Cubs Shot Some B-Ball Outside of the Training Room and News from Day Six of Cubs Camp

Pitchers and catchers reportedly had a light workout schedule Tuesday as the position players rolled into camp ahead of the first full squad workout on Wednesday. Position players had to be in Mesa by the end of the day. So while Starlin Castro and Junior Lake had not reported before the media called it a day, it does not mean those two players did not report on time. As previously reported, all of the players were expected to be on time to camp without any delays.

CubsMesaLogo-pubWednesday morning will be spent on physicals and meetings before Rick Renteria’s full spring roster takes the practice field with just eight days before the Cactus League opener on Thursday, Feb. 27 against the Diamondbacks at Cubs Park.

Rick Renteria is expected to speak with the entire team prior to Wednesday’s full squad workout. And so is Tom Ricketts. The Cubs’ chairman will address his team prior to meeting with the media for his spring update.

Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Ryan Sweeney drew a crowd with a game of H-O-R-S-E on the basketball goal outside of the training room that was reportedly removed. Sweeney reportedly edged out Baez.

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo spent time with the beat reporters on Tuesday and he thinks player development can be done in the majors. The Cubs’ first baseman addressed the hype surrounding the top prospects in the organization. And while their futures are uncertain, Rizzo jokingly said the media is “going to crown them the next Babe Ruth.”

Rizzo wants to help the prospects with their transitions from the minor to the majors. ESPN Chicago reported Rizzo “sounds as anxious to see the organization’s heralded prospects at Wrigley Field as much as anyone is.” Rizzo thinks the prospects are “going to tear up the minor leagues” and it’s the current Major Leaguers’ job “to make them feel like they’re a part of the team.”

Rizzo thinks the biggest part of the learning process comes at the Major League level and it is hard to prepare for the third deck of big league stadiums. And while he understands why players cannot be rushed through the system, he does not think there is ever a reason for a player to take his time in the minor leagues. In regards to the minors, Rizzo said, “It’s the worst place. Why would anyone want to take their time?”

Anthony Rizzo is expecting to have a better season than a year ago according to the Sun-Times. Rizzo’s first full season in the Majors and in his first full season at any level of professional baseball did not go the way he or the Cubs wanted it to go. He feels the experience he gained last year will lead to better results this season.

Jake Arrieta

Jesse Rogers mentioned in his weekly chat that Jake Arrieta is expecting to throw off a mound by Friday. If Arrieta is able to throw off a mound by Friday, and he does not suffer any setbacks, he should have just enough time to be ready to start the season in the Cubs’ rotation.

Jed Hoyer

Jed Hoyer was David Kaplan’s first guest on ‘The Game’ (WGN-FM) Tuesday morning. And the Cubs’ GM talked about more than just Jeff Samardzija.

At this point of Spring Training the Cubs are not trying to evaluate any of the pitchers. Hoyer likes the power arms that are now on the team. The Cubs are trying to build a good bullpen and that begins with velocity and power arms. As for building a pen, it is obviously hard to do. But the best route is to convert one-time starters that throw hard into relievers.

Hoyer was asked about Starlin Castro and Hoyer acknowledged Castro had a disappointing year. There is no way to sugarcoat it according to Hoyer and Castro knows it and he won’t sugarcoat it either. The Cubs are looking for Castro to have a good camp and take the positive spring into the season. Hoyer pointed out Castro is coming to camp prepared and ready to go. Hoyer went onto explain Castro learned a lot last year but he is not the only guy with something to prove this season.

Starlin Castro

On the eve of the first full squad workout of the spring, Patrick Mooney posted an excellent report about Starlin Castro being on Rick Renteria’s mind.

This is a must read article in which Renteria defends Castro and as Mooney put it, Renteria appears to have Castro’s back moving forward.

Cubs Spring Roster

With the additions of Emilio Bonifacio and Chang-Yong Lim the Cubs’ Spring Roster officially stands at 66 players prior to the first full squad workout. Here’s a quick rundown of the position players that will be in camp as part of the 40-man roster or on non-roster invites.

