Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Padres – 03/29/12

Spring Training Game Thirty: Cubs (14-14-1) vs. Padres (17-12)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: Cubs.com
Location – Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria

Chris Volstad (1-0, 0.90/0.70) vs. Clayton Richard (0-1, 5.59/1.34)

Updated 11:23am CDTCubs announced several roster moves and spring cuts Thursday morning. Randy Wells, Welington Castillo, Dave Sappelt, Travis Wood, Scott Maine and Casey Coleman were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Steve Clevenger will begin the season as the Cubs’ back-up catcher.

Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad will join Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm in the Cubs’ Opening Day rotation.

Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster … and Matt Tolbert, Blake Parker, Blake Lalli and Edgar Gonzalez were assigned to minor league camp.
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The Cubs open the 2012 Season one week from today …

Dale Sveum’s team will spend their final Thursday of Spring Training with the San Diego Padres in Peoria. The Cubs should be pretty familiar with the Friars by now, today is the third time they have faced Jed Hoyer’s old team since Saturday.

Beginning with today’s game, Dale Sveum is expected to start using players in the roles they will begin the season. Sveum has said he would like to use the last five to six games as a true tune-up for the season. Counting today’s exhibition, the Cubs have only six games remaining on their Cactus League schedule.

The Cubs leave for Chicago following Tuesday’s game with the Brewers and will have an on-field workout Wednesday at Wrigley prior to the opener next Thursday against the Washington Nationals.

Today’s exhibition game all starts with Chris Volstad

Chris Volstad quietly put together a very good spring that landed him a spot in the Cubs’ Opening Day rotation. Volstad’s line is better than any other pitcher on Dale Sveum’s staff. Volstad has allowed just one earned run on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in three Cactus League starts (10 innings).

In his last Cactus League outing, Volstad allowed one runs on four hits in four innings to the Rangers with three strikeouts. Volstad got his work in five days ago in a minor league game and threw 85 pitches over six innings.

Kerry Wood and Casey Coleman are on the pitching schedule for this afternoon. Wood’s return to the Cactus League was bumped up a couple of days after a successful side session Tuesday. If Wood pitches this afternoon it will be his first game action since March 18.

Dale Sveum’s offense draws the tough task of facing Clayton Richard this afternoon. The southpaw, and former Southsider, has struggled once again this spring to the tune of eight runs, six earned, on 12 hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings (three starts). Richard last pitched in the Cactus League on March 24 and allowed three runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings to the Reds.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Barney – 2B
    Byrd – CF
    Castro – SS
    Baker – 1B
    Johnson – LF
    Mather – 3B
    Soto – C
    DeWitt – RF
    Volstad – P

    • Ripsnorter1

      DeWitt, a LH hitter, hits well vs. LHP. He’s what I call an ‘inside-out’ hitter. He starts in RF.  Interesting.

      • cubtex

        being one of the few LH hitting options on the bench…I am sure they will try and use him as a double switch late in games at various positions.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Brewers have signed catcher Jason Jaramillo, a Racine native, to a minor-league deal. He was released by the Cubs couple days ago. 

    • Chadaudio

      I was surprised the Cubs released him… I’m guessing it’s because he wouldn’t accept a minor league assignment from the Cubs.

      I’ll be curious to see how the rest of the Cubs minor League catching situation gets sorted out.

      • cubs1967

        koyie hill got released…a few days ago……….don’t tell Jed.

        • paulcatanese

          He could probably be picked up for 5-6 mil.

  • paulcatanese

    Why is DeJesus on the roster,does he ever play?
    DeWitt is the next Derosa?
    Clevenger will play a lot,as soon as Soto goes on the DL(usually not a very long time until he does).

    • gary3411

       Wouldn’t be surprised if Castillo jumps into the starting role when that happens though, but Clevenger of course will spell him often if that does happen.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I agree with you Gary.  If Soto gets hurt I believe Castillo will be called up to be the starter.  Clevenger is a very solid backup and that is why he stayed.  Castillo will bide his time and play every day in AAA until something happens with Soto, whether trade or injury.  Hopefully Soto rakes and we can swing a deal for some prospects. 

  • EqDoc

    Mather is playing 3rd today.  Is he good enough to play there regularly?  The way he is killing the ball, he should get a ton of playing time.

    • gary3411

      most say no based on his prior fielding pct, but i bet his range can make up for some of that. Worth a shot vs lefties if Stewart struggles over Baker if Mather isn’t in RF in those situations.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Baker is a poor fielding 3B. He’s okay at 2B, but the hot corner is too hot for him. 

