Wellemeyer got off to a great start, but has struggled mightily lately in sporadic use. Iowa is unquestionably the place for him at this point, not just because he’s struggling but because he simply isn’t being used enough to work out his problems.
As for Choi, it’s good to see him back, although not as good as it would have been to see him before the Cubs needed a DH. As it was, Choi spent the weekend in Iowa while Dusty used the DH as an excuse to get his worst players in the lineup. The question going forward is how much playing time Choi will get now. As Christian Ruzich notes (welcome back, Christian!) Karros has filled in pretty well, but not that well, for Choi but still struggles against righties, so the sensible approach for now would be a strict platoon. Given the way Dusty’s handled the lineups this year, however, I expect Choi to get only occasional playing time for the next week or two, to give him time to “get his stroke back,” or something like that.
The bottom line is that it’s unfortunate that as much as the Cubs need a bat like Choi’s, he will replace one of the few decent hitters the team has had this year.
Round and round and round it goes, and where it stops, nobody knows.
I know the Cubs need an extra pitcher with Farnsworth sick/suspended and with the bullpen meltdown yesterday, but why screw with Juan Cruz? There’s got to be someone better to use as a two-day stopgap, someone who isn’t, you know, supposed to be getting regular time in the starting rotation. Why not call up Alan Benes or Francis Beltran or Kane Davis? I know Davis isn’t on the 40-man, but who cares if you lose him? What do they have him around for if it isn’t times like this?
As for Hill, maybe someday someone will give him these last ten days back. Calling him up was a total waste of everyone’s time.
I have to hand it to the Cubs, they have acquired perhaps the best backup shortstop available on the trade market this year. Hernandez can hit for decent power, will take an occasional walk, and threaten Bobby Bonds’s single-season strikeout record on a yearly basis if given the playing time (a big “if,” as it turns out).
Unfortunately, the Cubs will probably use him as a starting third baseman, at least in a platoon role, which he was barely suited for last season when he had a career year with the Brewers. Even more unfortunately, he’s in the middle of a horrible year – with Colorado, of all teams – and is having an even worse year than Mark Bellhorn. For me, this only adds to the speculation that Bellhorn had clubhouse issues, since it hardly makes sense even for the Cubs to replace a player that was having a bad year and struck out too much with a player that … well, is having a bad year and strikes out too much. Perhaps this precedes an upcoming, bigger deal, but I wouldn’t count on it. This looks like a pretty Cubs-like trade to me: trade something of little perceived value in return for something of marginal perceived value.
Anderson, by the way, was acquired in the Flash Gordon trade with Houston last year, and is a 25-year-old struggling in his first season in AA. He won’t be missed.
So, the (sort of) prodigal son returns. Hill, of course, was assumed to be the everyday second baseman entering the year, but the Cubs quickly lost faith in him during a rough spring. After Hill was sent down in the spring, I thought the day that Hill would eventually be recalled would be a good day for the Cubs. Things have changed now, though, and after putting up a mediocre .255/.332/.380 in Iowa Hill steps into a world in which Mark Grudzielanek is thought to be a big part of the team’s success and Dusty insists on making third base the absolute biggest disaster possible. I imagine Hill will play third base on non-weekend day games after an off day, or something like that, especially if he doesn’t start hitting right away. In any case, he’s not in the lineup tonight against Jimmy Anderson, despite hitting significantly better as a right-hander last year.
If anyone can figure out what the Beltran move was supposed to accomplish, even theoretically, well, I’m all ears. Chip Caray said during the game yesterday that the Cubs wanted an extra pitcher for the Cincinnati series, but that’s obviously not the case. I’ve also read that the Cubs needed an emergency long reliever yesterday, but then we have this from the Official Site:
“I know we were stretching him but we really didn’t have much choice today, Baker said. “We didn’t have (Mike) Remlinger, we didn’t have (Kyle) Farnsworth, we didn’t have (Todd) Wellemeyer, so our bullpen is kind of limited.” Had the game gone any longer, Baker said he would have turned to Carlos Zambrano….
Doesn’t so much sound like Beltran was available, does it? I mean, Dusty wouldn’t go to a starter if he still had his long man in the bullpen, right?
My only guess is that Hendry wanted to see what it was like to be John Hart for a day. That would explain such a random roster move better than any of the so-called “real” possibilities.
What a ridiculous, stupid, silly, pointless move. According to WGN, the Cubs feel like they might need an extra pitcher this week against Cincinnati, but if that’s true, they haven’t been paying attention. The Cubs have been going more or less with a de facto nine-man staff for about two weeks now, as neither Todd Wellemeyer nor Mark Guthrie have been getting anything other than sporadic work. So what we most likely have here is another young player who’s coming up to the parent club to sit.
