4/13 Roster moves

As expected, Blake Parker joined the Cubs on Sunday. The right-hander was recalled from Iowa and took Chris Rusin’s spot. Rusin threw five innings in relief on Saturday, and was optioned back to Iowa.

14 Comments

I think it was a mistake sending Rusin back to minors. Yes,, he’s young, but given the choice as a starter, Rusin is our future. I would rather have Rusin pitching than Jackson, anyday. He is unreliable on a regular basis.. I still say; 52 million, my foot. I wouldn’t give him more than five the way he has pitched since he arrived to the Cubs.

Aloha Jim- Good point. I still am sad that Sean Marshall was traded too but then so much money outlaid for Jackson. I thought Rusin was here to stay? Maybe after an “active” trade season in the month of July, maybe we have Rusin more regularly? Hope our Cubbies do well in NY! Mahalo.

Can we please get over Sean Marshall already? What would you rather have? A 30-year old setup man on a 90+ loss team who has only pitched in 16 games since the start of the 2013 season, or a mid-20s lefty starter who’s under team control thru 2016 and enough international slot money that made it possible to sign the top 2 international free agents (who are both already ranked in the top 20 mlb.com prospects for the Cubs organization)?

Not an argument for Jackson, but Rusin is very inconsistant. Again, not saying Jackson is. Upon Jacksons signing, he had a very good history of IP per year. That is what the Cubs needed then & need now. We all knew the Cubs were not going to compete then, so they needed an arm until the youngsters gain experience in the Minors. Afterall, you dont want to rush up young pitching, right?
If Rusin is ready and he should be, he will definately be back. Rusin pitches a good game and gets bombed the next. Hoping he can find whatever it takes to be more reliable.

Aloha Doug- I am past the Marshall thing, my point is being able to admit that some moves may not have been the best for the team. We all knew that when the new group came in and began the “make-over” at lot would change. 30yrs old is not that old. Mariano showed how good one can be when one takes care of their body. Having said that, when the FO lost out on trying to get other pitchers they spent a lot of money on Jackson. I hope he can turn things around before the July deadline such that some teams in the hunt could use his services and the Cubs could get something in return, but I know this probably will not happen because the team would have to eat a lot of his contract. Mahalo.

30 is old in baseball. Especially in today’s game where the trend is lock up your own players in their early 20s. And using Mariano Rivera as an example of being good over 30 is ridiculous because he’s the best closer of all time and certainly the exception, not the rule. For every Mariano Rivera, there are hundreds of pitchers who are done once they hit their 30s, no matter how well they took care of their bodies (these are professional athletes we’re talking about… most of them are in better shape than any of us could ever hope to be). I mean, Nolan Ryan threw two no-hitters in his 40s. Does that mean that any pitcher over 40 can thrown a no-hitter as long as they just stay in shape?
Case in point, Sean Marshall, who has pitched in only 16 games since the start of the 2013 season. The Cubs got maximum value for him when he was worth as much as he was going to be worth. He wouldn’t get anywhere near the return now that the Cubs got on him when they traded him, so I’d say that was a very good move by the Cubs and was certainly best for the team.
As for Jackson, yes, it looks like his signing might have been a mistake. Still, a small mistake that doesn’t really derail the grand rebuilding plan. I’d rather the front office mess up that way than mess up in a big enough way where the entire plan is ruined and the need to start over arises.

First off, Rusin is not really young. He’s 27, which is a little old to be considered a prospect and “our future”. Second, Rusin was sent back down because he pitched 5 innings in relief. Even though he did pitch well, he would not be available to pitch for a few days due to his heavy workload. The Cubs didn’t want to be a pitcher down in their bullpen for that time, so they replaced him with a fresh arm. That’s a pretty typical move for any team that has an overworked bullpen.

Aloha Again Doug- I agree about giving the bullpen rest and bringing up fresh arms, not out of the ordinary. Also, age should not always be a factor. I know what I am about to mention is not the best example and I am not implying that Rusin could be this pitcher from the past but just to make a point: My father over the years would share lots of baseball with me and the amazing years of ball between the late 30’s through the 60’s. He told me of a pitcher that threw hard but could not hit as he put it the side of barn to save his life. His first 6-7yrs in the majors were so-so and he had a high ERA in a period where pitchers had an advantage over batters (for example: higher mound). It was not until age 26 that he started to hone in the art of pitching and continue his amazing run until an arm injury ended his career at age 30. My father and I have often wondered in this day and age where we have more sophisticated medical care and better conditioning and training could this pitcher have gone on as he was in his prime. That pitcher is Sandy Koufax. My father learned a lot in his playing days which would carry over to his coaching on the college level and would often remark how blessed he was never to have any major injuries to his pitchers. So, I do not have a problem agreeing if Rusin is not a “franchise player or one to build the future on,” but age should not always be the consideration. Take care now and hope our Cubbies get out to fast start against them Yankees! Mahalo.

