Cubs Notes: Castro, Bullpen, Silva's Carrie Muskat answered a few Cubs-related questions from readers today in a mailbag. Within the piece, she addresses some potential roster moves for the Cubs. Here are the highlights:

  • Look for super-prospect Starlin Castro to start the year in the minors, where he'll be able to play every day. The Cubs are hoping Mike Fontenot can back up Ryan Theriot at shortstop. That way, the club can use their final bench spot on a player with some pinch-hitting pop, rather than a reserve infielder like Andres Blanco.
  • Asked if the Cubs will fill their bullpen holes through free agency or trades, Muskat acknowledges that GM Jim Hendry has been looking for an experienced right-handed reliever since before the Winter Meetings. However, the club could still stand pat, using younger, in-house options to fill out their bullpen. As Muskat notes, "there's nothing wrong with youth as long as they get the job done."
  • One reader poses the idea of Carlos Silva moving to the bullpen as a right-handed setup man. Muskat suggests that, given some more time with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Silva could be successful at the back of the rotation.

29 Responses to Cubs Notes: Castro, Bullpen, Silva Leave a Reply

  1. Ichiroll 5 years ago

    Silva is a lost cause..

    • cubnation 5 years ago

      so is carrie muskat

      • Ichiroll 5 years ago

        Apparently… Rick Addair (Mariners pitching coach) turned Jarrod Washburn into an ace last season, and he dealt with Silva as well, some players are just uncoachable. I think the only reason they’re even keeping him around is because he’s owed a lot of money, and they figure they want to try and squeeze every last bit of fuel he has left.. Which boggles me to end, considering he’s never been a good pitcher.

      • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

        Carrie Muskat + Terry Bevington = parking lot shenanigans.

  2. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Not only are they thinking about Fontenot at SS, but Millar will be playing the OF soon, because somebody on the bench has to be able to play there with Nady not ready to throw yet. Let’s hope we never see a game with Fontenot at SS, Soriano in LF, Fukudome in CF and Millar in RF. What at first seemed like an innocent minor league signing is now becoming a 2 year Hendry/Piniella sociology experiment. The Cubs already pulled the reverse experiment with Milton Bradley and found out that one bad apple really can spoil the bunch…now they’re determined to find out if one good apple will make the bunch better. Something tells me that this one isn’t going to work either.

    Hendry and Piniella must have a bet where they can take a once productive baseball player like Milton Bradley and reduce his value until nobody wants any part of him, while at the same time taking a worthless, no good, washed up old ballplayer like Kevin Millar, give him a good paying job and turn him into a respected clubhouse leader. I believe they bet $1.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      That sucks, any rational Cubbie fan thought Millar wouldn’t even sniff the Roster.

    • cubnation 5 years ago

      Hey Crunchy, no way Millar gets the nod ahead of Colvin right? Come on, tell me I’m right here! Colvin is tearing it up. If we need a corner reserve then I say Tracy is our guy.

      • crunchy1 5 years ago

        I wish you were but I just don’t know! Millar seems to be gaining a lot of momentum lately. His teammates like him, Lou likes him, the press likes him…but a righty first baseman seems like the last thing we need on the bench. Especially one who hasn’t hit well for a few years. Supposedly, he’s going to play OF sometime this week. If he manages to avoid playing horrifically, it’s only going to help his chances.

        Colvin seems like a great fit right now. He can play all 3 outfield spots, hits left-handed, can add some pop off the bench, etc. The one thing I’m still looking for him to do is show a little more discipline at the plate. Every game I’ve seen or listened to he’s just up there swinging away…but who could blame him? He’s red-hot right now. I just hope that when he cools off he doesn’t start swinging at bad pitches again as he has in the minors. I’d like to see a little more discipline before I call him a bona fide starter. Even if he doesn’t develop some patience at the plate, though, he still has value as a backup outfielder…you just have to play him when he’s hot. What Colvin has going against him is that he still has options left and has yet to play at AAA. The Cubs could send him there to get some ABs, but I’d be very surprised if he isn’t back in Chicago soon. That is if he doesn’t make the team out of spring training.

