No Offense Behind Travis Wood – Cubs 1, Padres 5

Spring Game Twenty-Four – Cubs 1, Padres (SS) 5
WP – Anthony Bass (2-0) LP – Travis Wood (1-2) Save – None

After scoring a combined 22 runs on Thursday and Friday, the Cubs offense managed only one run on three hits (six total baserunners) against Padres pitching on Saturday afternoon at HoHoKam Park.

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored) scored the Cubs only run after he doubled to start the second. Jeff Baker advanced him to third on a fly out to right and Darwin Barney drove Soriano in with a sac fly to center. The Cubs got ’em on, got ’em over and got ’em in … but that was the only run on the afternoon.

Travis Wood showed a lot of improvement and put together his best outing of the spring. Wood kept the Padres’ travel squad off the board for the first three innings before leaving with two on (first and third) and two outs in the fourth in a tie game (1-1).

Trever Miller could not get the job done and gave up a two-out, two-run double to Will Venable that allowed the Padres to take the lead … and in the process, closing the book on Travis Wood. The Cubs’ lefty allowed three runs on five hits with no walks, one strikeout and he hit two batters in 3 2/3 innings.

Randy Wells took over for Miller in the fifth and tossed 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball on Saturday afternoon. Wells appeared to be preparing for a job in the pen as he pitched from the stretch when there were no runners on base.

Scott Maine and Lendy Castillo threw scoreless innings on Saturday afternoon … and the Padres’ last two runs came in the ninth against Tony Zych, who was up from minor league camp for the day.

The Cubs’ defense was sloppy again Saturday and was charged with three more errors. The pitching staff hit three more batters and ran their Major League leading total to 20 hit batsmen in 24 spring games.

Travis Wood threw the ball a lot better in the first inning. Wood appeared to hit his spots as Welington Castillo had to barely move his glove. Wood gave up a two-out single to left to Yonder Alonso (0-1 pitch) but that was all for the Padres in the first inning (three groundball outs for Wood in the opening inning).

David DeJesus reached on an error by Yonder Alonso (Alonso backed up and allowed the ball to play him, it ended up in right field). Marlon Byrd smacked a 2-1 pitch back-up the middle that hit off the mound and was turned into a 4-3 double play. Blake DeWitt (2-1 pitch) grounded out to first for the third out.

Wood picked up in the second where he left off in the first. Other that a mistake to Jeremy Hermida on a 1-2 pitch that resulted in a double down the left field line, Wood was sharp and finished the second by striking out Jonathan Galvez swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs got on the board with a manufactured run in the bottom of the second.

Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a double off the top of the wall in left (1-0 pitch). Jeff Baker hit the first pitch from Anthony Bass to the corner in right. Hermida caught the ball on the track and Soriano tagged from second. With Soriano on third and one out, Darwin Barney hit a 1-0 pitch into center. Soriano tagged and scored … get him on, get him over and get him in, 1-0 Cubs. Joe Mather flied out to center.

At the end of two, the Cubs led 1-0.

The Padres put two on in the third against Travis Wood … but could not push across any runs. After Anthony Bass tapped back to Wood to start the inning, Wood hit Will Venable on a 1-2 pitch. Jedd Gyorko put together a long at bat that ended with him flying out to center (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Yonder Alonso singled to left (1-0 pitch) for the second time and Venable advanced to third. James Darnell popped out to second to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Anthony Bass in the third.

Travis Wood starting pitching from behind in the fourth and it cost him.

Yasmani Grandal led off the fourth with a single to center. Wood fell behind Hermida 2-1 before plunking him on the next pitch. With runners on first and second with no outs, Andy Parrino bailed Wood out of trouble when he fouled out to Jeff Baker on a 2-0 pitch. Jonathan Galvez looked at two straight out of the zone before ripping a 3-2 pitch into left. Soriano fielded the ball cleanly and threw to the plate. Welington Castillo could not handle the second hop, the ball rolled past him. Grandal scored and Hermida ended up at third on the error.

With the game tied at one and with runners on first and third with one down, Bass bunted back to Wood. The lefty threw to second and forced Galvez. Hermida held at third and Sveum went to the pen.

Trever Miller took over for Travis Wood and gave up a double to right center on a 2-1 pitch to Will Venable. Marlon Byrd fumbled the ball which allowed two runs to score and Venable to end up at third. Jedd Gyorko tapped back to Miller (1-2 pitch) to finally end the inning.

Anthony Bass retired the Cubs in order (again) in the bottom of the fourth.

Trever Miller started the fifth and retired Yonder Alonso on a grounder to short. Randy Wells was summoned from the pen and retired Darnell and Grandal to end the inning.

