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April 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers, Doug Padilla

Jesse Rogers
  (1:03 PM)

Hi all. welcome to our weekly baseball chat for cubs and sox. I'm in atlanta now where the cubs open a 3 game series..kind of overcast and cool..lots going on with the final four here this weekend but we have baseball to talk about. Scott Feldman makes his cubs debut tonight as the cubs are 2-1 after their fine pitching performances (minus marmol) in Pitt..fire away

Alex Aynessazian (Sycamore, IL)

Do you feel that the Cubs are keeping Marmol at the closer spot to possibly add to his trade value down the road? Or is it blind faith from the organization to hope he can be the closer he once was?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:06 PM)

Ok, a ton of Marmol questions..what a surprise..here's my take: I think a lot of things are going on including trade value or bigger picture, just seeing if he can close..they assumed he would after the last half of last season and a game or two doesnt determine anything...HOWEVER, I have no prob adding his spring woes into the mix -- right or wrong -- so for me its not a game or two...also, I know this to be true---once they make a move its not going to be a short term thing..so they want to be sure...they want fuji etc to know his role and marmol to know his...not go week to week etc...

Jesse Rogers
  (1:07 PM)

Last season marmol got the job back but it took a while so same thing here...once they make the move, they dont want to change it back a week later...

Eric (Ptroit)

I don't expect more than say 75 wins for the cubbies, in fact that would be a pretty good 2013 season. But, its not over until its over right? If the A's can do it, so can the division leading Chicago Cubs right? Tell me this isn't me being absurd.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:09 PM)

Its pretty absurd unless this pitching holds up...cause the lineup is just avg after 2-4 hitters..anyhting can happen and I do like their defense more than I thought..but I think the margin for error is so slim and already 3 guys are hurt so stick with 75

Ross (wahoo ne)

I say only 1 Marmol question. Looks to me like Scherholtz looks alot more locked in than other new comers. Is he always gonna sit vs lefties?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:10 PM)

Sveum certianly didnt make it sound that way though he did against Rodriguez..I think he is more of a "Theo hitter" than Hairston..thats my take so I think he'll play more than first thought...I like that swing and his left center power like we saw yesterday but long way to go to know if that was a good signing

Jason Mahn (Huntley, Illinois)

Why doesn't anybody accept the fact the this year is the Cubs year???

Jesse Rogers
  (1:12 PM)

Cause we're smart? I will say this..when they do turn the corner I dont see it being as gradual as people think...I think they go from like 90 losses to 90 wins in the span of one year or what not..just not sure it will be this year

Miguel (Glendale Heights) [via mobile]

After watching the CUBS 1st series vs. The PIRATES what are your expectaions??

Jesse Rogers
  (1:13 PM)

Hard to assess in that weather...about what I expected out of the staff -- including Marmol...I do like the pen more than most I think...camp, russell, fuji did their jobs but cold weather makes things a mess to fig out

Rajan (Hinsdale)

Hey Jesse, I really appreciate the work you do. If they produce within the coming weeks, could Lillibridge/Valbuena eearn a starting spot over Stewart? Stewart isn't a star player who deserves a spot reserved for him, so if Lillibridge plays well, he could earn the job, and the same goes for Valbuena?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:14 PM)

No, because they cant hit like he potentially can and actually he's a pretty good third baseman..they are what they are, backups in my opinion

Kevin (Chicago)

What prospects do you expect we will see in the big leagues this year? Just Jackson and maybe Junior Lake?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:15 PM)

I'm sure there will be a pitcher or two like rusin back up but position wise, as long as he's performing at AAA then Jackson for sure...Lake gets healthy and produces then at some point he'll be here as well so yes prob those two maybe vitters as well

Peter (Downstate)

Feldman looks like this year's Volstad. What gives hope that he might be decent? Can't see him beating Braves, but hope for an upset

Jesse Rogers
  (1:17 PM)

He has one start against Atl in his carerr...7 ip, 2 runs I believe, for what thats worth...2 things give hope: coming from AL inlcuding hitter friendly texas to the NL and his strikeout and walk numbers last yr were the best of his career, bascially...he did get hit in spring and left the ball up but that was spring so we'll see

Jim (CA)

Hey Jesse, aside from Marmol the Cubs pitching staff seems to be capable of keeping games close, the real concern is offense, who can realistically make a leap and start putting runs on the board? Clevenger??

