Day Ten of Camp ‘Q’ … Cubs Get Their Work In and Other Notes

The first pitch of the Cubs’ 2011 Cactus League schedule is three days away …

The Cubs continued going about their business Wednesday at Fitch Park. Most of the spring news has been of the off-the-field variety, which is great for this time of year. As the cliché goes, no news is good news.

Mike Quade spent a little time on WGN Radio while Carlos Pena continued stepping forward and two of the Cubs’ top prospects cracked Baseball America’s top 100 list. Here is the update on the day the Chicago Cubs spent more time talking about an injured rival than their own team …

Mike Quade on Sports Night
The Cubs skipper joined Dave Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas during Sports Night (WGN Radio) Wednesday night. Mike Quade sounded like his usual upbeat self and led off the interview by saying what a great time of year it is.

All of the Cubs are healthy right now and hopefully they will remain injury-free for the next five weeks. Quade said he is very happy with the way the first two weeks has gone.

Mike Quade is a huge Led Zeppelin fan and listens to a lot of classic rock/heavy metal music. Quade said, “As long as (Robert) Plant is screaming at me, it’s a good day.” Quade was cranking Zeppelin and the Beatles earlier in the day. Quade likes to listen to music first thing in the morning. Quade added, “A good cup of coffee and some rock ‘n roll gets me going.”

Quade was asked about Carlos Zambrano. The players are happy and ready to go, including Z. Quade really liked the way Zambrano handled himself Tuesday with the media. Quade explained there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes with Zambrano that people do not know about. Zambrano is great to be around. Quade added that Z spends a lot of time in minor league camp talking to the young players during Spring Training.

As for the middle of the lineup, Quade “hasn’t gone there yet.” He acknowledged that players such as Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano would probably hit in the middle. Quade said he would talk to the players to find out their comfort zone and to Rudy Jaramillo before making his decision. Quade admitted he has an idea but has not made any decisions.

The Cubs in all reality have only two open spots, among the position players, up for grabs this spring. But Quade is not closing the door on players have a great camp and forcing themselves onto the roster … like Tyler Colvin did last year. There is not a lot open according to Quade but there is a long way to go before camp breaks and the season starts on April 1.

When asked about the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, Quade was quick to point out the first half Carlos Silva had last season and that Randy Wells had a really solid year. The Cubs are looking at Andrew Cashner for one of the spots. The Cubs really like Cashner’s upside. As for James Russell, they like what he could bring to the rotation so he will get a shot as well.

Quade spoke highly of Casey Coleman and said, “He did a magnificent job for me.”

Todd Wellemeyer and Braden Looper are also in the mix for the last two spots. Quade said one of the factors in their decision with the staff would be if they think that pitcher could help out of the pen as well. The way it sounded is that the Cubs are looking for the last couple of spots on the staff to be filled with pitchers that can provide a little versatility.

News, Notes and Tweets
Carlos Pena spoke up Wednesday during practice and asked Quade if it was okay “to tell other players some of his ideas for completing plays they were practicing.” According to the Sun-Times, Quade welcomed the different point of view and left Pena in charge as he went to another field.

The pitchers made it through their sliding drills without any injuries.

Geovany Soto is looking to take charge according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

Tim Sheridan (Boys Of Spring) posted more photos from Fitch Park … including one of Mike Quade throwing batting practice. Sheridan noted that Aramis Ramirez looks healthy and seems to have a spark. Click here for pictures from Wednesday’s practice.

Trey McNutt is in big league camp talking to Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster while continuing his work with Mark Riggins. McNutt told Patrick Mooney he would like to have a strong year in Double-A, get a promotion late in the season and “maybe break camp with the Cubs next spring.” Not a bad plan from the former 32nd round pick.

Alfonso Soriano talked about how he is dealing with his mother’s death.

Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects of 2011
Baseball America released their 22nd annual Top 100 prospects list Wednesday. To no surprise, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals came in at number one … followed by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Two of the Cubs top prospects cracked the top 100 … Brett Jackson and Trey McNutt.

BA ranked Brett Jackson as the 38th best prospect in baseball. Jackson’s best tool is his power and on the 20-80 scouting scale, BA graded Jackson as a 60 … the ETA for Jackson to the big leagues is 2012.

Trey McNutt checked in at number 48. McNutt’s best tool is his fastball according to BA. McNutt graded a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale with an ETA of 2012.

Chris Archer (27) and Hak-Ju Lee (92) also made the top 100.

Click here for the complete list of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects of 2011

Video from Mesa

Quote of the dayMike Quade on the first 10 days of Spring Training. From the Chicago Sun-Times, “I’ve been thrilled to death with the energy and the way people are going about their business.”

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

Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
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  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Neil, has the link posted up above it’s an excellent article on Trey McNutt you should read the whole thing good stuff!!!!! http://www.csnchicago.com/02/23/11/How-Cubs-prospect-McNutt-got-on-the-fast/spring_training_news_cubs.html?blockID=416698&feedID=619

    Marlon Byrd’s Blog—- http://marlonbyrd.mlblogs.com/
    If you want to drink some KOOL-AID then you definitely need to read Byrd’s Blog.

    • Tony_Hall

      Great article on McNutt. It’s funny, because you hear about people doing so much to get noticed, yet even Wilken admitted, they didn’t have much on this guy, that they drafted. Then again, the baseball draft goes on and on and on, it’s not hard to believe that at some point they run out of people they know enough about. I hope to see Trey in Wrigley next April.

      As for Marlon…he’s drinking the kool-aid and his goggles are a little tight. Love the optimism, but saying the Cubs got the best 1B in the AL East, wow!

      • Aaron

        I laughed my ass off when I saw that. There’s a reason I wanted that guy traded, and he just proved me right by those comments.

        You have to want to play with winners, and have to have that sixth sense in baseball where you’re more intuitive than others.

        I’m not saying that you have to be negative all the time, but a little realism goes a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way. What he’s doing, is setting up IMPOSSIBLE expectations. Almost every team you see out there is setting a goal for winning the World Series. But only 2 teams make it, and only 8 teams even have a shot come playoff time to win it all.