Micah Owings replaced Bass in the home half of the fifth and ended up facing the minimum. Darwin Barney worked a one-out walk but Joe Mather hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Randy Wells started the sixth by giving up a single to left to Jeremy Hermida (1-1 pitch). Lee Orr ran for Hermida and was doubled off first when Andy Parrino hit a liner to short. Barney caught the ball at the height of his leap and threw to first to complete the double play. Wells fell behind Galvez 3-0 before inducing a grounder to third (3-2 pitch) for the third out.

The Cubs did nothing against Micah Owings in the sixth.

At the end of six, the Cubs trailed 3-1 and had just one hit and one walk.

Scott Maine pitched the seventh and did not allow the Padres to tack on. Maine struggled with his command and issued a one-out walk to Raymond Fuentes. Maine struck out Gyorko as Fuentes stole second. Nathan Freiman fouled out to Jeff Baker for the last out in the seventh.

Marlon Byrd blooped a single into left to start the seventh. Blake DeWitt ripped Micah Owings’ first pitch into right. Soriano flied out to right, Byrd tagged and advanced to third. Baker squared on a 2-1 pitch and let the ball go through. Byrd broke for the plate, retreated as DeWitt broke for second. DeWitt was caught in a run down. Byrd then broke for home and was thrown out. Jeff Baker fouled out to the Padres’ first baseman down the right field line to end the inning.

Lendy Castillo walked two in the eighth, struck out one and did not allow a hit or a run.

Ernesto Frieri retired Darwin Barney and Joe Mather quickly to start the eighth. Frieri plunked Welington Castillo on a 2-2 pitch but struck out Reed Johnson swinging on three pitches for the final out in the eighth.

At the end of eight, the Cubs trailed 3-1 and had just three hits.

The Padres tacked on two runs in the ninth against Tony Zych. Zych made the short trip up to HoHoKam from minor league camp for the day.

The Cubs did nothing in the ninth against Miles Mikolas … exhibition game over.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 2-10 at HoHoKam Park this spring.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs make the trip to Goodyear on Sunday to face the Indians … Rodrigo Lopez against Jeanmar Gomez while Ryan Dempster makes his start in a minor league game at Fitch Park.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • paulcatanese

    Good post Neil.

    Todays game, sloppy and boring, even for a spring training excercise.

    • cubtex

      Cmon Paul. That is being negative. The Cubs only had 3 errors today and Travis Wood only hit 2 batters in 3.2 of an inning. Soriano continues to be the only offensive threat in the lineup with Castro. David DeJesus got on base because of an error by Alonso. There was alot to be positive about today :)

      • Ripsnorter1

        That’s your problem, Cubtex: you’re just PURE NEGATIVITY! 

        No matter that you are right 99.8% of the time. You still should be censored!!!

        Neil, can’t you do something about this guy?

        I’ll say this: people who are asleep do not like to be awakened. They always get angry…..

        • cubtex

          I have been following these Cubs for 40 plus years and I always tried to be optimistic. I cannot see how this team has improved itself this offseason. Even Tony last year was saying the Cubs should never have to rebuild like we are the Pirates. That is my point. We are a big market team. Our big aquisition this offseason was David DeJesus? We should settle and be happy with a 70 win team? And our GM lies to the fans and says he sees no reason why this team wont be extremely competitive! That is an insult to the fan base!

          • Theboardrider

            I agree they probably haven’t improved much this year. I’m just giving management the benefit of the doubt that there plans are for future years.  This year may be painful but by the end hopefully they have a better idea of what they have going forward.  I also think that we could have a winning record in September and maybe August.  Guys will start to “get it,” and we may finish the season with some gusto and a lineup that might be something to get excited about to start 2013. This is a year that will test our patience, and as Cubs fans that is about all we’ve had for the past century.  We’ve proven our loyalty at the very least…

          • RynoTiger

            and for a big market team, the leadership throughout 2003-2011 kept throwing money at the problem hoping that would solve everything and bring the Cubs a championship…did it?  NO.

            sure it got some Wild Card and Division championships, but it never got us to the promise land of the World Series. And even with all the money spent, that success was on the decline. 

            for a big market club, the Cubs had poor success with drafting and developing players and could only rely on free agents and hoping that would solve everything, but it didn’t.

            so sure, Theo could have come in and thrown more money at players and hoped that it would bring a championship…but as we’ve seen it doesn’t necessarily take spending millions and millions to win a world series.

            It’s not the that Cubs “should never have to rebuild like the Pirates” it’s that the Cubs couldn’t rebuild because the quality farm system hasn’t been there may of these years to even allow for the Cubs to rebuild and have a good mix of home grown and some FA talent, as opposed to solely relying on FA talent and the large cost that comes with it.

            As a fan, I’m not insulted because I know that in order for the Cubs to have sustained success, there has to be a strong foundation that is capable of evaluating, drafting, and developing quality ball players that can be called upon year after year as superstars, starters, and quality utility players.  To do all of that takes time, something the Cubs management prior to Ricketts never did.

