Weekend Update … The Week that Was in Cubs News

The last weekend in January and the end of the final month without Cubs’ baseball until at least October … pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in just 14 days.

It was a busy six days for the team on the North Side of Chicago. From the non-roster invitations to minor league signings the Cubs were in the news just about every day.

The Cubs’ Spring Training broadcast schedule should be released in the coming week but as for the announcement of Pat Hughes’ new partner, that could be a couple of weeks away. Here’s the update …

Pat Hughes’ New Partner
The search for Pat Hughes’ new partner appears to be down to Dave Otto and Keith Moreland. According to multiple reports from Bruce Levine earlier in the week, the decision was down to Otto, Moreland, Doug Glanville and Gary Matthews, Sr. … with Otto being the favorite.

A report from Dave Kaplan on Saturday afternoon indicated Dave Otto and Keith Moreland “appear to the two finalists, barring any late developments.”

Tom Langmyer, WGN general manager, is hoping to make the announcement sometime before Spring Training starts.

WGN Radio has not announced their broadcast schedule for the upcoming spring games, but they traditionally broadcast the first Cactus League game of the year. Kaplan reported that Hughes and “his new broadcast partner will begin with the February 27 exhibition game between the Cubs and Oakland A’s.

Updated 9:24am CT – WGN Radio released their spring broadcast schedule late Saturday. Click here for the schedule.

WGN Radio will broadcast the first two games of the Cubs Cactus League schedule and 11 total games.

Pat Hughes put the search and his thoughts on his new partner into the perfect perspective.

From the Tribune:

“I believe in teamwork and that will really play a big role in the new partner, because I want to really feel that he is a special part of our team. The concept of chemistry is not something that is automatic or immediate. It is something that has to be nurtured and cultivated and developed. Ronnie and I got along well at the start, but nowhere near as well as after we had been together for a few years and kind of learned each other.”

“I would say to the audience, if it is not too presumptuous, that … whoever it is, please give the guy a chance. He is not going to be as popular as Ron Santo right away. Who knows? In the future he might be. But he’s not going to be Ronnie. So give the guy a chance, let him grow. Let the chemistry between the new guy and me develop naturally. That’s what I would like to say to the audience.”

A New Season with Some Old Faces
Jim Hendry filled out his Spring Training roster with a few familiar names and faces last week.

After the news leaked on Tuesday that Todd Wellemeyer had agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs that included a non-roster invite to big league camp, the Cubs announced the 21-players that will accompany their 40-man roster during Spring Training.

As of this writing, Mike Quade will have 59 players in a Cubs’ uniform on February 27 against the Oakland A’s … 21 non-roster invitees and the 38 players currently on the Cubs’ 40-man roster.

Among the 21 non-roster players that will participate in the first full squad workout on February 19 will be two fan favorites … Reed Johnson and Augie Ojeda.

The Cubs’ Spring Training roster will also feature a majority of the top prospects in the organization … Trey McNutt, Brett Jackson, Jay Jackson, Chris Carpenter and Josh Vitters. This will be the second straight spring in big league camp for Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.

The other non-roster invitee to keep an eye on is Marquez Smith. Smith is coming off a solid year in the minors and if Aramis Ramirez goes down for any extended period this season, he will likely see his first big league action.

Angel Guzman, Scott Rice and newly signed Braden Looper will be the other pitchers in camp. Steve Clevenger and Chris Robinson will join Welington Castillo, Max Ramirez, Koyie Hill and Geovany Soto in the catching corp. As for the other position players, Matt Camp, Bryan LaHair, Scott Moore, Bobby Scales, James Adduci, Brad Snyder and Cubs’ former first round pick, Luis Montanez, will suit up for Mike Quade.

Down on the Farm
The Cubs minor league system was in the news once again. Brett Jackson was named the 46th best prospect in the game by MLB.com on Tuesday then just missed Keith Law’s list of the 100 best prospects in the game on Thursday.

Law ranked the Cubs’ system 20th and said it was a top 10 organization before the Matt Garza trade.

Trey McNutt landed on Law’s list of the top 100 at number 66 while Brett Jackson, Jay Jackson, Josh Vitters and Chris Carpenter were among the ten that just missed Law’s list.

