I’m not going to say that Scott Feldman making the Cubs rotation is surprise, I just expected to be writing about it at the end of a very competitive camp, not before it even starts. Patrick Mooney reported today that Dale Sveum has penciled Scott Feldman into the rotation behind “the big three” of Garza, Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson. Yes, barring a step back from Samardzija, a blown apart Garza elbow, and an Edwin Jackson disaster, the Cubs can actually be considered as a team that has a big three at the top of the rotation. At this point, if you look at the top three for the other teams in the Central Division, I like the Cubs. They have three power arms at the top, and now, according to Sveum they have Scott Feldman following them. “Feldman’s going to be one of the starters,” Sveum said Thursday. “There’s an above-average chance Baker’s going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don’t want to really rush him. There’s no need for anything like that.” The words from Sveum today caught me a little off guard because the one word that I think describes this Cubs camp the best is competition, not saying there still won’t be plenty of it, I just expected more of it before naming Feldman to the rotation. As Mooney says in his article, both Feldman and Baker were promised a chance to redeem themselves this year as starters, so one would think that gives them the inside track. Not so fast, if we have learned anything from this Cubs organization since Theo took over is that they are calculated, everything they do has a reason or four behind it. Sveum continued with the comment of “there are no guarantees” in the rotation behind Garza, Samardzija, and Jackson, so what Sveum is saying in my opinion is that Feldman, and Baker for that matter, will be slotted in the rotation but if they give the coaching staff any reason to doubt that they belong there they will be bumped for someone who deserves it. So my final thought on this is expect there to be plenty of competition all Spring long, and don’t be surprised if Feldman doesn’t start the season as a starter, for my money, I think he will, but don’t count out Carlos Villanueva, or Travis Wood quite yet.
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Some Cubs roster moves today, figured this was coming based on the comments from Jed Hoyer earlier in the day.
via Bleacher Nation
“According to Paul Sullivan, Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Miles on Twitter, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said a couple interesting things this afternoon:
(1) He expects the Cubs’ 40-man roster to be under 40 by tonight (it currently stands at 40); and
(2) The Cubs are “very likely” (per Sullivan) to have a couple of non-tenders (Muskat used the words “may have a couple non-tendered”).”
This led to some speculation that there would be an unexpected non-tender as the five arbitration eligible players were Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, Luis Valbuena, and Ian Stewart. Not the case, and I think there was some confusion in the reporting process of Hoyer’s comments, so moving onto the news of the day.
The Cubs non-tendered Ian Stewart, Zach Putnam, and Jaye Chapman today, essentially making them free agents immediately. All three players drop off the 40 man roster, leaving the 40 man roster at 37 currently. I said essentially free agents because teams sometimes do this to save money on arbitration eligible players. If the Cubs think that they can still sign all three players but at a lesser cost, it makes sense to non-tender them and then sign them on the open market. With that said, all three players are now in the FA pool and any team can sign them.
The did tender Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, and Luis Valbuena. All four of those players remain under Cubs control for 2013, and will go through the arbitration process early next year unless contract extensions can be worked out.
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No rest for the weary as the Cubs stumble into San Diego for a three game series starting tonight on the heels of being swept by the Dodgers. The Cubs have lost five straight games as they are now fully immersed in the rebuilding process. Despite the losses the Cubs are becoming a lot more fun to watch as the lineup moving forward will feature Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo, and Starlin Castro, all of these guys figure to be around when the Cubs are ready to contend on a yearly basis. That’s a little ways down the road right now, the task at hand will be trying to solve the Padres who red-hot at Petco Park, winning seven of their last nine games in their spacious home field. The Padres are winning most games with pitching, as expected in that pitchers paradise, but they do have some hot bats as well. Yonder Alonso is hitting near .400 in his last seven games, if the Cubs want to be in this series they are going to have to contain Alonso and find a way to generate runs. The latter might be a little easier as the Cubs reworked lineup yielded some solid results on Sunday in LA, hopefully they can build on that and not only win a series but put an end to their five game losing streak before it gets really out of hand, again.
August 6, 2012 – August 8, 2012; Petco Park, San Diego, CA
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Here are the pitching matchups for the three game series, at the time of this preview the Cubs have yet to name a Tuesday Night starter as Matt Garza will not make the start as he has been placed on the DL.
Monday August 6, 2012
Chicago: Travis Wood (4-7, 4.90 ERA)
San Diego: Eric Stults (1-2, 3.19 ERA)
I really like this matchup for Travis Wood, a big ballpark should suit him well. The key for Travis Wood will be to throw strikes, no brainer right? The reason I mention it is that he can use the ballpark to his advantage by letting the Padres elevate without the concern of the ball leaving the yard. If Wood can stay ahead of hitters he should be able to make his pitches to get outs. Eric Stults profiles as a guy the Cubs struggle with, however the Cubs have destroyed Stults in his career. Stults is 0-3 vs the Cubs in three career starts with a 7.24 ERA, that bodes well.
Tuesday August 7, 2012
Chicago: Some Guy (?-?, ?.?? ERA)
San Diego: Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27 ERA)
I really don’t like the chances of Some Guy vs the Padres on Tuesday night. All kidding aside usually when a team is forced to use a starter that might not be ready for the Majors it doesn’t work out well. That could be the case on Tuesday as the Cubs still have not announced a starter, mainly because the candidates for that start all pitched this past weekend in Iowa. The bright side here is that the Cubs face Ohlendorf who has been awful this year, so I’m saying there’s a chance.