        #1-Quade isn’t the right guy. Why? Because he’s a “player’s coach”. Veterans pick up on that REALLY fast, and abuse the hell out of guys like that and the privileges associated with that. Dusty Baker was known as that. Look what happened to the Cubs after 2003. Lovie Smith is kn own as a “player’s coach”. Look what happened to the Bears after their Super Bowl run. Even this year, it was ALL about luck for them. The Packers had something like 15+ guys on IR at the end of the season, and STILL won it all. What does that tell you? Simply put, the Bears had to have almost everything go right for them to even make the playoffs, and get to the NFC Championship game. The good teams they played against all trounced them, with the exception of the Eagles, who nearly came back in that game anyway….They got the friggin’ Seahawks in their first playoff game….a team that was under .500, yet still made the playoffs.

        Anyway, the point is, as JW so accurately pointed out below….we don’t have to get better, we just need other teams to get worse.

        Simply put…if you look at our roster from last year (meaning the majority of the year, not who we ended up with from trades), we essentially swapped:

        Lee for Pena=wash on run production, but a loss, considering lack of hits (which means less run production opportunities for anyone hitting behind Pena) and the worst batting average for an everyday player, makes this one a net loss for us, and that’s saying something, considering I was NOT a fan of Lee in the first place
        Lee-.260/.347/.428, 80 runs, 142 hits, 35 doubles, 19 hr, 80 RBI
        vs
        Pena-.196/.325/.407, 64 runs, 95 hits, 18 doubles, 28 hr, 84 RBI
        *ummmmmmmmm…..Marlon….what excatly are you looking at bro?!? Best 1B in the AL East, my ass

        Nady for Johnson=downgrade. While Johnson plays better defense, Nady could play 1B, 3B, LF, and RF. He never played 3B for us, probably because of his arm, but he played it in the past. And the funny thing is, just like Lee, I was NOT a fan of the Nady signing, and if everyone recalls, I wanted Gomes instead….Man, that would’ve been real nice.
        Nady-.256/.306/.353, 33 runs, 81 hits, 13 doubles, 6 hr, 33 RBI *317 ABs
        vs
        Johnson-.262/.292/.366, 24 runs, 53 hits, 11 doubles, 2 hr, 15 RBI *202 ABs. (at that rate, if Johnson had the same amount of ABs as Nady, he would’ve finished with 83 hits, 17 doubles, 3 hr, 23 RBI…In pure run production, it’s a net loss no matter which way you shake it). You want to know something else that’s astounding about Johnson. Last year, in just 202 ABs, he walked just 5 times, and struck out an other-worldly amount at 50 times!!!!!!!!! FIFTY!!!!!!!!!!! Nady was equally as bad, walking 17 times while striking out 85 times

        Lilly for Garza=we lose, and it’s NOT even that close
        Lilly-10-12 (because we gave him next to nothing for offensive support), 3.62 ERA, 193 IP, 165 hits, 32 hr allowed, 44 walks, 166 K’s, 1.079 WHIP
        vs
        Garza-15-10, 3.91 ERA, 204 IP, 193 hits, 28 hr allowed, 63 walks, 150 K’s, 1.251 WHIP

        Theriot for DeWitt=gain run-production-wise, but loss at speed and batting average
        Theriot-.270/.321/.312, 72 runs, 158 hits, 15 doubles, 2 hr, 29 RBI, 20 SB
        vs
        DeWitt-.261/.336/.373, 47 runs, 115 hits, 24 doubles, 5 hr, 52 RBI, 3 SB
        *I never particularly cared for Theriot at 2B. I actually liked him at SS over our other options in the past, such as Izturis, etc. But Theriot just didn’t have the bat for 2B, and DeWitt has a decent bat for that position. However, my main complaint here, is…..where does all his speed go? Soriano has lost his legs. Perez isn’t going to make the team. Therefore, in your everyday lineup, the ONLY speed comes from Castro, and we have yet to really see it, as he swiped just 10 bases last year. His tops in the minors was 28 SB. Theriot’s tops in the minors was 32 SB, and 28 SB in the majors, where he averaged over 20 SB in every season.

        The 2011 Cubs will be slow-footed, base clogging, free-swinging, poor situational hitting team….My prediction is they’ll be even worse than last year.

        Here’s our free swinger list: Pena (87 walks 158 K’s), Soriano (45 walks vs 123 K’s), ARAM (34 walks vs 90 K’s), Byrd (31 walks vs 98 K’s), Castro (29 walks vs 71 K’s), Colvin (30 walks vs 100 K’s)

        Soto and Fukudome (who isn’t even expected to be a starter) our the only guys not known as free-swingers. Soto (62 walks vs 83 K’s) and Fukudome (64 walks vs 67 K’s) had tremendous ratios.

        Out of the free-swingers, the only guy I really saw (besides not really watching Pena much other than national telecasts) giving himself up for the sake of moving runners along, etc., was Marlon Byrd, and that was early on in the season. Towards the end of the season, Byrd started hacking away, and you didn’t see that type of selfless hitting anymore out of him.

        Now, I should note, that ARAM had one of his worst offensive (and defensive) seasons ever, and prior to last year, he was more like Soto’s ratio, but with even less K’s. He used to make such great contact, that it didn’t matter.

        The problem is, when you fill a lineup with at least 3 guys (Pena, Soriano, and Colvin), and possibly 4 (Byrd…came damn close) that have over 100 K’s…and they’re not all getting more than 100 RBI’s, then you’re playing with fire.

        What makes matters even worse, is we had one everyday player last year have an OBP over .350 (Soto at .393)

        It’s one thing to be overly optimistic, and an entirely different thing to be so drunk on Cubbie Kool-Aid as Byrd and others seem to be, that you’ve lost touch with reality entirely.

        I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but this type of nonsense that we’re a better team than last year has been the battle cry for the Cubs ever since I was born, and long before that. Eternal optimism abounds this time of year, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Nothing was expected of the Cubs in 1984, 1998, and 2003, and they made the playoffs, so anything can happen. Other teams not expected to do much in recent years were the Rays and Rockies, who both made the World Series, and even the Giants and Rangers last year.

        But to compare us to the Giants as Hendry and Quade did at the end of the season, is absolutely intellectually dishonest, it’s not even funny.

        First of all, we don’t even compare to the Rangers,Rays, and Rockies of recent past, because their offenses were far superior. Yes, our offense might be comparable to the Giants, but they have 4 legitimate “Ace” quality pitchers on their roster in Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner, and a 5th one (Zito) that was a former Ace. Combine that with a lights-out pen where 5 guys had ERA’s under 3, and it’s not even close to what we have. Not to mention, not a single one of the top 4 starters I mentioned had an ERA above 3.43

        And let’s put the 2011 Cubs team in better perspective for you. At least one of Wellemeyer/Looper is expected to make the team. Koyie Hill, Baker, Johnson, and Ojeda are also expected to make the team.

