Chat with Jesse Rogers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Tuesday, Jesse Rogers stops by to chat about the Chicago Cubs.
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 (1:00 PM)
Hi all. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat as we head to July and trade month. Tons of scouts in the stands the last two days for Hammel/Samardzija. Unfortunately, the Cubs won neither game but not because of them. Lots to talk about. Fire away!
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Jesse - Which of the following contenders would the Cubs get the best deal for Jeff Samardzija - the Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Nationals, Braves or someone in the AL?
Jesse Rogers (1:02 PM)
Toronto/Baltimore have the best pieces I think....the Giants have one really good pitcher...I think the Braves have enough as well...I know the Nats are interested but not sure of that package so there's some teams....no doubt Toronto could get it done if they wanted..
What should the Cubs do about Mike Olt?
Jesse Rogers (1:04 PM)
Well, at this point switching him with Bryant like they did with Bryant and Villanueva in the minors might be the best thing but that won't happen. Let's see how trade season pans out but if they aren't bringing up a tihrd baseman then maybe he just keeps going and they re-assess at the end of the year. Obviously, if Bryant stays at 3rd it's his job and they'll have to figure out something with Olt...but right now there isn't much to be done but send him down -- this yr or to start next...
What's with Travis Wood? Mental? Physical? Seems like he's throwing a lot like last year, so what's up?
Jesse Rogers (1:06 PM)
He just needs pinpoint control and he hasnt had it. His stuff has never been as good as an ace though he threw like one last yr a lot. When he's missing his spots he gets hit. He's a classic No. 3 pitcher but pitched above himself last yr. Thought maybe he could stay at that level but he has to be too fine every time out.
Tom [via mobile]
Any starting pitchers you see coming North sometime soon?
Jesse Rogers (1:08 PM)
Yes, when Hammel/Samardzija and possibly even Villanueva are moved the Cubs will either start a player they get back like Arrieta last year and/or dip into their system. I def see Hendricks making his debut, Wada will prob get a chance...Rusin, others possibly...
Any chance we see Schwarber in Daytona this year?
Jesse Rogers (1:09 PM)
Yeah, I think he could end the season there unless they want him for the playoffs at Kane County but High A sounds right for sure. Not 100 percent though.
Eric (Downers Grove)
Hi Jesse - Thanks for the great chat. What happens first - Kane and Toews sign new deals or Hammel and Shark are traded?
Jesse Rogers (1:09 PM)
Prob Kane and Toews cause that deal should be done right around July 1.
Should the Cubs consider taking the same approach the astros did with Singleton in signing Baez and Bryant to a pre-MLB long term deal?
Jesse Rogers (1:10 PM)
Ha. For sure on Bryant but his agent is Scott Boras so forget it. However, if there is a Cubs player that could fit that idea it is Baez so you never know. Let's see if he can get MLB ready though first. It is not the norm to do that though.
Mark (Nashville, TN)
Jesse - I know the focus is on trading Hammel and Samardzija right now, but what about the Cubs as buyers? Do you think there's any chance they would pursue David Price with Javier Baez and Daniel Vogelbach as potential starting points? Doesn't Castro's resurgence this season make it somewhat feasible to consider?
Jesse Rogers (1:12 PM)
No, they would just hold onto Samardzija and not lose the prosepcts if that was the case. Even if Price is better, it's not worth it at this point..then you have to sign him for a billion dollars. I don't like it. I'm starting to think you can win without the true ace. I've changed my mind on this....A bunch of good No.2 and 3's can get it done I think.
Henry A (Deland fl)
You and Theo have both said if someone could hit they'll find a place for them... If Dan Vogelbach keeps showing potential will he get a shot?
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)
It's a good point but he might be the exception to the rule. There are always exceptions and let's face it, Schwarber (same body type) is a better hitting prospect...so Vogelbach is still destined to be on the move out of town at some point.
Is this the Chicago Cubs chat or the Iowa Cubs chat?
Jesse Rogers (1:13 PM)
Ha. These days it's a Daytona, Iowa, Tenn., etc. chat
I understand not wanting to bring up guys before they are ready but with the offensive struggles at 3B and 2B why isn't Logan Watkins getting a shot? He is not a top prospect but has always had decent numbers especially .OPB. Does it really matter if his arbitration clock gets started?
