Chat with Jesse Rogers, Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Friday, Jesse Rogers and Doug Padilla stop by to chat about Chicago's baseball teams. First, Padilla 12:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. ET talks Cubs and Rogers and special guest, second baseman Darwin Barney, follow at 1 p.m. CT with Cubs chatter.
Rogers and Padilla cover Chicago sports for both ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Friday at 12:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Doug Padilla (1:30 PM)
Welcome to the weekly chat. White Sox will go first this time. Some interesting stuff from White Sox camp here in Glendale this week, including Danks' return and Ventura saying he turned down a one-year contract extension.
Justin (Gold Coast)
Hey Doug! What do you think about production for Alex Rios this year? He had a great season last year and I'm worried he could take a step back again this year. Has anything changed for him in the offseason to try to prevent this? Thanks for your great work!
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
Rios' good-year, bad-year tendencies would suggest a bad year is coming. But he feels that changes he made last season, primarily standing taller in the batter's box, will help him maintain better consistency. The White Sox will need it. As a heavy right-handed hitting lineup, he and Konerko have some of the best numbers against right-handed pitching in the league.
Doug! De Aza played great last year until injuries derailed his season yet again..seems like injuries are the only thing holding him back from being great...any reason to think he can stay healthy all year?
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
No reason to think he can't stay healthy. Part of his issue was never going through an entire full season in the major leagues. That experience will be gold for him. And it's not only going to benefit him, Addison Reed and Nate Jones learned a lot by going through their first full seasons as well.
Nick (Waukesha, WI)
My question is about Gordon Beckham. Have we seen the best offensive play from him during his rookie year? Or are there signs that he might turn things around?
Doug Padilla (1:36 PM)
It continues to remain one of the big questions each spring. That rookie year set a bar that he has yet to reach again. Once again we head into a season where Beckham is saying he feels good and ready to improve. One difference this year is that Beckham has established himself as a plus defender. That has value, especially to a pitching staff. Everybody remains in wait-and-see mode about the offense.
Deano (Round Lake Beach)
What lefthanded hitters could be on the block besides Kubel? Could Ramirez be traded (shortstops are in demand around baseball) if a spring training phenom impresses (Or even Beckham is moved to ss Thanks,
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
The White Sox don't appear ready to make that drastic of a move to fill the lefty bat need. Ramirez certainly is not somebody they will shop around. They have him locked into a very team-friendly contract. Beckham is an interesting element, though. If Brent Morel can show something this spring and on into the season, Keppinger could move across the infield. The White Sox have options when it comes to second base. Beckham said he isn't worried about it and doesn't see fellow Georgia alum Keppinger as a threat. And SS isn't an option with Beckham.
Any candidates for the left-handed bat via trade?
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
All is quiet on the rumor mill right now. Everybody is interested to see what their rosters can provide. Right now, the White Sox like their lineup so to get a lefty bat in there it will require moving a starter they like. That would be a major move. It might be a situation where they wait to see how the lineup handles right-handed pitching once the season starts.
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
John Danks impressed everybody with his bullpen session Thursday. They saw plenty to like even though he wasn't throwing at full speed. Danks felt good today and is set to throw again Sunday before moving on to live BP. His first spring start should be March 4.
Which Sox players are going to play in the WBC this year?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
Of the roster regulars that would be Rios (Puerto Rico) and Crain (Canada). Young pitcher Andre Rienzo (Brazil) will also be leaving camp as well as minor-league 3B Andy Gonzalez, who will also be on the Puerto Rico squad.
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Lots of talk about Ventura rejecting a one-year extension this winter. The extra year would have taken him past the 2014 season and given him some of that job security that everybody craves. Ventura says he wants to wait and see if he is still a good fit before adding on more years, which is impressive. The skeptic would say that he wants to have the freedom to move on if he isn't having fun with the job. Some interesting decisions are to come in future years.
Over/Under of 35.5 on combined wins for Sale and Peavy..what do you got? I think i would take the over, I see Sale winning 19 or 20 and Jake winning 17-20. Thoughts? Thanks!
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
They had a combined 28 last year. Just took an informal poll of the beat writers in the room and the consensus seems to be that they will finish slightly under your number. It will be interesting to see how Sale handles his second full season in the rotation. He seems determined this year.
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Sorry to cut this a little short The club is heading off the field and Ventura is ready to meet the media. Look for daily updates at ESPNChicago.com and talk to you next week.
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
Just talked to Ventura. Have a little more time. Let's get to a few more inquiries.
I heard a story that Addison Reed is not the for sure closer. What other options are the White Sox considering? I thought Reed would have been a "lock" for the closer position...thanks!
ESPNChicago (2:07 PM)
Jesse will be along at 1:30 hopefully with guest chatter Darwin Barney. We're at the mercy of Darwin's schedule so we had to move the chat back a bit but stick around.
