Chat with Rogers, Justin Grimm
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Tuesday, Jesse Rogers stops by to chat along with special guest, pitcher Justin Grimm, about the Chicago Cubs.
Rogers joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join Rogers Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Jesse Rogers (1:03 PM)
Hi all. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. This time from SUNNY Cincinnati. Last night was a mess so now we're down to a 2 game series. They haven't announced a make-up date yet. I'm sitting in the lobby of a hotel with reliever Justin Grimm (@Grimmreaper51). Nice enough to give us some of his free time. So fire away with questions for him for now then I'll stay on after he leaves for the ballpark.
Do you have plans of moving into the starting rotation?
Justin Grimm (1:04 PM)
I definitely think in the future I plan on going back to the starting rotation but as for now I'm just going to be ready when I get the ball in whatever role I'm in. Right now that's in the bullpen.
Justin, who has the worst fashion sense on the team?
Justin Grimm (1:06 PM)
Hmm, I'll go with Travis Wood. I've heard enough other people call him out. There's a southern fashion sense that I don't think is too bad but I can see how others view it. So I'll go with him. And I'm nothing special in the fashion dept in case Woody reads this.
Aaron (Chicago, IL)
My question is for The Grimm Reaper, what helps you relax once you make an appearance coming out of the bullpen to get out of a base is loaded jam?
Justin Grimm (1:07 PM)
I wouldn't say relaxed in that situation but I just want to stay aggressive in the zone. The hitter has just as much pressure as I do. I just want to throw strikes especially with the bases loaded.
Jason Indy [via mobile]
If they asked you to close what would your feeling on being a closer be?
Justin Grimm (1:09 PM)
I would gladly accept it. That's not my decision of course. Ninth innings can be tough but I think I can handle it. But I'm excited about pitching anywhere in the game.
Justin -- your fastball mph have taken an uptick. Is that just the difference between starting and relieving (you can let it fly for just an inning or two as opposed to keeping some in reserve), or are you doing something different to get the extra velocity?
Justin Grimm (1:10 PM)
I'm trusting it more. I'm not trying to aim a pitch. I'm not worried about making a mistake so my body allows it to come out better which might add some velocity.
Matt Canaday (Springfield, MO)
Who has been a player(s) that you have looked up to as a role model in your development as a pitcher?
Justin Grimm (1:11 PM)
Joe Nathan was a guy in Texas I looked up to. He taught me some finer things of pitching.
Which Cubs teammate would you least want to face in a tie ball game, risp situation?
Justin Grimm (1:13 PM)
I'll go with Junior Lake. He has pop and can run and if he gets a hold of it it's going to go a long way as we've seen.
Matt Canaday (Springfield, MO)
What do you like about playing in Chicago at Wrigley Field vs. other ball clubs and stadiums?
Justin Grimm (1:14 PM)
The atmosphere especially in the summer time. It's better than any other stadium. Wrigley Field is just really cool to play in and has a lot of history behind it. And I like when the wind blows in 30 mph.
Matt Brenner (San Francisco)
how do u as players keep it loose yet stay focused enough to shake off losing streaks and stay focused on winning?
Justin Grimm (1:15 PM)
You have to learn how to have fun no matter what and put yesterday behind you. Otherwise you'll just be consummed with it. It's a long season and there is still a lot of ballgames to hopefully win.
Gordie Rohrbach (Winnetka, IL)
Hi Justin, I love the cubs and I was wondering what your opinion are on the atmosphere in the clubhouse and how it could effect your play on the field.
Justin Grimm (1:16 PM)
A bad clubhouse shows up on the field sometimes so having a good one like we have can only help. We're able to stay upbeat despite a tough start.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
How did you adjust changing leagues?
Justin Grimm (1:17 PM)
I didn't think about it too much. When I came over to the cubs I had more experience and was able to learn from the past. Changing leagues wasn't a big deal.
Don (Fort Lauderdale)
Do you feel improvements in your game are attributed more to the natural evolvement of a big league pitcher or does the Cubs coaching staff get the credit?
Justin Grimm (1:18 PM)
I think I built a good relationship with the coaches here, Lester Strode and Chris Bosio. They've been a good help. We talk every day and go over things, good or boad going on.
vic (no cal)
Do you think pitchers get coddled too much with pitch counts and rest, etc.? With the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries, it doesn't seem to be working.
Justin Grimm (1:19 PM)
I like to throw a lot so I'm not in favor of pitch counts. I'm not sure about all the surgeries, I just know my arm feels good when I throw more as compared to less.
Chris Chicago il [via mobile]
Do you think we ghost have a wild card chance.
Justin Grimm (1:21 PM)
I would like to think this team has a chance to win every day so if we can string some together I don't see why not. It's early in the season and there is a lot of ballgames to be played.
Bob W. (Summerville, SC)
Justin- Hope you are enjoying your time with the Cubs. I know some crazy stuff happens down in the bullpen. Care to share any stories or superstitions that the Cubs pen are up to this year, or anything you guys do to lighten the mood down there?
