No Sleep for Q … Roster Decisions Loom for the Cubs

Seven games and six days left in the desert for the Chicago Cubs. The final Cactus League game of 2011 is Tuesday, March 29 … The Cubs equipment truck leaves for Chicago Sunday.

Mike Quade, Randy Bush, Pat Listach, Mark Riggins and Greg Maddux met in with Jim Hendry in the GM’s office Tuesday morning to discuss the Cubs roster. The Cubs’ brass is expected to meet again Wednesday after taking time to think overnight what they discussed. Quade described the meeting as being productive but no decisions were made.

Mike Quade said he wanted to sleep on some of the upcoming roster decisions. The Cubs next round of roster cuts could take place as early as Wednesday … Thursday at the latest.

Carlos Silva is reportedly still in the mix for the fifth spot in the Q’s Opening Day rotation. Andrew Cashner and Braden Looper are the other two main candidates to take the final spot.

News and Notes
According to multiple reports, Carlos Marmol and Justin Berg got their work in during minor league games at Fitch Park Tuesday.

Carlos Zambrano will not start Wednesday afternoon’s game against the A’s … Carlos Silva will make the start instead in a big league game. Mike Quade said players that are competing for a job with the Cubs would see time in big league games. If there is a scheduling conflict, especially with the pitching staff, then players that have already made the team will get their work in at Fitch Park in minor league games.

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Augie Ojeda felt instant relief from the cortisone shot he received in his back. Ojeda could hit off a tee Wednesday and could be back on the field Friday against the Mariners.

Catchers’ lines from Bruce Miles entering play Tuesday: Welington Castillo – .706/.737/.941 with a home run and six RBI. Koyie Hill – .037/.071/.074 one hit in 27 at bats with no home runs or RBI. Max Ramirez – .294/.381/.529 with one home run and nine RBI.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the hip injury that has limited Todd Wellemeyer this spring has made it difficult for him to break camp with the Cubs.

The idea of the Cubs starting the year with four lefties in the pen isn’t off the table yet according to Comcast SportsNet. Four of the seven spots in the pen could be filled by Sean Marshall, John Grabow, Scott Maine and James Russell.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine

Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his Tuesday chat on ESPNChicago.com. Here are a few of the highlights …

  • Michael Young is not on the Cubs radar. The Cubs have zero money to spend.
  • Darwin Barney could win the starting second baseman’s job if he continues to play well.
  • There is nothing brewing on the trade front for Carlos Silva right now. Until Silva can put together a couple of positive outings the Cubs will not be able to find a taker for him.
  • Koyie Hill has never been able to hit. The only reason the Cubs keep him around is because of the intangibles he brings … calling games, confidence of the pitching staff and occasionally throwing out a baserunner.
  • Welington Castillo will start the year at Triple-A Iowa. If Castillo continues to improve, he will force his way on to the big league roster in 2011.
  • The Cubs are very high on Casey Coleman … but he is likely to start the year in Iowa.
  • Reed Johnson is the clear-cut winner of the fifth outfielder’s job.
  • Matt Garza’s hamstring injury was a residual effect of a hole in the mound he was falling in. According to Levine, there is no injury to speak of.
  • Scott Moore or Bobby Scales has a chance to make the team if Blake DeWitt begins the year in the minors.
  • Sean Marshall was dealing with a dead arm … Levine wouldn’t worry about him.

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Well, there’s the update … time to sleep on it.

Quote of the Day

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

    Best defense probably is Barney @ SS, and Castro @ 2B — strong up the middle is essential and Barney is most likely the best defensive infielder the Cubs have—-let him bat 8th and make the plays—-Castro plays 2B and hits.

    • Jkuhn

      And Silva goes away . . . in line for the 5th spot . . . they would rather lose those games than eat the money . . . back to the Wrigley era

    • paulcatanese

      Yeah,we can all dream.I agree all the way with you.

  • Wickitkevin

    Here is my recap for Kevin in San Diego from Round Trip on XM Radio.

    There is the one from Monday I talked to Grant Paulsen on and off the air. During my on air conversation wikth Grant I asked him if the Cubs would have been better to start rebuilding, then trying to compete this year. Grant responded by saying that the Cubs are fooling themselves and need to start shedding big contracts.

    I then asked about the Garza trade. He was ok with the trade, because the Cubs got the best player in the deal. But he did say that Hak Ju Lee had the highest ceiling of all the players in trade.

    My off air conversation with Grant was about the farm system. I ask him about Matt Szczur, he called Szczur just a guy nothing more. He also said that the Cubs system is void of true impact talent, so players will that won’t rank as high in other organization will rank with the Cubs right now. Paulsen thinks Brett Jackson will be a good player just not a great one.