Jesse Rogers (1:15 PM)
Yeah, he's kind of the forgotten man. If they move Barney or Valbuena or Bonifacio then maybe Watkins comes up but it could be Alcantara. Watkins just isn't that high profile prospect but I don't disagree with you. Guy should have been at least given some chance just to see if that OBP translates...
What has been the biggest change in Rizzo's approach at the plate? It seems his pre-load hands have changed a bit.
Jesse Rogers (1:17 PM)
I think it's a simple thing that means a lot: patience. Waiting for his pitch. Letting pitches from lefthanders get to him and being able to knock it the other way when needed...things like that...he changes his hands and things kind of often so I'm not sure it's any one mechanical thing..I think patience is an all encompassing word that works.
Arrieta is striking out more per inning and walking fewer per inning than at any time in his career. Small sample size? Change of scenery? AL to NL boost? He's 28, has an older Arrieta learned new tricks?
Jesse Rogers (1:18 PM)
All of the above..def likes Bosio than Adair in Baltimore who he had as pitching coach...He needed time to mature...I picked him as my breakout guy this year because the stuff is too good not to roll the dice with him as the Cubs did in trading for him. AL to NL doesn't hurt as well but he would be doing this anywhere the way he's pitching I think. And now his confidence is sky high, though it always has been good in that dept.
Jesse - do you think trading Samardzija is going to happen at the deadline or do you see something happening sooner? I understand the notion of waiting to build competitive bids, but all I see is a freak injury looming - like Garza in 2012.
Jesse Rogers (1:21 PM)
I can't see an injury to Samardzija unless it is freaky. Listen, you have to go about your business and teams will want to assess themsleves everyday in July. There are so many moving parts if I said I knew when he would be traded I would be lying. It makes sense that it would happen late for no other reason than he's had rough second halves the last two years so I can see teams wanting to see what he's doing right till the deadline..but then again it only takes one GM to love him and make the big offer. So hard to tell.
Jr-chi [via mobile]
Realistically, who gets traded aside from the shark and the hammer. Schierholtz? Sweeney? Ruggiano? Russell? Wright? Villanueva? Baker? Barney? Boni? Valbuena? - why not give the "prospects" (not core four, but the ones that have been there, I.e- Watkins, vizcaino, Vitters, bjax) some time to develop in the majors to show something for next year? Why not make a run at the #1 pick? It is a waste year... Also, what can we receive? High C, low b prospects?
Jesse Rogers (1:24 PM)
Yes to everything? Def one of those left-handers...If Bonifacio is healthy, him. If Schierholtz is hitting in July, for sure him. Maybe Villanueva. Maybe Ruggiano. And they don't want to start the clock on those prospects so highly doubtful.And yeah other than Hammel and Samardzija you are looking at B to C+ guys coming back.
Mark my words, next year in July we will wish we still had the shark. To either trade or make a run with! This team is not as bad as we think
Jesse Rogers (1:25 PM)
More to the point, the NL is as bad as we think. At least this year , maybe it goes the other way next year. It's not that bad because the key players on this team are performing. They just don't have enough of them. 2016 could look really good if parity remains consistent.
Did Renteria give any indication of the impact last night's meltdown has on Rondon's claim to the closer role?
Jesse Rogers (1:27 PM)
No. I'm sure they aren't in a hurry to make a change but he's prob not avail tonight so Ramirez might eb the guy again...it can be fluid since they arent playing for anything and they use their bullpen so much. Plus, a bloop started the whole thing then a stolen base then wheels came off, all with 2 outs so not as bad as maybe it looked...at least not at the beginning. Anyway, non-save situation as well which goes bad for a lot of closers. No panic but I can't tell you rondon gets every chance because he doesn't always as they want to protect his arm.PLaying with house money with him closing. Who knew?
So how many times will managers bring in their closer in a non-save situation before they realize its a TERRIBLE idea? It seems to never work out well? Am I the only one who sees this or am I taking crazy pills?
Jesse Rogers (1:27 PM)
As I was saying
Jesse, why has Lake been on the bench the past few games? I know that he strikes out a lot, but Ricky continues trotting Sweeney and Ruggiano out there who have no future with the organization. At least Lake might be part of the future plans so shouldn't he play every day?