Jesse Rogers
  (1:18 PM)

Well Sori should start hitting in the warmer weather and Dejesus has to get going..Clev is nice off the bench, thats it

Forrest (Grayslake) [via mobile]

What are the chances the Cubs trade Edwin Jackson at the trade deadline this year. I know you said before that there is no chance but I feel that he is expendable if they get offered the right package

Jesse Rogers
  (1:19 PM)

I dont think so unless someone gives up the farm..they def signed him with the mindset he'd be here when they contend..I think!

Jimmy (Downers Grove)

The SPs have performed really well these first 3 games, how much was that because we played the Pirates and the bats were cold with the frigid Pitt weather?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:21 PM)

Some but not all...I didnt see the those guys get away with a lot of mistakes so again, some due to cold but they pitched well...

hack wilson the 4th (Boulder, CO)

Hey Jesse - On the Cubs offense... We have two players that would start on just about any team in Rizzo and Castro. We have the aged Soriano, sure to decrease in production. We have a young catcher who may work out. Then we have 4 platoon players and 5 bench guys.... All sharing four starting roles in a major league lineup. And it's pretty clear the return of Ian Stewart won't help. Could this be the worst Cubs offense ever?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:22 PM)

It's why a guy like Schierholtz becomes so key and ANY injury -- ebven to barney and stewart-- is magnified...just such a small margin for error..but again, if schierholtz comes through behind the big 3 then it looks a lot better...youre not far off though

hack wilson the 4th (Boulder, CO)

Hey, Jesse. I want you to know that I fully appreciate and support your repeated calls for Marmol to be removed at closer. He is so unreliable that the Tigers just re-signed Valverde. Nobody wants him at closer anymore, so there is no need to try to sell him as one. That ship sailed, what, three years ago? But here's my fear: Sveum is starting to act like Dusty: he will reject the opinions of the media and do the WRONG thing, and he knows it, just to say that he is not to be influenced by public opinion. Am I right?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:24 PM)

Nah, it goes back to what I said...for them its one or two games...they dont care about the past...he'll make the change, if hes going to, in due time, when enough chances have been given..or it just becomes impossible because they are losing games...right now they havent lost a game because of him, that helps with giving more chances

Jack (Chicago)

Do you agree with Theo that the Wrigley renovations could impact team performance? Does our facilities actually impact FA signing decisions?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:26 PM)

Who knows...they went to the playoffs plenty (sort of ) of yrs with bad facilities...I thought everyone loved Chi., they need a cool weight room to sign here? it cant hurt but Im not sure how much it helps...

Edwin Galletti [via mobile]

Since the Cubs are in full re-build mode, wouldn't it make sense to bring up Jackson, Viters, Lake, and some of the prospects that are close to get some work in on a major league level o see what we got?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:28 PM)

You can look at diff ways...get them ML experience and learn here or make them earn it first at the lower levels...plus keep their arb clock from starting..I can see both sides but ultimately it makes sense to me to make them earn it and you CAN ruin a guy bringing him up too early..not saying it will happen but it can so basically without a "rush" in a sense I have no prob with it this way..they will be here soon enough if their play dictates it

Mike (Baltimore)

Hey Jesse, do you think if Dale uses Marmol in the 9th on Monday he'll get booed at Wrigley?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:29 PM)

I think one more rough one in Atl then come monday if he goes to him to start the 9th or in the middle of the inning, yes, I do think there will be boos...one good one here might change that..

Alex Aynessazian (Sycamore, IL)

How much tension is there between the Cubs organization and the city of Wrigleyville? Could the Rosemont Cubs actually happen?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:30 PM)

There is plenty of tension but it's going to get done..no on rosemont, no way was that going to happen...it'll get done because it HAS to..Ive been out of town with the team but it looks like things are finally moving..

