Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Mariners – 03/25/11

Spring Training Game Twenty-Nine: Cubs (12-16) vs. Mariners (ss) (13-9)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV/MLB Network – Radio: Webcast
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Randy Wells (1-1, 1.35/0.70) vs. Aaron Laffey (1-0, 1.50/1.50)

Updated 12:45pm CDTRandy Wells was informed that he is the Cubs’ fourth starter Friday morning.

Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and James Russell have been told they’ve made the team. Cashner’s spot (rotation/bullen) is yet to be determined. Final pitching spot down to Braden Looper, Carlos Silva, Marcos Mateo and Casey Coleman.

Updated 4:29pm CDT According to multiple reports, Braden Looper announced his retirement after finding out he would not make the team. Carlos Silva will make the team barring a trade.

The first pitch of the Cubs 2011 Season is just seven days away … one week until the Cubs face Kevin Correia and the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

Randy Wells began camp in the mix for one of the final two spots in the Cubs’ rotation. Wells took the competition seriously and locked up the fourth spot with an excellent spring. Wells has done everything the Cubs asked him to do to this point. Wells still needs to finish strong in his last Cactus League start … and take his excellent spring into his first start on April 4 against the Diamondbacks.

Wells and the Cubs will face a Mariners’ split squad … while the other half of the Mariners’ roster will host the Dodgers in Peoria.

Randy Wells will make his fifth start, sixth appearance, of the spring this afternoon. Wells has allowed five runs, three earned, on 11 hits with three walks and 15 strikeouts in 20 innings of work.

Wells should get some work in during the Cubs intrasquad game Wednesday, March 30. With only four Cactus League games remaining after today, Wells will not face another team until April 4 at Wrigley Field.

Aaron Laffey was a non-roster invitee to big league camp and is battling for a spot in Seattle’s bullpen. Laffey will make his first start of the spring this afternoon. Laffey has appeared in five games and allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and no strikeouts in six innings of work.

Tom Wilhelmsen, Cesar Jimenez and Chris Ray are scheduled to follow Laffey.

In the Mariners’ only split squad action of the spring (the Cubs had four split squad days), Erik Bedard will start the game against the Dodgers Friday night.

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein
  • Neil

    Randy Wells was informed that he is the Cubs’ fourth starter Friday morning.

    Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and James Russell have been told they’ve made the team. Cashner’s spot (rotation/bullen) is yet to be determined. Final pitching spot down to Braden Looper, Carlos Silva, Marcos Mateo and Casey Coleman.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Very interesting. Would not think Looper should even be considered a ML pitcher at all. I would be shocked should the Cubs cut Silva . . . .

      • Cheryl

        Part of Silva’s salary is offset by his former team. Still, I’d think Cashner should go to AAA and get more prepared for a starter role. Coleman has little chance to be starter but he did carry the load once. As for Mateo, he’d be better in the bullpen, You probably have a better idea of what will happen now, Rip.

      • studio179

        I would be shocked, too. Reports say Silva is out of the rotation and Cashner is the #5, but nothing more. I tend to believe some trade is made where the Cubs eat quite a bit, but save more than an outright release.

        • Cheryl

          A trade? Nationals may step up. But what type? If they traded Russell or Jeff that would clear up some issues. Could the trade be for someone other than Silva?

          • studio179

            A trade is wishful thinking on my part. No one wants him. Realistically, Silva stays on the club. I just don’t buy the Cubs outright releasing Silva.

    • Tony

      Mateo should get the spot, let Looper and Silva go, and send Coleman to AAA to start.

  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Baker – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Byrd – CF
    Ramirez – 3B
    Soto – C
    Pena – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Colvin – RF
    Wells – P

    • RyanC

      Anyone else roll their eyes when they see Pena and Soriano back to back? K and K

  • Gary J

    For those that don’t follow the twitter feed, couple of interesting posts…

    RT @Ken_Rosenthal Trade interest in #Cubs’ Silva did NOT pick up even after strong last outing. Likely will be in ‘pen or released.

    (@Joelsherman1) Exec from another team said Cashner going to be part #Cubs rotation so Silva is out Cubs will eat big $ to make him go away

    Sure doesn’t sound as if Silva’s making the rotation. Thank you merciful Jesus.

    • studio179

      I heard the same thing. Let us all hope sanity shines through here.

      • John_CC

        I will be beyond disappointed if Silva pushes Cashner to the pen, I will be pissed. I hate this team right now.

