Chat with Jesse Rogers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Wednesday, Jesse Rogers stops by to chat about the Chicago Cubs' offseason.
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 Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET!
Jesse Rogers (2:30 PM)
Ho folks. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat, this week on Wed. We normally do them on Tuesday. I'm at beautiful AT&T Park for the rubber game between Cubs and Giants. It's been a perfect 3 days here in SF. And the Cubs have a chance to win the series from the first place Giants Fire away with questions. I'm here for the next hour with you!
The Cubs run differential is only -6, is it possible they are better than their record implies?
Jesse Rogers (2:31 PM)
No. I don't think so. It's still a small sample size. It means they've played some close games, had a couple blowouts go their way, etc. Big deal. I don't put a lot of stock in it, at least not in late May.
Randy W. (Manteno, IL)
Since good pitching is so hard to come by any chance we sign Samardzija to a long contract? I'm thinking if we did that signed tScherzer as a free agent, called up Baez, Bryant, and Alcantara for next year we could be very competitive.
Jesse Rogers (2:33 PM)
Sounds good to me but apparently not to Cubs brass. It's interesting how in one thought we can feel they're not THAT far away but in the next see that they are. It just doesn't look like Samardzija is staying. I wish I REALLY knew why: they're cheap (most think so) or they don't believe in him as an ace. There's prob some of both. Or maybe it's just his age and where they are in the rebuild but you could def make the case he's a young 29.
Theo will either be the best GM ever or his Sox titles will become he inheritted those titles. Do you think he wories about his legacy? And do you think that statement is correct?
Jesse Rogers (2:36 PM)
I don't think he worries about his legacy on a day to day basis and it's still pretty sealed in Boston. He didnt inherit everything. Cmon. And he still had a hand in last year even. Anyway, I do think this: the Cubs plan will be a colossal success story or failure. Nothing in between. It's a book to be written either way. And now we have a chapter on Manny!!
Clint B (Rushville, NE)
It seems Baez is being projected as the Cub's future 2B, if so, any ideas on where that would leave Alcantara when and if he's MLB ready?
Jesse Rogers (2:37 PM)
We can't be sure of anything right now but it was interesting Alcanatara was scheduled to play OF last night. I know it was out of need but I wonder if he could move out there..I did write recently that they need to start moving some infielders to OF starting with Bryant...Alcantara isn't a bad idea either..
Jesse, any idea what pitcher (outside Rodon, Aiken, Kolek) the FO likes the most in this years draft? Praying that one of the top 3 drop but i doubt it. Think the hawks can come back? These aint the wings from last year...
Jesse Rogers (2:41 PM)
I know it sounds like a cliche but if any team can come back from down 3-1 it's these Hawks but you are right about the Kings. And Sutter is as good as they come. Then again so is Babcock. It'll be tough. Anyway, I don't know who is next on their list. I think if you talk to a diff front office person you get a diff answer outside of the top 3 pitchers. Two weeks ago I didn't believe they would take a hitter, now I'm on the fence. Pretty much same way it went down last year. Looked like pitching then they went hitting.
Jim (New Hampshire)
I am curious about your thoughts concerning Vitters and Jackson. Are they still in the mix? I think both guys could use a change of scenery....maybe another club with a similar situation may be willing to make a swap. Thoughts?
Jesse Rogers (2:42 PM)
That's what will happen if they aren't released. They will be thrown in as part of a deal but not any centerpiece of course. Or sawpped for someone else's underachieveing players. They are done for all practical purposes in Chicago.
I've never been a huge Samardzija fan. He was a money hound who had not yet EARNED that kind of money. Well I was wrong. Pay this kid his asking price. The Cubs can't trade him away he is EXACTLY what they need to take the next step. Sign him and Scherzer and a winning season could be considered for 15-16 season.
Jesse Rogers (2:43 PM)
Not much to answer here. I do not disagree. As I've said very scientifically on the radio: you have to roll the dice at some point. Roll them on a guy like Samardzija.
Joshua (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
The Cubs offense has been among the worst in the majors this year, do you see any possibility for improvement this season?
Jesse Rogers (2:44 PM)
Not much. If they bring up Baez and Alcanatara and those guys get off to a good start, then maybe. But right now they are what they are -- and that's with Castro and Rizzo doing pretty well.
John (Chicago, Illinois)
Do you think Epstein could be in danger of losing his jobs if the Cubs aren't more competitive next season? I like what he's doing, but this rebuilding process is taking a long time and Cubs fans aren't that patient.