        As I’ve mentioned before, the most likely scenario of all, is this:
        Z
        Dempster
        Garza
        Wells
        Silva
        *I believe this is what Miles thinks will happen too

        Marmol, Marshall, Wood, Grab-ass, Samardzija, Wellemeyer/Looper, Cashner
        *in full disclosure, I had both Welly and Looper making the team, but the Cubs have made it abundantly clear that if Cashner doesn’t make the rotation, he’ll at least be in the pen, so I have to take them at their word

        C-Soto, Hill
        1B-Pena
        2B-DeWitt, Ojeda
        SS-Castro
        3B-ARAM, Baker
        LF-Soriano
        CF-Byrd, Johnson
        RF-Colvin, Fukudome

        I’m taking bets right now that this is the roster we’ll see. All this bullsh$t Quade’s been saying about he hopes someone surprises him and claims a spot just as Colvin did last year, should be an absolute dead giveaway of where his mind is at. If he really was giving rookies a shot, then you’d NEVER hear a comment like that. He’s dead set on going with veterans, and both his actions (down the stretch last year) and words (Spring Training this year) should be all the proof you need.

        At some point, there’s going to come a reckoning for Cubs management to scrap the same strategy they’ve had,for almost 70 years (going with veterans to fill holes), and start over. I firmly believe that, given the economy where people have less disposable income to attend games, Cubs Conventions (as we saw this year), and even Spring Training games and merchandise…..if the Cubs don’t shape up this year and have a contender, fans will leave in droves, and the Ricketts simply cannot afford that, given their $25 million/year in interest payments and the current payroll. With the lost revenue associated with a bad team, they’ll have to blow it all up and start over, and that will THANKFULLY lead to the end of Hendry’s tenure, and Quade will likely be out as well, and the Ricketts will try to build goodwill with the fans and other former players by bringing the likes of Sandberg (manager), Grace (booth), and Maddux (in a more prominent role such as GM) back into the fold. With Sandberg, they’ll say it was ultimately Hendry’s call, and it didn’t work out, and they need more accountability, blah blah blah.

        Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying….I really hope I’m wrong with everything I’ve predicted, because if I’m right, it’s going to lead to a very depressing summer (unless the Bulls win a championship in May or June, whenever it is this year)

        • cubtex

          Aaron…Would you rather have a guy say “we suck and this is going to be a long year?” Did you ever play sports Aaron? Did you overvalue your team if you did? EVERYONE does and it is something that you want your teammate to say about you!

          Let me ask you a question…You are telling me that you would rather have Ted Lilly than Matt Garza??? Do you think the Dodgers make that trade today? I would tell you…HELL YES they would and they would fly Ted Lilly there in a private jet if they could pull that off. Put Lilly in the AL East and have him face a DH and those numbers would be much higher than Garza’s!!! Not even close!

          Ryan Theriot over Blake DeWitt?? No way! Theriot is brutal defensively and his 20 stolen bases a year and caught stealing 18 times doesn’t push him over DeWitt. Again, ask the Dodgers who they would rather have!

          I am not saying that the Cubs are a playoff team…but be a little more realistic! Lilly over Garza is ridiculous!

          • Aaron

            Actually, it’s NOT ridiculous. Lilly is a better all around pitcher than Garza ever has been. Does that mean that Garza can’t be? Absolutely NOT! He’s still just 27 years old. He can figure things out. But when will the dreaded TJ pop up? My prediction is that it will very soon, and then you’re without your “prized” acquisition for 1-1 /2 years. Thing is, Lilly already had injuries sorted out prior to joining the Cubs. Dempster already had injuries sorted out as well, and we got him off the scrap heap because of it initially.

            My point with Garza is that you were better off hanging onto Archer, allowing him to succeed and/or take his lumps at the MLB level, knowing you’d probably have a window of 4-5 years you could use him before TJ surgery creeped up.

            And with Theriot, I thought I very accurately explained the situation, but I guess not. I NEVER said Theriot was better, in fact, I said to the contrary and that DeWitt’s bat was suited more for 2B, while Theriot’s was more for SS. I said where the Cubs miss Theriot the most is speed. Where does it come from? That’s the question. And you,in your intellectual dishonesty, didn’t even answer that, but meanwhile, you tried to say I was wrong without backing up a single damn thing you said.

            As for your opening statement, yes, I played baseball in college. I was the closer on my team, and I know what I’m talking about. We weren’t even projected to compete in our conference, and we used that to our advantage, a whole “me against the world” type of thing. We ended up surprising a lot of people, but we still didn’t get anywhere in the playoffs. In fact, our catcher, who was a team captain, stood up in the locker room, and told everyone to look each other in the eye….some of us thought it was stupid, but we were all sitting in a giant horseshoe pattern, and he told us to seriously look each guy in the eye sitting on either side of us, and tell them we had each other’s back. Then, he proceeded to say that we had one of the thinnest teams in the conference (due to injuries and a smaller-than-expected recruiting class to make up for it….we had 4 guys on the shelf with TJ surgery…and 1 wasn’t even a pitcher, he was our 1B), so everyone was really honest about our chances. We were NOT unrealistic, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t care. Like I said, we were using the “me against the world” approach, and it worked.

            But that’s NOT the mentality that Quade, Hendry, Byrd, and others seem to have. They’re totally 100% off base, thinking that we’re anywhere close to being a good team, much less playoff-bound, and yet you’d think by listening to them, they really believe that. Just because you make “3-4 moves” as Hendry put it, doesn’t mean they’re the right moves….Furthermore, it’s just simply throwing sh$t against the wall, hoping it sticks. Hendry said we needed a 1B, needed a starting pitcher, and needed a quality reliever. Well, we got at least 1 of them….Wood is a quality reliever. Problem is, Pena is a downgrade at 1B from what we had last year, and Garza isn’t much different than Lilly. Sure, he has “potential”…but the problem is, he hasn’t shown it, so it is WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)…that’s really all we have to go off. Is a pitcher that has a 3.91 ERA better than one with a 3.62 ERA? Sorry, but stats don’t lie….Could Garza do better than Lilly did last year? Absolutely…But please tell me when he’s even had a season with an ERA under 3.62….You can’t….Because he hasn’t had one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Why do so many Cubs fans expect sunshine, rainbows, bratwurst, and scantily-clad women in the bleachers when there’s a tornado warning outside with sirens blaring, and the game has already been canceled?

