Chat with Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Chicago Cubs beat reporter Doug Padilla stops by Wednesday to chat.
Padilla covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Wednesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Doug Padilla (12:56 PM)
Welcome to today's chat from Houston. Here we go.
P LEE (Des Plaines)
Do you think that Castro's production will continue to falter throughout this season if he stays in the 3 hole with nobody around him? He's a free swinger to begin with and will not see many hittable pitches in that spot.
Doug Padilla (12:58 PM)
We all know Castro is a free swinger. Being in his current funk puts a spotlight on that, though. He just seems to be in one of those ruts. It happened to him last season as well, but he clearly knows how to hit and will no doubt recover. The No. 3 spot certainly doesn't fit his talents, but he is the team's best hitter and is basically on pace for 100 RBIs.
Paul Lee (Palatine)
As the Cubs fall further into the MLB cellar this season and attendance begins to plummet later in the summer, do you think that Epstein will change his plans at all in an attempt to expedite the rebuilding process?
Doug Padilla (1:00 PM)
Absoletely not. He is committed to the schedule that is in place. A playoff appearance in about four seasons is much better than an average club for another decade.
With no hope for the 2012 Cubs season, what would be the point of bringing up a guy like Rizzo or Brett Jackson and start their arbitration clocks ticking?
Doug Padilla (1:02 PM)
Don't count out the value of getting those early-career lumps out of the way now instead of next season. That being said, the Cubs know that 104 days of service would alter Rizzo's arbitration clock drastically. They say they don't worry about service time, but it's hard to deny it when a guy with that talent could be a free agent one season earlier.
jason chicago [via mobile]
Doug with no real pitching prospects in the minors ready to contribute in the near future, why would it be smart to trade Matt garza for praopects instead of build around him and smardz?
Doug Padilla (1:06 PM)
The options are being discussed. But if Dempster would agree to a deal and bring back a prospect, the Cubs could build around a 1-2 combo of Garza and Samardzija which would be pretty impressive if Garza stays solid and Samardzija continues to show what he has done. Look for pitching to be the target of this June's draft. The draft is a major priority for Theo, Jed and Co.
Gilbert (Guaynabo, PR)
Sooner or later Rizzo is going to be called up. Who is the odd man out? Lahair has played well, but so has DeJesus and Campana. Soriano is playing better too.
Doug Padilla (1:07 PM)
Its a real issue. For fans the easy answer is to just dump Soriano. But it just won't happen with that kind of money involved. You need a place to play and Rizzo only plays first.
steve s (batavia ia)
with 10 and 5 rights, how receptive will dempster be to a trade? and does he have much value if the cubs decide to move him?
Doug Padilla (1:10 PM)
The best route is to probably work a deal with a contender for prospects and then present that to Demp, telling him there is no hard feelings with whatever he decides. He would get the chance to go a team that has a chance of winning and would see first hand the Cubs could get somebody they can use down the road.
Gilbert (Guaynabo, PR)
What will happen when the trade deadline aproaches? I know Castro is not going to be traded, but is anyone else on our current roster untouchable?
Doug Padilla (1:13 PM)
Everybody but Castro and probably Samardzija is fair game. It seems likely even LaHair could be had for the right price. There are plenty of teams that could use some power at first base. But the idea of having two lefty bombers like LaHair and Rizzo teaming up in the same lineup at Wrigley Field for years to come would mean the Cubs would only act on a whopper of a deal.
Why isn't Mather getting more playing time at 3rd? His hitting has been much better then Stewarts and he not a bad feilder.
Doug Padilla (1:15 PM)
Stewart is the much better fielder with more raw power. Mather might be a better all-around hitter though. Also, the left-handed lineup has shown more than that righty lineup ever has this season. But Mather certainly has been getting more time there of late.
Michael Perez (Orland Hills, IL)
Is it a little easier to try and trade Soriano now that he's on a streak? This way LaHair can try out left and they can bring up Rizzo.
Doug Padilla (1:19 PM)
I know the instinct is to trade Soriano, but if you don't want him why would somebody else just take him off your hands? The Cubs would probably have to eat more than $40 million in salary to get him off the roster now so it's not like it gets the money off the books.
zues (phoenix) [via mobile]
What's the status of Josh Vitters. Anyword on when or if we will ever see him . He was drafted ahead of Buster Posey whom I'm wanted to cubs to draft . But we had Geo and that didn't work out .
Doug Padilla (1:21 PM)
Vitters is having just a so-so season at Iowa. Average in the .250-.255 rnge with a handful of home runs and 20 RBIs. He showed spotty defense this spring. They know he's about two years away which is why Stewart got a two-year deal in the winter.
Lee Paul (Chicago)
Please tell me that it's only a very short term solution and we're not going to have to live through another Koyie Hill era!
Doug Padilla (1:23 PM)
Koyie Hill might be around for a little bit. When Clevenger is healthy he will take over the starting spot. But Welington Castillo might go back to Iowa when he is healthy again. Hill might be the backup to Clevenger until Soto returns in about 6 or 7 weeks.
Can you give Cubs fan any hope for the future? Anything at all?
Doug Padilla (1:25 PM)
There is a structured plan of building from within under Theo and Jed. Stick around. Whether it works or not it's going to be fascinating.
Can you explain to me why some people are getting upset that Sveum is talking tonight off to see his son graduate HS? I mean its mid-May and this team is terrible... what purpose would it serve to keep the man from seeing his kid get his diploma?
