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July 23, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jesse Rogers

Jesse Rogers
  (1:01 PM)

Hi all. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. Thanks for joining in. Lots of Cubs stuff to get to so I'll let you fire away with questions!

Jesse (B'ham)

Just saw that Soler was called up to Iowa. What are the realistic expectations for him once he hits the majors? Lots of HRs and Ks?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:04 PM)

That could be any slugger these days in the majors but I will say he has always had a better eye and more plate discipline than you might think for a guy that hasnt played baseball for years and years and certainly is still raw. He might be a betteer on-base guy than we think. In fact if not for the injuries he would be further along than others in this regard. Now that he's playing catch-up he'll just need to relax. At some point the hits won't come and thats where taking walks and not swinging outside the zone are important. Not just your classic slugger.

Chad (Whiting)

Am I wrong or does the Soler promotion seems fast and very unTheo given his lost ABs this season and last? Not that I'm upset about the promotion

Jesse Rogers
  (1:07 PM)

A little. I mentioned that today in a blog that will go up soon. However, if AA just isnt a challenge than it's still the right thing to do. Actually, its Almora who might be as surprising as he's never shown the ability to take walks. Just 12 this season. Both seemed to get promoted simply because they were hot but we arent watching the at-bats...Anyway, those walk and strikeout ratios are important..thats coming from Theo himself.

Tyler (Milwaukee)

When these promotions happen within the farm system (A to AA and AA to AAA) do the big league guys like Rizzo and Castro get as excited as us fans do?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:08 PM)

Yes but only a little. When they make it all the way is when you get the smiles from them.

Patrick (WI)

You mentioned how the Cubs will most likely wait for a bit to call up Bryant to gain an extra year of control on him. Does the same apply to Baez?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:11 PM)

I don't believe so. There is only so much you can do to hold a player back. He's moved up the system the way they wanted. Rebounded from a tough start and I just don't see the contract being an issue in the years to come like it might be for Bryant. The Cubs can still say this is Bryant's first full year, he's had a promotion already, etc. It's juts Baez' "turn" right now even though an easier case can be made for Bryant. It's more complicated than that with Baez being the bread winner in his family, Bryant's agent is Boras, etc. Mid-April for Bryant (or after) unless I'm very wrong.

Jason (Montgomery)

With Olt being sent down to AAA, do you think Bryant will see more time in the OF or at 3B? Wouldn't it make more long term sense to see him in the OF and let Olt play 3B to try and find himself again?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:13 PM)

No, you don't mess with Bryant to accomodate Olt. It's the other way around. Now, if you think that's Bryant's future than you do it. But right now third base at the ML level is open. Why would you move the guy that CAN play there and is almost ready. If anything his demotion cements Bryant at third even more...It could all change seeing what Russell does or who they pick up in FA but that's what makes sense to me.

Wes J (Wrigleyville)

Given Barney's DFA, if the Cubs were to ship Bonifacio to a contender, does Baez come up?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:15 PM)

I think that's a strong possiblity. Alcantara is going to be an outfielder. There's little doubt about that. Baez for two months makes sense to me. They moved him from shortstop for a reason, even if Hoyer wants to downplay it. The last two they moved (Lake, Alcantara) both came up shortly thereafter.

Ted (Ohio)

Over the past two seasons, we've seen 2 completely different Travis Woods. My question is this: Was last year the "real" Travis and this year is a fluke, or was last year the fluke and this year is the "real" guy? Thanks

Jesse Rogers
  (1:17 PM)

Good question. Answer has to be in between. He's not a perennial all-star but he can't be this bad either. Problem is he doesnt have a pitch or two that is just devastating. He's all about location in my opinion.He's a 3 at best it seems, maybe a 4 on a contending team. He's none of those right now.

Jeff (Fort Wayne)

Reading Rizzo's words about the Barney DFA you could get a real sense of pain. When he talks about being just pawns because it is a business. I feel like out of all the trades and whatnot this one seemed to hurt possibly the most. Your thoughts?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:19 PM)

Rizzo and Barney were tight. They warmed up everyday together. Actually they pitched to each other in warming up, throwing knuckles, etc. And that's just warming up. Baseball is all about routine, on and off the field...his routine and obviously friend is gone, so yeah, it's a big blow to him.

