Hey folks..welcome to our weekly Cubs chat...Im in the press box at Hohokam park where the first spring home game will take place this sunday...tomorrow the Cubs open Cactus League play against the Angels in Tempe...today is another intra-squad scrimmage...season is getting closer..or at least March is...we'll go for an hour today...its sunny and about 62 right now..fire away with questions
Hey Jesse I just saw your tweet abut Stewart, considering how be "contributed" last season, should we as fans and the brass be concerned that he is already having setbacks?
As I just said on the radio I think when a player has a immediate setback after rehabbing all winter, even if its another injury, yes, there's always concern...how will he handle it mentally after being out so long already...will other little things pop up..same goes for garza...good news is this is really early in camp and they are mild injuries so this could all be forgotten about in a week's time...but my radar is up for both those guys...
With so many young players in the clubhouse will the Cubs try to keep certain types of veterans on the roster to act as good examples? If so, will that affect players like DeJesus being moved?
I think they would like their mix of vets to start the season but as they go on those young guys find their way and if it helps the team to move a vet they will...but right now, yeah, Dejesus is def a leader, Sori, etc...but that wont matter come trade deadline time...now if the cubs are in the hunt..thats a diff story
Hey Jesse! We keep hearing about the rotation battle and how the cubs need to get deeper in pitching. Is there a pitcher at the AAA level fans could be excited about?
No one jumps out at you...you saw some of those guys last year in Rusin and Raley, etc...thats why they went out and grabbed Feldman, Baker, Villanueva and Jackson...prob not the norm to sign 4 potential starters in one off-season but they did so that tells you a lot...
Jesse, what are the chances of the Cubs moving Soriano and what kind of players would be gotten in return(prospects or established guys)?
The longer we go the better chance it happens..especially if he's playing well...but I dont think they are in any rush...so maybe this is finally the year he gets moved but he has to be putting up numbers at the time of the deal in june or july or whenever..I think the chances are decent to answer your question and certainly better than last year...guess next year would be the best chance though for obvious reasons
So if Rizzo and Jackson turn out to be the next Jason DuBois and Felix Pie, do we just give up?
Not quite...Jackson isnt as much a key as Rizzo...he's already "established" if you can be after a half season...hes in the core...castro is in the core..barney is closer but no lock...after that its pretty open...if soler, baez, almora, jackson, vitters, castill, etc. all flame out then give up...but not just because of jackson...if rizzo flames out, that bad...I say no way he does...he'll have his struggles but he's a hitter
Jesse first off you are the man and your tweets during yesterdays game were great. After yesterday and all the praise that he has been getting do you think Soler has overtaken Baez as the Cubs number 1 prospect?
I'm new around here but not sure how Baez was ever ahead of him...so, yes. And easily..hence 9 years and 30 mil
Who backs up Rizzo at 1st base?
Lillibridge...probably...I predict Rizzo and Castro play 323 out of a possible 324 reg season games..maybe 322
I noticed that in sale svuems press conference the other day he mentioned that he will have Hairston and Sappelt to bring in against lefties. Does this mean that sappelt is likely to make the roster over lillibridge, since they can't both make it unless the Cubs are going to take 13 position players
yeah, he may have just been talking at that moment without thinking about the numbers...I say Lillibridge is ahead of sappelt..if its 11 pitchers then Valbuena and Lillibridge make it as back-ups with the extra OF from the RF platoon..so Sappelt out for now...maybe they go with 10 pitchers to start but doubt it
Are we just getting all hyped up over soler like say Felix pie? Or is he looking like the real deal?
I mean I think he looks like the real deal just cause of his athletic body more than anything...he'll take some bad swings and hit some balls out..Pie coudlnt do that...he's a specimen...So hard to judge...but what would you rather see in an intra-squad game..a hr or a K ??
How long do you see Baez and Soler lasting before being cut? March 7? March 15? Can't wait to see them in live games.
Def be gone by the 15th..i think...maybe here on the 7th
Junior Lake at 3B or LF?
He's been doing most of his work at 3b
What are the chances we see Brett Jackson starting at Center Field this year?
I think its def possible but later in the season
Do you think Theo and Jed secretly hope that the team is not near contention at the deadline? I can't imagine they are not hoping for another high draft slot next year. 3 consecutive years of high draft picks is probably about what is need to establish a foundation for a big run.
Thats a great question...it might be the worst thing for them if they are kind of contenders but not really...then fans will be screaming for a trade for a major leaguer and that would cost a prospect and then they would draft lower...I think in a perfect world they contend for as long into the summer as they can then the roof caves in..I dont really mean that but if that scenarios played out it wouldnt be so bad for cubs brass
Jesse, how many of the players bring their families to camp with them?
