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January 14, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers

Jesse Rogers
  (1:02 PM)

Hi all. Welcome to our weekly offseason Cubs chat. Its a busy week as the Convention is upon us..Cubs past, present and future are in town so will be talking to all of them as the week progresses, starting tomorrow. Check out the blog for new stuff throughout the week...And of course, there's the new mascot...that might get more pub then anything this week...Anyway, its your turn right now. Fire away!

Tad- Forest Park [via mobile]

Will the Cubs pursue any higher level free agents this year or is that still a year away?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:04 PM)

Unless they get Tanaka, they are probably done with signings etc though they prob could still use a 5th starter maybe they bring in one more but I dont think it will be a big name...anyway, I think after 2015 is a better guess on big money or at least bigger money being spent...

Robert (Chicago)

Did the Cubs offer Jeff Samardzja a contract for 55M for five years? If they did, don"t you think that's more than enough for a pitcher that hasn't won more than 10 games in a season.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:06 PM)

Yes, in that range...You might be right except not because of wins...he would have won more on most other teams in the league in one of these last two years..But I can understand his stance too..he doesnt want to sit through losing years when he can leave via free agency so he wants this to be his big contract..I think he has more leverage than the Cubs, without a doubt, despite any shortcomings

Jesse Rogers
  (1:07 PM)

And I say that because he's been healthy and now has 200 innings under his belt..its a risk going to FA but he seems to be up for it...can always change

Steve (LaGrange)

The new mascot marks a very sad day in the history of Cubs baseball. It's so lame it almost looks like it was designed by a White Sox fan who wanted to come up with a perfect symbol of the wimp/yuppie portion of the Cubs fan base.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:09 PM)

I dont know...almost every team has one..Almost surprised it took this long for the Cubs to get one..but I guess Wrigley was always good enough to sell...My guess is theyve lost enough fans, they want to make sure they get that next generaion..having a mascot doesnt hurt, not when it comes to the kids...who know if it helps but it doesnt hurt. For me, I'm already past it. Whatever..not going to bother me. I hope

Max S (Hollywood, Fl )

Cubs got to get Tanaka.. makes us a better team right away and makes the rebuidling process that much faster.. But the question is if we do get him then are we buyers at the trade deadline? trading prospects (except Baez and Bryant) for better players?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:10 PM)

Nope. Just means they can check off another box on the list of needs. Still going to take time for the position players to mature along with other pitchers but this does speed it up some..wont be buyers this year, no way.

jim (burbank)

Jess,.When do cubs finally stop flipping players and put a major league team on the field?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:13 PM)

Maybe next year...Schierholtz is a goner by July 31, probably Samardzija, probabaly Veras if throwing that cleans out all real veteran types I believe..then its all about development at the ML level..but if they are a position short of a prospect next offseason thats when they sign another stopgap and the cycle continues..but for now, they should be fielding a much younger lineup by next season..which means less flipping

Albert (Los Angeles)

Do the Cubs plan on making a contract extension offer to Welington Castillo? Couldn't hurt to lock up a young catcher...

Jesse Rogers
  (1:14 PM)

Prob not being discussed that much right now..He's not arb eligible or anything like that...I know they signed Rizzo way early but I think thats the exception..even Rizzo's people were a little surprised..anyway, if he peforms, next offseason I think we start to hear that talk..T. Wood is prob up next along with whatever happens to Samardzija

Chris (Purdue)

Jesse, with as much success the Cubs have had with turning around their minor league system (talent and process), how realistic is it to that somebody gives Jason McCloud a shot at GM next year? And do you think he'd leave at the first chance or stick it out with Theo/Jed and stay till the end of the 5 year deal?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:15 PM)

Really hard to say. He's on the track..I think these minor leaguers need to have success at the ML level and the Cubs as a team needs to have some success..that's when the offers a little premature but like I said he's on the track

John (Chicago)

What's plan B if the Cubs miss on Tanaka?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:16 PM)

Right now? Dont think there is one..They're taking a shot at a young free agent...after that ,its back to the drawing board is my guess, and spend the money in much later..

