It's Ron Santo Day here in Mesa. Plenty of good seats still available. If you're in the neighborhood, drop on by. Randy Wells looks to continue his shutout streak against the Indians. Cubs-Sox tomorrow, can't wait.
Hey Bruce, I know he's not throwing breaking balls yet, but geesh. Should we be concerned about Garza at all? Thanks!
Good news is he started to throw breaking balls yesterday after he walked the ballpark with his fastball. And they were pretty good. Couple really good sliders. Nothing wrong with his arm, so I expect improvement from him here on out.
Thanks for your time Bruce, is it just me or is Carlos Silva still plummeting from the end of last season? Would any other team trade for him right now?
Not right now. But if he pitches better during his next 3 or 4 starts, there could be interest. But the Cubs would have to eat a lot of his $12M.
Why all the consternation about Carlos Pena not hitting for average? He's cracked .250 exactly once in his eight full seasons. Does anyone really think Rudy Jaramillo is going to have some magical effect on him?
It's a good question. His lifetime average is what they're looking at, which is in the upper .240s. That's what they want to see. That would mean he's making contact.
Will the Cubs be looking to resign Carlos Pena after the seasons end? Or look for a new 1B?
Depends on what kind of year he has and whether he wants to come back. The two primary first base free agents are Pujols and Fielder.
Bruce,Die hard Cubs fan in the middle of Cardinal Country! I'm a big fan of your work as well. Heres my question. Should I be worried about Garza after a rocky start this spring? I like what he is saying, but I long to see some results on the field. I badly want to be optimistic about this team, but I feel like if they are going to compete he has to play a big part. What do you think?
You are correct. If Garza isn't on top of his game, the Cubs won't compete for a division. I wouldn't worry at this point. His arm seems plenty strong, and he seems focused. He's just a different type of guy getting used to a new team and pitching coach. Not a bad guy, but introverted.
How far in the playoffs could the White Sox go this year with Peavy healthy?
Tell me how healthy? 200 IP healthy? They they should be up there with the top 2-3 teams in baseball. 100 IP healthy? They top 5-6.
Bruce, how is my man Samardzija looking? Numbers appear to be on track, but does he pass the "eye-test" and ultimately make this team?
He's on the team. I believe he's as assured of his spot as Aramis and Dempster are. The reason being is he's out of options making $3.5M and can't be put through waivers without the Cubs paying him off.
Bruce, Is this team going to show up April 1st as Dead On Arrival? So far Garza is pitching like he did in September, which whispers "injury" and the offense is shaping up to score about 590 runs. Any help in trade by the end of the month?
You'll know if the team is going to be competitive by May 15. The top 3 pitchers - Z, Dempster and Garza have to come out of the chute pitching well. Don't get too excited about St. Louis and Milwaukee, they seem to be doing some self destructing on their own. The games are played on the field.
Any chance DeWitt gets sent donw to work on his defense? i think the Barney kid is a player.
I don't think so. DeWitt is an important part of what they're looking to do, as far as adding a left-handed bat in the lineup. He's going to get every opportunity to fail.
Hey love the chat! why hasn't Matt Garza lived up to expectations? is it something with his mechanics? starting to regret trade
It was his gameplan to just throw fastballs and changeups. He had to change his philosophy after the first six hitters in yesterday's game. He had a good breaking ball, so no worries.
Spring training is like football preseason...don't people know that pitchers work on certain pitches and location during the spring? Don't they know hitters work on their timing during the spring? Bruce, remember Al Leiter 10+ years ago had a 0.00 ERA during spring and then got shelled in the first 2 months of the season. Spring training only bears watching for the last spot or 2 in the rotation, position battles and who wins that 25th man on the club. Garza is a veteran, he knows what he's doing. Silva, who knows?!?!
Thanks for your insights, most of them I believe are accurate. Spring is about reporting what happens the last two weeks, as far as the health of the team and how people are rounding into baseball condition. The rest is pretty much how you sized it up.