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
This is SO April...Ha. He's been playing a lot but I don't disagree. Not sure why Sweeney ever starts.
Tommy B (Chicago)
Anything new to be said about Castillos receiving skills behind the dish? Cubs won a lot while he was out. Still developing or is there a concern he may never figure it out?
Jesse Rogers (1:30 PM)
He threw out Hamilton yesterday. I'll take that. And the Cuns didn't lose the last 2 days because Castillo was behind the plate. Cmon, they're not that good so losing will follow some winning. That's just the way it is. He's been alright. And yes still developing.
Why are the Cub fans so stupid and always want to tinker with the long term vision of this organization? When will everyone understand the Cubs are not buyers in 2014 or 2015, think 2016 at best...
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)
Um, because it's been 105 years inlcuding 3 really bad ones so they are impatient which makes sense to me. Still ,you're not wrong.
John (Burr Ridge)
Who will be the first minor league position player to switch positions? Bryant to outfield? Baez to outfield/second? Alcontera to outfield? We are starting to get a logjam (which is a good problem to have)!
Jesse Rogers (1:32 PM)
Alcantara because he's already started playing some out there...They won't move Bryant -- if they do at all -- unttil the offseason or what not.
Ok... Am I the only one that thinks this team is better than we give them credit for. The starting pitching has the best WAR in baseball... Bring up Bryant, and Baez and (after super 2 next week) and go for it! Why not? Could still trade shark next year if not in it! Would sell tickets anyway!
Jesse Rogers (1:33 PM)
It's a nice thought but no way. Too many new/young guys in high-leverage situations would fail. PLus they are way behind the 8-ball.
Chad (Ames, IA)
Hey Jesse, other than a cup of coffee for Alcantara, Baez, Hendricks and Vizcaino (small possibility for Soler), it seems the Cubs will keep their big names in the minors most of the year. Do you think doing so hinders their ability to be competitive in 2015?
Jesse Rogers (1:34 PM)
Of course it does. The sooner they are up here the sooner they learn the ML game, etc. Look for 2016 especially if the competition stays the way it is as I wrote before...at least they'll have a a chance. Bryant is a franchise changing player in my opinion. And I've felt something like that for over a yr so not saying just cause of his current season.
B. Whipple (Summerville, SC)
With the recent talk of Alcantera and his possible promotion at some point, would this move be made possibly in conjunction with a trade of Barney and/or Olt being sent back to the minors, or neither? What would be your scenario to have him be promoted?
Jesse Rogers (1:36 PM)
Any of that could happen. Or Bonifacio moved or Valbuena, etc. So sure when the trades start to happen he could be here..I do think they wanted his k/BB ratio to be better. Theo said as much last Friday. It has been better lately so if it continues, by the time they make trades, he could be here.
Edwin Galletti [via mobile]
With the resurgence of Castro and Rizzo having a career year, can we expect the Cubs to make moves that will make an Imediate impact as soon as next year as oppose to long term projects?
Jesse Rogers (1:37 PM)
Maybe but not because of Rizzo/Castro. It just might be time for some additions though I think after 2015 we will see more.
Tom [via mobile]
I don't see teams meeting the asking price for Samardzija. Do you see the Cubs hanging onto him
Jesse Rogers (1:38 PM)
No. They'll take the best they can get UNLESS they are REALLy sure they can get more in the offseason which I don't think there is anyway they would. There are teams that are not normally in the race in a year where there is a ton of parity. Bidding war
Jesse Rogers (1:39 PM)
Just got a text from Iowa. HR for Bryant. #5! He's on with Silvy and Waddle on ESPN 1000 at 3 pm tomorrow.
Kris Bryant [via mobile]
Did I homer today? Yep!
Mike (Alburnett, Iowa )
Just wanted a question... why is 2016 better if as you said above, too many new / young guys in high-leverage situations would fail? Doesn't that mean 2016 is going to be bad too then? Since they'd be young in those situations
Jesse Rogers (1:41 PM)
Yeah but by then they will have been eased into situations. Of course eventually they have to go through it but to think they would this year having started in the minors then play for a pennant contender and succeed is unrealistic. By then they will have gone through some ups and downs.
