Chat with Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs beat reporter Doug Padilla stops by Thursday to chat.
Padilla covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Doug Padilla (1:11 PM)
Ready to chat now. Just talked to Sveum. Here we go.
ESPN Chicago (1:11 PM)
Doug will be along shortly. Keep the questions coming ...
Frank (Carbondale, IL)
How is Gretzky's kid doing? Is he still with us?
Doug Padilla (1:12 PM)
Haven't been over to Fitch to check him out but the word is that he is healthy now. He spent most of the winter working out in AZ and is expected to play a full season.
Adam (Arl hts)
Does Tony Camana have options left for AAA?
Doug Padilla (1:14 PM)
Yes, Campana does have options which makes it more and more likely that Mather wins that final OF spot. Mather has cooled a little since his red-hot start but Campana remains ice cold. Mather just gives the Cubs more options, especially on defense since he can play both OF and INF.
John (Cincinnati, Oh)
If Volstad doesn't make rotation, is there any chance he is used in relief?
Doug Padilla (1:15 PM)
Probably not good because you want to keep a guy like that stretched out. But he has done everything to earn a rotation spot so far. Six scoreless in two starts. The rotation battle has been a good one outside of Travis Wood.
Matt (Wheaton, IL)
Doug, are there any under the radar prospects at spring training that we could see called up sometime this season besides the typical names we here like Jackson, Rizzo, and maybe Vitters?
Doug Padilla (1:19 PM)
OF Matt Szczur has raised some eyebrows in camp. And don't forget the impressive outing by lefty Jeff Beliveau over the weekend when he recorded five strikeouts in two innings to rebound from two rocky outings. Rule 5 right-hander Lendy Castillo has also made a ton of progress in the last month.
justin (urbana, IL)
How many wins can we expect from the Cubs this year?
Doug Padilla (1:20 PM)
Was recently e-mailed some Vegas odds for baseball teams and the over/under for Cubs wins was about 72.5. Seems like they can get a .500 club out of this squad at least, so I'll go with 80.
kevin b (warrenville IL)
i do not see how BJax will make the mlb debut this year. Who will/would want Byrd or Soriano? Byrd does not do anything that well. Soriano provides home runs at too steep of a cost. What am i missing?
Doug Padilla (1:22 PM)
You're missing the fact that Byrd and Soriano are owed a ton of $$$. It's just a fact of life that those guys will play. If other teams were willing to take on that money those guys would probably be moved. But you are correct in thinking that Jackson has done everything asked of him and more to show he deserves a chance.
Any progress regarding Jorge Soler?
Doug Padilla (1:23 PM)
Still nothing. He isn't even officially a free agent yet. But the Cubs did clear a spot on their 40-man roster this week which led to speculation that something could be happening soon.
LEo (durant ia)
Do you think the cubs have a chance at the NL Central?
Doug Padilla (1:24 PM)
The division doesn't seem to be as tough as recent years, but the Cubs are at least a year away minimum. So if you're asking about this year I think everybody is pretty much united in saying it won't happen.
Albert (Los Angeles)
If you had to pick one to make the 25-man out of camp would it be Beliveau or Dollis, if at all?
Doug Padilla (1:27 PM)
Tough call since Beliveau is a lefty and those guys have a ton of value when they're going well. But Dolis has three scoreless innings this spring, allowing just one hit. Sveum praised Dolis just this morning. Still I'd say probably neither make it. There are a lot of pen spots open, though, especially if Samardzija makes the rotation.
With a bad team struggling to even have a lead, how long will the Cubs put up with Marmol blowing saves?
Doug Padilla (1:29 PM)
So far Sveum seems content with letting Marmol prove himself in the regular season so it's just about decided that he opens the season as the closer. The other issue is who closes games if he doesn't? I know the instinctive reaction is to say anybody else, but this coaching staff wants to tap into Marmol's experience in the role first.
Are the Cubs giving Cardenas enough opportunity to win the 2B job?
Doug Padilla (1:31 PM)
Barney certainly is in the lead for that job, but Cardenas is getting his chances. There will be lots of playing time for everybody since the Cubs will play 10 games in six days (four split-squad days) so nobody can complain about opportunities.
BJack a future leadoff man?
Doug Padilla (1:33 PM)
As the system is constructed now it would be either him or Campana. But Jackson is regarded more since he's a five-tool guy. I'd say that they are certainly picturing Jackson in the leadoff role down the stretch, unless the need for a run producer further down in the order is present.
Doug, given that the Cubs are very short on big-time power, are we going to see them being more aggressive with baserunning and "small ball?" Speed has not been a strong suit of this team over the years.
Doug Padilla (1:35 PM)
There is little to no speed on this club (not counting Campana if he makes it) so steals are out. Sveum is an NL guy so they could put on plays with guys on base. But base running is being stressed in camp and things like secondary leads and going first to third are being stressed.
Adam (West Virginia)
Why haven't the Cubs been going after any big name free agents?
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
The push this winter was to add starting pitching candidates whose contracts were still under club control. They aren't going the free-agent route until they can narrow thier focus on what they need. Theo and Jed want to build young talent first. The free-spending days will be put on hold under this new management.
Follow up question: what do the new Cubs brass see in Barney that makes them think he'll provide any upside over last year's decent defense/low OBP performance? The Barney love is like Ryan Theriot: the Sequel.
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Yes, the Barney-Theriot comparisons have been heard more than once this spring. Barney does provide more defense. The hope is that if Barney can avoid losing weight this year and not hit a wall physically, he might be able to take the next step in his development. Stay tuned.
Does DeWitt make this team coming out of spring training?
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
They need a lefty bat off the bench, Sveum likes his hitting approach and he can play multiple positions. For now it looks like he has a job.
What is the word on Manny Corpas?
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
He looks good. Was a bit rocky in his first outing, but followed that with two scoreless outings. He was able to strand a runner in his last outing yesterday. Along with Dolis, Sveum also praised Corpas this morning. Lots of bullpen spots to be had so he's in the mix.
Mike (Oak Lawn)
Could you see the cubs taking a longer look at Rizzo for opening day given Lahair's struggles?
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
No. The plan is to still have Rizzo start in Triple-A. Sveum is still saying that LaHair is his guy and LaHair has a little over two weeks to get it going. He's faced a lot of lefties this spring, something he won't be doing in the regular season. We'll see how he does against some righties this week.
Adam (West Virginia)
What are the chances Jeff Baker becomes the everyday 3rd baseman?
Doug Padilla (1:45 PM)
Ian Stewart's the guy at third. Baker is set for a utility role. That isn't expected to change at all.
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Sorry for the delay in getting started. Watch today, and for the remainder of the spring, for Cubs updates at ESPNChicago.com and on Twitter at @ESPNChiSox. See you next week.