John (Chicago)

Have you had a chance to meet the new mascot yet?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:17 PM)

No, I'm sure Ill do a video interview with him or something this week somewhere! Look for it

John (Chicago)

I'm sure you're getting this question way too much, but what's the latest on Tanaka?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:20 PM)

As I'm sure you've seen nationally, its been pretty quiet..when there are no leaks from teams it usually means the agent has requested it in a very stern way...I would love to know what the Cubs specifically offered or what not but I dont know more than they were willing to go past $100 mil, etc. Anyway, he has until Jan. 24 to decide..and I dont think the Cubs are the frontrunners or anything but I dont know for sure..people I've talked to keep invoking "confidential process". That could change of course but right now, its pretty quiet

Ryan Sheahan, Dixon, Ca [via mobile]

Who do you think will get the majority of playing time at third base this year?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:21 PM)

Good question..Will be writing about that after I talk to Mike Olt this week..hard to say because no one know how he'll bounce back...I'll assume he's not ready until he proves otherwise so I'll say Donnie Baseball (Murphy) and Valbuena end up splititng most of the time like they did towards the end last year when both were healthy

Brian (Virginia)

Who bats leadoff this year and #2? One of the top sabermetric front offices hasn't done much to get us inexpensive pieces that can get on base and it seems unlikely many on the current roster will suddenly develop patience. Seems to be a problem with our minor league prospects too. Have Jed and Theo been asked their plan to address?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:24 PM)

Well they are hoping they develop them in the minors...I have to believe Castro starts the season at No. 1. He finished pretty well there and they have no on-base machine pushing him...he likes it there and for nothing else just to get his confidence back up I think he starts there..I'm sure they'll rotate at the 2-hole..Valbuena some, maybe Barney if he's hitting ok. Not sure where Lake fits in with Renteria..he's kind of the X-factor because he can hit anywhere with his speed, bunting prowess and potential power..will be intersting to see where he lands..

Tommy (Wrigleyville)

Please tell me the marketing genius who came up with Clark the Cub has been fired, their house has been repossessed, and they have been deported.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:25 PM)

Jeez. Im guessing promoted!

Eddie (Pittsburgh)

At this point, is seems like the only way to atone for this off seasons lack of signings, and the announcement of Clark, the "young, friendly Cub," is to close a deal with Tanaka

Jesse Rogers
  (1:25 PM)

At the Convention no less. Would be huge...Im guessing Clark is the big addition though

Brett (Champaign)

I need a reason to be excited to watch the Cubbies this year, what prospects haev the greatest chance of making the club this year?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:26 PM)

Weekly question. Olt has best chance out of spring. Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks during season

Lage (Canyon Country, CA)

Mr. Rogers, I am ten years old and potentially be a fifth generate Cubs fan. It is killing my mother and my grandfather that I can't buy into the losing. Please give me a good reason or two on why should buy into a life time of misery. My uncle even gave me a Wrigley Field thing for Christmas. I hope you answer this question but have to wait until I get home from school. I like the Yankees most.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:28 PM)

THe reason is they have never done a rebuilding project like this...and the minor league players they have acquired do have talent..and now they have a lot of them...sometimes you have to fail before you succeed in life...and with the Cubs!

Anthony (Moscow)

With he announcement that Baez will start at AAA, they didn't say what position he'd play. Will he play third or left, with the one he doesn't play left open for Bryant?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:29 PM)

He's exepcted to play SS at AAA...the idea being he can move from there...

Eric (Chicago)

Rumors abound that Tanaka went back to Japan and his 3 teams that he's narrowed down to include the Dodgers, Angels and Yankees. Angels brass said that they never met with him. Let's just say it's down to the Dodgers and Yankees. Guess Tanaka didn't want to be around a rebuilding project. Oh well, one can wish.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:31 PM)

Right. That's been the problem all along with the new posting system...the Cubs would have to convince him, like any free agent right now, to come to a losing situation...when that happens you can still get your guy but you have to overpay him...In his case, they feel it would be worth it because he's only 25...most of the time you dont want to overpay like crazy for a 30 year old, at least not when you're still in rebuilding mode.

