Scott Baker Set to Make Cubs Debut and Other News and Notes

The Cubs announced on Friday that Scott Baker will make his Cubs’ debut on Sunday against Yovani Gallardo in the series finale with the Brewers. Baker has been on the 60-day DL all season and will make his first start in the majors since 2011.

Scott Baker is excited about the opportunity to start and Dale Sveum said he deserved the opportunity after months of rehabbing. Baker last started a big league game on August 8, 2011 and has not pitched in the majors since September 24, 2011.

The Cubs did not say if they will go with a six-man rotation for the remainder of the season. According to multiple reports, no one in the rotation will be skipped this time around but each starter would be pushed a day to make room for Baker to start on Sunday.

Travis Wood was pushed back a day and will start the opener of the three game series in Cincinnati on Monday. The Cubs said they bumped Wood to Monday instead of starting Baker in Cincinnati because the Reds are in the mix for the Central Division crown.

If Baker makes it through Sunday’s start without any problems or setbacks, using Baker and Justin Grimm as a way to limit Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija for the remaining of the season, instead of shutting either pitcher down, might be the right move. Wood has already topped a career high in innings pitched (179) and starts at the big league level (28) and Samardzija has already started more games (29) than a year ago with nearly 15 more innings (189) than last season (174 2/3).

The Cubs will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster in order for Scott Baker to start on Sunday. The Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 40 players, while the active roster currently stands at 32 players.

Daniel Bard

The Cubs activated Daniel Bard prior to Friday’s game and he threw a bullpen at Wrigley Field. The plan, for now, is for Bard to work with Chris Bosio and while the Cubs would like to get him into a game, they have not set a timetable on when he could make his Cubs’ debut.

Daniel Bard went about three months without pitching in a game after he re-tore an abdominal muscle in a different spot than he strained earlier in the year.

News and Notes

Dale Sveum said on Friday that he is 99 percent sure that the Cubs will not call-up anymore players from the minors this season.

Cubs’ pitchers have driven in 27 runs this season, tops in baseball … and the Cubs have hit 95 longballs at Wrigley this year, the most home runs hit by any team in their home park this season.

Chris Rusin has shown a lot of improvement this season. And according to a report from ESPN Chicago, Rusin is still a work in progress.

Michael Bowden and Cole Gillespie both cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. It sounds like Bowden will not accept the assignment and will test free agency this off-season.

Justin Grimm became the 85th different player used by the Cubs since Opening Day 2012. Grimm is the 53rd different player used by the Cubs this season which ties a franchise record for the most players used in a single-season. The Cubs used 53 players last year and will set a new franchise record for the most players used in a single-season, at least by Sunday, when Scott Baker takes the hill.

Some Cubs look to make strong final impressions according to a report from Bruce Miles. Miles mentions in his report that the Cubs would be wise to re-sign Dioner Navarro in the off-season.

The Cubs have already been linked to free-agent-to-be Jacoby Ellsbury and Scott Boras is already trying to drive up his price.

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  • Vivid_Reality

    I’m half tempted to say we should extend Navarro a qualifying offer. If he really wants a shot at starting somewhere he should decline. The chances of that actually happening though are quite slim.

  • Tony_Hall

    More roster moves and more looking ahead to Opening Day 2014. So lets look at position players and who they want around on Opening Day, and who they may need to keep around. (Assuming they don’t trade anyone)
    C – Castillo
    1B – Rizzo
    2B – Barney
    SS – Castro
    3B/Utility – Valbuena
    OF – Lake, Schierholtz

    All of these guys will all be in ST and making plans for Chicago in April. That is only 7 players and they need 13 position players.

    Other guys on 40 man that will still be on the 40 man next year, plus add in Alcantara as he is the only Rule 5 position player to be added for sure and we have 8 prospects in the position players part of the 40 man roster.
    IF – Olt, Villanueva, Vitters, Watkins, ALCANTARA
    OF – Jackson, Soler, Szczur.