The Cubs also signed a couple of former top players from the Cuban national team … outfielder Rubi Silva and catcher Yaniel Cabeza. The deals are not official; both players are in the Dominican Republic waiting for their visa issues to be finalized. Silva and Cabeza are expected to start the year with the Peoria Chiefs.

Notes from the CCO
Look for more coverage over the next week on the Cubs’ Minor League system … including more from Baseball America and twenty names from the farm.

Happy Birthday to Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks! The Cubs legend turns 80 on Monday.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Well, there’s the update and I’m sticking to it.

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • Tony_Hall

    Neil – You have a way of making it seem so close to spring. Today is the last day, in the last month, that doesn’t have baseball until October. I love it.

    I like Otto and Moreland (my 1st choice was Sutcliffe, even though I knew it was a long shot). I like Moreland’s style better. I think Otto is more like Pat Hughes than Moreland, and that his partner needs to be a little different style. I would go with Moreland between the 2.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I can’t wait for the season to begin, I feel like one of my kids on a long car ride. Are we there yet, how much longer until we get there.

  • Brandon

    Thanks for the update Neil, I cannot wait until that first Cactus League game.

    The WGN Radio Spring Training broadcast schedule was posted on their site yesterday: http://www.wgnradio.com/sports/baseball/cubs/wgnam-cubs-spring-training-2011-schedule,0,220956.htmlstory

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Thanks Brandon

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks Brandon, I checked before I wrote the update and it was not posted yet.

      • Brandon

        No problem. Who are you hoping for between Otto and Moreland?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Keith Moreland

  • Ciontea1988

    Moreland will be a bust

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Out of curiosity, could you explain?

    • Tony_Hall

      Yeah – I would love to here why you think that as well.

    • studio179

      Do you have something against ‘Zonk’? I have heard nothing from Moreland’s broadcast that suggests he will fail. It seems quite the opposite. I have no favorite between the two. I think Otto gets it based on a guess. However, I think Moreland would do well and succeed.

  • paulcatanese

    Neil,another nice intro.Wish I could get the radio brodcasts out here but no luck.I prefer Moreland,have heard him on TV and like his style.But to no avail i get to listen to those other two guys on TV,well can’t have everything. Just speed the calender up to opening day,will you?

  • dewey

    Moreland will be great. He does U of Texas football and baseball games greatinsight withou distracting. he lived full time in Chicago when he was with Cubs. Loves the city and Cubs fans.

  • Cindy’s Corn Cob Dress

    When did Augie Ojeda become a fan favorite? Any fan who likes him likes bad baseball.

    • The Maven

      Fans always seem to like perceived David vs. Goliath stories

    • Ripsnorter1

      Bad baseball? From Augie Ojeda? Are you sure about that?

      Did you know this guy has more walks than strikeouts for his career?
      119 BB vs 115 K’s

      Did you know this guy hit .339 for the Twins in 2004, with a slugging of .459? He out slugged, out hit, out everythinged Marlon Eugene Byrd. Pick any Marlon Eugene Byrd year you want, he has never equaled Augie Ojeda’s .339 BA. No sirreeeeee.

      Did you know he’s a “great clubhouse guy” when he wears that lampshade on his head, singing “Billy Jean” at the top of his voice?

      Did you know that his career fielding is .995, and that he fielded 1.000 in 2010, 2007, 2004, and 2003?

      Did you know that he is just 36 years old?

      Did you know he has more career HR’s, a higher batting average, and more RBI’s, higher slugging percentage, higher OBP, and higher OPS than Koyie Hill? (And we all know Koyie is loved by management).

      Did you know he’s a cinch to beat out Darwin Barney because . . . .
      because . . . er, because . . . Jim CLueless is . . . CLUELESS!

      SAVE US! THIS GUY IS AWFUL! AND I MEAN, “AWWWWFFULLLLLL!” AND I AIN”T PAYING MONEY TO WATCH HIM HIT A WEAK AARON MILES GROUNDER TO THE 2B!
      THIS IS BBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDD BASEBALL!!!
      AAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGHHHHH!

