Hi all, welcome to our weekly Cubs offseaon chat...been quiet since the GM meetings but things should pick up soon enough...lets get right into things...fire away with questions!
Does management tell the players going into Spring Training that they are expected to lose? It seems like no one in the organization displays any sort of confidence in the players. In my mind it sets up a losing atmosphere. I know it's unrealistic but it gets no one excited for the upcoming baseball season.
Well they certainly dont tell the players to expect to lose...on the first day of spring Theo likes to say its about that year and that year only but we know thats not completely true..the bottom line is the players know whats going on..the core guys are hoping things move quick while the role players are happy to be there and cash a nice check and maybe re-establish themselves etc...if they surprise and win then so be it..anyway, they have jobs to do..and things are easier in the spring then later in aug and sept when there is no hope
Jesse, Do you think the sign and flip plan from the last couple years may back fire a bit this year?Would the likes of a Josh Johnson not sign knowing he may just be a pawn for half a season?Any rumors about who might fill out the bullpen?
No, I dont think it will backfire..if he gets paid well, re-establishes himself then gets traded to a contender, whats wrong with that? Any player that signs a one year deal knows he may not be around for that whole year...I dont think Scott Feldman regrets it at all..he was bascially handed a job and he did something with it...
Any word on when the coaching staff will be announced? Do you have any guesses as to whom they might be?Bosio- Pitching, Mueller- Hitting...
Later this week they will announce all...Bosio, Muellar, prob just one from the Padres, prob Gary Jones,another bilingual coach as well but not sure who...and not sure who his bench coach will be...
I have read several times that Bryant could be moved from 3rd base to the outfield when he is called up to the Cubs. Is this something you see as a real possibility? Or will they keep him at his natural postion of 3rd?
I mean sure its a real possibility but no done deal either way...guess it depends on Mike Olt...if he's legit, then Bryant will move, otherwise he's staying...there are not a lot of good third baseman out there though the Cubs have some prospects at that position...bottom line is its his until someone who can only play there moves him out...
Is there any injury scenario within the big league roster that could see the Cubs being forced to call up a Baez, Bryant, etc. earlier than the timeline dictates or is the front office going to stick to their guns on when they debut?
Short answer: Guns....longer answer is there are always circumstances that can change things...I suppose if Castro got hurt in the spring and was going to miss April, Baez could start there knowing that he would go down..even that I dont think is realistic but there is a chance if injuries, etc. dictate but go with the shorter answer
We've heard all kinds of hype with players from the cubs, do you think Bryant is the real deal?
I do...and I wasnt as quick to say that about the other prospects...
Been some small talk about signing Elsbury this year. Do you really think the cubs will sign any FA with a qualifying offer and give up a high 2nd round pick? If so, how much does Elsbury contract have to fall, 6yrs 100mildo???
Maybe Ill be wrong but NO, NO, NO. And not just because of QO but because it doesnt make sense..not to me...by 32 that contract could look bad...age, legs, productivity, etc...no way...the only caveat is they do need some "winning" type players but that will come...Renteria is poitive guy that they need they feel to keep guys from losing thier minds, etc
Preaching patience and discussing the future is a far cry from the days of Jim Hendry and his wild spending ways. Which do you prefer to cover as a writer?
I want a contender, anyone will say that...the games are more meaningful, the little moves are, the interest is higher...but I am fascinated by this process...I always wanted them to do it as a fan so now we all have to be patient...its transparent, easy to understand and full of anticipation...so I have no problem with it...but I like breaking down why a manager bunted in the 7th inning of a tie game...cant do that with a 40-65 team..no one cares
Jesse, when will the Cubs start making offseason acquisitions? Do they need to let the big dominos fall first before they go after players?
No...it can happen at anytime but we arent talking Ellsbury and Choo in my opinion...I mean they might sign Kurt Suzuki tomorrow.. or someone like that...they'll be some that will start to trickle in but I cant tell you the timing...look at the others, not a lot of rhyme or reason...when both sides are ready
Do you think Castillo is the long-term answer at catcher?
