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 (1:01 PM)
Hi all. Welcome to our weekly Cubs chat here at espnchicago.com We'll have a special trade day one as well involving all our reporters across the country on Thursday. I'll tweet out a link that morning. Follow me on @espnchicubs or just go to ESPN.com on trade day. Let's get it going. Fire away with questions!
Andrew Smith (Gresham OR)
Rizzo's low RBI total compared to his counter parts is very low. A quick glance at the numbers and its no surprise why his RBIs are so low. Should the Cubs be worried?RISPN/A 87 N/A 20 4 0 4 29 20 19 1 0 .230 .378 .414 .792 RISP w/2 OutsN/A 31 N/A 5 1 0 1 7 6 6 1 0 .161 .316 .290 .606 Bases LoadedN/A 7 N/A 1 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 .143 .143 .286 .429
Jesse Rogers (1:05 PM)
Wow, those are a lot of numbers. I was looking at a couple of things in that regard. First of all, a lot of the total RBI numbers are a reflection of on-base ahead of the player and that hasnt been great over his first few years. Now, he is only hitting like .230 with men on this year and like .240 in scoring position (was much worse last yr), however, his on-base is still very good in both situations. Tells me he might extend the zone sometimes to drive in that run while other times he takes the walk. I REALLY think when there are 1-2 more good hitters in that lineup his RBI totals will increase. That's good hitters in front and/or behind. I'm not worried. His offensive game is pretty darn good.
Aaron (North of the Illinois border)
When do you feel the realistic timeframe is that our prospects will be up to the majors?
Jesse Rogers (1:07 PM)
Baez this yr...Looks like Soler too though that kind of surprised me but why not. Bryant early next year....Maybe Almora and Schwarber and Russell or some combo in 2016 or possibly late 2015 for 1-2..Something like that...Pitching even less certain..lost yr for Edwards...other than Hendricks and Beeler or Jokisch not sure who is next to get a chance among starters...
The thought terrifies me, but let's say Baez comes up after the trade deadline and Soler comes up in September. We'll have a lineup featuring 2 of the "Future Five" and Alcantara still up as well. What if none of them perform even close to average? How does that affect the plan going forward? Just really hope Bryant, Russell, and Almora work out?
Jesse Rogers (1:11 PM)
Let me address the big picture of this question: It is REALLY hard to make it, stay and be a star in the big leagues. REALLY HARD. Ask Chris Coghlan, Todd Hollandsworth and a 1000 other players. That's why I wrote as much about 10 days ago, that farm rankings get a little old after a while, and people jumped on me. Then Theo said the same thing like a day later. The farm is stacked. On paper. For now. But we're not talking about a 1-2 yr splash. After giving away a half decade here they better have some sustainable players. Getting back to your point though, the more you have the better your chances..I've said this from the beginning, the Cubs are playing a math game. If 10% of all good prospects make it and you have 10 then 1 will make it. If you have 100 then 10 will make it. The Cubs prob won't hit on more than the avg but they have more in sheer numbers.
Peter (IL) [via mobile]
Hey Jesse, How many years in the foreseeable future do you believe it will be until the Cubs are contending for a championship? Thank you again for answering our questions.
Jesse Rogers (1:12 PM)
I know the Cubs believe their peak is 2018/19 so take that for what it is worth. Because of parity the Cubs should be able to make noise as soon as 2016 as long as there is some semblance of a pitching stuff.
Jessica (Rogers Park)
If Bonofacio is traded this week, is Baez coming up right away or will they wait until September?
Jesse Rogers (1:14 PM)
That's the 1,000,000 question. The Cubs are keeping it close to the vest. Maybe they haven't decided yet. That's def possible. I'm going with yes, he comes up now. Played enough at 2nd at least in the same way Lake and Alcantara moved positions. He's still hitting. Why not 2 months instead of one? They hit the road right after the deadline so that could be a good thing to avoid the hype here...or maybe they let things calm down after the deadline. Either way the Baez show seems to be on the way to Wrigley soon.
