Rambling While Theo Still Hasn’t Made a Pick

Fresh off a 3-game sweep of the Pacific Coast League Padres, the Cubs head out to San Francisco to start a weekend series with the Giants, and all anyone wants to talk about is the impending trade of the best position player on the Cubs.

Before Cubdom debates the merits of one Starlin Castro, I would be shocked if he were traded, and I think many feel the same way I do. However, I am hardly right, so who knows what will happen. But as the draft approaches and the Cubs go for four in a row, let get down to some rambling …

  • To address a comment from last week regarding my recent penchant for making sweeping statements of opinion and claiming I’m right, it has been meant to be tongue-in-cheek, pointing out the tendencies of some while posting. An opinion is just that, a personal thought.
  • If we were baseball geniuses, then one of us would have helped the Cubs win the World Series by now, right?
  • Or wrong, who knows. It’s just an opinion.
  • The spell-check in Microsoft Word for “Cubdom” changes it to “Condom.” Should I be protecting my future children from Cubdom? Cubdom needs a Condom?
  • This is downright eye opening. Some things are just not a coincidence.
  • Steve Clevenger could be a revelation. He just hits. And then hits some more. Even with all that rust, he got more, well, hits. He was the afterthought for so many when speaking about minor league catchers.
  • Clevenger has almost three times more hits than Castillo in one less at bat. Let the man play!
  • DeJesus has attempted four steals and been caught four times. However, with a .288 average and .379 OBP, he has been a successful leadoff hitter.
  • This was said, noted or posted by someone else on some platform, but it is worth noting: Theo Epstein has been called a failure by some after six months and has yet to draft a single player.
  • Now, people can cast aspersions, but it takes more than two months to judge a trade. It is simply unfathomable that someone can confidently make a statement like that.
  • To know and understand baseball is to know and understand that it takes quite a long time for an accurate judgment to be made or a portrayal to be written.
  • However, in keeping with the theme, a person is entitled to his or her opinion.
  • I am so tempted to say “But he or she is wrong!” However, that would not be right.
  • Campana has 18 stolen bases and has only been caught twice. One year in the minors he stole over 30, but was caught 18 times. Either he really improved with his leads and jumps, or the AA catchers of 2009 were friggin’ amazing.
  • Soriano has six more RBI than LaHair.
  • Ian Stewart is only 27. It would be great if he could fix the hole in his swing. His defensive effort is a refreshing smack in the face on a daily basis. Haven’t seen that in YEARS.
  • There are exceptions to every rule, but I am rather satisfied with Chris Bosio. Dempster looks reborn, and NO ONE, not even a true homer Domer like myself, can say they expected this out of Samardzija.
  • And as I am typing this, my MLB Trade Rumors App (rather solid if you don’t have it) pops up and says, “Cubs are not moving Castro, Epstein confirms.”
  • So there you have, there is still a chance Castro gets traded.
  • And as everyone predicted in Spring Training, “Cubs closer Casey Coleman.” Now isn’t that some beautiful alliteration.
  • I don’t remember if Hendry and company brought potential draft picks to Wrigley to work them out, but I don’t think they did. I like the idea because it is one thing to go watch a player in his environment. It is entirely different to make him audition at Wrigley Field.
  • Monday night could be a big night for the Chicago Cubs franchise. A lot has been put on the new regime. Monday night, they get to work for real. And it will be the unofficial beginning of what could be a beautiful friendship.
  • Or it could be the opposite.
  • No one really knows, he or she just thinks.

Here’s to an enjoyable, or, at least, watchable weekend in San Francisco, and until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not." - James Gordon
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  • Aaron

    The Cubs have an opportunity right now to move DeJesus (or even LaHair) to a number of different teams.

    Dodgers-Kemp went on the DL again. DeJesus would be the perfect interim replacement. Kemp will be out for about a month to fully heal this time

    Indians-Hafner went out. Either Soriano (DH) or LaHair (DH/1B) would be good fits. Hafner will be out about 2 months

    O’s-Markakis is out for about a month. DeJesus would be an excellent pick-up for them

    The Indians, O’s, and Dodgers are either at the top, or near the top of their divisions, so those losses might make them desperate, especially the Dodgers and O’s, who likely can take on some salary.
    There, that’s my “ramble”

    • John_CC

      LA and Balimore are both good fits for DeJesus. 

      I honestly didn’t know that Pronk was actaully contributing to a baseball team still.  So yeah, I think LaHair would probably be a good play for Cleveland, hell, he could keep the seat even.

