Hi all, welcome to our weekly baseball chat. Im in the pressbox at camelback ranch where the Cubs will take on the Sox here a day after beating the Dodgers in the same stadium...supposed to be the hottest day of the spring yet...getting up to 93 degrees..This cubs squad will head to Vegas right after the game...there's another squad back in mesa taking on the semi final Japanese team from the WBC...that squad will play games all weekend in Az....so thats the deal...fire away with questions!
Hello, Midway through March and a couple of weeks to opening day - your thoughts so far of what to expect from the Cubs and White Sox this year?
Ill just answer the Cubs...Doug Padilla will be along to answer Sox...Im starting to believe in the Cubs offense more than I did a few weeks ago..David Dejesus has quietly had a good spring and thikns he may have made an adjustment to raise his BA and OBP...if he can that really sets the table for Castro, Rizzo, Sori...the bullpen really is solid unless Fujikawa is no good come the reg season..so there are signs for a better team...but they will sell some pieces again IM sure...they could creep towards .500 if things fall their way...
Who is the Cubs opening day 3rd baseman?
Lets just go ahead and say Luis Valbuena...Ian Stewart is coming along but still wont see Cactus League action until at least next week..it could be a Valbuena/Lillibridge platoon until something changes..maybe there is a pick up there to be made off the waiver wire...stewart isnt done just yet...its still spring training an dstill mid-march but Ill go with valbuena...sveum likes him and he's been pretty good at the plate this spring
At this point in time, who do you think will be in the Cubs bullpen opening day?
Russell, Camp, Rondon, Rusin, Fujikawa, Marmol (if not traded)and one more spot bewteen like 2-3 guys but remember Rusin and that last spot go to the minors when Garza and Baker are ready so prob only a couple weeks for them...whats interesting is if Rusin keeps pitching well should he start over villanueva? The former has always started while the latter is better in relief..but maybe Rusin is fooling us cause its just spring training.
Is 2014 the year cubs fans should expect a push for the post season?
Tough call cause even if a prospect or two makes the team...remember they are just rookies at that point and unless they just light it up and win ROY then they will be going through adjustments ,etc. ...however, its not THAT hard to compete for the wild card....may alos depend if they open the purse strings for a FA outfielder or pitcher...def need better pitching at that point
Would like to see a 10-15 win improvement from the cubs from last year. Also am hoping Rizzo and Castro take another step forward
That makes sense..but of course baseball rarely follows the plan you think it should...agree with Castro and Rizzo..especially castro..nows the time to go to the next level..has contract, help in lineup, experience, health...no reason he's not better on offense especially...I find it interesting he's in the 2-hole cause I dont know if long term he'll be there..but its like they are forcing him to be a better all around hitter...100 k's and 36 BB HAS to start to reverse itself...50 and 50 would be nice...ok, maybe 50 BB and 75 k's
How concerned should we be about Almora's broken bone. Is this going to turn into a "lost season" as far as his development goes?
I dont think so..from everything Ive read and heard its not THAT uncommon of an injury and doesnt linger like other wrist problems etc. May is not like losing a season...
Who will be the 1st minor leaguer called up based upon performance?
really good question...the easy answer would be Brett jackson and that might be the right one..but I still dont think they want to rush him in any way...next time he's up it should be for good if they do things the right way...Dejesus will help determine that as well of course...
Any news as to which big name prospects from the Cubs will be sent to Kane County? I haven't heard much about where Soler, Baez and Almora may end up. Also who is that pitcher from Stanford the Pirates couldn't get a deal with, and what are the chances the Cubs get him in the draft
Mark Appel is the guy you are thinking of and yes they have a chance..heck they have a chance at almost anyone since they are drafting No.2..we'll see...I think Almora is the only one going to Kane county...maybe, maybe Soler...but I think Soler and Baez start in Daytona
When are the Cubs going to give up on Garza? He's just riding a gravy train to nowhere.
Probably after this season..contract up...optimistic view could be this stuff will be long forgotten come late april and rest of the season cause he'll be picthing every turn OR things linger and it really becomes a lost season or half season...either way his contract is up and probably cant committ long term...but then you do have to replace that talent..might not be hard to replace the innings since havent been much lately.
It seems that Cubs are now drafting smarter, who should we attribute that to?
