Tagged: Wellington Castillo

JUST RANDOM THOUGHTS

The Chicago Cubs appear to content with the lineup we currently have.  I was kind of hoping we would trade Fukudome, but that does not seem like it will happen.  I was also a little bit interested in Michael Young to play second over the platoon of Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker, but that is not going to happen either.  Another possible “solution” for second would be Luis Castillo if the Mets were willing to part with him.  Personally, I don’t like this idea at all.  The one move I still think the Cubs could make is acquiring Chris Davis from the Rangers.  I think it would take catcher Wellington Castillo and another high minor league player.  

I keep reading that teams are scouting Carlos Silva and Braden Looper.  I would love to see with us part with Silva no doubt.  However, I am curious to see what Looper could bring to the team this season.  
Matt Garza pitched four solid innings in his last outing which has me excited.  I think our starting five will be Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner.  However, Braden Looper is making a strong case to make the rotation.  The downside of this rotation is that we do not have a lefty in there.  Ted Lilly was a great competitor during his time with the Cubs and he will be missed. Our bullpen is looking good too in my opinion.  Marshall, Wood and Marmol will anchor the pen and hopefully Samardzija and a healthy Grabow will be able to help out as well.
Scott Moore is making a good impression this spring and while I don’t think he will make the team, I believe he would be a great mid-season call up if someone were to get injured.  However, I would rather have Chris Davis as our corner infielder.  No offense to Moore, but I’ve been fixated a bit on Davis this off-season.  
That’s all I have for today.  It’s supposed to be in the 60s tomorrow and in the 70s on Thursday here in southern Illinois.  I hope the weatherman is right!
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A LITTLE CATCHING UP

My internet hasn’t worked right the last few days so, I haven’t been able to write any posts.  I guess I can blame it on the winter weather the midwest has experienced.  I didn’t even call my internet provider because I know they would probably give me some lame excuse.  Anyway, here’s a few thoughts I’ve had the last couple of days.

The Rangers are shopping Michael Young to the Rockies.  Why in the world won’t the Cubs make an offer?!  We could package Soriano, Jeff Baker or Blake DeWitt and Wellington Castillo for Michael Young, Chris Davis and Darren O’Day.  Soriano and Young each have bad contracts.  The Cubs would probably have to eat around $9 million of his contract during the final year of his deal, but it would be worth it to me.  It’s just a thought.

Blake DeWitt.  I read that Greg Maddux had a role in the Cubs acquiring DeWitt.  So, while I have been skeptical of DeWitt, I am willing to give him more of a chance.  I trust Maddux’s judgement.  I hope he’s right.

Carlos Marmol and the Cubs are working on a multiyear extension that will give our closer a substantial raise and avoid any more arbitration years.  I think we should do the same thing with Matt Garza and get both players locked up so we don’t have to go through this again with either of them any time soon. 

Aramis Ramirez is getting older as is probably playing for a contract this year.  (I don’t see the Cubs picking up his option for 2012)  I wonder if the Cubs will try to sign him to a multiyear deal after the season or will we let him walk?  Should we let him walk and hope Josh Vitters can replace him?  I think this summer will give us a better clue on what to do.

I’ve got more, but I wanted to get this post in before my internet stops working again.  I will leave with this thought……..WHY HAVEN’T THE CARDS SIGNED PUJOLS YET?  HE’S THE BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!

 

TRADES??????

Okay, since the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre there’s been a lot of speculation that Michael Young would be on the trade market.  I don’t know if he is, but I think the Cubs should take a look at making a deal for him.  He could play second base next year and provide us with another good bat.  The last time we got an infielder from Texas was when we signed free agent Mark DeRosa.  That worked out okay and I think Young would too.

The Cubs have already discussed a deal with the Rangers for corner infielder Chris Davis and pitcher Darren O’Day.  Why not throw Young into the mix and make it a big deal?  If Hendry has proven anything in his time as GM for the Cubs, it’s his ability to make good trades.  Remember, that’s how we got D. Lee and Ramirez! 