    That is 15 position players that are not going anywhere.

    Could stick around until they need to cut them for their roster spot or could be released and resigned to a minor league contract to save a 40 man roster spot unless they make the team out of ST.
    C – Boscan
    IF – Murphy, Ransom(likely gone this weekend)
    OF – Bogusevic, McDonald, Neal

    Free Agents that could be back. They could tell them both to go out and see what the market has for them, then come back and make a deal, that is stuck in a drawer until after the Rule 5 to keep roster spots open as long as possible.
    OF – Sweeney
    C – Navarro

    So that gets the position players down to 15 players they need to carry all the way through to next year, 2 FA’s likely to be back and really only Bogusevic and Murphy have a real chance to be back next year from the could stick around group.

    Assuming Sweeney and Navarro come back, they will still need to fill who is playing 3B and another RH OF bat spot.

    3B – I believe they will call if a competition in ST with Olt, Vitters, and Valbuena. But we will have Villanueva who just finished a good season in AA and Bryant who has destroyed minor league A level pitching both in camp and trying to impress as well. With so many options, that will all be AA or higher next year, I just don’t see them bringing in anyone this offseason and expect the fall back plan will be Murhphy/Valbuena platoon until one of the others shows they are ready.

    OF – RH Bat – This could be one of the 3B or could be Jae Hoon Ha, who could fill this role, except it would be nice if this player had some power. Ha does not. I could see them looking on the FA market for this one and it could be a full time starter if they right contract is out there for a player they would want around. Not sure I like some of the names that are thrown out there right now.

    The off season is coming and the roster will have more moves done then we can predict right now, but knowing who they want and or need to make it through to next year helps see that they have room on the 40 man roster and ways to manipulate it to do what they want this off season.

    • GaryLeeT

      Geez, I am on my way to the doctor for a scrip of Zoloft. The light at then end your tunnel could fit on a pin head.

      • Tony_Hall

        Outside of a trade the light at the end of the tunnel not listed are Baez and Bryant and the awesome numbers they have been putting up. We could see both along with Alcantara by mid-season.

        • GaryLeeT

          Not unjustly, pitching is not part of the hopeful scenario for next year. Hendricks will get a look, but he’s not a top of the rotation pitcher, which there is still a huge void of, in the system.

          • Tony_Hall

            I went over that briefly on the game recap, but I don’t see Hendricks being anywhere but Iowa to start next year and most likely with Arrieta and Rusin in the rotation with him. I believe the rotation will be Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Baker and another FA signing like we have seen the last 2 years.

          • GaryLeeT

            You didn’t write that with the intention of creating hope for next season, right?

          • Tony_Hall

            Depends on what you consider hope? I am hopeful that the young stud players will be starting their careers next year and the ones that don’t make it next year are up in 2015.

            I am not hoping of a World Series in 2014, if that is what you are hoping for next year.

          • GaryLeeT

            This is the era of low expectations, so I am looking for less than 90 losses. 5 years is a long time for any fan base to wait for a rebuilt team to start wining more than they lose, let alone a major market team like the Cubs.

          • Tony_Hall

            Just like the people who keep counting the years the Cubs haven’t won a World Series, you can’t put the past on the current regime.

            This is YEAR 2.

          • GaryLeeT

            I feel like the tear down had started the year before Theo got here. Plus,they point to quite a few pieces from the previous administration as the future, like Baez, and Castro. So I am kind of looking at it, and it feels like year 3.

          • Tony_Hall

            The tear down started with Theo, the change in drafting philosophy changed when Tom Ricketts gave the money and instructed them to go get the best haul you can get.

          • cubtex

            Exactly. Shark, Wood, Jackson,Baker and a flyer FA would be the worst rotation in the division. That is below the Cards,Bucs,Reds and Brewers.

          • Tony_Hall

            So should they splurge on the expensive FA’s on the market or trade the farm to add a SP?