Jesse Rogers (2:45 PM)
No I don't think so.
What's your opinion on Travis Wood? I know there's time to decide but will the Cubs lock him up eventually? Seems to be a solid number 3/4 starter. I dont hear anyone complaing about the trade for Sean Marshall anymore..
Jesse Rogers (2:48 PM)
Right. I think we see his level. In a good year he can pitch like a 2 but he's probably best suited as a No.3. Think about a playoff team, Wood isn't a 1 or 2...I think if the Cubs want him a deal can be done a lot easier than Samardzija. Here's a guy that's never made a lot of money and found a home here in the rotation so, you know, you eventually do a 8-14 mil per yr kind of thing....take him through a yr or two of FA and go from there...like you said, plenty of time.
Jim (San Antonio)
Any news on when Kris Bryant goes to IA? He is tearing up AA. What else does Theo and Jed need to see before he is promoted?
Jesse Rogers (2:49 PM)
By end of June I think. I don't think it's imminent from what I've been told ,etc. but I could be wrong. Another month.
Jim (San Antonio)
Hey Jesse. I like your in game updates as I used to watch Gameday. With all of the Cubs problems, what would you try to fix first? The Cubs did not need another infielder, but SuperEmilio 64 has turned out to be a good pickup and has helped the Cubs win ballgames. I would have rather the Cubs picked up someone like Nellie Cruz that could have done some more obvious damage in the lineup. Thanks for the great coverage.
Jesse Rogers (2:51 PM)
Like I've been saying I would address this outfield and get some of those guys in the minors out there. For a team with posiiton player prospects none at AAA are every day players in the OF in the majors. I would also get Neil Ramirez starting again but that might come next season. Start there.
andy rockford [via mobile]
What is your take on Olt staying at 3rd with Bryant tearing his way through the minors.
Jesse Rogers (2:51 PM)
I would move Bryant to the OF now. Even if Olt flames out you need people out there.
Does Arrieta have the potential to be a top of the rotation guy
Jesse Rogers (2:53 PM)
I've thought so since he got here but even if he's a 2-3 that's not bad. So maybe not an ace but his stuff says mid rotation at worst. He's coming along as I wrote last night. I'm going to say I believe in him rather than the opposite.
Jesse, why have the Cubs had so few "home grown" major league players over the last 20 years? Was it bad scouting?
Jesse Rogers (2:54 PM)
Probably. But remember most teams don't have a great percentage...the ones that do are usually the ones that have success either with them or what they are able to acquire with them.
Terry S. (Chicago)
When would you say we see Hendricks get called up? I really don't get why they are waiting on bringing these prospects up. They are over 10 games below .500 and the only way you know if they will be ready is to put them in big league situations. We saw Castro have success being called up early and we all saw what Puig did. I'm now saying these guys can have that type of impact but why do the Cubs wait?
Jesse Rogers (2:57 PM)
It's pretty easy to know when: the day Hammel and/or Samardzija are traded. And I've also said that if the Cubs have an injury with a starter who has to miss like one start, that's when one of those guys might get a one-day call-up. I think Villanueva isn't stretched out now that he's back to the pen so they may opt for that if the timing is right (unless they want like 3-4 out of Villanueva and that's it) Either way, when those pitchers are traded we'll see some youth.
Jesse, who do you think will be called up first, Javy Baez or Kris Bryant. It seems to me that Bryant has had a much better year so far.
Jesse Rogers (2:58 PM)
Yes, but one is at AA and the other is at AAA. Anyway, if Baez keep it up it will be him.
Dan (San Jose)
Submitting early, going to the game. Logan Watkins has risen steadily through the minors the past 6 years, and is doing well in Iowa. Will they call him up this year to provide some offense? Or will he get his shot next year? Seems to hit for average, which is what the Cubs need right now.
Jesse Rogers (3:00 PM)
He might get a call-up when they move some vets off the big league roster but it looks like he's a back-up type only. And they have better prospects than him. I don't think he got a fair shake but he is what he is. Nice little player, not sure how high the ceiling is. Then again, if he can get on-base, which he's always done, who cares about the rest of it.
Dan Rvera (Chicago)
From what I can gather, possible trade candidates include , Jeff S, Emilio B, and Hammel. Is there anyone else that I am missing?
