7/22 Recap of Cubs moves

* Mike Olt leads all National League rookies with 12 home runs, but he’s also first with 84 strikeouts and was batting .139 after going 0-for-4 Tuesday with three K’s. After the game, Cubs announced they were optioning Olt to Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs need to open a roster spot for pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada, who will be making his second big league start Wednesday against the Padres. Olt, acquired one year ago Tuesday from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, went 2-for-35 in June, and was 3-for-25 in 12 games in July. If there’s a plus to the demotion, it’s that he’ll be reunited with Manny Ramirez, who is a player/coach at the Cubs’ Triple-A team, and a former teammate of Olt’s.

* Fans eager for the so-called “core four” to get closer to the big leagues got their wish. On Tuesday, the Cubs announced they were promoting top prospects Jorge Soler and Albert Almora. Soler, 22, was batting .415 at Double-A Tennessee after going 2-for-3 on Tuesday with a triple. The outfielder was limited early this season because of leg injuries. Almora, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, hit his seventh home run on Tuesday, and was batting .283 with 50 RBIs.

* Darwin Barney was designated for assignment, and Emilio Bonifacio activated from the disabled list Tuesday. Barney, 28, was batting .230 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 16 RBIs in 72 games this season. He won the Gold Glove in 2012 after tying a Major League single-season record with 141-consecutive errorless games. But his offense has not been able to keep up with his defensive skills. He batted .254 in 2012, and .208 last season. Since making his big league debut with the Cubs in 2010, Barney has batted .244 with 88 doubles, 18 home runs and 146 RBI in 542 games.

– Carrie Muskat

28 Comments

Lots of moves. Since Soler is on the 40 man roster, maybe we’ll see him in Chicago in Septembrer? Baez too. 😎

Very exciting!!!

Barney had a good run for us, I wish him all the best and hope he goes out with a chance to support a playoff bound team that can afford his anemic offense and CAPITILIZE on his excellent defense. A great article in today’s Suntimes regarding how much Samardizja valued Barney and insisted he be at second base when he pitched. An all around good story about “teammates” pulling for one another. Barney’s departure surely signals the advent of the future roster we all have been waiting patiently to see.

I got called out when I said Soler could be on the Opening Day roster next year…..some said it would not happen …too soon…………..now word is Soler could be here in September.
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Mike Olt needs to spend some money this winter to get the best hitting instructor……..or get new eye contacts.
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I am sure glad we kept Kyle Hendricks and not Liam Hendricks….
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Didn’t Hendricks pitching remind you similar to Greg Maddux !…..
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If Russell is better at shortstop then Castro…….then Castro moves to ?????…..maybe to the outfield….but we have Almora, McKinney, Soler and plenty of others……either Baez or Bryant is at third…….Alcantara or Baez at second………………and Castro is a Hendry guy…..we can only come to the conclusion that Theo wants an entire roster of Theo guys……….maybe next July 15, we could see one final sell off.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I really doubt Castro moves to the OF. He has the fourth best OPS among all SS, but wouldn’t even be in the top 20 among OFs. His value, to me, is that he can hit and play short. If he moves to the OF, his value plummets.

You make a good point, Cubs Win, and it`s not the first time you`ve called our attention to your argument. With the glut of potential outstanding outfielders we have in the organization, it very well may come to pass that Starlin will become the odd man out.

All this talk about shortstops makes me think of one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite short stories (“Bullet in the Brain,” by Tobias Wolff). “Shorts the best position they is.” Check it out!

Muskat says Russell is the best SS …..you put the player at his strongest position…….if Russell is better then Castro, then Castro will have to be moved.