    Last Night I had a on air conversation with Mike Fern and Kevin Kennedy. I called about the Cubs 2B situation. Kennedy confirm my fears the Cubs don’t have a real starting 2nd Baseman.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks Kevin …

      I heard you last night with Mike and Kevin Kennedy, that was good stuff about DeWitt.

      • Wickitkevin

        I forgot to add a very important comment that Paulsen made. He said the best trade chip for the cubs being Marmols, because they have pitchers to replace him in Cashner and Carpenter.

        • Ripsnorter1

          HUGE risk in dealing Marmol away. Cashner has proved nothing yet, as well as Carpenter. And with our record of dealing away premiere closers and getting NOTHING in return (eg, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersly being the most noteable, but also to be included would be David Aardsma, Joe Borowski, et al). We have incompetent management. I don’t want them dealing our young folk away.

          • paulcatanese

            Rip youre in rare form today,I agree with all of youre posts,wish I could add something but am running out of options with these guys.

  • jw

    Quade wanting to sleep on it = Hendry and Quade not agreeing and Quade needing time to consider what Hendry is pushing for..my guess would be it revolves around money and options issues and that includes Silva and Castillo.

    • paulcatanese

      I dont think Quade wanting to sleep on it has anything to do with agreeing with JH at all. It is all JHs show and Quade has very little input to whats going on. Again I think Quade is a yes man and will do what is told to him. He really has no part in any decision regarding Silva and Castillo or anyone else for that matter involving the roster.

      • JedMosley

        Sure he does, he’s the manager. Obviously he has to do certain things with salary obligations, but he’s not a yes man. Just because cub fans dislike Hendry doesn’t mean they should dislike Quade and call him a “yes man”. I agree with the bashing of Hendry because he’s deserved it, but give Quade a little time.

        • paulcatanese

          I get your feelings but I have given Quade time since last Fall to be exact. While he had a winning record,I dont feel he had the future of the Cubs front and foremost but rather managed himself into a job. I respect youre feelings but it will not change my mind about Quade. He gets my feelings about him nurtured because of the moves he makes always seems to be what JH wants whether or not it comes out in public and usually does one way or another.

          • JedMosley

            If he had the future in mind then he would have put AAA lineups out there and he wouldn’t have won very many games and he wouldn’t have gotten the job, I think any manager put in that position tries to win as much as he can so he can get the job, if I was him I would have done the same thing, put a lineup out there that gives me the best chance to win, and he did win. So of course he managed into a job because he wanted the job! I think it’s a good sign when you have a manger focused on winning, because that’s what it’s all about. I think all managers are yes men in a sense because they basically have to work with the pieces the general manager gives them. Quade’s doing his best with the pieces Hendry has given him. I agree that a lot of moves the cubs make are ridiculous, but where I get frustrated is a lot of us are getting upset with the moves that every other team in the majors are making as well.

          • paulcatanese

            Very good response and I am not puting you on.You do point out what I was trying to say about the future of the Cubs. A lot of us do not think they are World Series contenders and would have preffered rookies being played last fall to give more of an idea what the kids could do this year. Thats where I come up with a yes man because he did exactly what management wanted him to do, and it was much safer for him to play vets than rookies. I prefer the long concrete road of building a team that is in contention for several years. Quade did what he set out to do and that was to get the job,I dont fault him for that,just the end result,same vets, same old Cubs this year. If you think he is not managing the same way so far this year then we just have to agre to dis-agree.

  • cubs1967

    if the fan base is expected to pay the highest tix prices in all of baseball; depsite 102 yrs of NOT winning a chanpionship; then the ownership is expected to trade for players like young to help the team win since there IS money; but the ricketts are poor and NEVER should of been allowed to buy this team; AND the fans should expect the best team on the field to WIN-which means barney at 2b, castillo at C playing 40 games a year to save soto from wear and tear and NO silva on this team. cubs fans are expected to sit in a dump of a park; that does not mean ownership should be giving us a dump of a team.

    the mets owners are near bankrupt; will be forced to sell the team after the madoof mess is figured out; BUT their new GM had the balls to at least put the best team on the paying fans expect by releasing o perez and l castillo-at over 18M per year; silva is only 9.5M w/ the 3M the M’s owe……………

    PK Ricketts-you have almost ZERO cred w/ fans—time to stop acting like a spolied frat brat who used daddy’s money to buy a team-of which you are CLUELESS……………and put on your big boy britches and ACT like winning is important; stop feeding us BS by saying it!

    • Ripsnorter1

      I heard P.K. Ricketts say just the other day, “W.C. Fields claimed that there was a sucker born every minute. I believe him. I just think that most of them suckers are Cubs’ fans.”

