Chat with Jesse Rogers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Jesse Rogers (1:03 PM)
Hi all. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat. This week I'm in Pitt where the Cubs continue a 4 game series tonight after losing 6-2 last night. Could be in for some rain the rest of the week as its been cloudy since I got here and they expect some moisture over the next few days. Anyway, fire away with questions! Let's talk some Cubs
Jessie, could you see the Cubs at making a play for Trevor Cahill (who was DFA'd yesterday)? At the very least, he could take the spot of Villeneuva and become a starter when Shark or Hammel are traded.
Jesse Rogers (1:05 PM)
Off the top of my head, no. I think he's owed 12 mil for next yr plus buyouts. You never know with this regime as they like projects but not at that price..
East coast fan here. Jesse, as we all wait for the infusion of talent it is hard not to be concerned about the high SO totals of our best prospects (Alcantera, Baez, Bryant, etc.). In fact, the teams are at or near the lead in SO in each league they play in, so not just a "young player" issue. Is this a function of not having high end hitting instruction compared to others and what is being done to address? It cannot just be we pick aggressive swingers.
Jesse Rogers (1:07 PM)
I think it is about who they have drafted. In general baseball has moved away from being overly worried about strikeouts, Atl. got to the playoffs with a team that struck out a lot. I'm not sure that's how Theo/Jed see their entire offense. I think Baez and Bryant are unique cases. You'll take 25-27% K ratio but you don't want to get up in the 30's like Olt. Alcantara, Almora, yes they should more contact hitters...still a work in progress but if Bryant and Baez are slugging you're going to have some high K totals. Just the way it is.
Bruce Wayne (Gotham City)
Probably Rondon's job more or less but the Cubs pen has some lively arms.They may all get a chance to close once in awhile due to hot streaks and dead arms but rank the bullpen arms by best stuff.
Jesse Rogers (1:09 PM)
At this very moment Neil Ramirez has the best stuff I've seen. Grimm and Rondon are good but Rondon is thorwing more strikes so he gets the edge. Not loving Strop's stuff, maybe because like Grimm he's not throwing enough strikes. Can you love a guy's stuff that doesn't throw strikes? I don't think so. Anyway, there's a reason Ramirez and Rondon emerged. Great stuff for strikes.
Chris lake in the hills [via mobile]
Bryant has over 20 home runs. Why is not at aaa by now? When can we expect trade city to begin?
Jesse Rogers (1:11 PM)
I think trades start to happen July 1 and after. They are playing the slow game with Bryant. More than any prospect I think they are worried about his "clock" since he's represented by Boras and he truly does look to be a star. I strongly believe his timetable for AAA is the MLB all-star break. After the Futures game. And prob won't see the majors this yr.
Hammels gone for sure by the trade deadline?
Jesse Rogers (1:12 PM)
Yes, always leaving open a percentage chance things change...might be July 31. You can't predict when the trigger is pulled. If last yr is the blueprint than he might be gone by early July and Samardzija after the break.
Jeff V. (Minneapolis, MN)
Now that we are a few years past the Cub's snubbing of Ryne Sandberg as Cubs manager, was it the right move?
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)
No clue. So many variables and the thing is still playing itself out. I will say that maybe Renteria is the right man at the right time for this job. What they needed he seems to be providing so maybe Ryne would have been wrong man at the wrong time or right man at the wrong time or , you get the picture.
Michael (Chicago )
Hi Jesse, what's the timeline for the recently drafted players moving into the Cubs farm system? Are these guys we'll have the opportunity to see this summer at KC Cougars games?
Jesse Rogers (1:14 PM)
All depends but Schwarber might get there and maybe others...lots of variables, first foremost how they fare in rookie ball, etc.
Joe (West Town)
Once again our starting pitching staff has looked pretty good this season. I would love to see Baez and Bryant called up to spark this offense and make baseball fun again for us Cubs fans. When do we see both these guys at Wrigley?
Jesse Rogers (1:15 PM)
Maybe Baez late in yr, Bryant next yr...that's best case I think.
Joe (West Town)
With the super two deadline "supposedly" passing, any chance we see Baez moved up soon? Is he playing well enough to get a promotion or do you think his slow start will delay his call up until later this summer?
Jesse Rogers (1:16 PM)
I think when the trades starts to happen I think that's when you'll see some shuffling...maybe before. July is when Junior Lake came up, etc. Makes sense that's when we start to see it. An injury could always open the door now that we're this far into the season.
George (Aurora) [via mobile]
Should we be worried about Wellington Castillo? He had such a good finish to the 2013 season but it hasn't really showed at all this season yet. Do you think he will be our catcher for the next 5 years or so?
