Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 09/06/11

The end of the regular season is here, and the organization got a pleasant surprise as Boise rode the power bats of Ryan Cuneo, Reggie Golden, Paul Hoilman, and Rafael Lopez to qualify for the post-season in their last game. Boise joins Daytona and Tennessee as playoff teams, with the D-Cubs still struggling in all phases of the game. Tennessee got leadership down the stretch from Josh Vitters, while youngsters Junior Lake and Jae-Hoon Ha are finally coming of age.

While Peoria and Iowa are out of the playoffs, they didn’t just play out the string. Ben Klafczynski, Arismendy Alcantara, and Starling Peralta provided promise in Peoria. And in Iowa, the quintet of Brett Jackson, D.J. LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, and Chris Rusin look to be part of “the show” in the near future.

All this, and more, in the final regular season Down on the Farm Report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (36-40)
Boise broke out the lumber on Wednesday, as they pummeled Vancouver 10-1. Reggie Golden seems to be putting on his finishing kick, as he blasted a home run for the second consecutive game while going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Wilson Contreras was also 2-for-4 with a home run and a run driven in. Paul Hoilman extended his league leading home run total to 17, while Kyung-Min Na was 2-for-4 in his return to the line-up.

Juan Rosario was brilliant in his six innings of work, mowing down six Canadians while not allowing a run. Hector Mayora was the culprit for the Hawks, giving up an earned run while striking out three in two innings. Tony Zych saw his first action for Boise, and set down Vancouver 1-2-3 in the ninth.

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The Boise offense staked the Hawks to a 4-0 lead on Thursday, and this time, the pitching held as they defeated Vancouver 4-2. Boise spaced out 10 hits over 10 batters, with Wilson Contreras going 2-for-4. First round pick Javier Baez picked up his first RBI, as he was 1-for-2. Zeke DeVoss, Oliver Zapata, and Ryan Cuneo also drove in runs.

Austin Reed may have had the best pitching performance of his career to date, one-hitting the Canadians and striking out seven in five innings. Colin Richardson allowed Vancouver’s only runs in two innings. Michael Jensen had a perfect eighth inning, while Bryce Shafer earned his 12th save.

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A 3-2 loss to Vancouver on Friday ended a four-game winning streak. In his longest outing of the season, Ben Wells tossed seven innings and struck out five while allowing two earned runs. Kyler Burke came on in relief and struck out four, but a walk and a double with two outs in the ninth brought in the winning run. Rafael Lopez hit his sixth home run and drove in Kyung-Min Na with the Hawks’ other run. Dustin Harrington was 2-for-4.

Boise needed a win on Saturday to qualify for the Northwest League playoffs, and delivered with an 8-2 drubbing of Vancouver. The Hawks relied on the big sticks in their line-up, as Rafael Lopez, Ryan Cuneo, and Reggie Golden all had big games. Cuneo was 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Lopez was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run driven in. Golden smacked a solo home run and plated three in a 3-for-4 afternoon.

The Hawks’ pitching came through in a big way, allowing no earned runs. Starter Juan Sandoval struck out five as he three-hit the Canadians over five innings. Michael Jensen was the victim of two unearned runs in his two-thirds of an inning. Hector Mayora, Andrew McKirahan, and Tony Zych allowed only two hits and no runs the rest of the way.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (60-79)
Four errors contributed to another poor outing by Austin Kirk, as Peoria lost to Beloit 8-3 on Wednesday. Kirk allowed six runs in 3.2 innings, but only three were earned. Robinson Lopez gave up two earned runs in his 2.2 innings. Making his Peoria debut, Mike Hartman tossed a scoreless 1.2 innings. Ben Klafczynski continues to show offensive improvement, as he was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Anthony Giansanti and Richard Jones each had an RBI.