Jesse Rogers
  (1:32 PM)

Doug Padilla is next up for sox talk..,maybe we'll go an hout next week as there are a lot of questions...follow me on twitter @espnchicubs...Feldman debut tonight is one storyline...lets hope for a 7 run lead entering the 9th..that's enough right? Thanks again..you can email me at jrogers@espnchicago.com if need be...

Doug Padilla
  (1:33 PM)

OK, time to get going. White Sox and Mariners open a three-game set tonight at the Cell.

Jeff Farmer (Chicago IL)

Are the White Sox going to strike out this much all season? or can I please give some credit to the KC pitching staff

Doug Padilla
  (1:35 PM)

Doubt they go down nearly 10 times a game, but the K totals likely will be higher with Flowers in the mix now. The White Sox were 18th in baseball in strikeouts last season which isn't bad considering Dunn led the league ad nearly set a MLB record. And yes, give the Royals credit, especially Guthrie who has been a handful since joining KC last season.

Frank in Rockford [via mobile]

Will T Flowers be able to produce offensively as well as handle the pitching staff for the full season?

Doug Padilla
  (1:38 PM)

Give Flowers credit for his hot start, especially with all the pressure he was facing as A.J.'s replacement. Don't expect him to be this hot all season. Nobody could sustain this. His rough patches are sure to come in a long season. What he has more control of is handling the staff and that is what the coaches have told him to focus on first. So far he's done that and more.

Peter (Chicago)

It's probably too early, but with such little production at the top of the order from De Aza and Keppinger in the first series. Do you think the line up will be switched around a bit, maybe put Gordon at the two?

Doug Padilla
  (1:40 PM)

You are correct Peter, it's way too early to hit the panic button. Beckham has found something in that nine hole so why mess with it? It happens every season that the early numbers get so much focus. It's human nature. If De Aza and Keppinger are struggling like this three weeks from now, then it will be a better conversation.

Nate (Joliet)

Doug, I know it was just one series, but Kepp has already struck out a couple times. Is this a sign that he isn't seeing the ball well because he hasn't really hit this first series?

Doug Padilla
  (1:43 PM)

Despite 4Ks from Viciedo yesterday, the bigger story does seem like it's Keppinger's 2 Ks in 12 at bats. Funny how that works. Not sure about his ability to see the ball but it's not like he's played at US Cellular all that much. It's still early and after all, it's a guy trying to prove himself to new teammates and a new fan base. Way too early to panic.

Vince (Chicago)

Should Sox fans be concerned that the only way the sox seem to score is by home runs? What about there already high strikeout total?

Doug Padilla
  (1:45 PM)

Not good that they haven't shown much run manufacturing so far. Hate to keep going back to the fact that the season is still young but this is a team that's 2-1 and hit four home runs in a game already. Give them time to get the kinks out, but we do have something to watch closely as we move forward. And the Royals have a pretty good pitching staff. Let's not forget that.

Mark (Winston Salem, NC)

Why 5 days rest for Sale? Why not put him in there every 5th day? Are they just trying to conserve his and every other pitcher's arm strength for an entire season?

Doug Padilla
  (1:48 PM)

Sure would have been nice to see Sale vs. Felix. Robin just wants rotation continuity and it doesn't hurt that they aren't asking to much from Sale so early in the year. If it was Buehrle instead of Sale, they probably would have skipped the five spot for a day, but not now. Give Axelrod his regular starts until Danks gets back.

Jack (Parts Unknown)

What is the timetable on John Danks? Do you see him being able to contribute at full capacity at all this year even when he does come back?

Doug Padilla
  (1:50 PM)

Speaking of Danks ... He did have an outing in AZ against minor leaguers yesterday. Gave up a run in five innings. Not sure what to make of that. Would have rather seen a velocity report and the White Sox did not provide one. Until that velocity is back around 90 heading toward his usual 92-93 he probably stays put. Could be looking at May 1, but nobody has said anything to this point. Danks might be back in town this weekend so we'll get his update on the situation.

