Garza Could Return in a Month … and Other Cubs Bits

Matt Garza completed another step in his rehab process on Tuesday. While reports suggested that Garza threw what would have been his third bullpen session in a week, according to Comcast SportsNet, Garza did long toss and threw off flat ground.

According to multiple reports, Dale Sveum said that Garza’s Spring Training is basically starting now. The Cubs plan for Garza to complete at least two more bullpen sessions before he goes out on a rehab assignment. Garza could return in a month if all goes as planned … but as Comcast SportsNet pointed out, that is an optimistic projection for his return.

Most pitchers need about 30 days to prepare for a season, so if Matt Garza does not have any further setbacks he could join the Cubs’ rotation during the second week of May.

Darwin Barney

The Cubs are targeting Tuesday’s opener against the Rangers for Darwin Barney to come off the DL. According to multiple reports, Barney is expected to have the five stitches removed from his left knee this weekend then join up with one of the affiliates for a rehab games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The Cubs have not decided which minor league team Barney will play … it all depends on the weather.

Barney’s presence has definitely been missed. Several plays that Barney would likely have made were not converted into outs over the first eight games … and one has to wonder if the four-run first inning on Monday would have turned out differently if Luis Valbuena knew Barney was at second.

Dale Sveum is looking forward to having his Gold Glove second baseman back.

International Bonus Pools for 2013-2014

Baseball America acquired a list of the preliminary bonus pools for the 2013-2014 international signing period, which begins on July 2. Baseball America reported “for the first time, international bonus pools will be tiered bases on reverse order of the 2012 Major League winning percentage.”

The numbers reported by Baseball America are preliminary and subject to change.

The Cubs 2013-2014 international bonus pool is $4,557,200 up from the $2.9 million that each team received for the 2012-2013 signing period which ends on June 15, 2013.

In addition to the international signing bonus pool, each team can sign up to six players for $50,000 or less that does not count against the bonus pool. And any signing of $10,000 or less will also not count against the team’s bonus pool.

Full Report from Baseball America

News Bits

Cubs’ minor leaguer Pedro Silverio was suspended for 50 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Silverio tested positive for metabolites of stanozolol. Silverio is currently on the roster of the Dominican Summer League Cubs and will serve his suspension when the DSL season begins.

Patrick Mooney wonders if there will be any top free agents left once the Wrigley deal is done.

Dale Sveum used Carlos Marmol in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game because Shawn Camp was unavailable. Camp threw 30 pitches on Monday, 17 for strikes, and gave up two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

The Indians designated RHP Robert Whitenack for assignment on Tuesday.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

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

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  • Tony_Hall

    In Mooney’s article he shows why building a farm system the right way is the way you have to do it now, since free agency, buying drafts picks, and unlimited spending in the international market are restricted. Scouting, drafting, and development is how a team will have to get ahead. Being able to lock up your own players is more important than ever.

    “There’s no question the free-agent market has changed,” Hoyer said. “So many players are getting locked up now that it does make drafting and developing that much more important. It’s always been important. But now that the free-agent market offers less of a chance to solve your problems, you have to focus that much more internally.”

    “Free agents are getting older and more expensive. That pool is filled with Scott Boras clients and medical risks.”

    He also asks this “But what if there are no good ones left?” But there will always be more players coming up, teams that have logjams at positions and decide to trade off one of them. Cash is still king and the teams that can generate the most cash, and have one of the top player development systems will have the advantage moving forward.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Sounds like our beloved FO knew this in advance, but yet we still disparage them for their foresight and not spending a bajillion dollars on free agents this offseason. Make up your minds people. Can’t have it both ways.

    • Ray Ray

      I wouldn’t argue against that at all. The question is how to get competitive as quickly as possible with the resources the Cubs have and maintain that consistency. Would you agree that in order to sell at the trade deadline….the better players you have…..the better return you will get? Wouldn’t the Cubs(being a big market team) be able to crush the small market teams by using this strategy? I think even Hoyer and Theo understand that you cannot get to the top of the mountain solely on the draft. See the Edwin Jackson signing and the Anibal Sanchez offer. Look at the Andrew Cashner trade for Rizzo. There needs to be a combination of all 3. Did Washington build their team strictly from the draft? Of course not. If you think that the Cubs will have to strictly build through the draft this will be another 4 years of running out bad teams. Won’t happen…..not in this market. The fans will not put up with it. Unfortunately, I feel as if the Cubs offseason was horrible. Feldman,Baker,Edwin Jackson,Scott Hairston,Dioneer Navarro,Schierholz, and Fujikawa. Hopefully Fuji shows that he is a capable closer and he could bring back something decent. Last year they had Dempster and Maholm and Garza. Theo won on Maholm, Dempster kind of screwed the Cubs with the Delgado fiasco and Theo decided to hold onto Garza instead of trading him. You talk about building blocks. Is Anthony Rizzo special? Is Starlin Castro special? Is Wellington Castillo special? Is Darwin Barney special? Those are the only 4 players in the starting 8 who would be called building blocks. I think Castro could be special. Not sold on Rizzo as being special. Too early to tell on Castillo and Barney is serviceable but not special.