Doug Padilla (1:27 PM)
Haven't heard the outcry and don't care to. If Sveum tried to skip the graduation, Jed or Theo would have probably forced him on a plane to attend. Family comes first. It has nothing to do with whether the team is good or bad.
Lee C (chicago)
Hi Doug, do you think they need to FIRE the hitting coach ??
Doug Padilla (1:27 PM)
No. Heck no.
P-Lee (Des Plaines)
If the Cubs actually are good in 3 or 4 years, will Dale Sveum be around to see it?
Doug Padilla (1:29 PM)
He better be. If he had to go through the lean years he better be rewarded when it gets better. He has the respect of the clubhouse and that hasn't necessarily been the case around here lately.
Can we expect more of the same from Travis Wood? He's certainly done enough to secure a starting job, right?
Doug Padilla (1:31 PM)
He'll get an extended chance for sure after the two outings up here already. The difference is that he looks so much more confident now. His command is so much better and he is changing speeds so well. It's an added bonus that he can handle himself at the plate too.
Did you hear about the guy who left 2 cubs tickets on the dashboard of his unlocked car? When he came back there were 4.
Doug Padilla (1:32 PM)
An oldie but a goodie. OK, back to baseball.
Lee Bgame (Chicago)
When Marmol returns, why not give him the closer job back? If they're going to trade him they need him to produce and if they're going to keep him he's too expensive to be a middle reliever.
Doug Padilla (1:34 PM)
It won't be that simple but you have a point. But if he isn't showing that he is worthy of that job he won't get it back. And he better be showing some electric stuff or a team isn't going to touch him. The last year and a half of struggles aren't forgotten so quickly.
who do you think will be the token cub at this years all star game? LaHair? Castro? someone else?
Doug Padilla (1:37 PM)
Hard to predict because when a losing team gets its one player, it isn't always the player that deserves to go. It still seems like with numbers as good as any first baseman, LaHair could get the call. Great story for a career minor leaguer to be an All-Star after getting his first real chance.
Is there more to the Kerry Wood retirement than meets the eye? He wasn't productive this year, but he seemed to be throwing the ball OK. Makes me wonder.
Doug Padilla (1:39 PM)
Not sure what you mean exactly Lee. He did have a shoulder that was killing him and he was uncomfortable with a bullpen spot that couldn't be used but every fourth day. To leave in the middle of the year is never an easy call for a veteran of his status.
Nizzi (Des Moines)
Doug, can LaHair play 3rd? Seems moving LaHair to 3rd could be a possible solution with Stewart struggling.
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
Third base has never been under consideration. Just the outfield. I know Miguel Cabrera is doing it, but it doesn't seem to be in the cards with LaHair.
Lee Gamme (Chicago)
Aren't the Cubs setting up their young hitters to fail when they don't have anybody of any value hitting before or after them? Makes it even easier for a veteran pitcher to get out a young hitter.
Doug Padilla (1:42 PM)
It has been far from the perfect setup all season. But this was going to be the major transition year. The Cubs were going to have to take their lumps and everybody knew it. It just seems to have shocked a lot of people now that it's here.
Ryan (Salt Lake City)
Why did the Cubs front office just let John Gaub go?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
He didn't make the roster but was out of options. He ended up getting claimed. It wasn't that they didn't like him but systems are in place so you can't stash a guy forever.
Are we the worst bunting team in baseball?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
Could be. The interesting part is they try so darn often.
How long do you think Dale keeps Starlin in the 3 hole?
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
Probably won't be there after this road trip. Everboody thought he was going to make the change on Monday but he held off because the lineup was going to change so much with the Cubs facing three lefties this week.
Will the retirement of Kerry Wood have much affect on the Cubs?
Doug Padilla (1:47 PM)
It seemed odd that everybody thought it was going to instantly make the bullpen better. But taking a veteran out of a key role and going to an unknown talent isn't always the best bet for success. But if he couldn't do it anymore, what can you do?
do you still think the cubs will contend in 3 years
Doug Padilla (1:49 PM)
They certainly have to be on the right track by then. If we're talking about the worst win percentage in May come two or three years from now something went drastically wrong. But yeah, there's no reason to think Theo and Jed won't be well on their way. This year's struggles don't change that. We knew this was going to be rough.
I think the LaHair we are seeing today is the one we will get for the rest of the season. Your thoughts?
Doug Padilla (1:51 PM)
Absolutely not. The guy has talent and confidence. Can he sustain his April and early May for a full season? Probably not. But it would be shocking if he doesn't turn things around very soon. He's very bright with his approach to hitting.
Shaun H (Crown Point, IN)
Do you think Kerry Wood will stick around with the Cubs organization? If so, what role do you see him in, coach? ambassador? scout?
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
The plan is to stick around. He's on mandated family time now, though. He'll be back in a month or two and will first help out with the bullpen as an extra coach.
Do you see Tony Campana as the regular starting CF? He has great speed, but I don't think he's more than a bench player on most teams. Seems they have too many light-hitting players and not enough guys who can drive the ball.
Doug Padilla (1:55 PM)
He can definitely be a starter in the major leagues, but there needs to be RBI talent around him. He's not a guy that's going to carry a club. But if enough productive guys are present he can be a very good fly-in-the-ointment type that can set the table for years.
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Off the the ballpark soon. Going on with the guys on ESPN 1000 later today at around 2:40.