        Here’s a thought that Cub fans may not like too much. If you’re scouting the Cubs and considering trading them a reliever (i.e. Toronto)…it seems pretty obvious that it will be Colvin catching their eye right now. He’s ML ready or close too it. I’m not saying that’s what the Cubs are looking to do. I have no idea what they’re thinking, but I have to admit that thought has crossed my mind. Colvin’s value may be at an all-time high right now.

        I think the other option will be to see if Jeff Baker and/or Tracy can play the OF corners too. Then there’s always Hoffpauir. If Tracy can play the OF with any competence, it seems to me it would be tough to leave him off the team considering he’s lefty and can play 3b. But I don’t know if that’s important enough to override the Hendry/Piniella social experiment.

        • cubnation 5 years ago

          I could see Hendry thinking the same way about Colvin. I would like to think his value is much higher than a one year rental for a slightly above average pen arm though. I honestly think that fuku is doomed to a career average of 260 and below ave HR, RBI, Slug numbers for a corner OF. If colvin can match his production then I’m ready to deal fuku at the deadline. At some point you have to convey your confidence in this young man in order for him to have confidence in himself. I’m sick of having the ‘buy talent’ approach when we have so many young, talented guys on the farm. I would hate to see him go for Frasor. BTW, did you see the numbers from his last outting? Ouch! supposedly he was under the weather though. That means hung over right? :D…….

          I think you have to find a spot for Tracy, just have to. Simply because we are so right handed, and we’ve seen his upside. I think Hoff is gone within 2 weeks. He’s not producing like he normally does in the spring and we all know that he is a few booted ground balls or dropped pop ups away from being classified as a defensive liability. It’s hard to find a spot for him on this roster…….

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            There is a distinct possibility I may be “under the weather” come Saturday morning too. Supposedly the Cubs had scouts in attendance for that outing. Maybe that will temper some of the excitement and the Cubs won’t be willing to part with someone like Colvin.

            Here’s another name to keep your eye on: Darwin Barney. If the Jays are scouting the Cubs, I find it a little suspicious that Darwin Barney is suddenly getting a few starts, playing most of the game, and batting at the top of the order so he can get a few more ABs. He has no place to go in the Cubs system with Theriot ahead of him, Fontenot possibly getting the backup spot, Castro slated to play SS at AAA, and Hak Ju Lee closing in. He’s a good defensive player, solid instincts, and could be a nice placeholder until the recently signed Hechevarria arrives in Toronto. Considering the Jays current options at SS, Barney has a legitmate shot to crack the roster and possibly start.

          • cubnation 5 years ago

            I would feel much better about moving DB for frasor. It would be one of those win/wins if you ask me. Like you said, Barney doesnt really have anywhere to go and living this game for as long as I did, I like seeing every kid get his fair shot. I would be all for it

          • wbruyea 5 years ago

            Why would the Jays need another “placeholder” at SS when we Alex Gonzalez and John McDonald as placeholders now? With the signing of Hechevarria it appears we have our shortstop of the future though nothing is certain with any prospect. With our “Hak Ju Lee” equivalent in hand, I believe the Jays will now focus on acquiring talent at 3B and the OF, the next shortfalls in the organization. I could see a Frasor for Colvin being a possibility.

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            Because unlike any of the SS the Jays have on the roster now, Barney has a chance to be a league average SS. If you have a chance to get a league average SS who’ll likely be ready this year (and at the minimum rate)… why wouldn’t you do it? And just so you know, he is rated pretty equally with Colvin as a prospect. The difference is that Barney is “only” hitting .300 this spring as compared to Colvin’s .500. I’m not saying it’s going to be Barney straight up, but I’d be surprised if the Jays had no interest in acquiring a SS who’d be a candidate to start this year and for the next couple of years until Hechevarria is ready. Remember that most of the younger Cuban players don’t just jump to the majors. It took Kendry Morales 4 years to make it…wouldn’t you want a low cost option giving you decent production just in case it takes Hechevarria 3-4 years?

  3. golga333 5 years ago

    Could you guys not post anything Carrie Muskat writes as news on your website? I think her previous mailbag dealt solely with suggestions for which Cubs player should write a blog.

  4. jrfukudome 5 years ago

    Silva should slide nicely into the arsonist’s role…

  5. disgustedcubfan 5 years ago

    If Silva makes the team, the Cubs and the post-game buffet are in danger.

