Welington Castillo to Miss Remainder of the Season and Other Cubs News

Prior to Friday’s game, the Cubs announced that Welington Castillo would miss the remainder of the season with a partial meniscus tear in his right knee. Castillo will have his knee scoped and the rehab time is around four to six weeks. Castillo will be ready to go in February when pitchers and catchers report to the Cubs’ new facility in Mesa.

Theo Epstein addressed the situation and said that Castillo has become part of the core of the Chicago Cubs. Castillo made steady improvement in the field and at the plate this season. Castillo hit four of his eight home runs during the recently completed 11-game road trip and finished his first full season at the Major League level with a .271/.347/.395 line that included 23 doubles, eight home runs, a .343 BABIP and a .741 OPS.

Javier Baez, the Iowa Infield and Kris Bryant

Jason McLeod met with the media on Friday and discussed several of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system. Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks are in Chicago and will be recognized prior to Saturday’s game as the Cubs’ Minor League Players of the Year.

McLeod addressed the possible position change that is ahead for Javier Baez and said that second base would be an easier transition for Baez than third base if he has to move. McLeod explained that Baez is used to the action in the middle of the field, which he would still get as a second baseman.

As for next season, the plan is for Baez to begin the year as Iowa’s shortstop and McLeod sees the Iowa infield being Baez at short, Arismendy Alcantara at second and Christian Villanueva at third. McLeod added that Villanueva is the best defensive third baseman in the Cubs’ system.

Kris Bryant will play third base during the upcoming AFL season and will begin next season at Daytona or Double-A Tennessee. Bryant is also expected to receive playing time in the outfield in the Arizona Fall League.

Mike Olt will spend time at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa this off-season but will not play winter ball. Olt could be in line to compete for the Cubs’ third base job out of Spring Training next season. And it’s a job the front office could be planning on him taking. McLeod not mentioning Olt as part of Iowa’s infield mix and with Bryant possibly starting the season with the Smokies seems to point to Olt manning the hot corner for the big league team.

Epstein, Sveum and Girardi

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Theo Epstein admitted Friday that his non-comment about Dale Sveum’s future with the team “opened the door to speculation” about his status “that could be interpreted a number of different ways.” Multiple reports indicated that Sveum and his staff will still be evaluated and “it will be resolved quickly after the end of the season.”

Theo Epstein is scheduled to meet with Dale Sveum and the coaching staff in Chicago on Monday, September 30 following the final game of the year in St. Louis.

When asked about the possibility of the team pursuing Joe Girardi, Epstein dismissed the question and called it “borderline disrespectful.” Patrick Mooney labeled the Tribune report that the Cubs would pursue Girardi as speculative and that it is “making a leap to think that Epstein is simply hoping for a chance to hire Girardi.”

News and Notes

Darwin Barney said it is hard to blame anybody for the season the Cubs have had. Barney said that a lot of the players stand behind Dale Sveum and feel he is the “right fit for this team.”

Jason McLeod said that Kyle Hendricks is kinda like Scott Feldman but with a better fastball.

According to a report from Ken Davidoff, Theo Epstein made an informal suggestion on how the wild card round of the playoffs should be structured during the 2011 GM Meetings. Epstein suggested a Best-of-Three Series with a Doubleheader for games one and two. Epstein declined to comment on what suggested two years ago.

As was the case when Ryne Sandberg was in the running for the Cubs’ job prior to Jim Hendry hiring Mike Quade, Larry Bowa could be part of Sandberg’s staff in Philadelphia if the Phillies remove the interim tag from Sandberg this winter. Sandberg and Bowa remain close and many thought Bowa would have been a part of Sandberg’s staff if he would have been hired to manage the Cubs.

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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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  • GaryLeeT

    Sveum was only asked to run reclamation projects, and waiver claims through the audition mill, which he did. I don’t know how he could be properly evaluated for game management, when there were no games that mattered to manage.
    The Cubs will hire Griradi, because it will be their least expensive option to create any interest at all from the fans for next season.