Catchers

40-Man Roster

  • Welington Castillo
  • George Kottaras

Non-Roster Invitees

  • John Baker
  • Rafael Lopez
  • Eli Whiteside
Infielders

40-Man Roster

  • Arismendy Alcantara
  • Darwin Barney
  • Starlin Castro
  • Donnie Murphy
  • Mike Olt
  • Anthony Rizzo
  • Luis Valbuena
  • Christian Villanueva
  • Logan Watkins

Non-Roster Invitees

  • Javier Baez
  • Emilio Bonifacio
  • Kris Bryant
  • Ryan Roberts
  • Chris Valaika
  • Jeudy Valdez
Outfielders

40-Man Roster

  • Brett Jackson
  • Junior Lake
  • Justin Ruggiano
  • Nate Schierholtz
  • Jorge Soler
  • Ryan Sweeney
  • Matt Szczur
  • Josh Vitters

Non-Roster Invitees

  • Albert Almora
  • Chris Coghlan
  • Aaron Cunningham
  • Ryan Kalish
  • Mitch Maier
  • Darnell McDonald
  • Casper Wells

News, Notes and Rumors

RHP Odrisamer Despaigne worked out last Thursday, along with fellow Cuban Aledmys Diaz, at the Padres facility in Peoria in front of scouts from at least 12 big league teams. The Cubs have not been connected to Despaigne yet by the mainstream media. Jesse Sanchez reported Despaigne was scheduled to hold another showcase in Florida last Saturday. The hard-throwing right hander would like to be signed and in a camp in March. According to Chris Cotillo, Despaigne is “drawing strong interest from four clubs” after 10 teams attended his showcase in Port Charlotte, Fla. last Saturday.

Bernie Pleskoff spoke with Jed Hoyer about Jorge Soler. Hoyer said Soler is full recovered from his broken leg that slowed him in the Arizona Fall League and is looking great this spring. Hoyer also told Pleskoff that Javier Baez hit “mammoth homers” in BP on Tuesday.

Tim Sheridan posted pictures of pitchers getting their work in at Cubs Park.

The Braves released IF/OF Mat Gamel on Tuesday after he reinjured his surgically repaired knee last week during personal workouts preparing for Spring Training according to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The Cubs claimed Gamel off waivers from the Brewers early in the off-season and Gamel spent nearly two months on the 40-man roster before the Cubs decided not to tender a contract to him for the 2014 season.

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  • Tony_Hall

    This is a lengthy read, but I think most will enjoy it.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10470778/los-angeles-angels-try-anything-fix-worst-franchise-mlb-espn-magazine

    The guide to a sustainable farm. The Angels will try anything to fix the most barren system in MLB.

    • GaryLeeT

      I know it is being looked at as a whole, but It’s hard to look down on system that found the best position player in baseball.

      • Tony_Hall

        The prospect ranking are ranking prospects, not under 25 players. Yes Trout came through the Angels system, but guys like him come through any system fast.

        Their system is pretty weak, on major league prospects, but if you read the article you will see the turnaround in play for their minor league affiliates by creating an Angels Way of doing things.

        • GaryLeeT

          Even while spending big at the ML level?

          • Tony_Hall

            Turn around in play. It hasn’t increased the number of major league caliber players. But by having a way to do things, that everyone is using has helped their minor league teams play better as a team.

            The Angels are an example of how spending big doesn’t always work and if it doesn’t it really hurts your farm system due to losing the picks from the FA signings.

    • Sonate

      Thanks for the link Tony. It was a terrific article that embraces Sabermetrics, but went beyond the arid, dispassionate number crunching. (Angels fans should love it!)

      • Tony_Hall

        You would think so, but consider they are copying the Cardinals Way and Theo had the Red Sox Way long ago,which he brought to create the Cubs Way and not all Cub fans love it.

  • Chris K.

    You have to feel for Mat Gamel and for Mark Mulder. Sometimes the game is just not nice to guys.

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

    Thanks for posting the article on Castro/Renteria and for labeling it “must read.” I don’t always take the time to read the links but when Neil calls it “must read,” I figure as a die-hard Cubs fan it’s worth my time.

    Please feel free to use that label in the future if it’s something we should read…

  • paulcatanese

    The basketball hoop was removed? Whoever did that I have their back. At least someone in the front office has a brain. Too many
    injuries have happened away from the sport.
    I cannot see these players not realizing that, and their young age shows.