  6. goody71988 5 years ago

    Silva cannot pitch successfully in the Majors anymore. The only way he can pitch well is if he learns to have Maddux-like control. Len and Bob think he’s a good control pitcher because he gives up few walks every year. But, that just hides the fact that he throws balls straight to the batters’ bats. Watching him pitch in Spring Training makes me wonder where the Cubs will put him. I hope he doesn’t start. I can only see him as a 1 inning reliever at best. Or, they can use him to eat innings when they’re being blown out.

  7. studio179 5 years ago

    This spring is shaping up to be interesting. Fonteno as the back up SS, just to allow Millar to make the team to juggle and squirt water from his flower lapel. Colvin is the rave once again. The bull pen is a concern. Theriot is likely leading off (nice, look up his lead off stats. Then again, who do they have at lead off), The back end is ‘iffy’ so far. Soriano, Lilly, Lee, Ramirez are hurting. Guzman might be done. What else…

    • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

      Or, in the words of Milton Bradley, “What else ya got?”

    • disgustedcubfan 5 years ago

      Let’s throw in that Piniella seems to be as confused and incoherent as ever, and the best middle infielder in the organization (Castro) seems to be heading to AAA Iowa not matter what.
      Newsflash for Jim Hendry. You’re going to be scouting high school players in Bismark, North Dakota next year if the Cubs lay an egg in 2010.

      To save his job, Hendry should forget the controlable contract years and get Castro on the field. If he takes away at bats from guys like Fontenot, Andres Blanco, Tracy, Baker, that’s just icing on the cake.

      • cubnation 5 years ago

        your username says it all. “Impatient”. I’m not willing to ruin a kid by bringing him up this earlier. He’s not seeing the arms he would see on a daily basis in the ML. The kids not ready. He wont be any better than theriot at second so why risk ruining the kids psyche???

        • disgustedcubfan 5 years ago

          I understand what you’re saying, but the Cubs need all the help they can get, starting from Game 1. If he is ready, and if he is better than Fontenot, he should be in the lineup. If they wait until early June, they may be 12 games out of first, then the fire sale should be on.

  8. BlueCatuli 5 years ago

    I actually think a lot of Silva’s anger problems are behind him. Most of his issues in winter ball were that he was working on specific pitches to accompany his sinker, and most of his issues in Seattle were injury that he was hiding. We aren’t talking 20 game winner here or anything, but I think the guy will contribute. He looked pretty good his last time out.

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      Well, he’s pitching today. We’ll get a better idea of whether Silva really has improved or his performance was the product of facing a weak San Diego lineup (considering they didn’t have Adrian Gonzalez and others in the lineup). He also gave up some hard hit balls, a couple that reached the warning track, including one where Fuld had to make a great catch. The guy has been awful for 2 seasons plus. He needs more than 1 or 2 good outings to erase some doubts, in my opinion.

      • cubnation 5 years ago

        Agreed! I listened to the last game he pitched and it sounded like he was getting hit pretty hard, just right at people.

        • Philip Marlowe 5 years ago

          Hopefully that continues… anybody know anything about the other 5th spot candidates? What are Gorzelanny and Samardzija doing?

          • crunchy1 5 years ago

            Mixed. Samardzija has a 9.00 ERA and has given up as many hrs as he has strikeouts (2). Gorzelanny has a 5.40 ERA but it’s encouraging that he has only given up one hit and has 5 Ks. He had 3 walks, but I believe those all came in a row in one game. Other than the control lapse, he’s been good though Marshall has been better.

            It could be worse. We could have spent an additional 10M on Sheets. He has a 31.80 ERA and has given up 17 hits in 4 plus innings. It’s like batting practice out there. He gave up 10 runs in the first inning yesterday without even recording a single out. I know it’s only spring training but that has to be something of a concern. Especially since he has topped out at a pedestrian 91 mph while pitching mostly in the high 80s.

          • cubnation 5 years ago

            I saw that article on sheets this AM and sprayed my coffee everywhere. I should relish in others misfortune but by golly, demanding the money he did and giving it to him like the A’s did….. they both deserved

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