Doug Padilla (2:08 PM)
It's not exactly what you heard. The coaching staff wants to give the impression that the job is open to get the best possible performances out of everybody. But make no mistake, the job belongs to Reed. What's impressive is that regardless of what is being said, Reed wants to act like he needs to earn the job again so he will be determined this spring.
Joe G. (Monticello,indiana)
Who do u think is the sure fire replacement for A.J.?
Doug Padilla (2:10 PM)
The job belongs to Tyler Flowers. he will finally get his chance to put together a full season of at-bats. One word of warning is that Flowers will strike out more than A.J. and won't hit for as high of an average. But in Year 1 of having the job the White Sox want him to focus on handling the pitching staff first with his offense being a secondary concern. Not saying it will stay that way forever, but for now that is how they will handle it.
Doug Padilla (2:12 PM)
Stay patient everybody. Jesse will join the chat soon. Again, thanks for the questions and talk to you soon. If you have a Twitter account you can follow at @ESPNChiSox. If you don't have a Twitter account, what are you waiting for?
Jesse Rogers (2:26 PM)
Hey cub fans, hang in there...we'll start our chat in a couple minutes with Darwin Barney as our special guest..be back with you in a couple minutes..
Jesse Rogers (2:33 PM)
Ok, welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. Thanks for being patient..Spring training workouts, Day 4, just ended here in Mesa...Im at the Cubs facility and 2nd baseman Darwin Barney is with me for a few a minutes...so fire away with questions
Darwin, what have you done in the off-season to improve your offense?
Darwin (2:35 PM)
I went out to Az in November with Brett Jackson and the coaching staff and we were focusing on tweaking a couple things in our mechanics..In the past I had been a little steep and was content with shooting the ball the other way..we're trying to take advantage of good counts and drive the ball to all fields...I also upped my workout regiment and came into camp bigger and stronger than I have before..
Ryan (St Joe, MI)
Hello Jessie and Darwin, Darwin, every ball player has a play, swing, game or series of events that creates a "I get it" moment in their career. All of a sudden you become more aware, the ball looks bigger, the game slows down. When do believe was yours, and what were the circumstances around that epiphany? P.S. see you in Mesa soon!
Darwin (2:37 PM)
I think the moment you truly believe in yourself is the first step and it usually takes some time at the big league level to know you belong and know what it takes to last..for me it was dedicating myself to be a 2nd baseman. Id always considerd by myself a SS..even in 2011..so that offseason after 2011 I focused on learning on becoming a 2nd baseman and what it took to make every play...offensively, I feel like Ive held my own at times, hopefully that moment that you are talking about will happen..
Joey North Dakota [via mobile]
Will darwin be asking brandon phillips any fielding advice this year? Or offering any?
Darwin (2:38 PM)
A few years back when I was just making the transition to 2nd..Brandon took time out between innings at a Spring trianing game to talk to me about turning the double play...I was grateful for that but at this point Im assuming there wont be any dialogue as to how to play the position going back and forth..
Eric Nagel (Homer Glen)
Hey Darwin, big fan here. When you were chasing the record for your errorless streak, did you feel any pressure or a sense or nervousness when fielding routine ground balls as you closed in on the record?
Darwin (2:40 PM)
The only days that I really had it on my mind were 112, 113 and 141...those were the days where people didnt leave me alone so I had no choice but to think about it...defensive streaks are differnt than offensive streaks..they promote offensive streaks, everyone knows about it...no on wants to talk about a def streak and be the reason for jinxing it...
Jesse Rogers (2:40 PM)
Except the media of course...we jinx everything..back to Darwin
Ryan (Woodstock Il)
Darwin, what's your favorite part of being a Chicago Cub?
Darwin (2:41 PM)
The history, putting on the uniform everyday and what it stands for to be a Cub.
Phil (Chi, IL)
Hey Darwin does all the media talk about Baez effect your approach and mindframe for the upcoming season??
Darwin (2:42 PM)
Not at all..moving forward if we're going to be a better club we're going to need players like him to pan out.If I take care of my job, we'll all be on the field together
Mike (Oak Lawn)
Darwin, be straight with us for a minute. You're a better defensive shortstop than Starlin right? Ever give him any flack over some of his miscues?
Darwin (2:44 PM)
First of all I envy the way he makes plays..I spent my whole life perfecting SS but my calling as of now is to be the best 2nd baseman I can..Starlin is one of the most talented players Ive ever played with and I'm not conivnced I'd better than him there but thanks for that!
Bob (Chicago, IL)
Darwin, how do you feel about being named after a purple dinosaur?
Darwin (2:46 PM)
When I was in High A ball they had a thing called the Taco Bell "K" man and if you struck out when you were the K man everyone in the stadium got a free taco and the picture next to the taco bell sign was a Charles Darwin face on a Barney dinosaur body...Ive learned to embrace it or maybe Ive been forced to...