Tommy B (Chicago)
Bryant just took Zach Lee deep to right
What is the cost of bringing guys up early if it stimulates the fan base?
Jesse Rogers (1:41 PM)
Great question. We can all agree the benefit outweighs the costs but we don't sign the paychecks.
Jason (South Dakota)
Am I the only one who thinks we're going to have more misses than hits with our highly touted prospects. I say if we hit on 50% of them (The highly touted ones that is) we would have to consider it a success and all should go out and by lottery tickets. Just seems to me everyone thinks these kids are the sure thing when they are anything from it. Your thoughts?
Jesse Rogers (1:42 PM)
100 percent agree but it only takes a few to advance your franchise. Baez and Bryant alone would do that. or Bryant and _______. Hopefully 3-4 pan out then you really have something with Rizzo, Castro, etc.
Allen (Benton Harbor)
Jesse - Is Starlin Castro a diva, or is he somehow mentally/emotionally soft? I don't understand how a guy with a history of mental lapses can talk his way out of a day off. Quade, Sveum, and Ricky have each said that accountability would be a factor, yet Castro rarely sees the bench even when he makes mistakes. I realize he's having a better year this year than last, but its not like he's some super star, dominant player that should be above reproach. What gives?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
It's hard to argue with some of that logic. Managers do defer to their stars but I always thought he played too much under Dale and yeah he is having a very good year but a mental break keeps you sharp...tough call because you like that he wants to keep going but I'm with you I would play him in like 155 or something...then again maybe that will be the plan down the line when this team is better and can afford a breather for him...eh, maybe 6-7 games isn't a big deal either way.
Jesse Rogers (Chicago)
Who is the all-star on this team? Castro because ss is weak or Rizzo. Shark belongs there
Jesse Rogers (1:46 PM)
I don't see how Castro doesn't make it for that reason. Rizzo is in a much tougher spot. And yes, I do think Samardzija makes it unless he blows up here...over Hammel
Dan (Elgin) [via mobile]
Any discussion on "stretching out" Neil Ramirez?
Jesse Rogers (1:47 PM)
Not yet and it's possible it may not happen. They aren't convince....his motion, etc could lead to more injuries as he had last yr. I think they will attempt it but no sure thing.
Omar Jenkins [via mobile]
A bit early to talk about the Arizona Fall League, but I was curious if players can participate multiple times.
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
If Schwarber moves to the OF full time he'll got there for sure and could anyway...
Jesse Rogers (Chicago)
When does Vizcanio get called up?
Jesse Rogers (1:48 PM)
Let's see how trades play out. If Villanueva gets moved he could be up..or it could just be in Sept. Def by then...
It seems like Bryant hits a home run every couple days. I know he is having a ridiculous year in the minors, but is he having one of the best ever? I usually don't follow minor league guys this closely so I don't know how to compare him to some of the top guys in the MLB. Do lots of guys destroy minor league pitching like Bryant has?
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
No, the season is shorter so if he gets to like 40 that is amazing. He's at 27 now. And the fact that he's changing levels and ballparks and everything and keeps it up is a good sign as well. Not that easy to it in the minors. Players coming and going, etc. So yeah ,it is special. Just like Baez last year. But this one is way better because it comes with a high average and he should blow by the 37 total Baez hit...
Chad (home of the CWS) [via mobile]
Why don't they send Olt down to AA to get his work in. They could always bring him back up in September.
Jesse Rogers (1:53 PM)
At this point I think they want to take care of what they have down there and let Bryant play, etc. Olt is already here and frankly they don't care about the results enough to mess with their plan down there. That hasn't been said outrighgt but not many .149 hitting young players get to stay in the big leagues so it's more about the plan than Olt I feel.
Mike (Western MD)
I see that Wada has been added to the 40 man roster. Would there be any reason for him to jump ahead of Hendricks or Rusin in the Summer call ups? Who do you think gets a shot on Saturday, would they call up Hendricks for a spot start or a bullpen guy to add depth for the second game?
