Hi all, welcome to our weekly cubs chat. Im in the warm press box at Wrigley Field getting ready for game 2 of Cubs and Giants...Steve Clevenger gets the start at 3rd base..his first ever in the big leagues...Is it a risky move for a team that leads the league in errors? We'll find out soon...fire away with questions...
Jesse - I'm willing to give the Cubs a pass on some of these errors due to the weather...but is there any reason to believe their defense will improve this season?
They started in a similiar fashion last year and got better but frankly that means nothing for this year...both teams play in the cold so cant give that much of a pass...The pace they're on cant keep up so thats good news but a guy like Castro concerns me...these are terrible errors he's making...little league type stuff..and we arent even two weeks into the season...august heat is one thing..worn down, etc. but now? no excuse..so not sure how to answer you
Who gets sent down on Tuesday? Is it definitely Gonzalez or is it possible that lillibridge or clevenger could get sent down?
Good question...maybe thats why they're looking at Clevenger at third today..he's so limited in where he can play that he's the favorite to go down..I'm doubting it's Lillibridge, highly doubting...too many positions he can play...so Gonzalez or Clev...I think Gonzalez has been decent actually and again can play several positions but Clev bat is better...tough call.I think I just talked myself into Gonzalez being sent out..Clev bat off the bench is valuable
When will Ryan Sweeney come up for clevenger? He is a left handed bat who is a better hitter and can actually play defense. I can't imagine that clevenger getting 3 ABs a week and the occasional start is a better option than Sweeney or even bogusevich off the bench.
He won't for Clevenger..they have enough outfielders, especially from the left side..both Sweeney and Bogusevic are hurt cause they are lefties...Sappelt hasnt had a hot start so if there was a right ready he'd come up..besides, when he's ready, Brett Jackson probably gets the call..but thats prob more to start than back-up...dont see Sweeney here soon...I dont think..
Hey, Jesse! I miss your great coverage on the Blackhawks. What did you do? Got your boss mad? Is covering the Cubs a demotion? Feels like we have already dropped out of the race.. Letí»s trade all the tradables, draft some pitchers in June, and call it a season! Except for SPs, I doní»t see any improvements from last year. Your thoughts?
Ha, no. I dont wasnt to diss hockey but it was not a demotion...Im sure that's the plan...trade some parts closer to the deadline and acquire more prospects but this better be the last year they do this or they might have a riot on thier hands..
I'm sure you're gonna get this a lot....but are there any teams interested in trading us for Marmol? I'd take an order of Chinese Food for him at this point.....
No..that I know of
Castro has the potential to be one of the best shortstops in the MLB but his lack of concentration on the field is hard to watch. Do you think that focus issues can be fixed? I don't think this is something that could be coached or completely corrected.
Listen to an interview I did with infield coach David Bell...will be up on our site in a bit...he's fully convinced Castro can get the job done and specifically said at SS...now , maybe he's just backing his guy and we all see the talent but Im not sure anyone can know definitively...every step forward is seemingly followed by a step back..from a personal note Im really down on him cause he had me convinced this was going to be the year and already we've seen a handful of bad plays..
I saw a clip featuring nearly empty left field bleachers. The weather was awful, but I haven't seen anything like that since....pre 70s? How about you? Have you ever seen the Wrigley bleachers with so few fans?
I havent been around the team too much the last couple of years but lets put it this way, the conditions were about as bad as Ive ever seen for fans..still, if the product is good more would be here...weather is just awful though..you are right it does remind me of the old days though..or last yr in sept. lol
Jesse, with the way Feldman has pitched, how short of a leash is he on? Is a move to the bullpen for him not out of the question, or was that Villanueva's role from the beginning?
I dont doubt when Garza get's healthy they'll keep the best 5 in the rotation..they better because that's what Sveum has said repeatedly..if Villanueva throws well today than he's up two to nothing on feldman..lets see how it plays out..feldman has been a reliever so def could happen..
Garza to LA. Is that a thought soon?
Should we be afraid that we have a Zambrano 2.0 in Soler after he went bananas a few nights ago?
I doubt..with Z you saw it in him from day 1...not the case here but no one knows for sure cause no one knows him THAT well..still, would be very surprised if he was that nuts
Hey Jess, Strausburg and Harper were billed as can't-miss-prospects, and they've been living up to it so far. Do the Cubs have anything like that in their minor leagues? (Can't-miss, not, good-potential-but-needs-seasoning types.)
No, not like that...Harper was featured in SI when he was like 15 or something...Strasburg, similiar feelings on him...that's a whole other level of prospect...the Cubs dont have that as far as I can tell...maybe the No. 2 pick, if it's Appel from Stanford will be that guy..not sure
Hey Jesse...any chance the poor infield play we've seen thus far can be attributed to the release of Pat Listasch?
Very hard for me to judge that...they were shaky at the beginning of last year too...hard to draw that line but I will say David Bell (infield coach now) had such an optimistic view of things I hope he isnt ignoring the sort of obvious
Jesse, if You had to guess who the Cubs are taking in the draft at number 2, who do You think it will be?
Appel if he's there...or another pitcher...
Hey, Jesse. Are Sappelt's and Lillibridges roster spots in trouble with Barney coming back and Sweeny in AAA?
