#Cubs notes: Leadoff man, pitching

*Who will lead off for the Cubs? Manager Joe Maddon said he’s looking at Jason Heyward or Ben Zobrist, and wants to talk to both about the role.

“I have not written anything down in pen whatsoever,” Maddon said Friday of his lineup. “I know ‘Zo’ is comfortable with it. I’ve got to hear Jason’s feelings about it and work it from there. We need to decide on No. 1 and everything will flow after that.”

*The Cubs will use Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard and Adam Warren as starters this spring partly to stretch them out and also to not overwork the projected five-man rotation. They want to make sure everyone is prepared for an extra month of games.

“They have to be ready and well on Opening Day,” Maddon said of the rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks. Arrieta and Hendricks both are coming off seasons in which they set career highs in innings pitched.

Wood, Cahill, Richard and Warren have all started in the big leagues, and having the versatile arms in the bullpen creates a unique situation.

“We might have our sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth starters all in our big league bullpen,” Theo Epstein said, noting that even though the Cubs rotation was fairly healthy last season, they still used 10 starters. “We’ll see how it shakes out.”

*Pitchers and catchers will have their first official workout Saturday at the Cubs complex in Mesa. Maddon will address the team first, and players were expected on the field around 10:30 a.m. MT.

— Carrie Muskat


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All this is well and good. What I know for sure is that is a team can never have too much pitching. It is always a concern, and this approaching 2016 season should be a concern for Cubs` fans, in my humble opinion. The realization that `USA Today` and other media entities have designated our Cubs as the superior major league team entering the upcoming season is unnerving, to put it mildly. I would much prefer to be `the underdog` in such a race. The first three starters in our rotation are solid, no doubt. No. 4 and No. 5 are less so. I have the vivid memory of Jason Hammel starting the final game of our 2015 season, and being `rocked` in the very first inning versus the Mets. He was pummeled to the degree that our Cubs were `out of the game` before we even had the opportunity to come to our first at bat. That is unacceptable. Y`all should not have to witness anything like that in the 2016 season. We should be concerned about our relief pitching as well; not middle relief, but end of the game relief. Did I mention a club never can have too much pitching?

Aloha jhosk- well said about a team not having enough pitching! It has amazed me how many folks want to play for this team and did so at a discount or less years on a contract. That fact that you have 5 starters slated for the rotation but have other starters ready to go is amazing! I am sure Wood, Cahill, Warren and Richard would like to start and may get a chance during the regular season to give the other folks a rest but I sure how it is not because of injury. I too like you, do not like all the attention. That is the mainstream media for you. They need a “story.” That is why I would advise the team, which I am sure has been done already, not to pay attention to the pre-season polls/chatter out there. We want them to continue to “gel” as a team, a family and enjoy the game. I am so thankful baseball is starting! Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. February prognosticators are notoriously unreliable, and that is why they make us uneasy, and are better ignored. Credit the manager and coaches for embracing the high expectations. Looking forward to the April 4th opener versus the Angels. Did you know it is more than likely the Cubs will not see Albert Pujols, as he continues his long recovery from right foot surgery in November? {Saw that college opener yesterday; it was cold (46 degrees); conditions are expected to be much more pleasant today and tomorrow.}

Its nice in Mess and this fan is enjoying it. Pitching should do very well this year. If someone goes down, I look for Cahill to step in or Warren without skipping a beat. If Ramirez is healthy the BP will dominate. Robson has all the experience at a young age. He will be fine.
More pitching would be great, but who goes? There more quality arms than I ever remember.

Aloha Jasper and jhosk- I am sure you read that the Cubs gave Parra a minor league contract. Not sure if he will make the cut. And I thought Fowler was close to signing with the Orioles and read how Baltimore was curious as to why he did not sign off yet either. I just do not like this hanging over the organization. Is Fowler hoping beyond hope that the FO makes a last minute offer to him? Sorry to keep bringing this up but I think it does not help and I also think Fowler’s agent has done him no favors either. As you said Jasper, he had his chance to sign the QF and did not. So it is time to move on. By the way, I agree about Ramirez staying healthy. Remember what happened last Spring when he went down, it was tough on the bp. You folks take care now. Mahalo!

Another way to look at it, more open minded than my first: Sign him for another year, let him test the market again next year. That gives Almora and Martinez another year. I think Martinez is that Cuban FA that was signed?
Instead of trading Soler, platoon Schwarber & Soler in LF.
Soler can play when Schwarber catches and one or the other can DH during Interleague play.

Aloha Jasper- Yes, I can see your point about having Almora & Eddy Martinez given additional time in the farm system. I do not like to disparage anyone. With Cubs moving on, I wish them the best like Castro. With Fowler I believe he made his choice and took a gamble and wished him well. Now he has to own up to it. With Zobrist and Heyward coming on, I would rather the Cubs if they had to sign someone let it be Jackson as he is a better defensive player, can play all 3 positions in the outfield and would cost the team maybe a mil? I am hoping that Murton can be or add depth to the outfield so that anymore thoughts of acquiring another OF are over and done with. Nothing looming over the team. I also want for Soler to have a clear mind going into ST and doing the best he can now, not worrying if something is going to happen to his position. That is just me. You take care now. Mahalo!

All good points K.g.
Its going to be a fun season, no doubt.

Jasper, please remind who Robson is.

Sorry jhosk, that was a phone auto correct as I was on the road in Mesa.
Rondon with his 2015 experience and success will be better than ever is my prediction.

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