            I’ve been a proud Cubs fan for almost 30 years and I support the efforts that Ricketts, Theo, and Jed are trying to build for the Cubs and realize that it’s not all going to happen in one off season. 

          • Tony_Hall

            Last time I checked this Pirates like rebuild has over a $100M payroll still…not very Pirate like.

            Which FA did you want this off-season, and would you be happy with the contract they signed, or “realistically” one just a little bigger, as to out bid the team that won?

          • GaryLeeT

            Darvish and E Jackson. Yes, I would have paid their salaries. I know the Cubs are playing in Arizona, and all that entails, but the Cubs have the 3rd  worst team ERA, and have issued the 3rd most walks in baseball. Big name FA pitchers are not hitting the market. They either get extended, or traded. The Cubs will never get their hands on Matt Cain or anyone like him.
             Sure, no real games have been played, and we are still in the honeymoon phase with the new management, but the reality of little pitching talent on this team, will make it tough for them to compete.

          • Tony_Hall

            I would have been ok with E Jackson, but he has changed teams so many times, that you have to wonder why.

            Darvish I think, will be good, but over $100M for a pitcher we just don’t know how he will pitch in the US is a lot.

            The pitching will be better than last year.

          • cubtex

            Exactly. Why wil Matt Cain or Cole Hammels come to the Cubs? And….both Matt Cain and Cole Hammels are FLY BALL pitchers so if Theo is MR. Stat boy…he won’t sign them because JH signed Garza who is a fly ball pitcher because he doesn’t know any better.

          • GaryLeeT

             Also, after the Angels signed Pujols, I would have gone hard after Kendry Morales, not Anthony Rizzo.

          • Tony_Hall

            Good to know, we can follow Morales (who was never made available unless a team overpaid) and see if he is still the player we was before being out for so long.

          • cubtex

            Cmon. That was payroll already accounted for. Who did they add?

          • Tony_Hall

            No one is settling for 70 wins, is just my realistic expectation of this team.  

            The GM actually didn’t say it that way, and you know it and what would be insulting is if a GM came out and said we stink.  Being competitive is what the majority of teams are each year for  a good part of the year.  You are translating his words to mean playoff competitive.  But if you asked the GM of any team, they would say they believe they can make the playoffs.

            This team will not be as bad as you keep thinking.  The starting pitching will be better this year, as we have depth to turn to with injuries, something that derailed any chance this team had of being competitive this year.

          • GaryLeeT

             Who goes into the rotation if one of the 5 starters go down? Wood? Coleman? Wells? Jackson? I would be OK with Wells, but I don’t know if you could call that upgraded depth. Maybe, a little.

          • Tony_Hall

            Wells is one.  But it will be whoever is pitching well at Iowa, and we have more than 5 options for that rotation as well. 

          • cubtex

            Excuse my brain cramp….But who is Jackson? Do you mean Sonnanstine?

          • Tony_Hall

            Jay Jackson

            Had a good spring.

          • cubtex

            Yes he has. Good to see he might become a prospect again

          • cubtex

            OK. You have been saying this too many times to go unnooticed. You keep saying the starting pitching will be better this year? Is your reasoning strictly depth??? Because I am going to 100% disagree on the quality of the starting pitching going into the year.

            Last year we had Dempster coming off 15 wins Garza was coming off 15 wins Zambrano was coming off an 8-0 2nd half Andrew Cashner was coming in with high expectations and Randy Wells…he is still Randy Wells.

            This year….
            Dempster is coming off a bad year so…it is not a wash as you say
            Garza is coming off a good year but he only won 10 games because of a shaky bullpen(which has gotten worse)
            Maholm had a decent year but is not Z stuff wise and I would take Z.
            Volstad vs Wells? I would take Volstad even though the numbers don’t really say he is an edge.
            Cashner vs Shark- Cashner. 

            Depth last year- Casey Coleman. Do you remember how you and others were of Casey Coleman??? You wanted him in the rotation based on a few starts in September while I was insistant on saying he wasn’t a viable starter. 

            Depth this year- Rodrigo Lopez(we had him last year)
            Casey Coleman(we had him last year)
            Travis Wood(doesn’t look like he will contribute this year)
            Andy Sonnanstine(You know my thoughts on this stiff)
            Randy Wells(best option if not traded)

            So the top 5 starting pitchers were much much better going into last year than this year(no question) 

          • Tony_Hall

            I am going by what actually happened not what they hoped would happen.  The results from last year was what happened.  How can you compare to what they hoped would happen?

            Dempster had a bad start to last year, then was about what you expect from him at this point of his career.

            Wells will be in bullpen not in the rotation as he has been beaten out by Volstad. So that must be an improvement.

            Samardzija vs Cashner is about the same.  Cashner’s ceiling is higher, but he has the injuries that make them more even.

