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 (1:07 PM)
Hi all. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. The Cubs are back home and its all contenders from here on out. Fire away with questions!
Matt [via mobile]
With all transactions the cubs have made these past 7 weeks, in your opinion, are the cubs a stronger organization then they were back in April?
Jesse Rogers (1:09 PM)
The answer is yes when you consider everything including not being on track to re-sign Jeff Samardzija. But more important is Alcantara, Baez, Hendricks etc. advancing as they have. Wasn't written in stone they would all be here plus add Bryant's monster year and yes better now than then.
Mike (New Orleans)
What is the Cubs argument against the rooftop owners? The have a contract for the next decade or so still.
Jesse Rogers (1:10 PM)
Cubs argument involves the fact that the Landmark restrictions have been loosened so they feel like to better the ballpark and surrounding area they have a way around the contract...
What is your take on Wada? Also, isn't his contract up after this year?Thanks Jesse - remember, words can hurt you (Geico commercial)
Jesse Rogers (1:12 PM)
Cubs have a option for next year on him so I would assume they would exercise. He's no spring chicken so he's a decent piece so far as a stop gap. Not a pitcher to build around but a body to use...maybe trade bait for a contender next year if he keeps it up...hard to see a huge future here at 34, etc. but you can always use arms..still has a ways to go to prove he can last at ML level but decent stuff so far.
Are we shopping Mike Olt in the offseason?
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)
Not sure if it's a matter of shopping but could he be part of a deal? Of course...he's just not the centerpiece right now.
Valbuena seems to have worn down this season. Do you think he could benefit from skipping winter ball?
Jesse Rogers (1:15 PM)
I would say yes but I can't know that for sure. It's not like he's played every day like Castro..he is what he is...decent at-bat but over 162 he isn't going to be anything hugely special..his career might be a nice role player..nothing wrong with that...numbers are nice this year if you think of it that way...
It seems like the two prospects doing the best for their respective teams are Bryant and McKinney. We all know Bryant isn't going anywhere before the end of the season but does McKinney get a promotion?
Jesse Rogers (1:15 PM)
We're in mid-August...everyone is where they are going to be save the Sept call-ups, basically.
Eric, Lafayette [via mobile]
Is Olt going to get called back up and get his chance to play everyday.?
Jesse Rogers (1:16 PM)
He'll get called back up but not sure they just hand him the job..prob play against lefties like before but you never know. Those things prob haven't been decided yet.
Gus (Edwardsburg, MI)
Jesse,Lots of talk on the blogs over the last couple days about the Cubs trading a SS for young pitching...especially from Mets fans. It appears the Cubs have a lot of depth at SS, but what other positions do we have depth at in the minors that might interest other teams with pitching? Do we need to wait until those players get to AA or AAA to extract the highest value?
Jesse Rogers (1:19 PM)
Third base seemed deeper in April then now but there's a few prospects there...Cubs have really added to their prospect base at catcher but they need a few for themselves...Pretty sure the Mets thing was a NY media driven idea..not to say it won't happen but the way Baez and Alcantara have taken to thier noew positions I wouldn't be too quick to move Russell or Castro...these guys can play all over the diamond..we'll see.
J.R. Van Houghton (Chicago) [via mobile]
Are the Cubs going to spend money this offseason, or will it be another winter of getting veterans and flipping them at the deadline again?
Jesse Rogers (1:21 PM)
They've gone on record that the whole flipping strategy is coming to an end. I think they will sign one guy but I don't believe they are in a "sign at all costs mode". That could be after 2015...if you listen closely to Jed/Theo they tend to intimate it's not JUST about this offseason for pitching..it's the next several so it keeps things a little more fluid.
What was the thought process behind bringing up Szczur?
Jesse Rogers (1:23 PM)
I wasn't in NY to hear everything said but pretty obvious, they just wanted to reward a hard-working guy and they did it near where he grew up. He's not a top end prospect but has things to like, speed and defense...he gets a chance just like anyone that moves up the ladder does..