Jesse Rogers (3:01 PM)
Well if things go right, Schierholtz, Veras and Villanuvea COULD be. I don't think just because Schierhotlz has had a rough start means they can't trade him. Let's see where he is in July. That's all that matters.
Nathan Moore (Washington D.C.)
How intertwined is a *potential* impending TV deal with the Cubs' plans for free agency over the next few years? I think most of us expect that Baez, Bryant, Soler - along with Castro and Rizzo - will all be major contributors for the foreseeable future. But will the Cubs' chances at competing be hampered by a front office that doesn't want to spend on top tier free agents?
Jesse Rogers (3:03 PM)
That's the million $ question. I personally do not think it will be hampered THAT much because they won't need to dip into FA too much if the prospects are coming along. Yes, they'll need a pitcher, maybe an OF. But with all those guys you mentioned getting paid nothing they can afford a couple on the market. The question is how many of those propsects actually come through? That answers a lot. And we just don't know.
troy (la Crosse)
I'm heading to an Iowa cubs game on June 21st, if kris Bryant keeps hitting like this, what are the chances he's promoted by then
Jesse Rogers (3:03 PM)
Ooh. Tough call. Again, I could be wrong but I'll say July 1 for him.
Aaron Des Moines [via mobile]
I know the Manny Ramirez is just to sell tickets for the Iowa Cubs but what are they gonna do with playing time with Matt Szczur, Ryan Kalish, Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Logan Watkins, and Casper Wells?
Jesse Rogers (3:04 PM)
He's not going to play that much. And I'm sure they didn't bring him in to sell tickets at Iowa.
Which team do you feel has the best package to offer the Cubs for Samardzja? Who are the players they would get in return.
Jesse Rogers (3:05 PM)
I think it's Toronto or maybe Atlanta. I like the young pitching Toronto has. Not going to go down the list but Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman would be nice.
Olt-play him most of the time or send him to Iowa to get full time ABs. Right or wrong?
Jesse Rogers (3:06 PM)
That is so an early May question. Ha. Kidding. I'd play him here for sure.
Brad (Tinley Park)
What's the answer on the renovation? Says starts in July with the clubhouse then they expect it to be ready for opening day 2016. Does that mean just the Clubhouse or the whole project together by 2016?
Jesse Rogers (3:07 PM)
Trevor (Green bay)
Jesse you tweeted about Castillo struggling throwing out runners this year, do you think that is more on the pitchers or Castillo? Last night it seemed like Arrieta was slow going home with his high leg kick.
Jesse Rogers (3:09 PM)
I talked to a bunch of people about that today and wow, everyone had a different opinion. I'll blog it. Let's put it this way. Everyone kind of taking blame and pointing fingers (in a polite way) but all agree on one thing:Castro needs to be better at the tag part of the play. Like last night. Renteria discussed it as well.
gary g. (woodland hills. ca)
Ricketts is going to spend over 500 million on stadium renovation. Attendance is down because its a bad team. Why not use that money on free agents?
Jesse Rogers (3:11 PM)
Because that would be a band-aid. They want sustained success and revenue and feel like renovating is the way to go. Hard to argue it needs upgrades but I think they can compete without the big rehab. That's something Theo has put out there. I don't know how Jim Hendry had playoff teams in 2003, 2007 amd 2008 without the rehab? They have put a lot of money into spring and dominican facilities.
If the top 3 pitchers are gone, would it be possible for the Cubs to draft Hoffman and sign him for less money?
Jesse Rogers (3:12 PM)
Tommy John guys for teams desperate to win sooner rather than later don't go No.4 in the draft. At least not in my world. Never know with these guys but I doubt it.
Can Baez, Bryant, and Bruno be the Cubs version of the Killer B's like Houston had with Berkman, Biggio, and Bagwell? Bruno to me is the major wild card.
Jesse Rogers (3:13 PM)
Sure. And I agree he is a wildcard. I would like to see more of him but why not. That could be a murderous row with Rizzo in the middle there somewhere.
gary g. (woodland hills. ca)
Tell it like it is Jesse! This is a horrible hitting team and all the prospects Cubs have in the minors are just prospects. Will they sign some top hitters in free agency?
Jesse Rogers (3:14 PM)
I dounbt it and I don't blame them. Free agents come at the wrong age and price ALMOST all the time. I think pitchers can be in their prime longer (but of course are injury risks) so I think they go pitching outisde the organization and stay with hitting from within. Not saying no hitter is signed but I can't see an Ellsbury type for them. And I agree with that. They get old REAL fast.
