Castro and Baez Can Coexist and Cubs News from Spring Training

Starlin Castro had a MRI on his hamstring and according to multiple reports, there were “no surprises” and “nothing bad” showed up on the MRI. Castro said the stiffness had subsided and he was scheduled to walk in the pool on Tuesday according to Carrie Muskat. Castro said he may be back sooner than 7-10 days but he doesn’t want to rush back and risk reinjuring himself.

Starlin Castro addressed the Javier Baez question Tuesday and told the beat writers that he and Baez are “good friends.” Patrick Mooney reported “there’s no rivalry between Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.”

CubsMesaLogo-pubAccording to multiple reports, Castro said he told Baez, “Play hard, you’ll be up there no matter what. I don’t know where. But you’ll be there, because you got great talent and you play ball the right way.”

Rick Renteria said both players respect each other. And Castro said they want to play together.

Javier Baez will start the season in Triple-A regardless of the numbers he puts up in the spring or what injuries may open a spot for him on the big league roster. As Patrick Mooney reported Tuesday, Baez could be up in late June, the same way Anthony Rizzo was two years ago, if he checks the boxes on his player development plan.

Theo Epstein reiterated Tuesday during an interview on The Score, that once Javier Baez dominates Triple-A, he will start to be in the conversation for a spot on the big league roster.

Mike Olt

Mike Olt had a good result at the plate Tuesday and is looking to play third base soon. Olt started at first base in the ‘B’ game with the Giants on Monday and has received two at bats as the Cubs’ DH. Olt is officially 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI in Cactus League play.

Mike Olt told Carrie Muskat he “feels good now” and his “shoulder is better.” Mark Gonzales reported Olt’s shoulder is almost “to the point where he can resume competing for the third base job.” Olt said he does not want any setbacks with his shoulder and is happy with the way he is seeing the baseball.

James Russell

According to multiple reports, James Russell has been dealing with a dead arm (arm fatigue) and that is why he hasn’t pitched in a Cactus League game yet. Rick Renteria downplayed Russell’s dead arm and said it is not a big deal. Russell is expected to throw off a mound soon.

The Cubs were reportedly listening to offers for James Russell this winter. But the front office did not move him. The Cubs feel Russell will be more effective as a lefty specialist and the addition of a second lefty in Wesley Wright should reduce his workload.

James Russell has appeared in 151 games (122 innings) over the last two seasons … and was gotten hot more times than the amount of games he appeared in. After posting a 2.78 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 47 games in the first half of last season, Russell posted a 5.29 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in his last 27 appearances with only eight strikeouts and eight walks.

For his career, James Russell has held lefties to a .232/.264/.400 slash line.

Pitching Rotation

Rick Renteria announced Tuesday that Jeff Samardzija and Chris Rusin will pitch against the Rockies on Wednesday. Travis Wood will make his first Cactus League start of the spring Thursday against the Indians in Goodyear.

Friday is a split squad day for the Cubs. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face the Indians in Mesa while James McDonald will start the game in Tempe against the Angels.

News and Notes

Tom answered a few questions about the Cubs farm system for RedMinorLeagues.com.

Theo Epstein is planning an annual feast, not just give the fan base cookies.

And last, but not least … a quote from Theodore Roosevelt Lilly. “The experiences I had the first couple of years here winning were incredible in the sense that we put together a team that was expected to win. We didn’t accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a World Series, but it was such a great experience. We had so many professionals in the clubhouse and guys who went about it the right way. I think that’s why I’ll always refer to those two years in Chicago as the best years I’ve had as a player.”

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

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  • Tony_H

    Ted Lilly said it best and why when we are ready to compete, the FA’s will come to the Cubs. There is nothing like being on a Cubs team that is winning and nothing can compare to being on the team when the Cubs win the World Series!

    • J Daniel

      I agree, Tony. I think it will start to get exciting to watch Cub baseball again very soon. I can’t wait as I have not watched the last two seasons. My time is to valuable to watch a team that is not good.