You think you'll be assigned to Iowa again next year or will we finally be able to focus on the Chi-Cubs instead of the I-Cubs?
Jesse Rogers (1:24 PM)
Ha. Once Bryant is up here, it's no longer about Iowa, with all due respect to Almora/Russell,etc....I doubt I'll take a trip there if a lot of the prospects are playing here.
Tom/Loyola [via mobile]
Isn't it bad faith to keep a clearly ready prospect at AAA to delay his free agency period? Do you think an agent such as Scott Boras is talking to the Cubs about this issue regarding Kris Bryant?
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)
Unfortunately, the rules are in place to favor the club doing this. If Boras was Theo he would do the same thing because we're talking a matter of a couple of months...I'm sure Boras, Bryant's family, etc are anxious. But mid-April or May 1 will be here quick.
Any new news on a possible soler promotion?
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)
Nothing yet but its very imminent.
Mike (Portland, OR)
My guess is the Cubs pursue a free agent TOR pitcher this winter, but end up not signing one. I'm guessing they do not want to overspend, and will (maybe) sign another mid-tier free agent pitcher.
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
It's possible. That's what I meant by "not at all costs". This isnt the make or break winter, we know that. Next one, maybe. It means if the deal is right it will happen. In a year it could mean overpaying because the Cubs are on the verge of something special...Hard to know how it will play out but I do know as of last off-season they were targeting next one more than this one as the big final piece kind of signing. That may have changed of course.
Hey Jesse. Keep doing awesome things!Where do you see Edwin Jackson fitting in over the final 3 years of his contract? Do the Cubs keep him as part of the starting rotation, move him to the bullpen, trade or cut him? Thanks!
Jesse Rogers (1:30 PM)
Only 2 years left!! I think he gets phased out very soon. He just doesn't fit where they are going. I'm not sure how it gets done but I cant imagine him in the rotation again. I could be wrong since THEY signed him and he's not a leftover but it might be time to cut the cord. Heck, $22 mil isn't that much right? If the Cubs pay a lot of it they could get someone to take him this winter. Maybe. Possibly. Eh, I don't know but he's clogging up a spot right now.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
I don't understand why Turner is not starting!! He's fallen Off a bit but has a huge upside!,Will he start anytime soon?
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)
He def will. They are just getting to know him. But he will.
What does the future hold for Travis Wood
Jesse Rogers (1:32 PM)
Good question. I think he returns and we find out which is the real Travis. If he can be a #3 or even a solid #4 you would take that from a lefty. I really thought he had turned the corner last year so I'm not sure where we are with him. MNever loved his stuff but his location was spot on last year. Not so much this year.
Matt Morrissey (North Bend, WA)
What are the chances of Pierce Johnson getting called up to the Cubs since he is performing so well at AA?
Jesse Rogers (1:33 PM)
He'll be your Hendricks next season. AAA then get a look when there's a chance.
Micah (NWA) [via mobile]
Why don't the Cubs steal more bases??? They have young guys with speed, plus maybe some running would help an offense that struggles to put runs in the board.
Jesse Rogers (1:34 PM)
Who has speed? Alcantara..that's about it. Castro, Rizzo, Baez, Castillo, even Coghlan are nothing special in that dept.
I am on the side of not trading Castro and keeping Baez, Russell, and Castro all in the lineup...however you need to stop claiming trading Castro would be a step back. If you get enough in return then it would off-set the loss in value, improve a weakness (pitching), and you might actually improve at SS if Russell is as good as everyone says. I get the risk but to say it would push back the rebuild is false.
Jesse Rogers (1:37 PM)
I think integrating a young SS would be a step back...maybe I'm nuts but moving a 3 time all-star at the most important position on the field and replacing him with a rookie would be the definition of a step back...and you're down a veteran...Maybe the Cubs will be the first all-rookie or second year players to win something but I think it's a step back despite what you gain...Now, maybe in a few years it pays off and that's what the Cubs will debate internally I'm sure...If this is the only way to get the pitcher they want I'm all for it but seems like there will be some collateral damage, that's all.