      • paulcatanese

        Rip, are you implying that you do not care for Augie? I don’t think you quite made it clear. Miles was fantastic for the Cubs and Augie will be the same.One point Augie pulls the ball a bit more than Miles,so look for weak ground balls to the pitcher. This post is supposed to be a Ha,Ha, Ha.Good post Rip.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Yes, ground balls to the pitcher! LOL

        • Ripsnorter1

          And even with the weak grounders to the pitcher, he still outhits Koyie Hill.

          • paulcatanese

            Rip,then again who dosen’t out hit Hill,maybe Pena?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Just consider this “ALL-HENDRY TEAM” . . . .

            1B–Carlos Pena “Mr. .196.”
            2B–Aaron Miles
            SS–Augie Ojeda
            3B–Jeff Baker. Hits .106 vs RHP in 2010. AND 7 errors at 3B in 14 games.
            C–Koyie Hill (Mario Mendoza’s double).
            LF–Joey “Mr. .154″ Gathright
            CF–Felix “.204″ Pie
            RF–Funko? “I hit less each and every month after ST is over.”

          • paulcatanese

            Rip,”Touche” I cant’t top that. paulcatanese

    • Ripsnorter1

      About fans liking bad baseball . ..

      HOW do you think we got in this Eugene-style mess anyway, what with the 102 YEARS of losing? Was it smart fans that bought all those tickets, projecting 37-45 HR out of “Carlos Pena??”

      There’s a reason for everything.

      • Gary J

        OK – I’m with you on Ojeda… not a fan. Not even a little. He’s got a decent enough glove, but he’s a sub-.250 slap hitter that makes up for it by having a complete lack of base-running skill.

        I have a feeling the only way he makes the team is if Barney hits .225 in the spring and they send him to AAA to get his stroke back – which seems to happen every year with a youngster. They come back from the break and suddenly have forgotten how to hit… be it the time off or the pressure of pressing to try to impress. Even then I’d expect them to pick up a guy off waivers late in the spring rather than break camp with Ojeda on the roster.

        Barney’s not a future star by any stretch – to me he looks like he projects at the MLB level as a back up middle infielder and injury replacement. Still though – MUCH MUCH MUCH prefer him over Ojeda. Ojeda is split squad fodder for the spring.

        But Pena… had to chime in on that one.

        I don’t think anyone is expecting a .300 average from the guy – he’s not that type of hitter. BUT… assuming he hits even .240, he’ll very likely get those 35+ homers. Heck he led the AL in homers (39) in 2009 hitting .225. And each of the two years before that he was in the top 10 in the MVP voting.

        I get that .198 is horrible. I get it. But he’s not a complete scrub. He’s got proven talent and his power numbers the past four years have been impressive as heck. His average – not so much.

        But you take a guy that even hitting .198 hit 28 dingers playing home games at a stadium that is considered a pitchers park….

        35 isn’t a stretch at all. Heck over the past 4 years he’s averaged 36 even adding in last year.

        So people projecting 37-45 don’t automatically remove themselves from the possibility of being “smart fans”.

        Completely and totally with you on Ojeda though :-)

        • Ripsnorter1

          Gary,
          Always glad to have a post by you. It makes life interesting to discuss ChiCubs baseball, and helps a dull winter seem to pass faster.

          Now about Mr. Carlos Pena–“great clubhouse guy”–or so says Mr. Jim Hendry. Yeah, he hit some dingers. It will be interesting to see how many he hits in Chicago.

          I noticed that the player he is most like, statistically, is Dick Stuart, the former 1B for the Pirates, BoSox, and LAD. Their HR totals are very similar. Look:
          ……………Stuart………………..Pena
          Age 25…..16.HR……………….18 HR
          Age 26…..27 HR……………….27 HR
          Age 27…..23 HR……………….18 HR
          Age 28…..35 HR………………..1 HR (hurt)
          Age 29…..16 HR……………….46 HR
          Age 30….42 HR………………..31 HR
          Age 31 …33 HR………………..39 HR
          Age 32 …28 HR………………..28 HR
          Age 33 ….7 HR…………………????

