Day Two of Camp ‘Q’ … Silva Staked His Claim and Other Cubs Notes

The second day of camp got a little spicy after Carlos Silva staked his claim on one of the final two spots in the rotation. Silva is competing for the fourth and fifth spots in Mike Quade’s rotation with Randy Wells, Braden Looper, Todd Wellemeyer, Casey Coleman, James Russell and Andrew Cashner. According to multiple reports from Bruce Levine, the Cubs would like for Andrew Cashner and James Russell to fill those spots, but Carlos Silva has other plans.

Silva said he’s one of the Cubs’ five starters, which would leave only one spot open for competition. According to a report from the Sun-Times, Mike Quade reiterated Tuesday that it is indeed a battle for two spots in the rotation.

Jim Hendry added another arm to the mix on Tuesday when he acquired Robert Coello from the Red Sox. Hendry traded Tony Thomas to Boston for the right-hander, who was recently designated for assignment. Coello was added to the Cubs 40-man roster, which now stands at 39 players. The Reds drafted the former catcher in 2004 and the Angels converted him to a pitcher in 2007. Coello has three minor league options left.

Mike Quade told the media that it is not out of the question that the Cubs could carry three or four lefties in the pen when the season begins … plus, are the Cubs still looking to add a veteran middle infielder to the mix this spring?

Here is the update …

News, Notes and Tweets from Mesa

  • Paul Sullivan was on WGN Radio on Tuesday night. Sullivan told Dave Kaplan that Carlos Silva does not have a spot in the rotation right now. Silva told Sullivan that he thinks it is ridiculous that he doesn’t have a spot in the rotation. Sullivan thinks Silva’s comments add fuel to the fire.
  • Paul Sullivan thinks the biggest concern for the Cubs this year is the defense. The Cubs are going to need great pitching and timely hitting to make up for their defense.
  • Several of the players, led by Ryan Dempster, Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez, spoke out at the end of last year in favor of bringing Mike Quade back as the skipper of the Cubs.
  • Randy Wells believes he got a bad rap from the media and fans last year for questioning his focus and preparation according to a report from ESPN Chicago. Wells denied the story that circulated last season about him being out partying with the Blackhawks. Wells said he does not go out the night before a start.
  • Carlos Silva said he worked a lot on his shoulder in the off-season and it feels really good.
  • According to a report from Bruce Miles, Mike Quade said Randy Wells and Carlos Silva “get some benefit because he knows what to expect from them.”
  • Tyler Colvin took grounders at first base on Tuesday.
  • According to Bruce Miles, John Grabow is 100 percent again and is eager to prove he’s a solid reliever again.
  • Mike Quade said it is not out of the question that the Cubs could begin the season with three or four lefties in the pen. The Cubs figure to have an all right-handed rotation on Opening Day.
  • Brett Jackson reported to camp on Tuesday. After complementing Tyler Colvin, Jackson told the media he’s “got to get goofy and have a good time” … then proceeded to hit a home run in batting practice that ended up braking the windshield on a car driving by Fitch Park.
  • With Matt Sinatro no longer on the coaching staff, Mike Quade will work with the catchers this seasona job he had in the minors.
  • For those looking to buy the #10 patch the Cubs are wearing this season in honor of Ron Santo, call the Wrigley Field Ambassadors at 773-388-8270. Proceeds go to Cubs Charities.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago, here are the highlights …

  • Levine thinks if Starlin Castro was more patient at the plate he could hit leadoff. Right now, Levine sees Castro hitting second, seventh or eighth.
  • For Tyler Colvin to get 500 at bats this season, he will likely have to take playing time away from Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd.
  • Kosuke Fukudome is going to get consideration for the leadoff spot against right-handed pitchers.
  • Levine thinks Ryan Dempster should get the start on Opening Day.
  • Casey Coleman is on equal ground with the other six pitchers vying for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. Greg Maddux is one of Casey Coleman’s biggest supporters.
  • The Cubs are not a match with Texas for Michael Young right now. The Cubs have no money to spend. Unless the Rangers are willing to eat a lot of the money, it is unlikely the Cubs will get involved.
  • The Cubs would love for Andrew Cashner and James Russell to take the last two spots in the rotation. Levine acknowledged it’s probably not going to happen.
  • Jeff Samardzija is almost guaranteed a spot in the bullpen. The Cubs are hoping what he learned as a starter last year pays dividends this season out of the pen.
  • Fernando Perez and Reed Johnson will battle for the 25th spot on the team. If the Cubs decide they want speed, Perez could end up with the job.
  • The Cubs did not tell Tyler Colvin that he would be backing up Carlos Pena at first until after he reported to camp.

