Thursday, October 28, 2010

Player Profile: Jay Jackson...

Jay Jackson is a 23 year old pitcher, who the Cubs drafted in the 9th round of the 2008 draft. He has made his way through the Cubs minor leagues in a good pace, as he inches closer to making the majors. He's currently playing for the Iowa Cubs in Triple A. Who Ryne Sandberg was the manager. Will Sandberg be back in Triple A to coach him if he starts the 2011 season down there? Only time will tell us....but he was offer the position again. Jay Jackson started the 2010 season with Triple A, but as a reliever not a starter. However, he was switched to the rotation because Andrew Cashner went to the bullpen. But, Cashner is now a good pitcher for the Cubs bullpen.

Jay Jackson was alright last year, as he posted a 11-8 record with a 4.63era, 48 walks, 119 strikeouts in 157.1 innings pitched. As you can see, nothing spectacular but a decent year for him. I like his strikeout to walks ratio. Jackson has 4 or 5 pitches than he can throw for strikes and get outs. I think he will be a good pitcher in the Cubs rotation some day. When will that come? I don't know, but I expect next year some time.

I don't believe Jackson is playing winter ball because I have not seen stats on him or any news-notes on how he is doing. Maybe he just wants the time off from baseball and to relax. I think if he did play winter ball and he performs well, I think there would be a better chance for him to make the team out of spring training (Cubs).

Bruce Levine says Jay Jackson will make the Cubs sometime next season, if it's out of spring training or a mid-summer call-up. Member, we don't know because we have to see if Jim Hendry makes any moves to the starting rotation this winter (FA signings, trades, etc). Also, Ben Badler who writes for Baseball America heard from a scout that Jackson has a nice fastball with a nasty strikeout pitch.

Jackson is not considered a top prospect in all of baseball or even in the Cubs organization, but he has been recognize around the league. He has been in the rankings of the Cubs top 10 prospects, around the mid (4-7). Before the 2010 season, Baseball America had him ranked 98 in all of baseball. That's actually not too bad with everything into consideration. But, will he drop in the 2011 ranks? I think there is a good chance he will. The Cubs Reporter had Jackson ranked 6th in the Cubs organization and I have to agree with that rank. I think he fits right around their.

However, if the Cubs want a top tier pitcher like Zack Greinke, Jackon will most likely have to be included. But, I don't see that happening as Jim Hendry will be reluctant to trade top prospects and the price for Greinke will be too high. Will Greinke be in Cubbie blue to start the 2011 season? I say one out of a million. So, N0!

My prediction: He will make the Cubs during the 2011 season. I don't think he will make the club out of spring training because all 5 spots would be taken. However, I see him being a call-up because a pitcher is slumping, injured or traded. As for being a Cub down the road, I see him as a 3rd or 4th starter in the rotation and he could be one of the best. I just hope for the best for him and can't wait to see what he does this spring training.

Jay Jackson page:
Jay Jackson page:

Do you think he will be a good pitcher and when do you think he will make the majors?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bruce Levine's Chat: 10/26...

I'm back! Now to Levine's chat recap. I will share information that I thought was interesting:

1) The Cubs will find out next Tuesday, if there 84M training facility will be approved in Mesa.

2) Adam Dunn is still the Cubs number 1 priority.

3) Kosuke Fukudome is likely to be traded.

4) The Cubs could look at Cliff Lee, but nothing major. Don't look for any legs on the Lee movement.

5) Levine does not even know how much the money the Cubs will have to spend on free agents this winter.

6) Levine states there's a good chance Hendry is gone after 2 years when Quade's contract is up.

7) Jim Hendry can probably fit Adam Dunn in, if Kosuke is traded.

8) The Cubs will have interest in bringing Kerry Wood back, but the Yanks are preparing a contract for him.

10) Levine thinks Brett Jackson and Jay Jackson will make the team sometime next year. While, Archer could be a summer call-up.

Next week I'll have his recap again. In the next few days, I will have another player profile; that will be Jay Jackson.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Player Profile: Josh Vitters....