        And big surprise! One decent start after a horrendous spring and there isn’t any interest in an overweight, overpaid pitcher at the end of his career? Wow!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Brewers, in a bid to bolster their starting staff after both Marcum and Greinke has went down, trade Dickerson off to the Yanks for Sergio Mitre, former Cub.

  • Neil

    Grabow, Marshall, Samardzija and Mateo scheduled to follow Wells today

  • Neil

    According to Bruce Levine’s sources … Koyie Hill will be the back-up to Soto. Castillo will be sent down with Max Ramirez going on waivers.

    Nothing official yet.

    • Ripsnorter1

      GAG! Let’s hope Levine is mis-informed.

      No wonder Quade cannot sleep at night, what with managing the junk that Jim Clueless is giving him for a roster.

    • Cloycub13

      Hate to say it Neil but that is bad bad bad bad bad. I cannot for the life of me understand what this team is thinking. I would bet that is the main issue that Quade was fighting with Hendry over, that and Silva.

      Hey Tommy Boy… Wake the H.E. Double hockey sticks up and smell the Maple Nut Crunch! Mr. Hendry is a fool, Mr. Kenny is a dope and Mr. Quade says yes to everything they say.

      • paulcatanese

        I have been saying what you posted all along,in addition I dont think Quade fought with JH over anything,maybe his spot in the dugout and that would be it.

        • Aaron

          I agree….not to be conspiratorial or anything, but I believe that is PRECISELY why Hendry chose Quade, and furthermore, I believe Quade, being a “player’s manager” simply played the card of “it was a difficult decision….losing sleep….blah blah blah” to let these guys down easy.

          It’s kind of like the classic break-up line of “it’s not you, it’s me,” where you didn’t want the girl to be pissed at you, because if you told her what you really thought, she’d bitch to her friends about you, and you’d have no chance with her hot friends. If Quade was truthful about it, and said, “look, I really wanted to take you, and you outperformed XYZ veteran, but ultimately I was over-ruled by Jimbo,” you can bet that player would go straight to his agent, who would in turn, demand a trade. Obviously, all teams do this, but the fact is, the Cubs have a history of going with veterans for the sake of playing veterans than really play who is deserving of a spot on the team….

          ……………………………………….which is why Hendry’s comments about taking the best 25 north are absolutely HILARIOUS.

          In fact, his comments, and subsequent actions, would be a fireable offense in most organizations.

          It’s like a General Manager of a sales organization over-ruling the hiring manager to hire one of his personal friends, even though the other candidate has 10 times the qualifications and sales numbers as his friend.

          In the Cubs’ case, Hendry gets far too close to a lot of crappy players, and has a hard time letting them go, so he opts to take his “friends” up north, instead of outsiders that outperform them (both in Spring Training AND historically)

      • Tedtop16

        The problem for Quade may be that he has to follow the party line on what ever they do with Silva. This is going to be a poor team with many short term decisions being made that are not good. I mean Silva and Hill decisions to stay with the big club.

      • Cloycub13

        So a quick question to all of the Hendry supporters out there… how do you defend this one? Koyie Hill over Ramirez or Castillo… I am listening????

    • paulcatanese

      Isnt that we all suspected? Someone in the front office is as stubborn as a mule and has the brains of a mules tail. or???.

    • Aaron

      WOW…Cubs management really does have a piss poor baseball IQ. It doesn’t take a genius to realize Koyie Hill can’t hit…he’s regressed every single year he’s been with the Cubs offensively, and ironically, the sole reason he’s even with the Cubs—-defensively too. He can’t throw out runners, and his supposedly high baseball IQ (meaning game-calling) was highly suspect last year as you review his stats versus Soto’s stats for pitcher’s ERA, etc. Soto, supposedly doesn’t call a great game, and couldn’t throw out runners. The stats say otherwise (in comparison to Hill).

      And the Cubs poor roster management continues…

  • Neil

    Wells is celebrating winning with fourth spot in the rotation by throwing BP to the Mariners. Wells is getting hit hard … Already down 2-0.

  • ripken boy

    Max Ramirez should be the back-up catcher, Koyie Hill cut and Castillo to the monors to get regular playing time.

    Silva needs to be traded or cut, there is no place for him on this team. Putting him in the bullpen would be a disaster and only done because of his salary.

    I also can’t believe they just handed Russell a bullpen spot. Maine had a much better spring and he also pitch really well last August and September.

    If the WhiteSox cut Lastings Milledge, the Cubs should immediately claim him and launch Reed Johnson. Same goes for Brett Lillibridge. If he is cut by the Sox, he would be the perfect back-up for all infield spots and he can also play in the outfield.