            Dempster and Garza are washes.  So Maholm versus Zambrano, I’ll take the less volatility.  

          • cubtex

            Dempster is worse this year coming in than he was last year. Same with Garza since he won 15. Vostad had a terrible year. Shark is thought of less than Cashner was.

          • Tony_Hall

            The cup is always half full in Texas.

            Garza is not worse than last year and Dempster is not worse off, than last years results, when he had a bad first coupleof months.

            Volstad has beat out Wells,that shouldbe an improvementin all placesbut Texas.

            I believeI said that about Cashner, but he has been injuredand that knocks him down a notch,especially as a bullpen arm versusa starter.

          • Steve Rock-Vegas

            OK, so here’s my question for both cubtex and Ripsnort.  Let’s pretend this is fantasy land and both of you are just hired as the new Cubs GM team, ala Theo and Jed.  Give me each the first 5 things you both would have done to improve last years team and start us on the course for the WS we all want? Since both of you are so appalled and insulted, I’d love to hear what your solutions would have been to clean up the JH mess and turn this around. Feel free to get lengthly and creative to delight us in what SHOULD have been done.  I’m not trying to be a smartass here either, (well kind of), but I can’t wait to hear what each of you would have done. Obviously you believe whatever move and player you desire all the other GM’s in the league would oblige and just give you for whatever makes the Cubs better, so let’s here it.  Come on, enlight us and give us the road map you feel should have been followed this offseason by new management.  I for one can’t wait to hear what you have to say and I’m pretty confident every other positive fan on there willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt of at least ONE YEAR can’t either. So go ahead, delight us with your baseball wisdom, and play Fantasy GM for a minute and tell us what should have been done.  This should give us all hours of fun to debate when your done.  That is of course, unless were busy hitting the streets of Chicago getting enough signatures, to get you both hired. OK, so maybe I am being a bit of a smartass, but i REALLY do want to hear what you would have done differently.  Your up Cubtex and Ripsnort, have at it, start playing Riptex, the next brillant cubs GM team.

          • Richard Hood

            One thing I would have done is be in on some of the pitching that changed hands this winter. We have the horses to get in on the Cahill deal maybe not what the Nat or
            Cincy gave up for Gio and Latos but we certainly could have made a run at some of the others.

          • cubtex

            I just said that as well. see above

          • GaryLeeT

             I don’t think you will get them to perform on command, like some circus animal.

          • cubs1967

            dude—go save Vegas; there’s lots of unbuilt casinos on the strip; call it Cirque de Soleil Steve! Saves Vegas.

          • John_CC

             Steve, that would take actually thinking about it for a while, coming up with a plan and trying to articulate how it would executed rather than regurgitating the same drivel that have been the main talking points for the past 3 months.  Now that I think about, this is eerily similar to a presidential campaign and probably why I don’t have the stomach for it.

          • cubtex

            I don’t claim to be a gm…but I do have an opinion and can give it based on the moves Theo boy has made this offseason. First of all…I have been saying for a long time at the lack of pitching depth in the Cubs system(especially in the starting pitching department) I mentioned some names in the offseason…..Anibal Sanchez,Jonathon Sanchez(who was available and could have been aquired) John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Prospects Banuelos and Bettances with the Yankees, other teams who inquired about Garza(Tigers and Jays)
            How is that for a start for a list of names.
            My priority would have been to aquire starting pitching! I like Rizzo and his upside….BUT if I trade one of my best prospects in Cashner….I would have insisted in getting back a young starting pitching prospect! I would have tried hard to trade Soto and Byrd. Which starting pitcher that Theo aquired this offseason are you excited about???? Vostad? Wood? Maholm? That is not good enough(imo) Gerardo Concepcion is considered a #5 at best by most international scouts. I would ha overpaid to get Yu Darvish. He is considered a #1 from many many international scouts. So…..If you held onto Garza and you sign Darvish(you could have still signed Concepcion) and you trade Garza for a young starting pitcher(just for laughs say….John Danks since the Sox don’t have a closer) The Cubs would probably have to give another prospect with Cashner for Danks……but now you have Darvish,Garza,Danks as a top 3 for many years. That would give me hope! Go ahead and rip away!

          • Richard Hood

            There was a report after the posting that the Cubs had the second highest bid for Darvish at somewhere around 35 million.  It wasn’t like our guys were not in on some of these guys they just were not going to over pay for them.

            Again I think this goes back to mindset. I think that Team Theo is trying to make it an honor to play for the Cubs and not over pay just to be in the conversation.

             If that actually works and we are no longer bidding against ourselves to get trades and or FA’s to come here then in the long term it is a smart move. But one of these oh so closes has to work out first.

            I do think we traded Marshall just to get our name in print and tell the fan base see we are doing something.