          It will be interesting to see how Mr. Carlos Pena does in Wrigley in 2011. I’m not looking for 30+ HR–unless he somehow is filled with HGH or some other form of ‘roids. But if he is totally clean, I’m looking for regression in his power numbers. Remember: he has a HUGE hole in his swing. Bat speed is insufficient to connect with anything middle of the plate in, above the upper thigh. Some older players compensated by starting the bat sooner, hoping for a fastball. If it is a slider which breaks inside, forgetaboutit, as they cannot stop the swing. Just ask Reggie Jax . . . .

          • paulcatanese

            Rip,I can tll how old you are. You remember “stone fingers”,”stone glove”. Stuart was a Cub killer though. And didn’t he(at the time) set an all time minor league record for home runs in a year? It’s going to be an interesting year for sure.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Not as old as you think. I don’t remember did Stuart, except that someone tried to trade his baseball card off to me when I was a kid, and I wouldn’t have it. LOL

            DR. STRANGEGLOVE he was called! HA! Soriano has a soul mate!
            Yeah, Dr. Strangeglove popped 66 dingers out of a Class A ballpark his first year. He had some awesome power. And baseball reference rates Dr. Strangeglove as the closest player OF ALL TIME to Carlos Pena in terms of batting stats! So now that Pena is Stuart’s age, and Stuart hit just 7 taters, what will Carlos do with that HUGE hole in his swing?

          • The Maven

            Reminds me of a player from the 60’s and 70’s named Curt Blefary. He played for Baltimore, Houston, the Yankees, Oakland, and San Diego. He would commit 50 errors in 8 years in both the outfield and first base, He would also chip in another 7 errors at catcher. His nickname was “Clank”. However, he did have 112 career Home Runs.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I remember Curt. Had a great baseball card one year, showing him after he had swung and missed a pitch. They called him “Stonehands.” Once a jokester stopped the team bus by a junkyard claiming that Curt needed to get off and get a new glove there . . . .

          • paulcatanese

            OK ,Rip glad you are young and running about. I did see Stuart play against
            the Cubs and he hit some tape measure shots,just destroyed them. And you got
            me on DR.STrangeglove,I do recall that now.Pena should use a paddle instead
            of a bat,that would help.Thanks for the response,now go out and play.

          • Gary J

            Interesting comparison :-)

            One thing of note though is fitness and conditioning difference between that era and the current era. Mid 30s was absolutely ancient in baseball years back in the 60s, but today even average players are getting signed to multi year deals in that same age range. The decline due to age related factors seems to have been pushed back by half a decade or more… or at least not as prominent a decline.

            It was simply a different time – and I’d bet that last year’s decline was much more due to nagging injuries (the plantar fascitis he suffered with in the second half being the biggie) than from a truly declining skill set due to age. Although granted – .198 even due to injuries is still .198 :-)

            I’m hoping you’re not right, but in this case I’d actually be floored if he didn’t hit at least 30 assuming a full season of at bats and reasonably good health.

            On a side note… when looking at his stats from last year (wanted to see when he went on the DL with the foot thing) I took a took at his splits. I don’t know what happened in May for him last year – but he was downright putrid. He hit .120 for the month. One friggin twenty. Anyone have any insight into that month? Was he hurt or was it just a monumental slump? I’ll have to check with my relatives in Florida and see if they remember any news about it.

            His other splits looked about career average for him in the other 3 of the first four months of the season. .247, .256, and .241 – but then when his foot started bugging him, he hit the DL and because of the heat of the pennant race he rushed back (went on the DL retroactive to Aug. 1) and he hit .208 in the remainder of August and a dismal .111 in September.

            It was documented that he was playing hurt at the end of the year… but I don’t know what to make of that. As a manager I’d take a guy that was admittedly hurt that was having a decline in production of that magnitude and say “look son… why don’t you just sit down and get healthy… we need you for the playoffs… you’re not doing anyone any favors like this” and sit him – probably put him back on the DL to force him to sit down actually – but I’m not Joe Maddon :-)

            ANYway – just thought that last bit was interesting.

            And thanks for the Stuart comparison Rip – that chart was kinda cool. I just hope you’re not foreshadowing :-)

          • Tony_Hall

            In the steriod era, mid 30’s was nothing, now it is fast decline, when the skills slip.