Stats aside, how's Dunn swinging the bat? Also, haven't heard much about Quentin (Viciedo seems to be the talk of RF). How's CQ looking at the plate?
Saw Dunn twice, and he doesn't seem to be in form yet. No real concern there. Viciedo is swinging the bat, as to where he's goign to play is a big question mark. Has a good arm but a little slow in the outfield. My good friend Doug Padilla will fill you in on CQ in at 12:30.
Bruce: What Cubs Pitcher has impressed you most this spring?
Without question: Marmol. He continues to be unhittable. Seven strikeouts, four innings, one hit. It's scary to think he might even get better.
whats your cubs opening day lineup in your opinion?
against righties:Fukudome, RFCastro, SSByrd, CFRamirez, 3BPena, 1BSoriano, LFSoto, CDeWittagainst lefties:Baker, 2BCastro, SSByrd, CFRamirez, 3BSoriano, LFSoto, CPena, 1BColvin, RF
What's the likelyhood of Soto moving up in this lineup? Understand he's not the fastest guy, but at least he can hit with some consistency.
Quade was asked that yesterday and said probably 5 or 6, but not 3. Just because he doesn't run very well. He hasn't locked anyone into his lineu except Castro at 2 and Ramirez at 4.
Why do the cubs insist on Koyie Hill as the backup catcher?
That's a fair question. They believe in him calling games when Soto is out. It's more about defense and pitchers believing in him. Certainly Wellington Castill has better tools.
If the Cubs are in the race in July, would the Cubs make a deal for someone? Who?
Tom Ricketts said there will be money available if the Cubs are in contention late in the year.
Bruce- How many games do you think the Cubs will win this year, and do you think they will make the playoffs
I believe if they get through the season without major injuries, they can win 85-88 games. In this division it could put them in the playoffs.
Hey Bruce, what seems to be more realistic in happening next yr and what percentage do you see it actually happening, Pujols or Fielder?
I would want Fielder because he's 27. He also looks like he's in the best shape he's been in.
Bruce, should all of the runs the Cubs have been giving up in spring training be of any concern? It seems every time they end up losing, they get shelled with a ton of runs.
It's spring training. Look at the first 4-5 innings, until the middle of the month.
Who do you believe will be the Cubs 4th and 5th starters?
Right now if I had to make a prediction, I'd say Cashner and Wells. And both pitching today.
I saw where the Mets are willing to cut Perez and Castillo if they aren't cutting it. Why does Quade have to put up with lame duck contracts? Sometimes its just better to cut bait and move on.
If you're talking about Silva, that may happen.
What kind of year do you think Kerry Wood will have?
If he could avoid injury, very good. That's the only thing you worry about with Kerry.
Do we really miss Rothschild or is Riggins going to be alright, we have given up a tom of runs?
It's just spring training. Look at starting pitchers, they've been fine except for Garza and Silva.
Isn't it fair to say on paper the Cubs look a lot more like the Astros and Pirates than they do the Reds or Brewers?
That might be fair. The potential of their players is above the Astros and Pirates.
With Soriano heating up the outfield picture looks pretty deadly. Who will Colvin go in for the most in your opinion?
I think ideally 120 games for all 4 outfielders would be ideal. Let's see if Quade agrees.
Hey Bruce, is there one player you think could surprise us?
Warming up in the bullpen is my buddy Doug Padilla. Here we go with the Sox part of the chat. Talk to you Sat from 9-12 on Talkin' Baseball. Guests this week include Geo Soto, Rolland Hemond and Greg Walker.
Gotta do this quick and head off to Surprise. Here we go.
Dunn made the comment when he hit the first homerun this spring, that he went after the first pitch which he never does. By this method, pitchers will just about always have Dunn in the hole 0-1. Do you think dunn should change his strategy, and go after the first pitch (sometimes), thus possibly making him not strikeout as much?