Peoria seemed to have everything in control on Thursday, leading Beloit 5-1 after seven innings. However, the bullpen imploded and the Chiefs would end up losing 6-5. Starling Peralta had a fine effort, with one earned run and seven strikeouts in five innings. Pete Levitt followed and tossed two scoreless innings. Ramon Garcia then allowed four runs (three earned) in 1.1 innings. Roderik Pichardo was tagged for an unearned run for the game winner. Richard Jones crept toward 100 RBI with two more on Thursday, giving him 97 as he was 3-for-4 with a home run. Rubi Silva also had a solo shot.

In a pitcher’s duel on Friday, Peoria came out on top as they defeated Beloit 4-2. Luis Liria struck out nine of the Snappers while allowing two earned runs in six innings. Freshly called up from Boise, Charles Thomas tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. Alvaro Sosa came on in the ninth and collected his first save.

A three-run fifth inning that put the Chiefs over the top started with Arismendy Alcantara’s single. Anthony Giansanti and Jesus Morelli followed with singles to load the bases. Kenny Socorro delivered a single that cleared the bases. Peoria added an insurance run when Dustin Geiger’s sacrifice fly brought in Rubi Silva, who had tripled.

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Saturday’s game with Quad Cities was cancelled due to inclement weather. On Sunday, Peoria looked like they were going to skate away with an easy 3-0 victory over Quad Cities. However, leaving in a pitcher for too long led to a 4-3 nail-biter in 12 innings. Starter Dallas Beeler scattered two hits over four scoreless innings. Brett Wallach piggybacked Beeler and continued the scoreless streak over another four innings. However, Wallach couldn’t get out of the ninth, allowing three earned runs in two thirds of an inning to tie the score. Alvaro Sosa was able to escape any further damage and shut out the River Bandits for two more innings. Pete Levitt sealed the victory with a perfect 12th inning.

Anthony Giansanti was the big story for the Chiefs’ offense, going 2-for-6 with a double and two RBI. Richard Jones was also 2-for-6 and inched closer to 100 RBI with a run driven in, giving him 98 on the season. Micah Gibbs was also 2-for-6 with a double, while Dustin Geiger and Ben Klafczynski were each 2-for-5.

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Peoria ended the season on a downer on Monday as they lost to Quad Cities 9-3. Austin Kirk ended his disappointing second half, as he allowed four earned runs and struck out six over 4.2 innings. Ryan Hartman than couldn’t get hardly anyone out, giving up five earned runs in two thirds of an inning. Charles Thomas saw his first action for the Chiefs, and struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. Yohan Gonzalez tossed two perfect innings to finish the game. Rubi Silva went 2-for-5 to end batting .300 for Peoria. Dustin Geiger was also 2-for-5, while Kenny Socorro was 2-for-4. Arismendy Alcantara and Micah Gibbs drove in runs for the Chiefs.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (76-61)
Daytona tried to go toe-to-toe with Brevard County on Thursday, but couldn’t hold them back in a 5-2 loss. Jeffry Antigua struck out eight, but allowed three runs (two earned) in 6.1 innings. Eduardo Figueroa followed and gave up another two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Juan Serrano finished out with a scoreless ninth. Michael Burgess smoked his 20th home run to tie the game up in the second inning. Pinch-hitter Jake Opitz drove in Abner Abreu for the other run. Justin Bour was 3-for-4, while Matt Szczur was 2-for-2.

Daytona continued to limp into the playoffs on Friday, as they were embarrassed by Brevard County 15-4. Manager Buddy Bailey shook up his line-up, resting Evan Crawford and Matt Szczur, starting Logan Watkins in center and Matt Cerda at second base. It was Cerda’s error that led to an 11-run fourth inning. Starter Casey Harman surrendered nine of those runs; however, only two were earned. Brent Ebinger coughed up another three earned runs, while Yoannis Negrin gave up two more. Jordan Latham joined his fellow pitchers by allowing an earned run in the ninth. Offensive highlights were Jake Opitz’s two doubles, as he was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Justin Bour was 2-for-4 with a run driven in, while Cerda was 2-for-4.