            I honestly get that impression about some fans. Cows will be flying by their face, trees crashing down, and hail stones are pelting their body, and they’ll still say “the sunshine is out, and it’s a great day for baseball”

          • cubtex

            I get a kick out of fans saying how easy it is to play GM! You hold onto your prize minor leaguers like the Rich Hills, Felix Pie’s,Cory Pattersons,Luis Montanez etc and the chances of them developing are what %??? The fact of the matter is that most minor league prospects NEVER live up to their billing! I for one think Hendry did a hell of a job this offseason. To add Pena,Wood and Garza for 10 million this year is a hell of a job! You can bitch and whine all you want about how Marcum is a better pitcher than Garza but IF the Cubs didn’t include Archer,Lee and Chirinos in that deal….Garza would not be on the Cubs now. It is called Supply and Demand!! Many other teams were after Garza! How many other teams inquired about Marcum?? You don’t know the answer to that and neither do I, but Anthopoulos has a love affair for Lawrie and wanted the player bad enough to do it for Marcum.
            I agree with you on the lack of speed on the team! I have been saying for years that they need to upgrade that spot but there are many other teams looking for the same thing. I respect your passion…..but to hear you complain about Lilly for Garza or Theriot for DeWitt or Lee for Pena…you would have thought the Cubs had won the World Series last year!
            How many players did you play with or against played in the minors? How many played in the majors? How many were considered all stars? I too played for a top division 1 program in Texas and I played minor league ball! I played with hundreds of players who were considered to be some of the best in the nation! What % of those players turned out to be stars????? Easiest job in the world is a Monday Morning Quarterback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Aaron

            **********************************************************************************
            How many players did you play with or against played in the minors? How many played in the majors? How many were considered all stars? I too played for a top division 1 program in Texas and I played minor league ball! I played with hundreds of players who were considered to be some of the best in the nation! What % of those players turned out to be stars?????
            **********************************************************************************
            -Who knows how many? I guess I could look back at all the programs and do an exact count, but when you play high school ball, and college ball against D I, D II, and NAIA schools, who really knows. I think most guys in college ball have played with or against countless future minor leaguers. I know 7 guys from my own team played in the minors, and 2 others played in Indy ball. I blew out my shoulder before the draft, and the Pirates decided against taking me for that reason. I’m not as fortunate as you, or my teammates to have had that experience, and commend you for that. I’ve since been a college pitching coach at the D II ranks, and a summer league pitching coach for a team that just made the World Series this past summer in Wichita.

            -I have played with or against at least 31 guys that I can count off the top of my head that made it to MLB (and I’m including my Northwoods League opponents/teammates as well, not just regular season). Probably the best compensated out of all of them is Ben Zobrist.

            -As for the last point, it’s very well taken. In fact, as part of one of my classes, I did a paper on MLB, the draft, minors, college ball, and even high school ball, and the probability of making it. (yeah, I know, it wasn’t exactly the hardest paper to do, but it was for my Sports Marketing class, so it related). I don’t have the exact data in front of me, but for argument’s sake, let’s just say that there are 13,000 high schools with baseball teams (using the figure of 26k+high schools, but factoring that only half have teams). Then, let’s factor that those teams have at least 15 players as a baseline. That’s up to 195,000 guys participating. As for college, I think the figure I had was something like 515 Division I and II programs with baseball, and that’s NOT even counting JUCO, NAIA, and Division III. Let’s just assume that there are 500 other institutions in the latter 3 levels. And let’s assume they all have 25 players total on average (I think D-A is typically 35, D-II is 30, and NAIA is 25, but it all depends on the institution…so we’ll just say 25 and factor in smaller programs that way). That’s 25,375 spots for college ball (it’s likely more, but we’ll say that).

            Then, from there, you have 30 MLB teams. Almost every team has 2 rookie teams, 2 A-ball teams, 1 AA, and 1 AAA team. For an average of 25 guys all around, that’s roughly about 5,250 players in organized professional baseball (including MLB). Then, most teams have Dominican teams, and you have Indy ball options as well. Let’s just say Indy Ball equates to roughly 750 players. That’s about 6,000 in organized pro ball just in the US, thus leaving about 20,000 college players out in the cold.

            Pretty long odds of making it to college ball in the first place….and subsequently pro ball, especially when you factor in international free agents,etc., which came primarily from the Dominican and Puerto Rico in the past. Now we’re seeing all Latin countries, Italy, Netherlands, France, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and even China and Australia.

            It’s pretty amazing, so I definitely give you props for that…..but in your entire post calling me out, you still didn’t make a point at all, or back anything up. You tried stretching things a LOT by saying you played in pro ball. Great! So what’s your point?

            Now, if you were to have said that you played in minor league ball, and knew of several guys that were phenomenal, yet never got the chance to play at the MLB level because the team wasn’t invested in them (in terms of signing bonus, etc.), I’d take note. Usually guys with signing bonuses of more than $100k are given the benefit of the doubt, and promoted (though undeserving in most cases) over other guys that perform better….unfortunately, your argument falls flat, because you don’t back anything up with anything of substance.

            Your point about players rarely turning into stars is valid, but look around the league. Stars are rare….and when you’re talking about the Cubs, they’re even rarer. The league is filled with solid players and role players like Byrd, Colvin, Barney, etc., but the guys like Longoria, Wright, Howard, Pujols, etc. are rare. You’ll always find guys like Colvin who put together seasons of 20+hr, then fall completely off the map. Chris Davis ring a bell?

            You’re right, it’s easy playing Monday Morning Quarterback. But when it comes to the Cubs, it’s probably the easiest (and most valid) thing to do. Nothing they’ve done in recent history makes much sense at all. From all the last place finishes and subsequent top 5 picks in the draft throughout the years, the Cubs have very little to show for it, eh?

            And for all the players to come through the system throughout those same years, it’s even harder to believe that they couldn’t hit on any of them. The point is, just as you know, and I know (from talking to my former teammates and opponents in pro ball), a lot of times the most deserving players don’t get the call due to politics. It’s just the way it is.