  • Ripsnorter1

    “Jeff Samardzija is a lock to be in the bullpen of the 2011 Chicago Cubs.”
    Insanity reigns in Wrigleyville.

    Jeff Samardzija: I don’t like him. Needs a haircut so he looks like a man, not a woman. Has an attitude that he’s the world’s greatest pitcher while he totes around a career ERA of 5.95–and it is only that low because he came up in 2008 and did a nice job (before the league caught up to him). Last year’s call up netted him a nice ERA of 8.38 with a WHIP of 2.12. 4 HR allowed in 19 IP. 2009’s ERA was 7.53 in career high 34.2 IP. His Ground Outs to Fly outs ratio is an awful, awful 0.67. That means they are cracking line drives off of this guy.

    The only redeeming thing I see this ST from Samardzija is that his K rate has increased. He has fanned 11 in 8 IP. That’s better than his career average. His BB have also decreased thus far, to 4 BB. They are hitting him, though, with 12 H. His WHIP is 2.00, and the league is hitting .324 off of him this ST.

    So you can see, Cubs’ fan, that you have a lot of gasoline in the bullpen.
    Samardzija and Grabow–not to mention Silva, Wellemeyer, Looper–are effective GAME ENDERS–just like Samardzija ended the game for us all yesterday.

    He should be called “Mr. Walk-off.”

    • Aaron

      Rip,

      Did you hear Steve Lyons’ assessment of the Samardzija situation? He actually made a very valid argument. Increasingly over the past few years, we’ve seen agents push for ridiculous contracts with their young players. For instance, with Samardzija, he referenced the fact that his agent pushed for inclusion on the 40-man roster with a time frame written into the contract on when he had to be called up to the big league team. He said Samardzija did absolutely nothing to stand out in the minors, and would’ve been better served to hone his skills at the lower levels first before aggressively promoting him. Here are his numbers in case anyone was curious:
      2006: 1-2, 2.70 ERA (2.37 in 5 starts @ Boise, 3.27 in 2 starts @ Peoria), 30 IP, 24 hits, 2 hr allowed, 12 walks, 17 K’s, 1.200 WHIP

      2007: 6-11, 4.57 ERA (4.95 ERA in 24 games, 20 starts @ Daytona, 3.41 ERA in 6 starts at Tennessee), 141 IP, 175 hits, 16 hr allowed, 44 walks, 65 K’s, 1.546 WHIP

      2008: 7-6, 4.29 ERA (4.86 ERA in 16 games, 15 starts @ Tennessee, 3.13 ERA in 6 starts @ Iowa), 113 IP, 103 hits, 11 hr allowed, 58 walks, 84 K’s, 1.421 WHIP

      2009: 6-6, 4.35 ERA, 18 games, 17 starts, 89 IP, 98 hits, 12 hr allowed, 27 walks, 71 K’s, 1.404 WHIP….all at Iowa

      2010: 11-3, 4.37 ERA, 35 games, 15 starts, 111 IP, 86 hits, 9 hr allowed, 67 walks, 102 K’s, 1.374 WHIP…..all at Iowa

      I used to think that Samardzija was better suited for the rotation with all the walks he gives up….and while that still might prove to be true, the numbers say otherwise. It’s clear that based on 2010, easily his best all around season, the Cubs feel he is best suited for the pen. His hits allowed and hr allowed all went down. His K’s also went up considerably.

      But Lyons was absolutely correct when he said it was primarily the agent’s fault here. I’m not dismissing the fact that Samardzija sucks right now….but I’m also saying that neither the Cubs, nor his agent did him any favors by rushing him. It actually resembles a Corey Patterson-esque promotion schedule. Just look at Corey’s stats in the minors, and you’re like, “what the hell did that guy do to deserve a promotion”….Corey went from Peoria to Tenn the following year, and was also brought up to the big club for a cup of coffee (and while he hit 22 hr, 82 RBI in AA, his slash line was not very good at .261/.338/.491 with 45 walks, 115 K’s) He would’ve been better served to start the season in high-A, and if he did well, earned a promotion to AA….but he “earned” one all the way to the big leagues. It’s just another example of poor development and roster management by the Cubs

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

        So lets get this strait it is the Cubs and his agents fault for the idea that Shark sux? What about Sharks fault for not being a smart pitcher and when he gets into trouble he over throws instead of pitches. If you want to blame Hendry for getting him the contract that make these kind of moves happen that is fine. But also keep in mind that there has to be some personal responsibility on Samardija’s part for not taking the last 2 years as a personal insult after being up with the big club and then shuttled back and forth. He should have been much better by now but seems to settle for being a below average pitcher instead of what he should be.

