Cubs Roster Coming into Focus with the End of Spring Training in Sight

The Cubs inched closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster after the Rangers claimed Donnie Murphy off waivers, George Kottaras was released, John Baker was named the team’s backup catcher and the announcement was made Eli Whiteside would start the season in Iowa. The Spring Training roster officially stands at 32 players and the 40-man roster has two spots open that has not been filled. The Cubs have not reassigned Eli Whiteside to the minors or added John Baker to the 40-man roster.

CubsMesaLogo-pubThe two open spots on the 40-man roster will be taken by Emilio Bonifacio and John Baker. The Cubs will gain another roster spot once Kyuji Fujikawa is placed on the 60-day DL. That spot will be used to add one of the three position players still competing for a job. Ryan Kalish, Ryan Roberts and Chris Coghlan are in the mix for a roster spot, but all three players are in camp on minor league contracts and will have to be added to the 40-man roster before they are eligible to be on the active roster by Opening Day. The Cubs could gain another spot if they place James McDonald on the 60-day DL. Plus, the front office has to make a decision on Alberto Cabrera. Cabrera is out of options and if he does not make the Opening Day roster it is highly unlikely he would pass through waivers and stay in the organization. Cabrera has shown how good, and bad, he can be this spring.

The fifth spot in the rotation is still undecided. And neither pitcher did anything to improve their stock this week. Both Carlos Villanueva and Chris Rusin struggled in their last outings while Hector Rondon is the only one of the three relievers (Rondon, Alberto Cabrera and Justin Grimm) still in the mix for a spot in the bullpen that has done his job lately.

It appears Mike Olt has made the roster and the Cubs will start the season with Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Mike Olt and Luis Valbuena as the infielders on the active roster. Emilio Bonifacio can play multiple positions in both the infield and outfield. And Ryan Roberts and/or Chris Coghlan could be options in the infield and outfield if they make the roster.

As for the outfield, four of the five spots appear to be filled. Nate Schierholtz, Justin Ruggiano, Junior Lake and Ryan Sweeney are the top four with Ryan Kalish pushing for a job.

Once the front office decides where Chris Rusin should start the season, the pitching staff will fall into place. Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood will start the first four games of the season. And Jose Veras, Pedro Strop, James Russell and Wesley Wright will make up the backend of the pen.

Of course if a team like the Tigers step up and pull the trigger on a deal for Nate Schierholtz and the Cubs receive the right offer for Darwin Barney, the decisions the front office and the coaching staff must make become a lot easier.

While the win-loss record has not been good (4-10), Cubs Park and the team’s new complex have been a big hit this spring while receiving rave reviews. The Cubs have set new attendance records this spring while providing their players with the best facilities in the Cactus League. The City of Mesa really stepped up and hit the proverbial home run. The Cubs have the right facilities in Mesa and in the Dominican Republic, and maybe the Cubs will receive the green light to restore and renovate Wrigley Field soon.

The Cubs break camp after Thursday’s exhibition against the White Sox. The equipment trucks leave Mesa for Chicago on Friday loaded with the players’ gear. There are only three more practice games left before the team flies to Pittsburgh to prepare for the opener on Monday.

Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija said he felt good following his last spring outing and declared he is ready for the season. Samardzija was asked about the “possibility of setting deadlines or negotiating a contract extension during the season” and Samardzija’s response was “no comment.”

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Samardzija can’t wait for the season to start and he’s really liked what he’s seen in camp this spring.

After addressing his situation, Samardzija talked about Mike Olt and the Cubs’ Opening Day starter has liked what he’s seen from Olt in Spring Training. Samardzija told the beat writers, “We didn’t really know what to expect, but you can definitely throw him into that category (with Javier Baez). The way he’s been hitting, it hasn’t been a fluke. You watch him hit, he looks comfortable. He looks confident. He swings, man. He swings hard. That’s what we need. We need guys like that who come in and know they’re going to hit. Not hoping they’re going to hit. He’s definitely one of those guys.”

Ryan Kalish

Ryan Kalish reported to camp healthy and ready to compete for a job on the Cubs roster. And he might be on the verge of making the Cubs Opening Day roster. Kalish has been impressive and he appears to be in the Cubs’ long-term plans.