Scott S. (Chicago, IL)
First, thanks for all your coverage on the Cubs, love reading your insight over those guys at MLB.com. Second, I find it interesting when comparing the Jim Hendry era vs. Epstein, that the club now seems shockingly more financially limited (due to renovations, declining revenue, etc). How big of a part do you think this plays in the upcoming years free agent market? Will we see another Soriano-type deal? Thanks.
Jesse Rogers (1:16 PM)
New ownership changed things. You ask that like you want it to happen re Soriano contract. Unless his name is Mike Trout (or maybe Kris Bryant someday) I don't want 8-10 yr guys. Forget it. Almost every player that gets paid -- and maybe age has to do with this -- doesn't live up to the deal. They won't need a huge payroll to contend if the youth movement works. They'll only need to add here and there. They will. I promise you.
Lawrence (Bolingbrook, IL)
Hey Jesse, thanks for taking my question. Why is Ryan Sweeney still on team? Isn't he taking up a spot for one of the guys of Cubs' future???
Jesse Rogers (1:17 PM)
No, he's not taking up a spot. He's keeping it warm. And will for another year unless they trade him. I never understood why the 2 yr deal nor the playing time he got in April, etc.
Josef (Chicago) [via mobile]
Is all the talk of Castro maybe being moved to make room for Russell/Baez at SS realistic to you? I don't see how trading the only proven 1 of the three makes sense.
Jesse Rogers (1:20 PM)
I tend to agree with you on the surface. What did I just say about how hard it is to be good/great for a long time? But it's all about risk/reward. The reward is bigger for Castro in a trade right? The risk is you're open at SS but then again you have some highly touted prospects. It's like that math equation again. Are we better with a stud pitcher and an unproven but good prospect at SS or a lesser pitcher lets say for Baez or whatever and Castro there. Can't answer it until I know the other players in a trade.
Do players the Cubs have traded in the last 3 years during July appreciate that the Cubs have traded them to contenders, or do they have screw you attitudes toward the Cubs?
Jesse Rogers (1:21 PM)
Eh, Probably appreicate it for the most part. Like Renteria said yesterday, at the moment it happens, it's dramatic for the player but once he gets settled, especially to a contender, all is usually good.
Taylor (New Orleans)
What kind of value does a player like Bonafacio have at the deadline? I know he has been injured, but he has hit well since returning. He would make a great second baseman for a team like San Fran, and every team could use a player like him that has great speed and can play all over the field. Do you expect him to be on the move in the next few days?
Jesse Rogers (1:23 PM)
Yes, I do. Wrote about him today so check out the blog after the chat. I even said if Uggla and Barney can find homes then for sure Boni can. Hard to know the value though. Starter? Back up? Infielder? Outfielder? I could see teams offering a wide range of prospects none of which are A+. but yeah, he is being looked at closely as you would expect.
Jesse, what is your overall opinion on the job Theo & Co. have done so far? I think they have done everything they said they would and have put the team in a great position for years to come. Some fans are frustrated with the slow pace but i don't see how it could go any faster, do you agree?
Jesse Rogers (1:24 PM)
Yes. They have maxed out on being bad. Simple as that. Not every team (see the Mets) has done that. They have been transparent on top of it. The only arguement a fan can make in my opinion is that they gave away a half decade of baseball to get there. There is no defense of that unless they do win it all and go on a long run. No one will remember 2011-2015 if they do. Will make for a great book though.
Hi Jesse, thanks for the chat. What is the local take on Kyle Hendricks? He has looked pretty good so far; is an adjustment by the hitters waiting to happen, or is he the real deal?
Jesse Rogers (1:26 PM)
Long long way to go for him. I seriously will make a total judgement at the end of next yr I think. Both he and hitters will adjust. How he masters the league and his stuff will tell the story. Not about the rotation on his curve, it's about how he navigates hitters and innings, etc. Making the right pitch at the right time is kind of his thing.
Dan (San Jose)
No choice but to already start thinking about next year, right? Assuming Lester does not re-sign with Boston, what sort of contract would he be looking for? How would a rotation of Lester, Arrieta, Hendricks, Wada, and Wood stack up? Add Bryant and Baez to Castro and Rizzo and you have potentially strong core.