      • 07GreyDigger

        You can’t really deem the offseason being terrible until the end of the year when you see how these free agents performed. Just like it’s too early to tell if our farm system is any good.

      • DWalker

        I don’t doubt they recognize the need to fill in the gaps with FA’s, but the current mantra is not yet. Everyone they signed this year is a fill in, hope you can trade or tide you over type. The FO just does not see signing big money FA’s right now and wasting years of service on them with what they have right now and no real prospect of a playoff spot. I was reading an interesting article last week talking about the state of the cubs finances that showed just how leveraged they are, and Ricketts may be holding the purse strings a lot tighter than people realize while they deal with some the debt, which is worrisome; but on the flipside I can’t see them sustaining another year of this level of medirocity without a full blown fanbase backlash. If they have a couple of prospects making their debut it might buy them another year of rebuild, but at some point money has to start going back out on the field. One aspect of this all though is that teams with the money will likely lock up their best young guys, EVEN IF THEY DON’T NEED THEM, and then turn around and trade them for prospects even if they eat part of the contract rather than let them go FA.
        As for your comment on who is special, I have to beleive Rizzo will get a contract after next year if he makes a couple of steps forward this year and next. So far, he hasn’t looked great, but maybe the WBC really did slow him down and he is still getting his feet under him. I am have mixed feelings on castro, yeah, he is special, but he has a lot of bad habits that might be impossible to break. I think he actually has more potential to be a superstar defender than he does a superstar bat right now. Castillo may have a future as an MLBer, but I want to see a bit longer. Barney is a gold glove defender who will always struggle at the plate. He may or may not have a starting role on the team a few years from now, but I think he will get a contract, if nothing else to be used as a trade chip.

        • Ray Ray

          Agreed on the fanbase backlash. This product they are putting on the field is an embarrassment to the city.

          • Tony_Hall

            Take a look at Houston and Miami’s team, those are an embarrassment.

      • cc002600

        You are absolutely right about if we have to rely on farm system alone, it will be 4 or 5 years before this team is good again, at least. I think sometimes people forget that, and are so afraid of the cubs actually going out to acquire a player through FA or trade now. Its weird.

        I know the FA market is getting weaker and weaker, but at some point you are going to have to ante up.

        If people think that guys like Baez and Soler are going to lead the cubs to the promised land in 2 or 3 years they are dreaming. Maybe they will be up by then, but it will still take time after that for them to be productive MLB players that make an impact.

        I am fully on-board with the rebuild, but I have to tell you, its REAL hard to watch these games right now. It hurts to me to say this, but it’s very boring. When you are trotting out a lineup with guys like Valbuena, Gonzalez, DeJesus, Schierholtz, Navarro, its really hard to get excited. If this rebuild takes 3 or 4 more years, you are going to lose people.

        • Ray Ray

          Agreed. I think they will be forced to put a better product on the field next year. They will lose too many fans and attendance will drop substantially. I am on board with the rebuild but not the way they are fielding the major league roster.

        • John_CC

          I see no reason why Baez and Soler will not be impact players upon arrival.

          Everyone talks about Castro like he is such a special talent. Well, he came out of nowhere and made an immediate impact. And he isn’t close to the hitter that Baez and Soler are.

          • Ray Ray

            Castro has 200 hits in the ML for a season. Baez and Soler are prospects. No comparison

          • John_CC

            Yes, Ray, there is a comparison. My point is that saying it will 5 years until Baez and/or Soler are productive ML players has no basis.

            Castro was called up after a blazing start at AA in 2010. But prior to that he was not all that great at anything. He has a career MiL line of .310/.362/.421 in just under 1000 AB, 9HR, 122 RBI, 51 SB in 75 attempts. He also had a high K:BB ratio. And was bad at defense. Decent BA, no power, quick not a base stealer. Is that a player in AA that you would think would come out and have 200 hits in his rookie season at 20 years old?

            In Baez’s short MiL career or 332 AB, he’s put up a line: .286/.334/.530 with 17 HR, 50 RBI and 27SB in 32 attempts. The .530 slugging jumps out, 50 RBI in 90 games, and the excellent SB rate.

            I made the comparison to point out that Baez is a better hitter than Castro was, and look what he did. So it is not unrealistic to expect Baez to be productive in the ML before the 5 years or so that cc00 is waiting for.