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

    James Russell can be very good as a LOOGY. Just keep him away from righties.

    The term “dead arm,” is so bad. I guess in reality it’s not that big of deal because I’ve heard it in reference to a pitcher in mid-season who later in the year throws a no-hitter or similar but man does it sound bad. Also, it seems usually it is a fatigue thing that happens in mid-season, not as often right out of the gate. But I guess it’s better to get it over with if it’s going to happen. I sure hope Olt can start manning the corner soon, although his defense is a relatively known commodity so maybe it isn’t as important. If he is finally 100% healthy and has regular vision on the ball he should be something to see.

    • mutantbeast

      Im not exactly opposed to trading Russell. I think turning him into an any-situation RP and using him far too often likley ruined him. I happen to believe a swing-and miss Loogy like Rosscup is probably a better long-term option anyway.

      • cubtex

        Russell was doing it with smoke and mirrors for a while. They should have dealt him when they could have. I like Rosscup too. Much better stuff

  • DWalker

    Good power, but Is Olt really able to make it in the majors? Even if his vision issues are sorted out, his swing seems like it could be a real problem from what I am reading. So far I just can’t latch on to him as much more than another Vitters or Jackson.

    • cubtex

      He is flawed a little bit even if he is 100%. That is not to say he can’t be a very serviceable 3rd baseman. He will always have a lot of swing and miss in his game. It was encouraging to see a couple of his at bats and he looks like he is getting more comfortable but I don’t think there is any way he should start the season with the Cubs. Send him to AAA and if he hits the first month…bring him up and start him then.

      • DWalker

        When you say that, it gives me hope there is something there.

        • cubtex

          yep. I like him and want him to succeed. I have seen too many minor leaguers that I have played with and against who were not handled correctly.

      • paulcatanese

        If there is any possible way, he will start at third for the Cubs, as they have done everything in the world to bring him in.
        He is their choice, and I have come to know what that means.

    • BigJonLilJon

      He wasn’t the Rangers minor league mvp for nothing!! We might have gotten lucky with him

  • Tony_H

    The Mike Olt articles are flying today. The question is if his vision issue is behind him, does he retain his scouting report from before the issue.

    From Baseball America – Feb 2013
    “With plus raw power and strong hitting approach, Olt is a threat to go deep anytime he steps to the plate. He works deep counts and piles up both walks and strikeouts, so his average will settle in the .260-.270 range…Scouts say Olt is a joy to watch defensively, owing to his agility and ability to make throws from any angle… A potential all-star, he could open 2013 in the big league lineup or get a couple of months in Triple-A.”

    I think the answer is yes.

    • cubtex

      Feb 2013?

      • Tony_H

        Did you read my post? Does he retain his scouting report from before he was injured. Feb 2013, no one knew he would be affected by getting hit.

        • cubtex

          yes but that was before he re-gressed before the vision issue. I am an Olt fan. I want him to succeed. But lets not force him because of a logjam in the minors. Spring training is very misleading. Give him the best chance to succeed.

          • Tony_H

            What does that have anything to do with what I posted? The quote I posted says he may start the year in the major league lineup or in AAA. This is still the case this year. His arm issue may have him go to AAA and play 1B for a month or so until it is at full strength.

            But unlike Baez, who there is zero reason to bring up now and waiting until June has benefits for the player and the team, Olt isn’t going to be a FA until he is 33 or 34, so there is no need to worry about Super 2, and arbitration years.

          • cubtex

            so this stat shouldn’t matter. His last 39 games of last year with Iowa.

            .168 Avg in 152 PA with Iowa. Give me a break. How many teams would let a guy who hit .201 in 3 stops(Frisco,RR and Iowa) win a starting mlb job.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Hmmm. I think only one.