Mike Cowan (Pullman WA)

Should we be alarmed about Rizzo's lack of RBIs compared to HR total?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:20 PM)

Of course not. He's hitting with men on base which he didnt do last year. RBI are a function of people getting on in front of him. After Bonifacio's hot start the Cubs haven't had a great 1-2 punch. Maybe with Alcantara around his RBI will pick up. As long as he's hitting in as many situations as possible, don't worry about the totals.

Grant (Dayton)

Hi Jesse, I was thinking more about your comment from a few weeks ago about "jackson needs to be in the rotation cause he's a body".I've heard 6 names that aren't Jackson that I think all could do very well. Arrieta, Wood, Hendricks, Beeler, Straily, Wada. There's still a man out. Why can't we send Jackson to the bullpen or the minors?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:23 PM)

There are a lot of reasons. They aren't going to tax their entire staff pitching three rookies. Two is enough. These are young arms. They'll need someone to just wear it and Jackson should be the guy. PLus, if you do have any chance of trading him, maybe in the offseason, he needs to start. You can give me reasons why he should be in the pen, I advocated it before...but now isn't the time. He's here now to eat up any innings to protect younger arms and maybe find some semblance of a game himself.

Matt (California)

Bryant, Baez, and Soler will most likely be in the lineup next year at some point (probably early). Won't the Cubs want to bring these guys up this year (Sept call-ups) so as to not have 3-4 "never played in the majors" rookies in the lineup next year?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:24 PM)

There is a very good chance Baez will be here, decent chance Soler will be...Bryant won't. Don't worry about Bryant. He's going to be a stud sooner or later...mid April, May, whatever...

Patrick (WI)

Is Addison Russell in the AFL a likely scenario given his lost playing time earlier this year?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:25 PM)

He was there last year so hard to know. He does need to make up some ground but if he's healthy the rest of the way they may just that's enough. CJ Edwards should pitch there if healthy.

Jter (Gilbert, AZ)

With Olt's demotion to AAA, what will that mean for Bryant? Will he be moved to the outfield? Also, is the demotion to get Olt everyday playing time to fix things, or will he be a role player?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:27 PM)

Again, I don't think Olt's demotion means much for Bryant. Olt is now in that category of player that has to make the most of his chances now. He won't be handed anything. It might take a position change (1st base) or an injury to get him another shot...now he's behind others. He's not a priority. Tough business.

Andrew (Atlanta)

Hey Jesse,I'm sure you're going to get lots of questions for Soler. BUT, as a fan that thinks the FO is slow playing a lot of these guys dont you think this guy has the best chance to move quickly bc of his contract? Also, does Almora finish the season in AAA bc Tennessee doesn't likely make the playoffs and Iowa will?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:29 PM)

Any of that is possible. But Almora will need to show it at AA first. Could go either way. He either ends there or starts there next yr. In fact either way he prob starts there next year so not a big issue where he finishes. Yeah, they arent slow playing Soler. Just has to prove he's ready. He hasn't played a game at AAA. What if he stinks? Many thought Baez would be up by now. Performance dictates, not some grand plan..(other than Bryant at this point)

Zack (Destin, Florida)

What do you think will happen to Barney now that he's been DFA?Traded? Waivers?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:30 PM)

Hm, I actually think someone will take him. Just don't know if it will be over the next 10 days or soon after. Just not sure, but I think he will be on a big league roster very soon again.

Zack (Destin, Florida)

Whose most likely to be traded by the Cubs before the deadline: Schierholtz, Ruggiano, Coghlan, James Russell? Other Candidates?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:31 PM)

Gotta be Bonifacio, Russell or Wright...Unfortunately, Schierholtz hasn't done enough but sometimes it only take a week. Left handed bats are needed.

Randy W. (Manteno IL)

In last nights game, Hendricks while running the bases seem to be a little gimpy. Do we know if he was hurt? Hopefully not he looked good last night.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:33 PM)

Don't think so. It didnt come up postgame or after when I talked to him. He's a pitcher, most look gimpy, even when healthy.

