McNutt Still a Possibility in Epstein Compensation? … and Other Notes from Cubs Camp

Day two of Cubs Camp was more PFPs and pitchers getting their work in before the position players that are not already in camp report Thursday … the first full squad workout is Friday.

Trey McNutt discussed his off-season with Carrie Muskat and his willingness to play the waiting game. McNutt has been connected to the Theo Epstein compensation all off-season and it apparently had an effect on him in the AFL. McNutt has been told by his agent that he could still be sent to Boston as compensation for Epstein and he is reserved to the fact he could end up wearing a “C” or a “B” on his cap this season.

Tuesday marks the four month anniversary of Theo Epstein resigning from his post in Boston and taking over baseball operations for the Cubs. Bud Selig’s decision on the compensation was expected last week.

According to a report from ESPN Boston last weekend, the Red Sox are hopeful of acquiring one quality minor league prospect from the Cubs. The report also stated that the Sox also realize the compensation will not be one of the Cubs’ premium prospects, like a Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters. Trey McNutt would fall under the category of premium prospect, the big right-hander is the top pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system according to Baseball America.

Here’s the update …

Blake DeWitt
Blake DeWitt decided to accept the outright assignment to Triple-A Iowa and will compete for a spot as a non-roster invite to big league camp. DeWitt had until Wednesday to decide to keep his $1.1 million contract and compete for a spot on the Cubs’ 25-man roster this spring … the Cubs announced he has decided to stay with the organization. If he does not make the active roster out of camp, DeWitt will start the season with Iowa Cubs.

No More Cutter for Carlos
Not only did Carlos Marmol drop between 10-15 pounds this off-season but he also lost a pitch on the first day of camp. Carlos Marmol will no longer throw a cutter.

Dale Sveum noticed the problem last year while he was studying tape of Marmol preparing Brewers’ hitters. They could not figure out what he was throwing and thought it was just a bad slider.

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Marmol “admitted the cutter gave him problems and was part of the reason his mechanics were messed up” last season.

Chris Bosio helped Marmol correct some mechanical issues and kept Marmol on track during his first day on the mound.

News, Notes and Rumors
Jeff Samardzija is in the mix for a starting spot, as reported over the weekend. Samardzija will compete with Randy Wells, Chris Volstad, Travis Wood and Andy Sonnanstine for a spot in the rotation.

Tim Sheridan posted pics from Sunday’s workout on ‘Boys of Spring’ and more photos Monday night … including one of a clean-cut Brett Jackson.

Bryan LaHair was informed by Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein early in the off-season to ignore the rumors about the Cubs signing either Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. The Cubs apparently did not have much interest in signing either free agent first baseman … and Theo Epstein really wanted to give LaHair an opportunity.

James Russell reiterated Monday what he said after Sean Marshall was traded to the Reds … Russell wants the set-up job.

The Cubs pitchers will have a match-play bunting tournament during Spring Training … the smart money would be on Ryan Dempster.

Dale Sveum is unsure where to hit Starlin Castro in the lineup … but seems fine to let Castro dictate what spot he ends up hitting in this season.

John Gaub did not participate in drills Sunday due to back spasms. Gaub suffered the injury last week lifting weights and is expected back in a few days.

The Cubs have the inside corners of the bases painted blue so baserunners can hit the inside part of the bag.

According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs plan to bring in experts from Northeastern University’s Center for Sport in Society to speak to minor leaguers and Major League players about conduct away from the ballpark.

A report surfaced Sunday that the Cubs had signed Nate Robertson to a minor league contract … as of this writing the report cannot be confirmed.

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

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Tony_Hall

    If anyone needs another example of how bad our coaching staff was last year, Marmol was throwing a cutter?!?!  That’s what that floating ball that screamed hit me was an attempt at.

    Why would a pitcher with the nastiest slider around, throw a cutter?  A change-up, 2 seamer, something that would move in the other direction, maybe, but Marmol didn’t need a 3rd pitch, when he had 2 great pitches.  What Marmol needed was a pitching coach and/or manager that would tell him NO more throwing that lousy pitch!

  • Tony_Hall

    Painting the inside corner of the bases blue is an easy way to have the reminder to hit the inside part of the base when running.  Sveum has obviously done his homework on video, and seen some bad base running.  What I don’t get is that this is something that those of us who teach kids, teach it to them when they are kids.  How can major league ballplayers, come up through a minor league system, and not know how to run the bases?

    Does anyone else out there think that all of these “little things” might add up, and make this team more enjoyable to watch this year?

    We have all been screaming for a more fundamentally sound baseball team.  I hope that you can teach a few old dogs, new tricks.

    • J Daniel


      I believe they will be better this year due to the “little things” – they do add up.  I think an exceptional year would be .500 as I realize they are short on talent.  But teams that are well managed and do the “little things” can over achieve.  Teams that are not well managed and don’t do the little things can under achieve.  We have seen that numerous times.  Also, there is ZERO expectations of this team which sometimes play a role.  It is much easier when there is no pressure. 

    • Henry

      Tony, how many times have the Cubs brought up a touted hitter and suddenly find a hole in his swing?  Our minor league coaching has been terrible.  I love what I am hearing in terms of how the our minor league system is going to run.  it is about time!