          • paulcatanese

            Zero reason to bring Baez up now? Lets jut say Baez cannot hit, throw, or run, and he can see, and doesn’t have arm problems.
            So the reason he is not brought up at this point is purely monetary for the parent club.
            And the reason is also that the parent club was gutted, cleared out, and a bill of goods sold to the public that this is the way to rebuild, now this is easy, no team right now, not going anywhere, so keep the boys down on the farm and save the money.
            When this is all ready to explode and the Cubs are ready to win, half these kids may well have grandchildren.

          • Tony_H

            Baez is going to Iowa and will be called up when he has finished his development plan or if he is dominating AAA. It will also delay his FA by one year (versus calling him up to start the year) and likely will make him not be Super 2 eligible after the 2016 season as well.

            He is 21 years old and there is no reason to rush him just to quote Theo, ‘give the fans a cookie’.

          • cubtex

            and they call you…… MR PR!!!!

          • Tony_H

            We can post what they call you :)

          • cubtex

            you and I know it is all about the Benjamins. Screw the fans. Poor mlb product. Don’t bring the kids up until we can save money. It is the only reason

          • TheWrongGuy

            So you agree to call-up Baez?

            Hmmmm….

            But you say leave Olt at AAA and not ruin him?

            Yet Baez strikes out a lot. Yes he is and has been very productive. Though we all know once they reach the major’s those strike out totals will multiply. The same can be said of Olt in this regard yet you want to send Olt down and Baez to the major’s? Sorry this doesn’t calculate well for me.

            I love our prospects in the system. Yet as another of this forum has already posted “none of our prospects have proven themselves above AA ball” . With this quote from BigJonLilJon, I will ask: Why rush our prospects to the major’s Yet leave another prospect in the minor’s?

          • cubtex

            Hmmmmmmm. Let’s look at these 2 players individually. Baez is one of the top prospects in the game and hit 37 bombs last year in the minors. We all know that his power will translate to the next level. He tore up AA last year. He has confidence and has been on the upswing.

            Now….that leads us to Olt :(
            He hit .168 in AAA last year for Iowa. He is getting over a serious eye and vision issue…but he is 25 so none of that matters. He has had ups and downs in the minors and majors so he doesn’t lack for confidence(hahahaha) that is one of the funniest things I have read in ages. Baseball in soooooooo mental. Don’t you understand he will doubt himself terribly at 25 if he is starting at Wrigley next year and struggles out of the gate????

            You want people to start their careers in the majors on a high note…..not failing miserably the year prior in the minors.

            Hmmmm.

          • TheWrongGuy

            So your saying you want Baez to be another C. Patterson, Felix Pie, etc…
            I understand a player needs confidence. Olt needs this. AND Baez needs to finish development. How many “good” breaking pitches or off-speed pitches has Baez or Olt seen? Hopefully the strike outs go down for both. I like them both. Baez needs to see more pitches and Olt needs to regain confidence he had for the 2012 season.
            Sorry but placing Baez in the majors is NOT a good idea. Just my opinion of course. But I don’t like the idea of another C. Patterson or *place name of former Cubs prospect here* to flame out again due to under development.

    • cubtex

      as long as we are getting nostalgic.

      Baseball America not only ranked Corey Patterson as the top prospect
      in the Cubs’ system, but he was also the top prospect for both Jim
      Callis and Will Lingo, while coming in as the #3 prospect for Allan Simpson. Patterson also graced the cover of the 2001 prospect book, and BA observed:

      Patterson offers the best combination of athleticism and baseball skills
      of any prospect in the game. He’s the best hitter, the faster runner
      and the top outfield defender in the organization. His other two tools,
      power and arm strength, are both above-average. His top-of-the-line
      speed is probably his most impressive physical asset� Patterson has more
      than held his own while being rushed through the minors� He has batted
      .195 against left-handers as a pro. He needs to tighten his plate
      discipline, and his ability to drive pitches that are out of the strike
      zone actually hampers his ability to draw walks� Scouts believe
      Patterson can correct all of those flaws with more experience. They’re
      understandable, considering his age and how much he has been pushed.