        • gary3411

           Is that just your observation or based on stats? I think he looks fine at third base.

          939 fielding pct since 2008, that’s respectable and is only in 131 chances which isn’t even a full season so the sample size is pretty small, and he passes at least my eye test over there.

          Havn’t looked at any advanced stats on him though, but again with the small sample size many of those aren’t great indicators.

          he might not be good, but I wouldn’t describe him as poor by any means, josh vitters is poor.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Stats, Gary.

            In 2010, Baker committed 7 errors–all at 3B. He had limited playing time there–210 innings, or the equivalent of 23 games. He had a .903 fielding percentage, which is Josh Vitters territory. (Vitters in 2011 fielded .903–I am not lying!–in 100 games at 3B in 2011).

            Baker, in 2011, fielded 1.000 BUT he only played 6 games there (54 innings), and his range was so poor he is rated at costing his team 47 extra runs per year if he played there 135 games.

            In the OF, Baker is even worse. He is rated at costing his team an extra 67 runs per year if he gets 135 games in RF. How often did Neil comment in 2011 about a ball hit over his head because he took a poor route? No error charged; but Baker (and DeWitt in the OF, too) cost the Cubs runs.

          • gary3411

            career range factor at 3B: 2.58
            fielding pct: .943

            David Wright: 2.61
            .951

            Aramis: 2.47
            .948

            Those were just the first 2 I looked up, but I’m not seeing how the statistics say he’s a poor fielding third baseman. Of course if you take select stats from select years then you can make it look like anyone is bad, but with some sample size he’s not bad at all. David Wright I believe has won gold gloves. Take out 2 of Baker’s errors and he’s up to a 955 fielding pct that’s how small his sample size is.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Gary,

            It’s okay with me if you want him at 3B. I just did the research a year ago about why the Cubs had a poor defensive team in 2010, (tied for last in MLB with .979 fielding percentage) and I found that the answer was Soriano, Castro and Baker. In other words, the problem was unsolvable because the Cubs were not going to move or trade any of them. And Baker made all of his errors at 3B. 

            By the way, we were last in the league in fielding in 2011–if it is based upon total number of errors. The Cubs had 134. 29th in the league, with 124 errors, was Oakland.

            If you are curious, the Cards were 27, Houston was 25; Pittsuburgh was 23; Milwaukee was 22; Reds were #7 in MLB.

          • gary3411

             Point was originally I’d rather have him there than Mather against lefties if Stewart struggles, because he isn’t a liability like Mather at third.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Agreed: Baker over Mather’s glove.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        So far Stewart doesn’t look like he is going to struggle.  When healthy the guy is a gamer…

    • gary3411

      Actually I take that back, he hasn’t played there more than 5 games since 2004, I wouldn’t experiment with that too much, unless he’s really showing some good glove there during practice.

  • cubtex

    Interesting to hear that on this date 3 years ago the Padres sent back rule 5 draft pick Ivan Nova to the Yankees. I am not saying that Lendy Castillo could be Nova….but I would hate to lose his arm and upside for Shawn Camp and/or Rodrigo Lopez.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Get used to the idea.

      • cubtex

        RIP….You brought the ages up earlier and this is such a HUGE point! We all know the Cubs are not going for it this year so why are these 3 players on the roster or even considered for a spot?

        Reed Johnson-36
        Shawn Camp- 37
        Rodrigo Lopez-38

        Are these 3 players buy low….sell high? Absolutely not! These are not trade pieces.

        Scott Maine should be on this roster ahead of both Camp and Lopez. I thought Lopez was just starting rotation insurance who will be in AAA(now they are considering him as long relief?)

        The way they have put the roster together is almost like they think they have a playoff team? Why else would they have players who have no trade value and are late 30’s on the team?

        • Ripsnorter1

          Don’t forget: NOBODY HAS EVER USED THE PHRASE “YOUTH MOVEMENT.”

          LOL. They talk like politicians. 

          Okay. So we are not about developing our minor leaguers at the ML level. Otherwise Maine would be here. We are not about winning, when we are stocking our roster with other teams’ cast offs (Stewart, DeJesus, Lopez, Camp, Corpas, et al). 

          Then what are we about?It isn’t politically correct to say!  HAW HAW!
          But I’ll say it: LOSING BIG ON THE CHEAP.

          • BrutalTruth

            so you’d rather they lose big on the expensive?

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I don’t consider Stewart a castoff.  He’s a proven player that needed a change of scenery.  I believe the deal for him is heavily slanted in favor of the Cubs. 