Nick Cafardo reported Wednesday that he spoke with Theo Epstein about Kalish. And while Epstein would not say if Kalish will make the team out of camp or not, he did tell Cafardo, “Either way he looks great. Brings a lot to the table and is in our long-term plans.”

According to Nick Cafardo, Epstein appears to be trying to clear a spot for Kalish on the roster and “one possibility is to deal outfielder Nate Schierholtz somewhere before Opening Day.”

Jake Arrieta

Lost in the roster moves that were made Wednesday was Jake Arrieta completing another simulated game. Arrieta threw a 50-pitch simulated game with Rick Renteria and Theo Epstein among those in attendance.

According to reports from Carrie Muskat and Bruce Miles, Arrieta is feeling good and “progressively getting stronger.” Wednesday’s sim game served as a reminder to Arrieta of where he should be a couple of weeks.

The next step for Arrieta is a 60-65 pitch simulated game. Arrieta is not expected to stay behind in Mesa, he will travel with the team, for now, and get his work in until it is time for a rehab assignment.

Starlin Castro

With the Cubs in Scottsdale and the roster moves that were made, updates were not provided on Starlin Castro. The Cubs’ shortstop was expected to play six or seven innings in a minor league game at the Cubs’ facility. If everything went well Wednesday, the next step for Castro could be Thursday’s Cactus League game against the White Sox.

News and Notes

According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs are planning on keeping “their top three pitchers on fifth-day cycles as often as possible.” Chris Bosio told Gordon Wittenmyer that would mean “skipping and backing up the fifth starter routinely, especially in April.” Wittenmyer pointed to the Cubs plan as being one of the reasons Carlos Villanueva might begin the season in the rotation and not Chris Rusin. Villanueva could spot start while keeping Rusin pitching every five days in Iowa while the team waits for Jake Arrieta to take a spot in the rotation.

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

    Great report thanks Neil! Love the comments from Shark.

    • J Daniel

      As ALWAYS! There is no need to go to any other site or paper for Cub news. CCO provides the best coverage!!!

      • TheWrongGuy

        100% agreed’

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Great job Neil definitely the best cubs site

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Patrick, meant to say something earlier. Good to hear from you. Thanks man.

      • SuzyS

        Neil, I don’t know what you do with your spare time…but I love what you do with your passion…well done.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Thank you Suzy.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        You guys are too kind this morning, thank you.

  • Pingback: Cubs Roster Coming into Focus with the End of Spring Training in Sight - Cubs Chronicles

  • triple

    I was hesitant before spring training to believe that Olt would be capable of making a profound impact for the Cubs, but I’m starting to believe that he may be a pretty special player. Especially since he’s endured the last year and a half of uncertainty. In his last 8 games, he is batting .318 with a .393 OBP, collecting 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 2 doubles, 4 walks, and only 4 strikeouts over that period. I think it’s more than safe to say that he is can see the ball just fine, and is capable of hitting major league pitching. Now I’m looking forward to seeing if he can maintain that when the season begins.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree 100%. If the Cubs had a better options at 3rd though, I believe Olt would be starting the season at AAA(which would make “cubtex” happy). I feel with the current options the Cubs have at 3rd, Olt has earned his shot as the starting 3b with the Cubs on opening day.

  • Tony_H

    I think Neil is right, if they plan to skip the 5th (let alone the 4th) starter and keep Samardzija, Wood and Jackson on schedule as much as possible, then Villanueva makes more sense and Rusin goes to Iowa and Rondon, Grimm and Cabrera all make the team. Of course, whether it is a few weeks, or a month, one will be gone soon to make room for Villanueva in the pen when Arrieta is ready.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree. Not to mention, if one those 3 relievers fail they have B. Parker waiting in the wings at AAA. It serves as good insurance. “Like a good neighbor ‘Blake Parker’ is there.” Sorry for my bad humor. :)

      • Tony_H

        That was actually pretty good :)

        And also Neil Ramirez. It will be interesting to see if they stretch him out or have him stay in the bullpen as I like him for a late inning reliever.

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

          Oooh, I like him as a starter. But good problem to have.!