As for Kelton, this last week has been a total waste of his and the Cubs’ time, as Dusty’s preseason insistence that he likes young players clearly was meant to mean that he likes young players in limited platoon roles. Kelton made two starts in his week with the club, both against lefties, at a time when the Cubs needed an extra bat and any offense they could find. Dusty’s benching Kelton in favor of Goodwin this past week is completely and utterly inexcusable, and frankly, I’m starting to think that the future of this club is in great danger with Baker at the helm.
According to The Daily Herald, he’ll receive a signing bonus of $2.4 million, and begin the season in Mesa. I was kind of hoping he’d go to Boise, but that’s a fairly advanced league for a guy right out of high school.
Choi, of course, has a concussion that he sustained yesterday while catching a popup. We can all only hope there aren’t any lingering ill effects.
Bringing Kelton up is an interesting move, and one that I wouldn’t have expected for a million years. I’ve wanted to see Kelton in Chicago going on two months now, although my enthusiasm waned after he gave up third base. Nonetheless, he’s hammered the ball in Iowa so far this year to a .304/.385/.466 tune, and after starting the year slowly power-wise, he’s now hit 5 homers in his last 18 games. The plan is apparently for him to DH this week, and while I wouldn’t mind seeing him in left once in a while and let Moises Alou DH, I doubt it will happen since Kelton’s only been playing left regularly for a few weeks.
As excited as I am to see another one of the prospects get a shot, I’m not sure this is the move I would have made. Good hitter or not, I don’t think we can expect Kelton to get off to a quick start in his first stint in the majors, and I’m not sure how much production the Cubs are expecting from him this week. And since Kelton will almost certainly be sent back down after Choi is ready to be activated (at the latest), I’m not sure what good a two-week major league stint will do for Kelton’s development, especially since he’s not likely to play the field too much during that time. Don’t get me wrong; I’m quite pleased that the Cubs are showing some faith in their young players, but as is the case with Todd Wellemeyer, I’m not sure that bringing a guy up to see limited action is the best way to do it. If I’m looking for a two-week stopgap, I think Midre Cummings or Phil Hiatt might be better choices.
The Cubs have acquired Alan Benes from the Rangers for 2B Steve O’Sullivan, and assigned Benes to Iowa
I’ll admit it, I’m confused. As far as I know, the PTBNL from the original Alan Benes deal was never named, so when I first read this news, I naturally assumed that Benes had been traded for himself. But surely the Cubs didn’t trade Benes for Benes and O’Sullivan, right? So is this a seperate deal, with the PTBNL still to follow? Maybe tomorrow’s news will bring more info.
Benes is fairly useless, but the Cubs will never be rid of him, and I’m far too cynical to believe that we won’t see him again in Chicago at some point. With Cruz starting again in Iowa, if one of the Cubs’ righthanders in the pen gets hurt, Benes is probably the first guy up.
I can’t find much info on O’Sullivan. He was the Cubs’ 23rd-round draft pick last year out of Marist, and as far as I can tell, has not played yet this year. The Official Site has him listed on the Boise Hawks roster; there’s probably not too much to get excited about if he’s 23 and still in short-season A ball.
06-05-03 UPDATE: After some searching this morning, I’ve finally found some answers in The Miami Herald, of all places. According to that article, the Cubs are indeed still owed a player from the original Benes deal. Weird.
As I figured.
Guthrie’s return means that sanity is finally restored, and the Cubs’ pen has two lefties once again.
As for Juan Cruz, he should enter the rotation in Iowa. As I’ve said before, besides being ineffective for the cubs, he simply wasn’t getting the regular work he needed. Hopefully, he’ll be able to settle down pitching every fifth day, but, combined with Todd Wellemeyer’s emergence, this strikes me as a good time to wonder exactly what will happen if he does.
I would guess that if one of the Cubs starters went down with an injury right now, Wellemeyer would be the guy to get the emergency start. Obviously, Wellemeyer won’t always be as effective as he has been, but I wonder now if Wellemeyer has overtaken Cruz development-wise in the Cubs’ eyes. I’m not suggesting that the Cubs are giving up on Cruz, exactly, but right now, Cruz is blocked. Wood, Clement, Prior, and Zambrano will all still be around next year, and this offseason showed that Hendry really believes a left-handed starter is necessary. Where does Cruz fit in now? Even if he mows ‘em down in Iowa, what do the Cubs do with him? Certainly not put him back in the bullpen, but when is he going to get a chance to enter the rotation?
I’m probably reading too much into this move, but this seems like the setup for a Cruz trade, which, frankly, is probably where his value lies for the Cubs now. Given Cruz’s potential, if he’s successful in re-establishing himself as a starter, the Cubs ought to have pretty close to their pick of trades to make. Either way, I suspect we may have seen the last of Cruz in a Chicago uniform.
According to the I-Cubs website, the Shooter has left the organization. Beck pitched exceedingly well for Iowa, but simply was with a team that didn’t need him. Whether Beck’s velocity was suspect or not, the Cubs didn’t have the roster space to add him for a short-term stint.
I think I speak for almost all Cubs fans when I wish Beck the best of luck, and I hope he finds a major-league team to play for. Preferably in the AL.