Wednesday August 8, 2012
Chicago: Jeff Samardzija (7-9, 4.37 ERA)
San Diego: Clayton Richard (8-11, 4.01 ERA)
Game three sets up to be the best of the bunch as Samardzija battles Richard. Samardzija faced San Diego earlier this year and went seven strong innings in picking up a win at Wrigley Field. I expect much of the same from Shark on Wednesday as he looks to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season last time out. The Cubs haven’t seen much of Richard as they have only faced him one time in the last three years, and Richard got the best of the Cubs that day. I expect this one to be the lowest scoring game of the series.
Season Series: Cubs lead 3-0
Prediction: Cubs win series, 2-1
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
The Cubs aren’t the only one who are going to be dealing today. Here are some of the latest happenings around the league. There will be plenty of updates as the day continues.
- It looks like Shane Victorino will be traded to the Dodgers. It sounds like Josh Lindblom would be going to the Phillies. Nothing official yet, but this means the Dodgers will not be going after Alfonso Soriano.
- UPDATE: It is officail The Philies have traded OF Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for relief pitcher Josh Lindblom and SP Ethan Martin.
- The D-Backs appear to be in the market for a big time starting pitcher. No names yet, but maybe they would be interested in Matt Garza?
- Although the Phillies have traded away Shane Victorino there are still reports they are talking to the Giants about Hunter Pence.
- UPDATE: Hunter Pence on his way to San Francisco for C/1B prospect Tommy Joseph. Nate Schierholtz is going to the Phillies as well, as does Seth Rosin.
- Padres are asking for a lot for Chase Headley, but a deal could still get done.
- Rangers looking to bolster bullpen. Possibly put Ogando back in the rotation and acquire another bullpen arm, possibly Broxton from KC.
- The Cardinals have acquired Edward Mujica for Zachary Cox.
- Marlins are close to sending Gaby Sanchez to Pirates for Gorkys Hernandez.
- UPDATE: According to Ken Rosenthal Gaby Sanchez to the Pirates is a done deal. This also includes a competitive balance pick going to the Marlins.
- Red Sox to acquire Craig Breslow for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik.
- The Reds have traded for Jonathan Broxton. The Royals got AAA lefty Donnie Joseph and AA JC Sulbaran
- Casey McGehee traded to the Yankees for Chad Qualls.
This is what is out there right now, some deals may still be coming in, but I think that is it for now.
- The Cubs will reportedly not comment on any trades tonight and will wait until tomorrow morning. Obviously as we find more out we let you know.
- After the injury to Matt Garza it appeared it was going to be a long shot to move him, but it seems there are a few teams who are still interested. The Cubs let teams look at his medical reports and some teams might be satisfied.
- The teams that have shown interest in Garza are the Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Cincinnati Reds and according to some sources there is good chance he gets moved.
- Nothing new on Dempster yet, but with Maholm going to the Braves, I am guessing he won’t end up there, but you never know.
- Who will come up after the deals are completed, I am guessing Welington Castillo will be up in Soto’s place and there have been rumors that Brett Jakcson, who was taken out of the Iowa could be on his way or it could be someone like Dave Sappelt.
We will keep you updated throughout the night and tomorrow.
Just two weeks ago it seemed that the Cubs would have made a few deals by July 30th, well here we sit, on July 30th and nothing has been done. I attribute this to the whole Dempster saga, if he accepts the Braves deal then I think the Cubs would have made a few more moves by now. But because he declined, at least for now, the Cubs sit in a holding pattern. Here are some of the latest trade rumors involving the Cubs.
Andy Martino is reporting that the Mets have had discussions with the Cubs about Geovany Soto. Odds are a deal doesn’t get done here, but it is nice to see somebody asking about Soto. If the Cubs could move him for anything more than a Manny Alexander life-size cardboard cutout we should all be grateful.
Ken Rosenthal weighed in with some thoughts about the increase in demand for starting pitching, and how it relates to Garza. Even with the news of Garza not starting again until after the deadline team keep calling on him. What teams are looking for her obviously is a discounted rate for Garza, the Cubs aren’t budging. For that reason Rosenthal and a number of sources believe that a Garza deal during the 2012 season before the deadline is “doubtful” but not out of the question. Because the Cubs and Garza have not talked contract extension since the Spring it is believed that the Cubs will move him in the Winter.
Danny Knobler is reporting that the Dodgers and Cubs are at an impasse on Dempster. If I had to guess I thing each team is waiting for the other to cave and accept a deal to just make a deal. Because of the this the Braves have been keeping an eye on the situation and might be ready to start-up talks again with the Cubs for Dempster. Per Knobler, people in the game expect Atlanta to get involved with Dempster again.
Yesterday afternoon Peter Gammons was on MLB Network and was very candid about what the Dodgers need to do, and the #1 thing he said the Dodgers needed to do was trade for Dempster. He said that they should do whatever it takes to land Dempster because he could be the difference for them. Let’s hope he’s right.
An interesting rumor popped up over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal suggests that Alfonso Soriano’s name has come up in the Dempster to the Dodgers talks. The Cubs were rumored to add Soriano to a potential deal to the Dodgers to get a better prospect in return, but nothing has come out of those talks, yet. Rosenthal adds that if the Cubs can’t find a deal before the deadline they would look to deal Soriano in the off-season where they might get a better return.
Things are going to get pretty crazy here as the deadline is only 31 hours away, keep checking back for the latest updates, and maybe a couple trades to announce as well.
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Another arm is off the market, not sure if he was ever “on the market” but Francisco Liriano is headed to the White Sox. Kenny Williams has been busy this trade season as he sees an opportunity to win now and he’s going for it. The Sox get Liriano for Eduardo Escobar, and Pedro Hernandez. That’s two arms that could have went to the Braves in a deal, but didn’t. Maybe that will make the Braves a little more desperate as we get closer to the deadline and come back at the Cubs for Dempster. Same goes for the Dodgers, hopefully Garza proves himself healthy in his side session and a deal can be made, although it seems highly unlikely.
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