The D-Cubs continued to find interesting ways to lose, as they came up short on Saturday to Brevard County 4-2. Matt Loosen started and pitched four scoreless to begin the game. Loosen left with a 2-1 lead after five innings, allowing an earned run while striking out seven batters. Aaron Kurcz came on and tossed two perfect innings, striking out four of the Manatees. However, league leading closer Frank Batista served up a two-run home runs to give Brevard County the lead, then gave up an insurance run on a triple and double. Logan Watkins lined up in center for the second straight game and went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. Elliot Soto was 3-for-4, including a double.

In the regular season final on Sunday, Daytona still couldn’t finish on a high note, as they lost to Brevard County 6-4. Going into the top of the ninth and leading 4-3, Yoannis Negrin allowed two earned runs to let the Manatees back into the game. Frank Batista tried to close the game out, but gave up an insurance run before yielding to Jordan Latham for the final out. The bullpen spoiled a few decent outings, including starter P.J. Francescon, who tossed two scoreless innings. Eduardo Figueroa let in an earned run in three innings, while Juan Serrano surrendered two more in two innings. The bottom of the order did the damage for the D-Cubs, with Chad Noble going 2-for-4, including a homer and two RBI. Matt Cerda was 2-for-3, while Abner Abreu and Elliot Soto drove in Daytona’s other runs.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (83-57)
Tennessee attempted to overcome a poor outing by Brooks Raley on Thursday, but came up short in a 5-3 loss to Birmingham. Raley allowed five earned runs in four innings. Oswaldo Martinez stopped the bleeding by tossing two scoreless innings, while newcomer Dan Berlind struck out three in an inning of work. Marcus Hatley closed the game out with a perfect ninth. Nelson Perez had two doubles while going 3-for-3, and hot-hitting Jae-Hoon Ha also went 3-for-4 and had an outfield assist.

Even with the playoffs assured, Tennessee is finishing up the season strong as they defeated Birmingham 3-2 on Friday. Ryan Searle continued his strong season, giving up only an unearned run and striking out four in six innings. Recently down from Iowa, Hung-Wen Chen allowed an earned run in only a third of an inning. Jeffrey Beliveau bailed him out, tossing a perfect 1.2 innings. Rafael Dolis was also perfect to earn his 17th save.

The Smokies’ offense managed only six hits, but got them when it counted. Junior Lake’s triple to lead off the ninth became the winning run, as Nate Samson singled to break the 2-2 deadlock. Steve Clevenger was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI.

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Smokies’ starter Trey McNutt gave what could be a typical performance for this season on Saturday, but the bats weren’t behind him as Tennessee lost to Birmingham 5-0. McNutt gave up four earned runs in four innings, continuing to struggle with both stamina and control, walking five batters. Kevin Rhoderick blew away five of the Barons in his 1.2 innings, but allowed an earned run. Jeff Stevens then pitched 2.1 scoreless innings. The only offensive highlight was Nate Samson’s 2-for-3, including a double, performance.

In a season-ending doubleheader on Sunday, Tennessee couldn’t string together their hits as they dropped the opener to Birmingham 5-1. The Smokies were able to manage seven hits, with Blake Lalli going 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead the club. Marco Carrillo got the start and was the victim of two unearned runs. Carrillo also gave up an earned run in his four innings while striking out five batters. The usually reliable Jeffrey Beliveau followed and allowed two earned runs an inning of work. Rafael Dolis pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

Game two was a mirror image for Tennessee, closing out the season with a 5-1 win over Birmingham. Josh Vitters ended an impressive offensive season by belting his 14th home run and driving in four for the game. Leadoff hitter Junior Lake was 2-for-4 with a double and his 19th stolen base. Blake Lalli drove in the Smokies’ other run.