Tidbits from Bruce Levine
Bruce Levine joined the Afternoon Saloon from Mesa on Tuesday. Here are a few of the highlights …

  • Six or seven guys are in the mix for the last two spots in the rotation despite what Carlos Silva said on Tuesday.
  • Silva said he never lost his job last year … he was forced out of the rotation by injuries.
  • The Cubs really want Andrew Cashner in the rotation.
  • Jeff Samardzija has been told he’s not competing this spring for a spot in the starting rotation. Samardzija will make the club as a reliever or worse case, is the Cubs will try to trade him.
  • According to Levine, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez are the keys for the Cubs this season.
  • Tyler Colvin is going to get a lot of time in right field this season but Mike Quade has not committed to him being the starter in right. Colvin and Jeff Baker will backup Carlos Pena at first base.
  • Jim Hendry would like to add another veteran infielder to the mix this spring. Levine reminded the Afternoon Saloon that Orlando Cabrera is still out there (the Indians are supposed to announce their contract with Cabrera by the end of the week).

Video from Mesa




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

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe
  • Tony

    I don’t get James Russell for a starter. I never considered him to be so good, that I want him to pitch 200 innings for us. Out of the guys in the mix for the 4th and 5th starter spots (with all due respect to El Gordo and his claim to a spot) I would prefer to see Cashner, Coleman, or Wells (in that order).

    I have no desire to watch Looper, Wellemeyer, Silva, and feel Russell needs to go to AAA, as it doesn’t look like he was effective as a starter even in the minors.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I don’t get why Casey Coleman is considered junk. He comes in last year and goes 4-2, and pitched really well in most starts. So why doesn’t he deserve a decent chance?

      Silva thinks its ridiculous that he’s not an automatic for the rotation.
      This proves he has a huge ego. OH, that Jim Clueless would deal him to the White Sox! Ozzie is looking for another Venezulean starting pitcher. We’d have to eat some salary, but it would give somebody else a chance–like Coleman–who is better anyway.

      • Tony

        I agree. I think Coleman should have a spot to lose, but that spot is Well’s spot and I know you think he is going to have a good year.

        My rotation would be (in order) Dempster, Zambrano, Garza, Cashner, Coleman. If Cashner or Coleman struggles in ST, I would send them to AAA to start in a controlled environment, and go with Wells

  • Tony

    Not out of the question, that the Cubs have 3 or 4 lefties in the pen….it is a reality.

    Plus 3 or 4 lefties
    Maine and/or Russell

  • Tony

    Say what – I almost made it through, without something that really bothered me, but JH says what “Jim Hendry would like to add another veteran infielder to the mix this spring. ” Come on man, how many aging vets do you want on this team. This is why we have such a hard time developing position players, JH will always prefer to go with a vet on the bench, instead of a young guy, who can give the energy, you need off the bench. I am not saying you need all 5 guys to be green, but out of your 2 IF bench guys, one needs to be a young guy.

  • Tony

    Interesting that we are now hearing that Colvin, IS NOT the starter in RF, so here’s hoping he is the starter in…LF. Let’s face it, Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome are going to split the starts. Fukudome, needs to play at the beginnign of the season, against all RH pitchers, and makes the lineup work a little better, as he can bat leadoff. April/May is when he is most effective. To do this, someone has to sit, and since Soriano, usually is awful in April, I pick him, to sit against most RH early on.

  • Tony

    The roster is, and has been, mostly set.

    Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome, 5th OF

    Aram, Castro, Dewitt, Pena, Baker, 2nd Bench IF

    Soto, Hill (outside chance Max takes Hill spot, like less than 1%)

    Dempster, Zambrano, Garza, Silva, Wells (How I think we will break camp, not what I would do)

    Marmol, Marshall, Wood, Grabow, Maine, Samardzija, 7th reliever

    5th OF – Perez or R Johnson (we know we need speed so Perez is the winner)
    2nd bench IF – Barney or Ojeda (we know JH loves vets, so Ojeda will win)
    7th reliever – many, many options (they actually may take whoever is playing the best baseball for this spot, let the games begin)

    • Richard Hood

      I am kind of hoping it ends up with Silva either traded or in the BP in a mop up role. I am tired of hearing about his good first half last year. When you have had a career like his you shouldn’t be expecting anything to be given to you. But can he see it that way? We should have moved him last June when I was screaming to get some return for him now while his value is actually more than zero. But not the Cubs the real Silva showed up in the second half and we are stuck with this self delusional piece of work.