Jesse Rogers (1:18 PM)
It's a good question. They drafted cacthers left and right last week so that's a little telling but they were thin in that dept. anyway. Still, he'll get some competition. To answer your question he is no lock for the next half decade so we'll see but he is the guy for the moment so he'll have every chance to parlay this into a longer term deal.
Why on earth is Kris Bryant still in AA? The kid is absolutely crushing everything he sees. I'm all for the patient rebuild, and I'm not demanding he start at third tomorrow (though he probably should), but why not let him get some cuts in AAA?
Jesse Rogers (1:20 PM)
Like I said, they are playing it slow more than likely -- very likely -- to keep the money train from hitting too hard too soon. It's too bad. I get a lot wrong but I said last summer after studying a lot about this kid he could be opening day third baseman this year. And even though he struggled a little in spring I've never seen a young kid adjust like he has and can. He'd be fine here now or in a month or in a yr so let's just let it play out.
The Cubs ended with an awful record in 2013 and ended up with Kyle Schwarber for the effort. Was it worth it?
Jesse Rogers (1:21 PM)
I can't tell you. NO ONE CAN. Tell me how 23 teams or whatever passed on Mike Trout. The Cubs did get to pick high in each round not just the first so maybe it will all pay off. In terms of that one player he doesn't SEEM like the sure-thing bat that Bryant was but who knows...
Bullpen is looking strong with the younger arms pitching well. Will this keep Vizcaino in the minors for the rest of the year? Would the Cubs consider stretching him out instead?
Jesse Rogers (1:22 PM)
I think he'll definitely get called up, at the very least in Sept. I wouldn't stretch him out. That's just my opinion. Ramirez, yes. Vizcaino, no.
Andrew (Missouri) [via mobile]
We hear a lot about the core four, but how is Corey Black progressing? I would hope the guy the Cubs traded for Soriano is going to make an appearance in the majors in the next year or two
Jesse Rogers (1:24 PM)
He's been ok. I don't have his numbers in front of me but he's had some impressive performances. But you act as if the propsect for an aging pricey veteran has to be A+. He's not. Prob a bullpen arm when it's all said and done. No sure thing but a nice arm to have.
Has anyone put out a missing persons report on Edwards and Soler?
Jesse Rogers (1:24 PM)
Starting to throw again. And in Az with that hammy...but yeah, losing valuable development time. What can you do?
Have they been able to sign any of the young HS pitchers they drafted? What is the window for signing draft picks?
Jesse Rogers (1:25 PM)
Believe the deadline is July 17 or 18. We'll start to hear about things in the coming weeks but yes, that's the question, can they convince those guys to sign.
Where will Kyle Schwarber start in the cubs system? What kind of trajectory will he be on in the minors?
Jesse Rogers (1:27 PM)
I don't see why he won't follow Bryant's path consdering same age and experience,etc. So prob Boise for a time after Az. then either Kane County or Daytona. All depends how he takes to it all. He could easily start next season at Daytona as well. No sure thing he starts at AA like Bryant.
Mike (Des Plaines)
Jesse,Would it be better for Olt to head back to the minors to find his groove?
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
It's hard to say no at this point. .150 is .150. And now he's not relaly hitting homers. Everytime he looks to be coming out of a funk he doesn't so how can it be a bad thing to send him down and see if he rips it up. Not sure I loved how they handled him but at some point you have to take some advanatge of your chances and he's done that in a limited basis.
Max (Boston) [via mobile]
Do you have a sense how the cubs are doing financially this (and last) year? Are they making money due to their low payroll and saving for future years/paying off debt/ fixing wrigley, or have poor play and low ticket sales taken their toll?
Jesse Rogers (1:29 PM)
It's complicated. They make money on the business side but how much of that goes to baseball ops is a diff story. I believe there will be money to be spent when they really need to. To contend, not just be a little better.
Dwight (Scranton) [via mobile]
Hey Jesse, great work as usual! My question is this: So far from 1 to 10 how successful has Theo's plan been in your opinion? I give it a 10. He's added ramirez, rondon, arrietta and the core four. Not to mention the HUGE hauls he'll get for Smarj and Hammel.
