2/13 Extra bases

* The Cubs are eager to see right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, 23, this spring. He’s been slow in rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, which he had in March 2012.

“I think his stuff is as good as anyone in this camp when he’s healthy and he’s healthy right now,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “As far as setting expectations for the beginning of the year or whether he breaks with the team or not or what his role will be, it’s too early for that. We’ll see him on the mound and see him in games and then make a decision later this spring.”

Vizcaino will be used in the bullpen.

* Another pitcher who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, Kyuji Fujikawa, also is making progress. He underwent surgery on his right elbow last June, and is now throwing off flat ground. In his last session, he threw 25 pitches, 20 for strikes.

“I don’t want to put any specific date timetables on him but he should be [throwing] off a mound here pretty soon,” Hoyer said. “Any time you have a Tommy John guy, you have concerns about setbacks. It’s been a really good process so far. He’s really excited about how good he does feel and how well the ball is coming out of his hand.”

Among the other pitchers to watch this spring are Justin Grimm, 25, who has the potential to be a closer, and Cuban right-hander Armando Rivero, 26, who pitched at Class A Kane County, high A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee last season as well as the Arizona Fall League. Rivero posted a 4.15 ERA in 20 Minor League games in relief combined, striking out 45 and walking 12 over 30 1/3 innings.

* Theo Epstein said they still have money in their budget to add players if needed this season.

“In the two previous offseasons, we’ve spent every dollar available to us and this is the first winter where we ended up keeping some in reserve to be used on players [that are] hopefully prime age, impact-type players down the road,” Epstein said. “It gives us a bit of a leg-up as we look toward next winter or an in-season move that might make the present and the future better.

“Rather than just spend the money to spend it, if we can book that and have it available to us to sign that international free agent who comes along in the summer or to acquire a player in a trade who carries a significant salary but fits for the long term, or to just start out next offseason knowing we can be a little more aggressive on the guys we really want early because the money will be availble to us, that made more sense than spending the money now just to spend it.”

* One thing the Cubs are focusing on is adding more pitching. Epstein said they will do so in the First-Year Player Draft, although not necessarily by picking a pitcher with their first-round selection. The Cubs have the fourth selection overall.

* Pitchers and catchers have their first workout on Friday.

– Carrie Muskat

28 Comments

I believe this year I can honestly say that the Cubs will finish in last place……..too many holes, too many questions, too many issues with this club………it will be hard for this club just to make 500……this club could lose over 100 games…………some say 2015 will be the Cubs year……to make that big step for division title, a team needs to start off with small steps….cubs have been crawling and falling down for the last four years……I would say the Cubs year to make it back to the playoffs could be 2017 the earliest………..moves can be made to make it sooner, that will be up to the Cubs FO…….I have no Cubs blog, .I am no day time Phd student in bulls***ing, have no drinking buddies who are in the Cubs FO, don’t know any insider on the Cubs staff, but I can tell you this….it takes more then knowing Sabermetrics to make a team win…….personally, watching a player play can tell you more then what a bunch of percentages say in a book………2014 Cubs season will be all about watching the Cubs prospects progress…….seeing players traded…..welcoming in the new players tot he team………and nothing else.

But if you are Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels, Nationals, Tigers or Braves fan…..you will have an exciting year.

There are always one or two teams who no one thinks anything of at the start of the season who are right in the thick of it come September. Such as the Pirates, who jumped 15 wins from 2012 to 2013 and the Indians, who jumped a whopping 24 wins from 2012 to 2013. There was no 75-85-95 win progression for them. They went straight from losing record to in the playoffs in just one season. And historically, you have the Tampa Rays, who lost 96 games in 2007, then turned around and won 97 games and the AL Pennant in 2008. And how’d they do it? By bringing up and acquiring young guys like BJ Upton, Evan Longoria, Dioner Navarro, Akinori Iwamura, Jason Bartlett, James Shields, Matt Garza, and Edwin Jackson between 2006 and 2008. I’m not saying to expect the same type of turn around now from the Cubs, but it shows you don’t necessarily need that 75 win season followed by that 85 win season before you can finally be ready to compete. Sometimes, it all clicks at once and you can jump from 90 losses to 90 wins in one season. And if the Cubs do lose 100 games again, at least they’ll add another top draft pick to the mix of minor league talent that will start making it’s way to the big leagues this season. So for the 2014 Cubs, I am hoping for the best, but preparing for the not the worst but close to it.