            I agree with you on Cashner. I think he probably is destined to be the next great stopper/closer in SD and though I also love Rizzo we should have gotten market value for  him. The only thing I can guess is that (again this is all conjecture) is that the new guys that came in  saw what the training staff was saying and said we need to move him while he still has some value.

          • cubtex

            To expand on my thought on how you build a pitching staff first in a BIG MARKET rebuilding plan. IF you have a rotation of Darvish,Garza,Danks, Dempster and Shark….you can compete with an inferior starting 8 while you add pieces and build. Look at the Giants starting 8 when they won the WS.

          • cubtex

            I meant trade Cashner to the Sox(not Garza) my mistake!

          • Richard Hood

            I still think he was talking about the guys mindset with the extremely competitive comment.

        • Steve Rock-Vegas

          Guys, you can be as negative as you want once this year plays out, and I’ll be just as upset if it all goes belly up, but for God sakes can’t you even give them ONE year to make some moves and try to correct 5 years of JH junk?  I’m giving them two off-seasons and then i’ll be throwing daggers right behind you if that’s the case, but I just can’t believe four months has turned you this bitter on Theo and Jed. Mind boggling actually to me. 

          • cubtex

            You know what is funny Steve…Boston fans are saying the same thing about Cherrington trying to correct the last couple years of Theo’s junk signings :) I guess what goes around comes around :)

          • Richard Hood

            LOL that is rich. Most of the BoSox guys that I talk to are saying that the problem was not Theo, it was Henry and ownership going around the staff to get players they wanted. Cherrington supposedly has even less control over the acquisition of talent than Theo did. 
            People seem to blame Theo on most of the bad contracts but when certain agents have the Owners on speed dial and get meetings with their guys and Henry without any of the front office around to run interference how can it be the GM’s fault?

          • cubtex

            Well wasn’t that the same case when the Cubs signed Soriano? It was an ownership decision…not Hendry. Regardless, the Red Sox are a mess this year. They have a plus 170 mil payroll with a terrible back end rotation and a huge hole at SS. Not a good situation with that Payroll!

          • Richard Hood

            Didn’t say it wasn’t the same here for a while. Just said that there is a huge leap to say that Cherrington is cleaning up Theo’s mess when it was a team effort and most of the effort was and is ownership thinking they knew more than there people that were suppose to be making those decisions.

      • paulcatanese

        Yeah, but Byrd hit a rocket for his hit:)

        • cubtex

          :) And Barney actually covered 2nd base on a steal attempt in front of the base instead of behind it like he did all last year.

          • paulcatanese

            Like everyone is saying, total improvement:)

      • Ripsnorter1

        Marshall to close 

        Makes the Travis Wood deal look even better…for the Reds

        • Tony_Hall

          1st, let’s see if Marshall is effective closing before saying this is better for the Reds.  Many 8th inning guys don’t make good closers.  But this deal will hinge on if T Wood can ever be a part of the rotation and if Torreyes ends up in the majors.  Sappelt will be nothing more than a 4th/5th OF.

        • John_CC

           Dusty is gonna ruin him.

          • Ripsnorter1


            This post of yours is pure gold, pure truth. He ruins ’em all. 

        • cubtex

          I think if the Cubs held onto Marshall a little longer….they could have gotten a much better return. Forget about Sappelt and Torreyes. They should have held out for a better starting pitching prospect than T Wood. I would have rather taken Homer Bailey(he is out of options) and Mike Leake for Marshall. Aquire as many starting pitching prospects as possible.

  • Ripken Boy

    Lendy Castillo looks good and why oh why is Casey Coleman making the team?

    I would rather have Gary Coleman come out of the bullpen and he is dead. Whatca talkin’ about Sveum?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Casey Coleman will not be on the opening day roster of the Chicago Cubs. He will be on the Iowa Cubs’ roster instead.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree on Coleman, but he was mentioned.

        • cubs1967

          wait-we are not suppose to jump on the 1st comment; like any comment with a pitcher and a 27 ERA should be uttered as part of the rotation.

          so who cares if coleman was mentioned or wood……….just talk babble from our new mgr that batted dewitt 3rd in a ST game (like dewitt should ever bat 3rd unless it’s an single A game).

          • Tony_Hall

            He was mentioned as a bullpen candidate. He’s not making the rotation.

            Who cares where players bat in ST when you have players mixed in from the minors.

      • cubtex

        Remember last year how high Tony and other were on Casey Coleman??? What a difference a year makes :)

        • Tony_Hall

          We were high on Coleman getting an opportunity, that he earned by having a good end of the 2010.  Nobody was throwing him a long term contract.  Unfortunately, he didn’t earn another chance and will have a tough time ever getting another chance to start.  That’s the baseball works.

  • Ripsnorter1



    Reds lost closer Madson for entire season. 
    Sean Marshall is new closer. 

    • Tony_Hall

      Yes Rip, you are genuis…you knew that their newly signed closer would blow out his arm for the year. 