Hung-Wen Chen was given Tennessee’s final regular season start, as he blanked the Barons over three innings, striking out three batters. Dan Berlind also struck out three in two innings, while Oswaldo Martinez had a perfect sixth inning. Marcus Hatley gave up a consolation run in the seventh.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (66-77)
Brad Snyder singled in Chris Robinson in the 11th inning on Thursday to give Iowa a 5-4 victory over Nashville. Snyder was 3-for-6 on the evening, and Scott Moore was 3-for-5 with a double and RBI. Ryan Flaherty bashed his fifth home run for the I-Cubs, going 2-for-5 with two runs driven in. D.J. LeMahieu was also 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. Mario Mercedes debuted at Triple-A went 2-for-4 with a double.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx has now strung together two good outings as he struck out four in six scoreless innings. Just off the DL, Chris Carpenter gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings, while Kyle Smit added an earned run in a third of an inning. Andrew Cashner, on rehab assignment, then came in and blew away the Sounds, retiring the side on 10 pitches. Blake Parker allowed the tying run in the ninth, but then went scoreless the rest of the way to pick up the victory.

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In a 6-5 struggle with Omaha on Friday, it got away from Iowa in a hurry as they gave up nine runs in the seventh and ended up losing 15-5. Alberto Cabrera continued to demonstrate he is overmatched at the Triple-A level, allowing six earned runs in five innings. Carlton Smith saw his ERA rise to 10.80 since joining the club by letting in seven runs (four earned) in 1.1 innings. And, speaking of overmatched, Kyle Smit served up two more earned runs in 0.2 innings. John Gaub finally stopped the onslaught with a scoreless inning. First baseman Matt Spencer pitched a scoreless ninth. Marwin Gonzalez, D.J. LeMahieu, and Chris Robinson were each 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Saturday’s game with Omaha was cancelled due to inclement weather.

In a low scoring affair on Sunday, Iowa was able to outlast Omaha 2-1. Chris Rusin was able to keep the Stormchasers at bay, allowing only one earned run over six innings. Rusin also helped his cause by picking off two runners. The I-Cubs then brought in the heat as rehabbing Andrew Cashner and Chris Carpenter blew away Omaha with an inning apiece. Not to be outdone, fireballer Scott Maine picked up his 12th save by striking out two in the ninth.

In Des Moines for the injured Welington Castillo, Mario Mercedes has made the most out of his opportunity, as he was 2-for-4 with a triple and RBI to raise his batting average to .500. Marquez Smith was 2-for-4 with a double, while D.J. LeMahieu drove in Iowa’s other run.

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Iowa ended the season on a positive note on Monday, as they beat Omaha 7-2. Brett Jackson provided the exclamation point, as he smacked his sixth leadoff home run for the I-Cubs. Chris Robinson ended his season by going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Scott Moore was also 2-for-4, with two doubles. Ryan Flaherty hit a double and was on base three times, scoring two of Iowa’s runs.

Jay Jackson was also able to put a good spin on what can be called a disappointing season, allowing two earned runs and striking out three in five innings. It was “all hands on deck” on Monday, as Nick Struck was called on in relief and tossed two scoreless innings. Robert Coello finished a promising second half of the season by also pitching a scoreless inning. Blake Parker struck out the side in the ninth.

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News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs called up 1B Bryan LaHair from Iowa. Iowa activated RHP Chris Carpenter from the 7-day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner was assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. Tennessee placed RHP Larry Suarez and LHP Eric Jokisch on the 7-day disabled list. Right-handed pitchers Dan Berlind and Hung-Wen Chen were assigned to Tennessee from Iowa. Right-handed pitcher P.J. Francescon and OF Taiwan Easterling were assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Peoria activated OF Smaily Borges from the 7-day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Charles Thomas was assigned to Peoria from Boise. Right-handed pitcher Angel Guzman was assigned to Boise from Peoria.