          • Ripsnorter1

            Could be. But he has an injured wrist. He hit .156 last year, so confidence is probably low. He’s dropped off 4 years in a row….lots of “ifs” in this package. 

            No doubt Colvin would not hit for us. He doesn’t make enough contact to make it as a regular in MLB. Not a good glove either–same stats as Alfonso Soriano. 
            So we didn’t over pay EXCEPT D.J. LeMahieu is going to be a very good utility INF.

          • http://twitter.com/Golfnut70Bob OttawaBob

            Rip, seriously….now we’re debating getting rid of utility infielders,…. I’m sorry very good utility infielders!!. I’m not losing sleep over back-up 2nd basemen.

        • Tony_Hall

          They want Maine to go the minors and work on a few things, and  he will back.  Many of these players who make the 25 man roster won’t be around all year, but are being used as filler, while they let some guys get a little more time in the minors.  

          I would like to see some of the young guys as well, but it is a long season.  I fully expect by June/July we will see many of the young guys brought up.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Very true.  Let them build confidence in AAA rather than struggle in the big league and go to crap. 

        • gary3411

          Did you just make up these ages or lie on purpose? All of them are wrong.

          Camp isn’t on the team yet, and he has had a really good last 4 seasons, oh and he’s 36. Maine will be in the major leagues often this year, don’t fret about it just because he didn’t “start the year” here, it’s not a big deal. The coaches may be saying he needs to work on a few things seeingas they are seeing him in person every day, not basing off his what 7 innings this spring? He was solid in AAA last year and he does deserve a shot, but he’ll be up soon don’t worry.

          Reed Johnson is a solid bench guy, he’s 35. Sappelt will be getting better playing everyday in AAA, he’s still young. Age of bench players really means nothing IMO.

          Rodrigo Lopez is 36 and our rotation depth and will be the long man because they want to keep Wells and Wood in starting roles in AAA, makes sense to me. I wouldn’t have minded Wells in the pen as he’s the superior pitcher, but either way, at least now if he does real well in AAA he is trade bait and will be ready to come in and give 7 innings right away instead of having to build stamina.

          • Tony_Hall

            They all turn a year older in November and December, so why not age them up now, it makes the point sound better.

          • cubtex

            Sorry if I was wrong. I just copied what RIP had from earlier post. Didn’t double check. What is real difference between 35 and 36 or 37. You get the point.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        That is a bummer.  I’m a big supporter of Theo and Company but I’ll admit that I don’t understand why they’re not holding on to Lendy. 

    • gary3411

      It would stink I’d love to find a way to keep him with the upside, but I think you have to trust the guys that are viewing him everyday in bullpen sessions and seeing his work in person for whether it’s realistic if he has a chance to stick around this year, that call will not be made on box scores.

    • gary3411

       And he hasn’t even pitched in advanced A, that is a huuuugee jump.

      • cubtex

        I understand….but they are not going anywhere this year and who would take his place??? Shawn Camp? Rodrigo Lopez? That is my point.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Chris Volstad’s final line against #Padres – 6R, 9H (HR), 1BB, 2K in 4.2 IP

    • cubtex

      Not the way to go into the season.

      • cubtex

        “On second thought…..get Randy Wells on the phone” pleaded Jed Hoyer to his assistant :)

  • Coachdon

    A couple things: first is that Volstad is not a good starting MLB pitcher and should not be in the rotation. 5-16 sounds about right for him. They had to get rid of Zambrano so I am OK with the trade but he shouldn’t have been handed that spot. I’m not a huge fan of Randy Wells but he is better than Volstad. Second, the only young guys getting a shot are Clevenger(only because Koyie Hill was so awful), L Castillo(only because you have to send him back otherwise), and Dolis, who could be very good. Not really setting up the future with this roster. If you are going to lose 95 games, do it with young guys so you can see the future, not a bunch of has beens and never was’es. Very disappointed in the Epstein regime so far.

    • BosephHeyden

       Hopefully Volstad in the rotation is not a permanent thing unless he can show that he’s semi-competent (which, judging from his actual MLB experience…no, no he’s not).  He’d benefit greatly from a move to the bullpen, but at this point in his career, that’s the extent of what he’s going to be good at.

    • cubs1967

      Amen brother!

      For a team that holds the most embarrasing record in the history of sports; soon-to-be 104 yrs without a championship; all talk by tedam theo……..ZERO substance.

      • BrutalTruth

        you mean just like yourself?