            I haven’t seen you post much on here as long as I’ve been around (basically from the beginning of this site), so I’ll give you a pass….But I back up my points. I use stats to prove a point, and more often than not, if you use stats without even scouting, you’ll hit more than you’ll miss.I know this, because I did recruiting when I was the pitching coach for a D-II school here. (though admittedly, high school is more difficult, because of sloppy record keeping). But it CERTAINLY applies to pro ball.

            There are some major metrics I look for in both hitters and pitchers in determining whether or not they’ll even make it at the MLB level. I also look for consistency with their stats.

            Just do some research for yourself at baseballreference.com, and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to predict statistical outcomes, and therefore project prospects in trades.

            I can proclaim very confidently that the Cubs got hosed in the Garza trade for that very fact, in comparison to what other teams have traded for current “Ace” quality starters…and even in trades for equal starters like Marcum, etc.

          • cubtex

            One last point on how hard it is to trade for starting pitching. Realize that Garza is locked up for 2 more years after this. I know you want stats so here is a comparison.

            Josh Beckett 2004 9-9 with a 3.79 ERA
            2005 15-8 with a 3.38

            15 wins was Beckett’s highest wins total at the time.

            What did it cost the Red Sox????

            Hanley Ramirez- Their #1 Prospect and top 10 prospect in all of baseball at that time Enough said!

            Anibal Sanchez- The Red Sox #1 pitching prospect at the time. 21 years of age. 6-1 record 2.40 ERA with an electric 95 K’s in 78 innings.

            Jesus Delgado- Another Red Sox top 5 pitching prospect who was 7-3 with a low 3 ERA.

            In Ramirez…..that is quite a hefty price to pay!!!! According to most top baseball scouts, none of the Cubs who were traded are expected to be stars! I will repeat that…..Not one of the prospect who the Cubs traded are expected to be stars. Could the evaluators be wrong???? Of course.
            It is rare to be able to trade for a 27 year old pitcher coming into his prime, won 15 games, pitched a no hitter, and is locked up for 3 years. Starting pitching is not cheap and if you want to dance you must pay the band!

          • Aaron

            You do realize what you’re saying, right?

            You all but proved my point. How’d the Beckett trade work out for the Red Sox by the way?

            Ironically, he was actually younger than Garza at the time of the trade. Sure, in his second season there, he helped them win a title, but his first season was dreadful, 5.01 ERA, then came his best season by far with the Red Sox at 20-7, 3.27 ERA, then 12-10, 4.03 ERA, then 17-6, 3.86 ERA, then an absolutely dreadful 2010 at 6-6, 5.78 ERA.

            Meanwhile, Sanchez is morphing into an Ace caliber pitcher, and already has a no-hitter under his belt. And Hanley has developed into a perennial All-Star shortstop.

            So…..again……How exactly am I wrong?

            And from all the articles I read right after the trade including Stark, Kurkjan, Miles, Levine, Wittemeyer, it sure appeared the Cubs got hosed in that deal.

            Yes, I read the same article you did that said we didn’t give up any stars, but that was the only one essentially saying the Cubs got a good deal. The others weren’t so kind to the Cubs.

            Also, Beckett at the time of the trade was regarded as an Ace. Garza NEVER has been regarded as such, comes with character issues supposedly, and probably never will realize the purported “potential” that he’s had.

            Weren’t we waiting forever for Zambrano to develop his “Ace potential”….Z is an awesome #2 starter,and if you ask me, he’s probably in the Top 5 of #2 starters in MLB….but he’s no #1. you trade top prospects for #1 pitchers, and top hitters, but you do NOT trade them for #3 starters, and that’s PRECISELY what we got.

            Don’t give me all this garbage about what he’ll do in the NL. Has he pitched in the NL yet? Well there you have your answer. For someone that played in the minors, I’d think you have grasped that concept by now….you know…examining stats to understand where a player is currently at.

            All Hendry did, and all the Cubs did in this situation was project Garza as a future #1. Who does that in trades, unless they’re trading for prospects. Understand?

          • JedMosley

            Aaron where do you get the time to write all of these LONG posts? I’m just curious. This question is not meant to be disrespectful, even though I don’t agree with your posts. I agree with cubtex.

          • Aaron

            Are you typing old-school style? Are you typing like my grandparents might do? You know, using both index fingers, typing one key at a time?

            If you’re typing that way, I guess you wouldn’t understand.

            I also have a smartphone, so while I’m at the airport waiting for my plane on a business trip, I generally have time to waste.

            And of course you’d agree with cubtex, otherwise you wouldn’t be that ridiculous.

          • Last_ginger

            i agree with Cubtex.

          • JedMosley

            I said no disrespect Aaron, that’s all, I was just curious because your posts are all so long. Now I know thanks for the info, it makes sense now. And no, I can type Aaron, I just got better things to do than write novels everyday on a website..

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        If he said the best defensive first baseman in the AL east then I might agree.

  • Tony_Hall

    Nice article on Soto and starting to take charge. I know some people think that I don’t like Soto, I do like Soto, but he has to stay healthy and hit like 2008 and 2010, to make up for his, average at best, defense. If he stays healthy, and keeps hitting, his pay, this year, is not that big of a deal. But any thought of extending a catcher not named Mauer (I would never have given Mauer his contract) or Posey, is just crazy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      So you do not think that Soto or McCanns is worth an extention ? What about Molina?

      Before you get on Soto’s defense too bad remember that calling a game is part of defense. His splits with the pitching staff last year were better than any other catcher the Cubs got. Even the great Koy Hill is a joke compared to how the pitchers performed with Soto in there.. (that was sarcasm for the uninformed)

      I think the main problem that Soto has is that he gets no support from the management. I really do not understand why either.

      • paulcatanese

        Richard I’m the door but if you look back a few weeks,and I think it was Rip,not sure, but there underlying things with Soto that may have soured him with management. Again I saw it but cannot say for sure who mentioned it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          Yeah I heard that as well. The only thing I can put on it is that he is not a “Hendry Guy”. What ever that means. I also saw that they are looking at moving him later on in the season if things go south. When that happens I will be done. You do not trade away players like him at there prime just because you have a personal beef with him.

        • Aaron

          I don’t know. I think you guys are getting a bit ahead of yourselves. If Soto had showed up out of shape, it’d be one thing, but the pictures I’ve seen make it look like he’s even dropped more weight, which is very encouraging.

          Having said that, if you have a chance to trade him for a nice haul, you absolutely MUST consider it.