            From having Pena in fantasy in 09 and my buddy being dumb enough to take him last year, Pena goes through long stretches of nothing.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I forgot to mention . . . .
    I just hate it when he blows his nose and wipes it on his sleeve.

  • Aaron

    Couple things….

    -I’m looking forward to baseball starting. Ever since I could walk, I’ve been playing baseball, even now in adult leagues and coaching…there’s just nothing like it.

    -I am NOT looking forward to the Cubs’ season though. I know, that’s like blasphemy, coming from a fan, but I already know the outcome. It’d be one thing if just 1, maybe 2 teams were better than us, because you could then make the argument that, “hey, anything can happen”…and you’d be correct, because injuries do happen. However, on paper, and even in performance last year, there were 3 vastly superior teams to the Cubs in the Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers, and even the Astros finished ahead of us (though on paper, they’re nowhere close to us, so I’m not including them). I just don’t see us keeping up with those 3 teams, thus, it’s kind of anti-climactic. I’ll still watch, but I’m not expecting anything from this bunch…which brings me to my next point…

    -given all that I just said, it makes you wonder why the hell the Cubs would even consider dealing the future (Lee, Archer, Chirinos, Guyer) for the present (Garza). Isn’t that asinine?

    -Otto is incredibly dry, and not very interesting….which means……dum dum dum…..you guessed it, the Cubs will most certainly go with him. I’ll gladly eat crow if they don’t, but they’ll go with him…bank on it. And how do I know this? Just look at their decision to go with Quad over Sandberg, who would’ve been a breath of fresh air, holding players accountable….speaking of which…

    -Did anyone else laugh their ass off when they heard Quade say he’d hold players accountable, then almost immediately afterwards said he’d basically treat veterans differently…..LOL….sooooooooooooooo Cub-like

    -Is anyone else upset as I am when they look at the young free agents that signed this year for very affordable deals like Franceour, Cabrera, Josh Fields, Chris Carter, (and the still unsigned Milledge), while we watch as Hendry signs horrible retreads like Looper, Wellemeyer, Johnson (injuries), Ojeda, etc….Especially after the Garza deal, when we need young players like the ones I just listed.

    -Did anyone else get upset when they found out we just dished out a $1 million signing bonus to a 21 yr old OF that hit .276 or whatever for the junior national team in Cuba (not even their top team!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I guess I could agree with that type of deal if he was maybe 16-18 years old, but my goodness…..21 years old…. .276 in basically the equivalent of JUCO ball. But wait, there’s more, we then give $500k to a catcher that can’t hit….but, hey, he calls a great game….If you look at it from my perspective, we’re essentially paying 2 catchers in our organization $1.4 million to not hit (the other being Koyie Hill and his almost $900k salary)….but I digress

    -Anyone else agree with my projected roster of:
    Z
    Dempster
    Garza
    Wells
    Silva

    Wellemeyer, Samardzija, Grabow, Russell, Marshall, Wood, Marmol

    C-Soto, Hill
    1B-Pena
    2B-DeWitt, Baker
    SS-Castro, Barney (could go to Ojeda if Barney has a bad spring….even if Ojeda hits .100 in Spring Training)
    3B-ARAM
    LF-Soriano
    CF-Byrd, Johnson (it’s really between Johnson and Perez, but Johnson wins out because Hendry’s got a boner for him)
    RF-Colvin, Fukudome

    Tell me if you think I’m wrong on any of this…I’d love to hear another take on my bullet points

    • mike1040

      Any chance of Shark or Russell stepping up togreatness to replace Silva when he flakes out??

      • Aaron

        Slight chance, but not much. I think the Cubs will open with that roster, or VERY VERY close to it (meaning just 1 pen guy off or something), and Hendry will justify sending Cashner to Iowa, because of his lack of starting experience (even though he started mostly in the minors before being brought up last year).

        I still think, because of the money owed him, Silva is the odds-on favorite to get the 5th starter’s role. As for the 4th spot? That’s really Wells’ to lose. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win that.