Chicago (Fan)

Is Lake being molded for a bench role, or does he have a legit shot at staying in LF?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:35 PM)

He'll be lucky to be on this roster next year. He's headed for the bench, minors or another team. The adjustments just haven't been there. No change to his swing with two strikes,etc. The scouting reports may have ben right on with him.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:35 PM)

He'll be lucky to be on this roster next year. He's headed for the bench, minors or another team. The adjustments just haven't been there. No change to his swing with two strikes,etc. The scouting reports may have ben right on with him.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:35 PM)

He'll be lucky to be on this roster next year. He's headed for the bench, minors or another team. The adjustments just haven't been there. No change to his swing with two strikes,etc. The scouting reports may have ben right on with him.

Cesar [via mobile]

If one of the cubs top prospects had to be traded for pitching who do you think the cubs would be willing to part with ?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:36 PM)

Baez. Easily

Paul (Belfast)

True or False: The Cubs will not be trying to trade for David Price and will not be trying to sign him if and when he becomes a FA?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:37 PM)

I would say both your statements are true. They will NOT but every situation is fluid. Maybe he takesa huge discount but I don't see it. Could be wrong in 1.5 years when he might be really needed.

Wes (Chicago)

Do you think a player's agent is a factor when promoting a top prospect to the majors? Some agents like Scott Boras are against the player and team friendly deals we've seen some top prospects sign recently. If Bryant had a different agent do you think he would be on the 2015 opening day roster?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:39 PM)

No, it plays a part but considering what Bryant could become - agent or not -- playing it safe for TWO WEEKS is worth it. That's all it takes. Staying in the minors for the first 10 days or so of April and the Cubs retain an extra year. That's a no-brainer for a talent like that. Look at Springer. Houston was smart. (in this case)

Steve (Illinois)

What do you think of the long term prospects for the guys in the bullpen are? Ramirez seems a lock for the future but what about guys like Schlitter who have pitched well?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:41 PM)

Year to year. Who knows who will look good next time around. Now, you're right guys with great arms like Ramirez will have a leg up. But even those guys go up and down unless they are special. Ramirez might be. Rondon and Strop also have good arms but all teams need the Schlitter types as well. My feeling is throw as many good arms into a bucket in spring training and hope you have 6-8 that year that can do the job. but the fact that these guys are young means maybe they can grow with the team...

Matt (Edwardsburg MI)

Jesse - The Cubs seem to be trying to get all these "core" players playing together and rooming together in the minors so they can develop great relationships. Who seems to be the closest friends? Bryant & Almora?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:43 PM)

Hard to say. They were together in the AFL and then spring but not since. So many guys go up and down, etc. I'm not sure who is close with whom. It's not always the stars you relate to..could be guys from similiar backgrounds. Anyway, I know they all seem friendly to each other.

Ken (Louisiana)

Hi Jesse, thanks for covering our Cubs so tirelessly. Do you remember any other time period where we were this excited about our farm system?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:44 PM)

Not even close. There were always a few prospects every year but nothing like this. They get publicized more now but for good reason. The Cubs drafted high, sold vets and have loaded up. Yes, it's for real.

DCC (KY)

What do you think are the expectations for Coghlan? Do you think he could be fixture in the future if he is getting regular playing time?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:45 PM)

There is always a need for back-ups. All depends if someone else wants to offer him more. Not sure Coghlan elicits many thoughts from the front office right now. He's played well but he's still just a body to me. Could be a decent back-up though. Maybe.

Dave (Menomonee Falls, WI)

What do you make of the plethora of no hitters and near no hitters we've seen lately? It used to be that the no hitter was a special thing only happening once a year or so. We've already seen three this year (with a few near misses), three in 2013 and SEVEN in 2012. Why has this suddenly become such a common occurrence?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:47 PM)

Bunch of reasons. No PED's. No amphetamines. Players took this stuff for a reason. Starting pitchers don't go through the same grind as reg players so they arent affected by this stuff as much. There's more to it but it seems like the return to pitching came when drug testing ramped up, right?