      • Steve Rock-Vegas

        Well he is Riptex Tony, the next great GM combo with cubtex who predict injuries, swindle other GM’s into trades like Soriano and his entire contract for David Price and Evan Longoria (and cash), and turn 103 years of futility around in four months. Haven’t you been following, keep up please!

        • cubtex

          go put your mortgage down on the Cubs winning it all Stevie Vegas!

          • John_CC

             Can we please, please try to pull this conversation back to a maturity level above HS? 

          • Tony_Hall

            He’s not saying they are going to win this year, but to give them a chance to fix the mess they inherited.

          • Steve Rock-Vegas

            That’s the problem Cubtex, you don’t listen beyond your own rants.  NEVER once have I EVER said Cubs were going to win it all this year, or even make the playoffs (since I don’t think they can or will).  What I’ve been saying all along is it’s refreshing to actually HAVE a long term plan in place and be working toward something long term vs telling eveyone in baseball who we’re targeting in FA, then overpaying for him.  This was JH strategy every single offseason and he tried to WIN BIG on THE EXPENSIVE overpaying side every year until he created the biggest mess of a roster in baseball.  now Theo and Jed come in with a long term plan and you guys rip on every move over four months saying he’s Losing Big on the Cheap.  Yeah, I’m sure that’s his plan and he coudn’t wait to get out of Boston to try that new strategy he’s been thinking about for years.  Look at the body of work he’s put together already beyond the actualy diamond, like a manual on how to play like a Cub, what a novel idea to actually tell your entire organization how you want things done.  All I’ve ever said to this point is I love what they’re doing and how they’re going about it so far and am willing to give it at least two off-seasons to see what they do.  THEN, and ONLY THEN, will I make any judgement on what they’re trying to do and discusss the results.  I guess the great part of this is, we actually get to see the results play out and then we can all discuss who’s blind, who prejudged, etc.  Play ball so we can quite talking about it and see what actually happens.

    • John_CC

       that’s mature.

      What blow to the Reds though. Imagine signing a a guy only to pay him $5M to have TJ surgery.  Ouch.

  • EqDoc

    I haven’t had a chance to watch many of the ST games but I was not impressed with Welington Castillo yesterday.  He looked lost behind the plate and at bat as well.  How has he performed during the spring?  Is he expected to make the team or is the other catcher going to make it?

    • Richard Hood

      The one thing that is a marked improvement with Castillo verses last year is his improved communication skills. He had serious language barrier issues last spring and has worked hard to be able to understand and voice what the manager wants to happen in the game. He is probably going to start the season in Triple A then another call up if needed.  Hopefully we can get a few hot months out of Soto and make some noise about moving him in June or July.

    • Zonk

      Welington has had a good spring overall, but IMO is still a bit raw.  He would be best served by starting in Iowa, and awarding the backup-C job to Steve Clevenger, who has played well enough to earn it.  (and Clevenger really only projects as a backup at best anyway)

    • Neil

      Castillo had a bad day yesterday but all in all he’s had a good spring and has showed improvement. I think Clevenger begins the year as the team’s backup, not Castillo. He needs to go to Iowa and play everyday.

  • cubtex

    OK…Theo fans. John CC, Tony, Stevie Vegas….Let me hear you critique my plan for a BIG MARKET TEAM to rebuild the way I laid out. Sign Darvish, keep Garza, Trade Cashner with another prospect for Danks(example) Dempster and Shark.
    This will not take anything away from any rebuilding plan….but they will compete this year with that rotation. They could have the exact starting 8 to even start the season. OK…..Who’s team is better??? Theo’s, or above. Sure, my payroll is much bigger….but we are the Cubs…..not the A’s or Pirates.

    • Richard Hood

      I agree with that other than the Danks part. That is a personal choice though not real high on his work so far. I do think that we needed to retool but we should have been able to get younger and still be competitive. The moves we made seemed more like a white flag for this year and it is hard to stomach.
      The Central is very weak (Even weaker now that Carp is hurt). You thow in Madson (by the way it is probably going to a bullpen by committee there with Chapman and Marshall getting a chance to close) going down and some of pitchers for Milwaukee being banged up it spells a shake up in the central.

      I think shipping Byrd to SF for Sanchez should have happened don’t know why they did not pull the trigger on that one. So we could have still had Cashner in the mix for the bullpen and still had Shark and Volstad fighting for a position.

      I think if we would have held on to Marshall till the AS break we would have had a very interesting mix of young pitchers and solid producers in the bullpen. Then we would have also had a back up plan in case we had a Marmol implosion again.

      So our rotation would have been really good then if Darvish would have gotten his rightful posting fee (Texas went way overboard). We could have had a rotation of

      and a Bullpen of


      We would still have had some trade pieces to work through and some depth in Triple A. Plus it would have freed up a spot for Jackson to be in our outfield this year.