Most that have young families bring them...ones with kids in school,etc. dont...girlfriends and wives usually come..not all though
Hi Jesse. Where do you see Vitters and Jackson starting out at this year?
Is Scott Baker doing anything in camp yet? Any word on how his rehab is progressing?
Yeah, he's throwing....on pace...should be up to 80 pitches by late next month so its slow but on pace..no set backs that I know of
Not sure how you can say Soler is a better prospect than Baez right now, every list I've seen has Baez number one. Let's not get too excited after one game. Or is there reason to believe Soler is soon to jump Baez in the pecking order? Or maybe they are 1a and 1b?
And who makes the lists? Trust me, Soler is ahead..Sveunm said as recently as yesterday Baez has a lot of work to do behind the scenes..im sure they both do but again, just for his athleticism and the fact that he plays OF (and not SS) Soler is ahead...let alone what looks to be his natural ability....we'll see...but since we have nothing to base it on why should baez be ahead? he is in people's minds only because he's played more games...at a very low level, big deal...but who knows..rankings prospects is a crap shoot..no doubt about that..
Who is projected to hit lead off this year? Is there a legitimate lead off caliber player in the minors?
Dejesus..and not really anyone close
If Solar has a great minor league season do you think he could be competing for a roster spot this time next year?
I'll only say its possible in the sense that you cant rule it out like with some players but that's all we can say...maybe the guy is a natural..it happens...but more than likely needs seasoning...more than likely
Any sight of Vogelbach in Arizona? How much weight has he lost....and how does it change his power?
I think he's just reporting now to minor league camp..havent seen him yet
Are the cubs treating all prospects with the idea of 500 at bats at AAA or just top prospects like Baez and soler?
I think everyone is a little different...Theo and Jed were talking in generalizations re that...guys can be fast tracked and others take longer...in a perfect world...a season at AAA makes sense though
So far who has impressed you the most in camp?
Def Soler...Lillibridge with his glove..castro swing looked good yesterday, not a surprise..Samarszija seems ready...Fujikawa just from watching bullpens....Junior Lake not bad as well
Bare with me on this one Jesse.If Tampa Bay are willing to trade David Price within the next couple of years and barring injury and poor play. Do you think the Cubs will go after him? Saying that,would you be willing to give up Baez and another top prospect (Almora or Soler) plus a thrown in or two? Or do you think the Cubs could give up Baez and just the thrown in's. Without giving up Almora or Soler?
I doubt they would give up soler or almora unless price turned out to be the final piece...can never know for sure...Baez prob more expendable considering position he plays..
Is it possible that everyone in the outfield, if they are having a good year and have a taker, get traded by the deadline? Besides Brett Jackson and Dave Sappelt..who would fill in the outfield in this situation?
It is possible..definitely..not probable but possible..Im sure all 4 wont go..so Schierholtz or Hairston would fill a void..jackson, sappelt...someone else having a good year in the minors..cant say now, maybe a AA player...
The chat with Barney was awesome! Any chance we could get another guest appearance soon? Like Anthony Rizzo?!?
Thanks...Rizzo actually said he would do one...its all about timing...prob better chance once the season begins and they have all night games on fridays cause right now everything is during the day and we do the chats at noon...will def have some more players though as we move along..
How's Marmol looked is side sessions - slider sliding and crossing the plate occasionally? Fair to expect him to be dealt before season as rumored if he looks okay in spring action?
Yeah, fair to think that...its more about his fastball at this point..its early but he seems to have picked up from where he left off from last season IM told..
How is Soriano's sore knee? Visible in his running?
Not visible but also not running all out..seems ok right now but its early
Any chance the Cubs make some moves during Spring Training? Like moving Soriano or Garza?
highly doubt it...they are both needed...cubs do want to be respectable and I dont think a team is throwing top prospects around in feb..maybe june or july...never say never though
Who do you predict will be the biggest suprise in camp and a contributor to this years major league team? Including prospects and vets
Hmm...depends how you describe surprise...maybe one of those RF guys, hairston or schierholtz...maybe Samardzija makes all-star team or something..Id go that route I guess
How soon do you think fans that dont understand you are building a team will clamor for them to bring Soler up if he has a nice spring and solid start in A or AA? and use the example of trout to justify their reasoning?