Looking closer at Young, he’s 34 years old and won’t be a free agent until after the 2013 season.  He’s due $16 million each of the next three years.  That’s a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t played second base in several years and who is in his mid 30s.  So, who would we trade in a deal for Young that the Rangers would want?????

My first guess would be Alfonso Soriano.  He could play outfield or more than likely be a DH.  With his fielding abilities I think he’s better suited to be a DH and just focus on hitting.  He’s signed through 2014 at $18 million each year.  If we traded him in a deal for Young we would have to compensate the Rangers some to cover his salary. 

Getting back to the Davis and O’Day deal, I read that the Rangers wanted minor league catcher Robinson Chirinos.  I say let’s trade him!  He’s got Soto, Hill and Castillo in front of him.  No sense wasting his talent in the minors. 

So, adding these two potential deals together means the Rangers trading us Davis, O’Day and Young for Soriano, cash, Chirinos and maybe another player or two.  I don’t think this deal will happen.  Plus, I believe the Cubs are set on having DeWitt at second base for the time being.  My only other guess is that they are waiting for Hak-Ju Lee to take over shortstop and Castro to move to second in the near future.  If this is true, and works out, then I’m okay with having DeWitt at second for now.

I still keep reading that we have an interest in Matt Garza and Fausto Carmona.  Well, I have wanted the Cubs to trade for Garza ever since the winter meetings.  But after second thoughts, I think it’s best we hold on to our young talent.  That goes for Carmona too!  We have a bunch of young players that are close to making it to the big leagues. 

While I like the idea of getting Young, Garza and Carmona, I feel they would cost us too much.  However, I think we can get Davis and O’Day for a fair price.  So, go ahead Jim and make a deal.  It’s been a quiet winter and I know you are not finished dealing yet.      
 

2011

Okay, I know everyone has their own “expert” opinions.  Well, I have mine too!  Here’s my projected position players, bench players, starting rotation and bullpen for the Cubs in 2011.  Feel free to share your ideas and/or thoughts. 

 

Starting Lineup                              Bench players

C-Geovany Soto (R)                       C-Koyie Hill (S)

1B-Carlos Pena  (L)                        IF-Jeff Baker (R)

2B-Blake DeWitt (L)                       IF-Darwin Barney (R)

3B-Aramis Ramirez (R)                  OF-Kosuke Fukudome (L)

SS-Starlin Castro (R)

LF-Alfonso Soriano (R)

CF-Marlon Byrd (R)

RF-Tyler Colvin (L)

Starting Rotation                           Bullpen                        

Carlos Zambrano (R)                     Carlos Marmol (R) Closer

Ryan Dempster (R)                       Kerry Wood (R) Setup

Tom Gorzelanny (L)                      Sean Marshall (L) Setup

Randy Wells (R)                           John Grabow (L)

Carlos Silva (R)                            Andrew Cashner (R)

 

Well, I’ve listed only 22 players so there are three slots still open.  Here’s a list of players that will be on the verge on making the team in spring training or getting called up early in the season.

Justin Berg (RHP), Casey Coleman (RHP), John Gaub (LHP), Scott Maine (LHP), James Russell (LHP), Jeff Samardzija (RHP), Jeff Stevens (RHP), Wellington Castillo-C, Sam Fuld-OF. 

And here’s my sleepers. 

Alberto Carbrera (RHP), Rafael Dolis (RHP), Brian Schlitter (RHP), Jay Jackson (RHP), Chris Archer (RHP), Chris Carpenter (RHP), Kyle Smit (RHP), David Cales (RHP), Robinson Chirinos-C, Brett Jackson-OF, Brandon Guyer-OF, Bryan LaHair-1B. 

I’ve left some players off the list such as SS Hak-Ju Lee and CI Josh Vitters, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get called up later in the season as well as several other minor leaguers. 