Tom (Chicago)

Doug, I'm not sold on the Tigers running away with the division. I think they have a shaky bullpen and could have some key injuries. It's early, but how do you like the Sox bullpen compared to the rest of the division?

Doug Padilla
  (1:53 PM)

Hard to knock the Tigers, who certainly have the talent to run away with it. Problem is that they can still win it by not playing at their best. Don't think the White Sox can't say that. But I share your love of this bullpen. Those three big arms (Reed, Jones, Lindstrom) fit in nicely with vets like Thornton and Crain. Robin has already said it could end up being the strength of the team, but he didn't want to put too much pressure on those guys since some key relievers are so young.

Chris (Chicago)

My biggest concern is the defensive lapses. Should we be worried that last year's improved defense was an aberration?

Doug Padilla
  (1:55 PM)

I'd be more worried if the White Sox were kicking the ball all around the infield or throwing it into the stands. A few outfield lapses can be tolerated for now. If Beckham and Ramirez start with the juggling act, that's when it would be time to panic.

Tom S. (Sacramento)

Doug -- it feels to me like this season will play out similarly to last year: The White Sox will compete because their pitching is good enough and they'll hit a ton of home runs at the cell. So, what do you think they need, whether it's just through improvement or a trade, to push them into the playoffs this season?

Doug Padilla
  (1:59 PM)

They'd be in business if they played the first four months like they did last year. Some of those guys that faded toward the end of the year are now armed with the knowledge of what they need to get through the season.If Danks is still having issues by the trade deadline then a starter would be a good pickup. But as it stands now, it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick up a lefty bat that can come off the bench and knock one out of the park every once in a while.

Nick (Kenosha)

Does Addison Reed have the potential to be a dominant closer in this league for years to come? I don't want him to have Bobby Jenks syndrome where he gets off to a hot start and then 5 years later is done for

Doug Padilla
  (2:02 PM)

Only time will tell, but as he adds that slider and changeup to his fastball, he has more to go to when not everything if firing. If he can get easy outs on all three pitches there is no reason to think he can't have a long and productive career. Not common so see a closer with so many pitches. They prefer to keep it simple. But Reed might follow in the tracks of the handful of guys who have broken the mold.

John (Chicago)

Are the Sox drinking the Kool-Aid or do you really believe Dayan Viciedo could be a perennial 30-100 hitter?

Doug Padilla
  (2:05 PM)

I certainly think he can be. Is he ready to be that this year? Perhaps. Look, he went 25-78 last year so it won't take too much improvement to get there. His RBI chances probably won't be huge if Konerko is cleaning things up in front of him. And he can be exposed, that's for sure (see yesterday's 4 Ks). If he improves against right-handed pitching each year the sky's the limit. The White Sox would certainly be happy with 25-90 this year.

E (Arlington, VA)

White Sox still dig the long ball. Not that I'm complaining, it's nice to get the season off to a homerific start. Just hope that the bats don't get cold. The pitching has been there so far, the offense just has to keep up. Beckham, Rios, and Flowers have been the hot bats for week 1. Let's Go Sox!

Doug Padilla
  (2:08 PM)

Not sure there is a question in there. Going 2-1 against the Royals is solid, but in the locker room afterward there did seem to be a bit of a letdown that they couldn't get the sweep. That's a good sign. The Royals are tough and figure to make noise this season.

Jon (Chicago, IL)

If Paul Konerko were a kind of beer, what kind of beer would he be? Robin Ventura? Gordon Beckham?

Doug Padilla
  (2:10 PM)

We'll call Konerko a nice and thick barrel-aged stout. Strong and something that goes down SLOW. Everybody else is a nice IPA. How's that for an answer?

Doug Padilla
  (2:10 PM)

Thanks for the questions. Talk to everybody next week. White Sox-Mariners, 7:10 p.m. from U.S. Cellular tonight. See you there.