us." Meaning, no money, no wins, no one clogging up positions. All young, highly, highly thought of players coming up and a veyr cheap price for a lot of years. LOSING is truly the only way to really rebuild your team. Remeber, winning a little or even contending a little, means not flipping guys either. Then again, you wouldn't need to develop Soler, for example, if you had Cespedes. So hard to know for sure what's right but I don't mind this.
Bryant or Baez, if the Cubs had to trade one of them for a stud who fills a need, who'd be the likely man out? If Baez, would that of been the sense response in March as well?
Jesse Rogers (2:00 PM)
Baez and that would have been my response 4 weeks after they drafted Bryant.
Sam (Arlington Heights)
This year the Cubs were looking to draft a kid out of high school and sign him over the slot to get him to commit. The media practically broadcast it and the hated Cardinals drafted him before the Cubs got a chance. Isn't there something to be said about holding your card close to your chest?
Jesse Rogers (2:01 PM)
I can't imagine that's what caused the Cards to draft him. These clubs are on all these players. And most do play close to the vest. In fact, if that's what you heard about a specific player I bet it wasn't true.
True or False, anyone that questions Theo and Jed's approach to this rebuild just doesn't really understand baseball and the business of baseball.
Jesse Rogers (2:02 PM)
False. Giving away a half decade isn't the normal course for any business so people that question if there were other ways to do it have every right.
You can't tell me the Cubs don't have money to spend......I don't buy it. They have an extremely low payroll. I say spend on a top tier OF and two elite pitchers (Maybe Sherzer and Lester) and we are up at the top of the division.
Jesse Rogers (2:04 PM)
They do have money to spend. It's finite but they do. Everyone thinks Tanaka was a show, maybe it was. But if he says yes, then you have to pay him.
Are you of the mindset that Theo is serious about contending next year and not being sellers? Or do you believe he was just giving us all a little hope?
Jesse Rogers (2:05 PM)
Just because you aren't major sellers doesn't mean you're going to be buyers or major contenders. Mostly,I think it means they don't have a lot to sell anymore. And he's telling us the good young or younger players like Arrieta aren't going anywhere. Now, if they make a run with young players then Theo will be all for it and this rebuild will advance.
Seth A (PA)
Lineup in 2017. CF-Alcantara, SS-Castro, 1B-Rizzo, RF-Bryant, 3B-Baez, LF-Soler, C-Schwarber, 2B-Russell, Pitcher. I can't even fit in Almora or McKinney. How close do you think this is?
Jesse Rogers (2:07 PM)
Sure, it's possible. Are they all going to make it in the big leagues? This is why they have so many, in case of injury and bad performance, etc. But I like it.Who wouldn't. Now some could be gone in trades too.
Jeff (Fort Wayne)
Dan Dakich said a few weeks back, in reference to the Cubs, that tanking is baseball is the only sport where it is accepted by fans. Your thoughts?
Jesse Rogers (2:09 PM)
Maybe. I think it's the only sport where you come to socialize, etc when the team is losing. I'll go watch a bad team if the weather is nice. You don't really think like that with the other sports. In fact, I'll stay away from good football if the weather is bad. I'm not sure if "accepted" is the right word. Tanking is a four-letter word .
Pleanty of teams that are contending have less than dominant starters, like the Angels and Orioles. Do you think a true "Ace" is a must these days? Or can a team win a playoff series with three solid no. 2 guys?
Jesse Rogers (2:09 PM)
I've been moving more and more in that direction. Talking about that idea on the radio etc. I def think there is something to it.
What is the story with the DH in the NL? I keep hearing hints the rules may change.
Jesse Rogers (2:11 PM)
It's quietly being talked about. Some believe Theo is preparing the Cubs for it. I think he's either a proponent or at least believes it's coming. (I cant remember). I don't see it in the near future. New commish comes in, the first thing he does is institute the DH in NL? No way. Maybe last thing Selig does, who knows.
Jesse Rogers (2:13 PM)
Man, I'm sorry we've run out of time. I can't get to all the questions or I would be here all night. If you have something you really need answered email me at email@example.com Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. New story going up in the blog as I interviewed Schwarber right before he found out about his promotion yesterday. Tell your friends about these chats and the Cubs blog at espnchicago.com ! Thanks