          • Tony_H

            I agree, as I feel they should keep pitchers a starter as long as possible with arms like Ramirez.

            What I meant was he could help this team right now in the pen.

            I think the days of not having power arms in the bullpen is over.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Power pitching is a necessity within baseball now, especially in the pen. Our division rivals have already jumped on the bandwagon St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati…

        • Tony_H

          And don’t forget Fujikawa will be back at the end of May.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I am not forgetting Fujikawa that is why I say Veras is a possibility to be traded,(in my other post below) but so is Fujikawa. Though I would believe Veras would be more attractive in trades than Fujikawa and we would still have Vizcaino. :)

          • J Daniel

            Maybe

      • Tony_H

        And also forgot about a guy who throws 100….Vizcaino will be up shortly as well.

        The bullpen looks a lot better this year.

        • TheWrongGuy

          I count Vizcaino for a June or July call-up. Depending if Veras or another reliever is traded from the pen. Not to mention he will be watched(innings limit/pitch count).

          • Tony_H

            I can see that, but depending on how the bullpen is going could see him coming up sooner. They could still control his innings by sending him back to Iowa when the bullpen needs an extra arm and swap a fresh arm for him, then call him back up. The more major league innings he gets this year the better, yet not more important than getting through the season healthy.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    The simulated game, takes me back to the glory days of towel drills for Wood, Prior, and Guzman.

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

      I never understood the problem people had with the towel drill. It’s a drill. Batters hit wiffle balls and all kind of other silly seeming drills. Isn’t that kind of the point of drills? Too make the person look ridiculous?

      • John_CC

        The joke turned into disgust and then pure loathing when all we ever heard about Prior was the broken record of doing towel drills. And then his career was over. It’s not the towel drill itself, per say. Kind of like the messenger taking the heat for the message.

  • SuzyS

    The Cubs organization is going to be a fascinating, entertaining ride this season. Lots of moving parts…hopefully most will be upwardly mobile.

    • Tony_H

      Yes it is! I have no idea how some Cub fans are not getting excited about this team. Will they make the playoffs….no, but this team will be much more exciting to watch.

      • BigJonLilJon

        Agreed….. Exciting like a new toy. You expect great things from it, just don’t know when!!!

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

          Everyone knows I agree. Team should be improved and so many angles to follow this year. Young players pushing to be promoted. Guys like Kalish and Coghlan that we picked up for nothing that still have all the potential in the world. Bullpen that could be scary good by end of the season. To me the only glaring problem is starting pitching and last year this was our strength (3 of 5 returning), so can it possibly be that awful? This could be the year Arietta finally realizes his potential and if that were to happen we could end up being really good. Not saying it will happen, but some year Arietta could become what he is capable of becoming.

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

            Olt coming up and looking really promising so far. Vizcaino ready to throw triple digits. Rizzo, Castro, Castillo all proven to varying degrees and possibly ready to take it to the next level.

            There is so much to be excited about this season, if you’re not that is your choice but there is an opposing choice.

      • holy cow

        It is easy not to get excited about a team projected to come in last.

        • Tony_H

          Well then try getting excited about some of the players, they may just surprise you.

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

          Yeah, and they may just not come in last. Nothing is guaranteed.

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

          Also, we are in a division full of postseason potential teams. We could win 10 more games and still come in last. I think that would be a heck of an improvement and given how much youth we’ll have a great sign of things to come.

          If you can ever get excited about something in the future than you can get excited about the Cubs this year. Ever look forward to a trip you book in November for the following summer? The trip isn’t here yet but I certainly have a little bounce in my step once I get my itinerary. Same thing here with the Cubs, except you never know.

          If absolutely everything goes right they could be in the wild card hunt. Not saying that will happen, as I would be shocked. But if Olt, Coghlan and Kalish all play well and become starters; Rizzo, Castro and Castillo all improve, Vizcaino dominates and anchors one of the better bullpens in the league; Shark wins 15 games along with Travis Wood, and Arietta finally reaches his potential, it could happen.

          Again, lots of what if’s and most likely about half will come true. But you never know. That’s what the ’69 Mets thought going into the season.

          • Tony_H

            You keep pumping up Coghlan, but without a trade he is on the outside looking in.

