The Daily CCO: The Rumors, The Roster and Other Cubs News

Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is 11 days away and the Cubs could be very active as teams continue to look at several players on the Cubs roster.

According to multiple reports, pitchers James Russell, Wesley Wright and Carlos Villanueva have drawn interest. And Russell could be the next player traded according to the Sun-Times. Darwin Barney, Nate Schierholtz, Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena could also be dealt, and if not by July 31 at some point in August.

The Yankees are thought to be interested in Edwin Jackson, according to two reports from the Sun-Times. But according to Comcast SportsNet, the New York Daily News shot down the Yankees interest in Edwin Jackson.

The players are bracing themselves for more change in the clubhouse.

Gordon Wittenmyer pointed out any trades the front office makes in the coming weeks will give the team “roster flexibility for potential prospect promotions and salary saving to add to their spending ability in 2015.”

And 45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong took one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Junior Lake, Mike Olt and Arismendy Alcantara

According to reports from the Sun-Times and Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs would like to keep Arismendy Alcantara on the big league roster past the weekend series in Arizona and that could mean Junior Lake and Mike Olt are sent out to make room on the active roster for Kyle Hendricks and another yet to be named starter.

PrintRick Renteria did not downplay that Olt or Lake could be optioned to Iowa after a rather rough four months in the majors. According to Patrick Mooney, Renteria said he did not want to speculate on roster moves that are on the horizon for his team.

Travis Wood

Travis Wood admitted to the beat writers Saturday night that he might be pressing in the wake of the trade with Oakland that removed Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the rotation.

Wood would like to show the team he can complete seven to eight innings a start, but “so far it’s not been happening.” Wood told the beat writers he will get there.

News and Notes

A comment from Starlin Castro is worth pointing out that was buried in a report from Mark Gonzales. After going hitless Friday night, Castro said Saturday, “Friday, I saw only one pitch for a strike, and I made three outs by myself. And that’s the kind of thing that makes you an easy out. Now I know they’re trying to get me to get myself out by chasing those pitches. And that’s not going to happen anymore. I’m going to see more pitches and take my walks.”

Javier Baez extended his hitting streak to 13 games Saturday night. Baez went 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI and he was hit by a pitch. Baez started at second base for the third straight game.

Emilio Bonifacio went 0-for-3 Saturday night and is hitless in three rehab games for the Smokies.

The Iowa Cubs hit three more home runs Saturday night. Logan Watkins, Eli Whiteside and Chris Valaika all went yard in Iowa’s 5-4 victory over Round Rock.

Jorge Soler went 0-for-2 with two walks in the Smokies’ doubleheader Saturday.

Kane County’s pitching coach, David Rosario, would not be surprised if Jen-Ho Tseng is in the majors by 2016.

The Cubs filed a lawsuit against the five people who dress as the Cubs unofficial mascot, Billy Cub.

According to a report from Jerry Crasnick, Alex Anthopoulos “makes more calls than anyone in baseball” and the Blue Jays’ GM is “in on everybody.”

This Day In Cubstory

2001 – Cubs acquired Michael Tucker from the Reds for Ben Shaffar and Chris Booker

1982 – Jake Fox, born

1980 – Cubs released Ken Henderson

1969 – At Connie Mack Stadium during the top of the third inning of the nightcap against the Cubs, play is stopped and the two teams moved silently to their respective baselines to look skyward as the crowd is informed word has been sent from Neil Armstrong to Mission Control in Houston that the Eagle had landed on the moon. The game was resumed after a rendition of God Bless America is played and a prayer is said for the astronauts.

1966 – Ernie Banks collected the 2,000th hit of his career in a 5-4 loss to the Reds at Wrigley Field

1954 – Gary Woods, born

1938 – Gabby Hartnett replaced Charlie Grimm as manager of the Cubs

1933 – Babe Herman hit three home runs, including a Grand Slam, and a single while driving in eight runs in a 10-1 victory over the Phillies at Wrigley Field

1929 – Hack Wilson his safely in his 26th consecutive game as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-1 in Brooklyn.

1911 – Frank Schulte hit for the cycle in a 4-3 Cubs victory over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Schulte ended the year as the first player in big league history to top the 20-mark in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases. Willie Mays (1957), Curtis Granderson (2007) and Jimmy Rollins (2007) are the other three players in the history of the game to accomplish the feat.