Jesse Rogers (1:28 PM)
Eh...not sure about that back-end. Lester will want Homer Bailey type money or more (or is it Jeff Samardzija type?) even though he's older. But he's shown good health, etc. Tough call whether they sign a big name this offseason or trade/sign one next.
Paul M (Arvada, CO)
What are the chances the Cubs trade Russell, Bonifacio and/or Wright?
Jesse Rogers (1:29 PM)
Two of three I say are pretty good. Possibly after Aug.1 for more too.
Mike (Indy) [via mobile]
If Soler is a Sept call up, plays decent w a solid spring, will he stay w the Cubs to start 2015 or be sent back down for temporary period. Similar to what they would do if Baez gets Sept call. Understand he is under MLB contract but just looking from an AB's standpoint.
Jesse Rogers (1:30 PM)
I think anyone that gets called up in Sept is eligible to win a job next year. Unless they really tank in spring I think they are here. Not sure why you think Baez doesn't make the team next year if he's good in Sept.
Derek (Dallas, tx)
It sure does look like a Javier Baez callup is on the horizon. Does the Barney move pretty much lock that in post treade deadline?
Jesse Rogers (1:30 PM)
No, need one more. Prob Boni
Omar (Seattle, Washington) [via mobile]
What's the purpose of switching Mendy and Bonifacio defensively every few games?
Jesse Rogers (1:31 PM)
Simple. They don't know where Mendy is going to play long term. Outfield seems more likely but what if Baez flames out or Russell gets hurt or, or , or....It's all fluid. And the more positions he can play the better for him and the Cubs long term.
Jesse, is Junior Lake on another team by the start of next season?
Jesse Rogers (1:32 PM)
If he's not starting or platooning then yea. No way he's a pure back-up here. And unless he's just holding a place for someone or finds his game again he prob won't be starting. But hey, many players look bad then get good. It's all about opportunity though. If it's someone else's turn then he's done here.
Rena Menkes (Work (ugh!))
Hey Jesse! Keep up the great work! My question (should you choose to answer it): What are the odds we see an infield of Castro @ 3rd, Russell at SS, Baez @ 2b, and Rizzo @ Ib? It's my dream!
Jesse Rogers (1:34 PM)
With Bryant in the OF? I won't rule it out. I really need to know what the Cubs think of moving positions for Castro. They obviously aren't hinting at it and it's much easier to move a guy in the minors but I don't doubt he could play it as could Russell. Good prob to have. I always thought the only way Castro moves positions is if he's traded and gets a fresh start etc.
Phil Chicago [via mobile]
Hey Jesse, thanks for covering the hardest team to cover. I know it's not easy. Anyways, Why was Alcantara given the assurance from Jed that he will be playing everyday, but not Lake or Olt? Do you think hurting their development with inconsistencies was done purposely by the front office to ensure a high draft pick or by accident? Did they learn there lesson with Lake and Olt, and now refuse to do the same to Alcantara? Thanks your input is appreciated.
Jesse Rogers (1:38 PM)
Tough call here. They said they learned lessons with Vitters/Jackson (maybe those were other lessons). I have not asked that question directly to the powers so maybe I will. The fact that Alcantara is a switch hitter is their out. They'll say they wanted to put Olt/Lake in positions to succeed against lefties etc. But I think that COULD have been at the cost of their confidence. Hey, how low could Olt's avg gone if he played every day? We'll never know cause we can't go back in time but nothing frustrates a hitter more, nothing, than inconsistent playing time without a really good reason. They both won jobs out of spring but didn't play every day. Both struggled. Maybe there is a common theme there or maybe they were destined to struggle because they aren't that good. No one can convince me for sure.
Jon (Richmond, VA)
The cubs have a strong farm system, but all the prospects seem to play middle infield. How will that translate into getting those guys playing together at the major league level in the future?
Jesse Rogers (1:39 PM)
The Cubs will tell you it will all play it out and having guys that can play up the middle inherently means they are athletic and can be moved around,etc. Time will tell.