      Looking forward to the draft for sure, Brian. It will tell a lot, but I am not going to pass judgement until we see the moves made by August.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You are dead on right to say DeJesus would be a good fit on those teams. My only questions are these:

      #1 When he is traded, do we have to pay all of his salary, too?

      #2 Do we have to receive a DFA’d MiL caliber player in return for his services?

    • Zonk

      I would only advocate trading DeJesus if he is blocking somebody.  He might be with LaHair, but that assumes that a) Soriano is still playable (which looks like he is), b) Rizzo works out, and c) LaHair can play an acceptable OF. 

      I don’t see a huge return for DeJesus; he is reliable and his contract isn’t bad, but interested teams probably just want a 1-year rental, not a 2nd year

      • Ripsnorter1

        Did you forget? He’s blocking Jackson, remember?

        LOL

        Okay. He’s blocking Campana. LOL

        Well then, he’s blocking Johnson!
        LOL

        He’s blocking Dave Sappelt. You know, the guy we traded Shawn Marshall for.

        LOL

        He’s blocking LaHair moving to the OF and bringing up Anthony Rizzo! Oh wait a minute….LaHair can’t play LF, let alone RF.

        He’s blocking our rebuilding process by bringing up…bringing up….brin…ing….up……I dunno. In Iowa, they do not have a single player listed as a RF. Really. I’m telling the truth.

        Maybe we’d better keep DeJesus to hold that position until we can get Funko back.

      • cubtex

        Blocking LaHair? LaHair is not a future outfielder.

        • paulcatanese

          Right, unless he lose’s 30lbs and gets a bigger glove with stickum in it:)

    • GO CUBS

      The Cubs signed Dejesus for 3 years why would anyone think he would be traded.

  • Cubs 31

    Whether it should be condum instead of cubdom is a matter of opinion.  No matter what, let’s just play safe.

  • Spoda17

    Still going to take a few years to see if this draft works out… We are a fast food society, and I guess that goes for baseball too…

    • Ripsnorter1

      1945….2012….67 years since the last WS appearance….104 since the last WS win…..yeah, I like fast food.

      • Theboardrider

         Nobody is going to give up a top minor leaguer for DeJesus, Soriano or probably even LaHair.  Most likely it would be a DFA’d MiL. 

        Not saying you particularly Rip but the same people clamoring for us to go young at any cost seem to be the ones that rip on Theo for trading guys for middle of the road talent.  The guys we’re trading aren’t that great and we can’t have it both ways.  If we’re going to the “youth movement,” we’ll have to move starters for marginal minor leaguers, unless Theo can just fleece someone.  The Dodgers would probably be our best chance of a good return because I just can’t see those other teams truly believing they’re headed for the postseason. 

        The only way we get anything more for some of our starters is if we wait until the trade deadline.  And who knows what could happen between now and then?  DeJesus could pull a hamstring and go in the tank.  LaHair may not get his groove back. 

        Unless some team blows Theo away with a “can’t say no,” offer, I believe the prudent thing to do it wait it out.  That may not be popular but as I said, we can’t have it both ways.  The “youth movement,” requires us to move starters and the guys we have to give just aren’t that great.  We have to wait for desperation time..

        • Ripsnorter1

          I agree that DeJesus will not net you much. He gets paid too much, has no speed, no power and is hitting over his head right now.

          LaHair is on his way back down to earth (once he left the Padre Paradise).

          Soriano? HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! $54 million dollars!!!

          No. I think we’ll wind up keep our players, unless we pull a Funko and pay all of their salary, and receive nothing back in return. That’s the Cubs’ way.

          • Theboardrider

            It makes me crazy when we trade guys and pay so much of their salaries!  I’d rather send them down then trade and pay. 

            Unless we are getting some big return then it is ridiculous.  Soriano?  I wouldn’t pay him a penny to play somewhere else unless some team wants to give us back a near MLB ready prospect.  Even then I’d probably demand 2.  And we all know that will never happen…

          • Ripsnorter1

            I agree with you 100%

          • Zonk

            DeJesus’s contract isn’t that bad; he’s pretty cheap really.  He’s performing about what you would expect over his career:  Good contact, takes a walk, plays very good RF, not much power.  He’s an average player, and is being paid like one.

            You just can’t sign a FA, then trade them 3 months later and expect much of a return.  Doesn’t really work that way. 