        • Ripsnorter1

          The Shark is so proud that he doesn’t see his performance as bad. He thinks he deserves the #4 or #5 spot in the rotation. Pride has blinded his eyes.

          SO YES–HE BEARS SOME RESPONSIBILITY. But his pride was fed by Jim Clueless and whoever his terrible agent is.

        • Aaron

          please don’t mistake what I’m saying. I totally understand where you’re coming from too…What I was trying to say is his agent and the Cubs with shuttling back and forth and starter vs reliever, hasn’t helped in his development at all, especially with his aggressive promotions when he hadn’t earned anything.

          He’s at fault too….but from what I’ve seen…to a lesser extent. You can’t fault a young player that keeps getting flopped back and forth between starter and reliever, and shuttled to and from Iowa all the time. It’s difficult to get in a groove. And while his ERA still sucked last year, his peripherals were a TON better with hits allowed, hr allowed, and increased K totals…and it showed, because the Cubs FINALLY left him in Iowa for a majority of the season, something that hasn’t happened yet in his development until last season.

          But I totally get what you’re saying, and I apologize for misleading, as I hold him accountable too for his suckiness

      • Ripsnorter1

        Another SCREAMING example of why the Cubs are currently on a 102 year losing streak, with no questions about it–headed for 103+. Stupidity reigns in Wrigleyville.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Samardzija has made progress in AAA Iowa in relation to hits per innings, walks allowed, and an increase in the K rate. He needs more seasoning.

      • paulcatanese

        Aaron,I agree with you and when was the last time a player overrode his agent telling him he cannot live up to what he gets in a contract? I think the player has very little input as to what the agent gets for him. Again I agree contracts are off the wall,but the two people really responsible are the agent for asking and the club for giving what the agent asks for. Fault of course does rub off with the player,but I would say the greater is with the agent and the club,and then the handleing of the player after that.

  • Gary J

    Trotting our Silva today isn’t anything more than giving him a chance to not stink up the joint again and maybe give him SOME value in a trade. They have said that they really want to give the role to Cashner and he hasn’t done anything to show he’s not ready. It’ll be Cashner in the fifth spot.

    But they have to pay lip service to Silva still being in the running or his trade value drops even further… but not sure it can drop further than it already is.

    If he pitches well today, he’s still not getting the fifth spot. He just builds his trade value from zero to something-only-slightly-more-than-zero

    • paulcatanese

      Gary,I was going to comment with approval on the post you put out,but after reading it several times I dont see where I could add anything,I think you said it all.

  • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

    Koyie Hill has never been able to hit and yet he is kept around…..WHY?? Didn’t the light-hitting back up catcher go out the door with the light-hitting starting shortstop and the high-average no power leadoff center fielder????
    Especially given that in todays game you carry 2 or 3 less bats on the bench because of the expanded bullpen. So with fewer bats on the bench can you really afford someone who cannot hit? That’s just stupid.

    • paulcatanese

      You know,this whole site,at least 98% have been saying what you are and no one can figure the reason he is still with the Cubs,and there has been every criticism of management that has been legal to say. I agree this is beyond stupid. The reality is he recieved not only backing but a raise in salary and I cannot figure the reasons for it. I guess we just have to hang in there and shut the TV off,anticipate an out and go on from there.If there is another choice I sure have no idea what it would be.

  • Agustin_Rexach

    I Remember That one time at Band Camp, koyie hill hit a double off the wall!
    _AP

    • Ripsnorter1

      No he didn’t! He was thrown out trying to get to second base.

  • Larry Boodry

    This close to the season there is no freakin’ way Silva and Hill (or Grabow, for that matter) should even be mentioned anymore, yet we have the very real prospect that both of them will make the team…This, my friends, is beyond stupidity.

    Had we kept Gorzellany, the fifth spot wouldn’t still be open, and Silva could pursue his true calling, whatever that might be.

    I’d love to see Castillo back up Soto, and Barney start at 2B, but that won’t happen with the current regime. Samardzija in the pen I can live with, but if he struggles early, I’d dump him…Grabow, too, although he has no business making the team in the first place.

  • paulcatanese

    One word on the equipment truck leaving for Chicago on Sunday. They could leave now or could have anytime prior. The Cubs havent used any of the gear anyway. The bats certainly could have been shipped. I wll also say the Cubs are giving every opportunity to Ojeda and Wellemeyer to come back from the injuries they have sustained. That is admirable, Guzman,Grabow included. However they should not lose sight of the players who are making a bid to stay with the team and focus on reality and not so much on what these players may or not do once the injuries are dealt with. Time is of the essance here. The season is around the corner.