MESA, Ariz. – We’ve entered the final week of spring training so it’s time to answer some Cubs questions put to Twitter in this week’s mailbag segment.
@ESPNChiCubs #cubschat. Any talk of Castro moving to OF? He's great on popups & clearly lesser SS defender than Russell (or Baez) #makeroom - Tim Parmeter (@TimParmeter) March 31, 2015Jesse Rogers: Not that I've heard but that's something that they would keep quiet until they approached Starlin Castro with it. I would think his and maybe their first choice would be to stay in the infield, but we've seen plenty of players make that kind of move. Some do it later in their careers but if it helps the team it's the right decision to make because I agree with you, Addison Russell is the shortstop of the future. And that's not a slight on Castro even if it sounds like one. This will come to a head in the next 12 months provided Russell progresses.
@ESPNChiCubs Don't wanna pile on to more Bryant topics, but I'm dying to know: What are some teammate reactions to the decision? #Cubschat - Andy Olson (@Yolson2016) March 31, 2015JR: I wrote about it here. Not as much anger as you would think. I'm sure it's because they saw it coming like everyone else and what I was told Tuesday by a bunch of players is simply that everyone has gone through a moment or two in their careers where business has gotten in the way of baseball. So they're used to it. That was my takeaway from them.
@ESPNChiCubs when will we see Russell called up? #Cubschat - Michael Ritter (@7_Ritter) March 31, 2015JR: I think he gets called up early in the season only if there is a need. If Castro goes down and Javier Baez or Arismendy Alcantara isn't cutting it then they'll turn to Russell. But no way do they want to rush things. They've been patient with all of their young guys and after an injury limited him last year I think they want to see a good half-season before thinking about bringing him up. If all goes well a late-season call-up is possible, but there are many variables starting with where the Cubs are in the standings to how he's doing. Like with other players there is no set plan. You see how it develops, but with his talent, he's not far off.
@ESPNChiCubs what do you believe will be the cubs next big "trade" or "FA signee" Hamels or Price? #Cubschat - Jesse Zaragoza (@CapoDeZaragoza) March 31, 2015JR: Good question. Since we're talking about Russell, I would make an offer at the trade deadline for Cole Hamels using Castro as bait. I've heard the Phillies wanted Russell and the Cubs said 'no way.' My educated guess on next offseason would have the Cubs in the market for Jordan Zimmerman, David Price and Jeff Samardzija, in that order. But don't hold me to it. We're not there yet.
@ESPNChiCubs trying to buy tix for Cubs/Padres weekend, first weekend of Bryant's "eligibility", be gonna be up by then? #CubsChat - Dylan Deery (@DillyDoesIt) March 31, 2015JR: Highly doubt it. They've made a habit of debuting players on the road and right after that Padres series they play seven in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Takes some pressure off. I would guess that's when it would happen, if it's happening in that first month.
@ESPNChiCubs does kyle hendricks take the leap or malinger as a 4-5 starter? #Cubschat - Benji Taylor (@destroy_time) March 31, 2015JR: First off, I don't know if you meant it negatively but "linger" in the back-end of a major-league rotation isn't a bad thing. Having said that, I love this kid. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb and sound crazy. I think I did that with Bryant saying he would be a star months after they drafted him. What Hendricks did last season did not surprise me so I'll say he takes a leap forward. 12-15 wins - or more -- and an ERA no worse than 3.00 or 3.50. That's still a full point higher than last season so I'm being conservative on purpose. It won't be how many hits he gives up or how he gets people out it will be when he gets them. He makes the right pitch at the right time more often than not.
@ESPNChiCubs Can you confidently say that javy baez will be on the cubs in say 2 years or is he trade bait for the future? #cubschat - Tyler Campbell (@tylercampbell21) March 31, 2015JR: I cannot confidently say that. Not based on what we've seen. This thing could go either way, but a realist would say it's doubtful only because few players really make it. He's just high profile because he's a first-round pick. That doesn't matter anymore though. It only gets you so far and so many chances. But I'm not counting him out either. Still, odds say he has a long way to go.