      • Tony_H

        The last line tells part of the tale as to why the Cubs didn’t produce major league talent. “Scouts believe Patterson can correct all of those flaws with more experience. They’re
        understandable, considering his age and how much he has been pushed.”

        Corey was pushed faster than he should have been and never did fix those flaws. The Cubs didn’t have many top prospects and the ones they did, they rushed and didn’t let them develop.

        Olt may fail. Every single player playing baseball may fail at some point. Even established major league All-Stars have a decline period of their careers. And no one knows for sure, what the future holds for any player.

        But way to go back to 2001.

        • cubtex

          I figured it was nostalgic day with old scouting reports from Baseball America :)

          • Tony_H

            Is one year ago all that nostalgic? And it is actually relevant to this year and Mike Olt who is on our team.

        • mutantbeast

          we also forget Patterson tore his knee up right at the time he was beginning top show real promise. His 2003 knee injury might have set back his career more than anything did.

          • paulcatanese

            And there is where you hit the nail on the head.
            Who is to say that leaving someone in the minors, until “the clock” is the right time cannot hurt?
            Who is to say that the player will use up his “useful” time before he reaches the top?
            And the always ill timed injury, would it have happened anyway, whether that player was brought up or not?
            Not bringing a player up until the clock is right just plain stinks,
            doesn’t help the player, doesn’t help the fans.
            The only one it helps are the owners and their pocket book.

          • Tony_H

            Useful time…LOL, that made my day.

          • paulcatanese

            Why not Tony, its raining, cannot go anywhere, prime time to post, good, bad, or otherwise.

          • cubtex

            he is a little sensitive these days :)

          • Tony_H

            I was refering to you using the term “useful time” in your post. Not whether this was useful time.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Tony,
          Do you agree that Cubs’ coaching hurt Patterson’s career?

          Because if you do, you should also agree that Cubs’ coaching hurt
          Castro and Brett Jackson and Vitters.

  • DWalker

    Good article over on RedminorLeagues Tom.

    • Tom U

      Thank you DWalker.

  • cubtex

    Many are projecting another 300,000 drop in attendance for the Cubs in 2014. Cubs maintain that Baez will start season in AAA but Olt is getting an opportunity. Reason? Of course…..money! Let’s quit with this clock stuff and put Baez at 3rd to start the year. Baez is not coming off a terrible minor league season like Olt. Let him learn at the major league level. His bat is special. 3rd base is more of a do or die position and not an extremely difficult transition for a SS.

    • Tony_H

      No smart FO is going to ignore the clock “stuff”.

      Why does you care if the attendance drops? I think attendance should be dropping.

      Baez would prefer 2B to 3B and if Olt is successful, it allows Baez to play 2B. Lot’s of moving parts going on. I actually want Alcantara to be our 2B, as we need a switch hitter and a top of the order type player to go along with so many of our top prospects being RH power hitters.

      Can a team actually have too many RH power hitters?

      • cubtex

        no smart FO is going to ignore the clock stuff? Really? I think you meant to say no FO that is not trying to win will ignore the clock stuff

        • Tony_H

          No, there are examples of every team’s FO of watching Super 2, Arbitration and FA time frames. Far, far too much money involved to not watch every part of this process. It doesn’t mean that some teams don’t say call Joe Shortstop anyway this year. But all FO’s do their job and monitor this clock.

          • cubtex

            no they don’t. Did Baltimore with Manny Machado? Is Arizona doing it with Archie Bradley? Bryce Harper? Teams that want to win don’t let a few $ keep them from winning a WS or making the playoffs.

          • cubtex

            and Kevin Gausman last year

          • Tony_H

            LOL, I just looked up Gausman, another of your examples and guess what the team did watch the clock, very closely and waited until Super 2 is likely to be past.

            Debuted May 23, 2013 Mid-May is about when teams call up players if they are trying to push the Super 2 status.

          • cubtex

            Good research. He debuted May 23. What year was he drafted Tony? Did you forget to see if he had 2 years and 171 days of service time??? That is a pretty important stat that you missed!