Again, using the exception to the rule as an example is not a good argument. Most pitchers who throw hard but can not hit the side of a barn don’t become Sandy Koulfax. Most closers in their 20s won’t be pitching 10 years later and retire as the all-time saves leader. Most soft-tossing lefties aren’t the next Tom Glavine. Most soft-tossing righties who have a decent amount of control aren’t the next Greg Maddux. And most Quarterbacks drafted in the 6th round will not become the next Tom Brady. If your team runs the strategy of “hope for an unlikely story to happen with our unlikely players” then chances are your team will not be very good. I’d much rather my team rely on its own scouts to tell them who is good, who has a chance at being good, and who, despite a good outing every now and then, doesn’t have a ceiling much higher than we’ve already seen. That’s what the scouts are paid to do after all, and that’s why fans are not scouts.

Aloha Doug-
Good points and what you mentioned about Marshall. Moving on, in “hind-sight” one can say Koufax was an exception, my father who was there during those years will tell you that for quite some time it looked shaky if someone like Koufax would have made it. So, part of my point is that before Koufax would become what he was (his last 5yrs especially), he and the Dodgers had patience, both sides and it was not based so much on age as it was more on getting the job done. Which could also beg the question, would a team allow a pitcher as much time as Koufax to “find” their “groove,” in today’s game-climate? Now, I am not saying that the Cubs rebuilding plan can keep pushing out the years it takes to bring about a competitive team, my only point was that yes age can play a factor as well as not, because experience and leadership can also help a team out too. Take care now. Mahalo.

If the scouting reports say a pitcher has the potential to become the next Sandy Koulfax, then yes a team would give that pitcher time to find their groove. The thing is, in today’s game there is no “we don’t know what we have with this guy so we’re just going to let him pitch at the Major League level for 3 or 4 years and see what happens.” By the time a pitcher reaches the Majors today, they have thrown way more innings in their lives and have been analyzed way more than any pitcher from any other era. If a pitcher reaches the Major Leagues today and a team is not really sure what they’ve got with him, then that is a total failure of their own scouting department from the time they were thinking about drafting him all the way up to his call up. The reason why Chris Rusin doesn’t stick with the Major League team is because the Cubs know that Rusin is what he is. There’s no hidden gem of a pitcher in there, he’s just a soft-tossing lefty who can give you the occasional quality start. Sure, sometimes the scouting reports are wrong or other factors can come into play, but relying on that to happen is what I was talking about earlier with the unlikely story of the unlikely player. It’s a fun story when it happens, but to rely on it as a strategy for building a team and to treat every unlikely player like they could be the next Sandy Koulfax or the next Tom Glavine is not a way to build a winner. I’m sure it was cool that your dad got to witness Koulfax’s development first hand, but I’m also sure he could probably give you a list of players as long as his arm that he saw come and go without developing into a regular Major Leaguer, much less a future Hall of Famer.

Aloha Doug- again good points. I remember in college and the team I was with the changes in scouting in the early 90’s and how I met many scouts that were “old-school” as well as the younger ones coming in. Yes, especially with pitchers in the past 20yrs more time is given to development not only in the minors but before that as well. We all heard the stories of some mlb ball players that had a second job in the 50/60’s, that not being the case today. One of my friends who is still with a team and leads their scouting division will admit that even with all the “metrics” out their, meaning stats-numbers and so forth, one can miss a person and their potential and it happens more often then not. One thing I learned with all teams is how certain “picks” are covered because they would not want their scout(s) looking bad if they said take this person in the first round, etc… Meaning they give that pick all the time in the world or opportunity to “bloom,” when maybe they just cannot compete at the next level. Then you have those drafted really low that should get a shot but do not or have to wait because of the higher picks above them. Part of the reason why I mentioned age cannot be the only factor but is one of many. And as I am sure you are aware, I was not saying that Rusin was the next Koufax but with our (Cubs’) pitching staff the way it is right now, especially the bullpen, why not see if he can contribute maybe move someone into the bullpen on a more regular basis and do not be afraid to move E. Jackson to the 5th spot in the rotation or give him a rest from starting and try some others out, no matter how much money he is being paid. Lastly, yes it has been a blessing with my father who is still involved in baseball in some capacity as I like to say. He has loved the game for a long time, played it and coached so I am fortunate to have him, call him up and “talk story,” as we like to say in the islands. Lets hope our Cubbies can fair better this coming weekend against the Reds. Mahalo.

To me, this is what discussing baseball is all about. Doug makes great points, k.g. tells great stories of exceptions to the rule. Koufax had some great years, after learning some control, but retired in his early 30’s.
Maury Wills was a late bloomer, ROY at age 27 or so? < not researched.
I consider myself an average fan, definately not a scout. The main thing, there is alot about Baseball we can learn from one another.

Aloha Jasper- Yes, discussing ball is fun. That is right about Wills, as he came into the league later just like Wade Boggs. Will’s last season (I think of it as his last), he was 38/39yrs old and still batted 280 with almost 170hits. Yes it was sometime ago that he played but there are still folks around that have it and can compete, sometimes the opportunity for them comes a little later in their life but they try to make the most of it as I am sure as per Doug’s points, they know some 18/19/20yr old is right behind them ready to take their spot. I do love watching vets that still have it and can mentor the younger players too. Mahalo.

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