1886 – Mike Kelly recorded four hits, all singles, and scored four runs. Cap Anson, Jimmy Ryan and Abner Dalrymple homered in the third inning in a 20-4 win over St. Louis at West Side Park.

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • John_CC

    Thanks for the Sunday morning read Neil.

    I like the way Castro is talking, sounds like a maturing hitter. The big problem is that he and Rizzo are the only hitters in the lineup and no doubt feel a certain amount of pressure to produce. They really need someone that can hit slotted behind Starlin.

    • BigJonLilJon

      They have them…. Soler, Bryant, Baez to name the obvious ones.

      • Richard Hood

        Yep that will help move the pressure from Castro. I think you have this backwards. When those kids come up Castro will have more pressure on him not less. We need another veteran hitter to go space the kids coming up all through the line up and not back to back around Castro and Rizzo.

        I would really love to take a chance on a hitter that is going to get moved even if he plays an infield position because we need our Jason Werth type before the kids get up not after they are here and fail to produce.

        • John_CC

          Exactly. Castro obviously is not a cleanup hitter in a real lineup. I wish they could swing a trade right now for veteran hitter that could stick for another year. But even just for this year it would help Castro and Rizzo.

        • VBCubs

          I see Chase Headley being signed to a 2 year deal this offseason. He has the SD connection, hits from both sides, can play 3B or LF, and might not be super expensive to sign due to his off year this season. Plus I think his numbers would go up just by getting out of Petco.

          • Richard Hood

            That is possible but do not expect Theo to overpay for a guy ever. Some may call it cheap but it is more about value. I think that the FO will only sign a guy like that if they can get enough value on the contract to make sense.

          • Richard Hood

            That is possible but do not expect Theo to overpay for a guy ever. Some may call it cheap but it is more about value. I think that the FO will only sign a guy like that if they can get enough value on the contract to make sense.

        • BigJonLilJon

          Yes, but I was just stating that that player is not on the team. And I don’t see Theo going to get him this year.

          • Richard Hood

            Ahh yeah of little faith. Theo has openly stated that the teams needs more veteran influence before the waves start crashing into Wrigley.

      • John_CC

        I know there are hitters coming, but when any or all of those guys arrive Castro will not be hitting in the 4 hole.

        • Theboardrider

          Don’t be so sure. Castro has grown 1.5 inches in the past year. He’s obviously putting on more muscle as well. I said before that several young Latin players like Manny and even Sosa come up and for the first few years are skinny. Then thy fill out. Castro’s build reminds me of them. It’s by no means a sure thing, bu I could see by age 26 or 27 Castro being close to 215-220lbs. Hitting for 30 HR and playing in a corner outfield spot.

          • John_CC

            With guys like Baez, Bryant and Soler, Schwarber coming Castro is not going to be a cleanup hitter. And 30 HR is a lot in the new era, if the aforementioned guys become 30+ HR hitters we’ll be doing really good.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I don’t see that projection for Castro. Looks to me like a body type that could get pudgy before he gets muscular. He doesn’t have that athletic build like a Sosa. I haven’t showered with the guy, but that is how he looks to me.

          • SuzyS

            Sosa was a string bean before the PED’s. I remember watching him with the White Sox before he came to the Cubs…and no one, absolutely no one could have projected the things he ended up doing.
            Castro might get pudgy if he doesn’t dedicate himself to an off-season regimen…If he does the work, he could develop towards a Sammy -like body type.
            No one projected Sandberg as a HR hitter either…so one never knows. I believe things like that are a matter of heart and dedication.

      • J Daniel

        There is still going to be pressure … they will be the leaders … so a different kind of pressure. The pressure to win will also start. They will have a lot of help in the lineup though.

    • Theboardrider

      That was my first thought too. Great to see him ready to make that adjustment.

    • Neil

      John, you’re more than welcome. I am glad you liked it.

  • BigJonLilJon

    I know and understand the “clock ticking” business side of the game exists. But really….. We keep marching out guys like Lake and Olt, who clearly need regular at bats in AAA – and I constantly supported Olt myself. Guys like Schierholz batting 202,Barney 230, and the list goes on. The younger guys need to get up and learn. Even if they take some lumps. Would still be better results (odds are) than these lineups. Plus… it will be a good learning experience.
    I like what Team Theo has done so far. But babying these guys in the minors needs to stop. I’m really starting to wonder if they’re leaving them down in order to cover there own arses!!! They can’t become blemishes if they don’t allow them the chances?? Maybe not…. but we need better results at Wrigley, and the “clock ticking” and “need to have success at every level and learn to fail” arguments are getting old. Will be interesting to see attendance this second half when the Cubs have so many more home games.