          Here’s why:
          1) Castillo has the best of both worlds…a power bat for a catcher, and a cannon of an arm
          2) If the Cubs ever decide to grow a pair, and do the right thing by releasing Hill, Ramirez is the instant favorite to be the back-up catcher
          3) If Castillo doesn’t pan out, we still have Clevenger, who is more than capable, and could at least be a platoon guy, if not outright win it
          4) We have Gibbs and Brenly still in the organization, and the Cubs are high on both of them

          But in order to replenish our system, we have to do trades like this. I’d also strongly consider moving Byrd as well.

          • Tony_Hall

            Absolutely trade him and Byrd. That is how teams get better, they trade away players, that cost more than internal replacements, that can perform as good (or better in some cases) and in the process add more prospects to the system.

            This is something JH has almost never done!

      • Tony_Hall

        I would not offer an extension to Soto…I thought I made that clear.

        McCann, would be close, but if I were the Braves and they have been developing their catchers, I would look to trade him and let someone else pay him. Catchers have shorter careers and not very often does a team make out on paying a catcher alot of money over alot of years. I would use and abuse my catchers, and let someone else pay for them. Unless I came across a Yadier Molina.

        Yadier Molina, I love him for his defense and his extremely smart style of hitting. Sorry, I was only thinking of offensive catchers.

        Koyie Hill isn’t very good, so to say Soto is good at calling a game, based on comparison to Hill, is really not saying much.

        His lack of support could have something to do with, the lack of desire to lock up a catcher, especially one, that has had weight issues already, and has had “other” issues.

        This is why I am so against Hill. The back-up catcher should be younger, and your next starting catcher. Hill serves no purpose to me.

  • Tony_Hall

    An another note, I sure hope Wainwright is able to come back and pitch at his same level, after TJ surgery. He is a great pitcher, and this game needs all the great players it can get. He also seems like truly nice guy. Who knows maybe he will follow Pujols to the North side :)

    But, don’t tell me, that if you are a true blue Cubs fan, that this didn’t make you smile, just a little, knowing that it will hurt our favorite team to hate from St. Louis. Cmon, you can admit it…I have to say that we all smiled, just a little, at some point yesterday.

    • jw

      Who said, “We don’t have to get better, we just need all the other teams to get worse” Hey it worked for the Bears this year LOL

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        This is the reason I try not to get to far up on the projections bandwagon until there is about a week left in Spring Training. Every year there is a pitcher that goes under the knife or a player that hurts himself getting ready. It happens to everyone. It is one of the reasons I never sign up for a fantasy league until then either.

  • Cheryl

    I think Pena’s question and Quade’s response speaks volumes on how comfortable the team is with him. It’s clear that he has a rapport with the players.

    • Aaron

      Indeed it speaks volumes……that he’s a player’s coach, and as I mentioned above….how’d that work out for the Cubs last time? And how’d that work out for the Bears with Lovie Smith?

      Players are just like normal people…at normal everyday jobs. If they have a manager that’s a softy, and they feel that he/she is always going to be in their corner, they’ll walk all over that manager.

      But guys like Scioscia, Girardi, Guillen, LaRussa, a vast majority of players will run through a brick wall for them, because they command respoect and demand accountability.

      Guys like Quade and Baker might get results occasionally with the right players who already are responsible guys, but the other guys I mentioned seem to always have competitive teams no matter who is playing for them, with LaRussa at the top of the list. Even Piniella was that way. Look at what the Cardinals did with Rolen. He was a good player, but he didn’t respect LaRussa’s authority, so they jettisoned him out of there, rather than LaRussa. The GM had his back. Flashforward to the Cubs with Bradley, and while they jettisoned him out, it still took Hendry until the offseason after the damage had already been done to get him out of there, and rather than stand by Piniella for calling Bradley a “piece of sh$t”, he actually made him publicly and privately apologize to him. Point is, with player’s coaches, the accountability and loyalty is fickle. But no-nonsense managers like I mentioned command respect no matter who is playing under them, and if they’re not on board with the program, the GM will find that player a new home quickly.

      In 2004 when the Cubs collapsed, the inmates were running the asylum, and Hendry actually allowed the players to essentially run Stoney and Chip out of the booth.

      If you’re a Bears fan, you should know the “player’s coach” thing all too well. How many piss poor players have you seen starting for the Bears, where they wouldn’t be starting for any other team in the NFL if not for the “player’s coach” tag that Smith carries with him. And the same can be said for Angelo, who shows far too much loyalty to players he drafts, etc.

      Guys like Archuleta (over anyone), Harris (over pretty much anyone), Jennings (over Bowman), Chris Williams (over anyone with a beating heart), Collins (over Hanie), etc…and those are just recent examples. There’s plenty more where that came from. Fact is, Smith is loyal to veterans just like Quade (and Baker before him) appeared to be, and Angelo is almost exactly like Hendry….he’s loyal to a fault with FA acquisitions and draft picks that can’t cut it. Yet, if you’re a practice team player or later round draft choice, he could care less about you, even if you outperform everyone else. The same can be said for Hendry.

      Whenever I hear the “player’s coach” tag, I get really sick to my stomach, especially when you look around the leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB), and see all the coaches that are hard-asses like Riley, Thibideaou, Skiles, Gruden, Parcells, Coughlin, Bellicheck, Tomlin, LaRussa, Scioscia, Guillen, Girardi, etc., and you see how much they currently get/did get out of their players, and you have the ultimate respect for those guys. But you see the pushovers, and they’re a dime a dozen. Sure, they might have seasons in which they win big, or win it all based purely on talent alone, but they’ll collapse the very next season if they make it that far, because the “player’s coach” doesn’t know how to reign in that talent, and pretty soon the inmates are running the asylum.

      • paulcatanese

        I agree,a “players coach” is not the answer. When I was managing a high level fst pitch team I found they only way to make it work for me was to distance myself from the players and make my decisions and just post them and no questions or getting together after the game. If you keep the distance more is allowed with what you are doing and less you “owe” to the players. Last post until very late at night,personal reasons coming up. Keep the faith.

      • cubtex

        Seemed to work Ok for Joe Torre, Charlie Manuel and Terry Francona.

        • Aaron

          except that Manuel is NOT seen as a player’s coach. How do I know that? My former teammate played for him. As for Francona, I could verify with my friend about that, because he played for him a few years ago, but I have never read an article like that. I know he’s laid back, but that doesn’t mean he’s a “player’s coach”.