Overall, I believe our future is very bright.  We are getting younger and more athletic.  We have some really good arms in our system to be excited about and some position players that can flat out hit the ball.  2011 is almost here and things are looking brighter! 

SHOULD WE EXTEND SOTO?

Geovany Soto 1.jpgThe Cubs have seven players that are arbitration eligible this year according to my count.  One of the guys is our catcher, Geovany Soto.  The last two seasons we’ve paid him $575,000 each year.  In his first full season, 2008, we paid him $401,00.  So, it’s obvious that he’s going to get a pay raise one way or another in 2011.  I would prefer the Cubs avoid any nasty arbitration hearing and go ahead and extend Soto now.

There is no doubt that when healthy and focused Soto is one of the better offensive catchers in the National League.  I think his defensive skills are adequate at this point in his career, but there is always room for improvement.  

Overall, I believe Soto will be the Cubs catcher for the next 5 years and possibly more.  We do have Koyie Hill and Wellington Castillo who are excellent backup catchers, but not everyday players in my opinion. We also have 26 year old Robinson Chirinos working his way up the system.  However, I have read that the Cubs are considering trading him.  If that happens, it only assures that Soto is our catcher of the immediate future.  So, that’s why I say we avoid arbitration and sign Soto to a multiyear deal now.  It makes sense to me, but I’m not a baseball expert……just a fan!   

WHO IS CHRIS DAVIS?

Chris Davis.jpgI keep reading on various websites that the Cubs are still interested in a deal with the Texas Rangers for Chris Davis.  While I am vaguely familiar with him I wanted to know a little more.  So, here’s what I got. 

Davis is a corner infielder capable of playing both firstbase and thirdbase.  That’s interesting, considering Ramirez will be a free agent after 2011 and so will newly acquired Carlos Pena. 

He’s will turn 25 next March so, he’s still relatively young.  That’s another good thing.  When I looked at his minor league stats it’s obvious he has power and he’s capable of hitting for a higher average than he has shown in the big leagues.  Unfortunately, he does stikeout a lot.  Too much if you ask me.  However, if the Cubs were to reunite him with Rudy Jaramillo maybe things would work out in the Cubs favor.  We just signed Pena and there’s talk that Rudy is going to help him so, why not help Davis as well. 

From what I understand, the Rangers are wanting catcher Robinson Chirinos in a deal.  I think that’s fine.  We have Soto, Wellington Castillo and Koyie Hill at the catcher position right now.  I am guessing Castillo will start the season in Triple A Iowa and get called up as soon as Hill or Soto get hurt…..not that I’m wanting that to happen because I don’t.  Anway, I say pull the trigger and get Davis.  We can use his lefthanded power off the bench to backup Pena and Ramirez or let him play at Triple A Iowa until we need him. 

MY TOP 10 FUTURE CUBS—POSITION PLAYERS

As a diehard Cubs fan, I not only follow the big league team, but I also follow the minors as well. I want to know who we have that we can bring up or use in a trade.  This list here is my top 10 position players in the Cubs minor league system that are 25 years old and younger.  Since, I limited myself to 10 I know that I have left out some good ball players.  Anyway, here’s my top 10.

1.  Hak-Ju Lee.  Shortstop.  This young phenom just turned 20 last week on November 4th.  He is supposed to be the shortstop of the future.  I have read that the plan is to move Starlin Castro to second base when Lee makes it to the big league team.  Lee is a left handed hitter with blazing speed and a great glove.  With Lee and Castro up the middle the Cubs should be set in the near future. 

2.  Outfielder Brett Jackson is my number 2 ranked prospect.  This 22 year old stud is capable of playing all three outfield positions.  He has the ability to hit for average and power and possesses good speed.  It’s possible that this left handed hitter will be our center fielder of the future.  Baseball teams that are strong up the middle usually do well.  Have Lee, Castro and Jackson and SS, 2B and CF could be the start of something special. 