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

            I think Schierholtz will be traded. I see Coghlan starting the year as our PH specialist but eventually playing more. I agree that the Marlins should never have moved him to CF and that as a corner outfielder he has the potential to get back to ROY form.

          • Tony_H

            I think he is a role player at best.

            I think Roberts is ahead of Coghlan for making the team.

      • GaryLeeT

        If the pitching, and position players were coming along together, then I would get excited.

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

          You don’t have to get excited. You can be pleasantly surprised instead :).

          • GaryLeeT

            If they sniff .500 this year, I will be drinking it by the cooler full.

        • Tony_H

          Well then…….there is just no pleasing you :)

          I believe SP is easier to fill in FA to have a decent rotation than a lineup. Obviously the elite SP’s is what we need but a rotation full of 3/4’s will keep you in games if you have a good lineup and bullpen.

          • GaryLeeT

            I see that Scherzer turned down Detroit’s offer, and he’s going to test the market. However, I don’t see the Cubs going with 7 years for somebody that will be 31 during the first year of that deal. And he’s a Boras client, so take reasonable negotiations off the table.

          • BigJonLilJon

            True. And that’s what I think is Theo’s plan. Build the position players through the prospects and the staff by FA. If a SP prospect comes through – fine. Got to remember… Shark most likely gone, Wood most likely cant repeat last years numbers, Jackson will improve but not likely a long term thing. Arietta still a mystery.

    • John_CC

      Absolutely Suz! This is the way it was designed to happen and it looks like it’s actually beginning to take shape. I’ve waiting for this. Olt making the roster was the first chip to fall. And the fact that he truly earned the job and wasn’t just penciled in because that’s what “they” wanted makes it exciting.

      And once 2B gets sorted out, that IF is full of young players with high ceilings and respectable floors.

  • GaryLeeT

    “Samardzija can’t wait for the season to start and he’s really liked what he’s seen in camp this spring.”

    That’s a little short on specifics, and quite rose colored. So far this spring the Cubs pitching is ranked 26th, and the hitting 28th. I thought the pen would be improved this year, but now I have my doubts.

    • J Daniel

      None of those games count so all of that does not matter. Now, with that said, still a lot of what are causing those numbers will not be around that much longer.

      • GaryLeeT

        I didn’t say they counted, but to think they don’t matter, is just plain silly. That’s like saying nobody was even trying.

        • J Daniel

          I still don’t think most of those numbers matter that much and don’t get to caught up in them. Too many variables. Split squads, warm weather, light air, pitchers working on stuff and just trying to get ready. And, as we often like to discuss here, small sample size. Season starts and the numbers change right away.

        • Tony_H

          They were trying, trying to work on things. You can’t take ST numbers for a team and make anything out of it. If the goal was to have the best ST numbers a team could do that, but at the expense of getting ready for the season.

          • GaryLeeT

            Every team is doing the same thing. So being being the worst at it doesn’t portend the future? Yeah OK

          • BigJonLilJon

            Between SS games, rosters being shuffled, injury concerns, experimentation…. spring training records more a reflection of luck than teams skills or regular season record predictions

          • Tony_H

            So does that means you take ST team stats as meaning something?

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

            Especially wins and losses. ST wins and losses are usually a predictable indicator of the world series…. :) As in the team that loses the most may win the WS.

          • GaryLeeT

            Here is a puzzler for you. Guess which teams were #1 & #2, in pitching last spring?

          • Tony_H

            By ERA Red Sox and Cardinals, by WHIP Red Sox and Yankees.

            I will take this question as your way of not answering directly to mean you DO think spring training team stats tell you what to expect on the season.

          • GaryLeeT

            No you’re right, it’s all just an incredible coincidence. My general feeling is that if a team is pretty well set, like the Cards, then no, it doesn’t. But if a team is doing a lot of auditioning, then yes. Spring training or regular season, I just don’t see how the general school of thought that ” the cream rises to the top” doesn’t apply. Like it did in last year’s spring training.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I have seen studies where teams that lead the Cactus league historically go on to win their divisions.

            But that has no relevance here. : ) We are not leading the Cactus League for 2014.

          • Tony_H

            Go ahead and research how often that has happened. I am sure you will find it very rare the 2 WS teams led ST in ERA.