          I know for sure that Torre was a “player’s coach” though, as my buddy played for him, AND there’s numerous articles about it.

          But Manuel definitely NOT, and Francona…well, that’s up in the air

      • studio179

        I find it interesting you mention other sports and list hard nose coaches. Yet, you leave Phil Jackson and Scott Bowman off your list. Both were pretty tough coaches, when needed. Their records speak for themselves. Both won recent enough. No need to go back to Halas or Lombardi days. I can understand Bowman, since hockey can be forgotten in the US most of the time. But you listed basketball coaches. You list Scott Skiles and Tom Thibideaou (both whom I like) and do not mention Phil Jackson. Again, not just the wins/titles, but both were tough, too.

        Well, this is a baseball site. Since you are bringing up Lovie Smith as an example of a player’s coach, I’ll jump to football here. First, I am not a huge Lovie Smith fan. He is not the best or worst coach. Question his X’s/Os, time outs and strategy at times. I certainly do. You can not dispute he gets the most of his players and they play for him. Blame the front office for the lack of talent. As a player’s coach, he gets the most out of some questionable talent. You should not place him in a ‘players’ coach’ downgraded mentality. Those coaches get walked over and run things to a point of lack of respect. I do not believe that is the case with the Bears and Lovie Smith. Questioning Smith’s coaching abilities is one thing. No labled ‘tough coach’ could get much more from those guys. They play hard, just usually out gunned on talent. Better drafting is more the issue. While Lovie is not my ideal coach, I blame Angelo more than Smith.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Great news on the prospects! However in the future how about we leave out any news about prospects that are no longer with the Cubs? Adding rankings for Archer and Hak-Ju Lee just pours salt on a wound that we’re all trying to move on from.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Speaking of Cubs prospects…where did Vitters come in? I have a feeling that the guy is going to bust out this year! He’s so young and had so much heaped on him.

    • Tom U

      Boatrider, I understand your perspective on wanting to move on. However, I don’t think it is in many Cubs fan’s nature to do so. Like the saying goes, “winning isa good deodorant”. Perhaps when the Cubs win something, fans can move on.

    • Aaron

      What pours more salt on the wound is that we essentially traded all those guys for a #3 starter at best.

      I love it when I hear people say, “he has the potential to be a #1″…Oh really?

      Here are his stats since entering MLB at age 22:
      3-6, 5.76 ERA, 10 games, 9 starts, 50 IP, 62 hits, 6 hr allowed, 23 walks, 38 K’s, 1.700 WHIP

      5-7, 3.69 ERA, 16 games, 15 starts, 83 IP, 96 hits, 8 hr allowed, 32 walks, 67 K’s, 1.542 WHIP

      11-9, 3.70, 30 games, 30 starts, 184 IP, 170 hits, 19 hr allowed, 59 walks, 128 K’s, 1.240 WHIP

      8-12, 3.95 ERA, 32 games, 32 starts, 203 IP, 177 hits, 25 hr allowed, 79 walks, 189 K’s, 1.261 WHIP

      15-10, 3.91 ERA, 33 games, 32 starts, 204 IP, 193 hits, 28 hr allowed, 63 walks, 150 K’s, 1.251 WHIP

      NOWHERE in those stats do I see anything that jumps out at me. Winning percentage? NOPE; Hits allowed? NOPE; WHIP? About average for a #3 starter, so I guess that’s good; HR allowed? NOPE…in fact, it’s indicative of a flyball pitcher, and usually means he’ll struggle at Wrigley; ERA? A RESOUNDING NOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Don’t give me the garbage about “pitching in the AL East”.

      I have some numbers for you that’d show if he’s truly a future #1…or even a #2 for that matter:

      Price-19-6, 2.72 ERA
      Sabathia-21-7, 3.18 ERA
      Pettitte-11-3, 3.28 ERA
      Romero-14-9, 3.73 ERA
      Marcum-13-8, 3.64 ERA
      Halladay (2009)-17-10, 2.79 ERA
      Lester-19-9, 3.25 ERA
      Bucholz-17-7. 2.33 ERA

      Mark my words, Garza is NO better than Marcum. Guess what Marcum cost the Brewers? That’s right, nothing more than a 21 year old, 2008 first round pick, Brett Lawrie, who has the following line in 2 minor league seasons:
      2009-.274/.340/.436, 54 runs, 116 hits, 18 doubles, 6 triples, 13 hr, 65 RBI, 19 SB, 41 walks, 84 K’s

      2010-.285/.346/.451, 90 runs, 158 hits, 36 doubles, 16 triples, 8 hr, 63 RBI, 30 SB, 47 walks, 118 K’s

      Now…what we gave up…
      Lee: 20 yrs old, 2 minor league seasons
      2009-.330/.399/.420, 56 runs, 87 hits, 14 doubles, 2 triples, 2 hr, 33 RBI, 25 SB, 31 walks, 50 K’s

      2010-.282/.354/.351, 85 runs, 137 hits, 22 doubles, 4 triples, 1 hr, 40 RBI, 32 SB, 49 walks, 86 K’s

      Archer: 22 yrs old, 5 minor league seasons (I’m including last 2)
      2009- 6-4, 2.81 ERA, 109 IP, 78 hits, 66 walks, 119 K’s, 1.321 WHIP

      2010- 15-3, 2.34 ERA, 142 IP, 102 hits, 65 walks. 149 K’s, 1.173 WHIP

      Chirinos: 26 yrs old, (9 minor league seasons, but 2 as catcher, which is what he was acquired for….I am including him as the last player basically straight up for Garza, as we know Lee, Archer, and Chirinos absolutely had to be included in the deal or they wouldn’t do it. Guyer and Fuld were traded straight up essentially for Rosscup and Perez respectively)
      2009-.294/.396/.519, 44 runs, 77 hits, 16 doubles, 5 triples, 11 hr, 52 RBI, and an astounding 42 walks vs 44 K’s ratio

      2010-.326/.416/.583, 63 runs, 104 hits, 28 doubles, 18 hr, 74 RBI, and another strong campaign with 44 walks, 43 K’s

      This is like, “cover your eyes” bad…It’s bad enough that we had to include Lee in the trade, but to include Archer and Chirinos when the Brewers only had to include Lawrie (who is essentially Lee, but with slightly less speed, more power, and worse plate discipline), is just a slap in the face.