Certainly Dunn does go deep into counts, but he will pick his spots and hit the first pitch too on occasion. What Dunn was talking about yesterday was going after the first pitch against a fellow veteran who is trying to earn his way on a roster. He felt bad about jumping on Jeff Suppan like that, but he also said that going deep always feels nice. He won't be as friendly once the regular seson starts
If the Sox are in contention around the trade deadline what type of move do you see Kenny making?
There are a couple of trade deadline questions. We'll use this one. Depending on how Morel plays at third, getting a proven guy at 3B could be a target. But the White Sox think pitching first and there isn't a whole lot of rotation depth if somebody goes down. That could end up being the main target.
with Peavy looking like he could be ready middle of April, any chance you see Kenny making a trade with another one of the starters? Perhaps something with the Yankees or Cards?
Once again, not a lot of rotation depth. Until Chris Sale is ready to start, which looks like next year at the earliest, trading a starter wouldn't seem likely. Good health from the starting rotation will be huge this year.
With Viciedo playing so well, any chance he takes the RF spot from CQ? Possibly deal CQ for pitching?
Lots of Carlos Quentin questions too. Viciedo certainly looks like he can handle RF, but 10 days of spring games isn't enough to trade a guy like Quentin. Let's see how the season progresses first. If Viciedo tears it up in AAA while playing a solid RF, things are going to get pretty interesting. But Viciedo still needs his 400 ABs this year, at least, in order to keep improving.
Who has the inside track at this point on the 4th outfielder spot?
Tough call. Ozzie isn't too thrilled with how Milledge, De Aza or Lillibridge started the spring with a wide open spot for the taking. Doesn't speak well for how they handle pressure. De Aza has started to look better of late. Viciedo looks the best, but he doesn't play center and they don't want him to be a fourth OF. He needs his at-bats.
How has CQ looked this Spring so far? All the talk has been about Dayan, not hearing much about how CQ looks.
Carlos has yet to get it going. Nobody is in panic mode yet, but a .167 batting average and a .211 OPB isn't impressing anybody. Still plenty of time. Three weeks until the season starts.
Assuming maintained productivity out of Konerko and Dunn, how do you feel this 3-4 combo measure up against the rest of the AL 3-4 combos?
A 3-4 combo is only as good as the guys in front of them. If Pierre and Beckham get on base there will be lots of RBI opportunities. Dunn strikes out a lot so he will take fans on a roller coaster ride, but if guys get on in front of him he can carry a team for stretches. They certainly are as good as anybody when they are thriving.
Doug what is your prediction for the sox this year?
If you're looking for me to predict a World Series title, I can't do that. But they have enough talent to get into the postseason, and like we all saw in 2005, anything can happen at that point.
With Ozzie not thrilled with Milledge, De Aza, and Lillibridge, why not put Teahen in the OF and have an extra RP on the roster? or does that still leave the Sox without a back-up CF?
Teahen will start playing the OF soon. Five throwing errors at third isn't helping his cause on the infield. But somebody needs to backup Rios in center. Maybe that somebody ends up being Pierre.
Some players really struggle with the DH role. If it hurts Dunn at the plate, what will the Sox do to get him in the field?
Unless Konerko gets hurt, Dunn isnt going to have a lot of time on the field. And even if Konerko gets hurt, there's a chance they still put somebody else there on a full-time basis. He's going to have to figure it out. Dunn's been around long enough so the expectation is that he's professional enough to handle it.
if peavey isn't ready to go until may, as of right now, and with the recent cuts of some pitchers, who would handle the 5th starter spot in april
Phil Humber pitchs today against the Rangers and has a chance. A impressive showing in Surprise would help his cause. Tony Pena did well as a spot starter last year and could get a shot too.
How important is it for Beckham to hit well to the opposite field? If he does it consistently can we expect to see him hitting over .300?
Hitting the opposite way will be key for Beckham this year in the No. 2 hole. Giving up at-bats to get guys over is what the White Sox want to see, so grounding out to second in the right situations will make the club happy. Once those ground outs start finding their way into RF, a .300 season could easily follow.
OK off to Surprise for White Sox-Rangers. Then it's White Sox-D-backs later tonight. Long day. As always, it was a good time.