The Peoria Chiefs announced their post-season awards on Monday. Eric Jokisch was named Pitcher of the Year and Richard Jones was tabbed as the team’s MVP. Anthony Giansanti received the Community Award and the Sandberg Award went to Micah Gibbs.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) – .225, .323 OBP, .750 OPS, 24 doubles, triple, 20 HR, 68 RBI, Stolen Base, 11 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 2-3, 6.53 ERA, 30.1 IP, 22 ER, 28 K, 23 BB, 1.81 WHIP 5 Holds, Save (Iowa Cubs)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .245, .355 OBP, .672 OPS, 14 doubles, triple, 2 HR, 28 RBI, Stolen Base, 25% Caught Stealing (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) – .242, .332 OBP, .756 OPS, 10 doubles, 5 triples, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 5 Stolen Bases, 6 Outfield Assists (Boise Hawks)
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .283, .320 OBP, .722 OPS, 16 doubles, triple, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 3 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) - .297, .388 OBP, .939 OPS, 13 doubles, 2 triples, 10 HR, 26 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 8 Outfield Assists (Iowa Cubs)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) -.286, .328 OBP, .694 OPS, 7 doubles, triple, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 5 Stolen Bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) – 5-6, 4.55 ERA, 95.0 IP, 48 ER, 65 K, 39 BB, 1.67 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 0-4, 8.15 ERA, 17.2 IP, 16 ER, 11 K, 11 BB 2.09 WHIP (AZL Cubs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) - .260, .283 OBP, .694 OPS, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 7 Stolen Bases, 3 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.283, .322 OBP, .770 OPS, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 14 HR, 81 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)

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  • Vivid_Reality

    How would everyone feel if Yu Darvish was signed in the offseason? It’s probably not the best move and definitely not the direction I would like to see but it would be interesting to say the least. I know Japanese players haven’t had the best track record but Darvish is arguably the best player ever to come out of Japan. Garza, Darvish, Dempster, Cashner, Wells/Rusin/Jackson would make a competitive 1-5. With all the young talent hopefully coming up next year, that team would be exciting to watch if nothing else.

    • Aaron

      Agreed on all counts….

      1) Darvish would be great to have
      2) Darvish will never happen given the cost
      3)Indeed, Japanese players have had horrible track records of success in general, mostly because of posting fees, which leads to them joining MLB somewhere around their age 29-30 seasons

      The problem is, Darvish has not been linked to the Cubs in any report I’ve found. It’s the usual suspects: Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, etc.

      That being said, $100 million (the estimate for the posting fee and signing him) is an awful lot of money for a guy that’s never pitched in the US.

      Given the cost, it might be prudent to spend the money elsewhere, spreading it around to Edwin Jackson, CJ Wilson (though he might go over $100 million himself, and I’d NEVER do that), and perhaps Broxton, Bedard, and Capps.

      A journalist for the Blue Jays was debating the Darvish thing, and spoke with several scouts, who felt that you could buy the entire Dominican prospects for less than Darvish’s posting fee, and they thought it’d be better spent there than taking a chance with a Japanese pitcher when we have evidence that they rarely, if ever, work out for the MLB teams.

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

        Darvish is an interesting case but I really doubt the Cubs pony up 100 million for an unknown quantity. I would rather see Jackson and I still like a one year contract for Ozwalt to see if he has anything left. He could be very handy in teaching the younger guys like Cashner, Coleman (if he is still here) and maybe Samardija (if we try and stretch him out again).

        The Bullpen is going to be a strength of next years team but we need someone to push Marmol (or just move him? ) So I would go with Capps or Broxton just to get another guy that could close. Then if we can keep Wood if he is still cheap and let some of our young guys develop some more.

        I think our Starters can look like this.