Josh Vitters is a 21 year old third baseman, who the Cubs drafted in 2007 with the 3rd overall pick. He was 17 years old and was drafted out of high school. He's currently playing for Double A Tennessee Smokies in the Chicago Cubs minor league system. Vitters could be making the transition from third base to first base. As he is playing first base in the Arizona Fall League, but he is also third base too.

Vitters started off the 2010 season in the minors with High A Daytona posting a .291/.350/.445/.795 with 3hr and 13rbi in 28 games and 110 at-bats. Then, Vitters was called up to Double A and posted a .223/.292/.383/.676 with 7hr and 26rbi in 63 games and 206 at-bats. Before breaking his wrist and being out for the remainder of the season.

Vitters is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League and he's not doing so well. The league pretty much just started and as of right now he's posting a .222/.211/.244/.655 with 1hr and 5rbi in 4 games and 18 at-bats. Like I already mention, he's playing third base and trying to make the transition to first base. He's trying to make the transition to first base because the Cubs ordered it. His stats don't look good in the AZL, but it's still early and he's coming off a bad wrist injury. Just give him time and hope he comes around.

Vitters was once the Cubs top rated prospect, before the top spot was taken over by 20 year old SS Starlin Castro. Who is now the Cubs starting SS. He was ranked number one in the Cubs system in 2008 and 2009 and 2010 he was ranked number two. He was ranked number 43 in 2008, 51 in 2009 and 70 in 2010 in the whole minor league system for all 30 MLB teams. That is all according to Baseball America.

Vitters has gone through his share of injuries. He has suffered two injuries, in which he missed significant time. That is one reason why he's on a setback from reaching the majors.

Also, Vitters might not even be a Cub when and if he makes the majors because he could be traded. Vitters has been in trade talks for the past 2-3 years, but general manager Jim Hendry was reluctant to trade him because of his potential. If Vitters would have been included, the Cubs would have either 2B Brian Roberts or P Jake Peavy. Josh Vitters was the deal breaker in both deals. But, Jim Hendry might be more open to trade him because of his struggles in the minors. With the recent news that the Royals will take offers for P Jack Greinke. The Cubs are expected to be a team after him and most likely will have to offer Vitters in a deal with more. So, will he be a Cub when he makes the majors? That question is still to be determine.

My Prediction: He will make the majors in 2012 as a first baseman. I think he will be a Cub because I don't see the Cubs acquiring Zack Greinke and the Cubs are more reluctant to trade young players. He will get an invite to spring training in 2011 to see how he produces. Vitters still has to work on his plate ability. He strikes out a good amount, swings at bad pitches and rarely walks. However, he does have ability as he has hr power and is a guy who can hit 3-5 in the batting order. I also think he will make the Cubs because the Cubs have no third baseman or first baseman in their minor league system are are not going to spend on players anymore.

Josh Vitters page:
Josh Vitters page:

So, when do you see Josh Vitters making the majors? Do you even think Vitters will make the majors?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Changes to Blog...

Sorry for the inactivity as of lately, but I'm working almost full-time and taking 5 classes in college. I would love to write posts, but I'm usually tired. However, I'm going to try and write 2-3 posts a week now.

My blog now will be more for the minors. I will have updates on the AZL and player profiles. Also, I will still have Bruce Levine's weekly chat on Tuesday. And, that will count as a post for the week.

But....I will still have updates on breaking news and only breaking news (FA signings, trades, etc). And, that will not count as a post for the week.

I hope the new changes are better.

I will have a player profile tomorrow and it will be Josh Vitters.

Thanks and sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bruce Levine's Chat: 10/12...

Here's a recap of Bruce Levine's chat....

1) The manager process could be entering the final process and a manager could be named soon. The 3 candidates are Mike Quade, Ryne Sandberg and Eric Wedge.

2) He mentioned 3 weeks ago that Olando Hudson will be the Cubs 2B come next season, but now he says it looks like they will keep 2B alone.

3) The Cubs never interviewed Alan Trammell because they don't look at him as a good manger. Also, it looks like Trammell will have to find a job elsewhere.

4) He thinks Archer needs more time in the minors and if he pitches good, he would not be surprise to see him as a mid-season call-up.