  • Tony

    Just a thought, of how hard it is to be a manager.

    Quade is the manager, and he was backed by many players. Now as time moves forward, Q will have to make decisions on playing time. This ST, lets say Brett Jackson, continues to impress, they send him to the minors and recall him in late May or June. Q will have to call into his office Marlon Byrd. Marlon is a standup guy, great teammate, gives you everything he’s got, everytime on the field. He will have to tell him that Brett Jackson, is the new starting CF for the Chicago Cubs, and that Byrd is in the mix for playing time, versus, another kid, Colvin, and 2 much higher priced guys, Soriano and Fukudome.

    I would say by this time, Q will already have made many tough decisions, but this one, will be hard, because Marlon will still have the smile on his face.

    • paulcatanese

      Tony,so true. These decisions are the toughest for a manager and you stated it well.

  • Tony

    David Haugh from the trib on Pujols,0,5497860.column

    With the amount of players that the Cubs could have, with low salaries in the coming years, would you rather have Aram and Zambrano or Pujols. Pujols would also be cheaper, than what those 2 guys make.

    The clock is ticking in St. Louis………

    • John_CC

      Boy…that’s a tough call Tony…

    • paulcatanese

      Tony,I read the article,and while I would be insane not to want Pujols on the Cubs. But at what cost? I stated yesterday how I felt about that amount of money to one person and still feel the same way. Aram would be a given to go as with his age and injury factor he is definetly a choice to go.Zambrano to me is an unknown. There is a big if there as to which show up,thats the downside,but he is capable of putting a streak together.And as those are bad contracts to begin with I can’t see going fom bad to worse. I think the post you did yesterday on a Pujols contract was an excellent one but any more than that I would say let Pujols go. Who would eat what we owe on those contracts now?(I mean what the Cubs owe,not we). Tough one to figure out.

      • Tony

        Paul and John_CC – I think this is going to be one of the toughest calls ANY GM has had to make, maybe even the hardest call ever. The Cardinals can not say YES to their Franchise player. That is how hard this one is. Now, I have told you why I think Pujols and his agent, made their mistake, by not getting him to FA again at 29,30 years old, but how dumb does signing Holliday now look, if this keeps them from saying yes to Pujols.

        Whoever says yes, it will be a career defining decision, a franchise changing decision, as this move could be the best move, or the worst move any GM/Owner has ever done. All I can say, I want to win a World Series, and if Pujols coming to the Cubs, can win them a World Series, then I am all for it. The deal will not be a simple, 10 years $280M, it will have to have many variables to make it work.

        Let’s face it, IF Pujols goes all the way to FA, then the FA market will be a logjam until he signs. But if teams, want to play hardball, they could just move on, and spend their FA money, and turn the pressure back to Pujols. What happens if no team can afford him? Then what?

        • paulcatanese

          Tony,excellent reply. I was refering to the post you did yesterday on Pujols
          and it was excellent and to the point and made total sense and the only way
          he should be signed. I also would like to see a World Series and he would be
          numbing in a Cub uniform but only on the terms you stated.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wells denies he was partying with the Blackhawks before a start with the Cardinals last year? I wasn’t at the party, but several called in on 670theScore to report that he was there, including a reporter for the Score who was at the party. And I heard it all at 2 am and 3 am, and he had a 1:15 pm start vs. the Cards, and went about 2/3 of an inning. So I don’t believe Wells.

    BUT that’s all behind us now. Let’s go on. I’d give Wells a fair chance to win a rotation job, and let the best men win.

    • Tony

      Wells, should not be talking about it. It is done and gone, and no one else is talking about it, and it actually gives him a reason for his off starts. People are willing to forgive and move on, but not if you keep bringing it up and defending yourself.