            I think all would agree that Kershaw is the top of the pitching crop and his ST stats were bad.

            9.20 ERA
            1.70 WHIP

            I guess the Dodgers as the 18th ranked team in team ERA for ST won’t be going to the World Series this year. At 18th, they shouldn’t even make the playoffs.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Kershaw missing his next start.

          • Tony_H

            But from what I have seen is they feel will start on the next Friday, the 4th.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Historically, pitchers who sign the big contract in the offseason, are injured the very next season.

            I wouldn’t have drafted Kershaw in the first 100 rounds……LOL

          • cubtex

            watch what happens to the 25 year old Japanese guy that Theo wanted to sign to a long term. Yankees will get a couple of years out of him until he breaks down.

          • Tony_H

            Of course the 1st time I ever take a SP in the 1st round, he will have an injury riddled season.

            I have to believe the Dodgers FO is more worried about their $180M investment than I am with my fantasy team.

          • cubtex

            Long term contracts for pitchers are a kiss of death.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Does that affect your viewpoint about signing the Shark long term?

          • cubtex

            I think they should trade him.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Well now, we agree.

            Probably should have dealt him last July. I have a bad feeling about the Shark and his probable 2014 performance.

          • cubtex

            the problem with win loss records is that they piggyback starting pitchers with rookies a lot of times who will not make the club. Just like Shark going 3 or 4 IP and then Rusin getting lit up in relief. Cain striking out 10 Cubs and unhittable and then another project or rookie gets lit up.

          • Tony_H

            He’s not talking about W-L record.
            Team ERA he thinks matters in ST.

          • GaryLeeT

            Since you were right there checking the stats, did you take a peak at 2012? Of the top 15 teams in spring ERA 10 were there for the regular season. You are defying the statistics, and logic when you deny that stats don’t mean anything.

          • Ripsnorter1
          • Ripsnorter1

            Here’s a Master’s study done by Pepperdine University….

            http://www.na-businesspress.com/AJM/SummersMR_Web12_1_.pdf

            And here’s the conclusion–ST STATS MATTER

            “As expected, both a team’s winning percentage and individual players’ batting averages are highly

            correlated with their performance in the previous year. Performance in spring training games is not as

            strongly correlated, especially when using small samples from one year at a time. However, preseason

            performance over a five-year period is significantly related to regular season performance, both for teams

            and for players, even when combined with the previous year’s performance in a multiple regression

            model. Spring training performance measures can significantly contribute to the decisions made by

            owners, managers, players, fans, and fantasy league players.”

          • Tony_H

            Let me highlight this sentence from the conclusion.

            “Performance in spring training games is not as strongly correlated, especially when using small samples from one year at a time.”

          • Tony_H

            “So what’s the takeaway here? Don’t fret if your favorite team gets slaughtered in spring training (a la the 2010 Diamondbacks), nor should you uncork the champagne after a red-hot preseason (see my 2010 Indians). But better teams are always more likely to win games, and the Grapefruit and Cactus League standings offer us at least cloudy window into the season to come.”

          • GaryLeeT

            You can’t pick out anomalies to counter generalities.

          • Tony_H

            From what I just read, it made the bold statement that over a 5 year period, teams that made the playoffs performed in top half of ST standings over the 5 year period. Well duh! Of course the better teams over a larger sample size will have a better record in ST games than worse teams.

            That is not the point.

            The point is you can’t take ONE years spring training stats and say that it will tell you the playoff teams this year.

          • GaryLeeT

            You responded to Rip, I just gave you a completely different angle to look at.

          • Tony_H

            Let’s test it out.

            Gary – Please tell us, based on ST team stats, which teams make the playoffs and World Series this year. No under 500 ST teams and teams must be ranked well in ERA and team batting AVG.

          • GaryLeeT

            Giants, Rays, Yanks, Angels, DBacks, Nats, Cards, and the Tigers, will all have pretty good years. I never mentioned W-L record, so you can’t add that as a factor.

          • Tony_H

            Since it was so obvious in last years ST stats, who is in the World Series out of that group?

          • GaryLeeT

            Rays or Tigers, and Cards or Nats.