        • Tony_Hall

          A lineup with Alcantara, Baez and Bryant is not out of the question by mid-season next year maybe even Caesar (Szczur) and Ha patrolling CF.

          1. Szczur/Ha CF
          2. Alcantara 2B
          3. Bryant 3B
          4. Baez LF
          5. Rizzo 1B
          6. Castro SS
          7. Schierholtz RF
          8. Castillo C

          With a bench of Watkins and Valbuena, Navarro, Lake (Ha)

          • SuzyS

            I would like to see that line-up become a reality…But I really don’t see that until either next September…or opening day 2015. (If it’s 2015, Schierholtz is probably gone by then.)

          • cubtex

            the thing that is way unrealistic is to think that they will bat all those young players 1-4. No chance. They will not all come up and hit the ground running.

          • Tony_Hall

            You take things to literally. This is next July or August I am throwing out a lineup that will never happen.

          • cubtex

            why put a lineup out there if you don’t want anyone to take it literally?

          • Tony_Hall

            That is why I used words like “not out of the queston” and “maybe even” It is just an example of what could happen by mid season, if we don’t go out and add free agents by this off season.

            I know, I know it is just terrible and awful lineup. They will all struggle and we won’t win the World Series next year with that lineup.

          • cubtex

            when the Nats brought up Bryce Harper they batted him 6th to ease his transition. That is what most teams do with top prospects.

          • Tony_Hall

            You know your points could be valid if they were TRUE!

            Bryce Harper has batted 6th

            ONE TIME

            and it had to be pinch hitting opportunity, because it was 1 plate appearnce

            2012
            2nd – 525 PA’s
            3rd – 18 PA’s
            5th – 32 PA’s
            6th – 1 PA’s
            7th – 13 PA’s
            9th – 3 PA’s

            Maybe you were off and this year they eased him in….

            NOPE

            1st – 75 PA’s
            2nd – 36 PA’s
            3rd – 302 PA’s
            4th – 11 PA’s
            8th – 1 PA’s
            9th – 2 PA’s

            Elite talent is elite talent and the same rules don’t always apply of easing in these young studs.

          • cubtex

            my bad. they started him out 7th for the first several games. thanks for correcting me and taking the time to validate. lol

          • Tony_Hall

            NP, it only takes a minute to see they didn’t ease him in more than a couple of games….maybe we will be able to do that as well, bring up one guy for a couple of games bat him 7th, then move him up and bring up another. It might take a few weeks, but then they can all be comfortable facing a 95 mph fastball.

          • cubtex

            it is about being counted on as being the primary run producer. It is not that easy…take a look at Rizzo as proof #1. I know you don’t believe in the importance of batting players where players should. You believe that any player can hit anywhere and obp is all that matters. Not true my friend. Good teams have players who can hit with RISP.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am really tired of you putting words in my mouth and others.

            I very much believer in a batting order and who should be where. Anything to contrary that you are trying to say is just plain false. I have spoken many times about how lineups should be constructed, but I also know that your 8 starting position players have to bat somewhere and almost no teams have every player in their perfect spot.

            I also don’t believe OBP is ALL that matters, you don’t believe it matters at all. OBP is extremely important, but so is SLG and ISO among others, all of which are far more important than BA RISP, which is right up there with counting pitchers Wins and a players RBI’s for relevancy. Good teams have good players who hit anytime, not just because someone gets on base. Not sure how you think that works where a player all of sudden makes themselves better because there are RISP.

            Please read this, about RISP.

            http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/08/the-risp-problem/

      • cubtex

        Yep. If they are planning on being quiet this offeason….get a years supply :)

        • TheWrongGuy

          I re-post this from last night.

          But Ray this is how i see the money going this off season for players…
          1) Navarro re-sign… our catching at MLB and AAA without him is very bad and the rotation loves throwing to him.
          2) Shark extension get’R DONE! ‘nough said.
          3) T.Wood extension get’R DONE! ‘nough said.
          4) Fill the holes from waivers and FA and re-sign the Arby’s (arbitration eligible players).
          If there is money in the bank for signing Cruz or a Tanaka then great. But I really don’t see it happening. MY OPINION!