Darwin, do you have any nicknames in the clubhouse?
Darwin (2:48 PM)
D-bar, Little D, Barn Dog, Barnacle, Barns, and my sis calls me Darweeny...my fav of all time is from the owner of the company Grinds..he called me "Survival" for Charles Darwin...it never stuck but wish it did...
Ron Burgundy (San Diego)
Darwin, you come from a family of dentists, if I remember correctly. At what point did you know that wasn't for you?
Darwin (2:49 PM)
I went into college under the pre-dentist program and relaized fairly quick once spring came around and I was supposed to take a big chemistry class maybe it wasnt for me...plus I started to hit the curve
Darwin - Congrats on the Gold Glove!! Do you feel that playing day games at wrigley has an affect on your performance over the course of the year? There is a lot of talk about how days games can affect a player
Darwin (2:51 PM)
Baebeall is all about routines so the tough thing about playing at Wrigley is when you come home you have a diff routine than on the road..road games youre going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning, getitng back from the park real late...at home, youre trying to get to bed early and wake up early..its not the easiest but it comes with being a cub and its no excuse, we're all lucky to wear the uniform...
Jesse Rogers (2:51 PM)
Ok, thats it for Darwin..thanks for his time...he's got post workout, workouts to attend to..Ill keep going with the chat now...
Can the Cubs surprise anyone and actually make it as a wild card team this year?
Jesse Rogers (2:54 PM)
Highly, highly doubt it. They can surprise and contend but that doesnt take too much...they can claim "contending" by being 5-10 under .500..for the wildcard at least...but making it, almost impossible..probably
Who do you think is on the hot seat or on a short leash with production and expectations at the start of the season? Not sure what happened last year, but I would think that a great jump start is critical to get and keep fans in the seats this year.
Jesse Rogers (2:55 PM)
As in players? Ian Stewart...coaches or front office? no one, unelss its a secondary coach, etc.
What's the feeling around camp for the upcoming season?
Jesse Rogers (2:56 PM)
Simply put: better than last season...no one can go much farther than that...should easily be better unless they gut the team again at deadline or shut guys down, etc. which is all still a possiblity!
How many innings do you expect Shark and EJ to get over the season? Also how many homers for Castro and Rizzo?
Jesse Rogers (2:57 PM)
Is there any Buzz besides Soler around camp right now?
Jesse Rogers (2:57 PM)
Yes, what a physical specimen...towers over other guys
Hey Jesse, during Jackson's interview I noticed he seem adament about wanting to start this season in the majors. Do you think if he starts at AAA it can damage him psychologically moving foward?
Jesse Rogers (2:59 PM)
Nah, I get the feeling he's just being Mr. positive..theyve already told him its the minors..be differnt if they promised him something else..look, one yr from now, if all goes well hes the starter for 10 years...his job to lose so knowing that he may as well go out and have the nest AAA season he can have..
How has Baez looked in camp so far?
Jesse Rogers (2:59 PM)
Why didn't Ian Stewart show up to camp early? Doesn't he need the work? It just feels like he maybe feels too secure with his job at 3b and would rather tweet all day
Jesse Rogers (3:00 PM)
He's here now..and I dont disagree with you..hopefully he's been getting ready on his own...either way , plenty of time but if he gets off to slow spring might point to that
Robert (Tinley Park)
60 homers for Castro & Rizzo? What are you smoking? More like 35-40.
Jesse Rogers (3:01 PM)
Really? You dont think 30 and 30 is a possiblity? Ok, maybe itll be more like 20 and 20...I say no way...will be more..
Jesse (Springfield, MO)
Do you see the cubs making any big trades before or during the season?
Jesse Rogers (3:02 PM)
Sure, during...anyone from Garza to Hairston will become available if they fall out of it...think they have one more year max of acquiring prospects...
Who do you see winning the last two rotation spots for the Cubs this Spring?
Jesse Rogers (3:04 PM)
As has been written over last couple days I'd say Fledman and Wood mostly cause Baker might not be ready...Villanueva is destined for pen unless there are injuries
Jesse Rogers (3:04 PM)
Feldman not Fledman!
Who are you most excited about to see in camp?
Jesse Rogers (3:05 PM)
Probably like most, Soler and Baez..Soler smacked it around today...I casually mentioned to Theo "Sure he's only good for A ball?" Answer was yes
Do you get the feeling that the younger players take advantage of the opportunity to discuss baseball with former players and which current players stand out in doing so?
Jesse Rogers (3:06 PM)
Yes, the picthers have both Wood and Sutcliffe to go to..
Jesse Rogers (3:07 PM)
Thats going to do it...have to jump in the locker room..hope you enjoed having Barney answer a few questiuons..follow me on twitter @espnchicubs...check out the blog..new stuff everyday..today, on video, Brett Jackson shows me a little of his new swing...up now....talk next week on the chat and on twitter throughout...long season to come!