      If Marcum has an ERA under 4, and Garza has one in the 3.90+ range, and Archer, Lee, and Chirinos continue to produce, Ricketts should walk into Hendry’s office and ask for his resignation on the spot, no questions asked.

      I don’t know how many apples-to-apples scenarios we have to have before the clueless Ricketts group understands that Hendry flat out can’t get it done.

      So..you have the Marcum for Lawrie deal….vs the Garza for Lee (similar to Lawrie, but better in my opinion), Archer, and Chirinos essentially….then…

      You have DeRosa for 3 unranked pitching prospects in Stevens, Gaub, and the throw-in, which was Archer (I admit, he was an EXCELLENT pick-up, but he was anything but a sure thing at the time, and Hendry caught lightning in a bottle)….but then, we have to watch as the Indians then traded DeRosa to the rival Cardinals for Chris Perez, a former top prospect that became their closer last year and had a 1.71 ERA and 23 saves to go along with a 1.079 WHIP….oh, and he was just 23 years old at the time of the trade…and, the Indians also landed top pitching prospect Jess Todd, also 23 years old at the time of the trade (he hasn’t fared as well as Perez at the MLB level, but his minor league stats are VERY impressive)

      But, hey, I guess those trades weren’t enough to solidify Hendry’s place as the most idiotic and overmatched GM in MLB right now.

      I guess we need to have a trade such as:
      McNutt, Vitters, Brett Jackson, Castillo, and LeMahieu to the Orioles for Brian Roberts before the Ricketts family starts taking notice
      *also, I put that trade out there jokingly, but does anyone else get queezy when we start talking about potential trades with Hendry at the helm?!? Funny thing is, given his long-standing boner for Roberts, I wouldn’t at all put a trade like that past him…isn’t that sad?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

        I have already said that this smells like 2003 all over again. We have a decent team that if some people over achieve Trader Jim will gut the system AGAIN to get us over the hump. I hate to say it but I could see it working that way. We will trade every prospect we got to go to a World Series once. So JH can get his legacy that is all it is about.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I understand your point and I was not trying to be negative, just objective.

  • cubtex

    Did anyone one else hear what Greinke admitted?? He flat out was quoted as saying that he dogged it in the 2nd half of last year!!! What an idiot! It is one thing to do it….but to admit it?? Give me Garza anyday with his bulldog mentallity anyday of the week over Greinke! I will take a player that cares until the last pitch is thrown over a prima donna like Greinke any day!

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I totally agree on this! I think Garza was a better scoop up than Grienke the headcase. Garza is a competitor and great teammate.

      • cubtex

        I recommend reading the article. I know this guy has a disease…but to hear his quotes would blow you away! He says it takes energy to make friends on the team and he would rather use that energy on preparing himself.

        Go to http://tinyurl.com/6ycnawg

        • studio179

          Just like everyone else, I knew he had the disease and issues. On a personal level, I really feel sorry for him. All anyone can do is hope he is able to overcome or deal with those issues.

          On a baseball side, I am really glad the Cubs did not go after him. I read a couple articles from him recently. Not only this article, but a recent one where he was talking about the difficulty of the Kansas City and now Milwaukee media and how it is tough for him on a daily basis. I realize Kansas City & Milwaukee are not the only media he has had to deal with during a year. Still…

    • Gary J

      To those that say “well yeah – playing for the Royals would tax anyone” read his comments in the article.

      I know that social anxiety disorder is something that he deals with every day – but wow. About daily team pitcher/catcher meetings… “”It wears me out to do stuff like our meetings every day,” Greinke admitted. “If I actually listen to the person talking, it’ll wear me out. So I kind of go into a little daze. Then I’m still refreshed from it.””

    • Dorasaga

      Umm… When had honesty and competitiveness fallen short from virtuous? What I read is a “real man” who admits that the Royals made him felt “sucks” by losing everyday.

      And I’m willing to defend Greinke. Trey Hillman could be a clubhouse cancer, too. In his first spring training, he gathered his Big league boys and scolded them like they are little leaguers–in front of the freaking media! And I used to follow then-Kansas-beatwriter Posnanski daily when Hillman was there (coincidentally), man, those Royal management are bad liars who say it one way but actually do it a way without the players getting any clues.

      If I were Greinke, I would be like, screw it, you guys from Kansas can play your way, and I’m going somewhere else where I simply earn respect by playing my heart out as a professional.

  • The Maven

    I just saw that the Braves’ Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman are featured on this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated.

    Gee, I can’t wait for the Augie Ojeda, Reed Johnson, and Todd Wellemeyer cover.

    • Bryan

      The Braves organization is probably tops in developing their young talent. Freeman and Heyward are studs, and their pitching rotation and relief corp is full of young, hard-throwing arms developed internally, mixed in with a few solid leadership vets. Almost no doubt the Braves will secure the wild-card in the NL with playing in the Phillies division. Similar to the RedSox, the Braves GM makes great player personnel decisions and isn’t scared to inject youth into the mix. Guys like Wren and Epstein never, ever would have signed the likes of Soriano or Bradley. It will be exciting baseball down here in the ATL this summer…if only we can get rid of that silly tomahawk chop crap.

      • The Maven

        I just got done reading the article (I just got home from work, I don’t read THAT slow) and I consider it a “must read” for all Cubs fans. At the end there is this particulare quote from the author:

        “Controlled, natural cycles are what (Atlanta GM Frank) Wren seeks – not the sine curves of rebuilding and competing that some other organizations follow but a fluid process whereby young stars are constantly complementing and then replacing their aging predecessors. It’s a formula that has helped the Braves to 18 winning seasons in the past 20 years.”

        To sum up the Braves’, a play-off team last year, off-season, they have:
        1, Hired a new manager
        2. Traded a utility infielder (not four of their top prospects) for a starter
        3. Are relying on 5 rookies/young players to play pivotal roles on the team
        4. Moving their best hitter to and unfamiliar position

        This sounds an awful lot like another article I’ve recently read.

        I wonder if any of the Braves’ fans are calling Frank Wren an “idiot”.

        • studio179

          Yes, many Braves fans do call Wren an ‘idiot’. I don’t think he is anything close to that, but some people can’t be pleased.

  • GaryLeeT

    Did I already miss the discussion on Wainwright being out for the season? I think that has a fairly significant impact on the Central race.

  • Moomoo3342

    why not have a starting six rotation rather than five. more rest less injury risk could be a bold move and strategy for a new manager