Why don’t we wait and see if Russell can get back in the groove before we talk a bunch about trading Castro who is a much more proven and better player at this point. Flexibility in positions is a great thing to have and our guys are showing they have it. At this point I want to keep them all

Yes, Castro will move off of short (or off of the team) when/if Russell makes it, but I have my doubts about moving him to the OF. According to Baseball Reference, Castro has played a grand total of 2 games in the OF since turning pro, and none since 2008. I would think second or third would be a much easier transition for a SS with virtually zero OF experience. Plus Bryant played a little OF in college and there was talk about Baez possibly moving to the OF eventually when he was drafted, which is more than you can say about Castro. Stop trying to make Castro to the OF a thing. It’s probably the least likely of all the scenarios involving where to play the prospects.

I find it remarkable that Olt has been able to hang on with the big club this long, given his pathetic batting average. Can Lake`s demotion be far behind? I have been stellar boosters of both Olt and Lake, but each has surely disappointed. Perhaps each can find his groove and be solid contributors to a major league team one day, even if it`s not the Cubs. I wish Barney well, and find it more than compelling that Shark valued Darwin the way joey describes. That is precious. Wonder how petrey rationalizes that, given he loves Shark and despises Barney.

I don’t need to rationalize it… Barney’s defense was great but as a whole he sucked as a player … His glove wasn’t great enough to keep him valuable. His bat was that bad.. No need to rationalize as the numbers speak for themselves.

jhosk, wondering what your opinion is….not sure but wouldn’t a player need to be bad at ALL aspects of his game in order to “suck as a whole”? If a player has ADMITTEDLY “great” defense (great enough to win a GG…) wouldn’t you think that would eliminate him from sucking as a whole? Just a thought as I wouldn’t think The Shark would want a middle infielder backing him up on the field if he sucked as a whole. The Shark must have seen SOMETHING in Barney that was gosh….maybe…NOT sucking as a whole?? Hey, I am glad Barney is moving on just for the fact of opening up a roster spot but to disparage his remaining talent and value to a team is nonsense, don’t you think? Plus, I agree about Lake. I so much wanted him and Olt to explode and command regular playing time for WIDE OPEN SPOTS….they have truly disappointed. BUT…just as Barney’s leaving opens up a roster spot for a BETTER player so too will the roster spots of Olt and Lake. That is what is so AWESOME bout this organization this year. THE ADVANCEMENT. Take care jhosk.

Yes, joey, you make some good arguments. I would never make the comment that Barney sucked. He was given ample time to prove his worth and it did not work out, and I`m sad about that. He was a remarkable defensive performer and the offensive aspect of his game was unimpressive. I must say I find Theo`s conclusion as to why Barney went off the rails as simplistic and inadequate. Theo contends that Darwin resorted to trying to pull everything in his ab`s. Barney`s issues were far more complex than that. I surely want Darwin to hook up with another major league club as I know you do. There has been much discussion about shortstops on this thread today. There is one more thing I`d like to add on that subject. There was a Cubs` game which was recently broadcast by ESPN and Rick Sutcliff was one of the commentators. It may very well have been a Wednesday night game from Fenway. At one juncture of that contest, Sut said that “Barney was a better ss than Castro.” Do some of you all recall? It was surely an “attention grabber” for me. I`m certain Rick was alluding to a comparison of each player`s defensive skills.

Thank you jhosk. While certainly Barney’s offense without argument was unacceptable and freeing up a roster space for Alcantara is a good thing it is nice to see the VAST MAJORITY of comments regarding Barney are respectful, mature and without a doubt about as far from the harsh “overall sucks” comment as one can get. What happened to Barney is justifiable….but I ask jhosk….should not the same happen with Schierholtz considering his offense AND defense are both below Barney’s? Wouldn’t freeing up an outfield spot by removing such a NON-OFFENSIVE player be just as justified as the removal of Barney? At least Barney had/has value as a light hitting, EXCELLANT fielding player whereas this year Schierholtz is a NO hitting, GOOD fielding player? No matter, the good thing is the Cubs are finally MOVING ONWARD!!! Right?

CubsTalk, if I`m not mistaken, C. Muskat told us weeks ago that Baez was also a better ss than Starlin.

And Theo said that Castro would not be moved from shortstop……we will see.