          • John_CC

             The last league average I can find is from 2009, when the average salary was $3M.  So it’s probably really close to $5M now.  DeJesus is not overpaid, come on.

          • paulcatanese

            John, I know this is probably after the fact, but after reading this article
            “the Money issue” In the ESPN magazine,5/14/12 a lot of things were explained that I didn’t realize. High player salaries, no loss of income for owners,protection for them(owners)against loss of dollars
            , etc.
            The few lines I found interesting in the magazine among others were:
            “As much as it drives us crazy to see the amount of money thrown at athletes these days, it’s time to recognize the real economic order of sports: Superstar athletes do not make too much money. If anything, they don’t make enough”.
            I found the whole article to be expansive on the economics of sports, and is several pages long, too much to include on a blog, but hope you get a cance to read the whole thing.
            You and others on the site are much more astute than I on these matters, and would probably get a lot out of the article.

          • John_CC

             Sounds interesting, Paul. I will try to find the article, thanks.

  • paulcatanese

    Don’t look for any Cub player to “splash” one tonight. That is a spacious ballpark in the daytime, and “bigger” after the sun goes down.
    I think the Giants are throwing a lefthander and that probably negates LaHair even playing, and he is the only one that has the true power to reach the water in right field. LaHair is no Barry Bonds (thank heaven for that) so chances are slim.
    That being said, all fence’s are difficult to reach at night in that park, but doubles and triples are well in the picture with all the space in right center and left center.
    Should be an interesting game, and living out here the Giants are one of my least favorite teams and would love it if the Cubs could do them some damage.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I expect defeat for the Cubbies tonight. Lots of reasons for that:

      1. LHP Baumgartner is a very capable pitcher. Cubs’ have trouble with capable LH pitchers. Besides, he’s 11-2 with a 2.02 at his home park in his last 14 starts there.
      2. Melky Cabrera had 51 hits (!) in May alone. He’s hot! And he’ll destroy Cubs’ pitching. 
      3. Paul Maholm is Paul Maholm vs the Giants, ie, 4.30 ERA at AT&T park. 
      4. Angel Pagan is 6 for 18 vs. Maholm, and has a 24 game home hit streak going right now. 
      5. Tony Campana, who was the spark plug that won the last game vs Padres, will again ride the bench tonight.

      To sum up, the Giants pitch and hit well at home, and we don’t have any hitting vs LHP and not a great pitcher going tonight. Predicted Results: Cubs end 3 game win streak and start a new losing streak tonight.

      • paulcatanese

        Unfortunatly you are probably right. It’s just that I treat the Giants the same as the White Sox, I hate to see them win, even one game, let alone against the Cubs.
        They(the Giants) do have good sportscasters though, they keep it on a even keel, never broadcasting against or for both teams, just report the game, refreshing.

  • Redlarczykg

    Brian,

    Loved your comments about your opinions, being just opinions.  That’s one of the fun things about being a fan. Not enough fun going on now a days.  But look at the baseball experts from the past.  Those who actually played the game.  Jim Marshall was of the opinion that Bruce Sutter would never make it in the ML!   Cub management didn’t think much of Lou Brock and recently, Cub management gave away Josh Hamilton for $50,000!
    @d8a5e31404575cd176f919e51dec6a26:disqus 
    And you are so right about playing Clevenger.  He has been labeled by baseball experts as a backup catcher.  I HATE BASEBALL LABELING!   It’s this long tradition of “experts” pretending to know how a ball player will do in the ML, without giving the guy a chance to prove them wrong!  Down with experts!  Let’s see what Clevenger can do.  The Cubs have nothing to lose and potentially something good to be used in “rebuilding”.

    • Zonk

      Clevenger will get a solid 2 weeks to prove he is a starter, and if he performs another 2 weeks beyond that while Castillo sits.

      I wouldn’t get too excited about anyone after 26 ABs.  Too small a sample size. 

      The reason Clevenger projects as a backup is because that’s what his minor league stats say.  He definitely doesn’t have alot of power, so he needs to hit for high average to be a starter.  His last extended action at TN last year he hit a legit .295, so if he can replicate that at the ML level, he’s a starter.  Many players haven’t been able to translate that, so you can’t blame scouts for being skeptical.