Wow, Theo Epstein speaks so the world can move now! Put together a competitive team Theo and then you will have something to say. I agree with Cubs talk but think 2017 may be wishful thinking. I also believe Theo will not be an organizational member in 2017, growing tired of not being able to spend what it takes to produce a winner. 2014 Cubs will be no more than an advanced minor league team…I would like to be wrong but no lucky wishbone here I’m afraid.

And I am closed minded? LMAO I think Theo himself stated that 5 or 6 years in one place may be pushing it.
The Red Sox are still seeing positive results from Theo’s leadership, I am sure the Cubs will start seeing them soon, continuing into the 2020′s.

Well the Red Sox with Theo’s leadership, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Maybe it was him, maybe it was a one hit wonder; I’m sure he wonders that as well. Only time will tell and not me and not you. Cubs fans should go by what they see and not what they are told…results at the end of the day.

1 hit wonder x 3 in Boston, right?

Thats counting last years team.

Last year championship team had about eleven new players added before 2013 …not a Theo Masterpiece.

It seems to me several others teams won in between using others formulas as well; should we embrace them as holy too? Take a look at yourself; you act like this man is the Holy Grail. I don’t even think (or want) my kids to honor me this much and to use their own mind to review situations objectively. Wow…very sad. And the other folks now involved with the Red Sox should get no credit at all! Again, sad. You are indeed a one man tune and should seek help with these attachment issues.

I dont think I am acting like that Deancee, I think you might be one of those wannabe know it alls, but when questioned, you get very defensive and start blaming.

As for blaming, I don’t think I am holding you responsible or that your actions are irresponsible. I have said that you or I may be right or wrong but YOU must be right based upon an opinion that is not quantified to date while you refuse to consider you may be wrong to any degree. But, if I go back and list the number of times you refer to Theo as the cure all or always right it would take quite a bit of space. I have said that I have not seen a commitment to winning at this point to date and 10 years from now is not fair to the consumer…Cubs fans while management seems to be more focused on higher margins than winning. It is not fare for a big market team to put a minor league team on the field while asking them to buy tickets…period. Please review my prior posts and this will be the direction I offered.

I have never said Theo was the cure all. I just dont blame him for doing his job.
You know that it takes a team on the field and off to develop a Championship.
You can offer any direction you like, but as a man that thinks for himself, I kighly doubt it will followed. LOL
Now, what would you have done different the last two years?
You are cracking me up, I dont know if I am talking to a Cubs fan or someone on a Psych ward.

Thank you Cubs Talk…a reasonable person!

I have asked you several times, but you would rather put me down, then be very critical of Cub management.
Why not share your expertise and explain what you would have done different the last two years?
Maybe explain your hate for Theo so I understand where your coming from? Did he run over your dog? Date someone close to you? Try to raffle off your Hemicuda?
What is the problem? LMAO

Psych ward Jasper…that’s called misdirection which ones uses when confused or needs to change direction from them. Your even starting to spell incorrectly…check your pace maker! I don’t blame Theo for doing his job I’m saying he has not been doing his job to any high level that has made a difference to date…pretty simple stuff. Maybe in time I’ll be wrong but to date, I am not. You are saying he’s doing his job without the most required element…winning. Again simple, right Cubs Talk? Is this hard somehow?

Like I said, I am laughing at you. Not the pacemaker.
What would you have done different the last two years?

Pedroia, Ellsbury, Bucholz, Lester, Workman, to name a few, Only their #1 & #2 starters. Traded for Ortiz.
Your right, no leftovers from the Red Sox Theo days.