          Good morning everyone!

          • cubtex

            Both sides need to be on the same page for an extension. If you are Shark….would you be willing to sign something after this year?

          • Tony_Hall

            If they are telling him they want to build a rotation around him and they expect him to be around a long time. Yes why not, if there are enough zeros of course.

          • cubtex

            maybe he is tired of being part of a 90 loss team. I know if I was a starting pitcher..I would be pissed with the quality of players playing behind me.

          • Tony_Hall

            He has eyes and knows what is coming. He wants to win in Chicago and knows that the offense is going to be there soon.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I agree Tony and not to mention he is from Valparaiso, IN very close to home for him. He doesn’t want to leave the CUBS, but I still believe if they can’t re-sign him this off-season they will trade him.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I agree with what your saying. But I think also if they dont re-sign him this off-season they will trade him.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            #1….yes
            #2…..hold off for now
            #3…..hold off for now
            #4…..got to be lucky on the waivers, and we need to look for pitching in FA….

          • Eugene Debs

            Don’t extend Shark. He’s approaching 30 and likes to complain. We can find pitchers with 4+ ERAs.

    • Eugene Debs

      Or, we could try to find some major league quality players.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Boras client, Ellsbury, has a major injury this morning….price is going down now…..
    Garza got bombed last night…..Rusin had better quality starts than Garza had since the trade…..
    Feldman pitched a gem against the White Sox…..
    Dale is never 99% sure of anything …….
    Navarro is a back-up….no other team will give him a starting job.

    • cubtex

      I wouldn’t get too excited about Rusin. I definately wouldn’t say he has a starting spot locked up for next year. He only went 3.2 IP yesterday. 5 IP in his last start and his K and BB walk rate is terrible.
      In 10 starts he has only thrown 53 IP. 21 BB and only 30 K’s. Terrible Walk to K ratio.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        I have been watching Garza, and he has just SUCKS since leaving the Cubs…only one good game he has pitched since he got traded………so glad we got a very good package of prospects for him……Rangers will regret that trade years from now.

        • cubtex

          He hasn’t been great but he is a big game pitcher who will help them in the playoffs. You always want to compare him to Rusin. Compare this, This is his Texas numbers…..62 IP 57 K’s and 13 BB with a 1.165 WHIP. Rusin is a #5…Garza is a TOR starter.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            “If” Texas gets in the playoffs as a Wild Card team, will Garza pitch that one game playoff or Darvish?…Texas needs to win the division to have Garza pitch..

          • cubtex

            Rangers are 80-60. .5 game out of 1st and controls the #1 Wild Card spot by 3 games. You think they won’t get in??? I will take that bet.

      • TheWrongGuy

        My only thing is he gets a TON of ground balls I say he is for sure in the mix and if he doesn’t make the rotation then bullpen him.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          Has improved allot since a year.

        • cubtex

          He doesn’t really have the stuff for a bullpen guy. He is a borderline #5. He is a lefthanded Casey Coleman.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    This time next year, look for these players to be on the roster…..
    Ha, Szczur, Alcanara, Hendricks, BJax, Vitters, Olt & Baez……..some even sooner with late July trades.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I like what I have seen from all the prospects you mentioned.
      I see for next seasons OF being Shierholtz -Lake – Sweeney and/or Bogi (if either is resigned I believe 1 will be of the 2 will be if not both) – BJax/Vitters/Olt/Baez (these last 4 are all in the mix for right handed batting OF’s and if none of them make opening day roster…) – Sappelt.
      3b is very interesting I think Valbuena/Murphy/Olt are all fighting for the posittion out of ST.
      Sczur/Ha/Alcantara will all be at AAA starting next season then September call-ups in MLB roster.
      MY OPINION.