        Dempster
        Garza
        Jackson
        Ozwalt
        Cashner/Wells/Shark/Coleman all fighting for the 5th spot and long man (insurance on Ozwalt)

        Then our Bullpen sets like this

        Marmol- Closer
        Marshal -LH setup
        Capp/Broxton- Rh setup
        Russell
        Shark
        Maine
        Wood/
        Carpenter

        This gives us the extra 2 arms that are ready to step in and hopefully some of our young guys are ready to step up if we need more. Remember that teams use at least 8 arms through a season and most are closer to 10.

        • Anonymous47701

          I think I’m going to counter your idea on this one somewhat and go with:

          Dempster or Oswalt
          Garza
          Danks
          Wells/Coleman
          Rusin

          bullpen

          Marmol-closer
          Marshall-L setup
          Cashner-R setup
          Sc.Maine
          Wood
          Dolis
          Russell

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

            Great Idea 47701

            I agree with you on Danks just wanted to get FA’s or possible FA’s instead of trade routes on this one. Rusins ceiling is probably as a 4/5 starter so it might be better to use him as trade fodder and bring up someone with a higher ceiling (Cashner/McNutt?).
            I still think we need to either upgrade our closer or get someone to push Marmol. I agree that could be Dolis in 2 years just don’t know if he will be ready in the spring. His walks per nine are scary bad. Cashner wants to be a starter and we need him to be one so lets see how that works out before we pencil him back into the bullpen.

        • Brp921

          How much do you think Capps and/or Broxton would cost and how many years would it take? Seeing how we’ve been burned the past few years on some of the relief pitchers we’ve signed makes me a little leery to pay to much for them.

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

            I think that Broxton will not get many offers to close but Capp might. So the chances of getting one of them on a one year about 4 million dollar offer is pretty good.

          • Brp921

            If they could get Broxton for that it would be a good signing.

        • paulcatanese

          Bullpen, Richard I really would like to see the Cubs groom another closer.,Marmol has been a little too unpredictable as of late. I like him but
          am getting a little too nervous when he comes in. He has always been that way but managed to get it done, very well sometimes. But if the Cubs actiually have something going next year I would like to see it a little more solid there.

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

            I think our closer in waiting is sitting in Boise at the moment. At some point Tony Zych will get to the club next year (IMO) and will be your heir apparent that you are needing Paul. That is why I think a one year waiver on an ex-closer wanting to rebuild value is a good idea. Broxton may be more likely on a one year deal than Capp.

          • paulcatanese

            Thanks for the reply, and hope so.

      • Dorasaga

        I guess Okajima (BOS), Kuroda (LAD), Nomo (LAD), Otsuka (SD), Hisanori (NYM), and Hasegawa (LAA, 1997-2001) all fleeted your mind.

        Noticed how many ballclubs I parenthesized? That’s one hell out of a division in their prime, when some of these pitchers were signed. Oki, Kuroda and Hisa were even baseball-old (past age 30) when signed, but still effective for quite some years.

        The problem is not with Japanese players. The good ones stayed good.

        The problem is bad scouting and management decisions. Jim Hendry didn’t sign the underpriced Kuroda but Fukudome, overpriced.

    • cc002600

      No way. I’ve seen enough of these imports from Asia being paid multi-millions that end being a bust.  No thank you. Its all Hype.

      Gimme CJ Wilson and 1 more starter.

      Put Cashner in bullpen and you have the makings of one of the best
      bullpens in the league.

      • John_CC

        I have to agree.  $100MM is ridiculous for a guy that has never played in the MLB.  How did the Fukudome deal work?  There was soo much hype around Dice-K it was insane. He was also the best pitcher ever to come out of Japan.  Remember all that talk about the swirly pitch he threw that no one had ever seen?  Phoey.  I’ll pass. That’s a Hendry type of signing and I hope we are beyond that.

  • Chipguy2030

    and lets put Edwin Jackson & CJ Wilson in there but take out Cashner (who should close) & Wells (long relief)!  thats a better 1-5

    • Aaron

      If you would’ve told me at the beginning of this year that the Cubs wouldn’t have a single starting pitcher in the minors ready for MLB action in the event of injury, I would’ve said you were crazy.