  • jw

    I like the fact Quade is working directly with the catchers and Soto looked in better shape. Being solid in the pitch calling, strategy and defense behind the plate can win games…in a way the catcher position is the on-the-field manager, imo. I think the Cubs will be much more solid smart and cohesive as a team because of Quade. It may not get them in the playoffs but I believe the games will be enjoyable to watch again.

    • paulcatanese

      I also like that Quade will be working with the catchers. Now we will find out how much pull Hill has with the team. Without a doubt Hill provides 0 offense and Quade will have to decide what I think is a touchy situation for him. I believe Hill and Soto are very close on defense,Soto having the edge. But given Soto and his injury history,the number 2 spot is the important one. I ask will Quade take that into account, with Hill in there there are two outs in a row in the lineup,Hill and then the pitchers spot. Quade needs offense as well.

  • studio179

    Wells should not dwell on last year. He does not need to worry about media and fans. It does him no good. Compete and win a spot. Both Wells and Silva need to be quiet.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Looking through the list of FA middle infielders and I think I found jimbo’s man it would go along with the theme in camp Ex-Old Cub way past his prime good clubhouse guy Blah Blah Blah BLah BLAAHHHHHHHHH!
    41 year old veteran Mark Grudzielanek!

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Greg Maddux is one of Colemans biggest supporters! I love it, 2 years ago Ryne Sandberg compared Coleman to Maddux in terms of his command and poise on the mound when coleman pitched for him in AA.
    Maddux’s debut in 1986 5.52 ERA in 31 innings
    1987 6-14 record 5.61 ERA!
    The rest is history Mad Dog Maddux (The Professor of Pitch) went on to pitch 5008 innings and win 355 games in 23 seasons, arguably the best of his time. Like Coleman no 100mph fastball, Location, location, location.
    It would be nice if Coleman has a Career like Maddux, I really don’t think he will, but I do think he can be a solid pitcher and innings eater.

  • BosephHeyden

    I don’t understand why the media is trying to turn this Carlos Silva thing into a controversey, like “Oh, he feels entitled to it and will cause problems!” No. Anyone who has successfully played any sport in their life can hear that and realize that’s “winner talk”. In Silva’s mind, it’s his spot to lose. But he’s not going to lose it. He’s going to go out and prove that that is his spot, no one else’s, and if they want it, they’re going to have to pry it from his cold, dead fingers. That’s the kind of attitude I want on my team. It’s the mindset the Cubs need to have, because realistically those last two spots being open aren’t really full of enticing choices.

    Kudos Silva, now go out there and earn it.

    • BillyFinT

      That’s positive thinking, and realistic. These guys (Silva) hang around the Major League level not only because they have the physical talent, but also because they believe themselves. People don’t just talk about “love” like Bradley–by the way, I feel sorry for this guy; he should be the one going to those anger-management therapy for a few months instead of be listed on the 25-man roster–while shutting himself down and unable to contribute to the team.

      Anyway, win some ballgames!

  • ZT28

    I think that the cubs should either put Silva in the bullpen or find a way to get rid of him, because I don’t think that he will have be good this year.

    Dempster, Garza, Zambrano, Cashner, Wells
    That should be the rotation

  • BroLight

    Levine couldn’t see why the Rangers would want to trade Young for Soriano, but that’s because he didn’t think it through.

    The Rangers have been unable to get what they want in a trade for Young, namely: a big league hitter capable of filling the DH role they had in mind for Young, WITHOUT having to pay a pant-load of Young’s contract in the process!

    Getting Soriano back solves BOTH problems and probably nets them some extra cash from Cubs in the out years of Soriano’s contract.

    The biggest drawback is Soriano’s no trade clause; but that might not be as big of an obstacle as one thinks considering that he is unlikely to get much more than 400 ABs with Cubs, or at the very least he could easily be made to see that as a probability! On top of that, he has a history with the Rangers that included hitting about 320 in Arlington plus 20+ HRs and RBIs better over all than Young’s!

    It would be a win, win, win, win for all concerned!

    • Tony

      Money would still get in the way, as it is more complicated than you think. All cash included in trades must be sent within 18-24 months, of a trade happening. So the Cubs would have to come up with Soriano’s $18M for the extra year (if they would be paying it), while also paying for Young’s similar contract.

      I think the trade could work, if we were willing to send some prospects along, the better the prospects, the less the money would get in the way.