Jesse Rogers (1:55 PM)
They could bring up Rusin and have he and Villanueva kind of split the game as they did once in St. Louis I believe...not sure about Sat. we'll find out in next couple of days. I'd love to see Hendricks make his debut. Then send him back down. That would be cool.
Hey Jesse, this team was playing better on the road and then they come home and play like scrubs again, reminds me of last year after sweeping the Giants in SF and then not being able to turn the corner coming home. Do you think it is a lack of experience from Rick Renteria and the poor play from Barney and Olt that are holding this team back? Do they not believe in themselves?
Jesse Rogers (1:56 PM)
No it's the law of averages. Every good or bad team has a run. Home or road, whatever. But unless they are really a surprise team those bad ones come back down to Earth. It's as simple as that. THEY ARENT GOOD ENOUGH and it was one in a million that they would shock and contend.
Devin (North Side)
I'm upset that it looks like Samardzija and the Cubs may split. But I thought the Cubs offer was a decent offer. He was looking for a deal close to Homer Bailey and it was close in dollars per year. was it more about years or is he not happy with where they are in the rebuild? I would think if he gets traded he hits free agency in a year and a half, why not take the money now? 85 Mil is alot!
Jesse Rogers (1:57 PM)
You make sense but I just think it's everything. The rebuild and making the max. If Bailey can get it Samardzija can prob get close . I do believe if the Cubs were contending now, he'd be signed on this team.
Justin(Indianapolis) [via mobile]
With Manny Ramerez on his way to triple A, what do think his immediate impact be with the club and the long term impacts he will make? Will he be able to breath life back into Baez's swing?
Jesse Rogers (1:58 PM)
I think he might be able to. Bryant might need him for the barrage of off-speed stuff he'll be seeing in the years to come. That's Manny's speciality. If he can help them in that dept then that's big.
Other than Castro and Rizzo, are there any locks that we will see on the roster three years from now, that are here now? Maybe Lake, Valbuena, Wood?
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)
3 years? Locks? No I can't say that for sure. This thing is totally fluid as they put their contender together.
With Ruggiano not hitting, shouldn't the Cubs trade him and play Lake every day?
Jesse Rogers (2:00 PM)
If he's not hitting how do you trade him? Bench him? I'm good with that.
Walter (Washington, D.C.)
Wish I could be in Iowa. (Not sure I thought I'd say that before) but the thing that I like thus far about Bryant in triple A ( and I don't mean to jinx him) is that he's yet to make an Error. I know the kid has power and can take a walk, etc. If he keeps hitting this way and his defense does improve, is there a chance he makes it up? I know Theo doesn't believe in cookies but out of all the fanbases in baseball and in general I agree, this might be the one that might deserve one or need something positive at the big league level. I doubt it but just wondering.
Jesse Rogers (2:01 PM)
I'll make this easy: he could play here now. He could learn, struggle, get better and dominate all up here. Who knows how long it would take but I know this, you would not lose him if he struggled.
Tom (Chicago )
I'm concerned with Olt's degression. Was he just not ready or given the best opportunities to succeed?
Jesse Rogers (2:03 PM)
Hard to know for sure. I still wonder if he was handed the job in April would thigns be different? Not sure, maybe not. He was squaring up balls all spring so its' not like it was a fluke. Even the outs were hard hit. All that means is I think they made the right initial decision but it's been a long struggle since then.Can always second guess and maybe every day at-bats was the answer and the Cubs blew it or maybe he's just not that good (right now) other than his power.
Why do they care so much about the top pick? I mean, the Cardinals seemingly pull guys out of corn fields and they never pick high, or, almost never. Same with the A's. They win and somehow find guys who can contribute from in their farm system or retool veterans. But we seem obsessed with the top pick, treating it like its the NBA draft, while the teams in the MLB who win and aren't the Yankees somehow find a way to do both. Why?
Jesse Rogers (2:04 PM)
It's not that every top pick succeeds but when you draft that high several yrs in a row you can usually get some impact players. We always focus on the top pick but we all know good players come from everywhere in the draft.
Jesse Rogers (2:06 PM)
That's it for today folks. Thanks for the questions. I'm off tonight so won't be covering the game but check out the Cubs blog as we'll have new stuff in there today/tonight. And check it out all the time anyway! Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. Thanks for jumping on with me. Talk to you next week.