I rest my case Cubs Talk; one can clearly see how he twists what another comments into him always being right. I understood what you were stating; there were about 11 new players that helped make the win possible and the new management must get most of the credit for a job well done. Nobody is saying that every team does not have some good homegrown talent. What is commented is that one cannot build a winning team solely from the farm simply based on the fact that only a small percentage (I think the number is about 7-10%? ) are successful in the majors from year to year. In addition, good experienced vets can and do help young players develop on a faster track; vets that the Cubs do not have at this point or at least strong vets to look up to. I believe this is some of the reason Castro/Rizzo/Samardzija/Barney have hit road blocks and most likely will happen to Lake as well. Somehow Jasper will twist this one as well. Jasper also does mention the high dollar pick-ups made helping the Theo Sox win over the years. I will say it again, Theo’s success must be judged by the critical element as all decision makers must be…winning. To date this is not the case and over the long term I hope to be wrong.

There is not much to twist around there polio, except: The FA’s that were picked up along the way to assist Boston during the Theo years, were signed by the then GM, Theo. He signed the FA’s when they made a difference and made the R Sox competitive.
As far as Castro, Rizzo Samardizja and Barney? They could trade the last two on the list and it wouldnt hurt my feelings a bit. The other two need bounce back years, no doubt. Castro, if he continues to be a head case, cant concentrate in the field, I would trade him too.
I am a Cub fan, but I do not get attached to players. If Olt starts hot and Rizzo dont, put Olt at 1st and whoever at 3rd. Makes me no difference.

Fire up that Hemicuda, go get you a Sausage Biscuit at Mickey Dee’s. :)

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Sad to hear about the death of Jim Fregosi……R.I.P.

Wow, I go away for one night and all heck breaks loose. Jasper, I told you he was unstable! Anyway, I think the debate of how much credit should Theo get for the Red Sox success is about as stupid of a debate as you can get.
The anti-Theo people seem to hold the contradictory view that you can’t credit him for 2004 or 2007 because many of the players on those teams were acquired before he got there, and you can’t credit him for 2013 because he wasn’t there when it happened. The truth is, he deserves at least some credit for all three. For 2004 and 2007, did he personally select, sign, and develop every single player who played for the Sox in 2004 and 2007? No. Did he sit back in his office and play computer games all day while the Red Sox won? Of course not. While Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez were two nice player to inherit, they didn’t exactly win anything before he got there and he did have to acquire some other players to help get them over the hump. Heck, some might say the best move he made in 2004 was trading Nomar. Or maybe it was acquiring Dave Roberts, whose stolen base in Game 4 helped spark a Red Sox comeback in the game and in the series as a whole. Besides, no one says that Phil Jackson doesn’t deserve credit for the Bulls championships because MJ and Pippen were already there when he got the job…. or the Lakers championships because Kobe was there too. So why take credit away from Theo when he clearly had something to do with it?
As for 2013, he did acquire several of the key players on the Red Sox who helped them win last year, so he does deserve some credit for that as well. Plus Ben Cherringon did work under Theo for the entire time that Theo was in Boston, so they have to have some similar styles and philosophies. It’s not like when Theo left, the Red Sox decided to go in a completely different direction. They just promoted from within.
As for the why don’t the cubs sign a few FAs argument or the no one wins without a few FA signings or exclusively from their own minor league system argument, I agree. I think that the Cubs will sign free agents when they think the time is right to sign them. Unless you’re a 25-year old pitcher or a 30-year old looking for a one year deal to reestablish your value and get a bigger contract next off season, that time is not now for the Cubs! Signing Nelson Cruz to a 4 year, 60 million dollar deal will accomplish what, exactly? Sure, he might have a good 2014, hit .275 with 30 homers, be a big bat in the middle of the lineup. But he alone won’t be enough for the Cubs to do anything more than 82-80. The problem begins to present itself when 2015 rolls around. Cubs fans are all excited because Javier Baez made a stellar debut at the end of 2014, Kris Bryant is on his way up too, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo had bounce back years and are ready to resume their development, and the Cubs got a few good looking prospects out of Jeff S. The only problem is they still owe a now 34-year old Cruz 45 million over the next three years, and it’s pretty much a certainty that his numbers will drop as he continues on into his mid 30s. Meanwhile, you’ve got Albert Almora and Jorge Soler on their way up, but with Cruz clogging things up, you have one less opening in the outfield.
The plan has always been to fill in the holes around the minor leaguers that come up over the next few years, not bring the minor leaguers up around the FAs you’ve signed. If that’s the plan (which it is) and they’re sticking to it (which they are), then we shouldn’t expect to sign the likes of Nelson Cruz or Ervin Santana just yet. In a year or two when they need that one more big bat or that one more arm in order to feel like they’ve got a legit shot at winning the World Series, then sure, sign away. But for now, signing a Cruz or a Santana won’t get you much in 2014 and could potentially damage all that you have worked for in the long run.