Justin Grimm (1:23 PM)
Well I'm the guy they like to pick on because I'm a little different than most people. In our bullpen we have different handshakes for each guy down there. I don't know if I'd call it a superstition but it's something we do. You might see the pink backpack we give to the rookies. It's filled with candy and red bull. Right now, Neil Ramirez carries that down there every game.
Jim (San Antonio)
Do you feel a home-field advantage yet? What do you like about pitching at Wrigley?
Justin Grimm (1:25 PM)
When the wind blows in like I said before. And the fans give you a good vibe. And throughout the course of the year I'd rather pitch at Wrigley then anywhere else.
Justin Grimm (1:26 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. You guys are great fans. I've got to run to the ballpark to get ready for tonight's game and fill that pink backpack up! Go Cubs.
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)
Ok, we'll keep on with the Cubs chat. Appreciate Justin stopping by for a few.
Hey Jesse, what is your reaction to the Garza "trash talk"? I personally did not expect because he was always a stand up, classy guy in Chicago.
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
It's low hanging fruit right now for any ex-Cub. And we reporters are pretty good at bating these guys. Any vet that's left is going to say the same thing. Rebuilding stinks. Samardzija will say it soon enough. You don't hear Rizzo, Olt, Lake, etc say it because they are part of it. So to me it's just noise, no big deal.
s smith (batavia ia)
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, do you see a scenario where the Cubs do not trade Jeff Samardzija this year, make him a qualifying offer after next season expecting him to turn it down, then getting a draft pick from his new team? In a sense getting another year closer to competing and possibly then signing him to an extension if the rebuild is taking shape?
Jesse Rogers (1:29 PM)
No. Because he will test the FA market at that point and most likely leave. They can get so much more than a draft pick for him if they trade him before this July 31.
What all is taken into account when determining makeup games from rainouts? The Yankee rainout was scheduled immediately the next day but after the Cincinnati rainout yesterday they said it would be impossible to make it up this series. Obviously they have a choice since the Cubs will return to Cincinnati later this season(where as they won't with The Yankees), but what else goes into making that decision?
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)
That's the main decision right there. Is it the only or last trip to town? Then you have to play it. As I said on twitter last night (@espnchicubs) I'm sure ticket sales has sometihng to do with it. You can sell more for a game a month or two out than 12 hours away. Plus, if there is any chance at the bad weather continuing then they don't want to schedule a DH for the next day as well. So there are a few. Having said that they could have done it but I bet ticket sales had something to do with it. The make up will be in the summer when school is out.
J.R. Van Houghton [via mobile]
How are the Cubs perceived as an organization? Cheap? Hot destination? The Garza comments were out of line and noone has addressed them. It's sickening.
Jesse Rogers (1:33 PM)
Hate to say it but that's Garza being Garza. He likes to say things. Whoever pays is the destination and if all things are equal on that front than yes going to a winner becomes the next important item. When the Cubs show some signs of life they'll become more of a destination plus they'll be more likely to ante up. I'm just not worried about someone turning down the Cubs 2 yrs from now if the money is there.
What do you contribute Castro's early power surge to? Is he just seeing the ball better or did he make an adjustment?
Jesse Rogers (1:35 PM)
I think it's the first thing you mentioned and his confidence is way up. What I measure is how he's hitting breaking balls and he's doing a great job. It means he's identifying them and reacting correctly so he's trusting himself more. And this yr he's not letting hittable fastballs go by him.
You're live in an ESPN chat session. Say something super controversial that will blow up Twitter and get Justin Grimm on the front page of every newspaper in the country. Ready. Set. Go.
Jesse Rogers (1:36 PM)
Ha. He specifically said he didn't want to do that! Middle relievers can't afford to be controversial.
Going back to the Wrigley anniversary game, was Ruggiano really the best option to be playing right late in that game? With all of this matchups and platooning talk, I don't understand why Renteria didn't put his best defense in late to protect that lead. I think any of the other outfielders could have caught that ball and won that game.
Jesse Rogers (1:38 PM)
You very well could be right. I didn't think much of it at the time. It was 5-2 but those are the things you do think of after the fact. Of course the manager is paid to think about it before the fact. Anyway, you're not wrong.
With the way Tanaka is pitching, do you think Theo regrets not giving him the extra money?
Jesse Rogers (1:40 PM)
That's a tough call. prob not. But I guess it's not about right now but 5 yrs from now. It is weird. Where's the line? If he's good enough for 6 years, why not 7? But that out clause was a problem as well. So not sure the Cubs were going to get him. Can't pay him 100 mil only to see him leave just as Cubs are getting good. Can't risk that.
vic (no cal)
Jesse, thanks as always for the chat. Hindsight being 20/20, do you think the Cubs would still do the Rizzo/Cashner trade, even though Rizzo might be a cornerstone offensive piece of this club? Or do we need pitching THAT MUCH?