    • CubsTalk

      Cubs made good trades, some bad trades and trades that never happen……

      Lou Brock trade…we lost
      Ramirez & Lofton trade…we won
      Sandberg trade…we won
      Joe Carter / Sutcliffe trade…..we lost
      Sutter trade…we lost

      GM Kennedy who traded away Sutter turned down the other Cardinals offer……Herr, T. Kennedy & Durham

      How did that Ty Waller turn out ?

      Expos wanted Sutter, Martz, S. Thompson & J. Davis for G. Carter & Sanderson……Cubs turned down that trade…..

      Grace was going to the Rangers for Mitch Williams, but Sandberg told the Cubs to trade away Palermio instead…..those who know the story behind that knew what happen.

      How many times we always heard how Expos  Mike Jorgenson was going to the Cubs in the 70′s?

      Think of all the draft choices that failed on the Cubs…..Harvey, Cunningham, May, Brownlie, Prior, Patterson, Kieschnick, Griffin, Dickson, Montanez…..none of the draft choices of the Cubs ever became a HOF….closest one would be consider is Joe Carter…….his best years were with the Indians.

      How did Drew Hall get picked before Greg Maddux that  84 draft year ?

      Theo & Co. will change all of that……will take time…

      • daverj

        And the Phillies wanted Sutter too … supposedly offer Mike Schmidt to the Cubs for Sutter before Schmidt’s 1980 MVP year.

        I’d argue with you on the Carter/Sutcliffe deal … I think it was a winner.  While Carter may have been a more productive player from 1984 through the end of their respective careers, the Cubs don’t win the division in ’84 or ’89 without Sutcliffe and I’m not sure Carter would have been the difference maker to bring them any additional division titles (or more).

      • Zonk

        I think it’s pure speculation to talk about mistakes involving trades that were turned down.  Unless you were in the room, we really have no idea if the “failed” trade involved those players or not, or something else included besides.  I am wary of criticizing any deals not made for that reason.

        And I agree with daverj, the Sutcliffe trade was a good trade for the time it was made.  Without Sut, we don’t make the 1984 playoffs.  Sutcliffe was pretty solid for us for a few years.  Joe Carter had a good career, but I also think he was overrated, and blessed by playing in a good lineup in Toronto.

    • daverj

      While I agree with some of your general statements, the Cubs did not “give away” Hamilton for $50,000.  The Cubs would not have selected Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft, but for a prearranged deal with the Reds.  If the Reds didn’t want to the Cubs to pick Hamilton for them, the Cubs would have passed on Hamilton.

      • Redlarczykg

        My point is, the Cubs were not open minded enough to give Hamilton a second chance and the Reds were.  While Hamilton was a gamble, the idea of hiring a “personal asst”  to keep him sober was beyond the Cubs limited imagination.  Instead, they gave away a future MVP.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Has the Cubs taking Mike Zunino, C, Florida – Kevin Goldstein – A quick mini-mock 2012 draft, based on what I know right now about Mon Top 10 picks: http://bit.ly/JEzdTL

    • cubtex

      I would be shocked if Zunino slipped to #6. He has been going top 3 in most of the mock drafts I see.

  • Zonk

    Good scouting report on Matt Szczur, for anyone interested:

    http://baseballnewshound.com/?p=2333

    I didn’t know that he missed part of his last college season to donate bone marrow to a 19-year-old cancer patient.  The article is gushing about his work ethic and maturity; let’s hope it’s right.

    Szczur is having a nice season so far at Daytona; he’s not killing it, but I have noticed his average is rising, and A+ is not a hitters league

  • cubtex

    Yankees have Garza at the top of their wish list! This could be ineresting. They have some very good prospects. Banuelos,Bettances,Gary Sanchez, Dante Bichette Jr. They might want to include Joba Chamberlain after that tramploline injury. It makes sense to deal Garza for the right price.

    • CubsTalk

      I heard Yanks farm system was ranked 5th last year…..Rays, Braves, Royals and Blue Jays also at the top ……Theo looking for  future core players.

      • cubtex

        All it takes is to get the “right” prospects in a deal regardless of the rankings. Banuelos and Bettances have taken a little step backwards this year and the Yankees might be willing to deal both of them along with another prospect or 2. They were talking on mlb radio again today about how teams will be lining up to try and aquire Garza.

  • CubsTalk

    This list below is from SB Nation on the 2012 farm report of various teams…..

