<
>

Twitter mailbag: More pitching?

Welcome to our Cubs Twitter mailbag. Let's get right to your questions.

Rogers: I don’t think that’s going to happen unless it was a minor league deal for someone. The Cubs are pretty stocked in that department and could actually trade a starter like Travis Wood. Now, if you’re talking about a big name like Jordan Zimmerman, I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent impossible. GM Jed Hoyer left the door a little open for a deal like that, but I don’t think the Cubs want to trade from their core prospects. They haven’t yet so let’s just say it’s less likely than likely they add another frontline guy. But if the price comes way down for a 5-plus player (free agent next year), then you never know.

Rogers: That’s a great question. Tough to answer right now because it probably depends on the development of others, mostly Albert Almora. But if Fowler has a huge year and continues to prove he’s the answer at the top of the order, how can you let him walk without a competitive offer? It’s such a need in the baseball right now that I would think twice about letting him go, though it will cost a ton if he does have a big year. The key is that he’s still on the right side of 30, so I can’t tell you if he’s gone after one year -- I suspect he might be -- but he could simply make himself too valuable to let go.

Rogers: Vogelbach is not major league ready. He has value, but I don’t think he’s the centerpiece of a deal but would be better as part of a bigger one, maybe to an AL team since he’s only a first base/DH type. I suspect over the next 12 months or so that he’ll be on the move. He has nowhere to play here.

Rogers: That comes out a few weeks before camp begins. You shouldn’t be too surprised by the names. Kyle Schwarber will be there. CJ Edwards, as well. Of course, Kris Bryant again. After Cactus League games begin, some of those names will move over to minor league camp. Bryant, I suspect, will stay with Cubs until the very end, kind of like Javier Baez did last year.

Rogers: I indicated in a blog this week that I thought Dexter Fowler could have the same impact on the offense as Jon Lester does on the pitching staff, and I believe that, especially when you consider Fowler plays every day. I still don’t think people realize how important on-base percentage really is. It’s the most important offensive statistic. I think the Cubs' front office believes that. Every player they picked up this winter is strong in that department or at least is better than the players they are replacing. They lost Luis Valbuena but gained a lot more in every day guys in Fowler and Miguel Montero. With the addition of Fowler, I give the offense a fighting chance. On paper, it’s still probably second worst in the division -- maybe worst -- but it has great potential.

Rogers: Listen, this is a fluid situation. Anything like that can happen, but I think they like the idea of having that Ben Zobrist type of player in Alcantara. If he doesn’t get every day at-bats, he’ll still get plenty. However, I don’t necessarily disagree with you if Alcantara proves he should be there all the time. Production tells the story, but I don’t have a problem starting out with Coghlan as the incumbent in left field. I actually think Baez could be in trouble at second base if he doesn’t produce and Alcantara does. As we found out with Darwin Barney last year, it doesn’t really matter what they say now or in the spring, it’s about what they do on the field. Maybe the lineup on Opening Day isn’t the same as the one May 1 so talent will rise to the top and we’ll know who’s a starter and who isn’t. For example, as much as I think maybe they didn’t give Junior Lake (or Mike Olt) a real chance, do we really believe much would have changed if he was facing even more righties, etc? Talent wins out.

Rogers: This is probably worth a whole blog post. Since I’m one who thinks we need to let this thing grow “organically,” I would wait. That said, players like that don’t become available very often. But be ready to lose someone like Neil Ramirez or someone else off your big league club. The Nationals are a major contender. If they only take prospects back, I think they’re nuts. They need someone that can help them win now. Back-end bullpen help would be part of the deal if I’m them. Then they’ll have to include a top prospect and Welington Castillo, etc. Anyway, I would go to camp as is and see where we are in nine months or even at the trade deadline. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Of course, it didn’t take 106 years either!

Rogers: Normally, I might say I have some doubts but we know there is talent there. In his case, I think he is aware that the chances you get in this league can evaporate quickly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he took the same attitude he did last year as a minor league invitee. So we should see a very motivated player. Maybe after winning rookie of the year that wasn’t the case, though he did get hurt. No one knows what he’ll be in 2015, but I do know how fortunate he feels to get another chance.

Rogers: Of course, but this is the bigs not a developmental league. You end up seeing who is overmatched and who isn’t. There’s always someone behind you so if you’re not producing after a chance, someone else gets one. Then you go to the back of the line. Baez had a couple of months up here, now let’s see what happens. But if Alcantara or someone takes off, they’ll move ahead of him. That’s the beauty of it all. Draft status or ranking only gets you so far. A 13th rounder can eventually beat out a top pick -- though the top pick will get first dibs. That’s Baez right now.

Rogers: No.