      The reason I left Volstad in the with an almost 6 man rotation is we still do not know how Darvish will handle the work load of pitching every 5th day when he is use to pitching once a week.

      • cubtex

        You and I agree Richard. Like Theo says….Every season is important to try and win….except I guess this year. Anything can happen with a good starting staff.

        • Tony_Hall

          You keep posting only part of what he says.  

          They were not going to mortgage the future for the present.  

          You guys are putting Darvish in the rotation, yet Richard even admits he wouldn’t have won the posting lottery.  Can’t have it both ways.

          • Richard Hood

            I am talking in business reality not jumping the shark in posting fee’s like Texas did. Paying 100 million for an unknown is RISKY. Even at 35 million it was a risk. But there were other moves that needed to be made. I still am holding out that Theo just thought some of the prices were too high.

    • cubtex

      Cmon John. Answer before Tony. Cmon Stevie Vegas. Tick tick tick tick.

    • Tony_Hall

      Sign Darvish….easy to say, harder to do.  Had to outbid everyone.  I would have loved to hear you post your bid prior to it being announced that you would have offered.  I doubt you would have won the bidding.

      Keep Garza – so far they have done that, but he has to want to stay and sign an extension, other wise even you would trade him…wait a minute, you were saying to trade him this off-season.

      Great idea on trading 2 of our starters this year to get one in return, plus more expensive on top of it.

      Fantasy baseball actually may be for you, because that is all a fantasy if you actually think that could have all happened.

      • cubtex

        Did you not read properly? Take off those Kubbie Blue sunglasses and re-read my post. Wait…while I take a sip of my half empty coffee mug..Slurrrrp. What 2 starters did I say to trade for 1? I said sign Darvish….You can’t say Theo doesn’t know how to outbid everyone on a pitcher….See Dice K. If you sign Darvish……you don’t trade Garza. You trade Cashner(who you claim is a relief pitcher and never will be a starter again) for a starter like Danks,Anibal Sanchez etc. you still have Dempster as a #4 and if you trade Z for Volstad you can put him there and keep Shark in the bullpen. Where did I mention trading 2 starting pitchers

        • Tony_Hall

          Sorry I mis-read the line about Danks.  I was reading it as Dempster and Samardzija for Danks.

          I’m done with this, it’s just pointless.  I never said Cashner would never be a starter again, but it is unlikely.  He was a closer in college and is better suited for that role.

          I said you had to outbid for Darvish.  Theo didn’t want to spend $100M for 5 years of an unknown pitcher who hasn’t pitched in the states, and you now  don’t like that move.  Yet you would have blasted him if he had.

          We disagree, you think Theo and Co.  are a bad GM/President and I think he is going to turn this franchise around.  Time will tell.  But just remember what side of the fence you are on when things turn around.

          • cubtex

            I am a Cubs fan. That is what side of the fence I am on! I want a winner. I want Theo to put a winner on the field. I know he is flawed and has made plenty of mistakes…..but money can overcome that……just like it did in Boston! Spend money like Boston gave to Theo and he can do it here too!

          • cubtex

            It just makes too much sense…doesn’t it Tony????

          • Steve Rock-Vegas

            Actually, it makes no sense Riptex!  Your now regurgatating every offseason we’ve had for the last 5 years with JH.  Out spend everyone else on all the “hip” FA’s out there and pray they all fit together with my horrible drafts I’ve made for the last 8 years and pray the owners let me try it all again one more year. Good idea. Lets keep going down that road year after year and spend like we’re a big market.  And as far as the side of the fence you’re on, glad your on our side, but don’t think all your post won’t be copy and pasted back to you over and over and over again as they turn this ship around, howoever slow that may be or take. You’ve had plenty of opinions on all the signings so we’ll have plenty to remind you of.

          • cubtex

            How would adding 2 younger starting pitchers than Garza with only trading Cashner in my scenario who Theo already has mortgaged the future? Think like a high roller Stevie Vegas. Double down! Roll the dice! We are a big market team.

          • cubtex

            quit thinking we are the A’s. Theo took a chance on an unproven starter in Dice K. I would much rather take a chance on Darvish ahead of Dice K. Did Theo never take a risk before???? Now he is afraid? Is he gun shy now because of all the mistakes he has made???

    • Texcubnut

      WOW!! Darvish, Danks, and Garza all in the same rotation!! What’s not to like? If, and it’s a big if, if you could have pulled this off than that would be a rotation everyone would be excited about. Also, after Dempster’s salary comes off the books this year than next years free agent class has half a dozen top of the rotation guys that you could possibly land one of, well than……….WOW!!  Hard to argue with.

      • cubtex

        Exactly. It makes too much sense what I am saying for others to make a good case against it. So we have a 140 mil payroll??? We are the Cubs…not the A’s. Darvish and Garza would have given the Cubs a 4 year window to win a WS with those 2 at the top of the rotation.