    Let’s hope Jimbo checks the waiver wire and does not fall in love with the crap we have on the bench today.

    • Gary J

      I still don’t get the love affair with Lastings Milledge… he’s been all hype and nothing but headaches. He’s about to get unceremoniously dumped by his fourth team in 5 year in the bigs. And only one of those seasons could be called a success… and that’s even a stretch.

      • Aaron


        It’s NOT a case of some fans (myself included) believing that Milledge is the answer to all our OF problems. HOWEVER, it IS a case of whether or not we believe he is a BETTER answer than the oft-injured and aging Reed Johnson (which , I think you’d have a hard time arguing the contrary).

  • Neil

    Soto and Wells with a strike ’em out, throw ’em out

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Max Ramirez, Wellington Castillo, or even Steve Clevenger would be a better option than Koyie Hill.

  • Neil

    Jeff Baker leaves with cramping/tightness in left hamstring.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I really like Casner, Coleman, and Mateo. If Cash is in the rotation then I’d like Mateo in the Pen, if Cash is in the pen then I’d like Coleman starting. Either way I don’t want Looper or Silva.

    • Neil

      Looper just retired …

  • Neil

    According to multiple reports, Braden Looper retired … and Carlos Silva has made the team, barring a trade.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Looper must have read my post about him . . . .

  • Neil

    From the Sun-Times:

    Mateo and Stevens still figure into mix with Silva as final decision goes into Saturday AM

  • Neil
    • Aaron

      ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……”It’s a procedural thing. It’s a standard minor league contract. If you change the contract for additional money you have to re-do it. You can’t just write a check and then at the end of next year have to decide whether you want to add him on.”

      Actually, Jim, that’s what contract negotiations are for in the first place. You work out all the possibilities, and get the deal signed. For instance, he gets $150,000 bonus to sign in the first place, and if he gives up football altogether in a signed agreement, he gets $1.5 million or whatever.

      Soooooooooooo….rather than flat out ask him and his agent what it’d take for him to give up his football career in the first place, the Cubs arbitrarily seemed to choose $500,000, and it clearly wasn’t good enough in the end.

      This deal is detrimental to the Cubs (and MLB as a whole) in a few ways:
      1) Just like Samardzija, his development will be stunted, as they absolutely have to rush him
      2) They had to pay a ridiculous amount of money to a guy that, while he supposedly has a bright future ahead of him, hit just .192/.300/.308 in 6 games at Peoria…..overall, he played in just 25 minor league games (1 at Mesa, 18 at Boise, and 6 at Peoria). And while he batted .347/.414/.465 overall with 35 hits, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 0 hr, 10 RBI, 2 SB and 10 walks vs 16 K’s…..he did so with just 101 AB’s. That’s NOT a reason to give someone that big of a deal.
      3) By essentially ripping up the contract and starting over, the Cubs just gave every agent out there a license to walk all over them, and that move, might have a damaging effect on their future drafts, considering Szczur wasn’t even drafted in the first 3 rounds to begin with where big bonuses often are given out (he was taken in the 5th round)

      Anyway, Hendry is a moron, and every time I hear him talk, like in today’s game, my ears bleed.

  • The Maven

    Absolute rip by Vitters!

  • Neil

    Castro with a bases clearing double … on a 0-2 pitch.

  • studio179

    Looper retired, so that decision is done. Silva and Stevens are bull pen maybes. Really…

  • paulcatanese

    Just watched Pena strike out again.I have the game on tape so a little behind. What is that for Pena 5Ks in last two games? Looks like they are playing in slow motion today. Baker definetly looks like hes in slow motion. DeWitt bombs one,I guess hes back in the running. The Cubs need a set lineup and if they keep switching back and forth will drive an already confused ballclub to insanity.Just saw Castro clear the bases with a double and then gets picked off 2nd.

    • Ripsnorter1

      “There’s more to come.”

      • paulcatanese

        Rip, I know but is so special when its on TV, you get the full impact.

  • Neil

    Cubs beat the Mariners 6-3 Friday afternoon. Starlin Castro, 1-for-4 w/ 2B, 3 RBI. Randy Wells’ line: 3 R, 5 H, 3 BB, 8 Ks in 5.2 IP. 91 pitches, 56 for strikes.

  • Tom U

    For anyone who wonders why so many of us are clamoring for the Cubs to promote players from the system, you saw evidence in today’s game. Let me sum up the play:

    With a runner on first, the Seattle batter hit a deep drive to left field. Tyler Colvin, on the run to his right, snagged the ball and made a perfect 360 and fired a strike to Darwin Barney, who’s quick pivot to Rebel Ridling at first nearly doubled off the runner.