Do you know why some of the players hold up two fingers near their eye sometimes when they get a double, triple, etc.?
Jesse Rogers (1:40 PM)
A thing Bonifacio brought over from AL with Jose Reyes. Just means "look at me" or something like that.
Tony (Michigan) [via mobile]
Is it realistic to expect a lineup consisting of Soler, Bryant, Alcantara in the outfield; and Castro, Rizzo, Baez, and Russell in the infield by September 2015?
Jesse Rogers (1:40 PM)
Who am I to crush your dream?
Edwin Galletti [via mobile]
If I'm Theo, I make a strong push for Jon Lester, and Shields to too our rotation and was wondering if we stand a chance to land both? And if they fit in what we are doing?
Jesse Rogers (1:41 PM)
If they spend I could see Lester for sure. If they spend.
Paul DiSilvestro(Nashville, TN) [via mobile]
The Cubs outfield is starting to look a bit crowded in the near future with call ups impending. Same seems true of middle infield. His does this work out where the best players see the field?
Jesse Rogers (1:42 PM)
Let's worry about too many good players when we get there. Each one will get their chance. If they perform they stick. Others will be trade bait. No GM has ever been worried about that. Ever.
John (Milwaukee) [via mobile]
Is there any real legitimacy to the rumor that the Cubs would trade Castro to free up space for Russell/Baez at SS? Doesn't make any sense to me personally considering that he's the only proven commodity out of the three. What do you think?
Jesse Rogers (1:43 PM)
Look at what I wrote before. It's about risk/reward. Tell me the deal. Tell me what they think internally of Russell. Tell me, tell me, tell me. You can't rule out anything but sure you don't simply trade a 3 time all-star cause you have a nice prospect behind him.
Derek (Dallas, tx)
When discussing prospects, especially when comparing to our newly acquired talent, I think a guy that is now getting overlooked in terms of potential MLB impact has to be Albert Almora. By 2016-2017, I think this guy could end up being a great, cornerstorne player for the Cubs organization. I know he's had his ups and downs this season but what's your overall take on Almora?
Jesse Rogers (1:45 PM)
The make-up is there. The instincts are there. The ball jumps off his bat, but that's been in the fall league, lower levels of the minors and spring traiing. Do I think he's the sure thing that Bryant is? No. But sure, still young and has the tools. But has to keep proving it.
Tracy [via mobile]
Totally agree with your assessment about prospects, and Theo has stated more than once that not all of them pan out. That's why we should take a couple of steps back and take a deep breath. We all want a winner but we have to look at this through a more realistic scope. Agree?
Jesse Rogers (1:47 PM)
Yes, to a point. But I do think -- barring some really bad luck -- they will have a run in them. It's almost inevitable at this point. And that's still saying something considering we don't know how the puzzle will fit and who might flame out, etc. But with parity and the talent base they have they will make noise.
Tony (Michigan) [via mobile]
With the mess going on in Houston right now not signing Aiken and Appel struggling, is the sense around the league that the Cubs now clearly have the best farm/player development in the league?
Jesse Rogers (1:49 PM)
Yeah, I mean the rankings say that as well. but can get a little skewed. For example, George Springer no longer part of the farm rankings, etc. If he was in Chi we would be talking about him as the next star. Anyway, best, 2nd best,3rd best...whats the diff? It's not standings. It's opinions by writers.
Following the addition of Addison Russell, the Cubs seem to have the consensus top farm system in baseball. Is it crazy to think that Soler might turn out to be the best of the group, when it's all said and done?
Jesse Rogers (1:51 PM)
I will say this, I saw Soler early on with the Cubs before injuries sidelined him -- and I bet Theo would agree with me -- he was further along at the plate than Baez. This is like 2 yrs ago? maybe a year and a half. Strong as a bull. But it was the plate discipline that was impressive. Knew how to lay off that tough outside pitch, etc. It's possible but he needs more time. A full year would be nice, right? Just have to make sure he's motivated with $30 mil coming....