      But the reality is that the Cubs made some VERY bad player development decisions that hurt their depth. First of all, the Cubs are known to have multiple MLB-ready relief arms. So what are they doing converting guys that have had decent success as starters into relievers?!?

      The guys I’m talking about specifically are Rafael Dolis and Chris Carpenter. The Cubs were intrigued by their velocities out of the pen, with Carpenter touching 100 mph this past year in the AZFL, and Dolis touching 100 mph at Instructs 2 years ago, which led the Cubs to protect him on the 40-man.

      The irony here is that while both pitchers have experienced a little success out of the pen, their stats say otherwise, and it appears they’re both better suited for starting roles.

      But again, as is customary with the Cubs…..square peg meets round hole.

      It’s especially frustrating when they converted both of them to relievers when they locked up Marmol long-term.

      Honestly, I’m starting to think this rotation might be best for the Cubs next year:
      Garza
      Edwin Jackson
      Dempster
      Samardzija
      Cashner/Carpenter/Dolis/McNutt/Wells/Jay Jackson/Whitenack (whomever seizes the job this offseason and in Spring Training)

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

        We almost said the same thing on our staffs that is pretty funny, I think that having McNutt and Whitenack in Triple A at the beginning of the year is important for there growth and for our health. They should be ready to step in by May or June if necessary. I do agree that some developmental peoples job should be threatened because it seems like every pitcher in the system slide backwards this year. 

      • John_CC

        I would like to see Marshall get stretched out and given a shot.  I think he’d be better than Samardzjia

        • paulcatanese

          I would like to see both of them stretched out and used as starters, thats a stretch(no pun) it would solve a lot of problems for the starter role and may be easier for the Cubs to find middle of the game pitchers out of what they have.

  • paulcatanese

    Will we see somthing that sounds like the “french connection” at first and second in the lineup? LeMahieu at 2b and LaHair at 1b?l

    • Anonymous47701

      French Connection? Clever, Paul.

  • paulcatanese

    It seems in spite of Qua’s obsession with veterans, Castro and Barney have broken the “youth” barrier and whoever comes up are at least going to get a look, more so than if the two had not had a decent season. While Castro has improved only slightly with his defense he is still pushing for 200 hits for the year. Barney has slowed down and is actualy in jeporady of losing his spot. But what they have achomplished from the beginning of the year has set the way for others to come forth.

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

      Barney plays the game the right way but he doesn’t get on base, isn’t a “basestealer”, and doesn’t have gap power. So when he goes into slumps he doesn’t have a lot to offer a club. A lot of his struggles I think comes from flipping from second to 8th in the batting order. He does not have the patience to bat in front of the pitcher because he will never get anything to hit.

      All that being said he still has a lot to offer. Is he an everyday player? Probably not but he is good guy to have on a club. The only problem is that so far DJ has not shown much either. The guy I think should be splitting time the rest of the way is probably going back to Double A to help in the playoffs in Marwin Gonzalez.

  • Pdblack21

    Don’t forget fans that as you all write with quality thoughts, let’s not forget about the trade market. If you research blogs, there are some possibilities out there. Madison Bumgardner in SF for a SOTO package. Maybe Cahill or Gio Gonz OK ATH. in a BYRD package.  Some say MARSHALL back to rotation.  Make a trade and one good signing, then you might be back in it without all the commitment dollars for a year.

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

      I totally agree but the trade market is so subjective. If we could get Cahill or Gio for Byrd he would be gone yesterday. Those 2 guys are studs.

      There are 3 ways to build a team. Free Agency, Farm System and Trade Routes. The good teams use all 3 avenues to get better.  Look at the Phillies, their core is still home grown but they have been very busy in the trade market and in free agency (some times with the same guy). You have to use all avaliable options to get better. 