    • BosephHeyden

      Just like I would be shocked if the Cubs fired Sveum, I would be shocked if the Yankees dropped Girardi, because, throughout his coaching career, he has managed to overachieve with some pretty poor product (see 2006 Marlins, the Yankees for most of this year). But if he does wind up becoming a free agent, and the do fire Sveum, and the Cubs don’t hire him, then they are idiots, plain and simple.

      I would also go so far as to say that, if the Cubs do hire Girardi and they finish with 90-100 losses again, then no one can win with the team as it’s built now.

      • SirGladiator

        Certainly it would be a huge mistake for the Yankees to let Girardi go, he worked with maybe half the talent that Sveum worked with this year, and got way way WAY better results from them. If we get Girardi, our ticket is punched to the playoffs next year, we should do everything in our power to make that happen.

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

          You’re willing to greatly undermine yourself to voice disapproval of Sveum. I agree we can catch lightnjng in a bottle next year if Baez, Olt, et al show up, guys like Arietta reach their potential and Rizzo/Castro take the next step. But Girardi being here won’t have much impact if those things don’t occur.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Sorry SirGladiator but I diagree. Girardi is a name. Just like a pretty dress in the window is a pretty dress in the window. By putting a “name” here doesn’t make the 2014 CUBS better. It makes the CUBS front office look to be following a Chicago Tribune effect and spend money foolishly AND never win a championship.

        • bpot92

          I disagree that the Yankees had half the talent of the Cubs… Mariano Rivera David robertson, CC Sabathia ( down year) and Kuroda are all just as good or better than anyone on the Cubs this year

      • SuzyS

        Boseph, I subscribe to the “no one can win with the team as it’s built now”. theory. (paraphrased from your post).
        I expect the Cubs to make a change at manager when they are ready to win…so I would expect that Sveum would be allowed to finish his contract…at least…unless they feel Sveum is burnt out from all the losing.
        (Not his fault…IMO).

        In my estimation, the change might be done earlier only because:
        1)Girardi is available.
        2)Girardi actually wants the Cubs job.
        3) Sveum is burnt out.

    • RynoTiger

      Wrong Gary..every game is a game that matters and should be managed as such. Sveum has had 2 years to show he can develop players and a team at a major league level and make in game decisions to show that he was capable of evaluating strengths and weaknesses of players and using that information to make decisions to put the team in a better place to win. The question is, did he do those things? My answer is no.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Gregg is not being released today

    • SuzyS

      Cooler heads prevailed. With less then 10 games to go…there really is no need to make a statement.

      • SuzyS

        Let’s hope there is no more high drama like this to end the season.

        • GaryLeeT

          I am not sure if you are being sarcastic, but to me, the drama is a welcome diversion from what’s on the field.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      and Marmol is heading into the playoffs.

      • TheWrongGuy

        I personally could care less about a former CUBS player.
        1) They are not wearing Cubbie blue today.
        2) Even though they are not wearing Cubbie blue I do wish them well on all their future aspirations.
        3) Dwelling on a former CUBS current success is not good while in looking at our current team. (also look at #2)
        4) And posting on a former CUBS current success is pretty sad for a CUBS fan.
        5) More negativity only impregnates more negativity.
        Thanks for the info CDC.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Who cares?

  • SuzyS

    Things are going to get interesting in the next couple of seasons with some of the young talent getting a shot at the mlb level.