Jesse Rogers (1:33 PM)
That's what I love about this rebild. You give it a 10 and I'm sure others would give it a 1 which means it's prob in the middle. I'm one of those that doesn't care about making small strides or trying to finish .500. I've always wanted to see what a true rebuild would be like so I can't ask for it then complain so I don't care that much they have a historically bad outfield, etc. So I'll still give it a 6 or whatever based on what it will look like in a yr or two. And I'm even starting to change my mind on pitching. You need good ones of course but not eveyone that wins has a Clayton Kershaw. Red Sox really didn't. So 3 #2's and a couple of 3's or 4's might get the job done. Anyway, that 6 could be a 9 or a 2 real quick. This is either going to be a collosal failure or a heck of a success story though 5 years of our lives will be "wasted" to get there.
Any chance Baltimore would trade Bundy and/or Harvey for Samardzija? The farm system needs some guys with TOR potential.
Jesse Rogers (1:34 PM)
I think the answer is yes. Anyone in that AL East must see that NY and Bos are BOTH down and others can go for it. Orioles should. No salm dunk though.
Kingpin (Grinnell, IA)
Hoyer recently said that the club is keeping Bryant at AA because they want to see how he responds to a slump or when he struggles. Ummm...what if he doesn't struglle at AA? What more does he need to prove at AA. I'm even a Cardinal fan (& I do NOT own Bryant on any of my fantasy teams) and this seems ridiculous to me.
Jesse Rogers (1:36 PM)
Yeah, that's how you kind of know it's B.S. Also said they wanted him in one place and moving around so much the last yr with being drafted, minors, AFL, etc. But cmon. We can find him a condo in Chicago and he can stay there for the next 10 yrs. There, stable. And of course when they said he has to "dominate" they never said for how long so there's their out.
Were Theo & Co. shrewd by going below slot with their first pick, or just continuing to be cheap and incompetent?
Jesse Rogers (1:37 PM)
I'd like to think shrewd. They didn't shy away from Bryant last yr so can't call them cheap etc. We'll see if they sign some of these other kids with the extar $$.
Steve Przyborski (Elgin)
Cubs drafted 2 catchers this year. Any chance either could progress to the Majors in 2 years? Castillo is average, but watching Baker/Whiteside attempting to hit is painful.
Jesse Rogers (1:38 PM)
Possible. The 3rd round pick more likely stays behind the plate. Catchers do take some time. So two full in the minors might be needed.
Mike, Portland, OR [via mobile]
I'm guessing the Cubs trade a lefty reliever before the deadline this year, especially considering all the lefties we have waiting at AAA right now.
Jesse Rogers (1:39 PM)
Good point. Think Russell or Wright could get them something if they pitch ok over the next month. Wright's been better so he might be first up.
I read your article about Olt, I think they should just send him down and play him every day. With that said, do you think there exists even the most remote possibility that Bryant hasn't been promoted to Triple A because his next promotion with be to Chicago? Send Olt to Iowa to let him sort things out and let's see Bryant in Chicago.
Jesse Rogers (1:40 PM)
I wish but no. Bryant to AAA around the MLB all-star break. I'm sticking with that.
Tom [via mobile]
Many experts gave the Cubs bad reviews on the draft. Is there something we don't know?
Jesse Rogers (1:41 PM)
I think it soley has to do with the first pick and their notion that he's the best college hitter by far and he was No. 2 on their board. I don't see him as the left-handed Bryant. And he doesnt have a position, per se.I can see why the criticism but doesn't mean anyone is right or wrong. But we'll find out in the coming yrs.
Kris Bryant. How sick are you of being asked if the Cubs call him up this year? But on a serious note, if they are considering a postion change shouldn't they do that now? Or is it he's hitting so well stay far away from him and let him mash, worry about the position later.
Jesse Rogers (1:43 PM)
I think that's a great question. I've talked to him, he's working his butt off at third base. And then to switch him a yr from now seems like wasting time. Maybe there is no right answer but as I've written before they have few OF in their system close to being ready. Send a few out there so I think I would move him more out of need and the fact you have plaenty of infielders.
Eric Bolingbrook [via mobile]
Jessie, Mike Olt has lost his playing time to Valbuena. Olt is all or nothing right now. Why won't the Cubs do the right thing by sending Olt to Iowa to get some AB's instead of being a bench warmer?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
Lots of questions like this one. I'm sure it's coming. Just not yet. In the meantime they'll play him against some lefties and see if he can come out of it that way. I wrote about it for this morn. They've chosen the in-between answer. That's usually not the right one. I see a whole bunch of moves coming as the trades start and Olt could be part of that shuffle. Maybe another month, we'll see. But if they decided tomorrow to send down a .150 hitter no one should be surprised.
How do you feel about Junior Lake's development? I know the home run totals are there; are you seeing progress on better at-bats as well, along with his outfield defensive development?