Jesse Rogers (1:41 PM)
Hindsight is the key word there...If they knew Cashner was an ace in the making than prob not. Pitching trumps hitting. And of course they love Rizzo but it's really hard to go backwards. If Rizzo lives up to his potential I don't have a big problem with it excpet that pitching is more important. That was the beginning of the rebuild. They needed everything.
Al (Downers Grove)
I understand that each prospect needs to dominate each level before being promoted. What I have never seen is how long they need to dominate at that level. Have you ever heard them give an AB amount or anything like that?
Jesse Rogers (1:44 PM)
Not really and I've asked. I think it's one of those you kind of know it when you see it. And diff for every player. A month would be on the short end so think more like 2. I would be surprised if we didn't see promotions over the course of the next 30 days. So by June 1.
You wrote an article saying Valbuena deserves his playing time. But you also support starting Olt and Lake regularly. Who would be the odd man out for you?
Jesse Rogers (1:44 PM)
Why has there been no news regarding Fujikawa status since he walked off the mound 2 weeks ago with injury?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
I'll ask today.
Bryan (Salt Lake City, UT)
Jesse, great work as always and love having Grimm join the chat. The more you can do that the better. It's so much fun hearing the behind the scenes stories about pranks, fashion faux paus, etc about guys in the clubhouse. Hope to see more of that.
Jesse Rogers (1:46 PM)
Thanks...timing is difficult...they are at the park for so many hours every day. Wish we all just showed near game time but that's not how it works!
Outside the Chicago bubble, there are lots of people questioning a rebuild approach that goes entirely with drafts and reclamation trades, and then pens a MLB lineup choosing to sit the young guys (position and pitchers) in favor of journeymen backup types ... so, do you think the rebuild is being approached correctly?
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
As I'm sure you've read (even today) I also question the lack of playing time in this first month for Olt , Lake, etc. They've gotten more now that they're down to 12 position players. The rest of the rebuild I think is being done the right way. Or close to it at least.
Do you see a scenario where the Cubs hold onto Jeff and try to sign a front line pitcher this winter? If you have a guy like Scherzer and Jeff as your top two guys with the others thats not a bad rotation. If they don't get a front of the line guy this winter then trade Jeff. Thoughts?
Jesse Rogers (1:50 PM)
Can't wait until winter. Max return is this year. Plus, they would have to pay Samardzija AND Scherzer..not sure they're prepared to do that.I like your scenario. Things will advance much quicker but maybe they just are worried about the agres of those pitchers while their hitters are just learning. Maybe the timing doesn't match. I think it's after 2015 they sign or trade for a big name or names,etc.
Tony (Michigan) [via mobile]
What are we going to do with alcantara once next spring rolls around assuming he, baez, and Bryant are MLB ready? He's having a great year in iowa, and would be a great switch hit bat in the bottom of the order. With Olt, Rizzo, and Castro all in the majors already that's 6 guys for 4 infield spots.
Jesse Rogers (1:52 PM)
I hate to do this to you but I don't know. Other than Bryant moving to the outfield. It will all play itself out or some will become trade bait. Let's see them have too many good players and then deal with it. That's why Olt needs 500 AB's. Let's find out.
Is there any word on how Soler is doing?
Jesse Rogers (1:52 PM)
I'll ask and get an update.
If the cubs had a couple of young stud pitchers like an Andrew cashner and Chris archer in their rotation along with wood and Jeff, do you think they would be more likely to rush some of their position player prospects up to the majors or would they be taking the same approach
Jesse Rogers (1:53 PM)
Probably the same approach.
when do you see Kris Bryant getting the call to the show?
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)
Worst case mid-year next season. Best case end of this one. I know that's kind of obvious but I cen't tell you for sure. All things are fluid.
Hey Jesse I dont always get the chance to be a at these weekly chats. Could you post a link to them after they conclude? Or where can I find them afterwards?
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)
Yes, will be in the Cubs blog
Lyndon (Mayfield) [via mobile]
Is it time to wave white flag...deal everyone we can right now (Hammel, Wood, Shark, Barney) & pull up two or three starting pitchers plus Bryant, Baez, and others.
Jesse Rogers (1:55 PM)
Sure, why not. But not wood. He's young enough and cheap enough.
Sad cubs fan [via mobile]
This year stinks. Did you see the schedule next month!?! They could be 20 games out by June 1st
Jesse Rogers (1:55 PM)
What the diff. 14 games out or 20. It doesn't matter. Play everyone that could be here longer term. That's all that matters.
Jesse Rogers (1:57 PM)
That's it for today. Thanks for the questions. We hit the draft starting next week. I don't get interested until May so get those questions ready. Read the blog every day and follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. Cubs and Reds tonight at 6 pm CST. I have an interview with hitting coach Bill Muellar later today so look for that in the blog. Thanks again. Talk to you next week.