          • Tony_H

            LOL! Can’t just pick 2. That’s ok

            I was thinking the 5th best Pitching staff this spring should be on your list. Marlins sporting a 3.52 ERA

            Let’s check your work
            ST TEAM STATS

            ERA
            Rays 1st
            Tigers 8th
            Cardinals 24th
            Nats 7th

            AVG
            Rays 10th
            TIgers 8th
            Cardinals 18th
            Nationals 22nd.

            I don’t think you used ST stats to pick your 4 top teams.

          • GaryLeeT

            It’s weighted with past regular season performances, off-season additions, and this years spring. See how the Rays are 1st in record, 1st in ERA and 10th in hitting, plus they were very good last year. You can’t see how that all points to them having a good season this year? Only their weak fan base keeps me from calling them the next WS champs, but I would not be surprised if they were. Now look at the Cubs they are nearly last in every category this spring, and had a bad year last season. How could a rational person see anything other than a last place finish for them?

          • Tony_H

            Talk about changing the subject. Cubs could improve 10 wins and still finish in last. Yet it would still be an improvement.

            So you are NOT basing your predictions JUST on ST team stats. Which is fine, I can’t imagine any rational person would do that.

            The Rays do everything right, except have the cash to keep their best players.

          • GaryLeeT

            The Cubs will improve their record this year, but only because the Reds, and Pirates will not be near as good.

          • GaryLeeT

            Red Sox and Pirates will not make the playoffs.

          • Tony_H

            Is this based on ST stats?

          • GaryLeeT

            Some.

    • BigJonLilJon

      Front end of pen is improved. But your right…. getting worried about the closer again!!!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Veras hasn’t looked all that good, but I am thinking Strop will take over the closer’s role before May is done. And the Fujikawa will be back, and he can set up Strop. And maybe Veras turns thinks around. But frankly his stuff is marginal for a closer. Of course the rule is “anybody can be closer.”

        • cubtex

          It’s spring training. Wait till the season starts before you judge any pitchers or players for that matter.
          This is not geared to you Rip believe me….but I wish people would learn not to read too much into spring training numbers.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You are right about ST numbers. But Veras’ stuff hasn’t looked so great. On the other hand, I watched Neil Rameriz hammering away the other day before they sent him down, and he was impressive.

          • cubtex

            Last 3 years.

            71 IP with 79 K’s
            67 IP with 79 K’s
            last year 62.2 IP with 60 K’s

            You don’t put up those numbers with poor stuff. His issue has always been command. I think he will be fine and no chance on Strop. That guy has no command. In fact I am predicting a 4 plus ERA for Strop this year. Walks too many and will not be so lucky this year with the Cubs as he was last. He will be more like he was with the O’s

          • GaryLeeT

            So the Cubs will perform better than the ST stats suggest? If you are the Cardinals, yes. The Cubs, not so much. Don’t think I won’t rub this one in.

          • cubtex

            Not a chance. Look at the Cubs starting rotation and that is all you need to know. They are counting on Ruggiano and Olt to hit in the middle of the lineup as well and neither of those 2 are ready to do that(imo) Olt possibly could one day….but should not be counted on to hit there to start the season. If anyone looks at this team realistically…Starting pitching is terrible and they will also struggle to score runs.

          • cubtex

            The great Jake Fox led ST one year in HR’s and RBI and I don’t think he ended up hitting any in the majors that year

          • Ripsnorter1

            That year was 2011. I think the O’s GM put him on the team as the last player to make it, but Buck Showalter didn’t want him. He sat on the bench and got only 61 AB, but he hit 2 HRs, fanned 7 times, walked 3 times. slugged .443. Not bad. Not bad at all.

            But he couldn’t field well enough, and probably spoke out too much to be a keeper.

          • Tony_H

            Tell that to Gary.

          • GaryLeeT

            Who could care less, because he’s using team stats to make his point.

          • Tony_H

            Don’t get this reply.

          • GaryLeeT

            Wasn’t your “Tell that to Gary” referring to me, and Jake Fox’s stats?

          • Tony_H

            NO It gets hard to tell unless you go over the name of the person that was replied to, to see the beginning of the post that was replied to.

            Of course that was confusing as well.