If Olt's recent surge in Iowa continues and he performs gets back the majors and puts up at least good numbers (.270 average with decent power numbers like Rizzo last year) does this play him into being a permanent fixture or does this get him traded because his value is high and there is more doubt with him than other untested prospects to get pitching?
Jesse Rogers (1:39 PM)
As Coghlan said to me recently, you only get one REAL chance as a prospect. After that, you have to perform at the right time/place. So I don't think anything he does in Sept. plays himself into a permanent fixture. Sure, he could be trade bait but he'll have to re-prove himself all over again next year if he's still around.
Marcus (Wichita, KS)
Hey Jesse, wondering what the ceiling is for Hendricks?? With his great start do the Cubs believe he can be a number one?
Jesse Rogers (1:42 PM)
This is the toughest of questions to answer because only a very small percentage of pitchers are great but are we supposed to hold back any excitement over him just because of that? Do you see things that a 2nd and third time through the league will catch up to him? Do you see arm problems in his future? I think he's going to be a consistent winner. A No.1 is tough to call. BUt #3 or better FOR SURE...And saying FOR SURE in caps is risky for a guy like that but I'm sticking with him and Bryant as sure things...in a world of not so sure things.
What do you think about Baez's overall performance so far? Good as advertised, better or worse?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
Definitely about what you would expect. And you can see improvement. I like when he gets ahead of the pitcher...needs to do that more when given the chance...Like his play at 2nd...but again mostly I like that after a rough game we see some bounce back in his at-bats...the knowledge base is statrting to grow even if he'll look bad in games...sure, I would like to see better situational hitting but this isn't the 80's anymore..
Jay (Hickory nc)
Are the future Cub teams going to be free swingers with a lot of strikeouts? We had a few awful games with Ks lately. How can they improve or is it not a concern?
Jesse Rogers (1:46 PM)
It is a narrative to follow, somewhat. Theo's teams in Boston K'd a lot. Except the 2007 team which he had his biggest fingerprint on. It's about ON-BASE. That's the #1 goal. How they make their outs is not a big deal. Getting on base is. End. Of. Story.
Matt, mobile [via mobile]
Other than some questionable lineup calls and bullpen moves, Renteria seems to have the Cubs playing hard and often good ball. Is he the long term answer or still just the guy before The Guy.
Jesse Rogers (1:47 PM)
Between the two, without a gray area, the guy before the GUY is my answer. But things do and can change of course.
Brent wausau wi [via mobile]
Jesse, excellent work. I hear alot about the cubs sighning a big name pitcher. I don't see it happening this winter. I think they have a lot of arms with some potential as is. I think next season will be more about finding out for sure what all these prospects are. Your thoughts?
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
Read earlie answers and again, I'll stress, last winter I was told after 2015 would be more interesting than after 2014. Has it changed is what I don't know...
Continue with the Mike Olt....you only get one shot...ok...what kind of "shot" did the cubs give him?
Jesse Rogers (1:49 PM)
Right, not a bad thought. I've always said if Lake and Olt had played everyday -- also meaning they Cubs showed complete confidence in them -- would things be different? We'll never know. They did play a lot (for a while) but that's not every day.
Dann, Marion, Iowa [via mobile]
Per the Renteria answer...could "the guy" be Ryne Sandberg, say in 2 years?
Jesse Rogers (1:50 PM)
Terry Francona? More like a proven winner, etc.
Tim (Lexington, KY)
Any concerns over Soler and will his recent performance in AAA impact the FO's decision to call him up in Sept? He was blazing hot to start the year, and that continued initially in AAA, but it seems teams have found a way to approach him.
Jesse Rogers (1:50 PM)
Nah, everyone slumps...it's been, what, 5-7 games? Something like that...maybe he won't come up until he finds it again but I don't think it kills his chance this year.
Who are other potential free agent pitchers after the 2015 season? David Price and Jordan Zimmerman are tier 1 in that class.