Um, take a guess....Theo Epstein hired Jason McLeod so thats the team there...but lets see how it pans out...everything is on paper right now..we need to see it on the field but there is talent there..no doubt
Can you see Jorge Soler making a Starlin Castro like jump to the bigs this Sept. Castro seems like he came out of no where and hit a homer and drove in 6 and never looked back. Is Soler that good???
I think he is...Theo, etc will say he'll need more seasoning but I say once in a while you get a natural type player who progresses faster than expected..Soler is showing signs of being that player...his "poise" as Sveum has said over and over is beyond his years...and he didint rule it out in sept but also said longshot...prob is but longshot doesnt mean no chance...hard to start at A and make it to majors...wonder how many have done it but maybe this guy is special enough...
If Garza doesn't end up doing anything this year, do the Cubs risk tendering him an offer in the hopes that he rejects it and they at least get draft compensation? Or is it too much of a risk that he'd just accept?
Good question...if he does "nothing" then hard to imagine a majoe offer coming his way and he knows it...he might take a one year tender to prove himself, in fact I think he would cause that wold be two years with nothing...BUT i just cant believe a little lat injury is going to derail his season...unless its not so little
Cubs want more night games - first why don't they stop using them in April and other cold months - concentrate them in summer and after road trips
I dont have all the answers but first off you want them in april and spet when school is in session so people can still go and they cant have friday nights and thats alot of the time when they come back from road trips..and can only have a few sat. so there are several reasons
Yes, you're right, everything is on paper right now. How or when will we know that this organization is actually developing this talent correctly?
A year, two, three....I dont have a crystal ball on when they matriculate to majors but I do know they arent in a hurry...trying to do it right and that means patience...
Who is the future 3rd and second basemen for the cubs
Cant answer that definitively, fluid question...If barney hits, its him..why wouldnt it be? but thats a big IF...if he doesnt than maybe Baez or Castro moves to second...or Logan Watkins turns into a hot prospect...if Junior Lake takes the right steps he has the body for a power hitting 3rd baseman thats where Casro goes..or maybe Vitters figures it out...or maybe hes not on the team yet...things have to play out..I think thats why they are excited..the possibilities are starting to be realized even if thre answers arent...
menat to say OR thats where castro goes
Has there been any indication of how the outfield rotation is going to work. Is it a strictly platoon situation in RF?
No, I think Dale is still figuring it out...its a little unusal to have two left handed hitting outfielders I guess and neither is a all-star type talking about Dejesus and Schierholtz so some day they'll both be out of the lineup against lefties, somedays one will be in..hairston will get his at-bats...so depends on that other outfielder..this is why Bogusevic is still a long shot...he's a lefty..that actually works aginast him..normally that works for a hitter
Thats it for cubs talk..Doug Padilla will take over for Sox conversation...follow me on twitter @espnchicubs..check out the cubs blog....in there is a link to submit questions to pitcher Scott Feldman..he'll answer them over the weekend and Ill post early next week...enjoy the game..its on TV
Hello all. Let's begin with some White Sox talk.
Are the Sox ready to trade Danks and Floyd yet? I know its just Spring Training and they consistently eat a bunch of innings, but they are also consistently average at best. Would it make sense to get a couple good prospects that could be great in a couple years?
That is nowhere in the plan right now Paul. The team has been built on pitching and both are a huge part of the rotation. Danks still needs to get healthy and Gavin needs to rebound fro 2012. In Floyd's case he doesn't wow you but if he can be steady and eat up 200 innings the White Sox would be pleased. The Cubs just paid a ton of $$ for Edwin Jackson to do just that.
I know you can't have enough good starting pitching, but I almost think the White Sox do. Someone is either going to be wasted in middle relief or sent to the minor league, when I feel we need to trade one for an offensive player. I'm not really even sure what position we need to trade for. What is your opinion on this and if you agree, what offensive player or position would you lean towards?
Mark, if you are talking about giving Hector Santiago or Dylan Axelrod a chance and trading a guy in the rotation, again that isn't the plan. Look, nobody goes through a season with 5 guys making 32 starts. Just doesn't happen. You need guys capable of joining the rotation when needed and that is how the White Sox figure to start the season.
Doug, do the Sox sign Brennan Boesch? Also is this team a playoff team? I think there is still a lot of question marks, and are division is going to be really tough.
