CHICAGO – The Cubs Convention has come and gone but it left some lingering questions for the Chicago Cubs. Let’s answer a few in the first twitter mailbag of the New Year.
JR: C.J. Edwards will get stretched out in spring training but is behind about 6-7 other guys for a rotation spot. There's still some thought he could become a devastating reliever, so he's more than likely going to be in the bullpen provided he makes the team. His stuff is dynamic, but getting his slight frame through 30-plus starts a year might not be in the cards.
#CubsChat does CJ Edwards have a chance to make the rotation this year? Or are they looking to sign someone?— Lance Burmood (@lanceb6) January 18, 2016
JR: Hmm. That's a tough one. Normally I would pick a reliever but you probably want a name player. Since the Cubs will start the season with Adam Warren and others waiting in the wings in the rotation I won't pick a starter either. How about either Billy McKinney or Albert Almora? Let's say an outfielder goes down and one of them gets called up. Right now, McKinney has basically moved ahead of Almora, but I imagine whoever gets off to a better start at Triple-A is the guy who gets called up first. Also depends on the position.
Who is the first prospect to make his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2016 #CubsChat— Scott Reinhardt (@screinh) January 18, 2016
JR: It's pretty obvious they investigated deals involving Jorge Soler, but it doesn't mean any of them were right. One thing we know about the pitching market this winter is the price was very high -- both in free agency and in trades. Think of what Arizona gave up for Shelby Miller and what David Price and Jeff Samardzija and Jordan Zimmermann received let alone John Lackey, who's making $32 million from the Cubs at age 37. Soler has a few question marks, maybe enough to keep the Cubs from netting the arm they wanted. Or maybe the asking prices was Kris Bryant and the Cubs said 'no thanks.' David Ross catches Jon Lester and Miguel Montero gets about four starts a week, that leaves Kyle Schwarber for a game here and there. Maybe he becomes Kyle Hendricks' personal catcher or something, but that would probably be too difficult considering Ross' ties to a pitcher already. I could also see the plan being abandoned due to various reasons but, as the Cubs say, they won't scrap it until something forces them too. Ben Zobrist aren't performing or are injured that changes some things. The other sort of unforeseeable would come in the bullpen. I'm a big Hector Rondon fan but if the Cubs can't get to the ninth inning -- or he starts to implode -- things could derail. The only thing offensively I could possibly see going wrong is if the Cubs aren't getting on-base enough and revert to some solo home runs as their main offense, but they're pretty bulletproof at the plate right now, so basically it comes down to pitching woes.
#cubschat why wouldn't we give up Soler or Baez for young pitching via Rays? Don't see Soler producing much in the cold months and need P.— taylor maxwell (@dtaylormaxwell) January 18, 2016
JR: It's a weird hypothetical but I'll bite. Probably Soler. He has some history of leg problems which could slow his career down but more importantly it would allow for Jason Heyward to move back to right eventually. Javier Baez is a winning player who can play all over and if his changes at the plate continue then he becomes that much more dangerous. I realize Soler can be a beast but you asked me to choose. Plus, despite the playoff run I'm probably a little more down on Soler than most due to injury issues, cold weather issues, and defensive issues. Having said that, he's pretty darn good. A year ago I would not have gone with Soler but Baez has won me over with his overall game. It seems like Joe Maddon feels the same way about him.
If you had to choose one to trade at deadline who would it be, Soler or Baez and why? #CubsChat (Also pretend there stats are equal)— Kurtis Arndt (@KurtisArndt) January 18, 2016
JR: Ha. He better or all hell will break loose on the North Side. I assume you mean a long-term deal. That won't happen. It will be a one-year thing, which was always the most likely outcome for Jake Arrieta this winter. Anthony Rizzo hits in front of Bryant or Zobrist in front of Heyward doesn't matter all that much. You could find pros and cons for several different looks. I guess I like Heyward at leadoff and Zobrist No. 2. Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Montero would work for me after that. Man, that's dangerous. I do like the idea of leaving Addison Russell at No. 9. Something about it just clicked with me, and it provides contact guys like Heyward and Zobrist a chance to move him along or bring him in. There's a bunch of different ways Maddon can go.
Do you see Jake Arrieta getting a new contract before the season starts? #CubsChat— Blake Renfro (@bigdaddyrenfro) January 18, 2016
JR: I have no problem letting Jason Hammel and Hendricks keep their jobs until there is a reason to make a change. Warren will get his turn if warranted, but right now he's pretty valuable out of the bullpen. And the Cubs were quick to remind everyone how good Hammel was in the first half of the season. He was more reliable than Lester, though that changed in the second half. Let's see how he responds. and if Hendricks has learned some things as well.
Who do you see taking the 4th in 5th spots in the rotation? #CubsChat— Jack Long (@Jlong52) January 18, 2016
JR: Sure but there's no doubt Julio Eddy Martinez will need some seasoning in the minors. I could have picked him as the first to make his debut but I went with some guys that have been in pro ball here longer. He's a talent though. We'll see.
#CubsChat what's up with Julio Eddy Martinez. Will he get a look see in spring training.— Dave Moeller (@moellerdc) January 18, 2016