With a new commissioner coming in next year what do you believe the chances are that he makes a big move right out of the gate and adds the DH to the NL in the next year or two? With the Cubs surplus of upcoming bats having the extra spot in the lineup would be more than welcome.
Jesse Rogers (1:52 PM)
Hmm. Been asked this before. We know Theo is a proponent. I just feel like that won't happen overnight. They'll float that for a while to ease the lifelong NL fans, etc. There will be some pushback for sure just not by the players. Maybe some pitchers like Travis Wood. Anyway, I don't see it being his first big move.
dale (las cruces, nm)
Why is it that when pitchers come to the Cubs and are under the tutelage of Chris Bosio they seem to flourish. (IE: Arrieta, Hammel, Feldman, etc.)
Jesse Rogers (1:54 PM)
He's good at his job? I also think the Cubs have a nice formula in picking these guys up. Maybe after an injury where there is life in that arm. Coming from AL to NL is still huge. So they set them up for success then hand them over to Bosio, Strode, Borzello. Good mix there.
Assuming all of the top prospects make it to Chicago by 2016, which player on that team comes with the most flair (i.e. Puig and Big Pappi)?
Jesse Rogers (1:56 PM)
I've only met him once but Theo insists it will be Schwarber. That's mostly off the field. On the field, I guess Baez has that dramatic touch with the big home runs. Bryant is a robot. On and off. He'll be a machine. Nothing will get to him.
Phil (Logan Square) [via mobile]
Fill in the blank: When I go to Wrigley Field next season, I'll be wowed by ____________. ??????
Jesse Rogers (1:56 PM)
See last answer. The machine.
Steve (Wicker Park) [via mobile]
Any updates on CJ Edwards? Kane County? Tennessee?
Jesse Rogers (1:57 PM)
Should be Tenn shortly I believe. Follow him on twitter. He's nuts (in a fun way) but updates his condition etc.
Still haven't heard much in the way of Eloy Jimenez, any updates?
Jesse Rogers (1:58 PM)
In Arizona with other young guys. Hitting like .260 last time I checked.
I feel like the cubs have deeper pitching than people give them credit for with Hendricks and Arieta pitching well, the progress of Pierce Johnson down in AA, and next years top pick (which should be used on a No 1 type Pitcher). What are the chances that the Cubs keep all their hitting prospects? Even if everyone pans out in the majors, if Schwaraba stays at catcher, Bayes moves to 2b, and Russel to the outfield the cubs could have room to keep them all.
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)
I like how you include a draft pick yet to be taken as part of deeper pitching. Of course they will eventually move a prospect. Just not yet. Need to let it play out some. I can't tell you when. Offseason? next deadline? the one after?
Pete Chicago [via mobile]
Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?
Jesse Rogers (1:59 PM)
What! Low blow. No worse than Neil Diamond
Who's untouchable at the trade deadline?
Jesse Rogers (2:00 PM)
Bryant Bryant Bryant. Kidding. The core guys. You know who they are. (Bryant)
Any word on these International prospects that we signed last year. Jimenez, Torres, Tseng, or Meija...is it too early to tell what type of future that they will have with the team?
Jesse Rogers (2:02 PM)
Maybe too early. Not on my radar like others but Tseng def looks like a player. Watched him closely in spring training. And been very good at KC. But pretty good reports from what I hear but again not checking with people on a daily basis.
Assuming Theo and Jed cant trade Jackson, what is the move regarding him this offseason? They cant really put him in the opening day rotation come 2015 can they?
Jesse Rogers (2:03 PM)
But really they can. No big illusions of winning next yr. Maybe he catches some lighting and they can move him. They need innings, right? Maybe they cut the cord in the offseason but if he's back that won't be a shock. Depends if they are willing to pay someone else to take him. But who would want right now? can't use the whole change of scenery thing. He's had 8 of them!
Jesse Rogers (2:06 PM)
That's it for today. Tried to fly through as many as possible. Good questions. I'll be off next week as I take my son to a week long tournament in Cooperstown (same tourney Rizzo/Hendricks etc played in when they were 11/12) so check back in two weeks. Follow me on twitter @espnchicubs. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And read the blog every day. Thanks again.