BassmanUW (Chicago)

Extending young catchers isn't really a good idea unless they're Buster Posey, and even then it's a big risk. The attrition rates for young catchers are very, very high due to the strain the position makes on the lower body.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:32 PM)

Yes, good point. Unless an obvious stud..they go up and down in production, etc. alot of it based on yeah, no rush with Castillo

Robert (Westchester)

Seriously Jesse why is it everything the Cubs do marketing wise becomes such an uproar and a bunch of criticism from the media - whether it be video boards, a noodle sponsors paying them money for an ad outside the park , etc. The mascot the latest one. Every team in the majors but three have one including the Red Sox. All the teams in town have them including the Hawks who started their just about the time they were so awful no one was going to games. I mean really what is so hard to understand that marketing to little kids and families is a good thing. The play on the field is not the responsibility of the marketing department who's job is to create revenue and draw in new fans. Enough already.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:34 PM)

I don't disagree..It's worth a few funny one-liners but I've already moved affect on my life..but I think the long-time, frustrated fan might be like, "Typical. They're working on silly thinkgs like that but how about winning some games." One has nothing to do with the other but I can see how the jokes get going, etc

Ryan (Chicago)

I would love to give you some truth serum to hear what you really think about Clark...

Jesse Rogers
  (1:35 PM)

Seriously, I dont care. They made a point of saying he wont get in the way of the t-shirt guns, etc. If they want to bring him out to hospitals like last night, who are we to judge? But yeah, I think its silly..but I'm not 10

Joe (West Town)

I was really hoping the Cubs could land Tanaka so we had something exciting to watch before the prospects start coming up this year. Sounds like it's either the Dodgers or the Yankees though. Please give me some sort of good news regarding a free agent...

Jesse Rogers
  (1:38 PM)

I dont but as I stated at the top no one really has any real news about the talks...One report has Dodgers, Angles and Yanks as leaders but Angles say they never the less we hear might be a good thing...if the Cubs blow him away with an offer, maybe he comes...but realistically, it was a longshot once they changed the process..I talked to enough people, including Cubs officials, they knew an open bid would not be good for them..

Tommy (Cubicle)

I understand the build through the farm system model we are trying to adopt, and can appreciate it to some degree but when a team like Boston goes from worst to first I start to get impatient. Isnt there something called a happy medium we should be attempting?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:41 PM)

Its a fair point..but for 2-3 years there is no going back..I will garauntee you, if all of a sudden, they sign a bunch of 30 year olds like Ellsbury etc., they'll be right back where they started with nothing more than a 1-2 year spurt of possible dont want happy medium now..Boston had its core in place..cubs are developing theirs

C.J. (North of the Cheddar Curtain)

What does Jake Arrieta develop into over the next couple of seasons? Seems like his progress will play a big role in determining just how deep the hole is the organization has to fill in its big league rotation before becoming competitive.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:43 PM)

I like this guy. Or at least his stuff. He could be the sleeper..He claims getting away from Baltimore was key..Bad situation with the pitching coach, etc. I believe the Scott Feldman deal will go down as one of the best of this regime..from signing him to flipping him..I think Arrieta could be huge

Ace (Las Vegas)

Is there a chance that Kris Bryant will break camp with the big league club and what is the marketability of this wonderful young man who does everything the "right way" as a role model for young ballplayers in the era of "bush league/showoff" players like Bryce Harper?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:44 PM)

I'm hitching my wagon to him but he won't break camp..BEST case is he starts at AA..dominates and gets moved up to AAA by June...then dominates there and gets a late season call-up..thats assuming the Cubs let that happen...more likely he'll be here in 2015

Harry (Indianapolis)

Let's say the Cubs do land Tanaka, how does that change their thinking for the upcoming season, if at all?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:45 PM)

This season? Very little...

Cory (Iowa)

If...if the Cubs find themselves in the hunt for the division or Wild Card spot around the trade deadline will they make a move to improve their current team or trade away pieces continuing with the plan to complete in a year or two?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:47 PM)

That's one of those "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" questions. The scenario is so unlikely, its just hard to picture how things would go down..but of course, if they have a real chance, I mean a real one, then they would add..but they arent trading Bryant for some rental..