    3rd base should get resolved with a shakeout between Olt/Villanueva/Bryant. It’s a premium position and hard to fill along with catcher/ss as the other 2 positions that are normally hard to fill.
    Castillo’s knee injury highlights the need for more catching talent in the organization…IF all the third base talent actually progresses…then I’d look for the Cubs to trade one of the 3rd baseman to go in a trade PACKAGE for either a catcher or potential TOR arm.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Will Theo be watching his old team in the playoffs this season?
    Terry Francona took on a bunch of no-bodies, made them into a playoff team this season in Cleveland.
    If Dale is fired, watch MLB force the Cubs to hire a minority manager……..could be a Hispanic ex-player…
    How many chances does Theo have will managers?
    How many managers did Hendry hire?
    If Theo is fired for not winning, will Jed also get fired?
    Name three players on Cleveland…….
    Will Sammy Sosa apply for the Cubs manager’s job?……
    Dealing with the Over & Under number….what year do you say that the Ricketts will put the Cubs up for Sale?….I say 2020.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      With Ricketts question, I take the over..Cubs will be raking in cash with rehabbed park and improved team expected shortly, new tv deal, etc…. I expect ownership change on southside before the Cubs.
      As for Sosa…that wasn’t really a legit question. Although I imagine he could dole out Flintstone vitamins to all the players, since that is all he took to stay so muscular and fit in his playing days.

    • RynoTiger

      yes, MLB will force the Cubs to hire a manager…cause MLB is like the mob and forces those sort of things….kneecaps would be broken if the Cubs don’t listen. and if the Cubs hired a minority manager it would be so they could upset Fox News and people would say it’s Obama’s fault.

    • triple

      Name 3 Indians players? You really think that is difficult: Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jiminez, Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Jason Giambi, Mark Reynolds, and Astrudal Cabrera. Now if I want to think about it more I know I can get more, but come on really???

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Nationals going after Samardzija this winter.

    • GaryLeeT

      I hope they get him.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        amen, brother…amen.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Baez to 2B is soooooo smart. I love it.
    Use Alcantara as trade bait once Baez is entrenched at 2B, and package him up with others that are just not really going to have a spot on our mlb team, and get us a stud young pitcher under control.
    Bryant to OF….and whoever is the better of Olt/Villanueva at 3B.
    Two (hopefully) big upgrades to our lineup with those guys at 2B/3B. Three if/when Bryant comes up to the mlb OF next year.
    Then only 1 OF spot to fill, and you are in pretty good shape. Trade the rest for true #1 and #2 pitchers (Shark isn’t either) and sign good FA bullpen arms, and we are back in business!!!

    • TheWrongGuy

      I would keep and use Alcantara as my switch hitting utility infielder(2b/SS/3b), and trade off Valbuena.
      Bryant won’t make it to the major’s next season.
      Good 3b talent is nice to have. But our good talent at the position wont pull-in a TOR starter. May if packaged with other players.

    • SuzyS

      The thought of a good bat at second is sexy considering how we’ve suffered with Barney’s bat….However, I also want a good defensive second baseman that works well as a double play combo with the ss.
      At this point, I’m not counting on…or against anything…just that championship teams (along with a decent offense), are usually pretty strong defensively up the middle.
      Castro’s gaffes at ss has made Barney that much more valuable…Baez and Castro together at 2nd and ss could be really good if they develop more defensively…or a nightmare if they don’t.

      • TheWrongGuy

        I couldn’t agree with you more Suzy. I have already stated how I LOVE Barney’s glove. I love good defense up the middle as well, as the last several World Series teams prove it is a needed asset to any championship team.

        We have seen Castro be great at SS and gaff many a play he should have made. Maybe a Latin connection can be made with Castro, Baez, Castillo, and Lake/Almora and we have our up the middle championship defensive team both offensively and defensively.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        I like good defense too. Cubs had potential gold glovers in rizzo barney and castillo, yet we lost over 90 games again. I just feel you cant justify barney at .207 avg. It is all a balance. If villanueva is great at third defensively, you sacrifice a bit at 2b and enjoy the extra offense. Baez provides, etc…

    • Eugene Debs

      Trading Alcantara for a “stud pitcher” is not going to happen. Alcantara had a great season, but he is not “stud pitcher bait.”

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        I specifically said to package him…never said he would be the main piece in a trade.

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