5) He says the Cubs need a leadoff man, but has not heard what they are going to do at that position.

6) He thinks Derrek Lee's career could be over because of past injuries. That would suck.

7) He said "I'm sure Jacoby Ellisbury would be a guy the Cubs would like to have".

8) Renovations for Wrigley in 2014 seem to be on a hold. It still will get done but the time frame in unknown now.

9) No one knows when Vitters will be ready and even at 3B. He could be a 1B if and when he hits the majors. He will be playing 1B in the AFL.

10) He said Kerry Wood will always be welcomed back to Chicago, but he does not see the Yankees not offering him a new contract.

That was the latest from Bruce Levine.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

If I was Jim Hendry...

Here's my yearly trend of "If I was Jim Hendry" what I would do this offseason. I am going to write in 1st person as if I was Jim Hendry. This is just for fun and I want to see how I do. I'm going to try and be realistic as best as I can.

1) Hire Ryne Sandberg as the manager: My first choice was Joe Girardi but I hear he is staying with the New York Yankees. As I'm trying to make the team younger and since Ryne Sandberg was the Double A and Triple A manager, he would know the players the best and how to work with them. Also, he does not take anything for granted. I know Mike Quade did good in relief of Lou Piniella, but that Castro benching and playing Koyie Hill over Welnington Castillo drove me nuts. That's why I did not pick him as manager. I also do know Sandberg does not have major league managing before but he had a good track record in the minors. Quade didn't either, before taking over the Cubs for about two months.

2) Sign-Trade for 1B Adam LaRoche: The D'backs still don't know if his 7.5M option would be exercise, so I would trade for or sign him. I would sign him to a 1 year contract worth 7M, with a team option for 2012 worth 8M. If LaRoche's option is exercised and I think the D'backs would shop him, I would trade utility man Jeff Baker and starting pitcher Randy Wells. Baker was good but with the emergence of Darwin Barney, he has to be traded. Wells has looked good at times but he was really inconsistent this year and I think pitchers in the minors would do a better job (i.e. Archer and Jackson). I like a lot in LaRoche, besides his high strikeout rate and his low walking ability. I would hope the best hitting coach in the business (Rudy) will help him. He does have pop in his swing, he can bat in the middle of the order (3-5), a left-handed bat and he plays good defense. And, with the fielders throwing the ball in the dirt, a good defensive 1B would help out a lot.

3) Sign RP Kerry Wood: I would love for a Cubs-Wood reunion and I'm going to try and make it possible. Wood struggle with the Indians, but since being trade to a good team (Yankees) he has been lights out. Maybe it has to do something with the Indians being no good. I would sign him to a 1 year contract worth 6M and with a team option for 2012 worth 7.5M (Plus incentives). Only because of recent injuries. This is only if the Yankees do not retain him.

4) Re-Sign Nady: Nady said he would like to return to the club and I think that wouldn't be a bad idea. He would be the Cubs back-up 1B and 4th-5th OF like he was assign to when the Cubs signed him last offseason. But, this time, he will play more often, not once a week like he did before Lee was traded to the Braves. Nady showed he was useful as he hit and played wonderful defense at 1st base. The contract would be a one year deal worth 3M. plus incentives that could make it around 5-6M.

5) Trade Jeff Baker: I would trade Baker and save the 1-1.5M he would get in an arb raise. I know he killed lefties, but I think Barney can do the same, if not better in his place. Barney has shown great defense and he can play 3B, SS and 2B. Like I mention above he would be in the deal for 1B Adam LaRoche. If I was for some reason not able to trade him, I would non-tender him and still save the 1-1.5M he would earn in 2011.

6) Non-Tender Koyie Hill: This is such an obvious move, as Hill can't hit and plays OK defense. So, he has nothing spectacular to offer. He took playing time from Castillo in 2010 and that made me mad. I think Castillo would be a good fit, but if not, our system has more catchers that can do better than Hill. My pick goes to Welington Castillo. This would also save us about 1-1.3M.