Ill say yes because he has the defense down...while still improving in his overall game...the second half brings hope to his offense..much diff hitter...we'll see....but that defense shouldnt slump..thats big
Bronson Arroyo, Phil Hughes, Josh Johnson - which one (if any) is in a Cubs uniform in Spring Training?
No on Arroyo and prob no on Johnson though he does fit the description of a perfect guy to flip...Ill take the cubs word on it saying they dont want to do that as much anymore......Hughes is interesting because of his age...but can he pitch? Obviously you can buy low on him...I would take a chance...
Do you think the Cubs trade Shark this offseason? I personally think they should especially to the D-Backs
I'm prob naive but I dont...I think there is a lot of gamesminship going on re him...getting his name out there etc...I wish we could see him pitch for a contender in chicago..he might rise to the occasion...I do think he wants to win so he might be forcing the cubs hand so he ends up somewhere where that can happen quicker...Cubs prob need him more than he needs them so I can see him playing some hardball for as long as possible to see how long this rebuilding actually takes and if its too long, he's gone...
I really liked the what Junior Lake gave the Cubs after his call up. Do you think he starts in CF this season?
I dont see why he wouldont start in CF or LF depending on the look of the roster...long term he's in left if he's a starter but he looked better in center in my opinion and he liked it there better...all depends on the need of the time I think..if he doesnt start then you are sending the wrong message.
Seems like a great year to see the Cubs in Mesa no? Getting more bang for your buck since the minor league players are better then the majors.
Oh yeah, plus brand new facility...Ive been out there..its pretty nice...the whole complex is..def a good year
In your opinion, how close do you feel the Cubs are to contending?
Oh boy, I always thought it would be 2015 but prob 2016..thats just contending...unless they get a couple of rookies to pop in '15...its possible but '16 and beyond seems more probable..did I just lose half the audience?
What are the chances that the Cubs try to sign Chris Young for a year or two? I think it's far more likely that the Cubs sign someone like him that they can trade for assets than Jacoby Ellsbury. The Cubs would have Lake, Schierholtz, Sweeney, Bogusevic, and young. Crowded, but at least one will get traded by next July and it could be Schierholtz. Young is not the ideal OBP guy, but still has great tools.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with you..The "perfect" guy for what they are doing is Nate McLouth in my opinion and he's on their list as well but Young fits more than Ellsbury in the rebuilding, holding a place for Almora sense..but man they dont need a strikeout guy that doesnt get on base...McLouth is a better fit
Jesse, we've heard a lot of different opinions on whether or not the Cubs are going to be in on the Tanaka sweepstakes. What are your thoughts and what do you think it will take to land him, posting fee + salary? This is obviously all contingent on whether or not the MLB works out a deal with Japan but would really love to have him. Just not sure if its realistic or not with the Dodgers, Yankees and other big money teams in on him.
Yeah, they were so open about it at the meetings last week its probably more talk than anything else..Yankees have such a huge need for him and the posting fee wont hurt them in regards to the luxury tax...its thiers to lose unless the dodgers go all crazy as they like to do...so I dont think its that realistic but we've all been wrong before..I think Darvish at 6/60 is a good comparison..he might get more but not crazy more
Are the Cubs looking to upgrade their Catching through Free Agency?
Just looking for a back-up...had a pretty good combo last season and small chance Navarro returns but doubtful..
What do you think it would take to sign Shark to an extension? Does 5 years/70 million sound about right? That would take care of three free agent years.
Yeah, except they paid a guy 13 mil to go 8-18 this past year so now shark is thinking more...but I kind of like those numbers...I mean whats he done? he looks like a nice starter but has yet to do anything to earn the really huge dollars...so that should work..anyway, I really think as I mentioned before he wants to win sooner rather than later. That's muddying up the waters in my opinion
What about the bullpen? Are they looking to stay in house or will they try to make a free agent signing in the offseason? Wilson? Nathan?