      • Anthony

        Can you be more specific?

        Hendry signed Pena instead of promoting from within.
        Hendry signed Byrd instead of promoting from within.

        Hendry brought up Colvin, he hit 20 HR’s, then was ying-yanged around, was sent back to refine

        Theo signed Stewart maybe seeing no 3B prospects ready.

        Theo signed DeJesus maybe seeing no current OF prospects ready, add in Sappelt also.

        Theo signed a bunch of retread veterans

        The reasons, as I see it is that they need a full season to evaluate the minor league players, and the battles and positioning of these players is more interesting to me than the big club for 2012.

        You will see blocked guys make advances as well as some released. You will see newer guys, signed in 2011 make huge strides, and a total realignment of the prospects is possible.

        • Henry

          hee sop choi, corey patterson come to mind.  After they were brought up comments started to appear about holes in their swings.  we have not had too many touted batters in recent years

    • Anthony

      maybe blue paint is a symbolic gesture, a simple reminder of the basics

    • paulcatanese

      Have to agree with you Tony 100%. Eight yr olds are taught how to run bases and bunt.

      The biggest problem I saw was guys don’t have to hit the inside of the bag when they hit it out of the park. That mentality has to be changed.

      I have advocated small ball for a long time, and you are right ,the little things WILL add up.

  • J Daniel

    There is NO WAY McNutt should be compensation.  Theo received a promotion which is never really compensated.

    • Anthony

      McNutt’s comments are spot on, and he wants to be a major leaguer and as with all prospects, are auditioning for all 30 teams all the time, instead of their current club only

    • Redlarczykg

      Give the Red Sox Jay Jackson.  No way Theo is worth McNutt.  Fight this bull.

  • GaryLeeT

    Traditionally, your best hitter bats 3rd, and normally. would be a no-brainer to have Castro hit there. However, this will be anything but a traditional line-up. My guess is DeJesus 1st, Byrd 2nd, Castro 3rd, LaHair 4th, Soto 5th, Soriano 6th, Stewart 7th, Barney 8th. Not too awe inspiring.

    • daverj

      That looks about right.  I could also see moving Barney up to 2nd, Byrd down to 5th and Soto down to 8th.

      • paulcatanese

        I have to argue the point that no matter who leads off, the number two hitter needs to be lefthanded and can handle the bat, mucho contact, including bunts.

        If the Cubs are intent on playing small ball that is what they must have there. Right now they have no one to fit that criteria.

        While I am a fan of Barney, he is a swinger and not someone who can advance the leadoff hitter. As far as I am concernd that spot is still open.

  • Neil

    From Gordon Edes: Theo compensation deal ‘close,’ with Sox receiving one quality minor leaguer in return from Cubs, according to MLB source.

  • John G

    FINALLY!!! Someone is making sure the pitchers know how to bunt. Hell!! everyone should know how to bunt. I’ll bet even Albert knows how to bunt. You can argue all day over the value of a bunt, but it’s such a basic thing that everyone (except maybe your closer) will find themselves in a position where they may have to bunt. (in the National League at least)

  • Neil

    From WEEI: According to rource, will receive a pitcher from Cubs 40 man roster for theo. Resolution soon.

  • daverj

    My guess (pure speculation) is that Carpenter is the guy going to Boston.  If not him, then McNutt would be my second guess.

    • daverj

      McNutt’s not on the 40 man roster so can’t be him.  From a look at the 40 man, I still think Carpenter.  Not many there pitchers who would qualify as a “quality minor leaguer”… maybe Dolis.

      • cubtex

        Nice knowing you Andy Sonnanstine…..ha! I wish. Actually, I think Carpenter or Dolis…which would be better than McNutt.

  • Aaron

    I hope it is Weathers but my guess now…in light of those 40-man comments is that it’ll be Dolis or Carpenter and either way that is giving up way too much. In fact, if they’re thinking Dolis I would rather give up McNutt (even though that appears out of the cards now) because Dolis has starting experience and more upside

    • cubtex

      I know you are not a huge fan of McNutt…but no way would I rather give NcNutt ahead of Dolis. McNutt is a starter and although Dolis did start in the minors in the past…many believe his future is in the pen. McNutt is one of the only starters the Cubs have above AA who could be more than a 4 or 5. Like I said since they want a pitcher from our 40 man…..give them Sonnanstine :)

      • Aaron

        I agree with you…i hope it is Casey Coleman or someone like Weathers or even Maine for all I care

  • Neil

    From the Trib: Cubs send Chris Carpenter to Red Sox for compensation, according to Cubs source.

    • Aaron

      WOW…Carpenter?!?!? Though he’s a bit wild, that’s a pretty steep price to pay for a suit

  • Scott McMeekan

    Chris Carpenter to Sox.

  • Anthony

    Not crazy about sending Carp, BOS wins

    Also, these drana queens swapping PTBNL’s infers that someone from the 2011 class may be involved due to the one year rule

    • Patrick

      The wild card would be the players to be named later, one coming from each team.  I wonder if Theo has his eye on anyone special, like when Dallas took Sandberg from the Phillies.