I want to modify something I typed earlier. It was Hoyer who said Barney became “pull happy,” not Theo. It`s Hoyer`s conclusion as to why Darwin failed offensively I find simplistic and inadequate.

Yes, joey, Schierholtz has been an enigma this season. As I`ve stated here before, Nate was one of my favorite Cubs last season. He was one of few players who overachieved in 2013. For whatever reason, he`s hit a wall in 2014. I thought he would turn it around after his unimpressive start this season, and predicted as much. I would have no problem with his being cut loose to open a roster spot for one of our prospects.

I had the same sentiments. Agreed, sounds like we are describing Barney yet Schierholtz remains taking up a roster spot. Do you think the Cubs would be better served by releasing Schierholtz and bringing up either Vitters or Jackson for the remaining two months giving them one last shot of proving their value if any? Seems to me there is nothing to lose by doing just that. It’s not like it would be rushing any of the “core” prospects.

As Theo told us last week, and I paraphrase, “You can never have too many shortstops.” That`s special. I`ll never forget that comment as long as I am “above the soil.” Theo`s unique.

I believe what you are suggesting is tantamount to rewarding mediocrity, joey. Neither Jackson nor Vitters has done enough at Iowa to justify such a promotion. I know you are looking at the bigger picture, i.e. you want to see if each can prove he has a future with the big club. I do not see either as having a serious shot at being a future starter with the big club, and have felt that way for a long while. I could be proved wrong, but I can`t see how you can justify promoting either now.

Certainly no argument here jhosk, nor am I advocating their promotion what I am suggesting is the removal of some ML players that are also well known for not having a serious shot of being a starter (i.e. what happened to Barney) such as Schierholtz (talk about mediocrity right? Now HE is truly being HANDSOMELY rewarded for HIS mediocrity). So, I suppose I would rather give one more shot to the young guys (Vitters and Jackson…or unmentioned others…scuzur?) that really can’t be considered fragile by rushing to the ML, although against incredible odds of them making a lasting impression. You know what though? This is all kind of moot, isn’t jhosk? Some of the prospect names discussed justify a promotion as much as some of the ML names discussed justify their ML roster spot….they don’t.

I realize there are a lot of talented shortstops, but the decision on who starts there for the big league team does not have to be made today. If I had to rank the three shortstops on defensive skills, I’d list it Russell-Baez-Castro. That’s my humble opinion. Just let them play.

Amen to that!

Aloha Folks- being out in the West I come to the discussion late. I hope that Olt does not take it personally but an opportunity for him to work on his patience at the plate, choosing “his” pitches, when to swing. I hope the best for Barney and that another team might consider him and mentor him, who knows he may become a more consistent hitter but again, I wish him well, always a gentleman. Gunbatene Barney-san. Mahalo

Hello k.g. I agree with your comments about Barney. Is a dignified man. I know White must be hurting over these developments, and I`m wanting Barney to be signed by another team, and can`t stress that enough. I`ve seen parts of all the Giants/Phillies games in this current series. San Francisco has abused Philadelphia. I must say that Papelbon and the Phils were hosed in that late inning at bat by Pence last night. Pence struck the game winning knock to break up a scoreless game. Did you see? But it should have never come to that critical pitch. The pitch just prior to that was clearly over the plate at the knees, and should have been strike three. But alas, the umpire did not see it that way. He missed it. Do you have an opinion, k.g.? Mahalo!

Anytime a player makes it to the Majors, he has to be a very good ball player, even the bench guys. Barney was a nice guy, however he was very expendable with Alcantara, Valbuena and now Baez playing 2nd at AAA.
I honestly believe that the only reason Barney was kept this long is because he could play SS in a pinch.
So here you guys are, crying over a guy that was not factored in as part of the future.
It was a business decision, so bye and good luck.
I am sure some of you were excited by his play, as was I when he was hitting. He will not be missed by me, nor would Schierholtz, Russell, Wright or anyone not performing and earning their millions.
Barney should be very thankful he earned a lifetime of money for most people playing Baseball. He may not be finished, but if he is, hes leaving a millionaire.

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