          • Ray Ray

            Do you not understand that low level minor league numbers don’t always translate to sustained succes in the majors. Look at Bryan LaHair for an example. Look at Anthony Rizzo’s numbers against lhp so far in his brief major league career. You can’t assume that because Baez and Soler had better numbers in A ball than Castro did that they will be more accomplished ml hitters. Sorry… doesn’t work that way.

          • John_CC

            Yes Ray, I understand that.

            And you are missing my point. Of course, prospects with tons of potential can never pan out and then there are those, like Castro, that are a huge surprise.

            So I will repeat my point one more time, Baez appears to have to hit tools to contribute at the major league level ONCE he makes it. I don’t think it will take him 2 or 3 years in the majors to become a productive hitter.

            And I am aware of all the numbers below, I looked at them as well and listed Castro’s slash line above, thank you. I’m not trying to sugar coat anything, I know that Baez is raw and has a very limited MiL record to go on.

          • Tony_Hall

            Baez sure is fun to watch swing a bat….

          • John_CC

            Yes he is. At least some of us can enjoy a hopeful future.

          • Ray Ray

            Who is not excited about Baez’s future? I even said that in my post. You are comparing Castro to Baez saying that Castro was an average minor league player and came out of nowhere. You are saying that Baez due to the fact of what he has done in the minors so far will be a better major league hitter than Castro. Is that not what you are saying?

          • Tony_Hall

            I think this post was about how we are enjoying the development of many of the players on the Cubs and in the system, and that others seem to not be enjoying the process.

          • Ray Ray

            He clearly said that Castro came out of nowhere and made an immediate impact in the majors and HE or CASTRO isn’t nearly the hitter Baez or Soler are. I enjoy minor league baseball. Even played in it way back when. But to compare a major league player who almost led all of baseball in hits one year to 2 players who haven’t gotten out of high A ball yet? C’mon! Be excited but be realistic and don’t make outlandish statements.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think he was telling me that we are going to enjoy watching this. You need to relax a little.

            Baez, at this point, looks like a far better hitter than Castro. Will he stall out, maybe, but I don’t think so as he looked pretty good in ST this year. And I know it was only ST. But the power is the difference between Baez and Castro.

            Take the night off….

          • Ray Ray

            Sorry Tony. Here, I will get on the same page as you. The future is awesome! Almora due to his numbers will be the best cf to ever patrol Wrigley. Soler will put dwarf Giancarlo Stanton’s numbers immediately. Vizcaino will win Cy Young next year. Pierce Johnson will win 20 in 2015. There you go. I decided to drink whatever you and John are tonight after dinner. This is great!!! Thanks for helping me see the light.

          • Tony_Hall

            Talk about outlandish statements! You really need to learn to relax a little or the next couple of seasons could do you in.

          • Ray Ray

            I am relaxed. I am rebutted a statement that was made that I didn’t agree with. If you want to write A ball players careers in stone more power to you. Enjoy the ride my friend! As I asked you before….give me the power ball numbers for this weekend! Lol

          • Tony_Hall

            Please show me where I have written them in stone. I just said that Baez could stall and always say that you need lots of prospects to get 1 to the majors. No prospect is guaranteed to make it. Just like no major league player is guaranteed to keep putting up the same numbers.

          • Ray Ray

            Have a good night bud. You need to relax. Talk about me? Wow.

          • Ray Ray

            I just looked up Castro’s numbers in the minors compared to Baez. Are you not seeing what I am seeing??? Castro had never hit below .288 in any minor league stop. He had a career .362 OBP. You said he had a high K rate???? Compare this to Baez. Castro in 1098 career PA had only 121 K’s and 75 Walks.
            Baez hasn’t gotten out of high A ball yet. I am excited about his future but he hasn’t proven anything yet. In 2012 after his promotion to high A ball…he had 86 PA and hit .188. So far this year in high A ball after only 23 PA he is at .190. Total Minor league PA 362 with get this 81 K’s to only 14 Walks. If you double the 362 PA that is still way under Castro’s minor league PA and Baez is at 162 K’s and he hasn’t even gotten to AA yet. Again… comparison.

          • Ray Ray

            Actually triple the plate appearances. Baez 1086 PA 243 K’s and 42 Walks

            Castro 1098 PA 121 K’s 75 Walks

      • Tony_Hall

        Not sure where you have ever heard that they plan to rely on the farm system alone. The farm system will be used to trade for players (trading Baez was suggested in another blog just today). They will always use free agency, as no team can get away from adding somebody every year via free agency. The goal is to not be dependent on free agency to supply your team.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    I’ll believe Garza’s return when I see it.

  • Neil

    From Baseball America: Another sign an international draft is near: MLB has assigned 120 international “slot values” to teams

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Marshall “Bakered”.