          • Tony_H

            You really don’t know what Super 2 status is, as 2 years and 171 days is not Super 2 status.

            At the end of every season MLB makes a list of all players that have less than 3 years of service time but more than 2 years. The top 22% of those players are granted Super 2 Status and get to go to arbitration.

            It is a moving target.

          • cubtex

            Yes. His clock is ticking. He will accrue more service time this year and next. It will cost the O’s more money. Go read the articles on him.

          • Tony_H

            It is obvious you don’t understand this, maybe you should stop acting like you know how teams monitor Super 2 players. Every team affects this based on how they call players up and send them back down. Teams can manipulate this by increasing or decreasing the amount of players in the pool. All teams monitor this constantly.

            How good Gausman has nothing to do with the fact that the Orioles waited to try and keep him from being a Super 2 player after 2015.

          • cubtex

            I’m on my phone but it cost the O’s money bringing him up. They didn’t hold him down because of money. Google. Kevin Gausman arbitration clock is now ticking. He will likely get 4 arbitration years now instead of 3. That was my point. They didn’t hold the player down to save money.

          • Tony_H

            They waited until May 23rd to try and get past the moving target service time. They were watching the clock and monitoring it. And yes even with all of their efforts, he may still end up Super 2 after 2015, but they may have timed it just right. They waited until May 23rd to try and save money. Of course his arbitration clock is ticking, every player who is under 3 years, clock is ticking. That doesn’t mean he will be a Super 2.

          • Tony_H

            And LOL, when a player was drafted as nothing to do with Super 2 status.

          • cubtex

            You like that lol. Omg yolo. TGIF BFF #truth

          • Tony_H

            I do it just to you, because you have used it so much.

          • Tony_H

            Manny Machado was called up in 2012 on August 9th. By waiting until then they guaranteed he wouldn’t be a Super 2 after 2014.

            Bryce Harper they tried but called him up on April 28th. Like I said, they sent him to the minors with an eye on the clock, but yes with one of the most elite prospects and a team in need they called him up.

            And I guess we will see with Archie Bradley.

            There are examples of both sides of this and I am not going to look up players for every team to show you, but every single team’s FO looks at a players clock and it is a factor in their decision. No one is saying that every team only uses the clock to determine when to call up a player. It is a moving target and there are no guarantees you can time it right.

          • cubtex

            not teams trying to win. Arrieta sucked last year with the O’s and they were trying to win. Hence….bring up Gausman.

        • paulcatanese

          And the bottom line is! The minor league is flourishing, praises all over to the FO for what they have done.
          Bring them up,, and that mystique may disappear fast if they don’t succeed, and their go’s the thinking about how great this re-builder of a down and out program is.
          Cubs will not start the clock, too much to lose.

          • Tony_H

            See Paul, this is the difference in negative thinking versus positive thinking about the Cubs. I think there is too much to gain to not consider the clock.

          • cubtex

            so if Baez clearly shows he is ready and is a better option than who we have at either 3rd or 2nd, now is not the time? It is strictly monetary. They will lose more money at the gates. Baez will bring fans in and it is a win win.

          • Tony_H

            I think Baez would also be better served to go to AAA for the first 2 months or so. Trust me, I want to see him and Bryant and part of me says bring them both up (along with Olt) and let them take their lumps at the major league level. But there is no reason to do that. Nothing is really gained by doing it and starting their clock early and doing it in a year where we are not thinking playoffs. It makes no sense.

          • paulcatanese

            The Cubs have not thought playoffs since the day Theo came aboard.

          • Tony_H

            You are right, they are thinking how to build a team that can win a World Series.

            Kap & Haugh ‏@KapandHaugh 1h

            Ricketts to Cubs fans that are becoming impatient: It’s my job to bring a championship here. Decisions diff. than trying to win 83 gms a yr

          • cubtex

            god forbid if they try to put a team together to win 83 games and the team overachieves and wins 90 and gets in the playoffs and wins a WS. Lets not do that.