Any chance on the Cubs signing Jose Valverde to help the bullpen?
Jesse Rogers (3:15 PM)
Mike (St. Louis)
Is Javier Baez's recent hitting streak going to effect his call up at all?
Jesse Rogers (3:16 PM)
Of course. Everything has an "effect". He's gone from not being called up to "ok, maybe later in the summer if this continues." I mean, I don't get the question because performance is all there is to go off of.
Mike (Des Plaines)
Any new draft rumblings?
Jesse Rogers (3:19 PM)
Just what I said before, I no longer believe it HAS to be a pitcher at No.4. I really thought that for a while.. Two mock drafts in last little while have them taking SD high school catcher/OF or Orgeon St. Outfielder so it really is up in the air at No. 4 Unless one of the top 3 pitchers drops which I actually think is possible. I think the Marlins are the wild card.
Quinn (West Loop)
MLBTradeRumors reported there could be some sort of Samardzija to Baltimore for Bundy and/or Gausman going on. Do you think that's realistic? Wouldn't that make them the frontrunners?
Jesse Rogers (3:20 PM)
I don't have specific info on Baltimore but yes that makes sense. And the Orioles traded "early" with the Cubs last season. Frontrunner on May 28 is a little tough to say. Teams are just getting their acts together. I imagine after the draft things START to heat up.
The Cubs are loaded with quality prospects and some pan out and some bust out, looking 15-20 years from now. Which of these prospects do you think is going to end up being the best and which do you think has the chance to be the bust?
Jesse Rogers (3:22 PM)
I think I said it not long after they drafted him but I'm putting my money on Bryant. Knowing that calling a propsect a star in the making can be silly, I'll say it: HE's going to be a stud. And I think it's less of a leap now than a year ago before he started this great run he's been on. We'll see if it stalls but I will tell you if he struggles at the ML level, he will eventually adjust and get there. Almost no doubt in my mind and I never said that about Baez or anyone else. Then again I'm often wrong.
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Hind-sight being 20/20... If the club could do it again, would Sandberg still be with the club and possibly be the manager right now.
Jesse Rogers (3:25 PM)
Honestly, I have no clue and I'm pretty sure they don't sit around and think about it. It's not much about the manager on this team even though they just fired one. Who knows, maybe Sandberg would be better. We have no way of knowing or even guessing really. Now if he becomes one of the special ones in the game then maybe we can say they missed out.
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Ricketts resubmitted the original plan for the remodel of Wrigley, is he trying to pull a fast one on the city and mayor or have they all made concessions and this is the plan that he hopes gets approved?
Jesse Rogers (3:26 PM)
Think he's playing hard ball with the rooftop owners more than anything. "You don't like my compromise, I'll show you" kind of thing.
Andrew Ziola (Elmhurst)
I have been on the Wrigley tour a few times and noticed that the opponents' locker room is worse than the Cubs. I love that the Cubs put visiting teams in dumpy conditions but I am curious - are the Cubs going to remodel the visitor locker room in this renovation also?
Jesse Rogers (3:27 PM)
Yes, won't be as nice as Cubs but they will. It is a dump.
Chris (Hoffman Estates) [via mobile]
Who is the most likely target if Theo puts Samar on the market?
Jesse Rogers (3:28 PM)
I still believe Atl or Tor. That's just my educated guess. If Toronto wants to go for it --and they should with a down yr from Bos and even the Yanks are just ok -- then they should go for it. Samardzija is that guy...
I don't see how we offer Tanaka in the 150 range, and you wont give a young 29 year old Samardzija 100mil? This office is either real cheap or real over their heads. Which one is it Jesse? Also, how does Ricketts and Theo keep a straight face when the ask us fans to pay top dollar for tickets, and be patient?
Jesse Rogers (3:30 PM)
Can't answer the final question but they do....Tanaka is almost 5 years younger. There is your answer. And MAYBE they like him better or LIKED him better. This version of Samardzija is something we haven't seen.
Jesse Rogers (3:32 PM)
Ok, almost game time. Thanks for all the questions. Good stuff. So much going on with potential promotions and the draft coming up. Really hard to know which way they will go because RIGHT now they all have diff opinions but those meetings are starting to happen and they will whittle it down. Enjoy the game. We'll go next Tues for the next chat. And please check out the blog. Audio/Video/Articles, every day. Thanks again. Follow me @espnchicubs. Sorry if I didn't get to your question.