As Bruce Levine wrote earlier this week, he is a fit. But Boesch will also have his options to choose from. It isn't as easy as just committing to him. As for being a playoff team, everything has to go right. If more than four or five guys play below their career norms it will be tough for the rest of the group to pick up the slack. The AL Central is definitely on the rise, but maybe the good news is that the favored Tigers won't be able to run away and hide.
How has tyler flowers done this spring this far? As well as jarred mitchell
Flowers has done well, especially with doing what it takes to get on the same page with the pitching staff. That is what he will be judged on first. Not to say he can ignore the offensive side but defense is first priority. Mitchell has been outstanding. As a football/baseball guy when he was drafted he is finally progressing as expected. The plan is for him to still be at AAA, but with a good season a starting OF spot could be his next year, not to mention a call up this year.
Shouldn't the Sox look to get some sort of veterans on the bench at reasonable salary, like in the past with Erstad, Widger, Andruw Jones, Dave Martinez, etc...? Thanks (I know youth must be served and our future is Mitchell, Sanchez, Thompson).
Doesn't look like that's in the plan right now, unless somebody gets hurt before the season starts. Wise fits that vet-off-the-bench role. It's not so much that a veteran for the bench would block a young player. The young prospects won't be asked to serve in bench roles. They need to play every day in the minors so their growth won't be stunted and they are well developed by the time they arrive.
Can't wait to head over to Camelback Ranch this afternoon for the game vs the Cubs! How much should we be worried about Danks's performance so far? Also, any lingering affect from Floyd's injuries last season?
With the slow pace Danks started on this spring it was clear the White Sox were prepared to start the first few weeks of the season without him. Axelrod looks like he might be able to hold down the fort for a couple of starts until Danks' arm strength is where he wants it. But Danks still has three spring starts before the White Sox have to make a decision. And catcher Tyler Flowers, for one, said he has witnessed some progress.
As for Gavin, he said he is feeling just fine. He is trying to find consistency by breaking things down in the smallest units possible. Game-by-game, inning-by-inning, pitch-by-pitch. He feels comfortable micromanaging things to get the results he wants.
How many wins should the Sox be hoping for? Is 85-88 fair? Or should I be getting excited to compete for the Central?
I think this club has to aim for more than that. Not saying it's a 100-victory team, but they have the talent to get 90 to 92. But a tough division isn't going to make it easy. Staying healthy will be key. If Sale and Quintana took another step forward that would help. In Sale's case, that would put him up there with some elite pitchers if he got even better.
What does Beckham have to do this year to keep the starting job?
He has shown that he can make progress on the defensive side. It's time for the offense to move forward as well. That rookie season has been somewhat of a curse for him in that everybody not only expects him to meet that again but to improve on it. That has yet to happen. If the offense is inconsistent and the defense regresses then a guy like Keppinger could be called on to take over there. But that leaves a hole at 3B. Beckham knows the stakes, has been working hard and has said all the right things this spring.
Hey Doug, What will the outfield look like this coming season? Can we expect De Aza and Wise to split time, or Viciedo to move around. Also, Rios is a lock in right, correct?
It will the same as last year. Viciedo, De Aza and Rios from left to right. Don't look for Wise and De Aza to "split time" since both bat left. Wise will get plenty of chances in LF and RF so that Robin can get another lefty bat in there. OF changes could start to happen next year. Viciedo could go to the infield in 2014 leaving an opening for Mitchell to take over in LF.
You think Danks will start out in Triple A this year to get his confidence back?
It's not a matter of confidence with Danks it's arm strength. The most that will happen is that he is left behind at expended spring training when the season starts and after a minor-league rehab start or two he joins the White Sox in mid April. But he still has time (3 more spring starts) to show what he can do and break camp with the club, which has always been his goal.
I project a 240 avg 20 hr season for flowers and i predict deaza will have at least 35 steals which do you feel is most likely?
Probably the Flowers numbers. Could actually see him hitting 25 HRs if things go just right for him. He will definitely strike out more than AJ, though. As for De Aza, that jump to 35 steals isn't out of the question. He had 26, while being caught 12 times. He knows the league better now and at 28 he still has his legs.
Thanks for all the questions everybody. Enjoy today's Cubs-Sox tilt if you are in Arizona. And if you aren't then head over to WGN at 2 p.m. CST to get a peek inside Camelback Ranch. Talk to everybody next week.