          • Tony_H

            And really, hasn’t Baez shown he is a better option than Barney…Valbuena. Come on now. Olt is better, Baez is better, Bryant is better. Let them spend a little more time and not make them the next Corey Patterson. But guess what, one of these guys will fail and will be the new Corey.

          • cubtex

            Olt is more talented but he needs to have success first in AAA. Look again at his numbers last year and explain to me how that would be best for his career?

          • Tony_H

            Olt wasn’t the point, more of a jab at you.

          • cubtex

            I guess I don’t understand your posts these days.

          • Tony_H

            I was replying to your post about Baez being ready. I added Bryant and Olt to take it another step where they are also better than the incumbent, so shouldn’t they also start the year at Wrigley.

          • cubtex

            Baez demolished minor league pitching last year! The only reason Olt is being considered is because of the logjam in the minors and his age. Both of these scenarios are good for the Cubs and not the player.

          • Tony_H

            If you want to base a decision on Olt from last years stats, he should be cut.

          • cubtex

            so that warrants a promotion? Cmon man. No team would. Not good for the player.

          • Tony_H

            We have beat this up too many times before. Have a good day!

          • cubtex

            exactly. there is no defense. Forcing a square peg in a round hole. I know you had vision issues last year Mike and only hit .168 in Iowa….but we are going to give you a shot to start at 3rd with the big league team. Now Javy…we know you crushed minor league pitching last year but you will have no chance to make the team. We are not going to risk losing money and having to pay you more money sooner rather than later. Now go out there and be a team player.

          • Tony_H

            I am not going to rehash this again! You can look up one of our many times discussing this topic to see my side.

          • paulcatanese

            Fantastic:):)

          • Ripsnorter1

            Let’s say Theo is leaving Baez in AAA for money reasons.
            Well, how much money is 300,000 tickets? What is that going to cost?

            He’d save money by bring Baez up.

          • cubtex

            thank you!

          • Tony_H

            Be thankful that we have ownership and a FO that isn’t looking for short term ways to sell tickets and is thinking long term.

          • cubtex

            yep. they have the fans best interest in mind with every decision they make :)))

          • Tony_H

            About time you understood.

            You should listen to Ricketts on 87.7 this morning with Kaplan and Haugh. He keeps telling us what they are doing. You just don’t like it.

          • paulcatanese

            Are you saying that the FO is looking for a long term before selling tickets? That would make more sense to me with what they are doing.
            And how does a team decide that this is the year that they will win a World Series and let it all hang out?

          • Tony_H

            The play on the field will tell them. And it is not like they are going to need to use FA to build their team, it will be to fill what need they have not been able to fill.

            Imagine if they had done what the Cubs ownership had done for decades, just enough to sell tickets. People complained about that forever. This is our 1st owner that has said I want to build this the right way.

            Today he talked about the Dominican facility. They went there in the January right after they took over ownership a few months earlier. They immediately saw that they had a poor situation. They rented their space and it was poorly maintained. They decided right there to build a new facility and make it the best in the Dominican. Now with IFA limits, the difference in where a player signs can be as simple of who has the best facilities to help a player develop. If all Rickets cared about was selling tickets at Wrigley, he would have left the situation in the Dominican as is and not thought about it again.

          • paulcatanese

            just yanking you’re chain in the rain here Tony, FO has done many good things:)

          • Tony_H

            NP :)

            If Neil does a transcript of Ricketts appearance it will be a great read. If not, I am sure it is on their website.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Baez is being “left” in Triple-A because he has not played at that level and is not ready for the big leagues.

            You complain about what the coaches did to this player or that player yet you seemingly want a player in the majors that is not ready yet.

            Hopefully the extra development time will make him the player everyone thinks he can be.

          • paulcatanese

            How is it negative thinking to put the best players on the field?
            How is it negative to see that managerial choice has been poor?
            And by the way, my thoughts on Renteria are still out. Mr. Nice guy has to do more than be a yes man and sit around being buddies, and making remarks how this one , that one is just around the corner etc.
            He has not been around long enough to have any input, let alone have people think he does.