Jesse Rogers (1:47 PM)
The short answer is yes but I still don't "trust" him. Especailly when they need a specific thing out of him. He still needs to mature but at least he's shown som signs. Olt had that burst of power but nothing else.
If I am to believe everything on the internet Kyle Schwarber's defense is average to below at C/OF. Also other Cubs prospects may be a bit below average. Theo has said that DH belongs in the NL. I agree. Do you think the DH is closer to being implemented than I think?
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
Mike Murphy brought that up to me on the radio. Man, I can't believe for a sec the Cubs would use the No. 4 pick in the draft on a player for a rule that may or may not ever be in place when the kid is ready. That's a leap. Maybe they truly believe his bat is that good which means he'll help them on the field or in a trade. You take the best you can and let things play out.
Is there a sense around the front office that the draft went well? The FO obviously had goals and hopes that the general public is not aware of, and many were surprised by the Schwarber pick. But what is the sense around the entire 40-round proceedings? Did things go well?
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
I think they really like the pitching they got and if they sign them all it will look even better. Of course every team likes their draft.
Eric Bolingbrook [via mobile]
Is there any chance Cub's mgmt doesn't trade Samardzija? Could this turn into another Maddux? Samardzija is proven. Prospects aren't.
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
Pretty much no chance. Always can change but really don't see that happening.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
Why didn't the Cubs trade Scherhoktz when he had some value?
Jesse Rogers (1:53 PM)
I don't know. That was last yr. Maybe the deals weren't right and they liked him as a bridge for this yr. Now he's going to be a free agent so more than likely he will be dealt. He plays a very good RF at Wrigley. Like that guy's work ethic but he'll be moved if they can.
Seeing how the prospects have been playing thus far, will there be any big call ups this month? If not, who do you think will get called up in September?
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)
I think Vizcaino and Hendricks get called up. Start there. Unless Baez tanks I think he gets a cup of coffee at least. And Alcantara
Arodys Vizcaino-is he the real deal? Ultimate closer, starter? Saw him recently and wow did he have stuff, and not just the fast ball.
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)
Like I said before I like him at the back end of the pen. Not sure he can start unlike Ramirez who I think should give it a try.
Ge Fi GE (chgo-beverly)
Jesse Will you ADMIT to being "Guilty as Charged" for subscribing to the "Shiney Object" fad of looking ONLY at Castro's stats INSTEAD of looking at his At bats in crucial situations.Ex.- Castro had a Goose -Egg -0- 3-K's Sunday when it mattered and 3-hits Monday in a blow-out loss.
Jesse Rogers (1:57 PM)
C'mon. You can't always control when you get hits. More than likely if you're having a good season you're going to do well when the team needs you and sometimes when a game is out of reach. It was like 4-0 when he drove in Rizzo last night. That's not a blow out. Even at 6-1 in the ninth I'll take a HR. I know there is something to being there in the big moments but let it play out over 162. That's what tells a full story.
Tom Chicago [via mobile]
Do you see any chance of Joe Madden being let go by Tampa?
Jesse Rogers (1:57 PM)
Peter (Lake Forest, IL)
Could the Cubs use Strop to close out so more games?
Jesse Rogers (1:58 PM)
Why? He's struggling and hasn't earned it. You have others that have.
TJ (Chicago) [via mobile]
If Bryant kills it in Az Fall ball, then again with big club in spring training, no way the cubs can justify aaa next year, is there? I get the money issues, but...
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)
Prob won't go to fall. Just a guess. And yes, they can say he needs time at AAA. He's not there now and he's winning the triple crown!! So they def can hold him back.
Henry A (Deland FL)
Do you see the Cubs landing big pitching this offseason or waiting til the next offseason? Did Theo find Jon Lester?
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)
I believe he did with McLeod. And if ihad to answer one or the other I think they are def more active after 2015.
Greg (Seattle, WA)
What kind of clubhouse chemistry are you noticing in this team versus other teams? With so much up in the air regarding the trade deadline and incoming prospects, is there a chance that this is keeping players from getting too excited about building something? I think that probably only a half dozen or so guys on the current 25 man roster will actually be playing for the next Cubs post-season squad.
Jesse Rogers (2:00 PM)
It's fine -- but when Hammel and Samadrzija get traded, all bets are off. You can tell from the core guys they know they don't have enough. They do the best they can and hope for help!
Jesse Rogers (2:02 PM)
That's it for now. Sorry couldn't get to all the questions. Did my best. Thanks for joining in. Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. And read the blog daily and spread the word about it. It's free unlike a newspaper! Now I'm headed to the park to see the debut of another team's prized prospect. Someday at Wrigley folks! Talk to you next week...