      • Pdblack21

        I agree. But remember, some trades are not made until after a season when you can review your current roster and the progression of the farm system.  Neither trade proposal would be straight up.  Needs will be addressed as well.  For fun, I could make a FAIR proposal for both sides.

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

          At the trading deadline Sabin was asked if there was any catching avaliable by a reporter and he said the price on it was extreme and then he mentioned that he had talks about Soto but Hendry wanted more than he eventually gave up for Beltran. Later it was reported that JH wanted Belt and Bumgardner for Soto and a pitcher. That is what I call holding his hand over the fire. If Hendry would have gotten that for Soto, we would have all cried after finding out he was already gone.

    • Vivid_Reality

      Those trades will never happen. SF and OAK have no motivation to move their young cost controlled studs. We probably have the best shot at Cahill but I cant imagine him being traded for anything less than Brett Jackson+.

    • cc002600

      I love your thinking, but sorry to bust your bubble on Byrd, but he has zero trade value…….actually, if you put him in a trade, you are probably going to have to enhance the other pieces to make it more attractive, because nobody wants a 34 years old OF making $6.5M with his numbers. 

      The guy has 25 freakin RBI !!  That is pathetic.  I thought Fuku was bad, but this guy is right there with him.

      Bottom line, you aren’t getting Bumgardner or Gio without giving up 3 or 4 of your top  10 prospects…..see Garza.

      • paulcatanese

        I have to agree with you. If they were to rate center fielders in the central division( and not looking at stats) I would say Byrd is at the bottom of it.
        Maybe just maybe Houston has a center fielder that is worse, but I doubt it.
        Cannot figure how Byrd stays in the lineup every day, just cannot justify his presence out there.

    • Brp921

      I think Marshall is more suited to be a starter too.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Brett Jackson, one of just four players in affiliated minors with 20 HR and 20 SB this year.

  • roseyc

    Cashner has to be a starter or a closer. Coleman is the best prospect right now that we have to start out of the system…wow! If Cashner goes to the pen then he needs to close and then trade Marmol. This Edwin Jackson has got the life. He’s been with 5 teams and still wanted. What is the love for this guy.Has he got 20 games winning stuff? Ozwalt will never come to the Cubs only if you throw crazy money at him and years. We need to get away from that .Far as Darvish is concerned the Japanese pitchers have had better results than the hitters have had.

    • Henry

      I agree regarding the love for Edwin Jackson!  I do not get it!  What makes everyone think that he will finally show some consistency with the Cubs?  He has not been able to do it in his past opportunities.

  • Anthony

    Agree Carpenter should be a starter!

    On another note, some J77bleeder blew up the Peoria offense blaming it for a poor season? The MWL is a pitchers league in general.

    The Chiefs offense was 2nd in BA by a point. The Peoria hitters struck out the least of the 16 teams, and in fact had the most at bats? There team K/BA was only 19.7%

    They lacked some overall power, but they make decent contact.

    The pitching staff struggled in most categories which didn’t help winning. The offense maintained their poise and approach even when trying to play catchup, or were let down by a blown save.

    All in all, they competed, and hopefully developed some.

    And a solid job by R. Jones, a hitter who should be followed from a power aspect, and all the other position guys who grinded it out. Bet those that were sent home would play tomorrow if called upon.

    • Zonk

      RE:  CARPENTER

      He hit 100 mph in the AFL last season, but only after moving to the pen.  Before that, he was not showing that velocity, and as a starter he really tailed off after the first 3-4 innings.

      We didn’t really see the results this year, but that velocity sample from last year suggests he projects better as a reliever than starter.  That’s why he was converted to relief, and I think it made sense.

      RE:  CASHNER

      A starter is much more valuable than reliever, and based on that we need to give starting a shot with him.  That being said, if his arm can’t bear the strain, a good relief pitcher is better than a broken-down starter.  Right, Kerry?

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments

  • Antonio Cruz

    Wanted to know how Blair Springfield is doing since getting injured in Boise.