    So what’s the point?

    The point is that the Cubs recently have had trouble with executing such a fundamental play, yet three players who have little to no time as teammates can execute the play almost to perfection.

    The reason is that all three players are from the system, and have been taught what has been expected of them from the time that they have reported. With the cobbled together line-ups Cubs fans have experienced in recent years, you never know exactly what fundamentals were stressed in a player’s development and which ones may have been ignored.

    The Cubs have been defensively and fundamentally poor for several seasons. It was nice to see sound and athletic play out of the young players (even if Starlin Castro did make a bonehead play on the bases).

    • Aaron

      well, pick-offs are going to happen to anyone. It was boneheaded, as he had no reason to be that far off the bag and should’ve paid more attention, but those type of gaffes are going to happen to even veterans.

      As for everything else you said, I completely agree. You can tell that guys like Castillo, Clevenger, Colvin, LeMahieu, Smith, B. Jackson, Lake, Ha, Szczur, Vitters (by the way….did you see his one-handed grab to end the game?…that was awesome), etc. all came ready to play. I was especially impressed with Castillo, Clevenger, Vitters, and LeMahieu.

      I’m said this in the past, but it’s worth repeating….if the Cubs are out of the race in July (or even before), it would make a tremendous amount of sense to trade/release just about every veteran on the team (excluding Wood and Dempster, as we need their leadership). I’m even talking about Marmol, Marshall, and Soto, who just might be the only “veterans” that actually have any trade value left besides maybe Byrd if he does well to start the year as he did last year.

      There would be no shortage of suitors for Marmol or Soto, and at this point, a whole bunch of teams would be in line to nab an above average, young lefty reliever like Marshall.

      John already mentioned a trade of Marmol to the Phillies (who need a closer right now with Lidge out) with DeWitt for Domonic Brown, Jonathan Singleton (power hitting young 1B in the mold of Howard), and I added Antonio Bastardo as well to that trade. For Soto, you could probably get a similar haul.

      The point is, by the time the Cubs are ready to compete in 2-3 years, Marmol, Marshall, and Soto will all be 30-31 years old. Why not capitalize on their peak value right this minute?!?

      Here’s just a couple suggestions:
      -put Soriano on the bench, start Colvin in LF to begin the season, and shame Soriano into retirement
      -cut Silva NOW
      -cut dead weight on the 40-man such as: Berg, Stevens, Gaub, Perez, etc.
      -it appears they’re already committed to Hill as back-up….so give him the month of April and May, allow Castillo to start everyday at AAA, then cut Hill in May
      *Cubs will likely be out of it in June, so do the following:

      -bring up Castillo for Hill, then, at the trade deadline, deal Soto for 3 top prospects (assuming he’s performing well), and at that point, bring up Clevenger to serve as back-up while Castillo moves to starter’s role
      -bring up DJ LeMahieu for DeWitt, who will be traded/demoted
      -bring up Vitters and Smith, who will replace ARAM, who will be traded for top prospects (assuming he’s healthy and performing and Vitters is doing well in the minors), and release/trade Jeff Baker
      -bring up Brett Jackson, and trade Byrd
      -release Fukudome and Johnson, and replace them with Michael Burgess and Matt Spencer
      -release/trade Carlos Pena, and either bring up whomever is doing best among LaHair/Ridling/Bour at the time, or simply move Colvin to 1B
      -trade Zambrano and Wells for whatever we can get
      -release/trade Grabow
      -trade Marshall and Marmol to the highest bidder, and replace Marmol with Wood in closer’s role to close out the year

      Here’s your new Chicago Cubs team in July 2011:
      Rusin/Dolis/Bibens-Dirkx/etc. (whomever is doing best)

      Wood, Mateo, Russell, Sommer, Guzman (if healthy), Maine, Kurcz

      C-Castillo, Clevenger
      2B-LeMahieu, Barney
      3B-Vitters, Smith
      CF-B. Jackson, Campana
      RF-Burgess, Spencer

      1B (Ridling/Bour/Lahair)

      Realistically, will something like this ever happen with Hendry at the helm? Hell no!!!!! But, like I said, it’s the smart thing to do if they have no chance of winning.