            This is Cubtex’s post I replied to:

            “It’s spring training. Wait till the season starts before you judge any pitchers or players for that matter. This is not geared to you Rip believe me….but I wish people would learn not to read too much into spring training number”

          • GaryLeeT

            Well, it’s still better than the indented format we used to have.
            R
            e
            m
            e
            m
            b
            e
            r

            t
            h
            a
            t
            ?

          • Tony_H

            L
            O
            L
            !
            !
            !

          • Tony_H

            FYI – I believe it was you that I talked to about Direct TV. I just signed up to switch today. Just wanted to say thanks for the info.

          • GaryLeeT

            I forgot. We can both get $10 off a month if you say I referred you. I will send you an e-mail with my account number, and full name.

          • Tony_H

            Sorry, you weren’t the only one I talked to and I put down a local friend whose son plays baseball with my son.

            Sorry.

          • GaryLeeT

            No problem.

          • GaryLeeT

            Gary Tschosik #16491916

            In a message dated 3/27/2014 1:48:24 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, notifications@disqus.net writes:

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro is not in today’s lineup

  • Ripsnorter1

    Castro still not playing in Cactus League games is bad news for the Cubs. He had a bad 2013, and now the entire ST was lost to him due to injury. He’s not getting as much of a tune up as one would hope for.

    • Tony_H

      He has been playing in minor league games and in some getting at bats every inning.

      • cubtex

        Most players will tell you that ST is too long. You don’t need all those games to be ready for the season. Castro will be fine

        • Tony_H

          I agree, just like in football where they are talking about going to 2 pre season games. The biggest thing about the length of ST is getting starting pitchers enough starts to get ready to go 100 pitch range.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Did you catch this ST article on Castro? It talks about the Cubs’ fiddling with his approach, and compares him to some past flame out SS.

          http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/45318/cubs-letting-starlin-castro-be-what-he-is

          • cubtex

            no I didn’t. thanks for sharing

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Trib: Castro says he’s 100 percent, expects to play Friday at Chase Field.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Olt and Kalish made the Opening Day roster

    • triple

      That is some great news for both of them. It seams as though Olt is a lock for opening day lineup, but I wonder if Kalish will be too… I sure hope so. There will finally be a good amount of young talent on the field for the Cubs, and I sure hope that is what’s happening on a daily basis this season.

  • Tony_H

    OK this is funny.

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 5m

    Thank Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer for the “cookies” as Olt and Kalish make the big league club. Fans excited to see if Olt is answer at 3B.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I promise I had that line in my report before Kaplan tweeted it. I will post it shortly.

      • Tony_H

        LOL! It is a good one.

  • Tony_H

    And I thought it was O L T

    Len Kasper ‏@LenKasper 3m

    Mike Olt pronounced “AULT” …kinda combo between “OHLT” and “AHLT” if that makes sense. Just asked him.

  • mixtoquente

    Some Unexpected Spring Training Stats–
    Looked at the following 11 players: Lake, Olt, Valbuena, Sweeney, Bonifacio, Ruggiano, Rizzo, Schierholtz, Castillo, Kalish, and Barney.
    Strikeouts/Plate Appearance: Best = Barney (9.8%), Kalish (12.2%), Schierholtz (13.2%). Worst = Lake (33.3%), Olt (28.3%), Valbuena (24.4%)
    Walks: Best = Barney (7), Kalish (6), Castillo, Schierholtz, and Valbuena (5). Worst = Lake, Sweeney, and Ruggiano (2)
    On Base Percentage: Best = Castillo (.417), Barney (.373), Rizzo (.365). Worst = Sweeney (.191), Lake (.255), Bonifacio (.304).
    Batting Average: Best = Rizzo (.313), Ruggiano (.300), Barney and Olt (.273). Worst = Schierholtz (.152), Sweeney (.156), Castillo (.194)
    Admittedly a small sample size, but all 11 players had a fairly similar number of at bats. Barney had the most walks, and had an excellent OBP. He struck out less than any player, and had a respectable BA of .273.
    He did have a terrible year last year. It hard to forget that, but both Castro and Rizzo had sub-par years as well, and yet everyone expects them to rebound to more “normal” levels? Why not Barney?
    Just a question…

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