Soon...I kind of having a running joke with Theo..everytime I see him after Soler does something I say "AA?" "AAA?" He's the one slowing down the hype..usually the opposite right? Prob is he hasnt played a lot of games over last couple seasons so assumption is he will struggle once he sees good pitching..its prob true..in fact its almost a gaurantee...there is almost NO scenario where he comes up this year unless its sept for a taste and only then...and only maybe
Any chance Sori finishes out his contract as a Cub?
Def theres a chance...but next year if hes still hitting the odds go way up he's moved..but no done deal by any means
2015 Cubs starting lineup: Soler RF; Almora CF; Jackson LF; Baez 3B; Castro SS; Barney 2B; Rizzo 1B. Sound about right? If so, who catches?
Prob best case scenarios and by his size Soler might be better suited for the corner...Castillo might still be catching...and btw, prob not all going to make it by then or make it all so remember they will sign FA's when needed...so lets say two prospects make it..and 2 more are signed from free agency, that makes more sense
I'm sure no one is off limits, but if Baker proves healthy and as effective as he was pre-surgery, do the Cubs see him as more of a trade chip or someone they can build around going forward?
Not build around but serviceable...and anything is possible..he could help them win or help them acquire other talent..no way to know right now
As good as Rizzo is, and as much as Thoe and Jed apparently like him (drafted & traded for him twice), could Volgebach's massive power eventually challenge him at 1B? Nowehere else for the kid to play defensively...
I would doubt it..Rizzo coming on defensively and already getting established...trade chip?..or turn him into an OF I suppose
I know Soler is best suited for the corner, that's why I had him at RF. That is a corner Jesse!!!
Sorry, my eyes are getting bad in my old age and sun right on me..thought you had him in CF...duh. thanks..yeah, RF seems about right
Cubs will trade both Feldman, Baker, and Garza if all are healthy. You can book it.
I dont doubt its possible....every single player on the last year of hs deal and/or that isnt an obvious core player is eligible..
How come the Cubs don't kick the tires on a guy like Brian Wilson? They could use the bullpen help for sure, especially with Marmol expected to be moved. Seems like a relatively cheap low risk, high reward situation.
I havent asked and maybe they will inquire if marmol is traded but their pen is kind of good and obviosuly if they signed a 32 year old fujikawa then they dont really like a guy like wilson much...hey, no one else has gone after him...but again their pen is pretty decent
If Marmol departs as expected, even if Fujikawa is as advertised and closes, who sets him up in the 7th and 8th? Seems they are really lacking there. I would guess Russell to be one of them.
Well remember Russell and Camp bascially did it last year so sure, they will slide back into that role but now a little less pressure...they had a lot of appearances
Our there any non roster invites at Cubs camp that could make an impact this year?
Brent Lillibridge is about the only one
If you were a betting man, what two prospects makes it to the Cubs starting lineup in a year or two? What free agents do you see the Cubs trying to sign to fill the void of the other two prospects.
Well Soler is an easy answer, not saying he will def so it but he's an easy answer..I like Junior Lake so far...and Brett Jackson has worked his butt off so lets go that route for a guy or two...I cant tell you names for FA right now but I would expect a leadoff man type would be nice to find and more pitching, pitching, pitching
If Darwin Barney shows some improvement at the plate, does that make him more likely to be traded, or more likely to be considered apart of the core?
I think part of the core but thats my opinion I could be wrong..OBP simply has to go north..
Though trading barney does open some spots whether it be Baez or Lake..but they better pick it like Barney does...gotta be careful...not every prospect is going to make it..I already have Soler in HOF :)
What kind of line should we expect out of Samardzija this year? 220-14-8-200-3.45-1.25 realistic?
I think it is...nothing say to me right now he wont have a big year...experience is there, stuff, motivation, confidence,etc...we'll see
sorry for grammar and spelling...just trying to type fast!
Are Cubs fans both the most cynical and ridiculously hopeful people in the world?
Yes...but for good reason
Any chance Baez or Soler reach the Triple A level this year?
Again, the word "chance" is kind of vague but yes, within reason, there is def a chance in my opinion but its not like at 90 percent or anything
5 OFs plus 6 IF plus 2 catchers = 13. Got to believe thats what they go with right?
Yes, I think I miscounted before. so Valbuena, lillibridge and sappelt can all make it...
Thats it for this week...Thanks for all the questions...we'll do it every friday usually at noon...follow me on twitter @espnchicubs and check out the blog daily for new stuff...including videos and Q and A's ,etc. Have a 90 sec one up there where sappelt interviews Samaradzija about the hail storm here the other day..kind of funny...anyway, today's intrasquad game is about to start and cactus league play begins tomorrow...will be tweeting in-game,etc....stay warm back there! talk to you next week. you can always email me at email@example.com