    • J Daniel

      They are not babying them. They are being smart, IMO, in that they still need to add another high pick high impact player. They are terrible so there is absolutely no reason to bring these guys up until next year. The progression will start next year.

      I do know that when all of these guys arrive it will still take some time and that all of them will not hit. But, it is the way to go.

      • BigJonLilJon

        I disagree, but that’s just me. Depending on your definition of “progression” I guess. 500.. above… below.
        I still expect under 500 next year and a competitive team in 2016.

      • BigJonLilJon

        I disagree, but that’s just me. Depending on your definition of “progression” I guess. 500.. above… below.
        I still expect under 500 next year and a competitive team in 2016.

        • J Daniel

          By progression I mean you will start to see these guys arrive with them still being mindful of their clock. They will be better with the W/L, just a matter of who they sign on how much better.

    • paulcatanese

      IMO Olt is resigned to his fate at this point, he goes to bat with the idea of failure. I feel he was force fed to succeed and had additional pressure
      put on him by the FO. This was a great mistake on the FO’s part, they should have sent him down much earlier, now it’s at the point where he may never get any better AAA or not, he may be done. And Lake is fast approaching the same fate, confidence with these two has faded dramatically, too late now.

      • SuzyS

        Paul, I agree that Olt should be in AAA…and Lake also..;..As Cubtex advocated in the beginning of the season Olt should have had more time in AAA to begin with. But that’s the ideal.
        There were no spots for Olt at AAA…and I believe the Cubs have been protecting AB’s for the identified core playersd and Villanueva at the time. Olt was never looked upon as a core player…and hence became a sacrificial lamb.
        He still might be able to salvage a career however, if he can start producing in the minors….and is given consistent ab’s.

        Lake is a different case…he needs to have a lightbulb turn on and find some consistency in his game….If he finds it, it should be in the minors.

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  • Ray Koenig

    Interesting that there’s interest in Villanueva.

    • J Daniel

      Everyone in a race needs a veteran swing guy that can eat innings on certain days in order to keep the main guys fresh in those close must have games. He will not cost much, only a prospect that will more than likely never make it anyways.

      In all likelihood it will save the Cubs the remaining salary to bank going forward.

  • John_CC

    If the Yankees take Jackson off from our hands – even if the Cubs pay 75% of his salary – it would be amazing. How pathetically desperate would that paint the Yankees?

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, but then how amazing players react when they put on the pin stripes? At least for the first year. Don’t think it happen, but?

      • Richard Hood

        I am actually thinking Edwin would be a lot better if he got traded to the Yankees as well. His problem comes on the 2nd and 3rd time through he lineup when he starts shaking off everything the catcher wants to do. When he does that it slows the game down to the point that hitters can adjust. If he started doing that to McCanns he is the type that would put a boot to his butt and get the manager to get him out of there if he does not listen. So it would only happen once. Then you would see a much different Jackson on the mound.
        It all goes back to trust and communication between Jackson and his catcher. Right now (and the whole time he has been here) there has been none.

    • JasonPen

      I wouldnt pay ANY of the salary. That is the market value for a SP nowadays. If the Yankees are truly interested, let them take 100% of his salary. Its not like they have any top shelf prospects that they are willing to give for Jackson…

  • Theboardrider

    Lost in everything else going in with the team this season. Both good and bad. Is the fact that if the Cubs were in the playoff race, we would likely have two guys right near the top of the NL MVP discussion. They go back and forth I think. A few days ago in this site, Castro was named 1st half MVP for the Cubs. And I agreed with that. But as i today I think I’d have to give the nod to Rizzo as team MVP. I imagine they will go back and forth a few more times this season. But regardless, they are both special ballplayers. Rizzo finally gives us that legitimate feared power hitter. A guy with a high OBP that can go yard at any time and isn’t easy to K. And Castro is a great hitter too. But with his lower OBP and without the ability to hit 30 HR yet, I would like to see him batting over .300.