    1) Toronto Blue Jays: Eight B+ prospects with ridiculous depth behind them.
    2) San Diego Padres: Incredible depth after the winter trades pushes this system almost to the top.
    3) Texas Rangers:
    Continues to churn out talent, with much more percolating at the lower
    levels. I do not give the Rangers farm system credit for Yu Darvish.
    They would rank number one if I gave them credit for Darvish, but in my
    mind that is unfair to the other teams: I see him as a major league
    free agent, not a prospect.
    4) Seattle Mariners: Jesus Montero plus three elite pitching prospects and others who can improve.
    5) St. Louis Cardinals: They don’t get talked about as much as other teams, but they have a Grade A prospect in Shelby Miller and a lot of pitching depth behind him. I think this system is underrated.

    6) Kansas City Royals:
    They slipped from last year’s top spot, showing the volatility of
    pitching prospects, but heavy investments in draft and foreign players
    should continue to show dividends.
    7) Tampa Bay Rays: Impact depth behind Matt Moore has slipped but this is still a robust organization.
    8) Atlanta Braves: Lots of pitching at the top, but they need more hitters.
    9) Arizona Diamondbacks: Another system with lots of pitching but not much hitting, even more extreme than Atlanta.
    10) Oakland Athletics: Trades helped this system a lot, would have ranked much lower otherwise.

    11) Boston Red Sox: Large group of B- types who can improve. Hitting stronger than pitching at this point.
    12) Pittsburgh Pirates: Heavy draft investments slowly-but-steadily raising the talent level in this system.
    13) Colorado Rockies: Middle of the pack at this stage, two definite impact talents and a large group of C+ types who can improve.
    14) Washington Nationals: The big trade with Oakland tore the top off this farm system. You still have Bryce Harper and some interesting players in the B- range. Would have ranked much higher without the trade.
    15) New York Mets: Solid depth in pitching, especially at the top with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jeurys Familia.

    16) New York Yankees: You can make a case to rank them as high as 12 or 13. Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are strong Grade B prospects for me and there is a nice balance between hitting and pitching.
    17) Minnesota Twins: Another
    middle of the pack organization, fairly balanced between hitting and
    pitching, some potential regulars with several solid role players.
    18) Los Angeles Angels: Not terrible, there is some depth behind Mike Trout but a lot of questions, too, and most of the tool-heavy bets in recent drafts haven’t paid off as well as Trout has.
    19) Baltimore Orioles: You have Machado and Bundy at the top but it falls off quickly after that.
    20) Chicago Cubs:
    Another middle-of-the-pack system with a lot of B-/C+ type prospects.
    Could rank much higher next year if some of the lower-level guys pan
    out.

    21) Cincinnati Reds: Heart of this system torn out by Mat Latos trade but there is enough at the lower levels that I think they can recharge quickly.
    22) Los Angeles Dodgers: Some intriguing pitching depth, much of it fairly close to the majors, but not much hitting.
    23) Detroit Tigers: Thins out very quickly after Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos.
    24) Philadelphia Phillies: There is some interesting pitching but tools guys not developing as hoped.
    25) Houston Astros:
    Gradually improving, and there are several
    players at the lower levels
    with a chance to develop. Could rank much higher a year from now.
    26) San Francisco Giants: This system has thinned out but is not hopeless. Pitching needs a recharge.
    27) Cleveland Indians:
    Of all the teams ranked low, the Indians have the greatest chance to
    improve in the coming years. There is a lot of talent at the lower
    levels, but most of it is in the C+ or “Grade C with higher potential”
    category right now because it is so far away. It would not surprise me
    to see the Indians in the Top 10 by 2014.
    28) Milwaukee Brewers: There is some talent on the pitching side but hitting looks thin.
    29) Miami Marlins: Relatively even balance between hitting and pitching, but not a lot of impact coming up.
    30) Chicago White Sox: You have two B+ pitching prospects in Addison Reed and Nestor Molina and some other raw materials for a decent bullpen. Hitting is a disaster. I like Tyler Saladino but I have huge doubts about their other hitting prospects.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs claimed RHP Jairo Asencio off waivers from Cleveland, designated RHP Michael Bowden for assignment
     

    • cubtex

      Michael Bowden is brutal so hopefully Asencio is an upgrade.

    • Chadaudio

      Yikes.  I think I’d rather have Bowden… and that’s not saying much.

      • cubtex

        no you wouldn’t :)

    • Zonk

      Asencio has some nice numbers at AAA last couple years, lots of strikeouts.  Not alot of ML success though.

      Can’t hurt to pick him up; what does it cost us?

      There is a good chance Bowden clears waivers, in which case we can ship him to Iowa anyway