          • Tony_H

            That wasn’t what I was pointing out, it was the wording and thought process on the arbitration clock.

            “Cubs will not start the clock, too much to lose.”

            They have nothing to lose, but can gain an extra year of control before FA and an extra year of 0-3 years by waiting a few months.

          • BigJonLilJon

            At the end of the day… none of our prospects have proven themselves above AA ball. Even Baez’s short time there isn’t exactly proof he’s ready for the bigs. I think Olt can start now possibly if his problems have been corrected. That’s what spring is for. But the others… Let them spend the few months in the minors and earn there way up. And getting the extra year of control is a good by product.

          • Tony_H

            Absolutely.

            BTW – Baez hasn’t been to Iowa yet.

          • paulcatanese

            And here I thought Free Agency took the “slave” aspect out of the game:) The owners still have the whip.

          • Tony_H

            Which is it Paul, do you hate FA or do want to go back to the “slave” aspect?

          • paulcatanese

            I have always stated I do not like free agency, it changed the game,, for me.
            However, I will say the owners appear to have brought it back
            with “control”.

          • Tony_H

            I don’t believe the years of control is any different. It has been 6 years to FA. Teams are just way more proactive in signing players to extensions and that is what has led to FA being mostly 30 somethings with injury issues, since most of the best players never reach free agency

      • paulcatanese

        The switch hitter is what the Cubs need, actually several of them.

  • triple

    I think it would be a mistake to bring Baez up for the beginning of the season. I don’t doubt that he’ll hit the cover off the ball for the month of March. But remember he’s gonna be fed enough fastballs to do that. Even if he gets some curveballs, they won’t break as much in AZ so that is not a good test as to whether he is good enough to hit a pitcher who may feed him some junk and get him to expand the zone. I’d say give the kid at least 2 months of AAA to prove that he is still hitting everything that pitchers are throwing him, and prove that he just wasn’t locked in for a 1-year stretch while in A and AA. The reason I say to give him at least 2 months in AAA is because he could start off in the majors and probably do really well in the month of April, but then pitchers will start finding weaknesses and exploit them with all their off-speed stuff. Then you end up with a kid who’s confidence is shaken and expanding his strike zone, and that’s when everybody will be shouting that he’s really been mishandled.

    Now Olt is another story. And I know the same exact argument can be used for or against both Olt and Baez. But Olt has a lot more minor league experience, along with some short major league experience. He is also 25, so he doesn’t need to be handled the same way. He’s not a kid, and he’s also dealt with the ups and downs of this game already. I understand if he starts the season in Iowa, especially if he’s still not 100% healthy (shoulder), but I imagine he will make a pretty good push this spring to prove he belongs on the ML team. If he’s healthy enough to play 3rd base and continues to prove that he’s seeing the ball well this spring, I see no reason as to why he won’t be our starting 3rd baseman in Pittsburgh on March 31st.

    • cubtex

      hahaha

      • triple

        Sounds like you are having a very rough day Ray, if you are trying to find humor in my post…. I’ll say an extra 10 gallon cowboy hat sized prayer for you in bible study later today. Keep your chin up buddy, you’ll be able to sell enough Avon to keep a roof over your family’s head.

        • cubtex

          having a great day! thanks for the prayers. I am all about keeping religion and god in our country! we are up 25% this year already in the 1st quarter. Sales are great and life is great! If you know anybody who needs backing for Avon have them contact me. I always am looking to invest and help out another individual in the world of self employment.

          BTW- That line about Olt being 25 so he can handle ups and downs better than a 21 year old was priceless. That was the reason for the hahaha. Funniest thing I have read in ages. Thanks for the laugh.

    • Tony_H

      A very logical way to look at the situation.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I want to save money by getting rid of Barney!

        • Tony_H

          Barney won’t be around much longer.