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Young guys don’t work through problems and improve at the major league level.  That is done at AA and AAA.  If they are brought up before they’re ready their confidence gets shot and they go to crap. In most cases I believe the management is doing the right thing.  

  • Anthony

    According to AZPhil depth charts, the Daytona OF consists of:

    an injured(shoulder) Evan Crawford
    25 year old Cuban Elieser Bonne
    Abner Abreu
    Matt Szczur
    Xavier Batista

    In AA TENN, an injured Ha, Easterling, Burgess220, and Nelson Perez along with a hole in his bat.

    rumor has it that they may sign Kevin Costner to play the role of Crash Davis part 2…………lol

    Everything you ever wanted to know about professional baseball is right here in black and white.

    I suppose they will keep things going until they spent 27MM on Soler and just plug him right in………………..lol

    • gary3411

       All I know is theyre all better than 23-year old Mr. 589 with a strong arm.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 12-11 to Padres Thursday afternoon

    Chris Volstad: 6R, 9H (HR), BB, 2K in 4.2IP; Shawn Camp: 3R, 4H (HR), BB, K in 1.1IP

    Darwin Barney: 4-for-4, 2B, RBI; Jeff Baker: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3R; Reed Johnson: 2-for-4, HR; Joe Mather: 2-for-4, 2B, BB, RBI, 3R

    • cubtex

       How can they justify keeping Shawn Camp?

      • Ripsnorter1

        Somebody has to mop up for Chris Volstad. 

      • Tony_Hall

        Who says they have?

        I still see 10 arms for 7 spots

        Bullpen arms left
        1. Marmol
        2. Wood
        3. Dolis
        4. Russell
        5. Mateo
        6. Corpas
        7. Castillo
        8. Lopez
        9. De La Cruz
        10. Camp

        Mateo will be DL’d, so that leave 7 for 9.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I wonder if Wood goes to DL to start the season with his bad back….he did in 2011.

          • Tony_Hall

            That’s possible, but I still expect a trade as well.  

  • Tony_Hall

    I’ve heard a rumor that De La Cruz has been waived.

  • Tony_Hall

    I think this makes the bullpen.

    1. Marmol
    2. Wood
    3. Dolis
    4. Russell
    5. Castillo
    6. Corpas
    7. Lopez (long man)

    Mateo to the DL
    Camp gone

    • cubtex

      Theo and Jed have missed on almost every free agent pitching pickup! Sonnanstine, Trever Miller, De La Cruz, Shawn Camp. Rodrigo Lopez was a pickup from the old regime. Lets hope he gets better.

      • Tony_Hall

        Most teams miss more than hit on free agent players picked up to league minimum contracts or on minor league deals.  It’s not they expected them all to make it, as much as hoping to find one or two players that can make the team.

        And just FYI – Lopez was a FA, and picked up by this regime, as nothing more than depth.  I am pretty sure he will end up as the long man to start the year.

        • cubtex

          Of course. I would be happy if they hit on one! They picked up slop.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            4 months…

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        How can u say they’ve missed after 4 months?  Bring them in, give them 4 months and if they haven’t reached all-star status then they are a bust?  

        • cubtex

          I am saying this offseason…the big plan was to buy low on players and sell high…..Right? Isn’t that what we have been hearing? Out of all the free agent lower tier pitchers this offseason….he has signed slop! He signed nobody who has any value that you can trade if they have a good first half and get any prospects for. Nobody!

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            At this point they’re still getting their bearings.  Why put so much into what they say?  They’re trying to tell people what they want to hear while they figure out what they have to work with.    Patience my friend.  Overanalysis of early stages of any process lead to mixed results at best. 

  • SuzyS

    Seems like a lot of discontent on the site…Fact is… We all expect a ton of roster movements this year…It will be much more important to see who the cubs finish with than who they start with this year.
    There is not one player I can hang my hat on and root for…everyone is subject to change…
    I’m still very old school…I believe you begin the building of championship teams with great defense up the middle to begin with…
    C/2nd/SS/CF . I’m not sold that there is one WS player in those key positions yet…Unless Castro can put his defense together.
    Either way, I’m glad the season is about to begin…but I am bracing myself to be 20 out by Memorial Day.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Well said Suzy.  I always appreciate your reasoning.  Glad you are in the camp that says definitive decisions can’t all be made after 4 months.  I’m blown away by all the final decision I see people on this site made after such a short amount of time.  It’s as if they’re going with what a magic 8 ball has told them!

    • paulcatanese

      Good post Suzy, you make a lot of sense with the strength up the middle. Rarely does a team go all the way or even a good season without the attributes that you posted.