3.  Next I have ranked is Josh Vitters.  This young prospect, only 21, may be the Cubs future thrid baseman.  He has a strong arm, but may end up being moved to first base or a corner outfield position.  Vitters’ hit the ball pretty well in 2008 and 2009, but struggled some this year.  He’s a right handed hitter that is still developing power.  His strikeout to walk ratio concerns me as well.  I would like to see him put together a healthy and productive season in 2011 most likely at double A Tennessee.

4.  My next pick is Catcher Wellington Castillo.  He turns 24 in April of next year and even had a cup of coffee this year with the Cubs getting 20 at bats and even hitting his first major league homerun.  Many will remember him for his broken bat impaling teammate Tyler Colvin during a game in Florida last September.  Anyway, Castillo is not known for his hititng abilities but more for his defense.  He has a really strong throwing arm.  The last two years in the minors has resulted with Castillo hitting 24 homers in 558 total at bats.  So, while he won’t hit for average he does have some pop in his bat.  

5.  Brandon Guyer is the next player on my list.  The right fielder will turn 25 in January and had his best year yet in the minor leagues. The right handed Guyer batted .344 with 13 homers and 39 doubles in 369 at bats and he managed to swipe 30 bases too while only getting caught 3 times!  All of this was accomplished while Guyer was at double A Tennessee in 2010.  I probably should have Guyer ranked above Castillo.  Anyway, Guyer could be in the outfield at Wrigley Field soon if he keeps hitting like he did this year.

6.  Next on my list is second baseman Logan Watkins.  Watkins, 21, was originally a shortstop but has made the transition to second without any problems.  He is very athletic and fast.  His speed and athleticism may allow him to play shortstop, secondbase or any of the outfield positions in the future.  A lot of this depends on how well his bat progresses.  This year at Peoria, Watkins only hit .261 after hitting .326 at Boise in 2009.  Watkins is a left handed hitter with little power in his bat, but his speed and versatility will help him as his career continues. 

7.  Six foot three inch Ryan Flaherty comes in at number 7 for me.  Flaherty, 24, is another left handed bat in the Cubs organization with promise.  He’s capable of playing second base or third base.  He could possibly be a left handed version of Mark DeRosa.  Flaherty spent most of the season at single A Daytona in 2010.  He did manage to get 71 at bats at Tennessee but struggled.  I look for him to start the year at AA Tennessee in 2011.

8.  D.J. LeMahieu is another infielder the Cubs have that has shown some promise.  He’s 22 years old and stands tall at 6’4″ and is a right handed hitter and fielder.  LeMahieu played second base in 2010 for Daytona and hit .314 in 554 at bats with 15 stolen bases. His ability to hit for a good average despite not having much power may help D.J. continue to progress well in the Cubs minor league system. 

9.  Tony Thomas is a versatile player who is a second baseman but he may have to move to another position or be a utility player.  Thomas batted .276 for AA Tennessee in 2010 with decent power numbers and steals.  If his bat continues to produce he will work his way up the system even if it’s not at second base.  He’s athletic enough to play middle infield or any outfield position.  Thomas bats right handed and is only 24 years old. 

10.  This was a tough decision.  There are several playes I could have listed.  I have chosen right handed hitting first baseman Russ Canzler.   Canzler had a breakout year in 2010 at AA Tennessee batting .287 with 21 homers in 355 at bats.  The Cubs don’t have a lot of young guys at first base in their minor league system that have impressed me too much.  Canzler’s performance this year did though.  I hope he can produce another productive year in 2011 and give the Cubs another option at first base.

So, there it is, my top 10 future Cubs (position players).  There’s a few guys I would like to give honorable mentions too.  Darwin Barney, whom I think will be a utility infielder on the big league club in 2011 so that’s why I left him off.  Kyler Burke, who had a great 2009 but struggled in 2010.  Matt Spencer OF/1B,  Steve Clevenger C, Tony Campana OF, Michael Brenly C, and Rebel Ridling 1B.