      Who knows….as someone posted on TCR, it looks like with all the injuries to the Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers, the Cubs might be able to repeat what the Bears did, and simply by staying healthy, luck themselves into the playoffs. But it’s doubtful, and for the sake of the Cubs franchise going forward, I hope that doesn’t happen, as Hendry would surely look to extend any and all veterans that helped them reach the playoffs. Yeah, I know it’s like sacrilege to think that…but it’s the honest truth…he’d really do that, and set the franchise back even further by dealing prospects away for even more veterans at the deadline

      • SuzyS

        Aaron, for a couple of years now…we’ve pointed to this year as the pivotal year for a Cub’s “Revitallization Plan”,(instead of “rebuilding”)…BUT JH
        is still at the helm…still putting on bandaids when tourniquets and major operartions are required.
        It may take a 40 win season to get JH out…or possibly start out with 13 losses straight…(like they did one year many years ago),

        I know you love to propose all sorts of moves to improve the Cubs…but I’m rooting for total failure this season…Just to get Ricketts to make the right
        move…Make JH as relevent to the current Cubs as Jim Riggleman is…
        Bobby Mercer and your rocking chair….Where are you?

      • paulcatanese

        Aaron,amen to youre post. And to Tom the same.I had posted on the next post by Neil almost those same words. You both expanded on your posts to what I totaly agree with. Both of you did a fine job with the posts. At this point all I have to look forward to are plays like the ones that were made yesterday and today by the kids.

      • Cheryl

        I like most of what you propose. But the only way to get rid of Soriano whould be to an American League team and pay part of his salary. I think we all agree Silva should be gone and one way or another he will be after this year. Send Hill to coach in low A ball. Meanwhile Castillo should play every day in AAA Iowa until Hill is gone. I also agree that Marmol should go and Phila. seems good I differ in terms of Marshall. I’d move him to the closer’s role and keep Wood where he is. The young players you mention deserve a break. I’d also keep Max as a power hitter off the bench.

      • JedMosley

        Aaron, realistically, that would never happen with any GM at the helm.

        • paulcatanese

          No it probably wont. The sad part of all of this is what management wants everyone to swallow. I would say 99.9% of all posters have known that Hill,Silva would be here on the roster. It has been a deliberate,calculated move to keep fans thinking that the Cubs were really going to try this year. I fail to believe that Silva will not get at least 6-7 starts and Hill will be there clogging up the lineup.Cashner will be shoved in and out of starter and the pen. Again why all of the retoric about the best will head north when they knew weeks ago what the roster would be. But then again who knows, Silva may win several in a row and Hill may hit..300 along with 20HR. I just fail to see that happening. I was spoiled catching a glimpse of these young kids and what they could bring to the game. They deserve better, an so do the fans.

        • Aaron

          Actually, Dave Dombrowski, Billy Beane, Larry Beinfest, Jon Daniels, and Andrew Friedman….and to a lesser extent, Ruben Amaro with the Phillies, have done something similar, and reaped the benefits of doing so. They purged their teams of veteran players, and they started over….even Brian Sabean got into the act by starting over with his pitching staff….and with Posey, Sandoval, Burress, Ishikawa (and now likely this year Belt), Schierholtz, etc., he also is remaking their lineup too with younger players.

          I will never understand why the Cubs (and especially Jim Hendry) haven’t learned from the rest of the league…..and moreover, haven’t learned from their own damn history. Recycling veterans to fill holes does NOT work, and never has for them.

          But, at the same time, with Hendry’s recent comments about the Cubs not using advanced statistics as most teams do now, in favor of old school scouting, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that they’re not being proactive about anything.

          The Cubs have been, and always will be, at least under Hendry, more reactive than anything else.

          There are numerous examples of this, but the most recent ones that come to mind are the Harden and Garza trades. In both cases, the Cubs got consolation prizes for the pitchers they lost out on to the Brewers. The Brewers got Sabathia, whom the Cubs wanted badly, and the Brewers got Greinke, whom the Cubs supposedly wanted more than Garza this offseason. (the Greinke case is a little sketchy, I’ll admit, as I believe those sources were Olney, Rodgers, and Rosenthal….none of whom I trust in much with rumors, but whatever…even Miles had a little blurb about it early in the offseason) In both cases, you would’ve thought the Cubs won the lottery with the way Hendry was talking.

          But the point in both trades, is not who the Cubs lost out on (and I’d actually argue that given the larger market and his emotional issues, Greinke wouldn’t be a good fit on the north side anyway), but the fact that they only made moves after their division rivals completed trades. In both cases, Hendry also made it known that it was NOT reactionary, which is a dead giveaway that it was, in fact, a reactionary move on his part.