        Every year we hear the same garbage from the Cubs’ brass. They say positions have “wide open competition”, and “one of our young guys might earn a spot”…blah blah blah.

        It almost never happens. In fact, Castro and Colvin were 2 of the best performers last spring, earned their spots, and Castro started in the minors, and Colvin was on the bench for the better part of a month before securing a more prominent role.

        I’d be absolutely shocked, dumbfounded…..I don’t know….pick any type of adjective describing it……if the Cubs actually opened the year with young guys like Perez, Jackson, Carpenter, Jay Jackson, Vitters, M. Smith, etc.

        • Gary J

          I’m not with you on Silva getting the nod JUST based on his salary. Fuku has a higher salary and will be likely platooned if not the 4th OF. Silva is reportedly out of shape (a.k.a. even fatter) and has some serious health concerns with his heart on top of that. Plus…. he’s simply not that good. I don’t think he starts in the rotation – I’m banking on the pen.

          Cashner gets the 4th spot unless he loses it. He had some great stats as a starter 2 and 3 years ago, got his feet wet in the pen last year, and this is his time… he’ll start unless he posts a 5-6 era in the spring.

          As for #5…. if it’s a choice between Wells and Silva – especially considering the off-season Wells was saying all the right things (took things for granted – working to prove myself – etc.) and Silva basically just apparently taking the off-season…. well…. off.

          SO I don’t think Silva sniffs the rotation – salary or no.

          For the lineup – that’s likely pretty close. And I agree with Barney – if he has a bad spring he’ll go to the minors to work on his game… but if he hits even .250 I expect him to be the MI backup… and even if he’s in AAA to start the season I’d bet he’s up after a month tops. Even so – he’s not a special kind of player to my eyes. Better than Ojeda, but the lawn gnome outside my window is better than Ojeda.

          I think unless Perez goes belly up he starts the season on the roster because they need a situational baserunner on the bench and the guy can flat out fly.

          And I’m iffy about Welle in the pen – if he has a good spring then I can see the Cubs seeing if they can catch a comeback story as he’s had success in the pen in the past – but I think a youngster is going to get that slot and he’ll be playing the spring just to showcase for second teir teams and he’ll be released to find a team at the end of the spring.

          • Tony_Hall

            If Silva is healthy, he will be in the rotation to start the year. You can count on it.

          • Gary J

            I’ll hold you to that one – and feel free to do the same to me. If he is, then I’ll eat crow :-)

          • Tony_Hall

            Trust me, I don’t want Silva, and I don’t believe he will be healthy. But if he is healthy, they will put him in the rotation, to start the year, and hope he gives them 8-10 good starts.

    • bpot92

      cashner might beat out wells or silva because they really like him as a starter and will give him every chance to become one. Even if he has a horrible spring i dont see him in the minors, which your roster seems to suggest if i read that right.

      • Aaron

        Cashner won’t beat out Wells…not a chance. The only way I see Cashner making it as a starter is due to injury, and it has to be Silva, because Wells is a workhorse, and doesn’t have an injury history.

        Like my response to Mike above, can you honestly tell me a time where a young guy has earned the right to start, relieve, or play everyday as a position player during Spring Training, and the Cubs actually gave him a shot? I can’t remember the last time….it could be because I’m all jaded and everything, but I can’t think of a time where they’ve done so. I can think of countless call-ups during the season where that’s happened, like Soto coming up, Theriot, etc., but not outright in Spring Training. All that appears to be is glorified practices for veteran players on the Chicago Cubs, and NOT a try-out for young guys like it should be (well, in addition to getting veterans ready)…but the point is, between a “proven” Wellemeyer, and a young Mateo…..who do you think the Cubs would choose?

        And I rest my case

        • studio179

          Hmm…that is a good question who was given a shot out of spring training. Without looking it up, two guesses are a couple of Santo replacements (yeah, right) in Gary Scott in the early 90’s and Kevin Orie in the late 90’s. I might be wrong…pretty sure about Scott though.