Shu (Phoenix, AZ)

Can you rank these players in terms of defense at shortstop: Alcantara, Castro, Russel, and Baez? Thanks

Jesse Rogers
  (1:49 PM)

I'll skip Alcantara because he hasn't played there in a year and it hasnt been on my radar to give a good enough opinion. Russel, Castro, Baez. In terms of pure ability etc.

Brady Wright (Mapleton,Ia)

I was just wondering where will the pitching come in the next couple of years? Because I hear the hitting prospects are about ready. The pitching rotation right now isn't that good.

Jesse Rogers
  (1:51 PM)

Work in progress but they may be a little ahead in that respect. Arrieta looks good...I like Hendricks. Wood could be a 3 or 4. Still need another top notch type. That's what all the hitting assets are for. I would package Baez with others and get pitching from the Mets or Marlins or someone...They will sign a FA, it might not be this year.

2015 Hopeful (Chicago)

Any chance the Cubs are making a play to actually be good in 2015? A lineup with Alcantra, Castro, Rizzo, Soler, and Bryant sounds real good to me plus add Almora mid-season? Perhaps signing lester or scherzer and another mid-range starter is in the cards this winter?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:54 PM)

Anything can happen but you have to expect SOME struggles from first year guys. Now, I've always said I think the Cubs will go from 90 losses to 90 wins within one year but 2015 could be that progress type of season where .500 is a possiblity. Still, expect the worst with rookies,etc. and just be surprised if it happens the other way. Plus, their starting pitching will be a work in progress still.

Devin (Gurnee)

Do you think Dan Straily will bring value like Arrieta? A young guy who struggled in the American League change of scenory and National League, fly under the radar but be a solid 4 or 5 guy?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:55 PM)

Maybe. He has to find his way back to being a solid guy with his fastball. That's been kind of a mess. But yeah, if he finds it he'll like the NL lineups.

Dwight Smith (Birmingham, AL)

Why would the Cubs prefer to trade Baez for pitching instead of just signing a FA (Lester, Scherzer, Shields)?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:55 PM)

Age?

Aaron (Chicago,IL) [via mobile]

Hendricks is a winner hands down. Phenomenal performance he put on last night to earn his first career win. Going forward where do you see Kyle pitching in the rotation?

Jesse Rogers
  (1:57 PM)

Could be anywhere. Honestly. If he learns the league and is as smart as we think he could be top end. If his stuff is simply going to get hit every so often just because he misses spots too much then lower end. It will unfold.

Roger (Jefferson Park)

isn't Theo anticipating the DH in 2 years in the NL? It makes sense to have one rule in all baseball and to me the addition of Russell just adds to the thought

Jesse Rogers
  (1:59 PM)

He's talked about it. Not sure when it could/might happen or if it all but he might be quietly asking for it. That's what he knew in Boston and the Cubs have some sluggers that fit that role. Would be great trade pieces if the NL adopted it.

Jessica (Rogers Park)

nobody in your chats talks about Schwarber. isn't he a Bryant kind of hitter and just needs to determine if he's a C, LF or DH?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:00 PM)

Yeah, that's what it looks like. I think Bryant is more of a sure thing but he looks pretty good. I say go for it and leave him at catcher. Why not

Pete (Iowa)

Having a terrible time sayin Arismendy Alcantara all the time, does he carry nickname from AAA we can use? I've tried "5A" and "Ari" but neither works for me.

Jesse Rogers
  (2:01 PM)

Mendy

Jim (Chicago) [via mobile]

Besides the usual suspects (Valbuena, Ruggiano, Nate S, lefty relievers and Carlos V) any suprising names that can be traded?

Jesse Rogers
  (2:01 PM)

No, Bonifacio at the top of the list.

Jesse Rogers
  (2:03 PM)

That's going to do it for now. Having some internet problems the last few minutes anyway. Good questions. A lot of repeats about Soler/Baez etc. Again, think those two are coming up at some point if they continue to perform. Bryant, next yr. mid-April. Check out the Cubs blog as some of your questions are answered in there. Sometimes i put stuff in rapid reaction to games so just read it daily. Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. Thanks again!