Doug in my opinion you are 100% correct! There is nothing you stated that I dont agree with.
Will Dean or Cubs talk understand what you stated above? I really doubt it.
Maybe if they read it it 4 or 5 times, then have their wife or significate other explain it to them, even then, I have my doubts.

Just a couple of little people on a little blog patting each other on the back throwing stats around making them feel on top of the hill. Maybe get a room you two. Each of you read into things nobody ever said, making your own logic of things with absolutely no control of anything while tossing around immature judgmental comments…just the clear makings of strong leaders you two are. You two are indeed sad and belong on this little blog together. Both with ego driven hypothetical theory that must be right when actually there cannot be a right or wrong until proven. You guys have not even been able to surmise that I do this only to push buttons on people just like you using persuasive suggestion, LOL and then go away. I don’t care; it doesn’t make me money so why should I? I have copied the comments from you two to a large amount of people who know what I’m doing and they wanted me to keep going but you guys simply are getting boring. It was fun guys and you were easy targets. By the way, I took the national champ 1970 Roadrunner 440+6 out today…tomorrow maybe the one of only 5 1969 Dodge Dart Conv. 383 4 speed or maybe the Challenger. Have fun with the egos guys.

Why would you share comments with others? Looking for some or any kind of argument? LMAO
You go ahead and run away, Doug made you look like a total HOMER.
Polio, you are an idiot who loves to make himself look stupid. Tell Dawn hello. :)

You know I wasn’t kidding when I said he was unstable. Nothing about his posts tells me that he is a cool, level-headed, well-adjusted individual. I mean, it sounds like he thinks with every post he makes at us, we read it and get so angry at him that we have to punch a hole in our walls and then go outside and find the nearest puppy dog or old lady to kick. Really, I enjoy analyzing the Cubs from my perspective and I love taking what the people who don’t know what’s going on say and trying to explain it to them. It probably doesn’t help because most of them are too far gone to see what the Cubs are really trying to do, but I still enjoy it none the less. And he says we’re leaders… leaders of what I wonder? I don’t know about you Jasper, but I haven’t been elected President or Governor or Mayor or even Alderman, so I don’t know exactly what it is I am supposed to be leading here. And he’s shared our comments with others too. Good, maybe our wisdom is being appreciated by someone. And if his friends disagree, they are welcome to come on here and tell us so. And again, I really don’t know if he thinks that he’s zinging us or giving it to us or breaking our spirits, but in reality, I enjoy this and it’s one of the main reasons why I come on here multiple times a day! And I guess he’s into cars too. Well, good for him. Maybe he can drive over to White’s house and they could share some brownies. Who knows, maybe her brownies will help stabilize his unstable mind?

I really don’t think it’s about leaders. I think its about two Cub fans who agree on what management is doing.
I could tell you much more about this guy, but the bottom line is, he HATES Theo. He is on another board, we have been going at it awhile. He had me banned from that board so he could continue to spread hate & discontent with no argument.
His goal is to get people not to buy tickets, ridicule everything Management does.
That’s why, when you ask him what he would different, he has no clue.
I now get a kick out of him, I really enjoyed your post above, there is no way he can respond to that on a intelligent level.
When you don’t agree with him, he gets mad. He’s the one kicking the dog right now. lol

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