Are the Cubs releasing a time table for the renovations that are seemingly way behind schedule? What is the current hold up or am I suppose to be distracted by the new mascot?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:48 PM)

I think we get those answers (again) this weekend

Spoons (Chicago)

Jesse, I need a shoutout to my co workers or else my boss won't buy me lunch tomorrow

Brandon N. (Las Cruces, NM)

So, i'm looking forward to spring training.. What should i expect to see at the new facility? Also looking forward to see the youngsters perform!!

Jesse Rogers
  (1:49 PM)

Looks like a great complex..I saw it last Feb when it was just dirt..then again in Oct when it was almost looks great. PLenty to do and see..I'm looking forward to Baez, Bryant, etc on the field together as well..

Albert (Los Angeles)

Best case scenario, what's the rotation look like for the Cubs on Opening Day?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:50 PM)

Best case? Tanaka, Wood, Samardzija, Jackson, Arrieta...

Albert (Los Angeles)

Any insight as to what this year's Cubs Rookie Development Program includes?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:51 PM)

Ill see it first hand tomorrow at Northwestern...long story short, its about being a professinal..both on and off the field..preparing them for Chicago when they get here

David (Deerfield)

Who will be the Cubs Opening Day 3rd Baseman?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:52 PM)

Im still going with Murphy if its a lefty and Valbuena if its a righty...I guess if Liriano is opening day then it'll be Murphy

Harrison (Nebraska) [via mobile]

Can you tell me when you expect bryant and soler to reach AAA? After July?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:54 PM)

Im not positive either one will...I'd like to think that but the Cubs are taking it slow with their guys...BUt best case would be both are there by season's end..not sure it will happen

Matt (North Center)

Do you think Barney will be the starter at 2B this year?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:54 PM)

To begin the season, yes. Not sure about the close

Oz (Chicago)

With all of the young bats in the system, any chance the Cubs break the bank after next year for either Price or Kershaw?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:55 PM)

Kershaw is up next year, not Price...I'm sure every team in the league would go after yes, I think the Cubs would try but I have to still believe there is no way he's getting to Free agency.

Matt (North Center)

Why do people care so much about this mascot? The Cubs have already said he'll lie low, and HE'S FOR THE KIDS. The level of hatred for Clark just shows how little people have going on in their lives.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:56 PM)

Is it hatred or just having fun with it? Hope its the latter...anything that helps kids at hospitals is hard to hate

Daniel Jimenez (Chicago)

If guys like Castro and Rizzo don't take steps forward this year would that possibly push the increase in spending back to 2016? Or will they likely spend after this year regardless?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:57 PM)

Like I wrote before I think the spending comes after 2015 either way

Mark Alioto (Oak forest )

Will Theo be around after 5 year contract is up?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:57 PM)

Yes. Have to see this through!

Shivam (Chicago, IL)

Other than Tanaka and Samardijiza, are the cubs looking into other big ticket players?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:57 PM)

Not right now

Patrick (Etown)

Who do you think makes it to the big leagues first? Bryant, Baez or Almora?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:58 PM)

Baez. Without a doubt

BassmanUW (Chicago)

If the Cubs don't get Tanaka, and odds appear to be that they won't, all the reports seem to indicate they'll turn to Jason Hammel instead of one of the bigger names (Santana, Garza, Jimenez). Is that what you've heard as well?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:59 PM)

Yes, Hammel or Baker or someone like that...they will bring in one more pitcher but not a bigger name

Farnsy (Lincoln Park)

Which of the Cubs top prospects will be invited to Spring Training?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:00 PM)

I think the big 4 for sure (Bryant, Baez, Soler, Almora) Hendricks obviously..a few more as long they stay is another story..

Thomas (stuck in school) [via mobile]

Why don't the cubs take a rental on belfour? We have done it before than flipped the players

Jesse Rogers
  (2:01 PM)

They did with Veras...that's their closer to be flipped

Jesse Rogers
  (2:04 PM)

That's going to do it for today..over 300 questions, Im sorry I didnt get to them all...Check out the blog as there will be news/feature stuff all week long..thanks again..follow me on twitter @espnchicubs as I'll be tweeting from the convention etc. And I leave for spring training on Feb. 11 so thats around the corner as well...only blog that will have one on one audio, video and written content so check it out as things heat to you next week wrapping up the convention..thanks again..