          • Aaron

            I think you’re actually correct about Scott in his 2 years with us…both of them, I believe he lit up the Cactus League, only to fail in the first month or 2, then he got sent back down….but I believe both seasons he opened as the starting 3B if memory serves me correctly. I think the Cubs thought he’d overtake Salazar easily, but for whatever reason, it never happened. Chalk it up to whatever you want, but I chalk it up to the Cubs inability to be patient with any of their young players. I mean, Scott had 67 games and 198 plate appearances to “prove himself”. Really?!? Their decision-making throughout the years has been highly suspect, and one of the reasons why I criticize them so much….Think about that for a second….This dude was written off after just 67 games, which is the equivalent of about 2 months plus one week in the bigs…And, with 67 games, you’d expect the total number of plate appearances to be around 260+…..pretty crazy, isn’t it?!?

            This is why I get so pissed when people talk about Pie as being a failure with us, etc.
            #1-he wasn’t even given daily ABs
            #2-Pie had 287 plate appearances over 2 seasons with us. Again, that’s nearly the equivalent of just over 2 months of solid ABs…..

            But the thing that annoys me the most about the Cubs throughout the years is how many horrible seasons they’ve had without even allowing rookies to gain valuable ABs…it defies logic

          • studio179

            Absolutely. When I was reading your comments about writing Scott off so quickly, I was thinking of the Cubs and Pie. As I read your post a bit more, you bring up Pie. Bingo…exactly who I was thinking about. Pie was batting clean up in the minors when no way he is a #3 or #4 hitter in the bigs. Same when C. Patterson was in the minors. He batted in spots he had no business batting in and never would in the majors. Granted, Patterson was stubborn and would not listen to coaches. Remember when Dusty’s coaches were teaching Patterson to bunt at the major level. Come on! They groom him for lead off at the big club…yet he was not a lead off guy…yet they let him bat in RBI slots in the minors…oh, and teach him to bunt in the bigs, not the minors. Don’t focus on Patterson the player. We all know how it went. I am trying to make a point about Cub player developement and not being consistant or properly developing talent. That was then and maybe better days are coming with talent through the system.

            “Their decision-making throughout the years has been highly suspect, and one of the reasons why I criticize them so much….”

            Again, I have to agree 100% about Cub player developement and the decision making process.

            “But the thing that annoys me the most about the Cubs throughout the years is how many horrible seasons they’ve had without even allowing rookies to gain valuable ABs…it defies logic”

            Well, being a major market team, they don’t like to use the ‘R’ word…rebuild. Too many times they do not let young guys show what they can or can not do when the season is almost over. For any team’s management, properly evaluating one’s own system is the hardest thing to do. Hopefully, the Cubs do it better moving forward.

            If I come off as negative, I am upbeat. But I have to call facts as they really are…the facts.

          • Tony_Hall

            You can let a rookie play all year and get 500 AB’s+, and still be competitive. Many teams do it, the Cubs did it with Castro last year. They brought him up and said he is our SS. They could of easily sent him down, when he was struggling, but they kept giving him at bats and he had a great July and August.

            Why can’t they do this with more guys? Are they just the wrong guys, or did they just figurre this out, after how they started the year with Colvin on the bench? If you think a player is a ML starter, they need to play everyday.

          • Aaron

            Actually, they even benched Colvin later in the year when he struggled

          • studio179

            “You can let a rookie play all year and get 500 AB’s+, and still be competitive. Many teams do it, the Cubs did it with Castro last year. They brought him up and said he is our SS. They could of easily sent him down, when he was struggling, but they kept giving him at bats and he had a great July and August.”

            Agreed. It can be done. True, the Cubs did do this with Castro and let him play. They have done it with other guys as well. Too many times they do not let a guy play and develope. Too many times management moves a guy around by giving him a very small sample size to succeed. When they struggle a bit, back down he goes. Management’s efforts in trying to protect a players mental make up or sending them on the Chicago-Iowa shuttle can be counter productive.

            “Why can’t they do this with more guys? Are they just the wrong guys, or did they just figurre this out, after how they started the year with Colvin on the bench? If you think a player is a ML starter, they need to play everyday.”

            Again, I agree. Like you said, if management determines a guy is MLB ready, they need to play. Colvin needed ABs and playing time in the OF when they sat him. Letting a guy sit a day here and there if he really struggles is one thing. Hampering his developement is another thing. Colvin would finally get in there and good day or not, Lou would bench him for the next few games. That was crazy.