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
(Said in the Ditka Super fan voice) Don't forget about local hero Jeff Samardzija my friend. Unless you don't think he's top tier. (But those 2 are a good start)
Jeremy (Chicago) [via mobile]
What do you think of the FIP stat?
Jesse Rogers (1:53 PM)
I'm a hard hit ball guy. Give me line drive percentage COMBINED with BABIP and it can tell me about a guy more than anything in my opinion. The goal is less hard hit balls. Simple as that. Are you fooling hitters so they can't square you up? That's not everything but I always look for line drive percentage or simply hard hit ball percentage.
Tracy (West Chicago)
Brett Jackson's gone. Who's next to be shipped out? Vitters?
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)
I would imagine they will use his 40 man spot soon enough....by next feb for sure.
Caleb Marlow (Tennessee)
Arrieta and Doubront had similar numbers prior to coming to Wrigley. Both had career era's around 4 and whips around 1.5. will we see the same kind of turn around from Doubront?
Jesse Rogers (1:56 PM)
That's the goal. It's no coincidence the Cubs keep bringing in these types of guys from the AL (and even the AL EAst. You get a breather in the NL lineups and it's a perfect place to re-start your career..when the Cubs are closer to winning these deals might not happen as much. It's worth the shot with Doubront.
Who within the Cubs organization seems to have the biggest opposition to acknowledging that Sammy Sosa did some good things during his career? Ricketts family? Crane?
Jesse Rogers (1:57 PM)
Kerry Wood? I'm just not sure what the big hold up is. Kind of been told conflicting things...at the 100 yr anniversary was told he needed to apologize to ex-teammates...Knowing Sammy, think he prob needs to be told for what.
Terry (Syracuse [via mobile]
If the Cubs were to work a trade with the Mets for Zach Wheeler or Noah Syndergard, and were able to sign Jon Lester, how quickly could they contend with Arrieta, and fill in the blanks (Hendricks, Wood, Edwards, Johnson, Turner, Straley, etc.)?
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)
Just depends how quickly Baez, Alcantara, Hendricks, Bryant, etc adjust to the bigs. People need to slow down. The "easy" part is getting to the big leagues. The hard part is being a stud there. Sit down when you read this but the Cubs peak is closer to 2020 then it is now. The only saving grace is the parity in the league. Things do change quickly but that doesn't happen all the time.
We all know talent shown in the minors doesnt always translate to long term success in the bigs. With that said, out of Bryant, Baez, Hendricks, Soler, Alcantara etc, which guys do you see thriving long term in the bigs?
Jesse Rogers (2:00 PM)
Bryant, Bryant, Bryant, Bryant...Hendricks
Why is everyone always down on the Cubs young pitching talent? Is it just because the depth isn't there? With the emergence of Arrieta, Hendricks, Wada, Beeler combined with some lesser known pitchers in the minors having great years (Armando Rivero, Pierce Johnson and others) I see no reason for trading any front line hitting talent.
Jesse Rogers (2:02 PM)
Every organization has players like the ones you just mentioned. We have no idea how their stuff will play in the bigs. Guys that do this for a living, don't project No.1's and 2's from that group BUT we know they can be wrong. Like possibly with Hendricks. Bottom line is there rae never sure things but none of those guys, in my opinion, look like the Bryant of pitching. So yes, you better get some that have proven it,etc.
Will Bryant/Soler's patience at the plate (i.e. drawing walks) hopefully rub off on Baez and Castro?
Jesse Rogers (2:03 PM)
Prob not. But just having them in the lineup will increase the OBP of the team. That's the next step in the evolution of the team. Need OBP to increase or this thing will be dead in the water.
Jesse Rogers (2:05 PM)
That's it for today, folks. Thanks for all the questions. We'll do it again next week. Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. Check out the blog every day. Headed to Wrigley soon. This THURSDAY night I'll be hosting on ESPN 1000 from 7-10 pm. I want to talk Cubs with you so put the game on and turn up ESPN radio...Ill give you a chance to call, text, tweet, whatever...we don't do enough baseball on the radio these days so here's our chance to discuss. Talk to you then.