7) Trade Kosuke Fukudome: This is a move that has to be made as the the OF is already crowded as it is. I would take on half of the 13M owe to him next season and that way I should be able to find a taker. Kosuke started hitting the ball as of late (when Piniella left) and he plays stellar defense. I would just look for prospects in return. So, this move will save us around 6.5M.

8) Shop Byrd: I would love to keep Byrd, but Brett Jackson who is supposedly on the same path as Starlin Castro was, could make the team in May or June. So, we will have Soriano in left, Jackson in CF and Colvin in RF. Then, Colvin would be the 4th OF if Byrd is still on the team or what. I would not trade Byrd in the offseason because what happens if Jackson struggles in the minors and the plan is on delay. We would be screwed. Also, this would allow me to see what value Byrd has. Then, if Jackson plays good next season, I could trade Byrd because his stock is high right now and I doubt he has the same season as last year. I will also keep an eye on Jackson this winter as he is playing for the USA.

9) Sign Brandon Webb: I think this could be a good signing because he will not cost much and he's a former all-star. Webb has gone through arm injuries the past season, but this could be a low risk high reward kind of a deal. I would sign him to a 1 year contract worth 1M, with a team option for the next season worth 3M. Plus incentives that could make the 1M into 3-5M.

10)Arb raises: All of these are 1 year contracts. I would offer Sean Marshall 1.3M, Angel Guzman 850K, Tom Gorzelanny 1.2M, and Geovany Soto 3M. I would sign Guzman just one more time and if he comes back healthy, it could be a good signing, but if not I would release him or non-tender him next offseason. I was thinking about signing Geovany Soto to an extension in which it would buy off all his arb years, but I thought this would be cheaper for the next season. In which it would. Maybe next offseason.

11) Sign Carlos Marmol to an extension: This would buy out the final 2 years of arbitration. He's 27 years old. I would sign him to as 3 year extension worth 18M at 6M per year. He has shown to be worth that contract and the contract is not long because for some reason RP don't pitch the same way for years. Also, in case of injury.

12) Release Silva: I would pay the 5.5M left on his contract, to save roster spots for a veteran or a youngster who shines. I will not be able to trade Silva, unless I take a bad contract in exchange and I don't want to do that. I think this is the best for the ball club.

13) Hope the youngsters shine and make the team: I would hope 2 pitching youngsters shine in spring training...Chris Archer and Jay Jackson. Chris Archer was one of the better pitchers in the minors last year and has been thought to make the team out of spring training. He came over in the Mark DeRosa trade. I will also keep an eye on him, as he is pitching for USA this winter. Also, another pitcher to keep any eye on is Jay Jackson. He was OK last year, but he has a good fastball and a good breaking ball. I was told he is going to be a good pitcher. Like I mention above, Castillo and Barney would also make the team out of spring training. Also, Brad Snyder being the 4th OF. He played good defense in limited time and he has potential to hit and I hope he does.

14) Other Notes that will be different from the 2010 team: My plan from the offseason moves would move Tom Gorzelanny from the rotation to the bullpen, Castillo will be back-up catcher, Barney will the utility guy and the pitching (both SP and RP) will be completely different.

15) Potential mid-season call-ups: OF Brett Jackson, OF Sam Fuld, P Chris Carpetner, 3B Marquez Smith and more depending on their performance next season.

16) Sign Felipe Lopez: I know he struggle with the Cardinals last year, but he has potential and is a cheap option. He would be a utility guy like Barney, but Barney would be ahead of him for playing time. Lopez can play 3B, SS, 2B, 1B and the OF. I would sign him to a 1 year contract worth 1.5M plus incentives that can make the 1.5M into 3-4M. Also, I would add a team option in there worth 3M for 2011.