Def looking for relievers...I suggested Wilson to someone in the cubs and they thought he would get a huge deal...I'm not as sure...Nathan wants a winning situation...Wilson might too...no, you're looking at second tier guys..
Speaking of pitching, will the Cubs make a run at David Price? Do they have the assets required to make a deal with Tampa Bay?
They have the assets but I dont think they will use them on Price..time isnt right yet
What do you see as Mike Olt's role with the Cubs in the future when Baez and Bryant are both called-up to the big leagues?
If he wins the job in spring and is playing well he'll stay there and Bryant will move to the OF and Baez to 2nd probably..cross that bridge when they get to it..I'm sure that's how they feel about it right now..
Jesse - lets be true to ourselves. When the Theo Regime started we said 3 years to contention. And today, we still say 2-3 years to contention... So hard to tear down a franchise with bad contracts and rebuild it. However, I am a fan. The trade of Feldman maybe the heist of the century and CJ Edwards will be a #2 starter... I am worried that Theo has just one chance at this and yet, even when our pieces become big boys, he will be given a middling budget of $110M a year... 2 questions - how short a leash does Theo have and why the heck will the might Cubs not be able to command a $150M a year payrol in 2015/2016/2017
I agree about the Feldman deal...Arrieta is my guy for 2014..let alone Strop could break out as well..I think by then they will have that bigger budget you are talking about...the free agent year between 2015 and 2016 I think is a good one..have to check again...I def see some players coming for big money by then
Cubs are two years away from maybe being good if their prospects make it. Was the new manger set up to fail?
No, the new manager was set up to bring those guys along and keep a positive attitude going no matter the record..not easy to do
Jesse, how is the rotation shaping up? And have you seen signs that Castro will rebound from his awful 2013 campaign?
I liked how Castro finished up...so that's something but doesn't mean he's completely back yet...Wood, Samardzija, Jackson, Arrieta..then ??
What are the chances that any of the cubs top propects are up for opening day?
Very very small..like slim to none...Bryant would be the one in my opinion...
but he wont be...I just think he's the closest and can handle struggles, etc. the funny thing is he'll go down the furthest, possibly to High A ball.."You have to dominate at every level" That's Theo's words..
Time to end the Darwin Barney plan?
It's getting there...they like his leadership and of course his defense..so he starts the year at 2nd in my opinion...maybe he gets traded to a contender that needs help but he'll be pushed out eventually by a prospect...bats beat out gloves still
What is the realistic expectations we should have for kris bryant and baez? Major league comparisons and projected time to get to the show. I have heard Bryant compared to goldshchmit and baez compared to sheffield by a few blogs.
Sky is the limit for both but who knows..attitude, work ethic, etc..Its so early for both of them...I think Bryant is more of the sure thing because of his stance and plate discipline...but both look great...Baez, Sheffield comparison has been made many times..same violent swing and bat speed...Bryant stance reminds me of Pujols a little and as one scout said to me Dave Kingman...Troy Glaus is prob the comparison you hear the most...cross your fingers because they look like keepers...I'll go out on a limb...Bryant will be special..
I love Kyle Hendricks. Not big stuff but the guy knows how to pitch, great command and control. Do you see him cracking the rotation at some point in 2014??
Agree with your assesment...really like him...I think if he performs at AAA he will get called up...simple as that..he's "next up" among prospects
Jesse, I know we have talked about the cubs not going after any big name FA this year and just looking for some building block second tier guys, but when is the right time to go after some of these big name guys to add to our core guys like Castro, Rizzo, etc?
I think starting next offseason is the right time and then steadily adding on after that...
Thats going to do it for today...a lot of questions for a 96 loss team in mid-November! Thanks..suppose to go a half hour so maybe Ill start doing hour long offseason chats....sorry if I didn't get to yours...hopefully next time...hang in there...follow me on twitter @espnchicubs and check out the blog...should be some news later this week with coaches, etc. take care