    • paulcatanese

      Given what the Cubs have (at this point) I would hope you are wrong,but cannot find enough to prove it. I don’t see Silva there and Augie,or Perez,but no other choices.Otto is a no,no and I hope Moreland gets it.I just hope you are wrong,it projects a bleak future,but I say againI don’t think you are. It’s just how it is.

      Perez

    • http://twitter.com/JasonPenrod Jason Penrod

      Aaron…
      So you don’t even have Cashner making the 25 man roster? Even in the pen?

      • Aaron

        Well, my point was what I believe Hendry will do, which is what I outlined above. I did NOT say it was the wise thing to do, but just what I thought he’d do. Wells will remain, and I cannot fathom a way in which Silva does not make this team, given the Ricketts reluctance to eat salary, otherwise they would’ve let Grabow go, along with Nady last year, and probably eaten most of Fukudome’s deal by now.

        I believe the Cubs are on the hook for $7.5 million for Silva next year. That’s quite a bit of salary to eat, and he’s NOT suited for the pen.

        So, just by the process of deduction, you can see that Cashner won’t make the rotation, and Hendry will use that as a reason to keep him starting down in Iowa should the need arise.

        • Tony_Hall

          I believe Cashner shouldstart the year in Iowa, in a controlled environemnt, to limit his innings this year. He then should be brought up in May/June, once he won’t go over XX amount of innings.

        • Patrick_Schaefer

          Augie Ojeda Is a spring training roster filler in my opinion, he is a solid defender, and I guessing here but I think that they want him there more as a mentor to Castro during spring training hanging out with him and watching him field the ball at shortstop is what the Cubs want, like the Sox did with Omar Vizquel mentoring Alexi Ramirez.

        • Ripsnorter1

          About Silva, Cashner, and Jim Clueless . . . .
          Aaron I agree: the plan by Jim Clueless is to send Cashner down to AAA until May something, just like he did Kerry Wood. That’d say a little time off Cashner’s arby elgible date. And it keeps Mr. Carlos Silva right on the roster to collect him millions under the guise of being . . . ahem, er, ah, ahem–“useful to the Cubs.” That is probably what will happen.

          So the staff looks to be:
          Z, Garza, Dempster, Wells, Silva, with a pen of Marshall, Wood, Marmol, Russell, Grabow, Samardzija (his ST ERA will be 7.00+ and he’ll still make the staff), either Wellemeyer, or . . . hahahahaha . . . Brandon Looper! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahhaaha!

          Maine should make the team–and won’t. At least not until they DFA Looper and/or Wellemeyer.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            I don’t see Silva making the roster, except maybe as a long reliever. Looper has had success as a reliever, he would be a better option than Jeff Stevens, Samardzija, and a couple other guys! I’m not saying he will be good, but better than some of the other options.
            I would prefer Jay Jackson being given a shot in middle relief, with Carpenter starting in AAA. I could see McNutt pitching in relief this season, not at the beginning of the year but in June or July he has good command. I see Russell starting in Iowa and Maine in the bullpen.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You may be right. Myself, I can’t wait until ST! Let’s get the show on the road!

        • paulcatanese

          I agree with you on Silva,he will be with the team after spring training. Not my choice and I know not yours.What I don’t understand,how in the world can the Cubs put this guy on the mound given he is overweight, heart problems,and put aside that he dosen’t have it anymore. I would be afraid he would cash it in on the mound, and I don’t mean with base hits.Lets face it he could die out there.I just cannot believe the reasons for him to pitch are so contrary to what could hapen. This is a totaly bad move if it comes off.

    • Tony_Hall

      I agree with your rotation to start the year…IF Silva is healthy. Cashner will be at AAA to control his innings.

      Bullpen – I think Russell will also be in AAA to start. He is much more valuable to the organization as a starter, so I have Maine in his place, and the last spot I think is up in the air, but Wellemeyer is a likely guy.

      And I agree with you position players, across the board.

      I am going to search out and see if I can order my playoff tickets already….