        • John_CC

           I don’t remember, but were one of the fans deriding Theo for the imminent signing of Darvish that was surly going to as big a mistake as when he signed Dice-K?

          I would have liked Theo to have signed Darvish, even at 100M$, I don’t care about the money. But let’s wait till he pitches at least half a season before stating that he would be the answer.

        • Tony_Hall

          He was being sarcastic.

  • paulcatanese

    Down to the nitty gritty on yesterdays game.
    DeJesus, does not have the speed as advertised.
    Byrd’s bobble did not go unoticed in Sveum’s notebook.
    Neither did Castillo not staying at home plate on Soriono’s throw, he stays home instead of creeping up the line, he has the out.
    Mather, he looked good at first base.
    Barney(Cubtex) he stays behind the bag covering second. Thats an easier route from SS than it is from second.Wait till he’s back at 2B.
    Baker, how many miscues before anyone realizes he is not a third baseman?
    I could go on and on, but it’s only spring training?

    • cubtex

      You don’t like DeJesus? What’s not to like about a .260 leadoff hitter, can’t steal bases, and can’t throw as your starting RF on a big market team? :)

  • Aaron

    NONE of this is even worth arguing over right now. I used to debate moves all the time before everything played out, but you can technically only judge moves during FA signing periods and Rule 5, then after Spring Training cuts, and trades throughout the season….I know that might not make a ton of sense, but let’s not get into crazy discussions calling people names on here, and getting all emotional about it, until we have an idea of what the final roster will be.

    Right now, all we have to go off is Team Theo’s offseason FA signings/trades, and to say they are underwhelming would be an understatement.

    What we know is that not much has changed from the Cubs everyday lineup last year to this year….and I’m saying that statistically speaking…and somewhat personnel>

    Last year’s Opening Day lineup consisted of:
    bench: Hill, Baker, DeWitt, Johnson, Colvin

    This year’s Opening Day lineup will consist of:
    bench: Clevenger (likely), Baker, DeWitt, Johnson, Mather

    So….unless there are unforeseen trades on the horizon, that is PRECISELY what you’ll get….But there’s more….Dempster was the Opening Day starter last year, followed by Garza. That is the exact same scenario this year. Marmol was the closer with Wood the set-up man….same this year. 

    Cubs get rid of Grabow, Marshall, and Samardzija (likely starter this year) out of the pen, and replace with (likely) Maine, Dolis, and L. Castillo with Wells or Lopez being the long-man.

    In other words, if you look at the way the roster is constructed, there will only be 6 additions from last year. Maholm, Volstad, L. Castillo, Stewart, DeJesus, and Mather.

    Is that really a recipe for success?

    I think everyone needs to take a step back, and realize that that, in fact, is the only thing we have to go off right now. Debate that all you want…I think it’s fair game…but to call people out on their opinions is just non-sense. Have respectable debate for crying out loud!!!!

    I am not sold on this regime yet, but we have about a week left to judge them…So far, the moves they have NOT made are even more glaring:
    -trading Soto to add pitching depth (hopefully), and give Castillo the full-time gig with Clevenger the back-up
    -trading Byrd to open spot for B. Jackson
    -trading Marmol for power pen arm(s) prospect(s)
    -trading Garza for depth everywhere (starting pitching, relief, or position prospects)
    -trading Baker and DeWitt to open spots for Lake or Cardenas…or both

    • Neil

      Thank you Aaron.

      To everyone, please quit the name calling and nicknames.

    • Vivid_Reality

      Its not fair to make judgments until after the trading deadline. I think alot of the trades they haven’t made will get done by then. Soto and Marmol both need to re-establish value. Why rush Jackson? I’ll take another year of free control by waiting a couple months to call him up, then you move Byrd. Garza is probably going to be extended at this point and DeWitt will get moved by the start of the season.

      I feel like everyone is impatient. I would rather give Thoyer a year to work out of JH’s mess and then it can be open season on their moves. Did anyone really think we could put together a winner this season anyway? I’m talking WS winner, not an 87 win team that barely gets to the postseason only to be eliminated in the first round. I want sustained success built from within, not wins fueled by the money machine that comes with an expiration date.

      • cubtex

        Hendry did the 1st year he took over coming off a terrible year…like last year.

        • cubtex

          How can anyone say that they will not want an 87 win team? The playoffs are a crapshoot. The best team doesn’t always win. Both years the Red Sox won…they got some lucky breaks. They were down 3-0 to the Yankees. They could have easily lost and never made. The other year they were down 3-1 to the Indians….again they very easily could have lost. This….I only want to make the playoffs if we are guaranteed to make the WS is ridiculous. There are no guarantees

      • Texcubnut

        The Cardinals won the WS with an 86 win team.