Kind of answered that before...I dont think so...Sappelt being right handed helps him and Lillibridge plays everywhere though not off to a good start...I could be wrong but dont think so
Hey guys, what do you think, does Starlin Castro ever get out of the bad habit of watching plays unfold in front him rather than putting his head and making plays really happen and taking his game to the next level?
Lots of questions about Castro...remains to be seen...who can tell how a guy is going to mature..but at some point soon he's no longer "young" in baseball years..so that judgement on him is coming and not years off, in my opinion
As this season has already been written-off... What moves do you see next off-season? Any big free agents you see the Cubs going after?
I dont have names in front of me and tough to know how close they think they will be but in the same way they grabbed E.Jackson, if there is a durable pitcher that makes sense I could see them doing that again..not so sure on position players, though 3rd base seems to be barren so if one becamse avail that would be good...there arent a lot out there though
Jesse, do you have any thoughts on the Cubs notion of rebuilding and revenue streams and everything? Are they missing the point that if they put a great and competitive team on the field, that everything else would take care of itself? (Like another Toyota sign is going to create a winning ball club, but a 35hr stud who leads the team to winning would bring in ten new outfield signs if they want them.)
Yeah, I have thoughts...I think the whole "we need all these improvements to get FA" is a bunch of hogwash..we've heard players complain about wrigley conditions but I have never heard even a whisper that a FA didnt want to sign cause of the small clubouse or whatever..they can win here the way it is..no one wants to keep it that way but I dont buy the losing is the facility because they have proven they can win or be competitive.
Thanks for the questions...please follow on twitter @espnchicubs and tell other cub fans about the Cubs blog...audio, video, written stuff in there daily...look for vid of Clevenger today as well as audio interview with David Bell...Doug Padilla is taking over for Sox questions
Let's get it going with some White Sox questions.
Is this going to be a long season for the White Sox? Or do you see them doing better in the future?
Getting swept is never a good sign. But remember that the Nationals are a world series pick for many experts. They played well at home to open the season, yet still have plenty of areas for improvement. The optimist would say there is plenty to be excited about, especially on the pitching side. Detroit will still be a huge challenge.
Am I the only person that Thinks Thorton needs to go? I understand the loyalty, but it looks like he's throwing batting practice.
You wouldn't be the first to think that especially when he's not at his best. He does provide a veteran presence though, and has established himself as a leader in a group that has a number of young arms. Lefties like him are still tough to come by but if he's not locating like he needs to, things can get out of hand fast.
Have you met anyone who doesn't like Gillaspie's playing? He seems like the real deal, like the return of Crede...maybe without the power.Share your knowledge.
Hold on, Mr. Flintstone -- not so fast. The Giants were high on him and dealt him away only because third base was blocked. The White Sox obviously see good things, but expecting him to be the left-handed Crede won't do him any favors. If he shows consistent power he could have some longevity.
So how are Hawk and Stone Pony getting along this year?
Hawk went out of his way to say that the relationship is on the mend. Even with casual glances toward their booth, they're not sitting as far away from each other as they used to. There's probably some damage that they are trying to repair, but so far it seems as if they are giving it their best shot.
Do you think this will be Paulie's last season?
In my opinion, yes. But I also thought he was done after 2010. The difference this time is that Dunn, Viciedo or even Gillaspie could take over at first next year. Nobody has ruled it out, but after two false alarms, a season-ending farewell could be for real this time.
Doug, has there been an official timetable put on Danks' return.
While the velocity is trending slightly higher, the White Sox are still taking a cautious route. At last report he was throwing 89. A stint in AA or AAA could be on the horizon, leaving him about a week and a half away whenever they send him out.
How are they going to make up for loss of Beckham?
The addition of Keppinger in the offseason is looking brilliant at this point. Adding Gillaspie helps too. Looks like Keppinger will go to second base while Gillaspie goes to third, and Angel Sanchez might even get a few starts.
Tigers struggling to start again, but do you still see them running away with the division?
Running away is a strong way to put it. But we've seen how they can turn things around when they need to. A tougher AL Central could actually help the Sox in that the Tigers might not be able to pull away. The Sox and Tigers don't meet until July, so we'll see how much momentum the Sox have built up by then.
Addison Reed has looked good so far, do you think he'll maintain this level?
There's no reason to think he's headed for a Sophomore slump, especially with the way he's added a plus-slider and changeup to his repertoire. Reed and Nate Jones plan on feeding off of each other this year. And despite Jones' so slow start, Reed has held up his end of the challenge.
Who is taking Beckham's spot on the roster? Maybe a CF to split time with a struggling De Aza?
Deunte Heath was called up from Charlotte to take Beckham's roster spot, adding an extra piece to the bullpen. It leaves the bench especially thin though, so don't be surprised to see another roster move by the time the team returns home from the road trip.
Do you see the Sox or Royals being a more legit challenger to Detroit this year?
While the Royals have some nice talent and are the favorite pick for breakout team, the White Sox mix of veterans and younger players puts them on more solid ground. But as the White Sox have seen in recent years, you never want to underestimate the Royals.
Do you see Hahn and Kenny making a big addition to this team?
Absolutely they will if the White Sox are showing that they can hang with the Tigers. They've made a sizable investment in this team, and wouldn't be afraid to try to protect that investment with a mid-season addition even if it bumps up the payroll again.
Thanks for the time. Follow me on Twitter at @ESPNChiSox and we'll talk to you again next week.