Here's what the 25 man roster would look like on opening day:

2011 Batting Order:
1) DeWitt 2B-Barney IF (When plays)
2) Castro SS
3) LaRoche 1B
4) Ramirez 3B
5) Byrd CF
6) Soto C
7) Soriano LF
8) Colvin RF
9) Pitcher P

2011 Starting Rotation:
1) Carlos Zambrano
2) Ryan Dempster
3) Brandon Webb (hoping he comes back healthy, but that's a big IF.)
4) Chris Archer
5) Jay Jackson

2011 Bullpen:
Closer: Carlos Marmol
Set-up: Sean Marshall
Set-up: Andrew Cashner
RHP: Kerry Wood
LHP: John Grabow
LHP: Tom Gorzelanny
RHP: Angel Guzman (hoping he comes back healthy, but that's a big IF)

2011 Bench:
C: Welington Castillo
1B/OF: Xavier Nady
Utility: Darwin Barney
4th OF: Brad Snyder
2nd Utility: Felipe Lopez

Depth Chart:
C: Soto, Castillo
1B: LaRoche, Nady, Lopez
2B: DeWitt, Barney, Lopez
3B: Ramirez, Barney, Lopez
SS: Castro, Barney, Lopez
OF: Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Nady. Snyder, Lopez
Pitchers: Zambrano, Dempster, Webb, Archer, Jackson, Marmol, Marshall, Cashner, Wood, Grabow, Gorzelanny and Guzman.

As Tom Ricketts already mentioned, the payroll will decrease from this season to next season. So, I could not offer big contracts or spend a lot. I would spend...counting FA signings, trades, arb raises: With me trading for LaRoche: 30.5M, and could go up to 40M or so with incentives but unlikely. With me signing LaRoche: 30M, that can go up to 40M with incentives but very unlikely. But, that does no account the 6.5M I save on Kosuke's contract. Just subtract than from the totals and that's where I would be at. Not too bad. The roster would be complete with all those moves.

However, I don't know if the player would accept the deal, the team accept the trade, if the player wants to come to Chicago, etc. That's what it makes this harder. But, I tried my best and this is what I came up with. It was fun and that's all that matters. I think this team would be in contention, if the young players shine and if the vets play to their potential, but if not, we can wish 2011 good bye.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Moves the Cubs could make in the Offseason...

I said last Tuesday that I will have Bruce Levine's chat recap, but he did not say anything we already didn't know. I instead will have a write up on potential moves the Cubs could make in the offseason.

1) Hire a Manager: This is SO obvious, as the Cubs can't go into next season without one. They could have one within a week and as of right now, it sounds like the guy will be Mike Quade. Bruce Levine predicts and said the 3rd week of October, Jim Hendry will hire a manager. I'm not too thrill about Quade being named manager as he was third on my list. I had Girardi one, Sandberg two and Quade three. There is still a chance the Cubs could hire Girardi, but it would be better if the Twins knock the Yanks out in the first round. Then, they could interview him earlier then. But, as of right now, Quade sounds like the guy.

2) Sign a 1B: I think this move will happen, as Quade wants Colvin to stay in the OF and he will likely be the manager. I don't think they will get a big name like Dunn, Pena or Matinez, but I think they could re-sign Nady or sign-trade for Adam LaRoche (depending on what the D'backs do with him). Too be honest, I like LaRocke because he has pop, plays good defense and is a left-handed bat.

3) Sign a RP: As we already know, the Cubs bullpen was not great last year, but they did turn it on as of late. I think the Cubs need one more RP that can help out. He could go along with Cashner, Marshall and Marmol who were great last year. I would love for the Cubs to sign Kerry Wood and it's not a bad idea, but what what I have read, its unlikely. Which kind of sucks because I would love a Cubs-Wood reunion.

4) Sign a 4th OF: I think the Cubs could sign one and two names that I wouldn't mind are Brad Hawpe and Pat Burrell because I like them and I think they could help in this role. But, the Cubs could open the season with Sam Fuld or Brad Snyder as the 4th OF, with Brett Jackson possibly getting the call to the majors fast. And, that way the Cubs don't spend money. I actually could see the Cubs going with Fuld or Snyder to open the season in 2011.

These are moves that I could see happen in the offseason, but with the payroll not determine yet and no manager, who knows what is going to happen this winter. There are a lot more moves that I see happening, but over the next 3-5 days, I'm going to have a post "If I was Jim Hendry" and I don't want to give much away. But, I do know this, it's going to be an interesting winter. I just can't wait!