Cubs Notes: Lake, Shortstops, Jackson

The Cubs have demoted outfielder Junior Lake to Triple-A Iowa, according to the MLB.com transactions page. After a good rookie season as a 23-year-old in 2013, Lake has struggled badly this season, hitting .216/.243/.364 in 305 plate appearances. None of the outfielders who started for the Cubs in their Opening Day loss to the Pirates this season are still on their active roster — the Cubs have optioned Lake, traded Emilio Bonifacio to the Braves, and released Nate Schierholtz, lately going with some combination of Chris Coghlan, Arismendy Alcantara, Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney in the outfield. Here’s more from Chicago.

  • The Cubs are loaded with young shortstops, but GM Jed Hoyer says they don’t need to trade any of them, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun Times writes. Chicago has Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Alcantara, which means that the team could have to find new positions for as many as three of them if they want to keep them all. “I think we can be a better team for it in a lot of ways if we end up doing that,” says Hoyer. (Alcantara has already played shortstop only sparingly this season, spending time in second base and outfield instead.) The shortstop-starved Mets love the Cubs’ talent at that position, and Wittenmyer notes that they like Russell more than Castro.
  • Nearly two years into a four-year, $52MM deal, Edwin Jackson has been a bust so far, Wittenmyer writes. This season, Jackson has a 5.74 ERA in 136 1/3 innings, although his reasonable 8.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 suggest he’s been at least somewhat better than his ERA indicates. Jackson is still just 30 and has good stuff, so his struggles in Chicago have been a disappointment. “I think it’s his location,” Hoyer says. “When he pitches up in the zone he gets hit, and the times he’s been able to stay down in the zone and locate his fastball away, he’s had some success.” Given that Jackson still throws hard and has two years left on his contract, the Cubs are likely to continue to give him chances to reemerge.


80 Responses to Cubs Notes: Lake, Shortstops, Jackson Leave a Reply

  1. There’s no real point in doing anything about Jackson. They’re not contending, nobody wants him, and they don’t really have an obvious replacement so what would be the point?

    • cubsfan97 12 months ago

      They dont need an obvious replacement. We have Straily, Turner and Dubront to try out and see if something with one of them clicks. Bosio is really good at working with pitchers, Id rather see Jackson lose his starting job and trot those 3 out with Wood, Arrietta and Hendricks and see what sticks. We have 8 starting pitchers right now and only one of them is all but guaranteed to not be a part of our future, and its Jackson. Wada, Hendricks, Arrietta, Dubront, Wood, Straily and Turner. Id rather see all 7 of them before Jackson.

      • schaddy24 12 months ago

        Eric Jokisch has been solid too. He’s eligible for the rule 5 draft so they might want to find a way to get him on the 40 man roster.

      • tenncub 12 months ago

        That’s easy to say when you’ve not seen Dubront or Straily at all and only a little of Turner. I’ll reserve judgement on that until the end of the season. We may have fewer realistic options than you’ve listed.

  2. cubs7691 12 months ago

    The Mets like Russell more. Too bad they aren’t getting him lol

    • bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

      the Mets have nothing to offer.

      • thenewyorkfan05 12 months ago

        im pretty sure they have a lot for Russell its just they arent willing to give up what is required. They have many pitching prospects that the cubs need and Plawecki a cathcher that the cubs could use. To say they have nothing is false but to say they aren’t willing to give up what is required is true!

        • bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

          Some of the Mets top prospects, would not make the Cubs top 20 prospect list.

          • MetsEventually 12 months ago

            Really? 4-5 of them are on the top 100…

          • itsNjMike 12 months ago

            haha….i would argue 3 of them would crack their MAJOR league roster (Plawecki / Noah Syn / Montero). If you want to include Young Talent / recent call ups = TDA, Vic Black, DeGroam and Wheeler – that’s seven. Cubs future is definitely bright but lets not get crazy. they both better hope their prospects pan out.

          • FromDuke2Joc
            Sean Casey 12 months ago

            The Mets have way more and better young pitching. From Wheeler, DeGrom, Syndergaard, and Montero at the top to Ynoa, Fulmer, Verret at the bottom. I’m sure the Cubs would love some of NY pitching prospects who never seem to give up walks and are put through the fire in that hitters haven in LV.

          • rkellerm 12 months ago

            I can see the Mets getting Baez.. And I can see him becoming a second base version of Carlos Pena…

      • Frank Richard 12 months ago

        I’m a Cubs fan and even I can tell you the Mets have a lot to offer. They might be hurting their club more then helping it to deal for Castro or Russell, but they have what it would take.

      • OriginalHitman 12 months ago

        The team with the 4th best farm in baseball have nothing to offer? Say what?

        • over101 12 months ago

          Cubs fans have already purchased 2016 World Series Champs t-shirts.

      • FromDuke2Joc
        Sean Casey 12 months ago

        Cubs fans are funny they get a couple good prospects and now they think they’re knocking on the door of a World Series. Reminds me of how BoSox over value and hype their prospects. It must be the Theo effect.

    • FromDuke2Joc
      Sean Casey 12 months ago

      I actually think the cubs and mets will make a trade involving NY pitching and Chi SS. The mets have a surplus of young arms and Russell is not only the furthest away from the majors but I think he’s the least talented out of the above mentioned SS. I’ve never been as high as most on Russell.

  3. Franl Edwardo 12 months ago

    Edwin Jackson has a perfect closer arm. Move him out there. Let him air it out for an inning or two at a time and don’t suffer through 5-6 innings of watching him try to figure out how to throw consistent strikes.

    • longsack 12 months ago

      I understand what you are saying and agree with you too a point. However letting him figure out how too throw strikes in the 9th with the game on the line is not an issue I want to see again (Marmol says hello?).

    • cubsfan97 12 months ago

      His 1st inning ERA the past 2 years is 7.96 this year, 5.81 last year. I think Ill pass on him in his first inning of work.

      • Franl Edwardo 12 months ago

        Conservation becomes a non issue and the guy just lets it all go with his two best pitches. This guy has a wicked slider and can throw gas. in the ninth, guys are on edge and swing at more balls than in any other inning. the guy would be great in the ninth

        • sunshipballoons 12 months ago

          Gas? He averages 92.7 MPG on FB this year. His average velocity has been steadily dropping for several years, despite a decrease in workload (IP and pitches thrown) over that time. Maybe getting out of the rotation would help with this, but I’m skeptical. Meanwhile, opponents are hitting .247 against his slider, which isn’t awful, but it’s not great either.

  4. DippityDoo 12 months ago

    I’d put EJax in the bullpen for September, let him relax and not be trotted out there every fifth day to get pounded. Put all the new guys out there give them a chance to get some starts with the Cubs, and let EJax regroup and be ready for spring training to see what we have moving forward.

  5. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    Years ago, Dennis Eckersley was a mess on the mound as a starting pitcher….then became a reliever…..and the rest as they say ….was history.

    • TheoHoyer 12 months ago

      I’d rather not have Edwin Jackson on the mound in low pressure situations, so using him as a 11 million/year reliever is out of the question.

      P.s. – Dennis Eckersley absolutely tanked in the post season.

      • Ray Ray 12 months ago

        If EJax only tanks in the post season like Eck, then the Cubs would be the perfect team for him. He’ll never have to worry about pitching in the playoffs with them.

  6. Anthony Martinez 12 months ago

    Closer or set up man for Jackson. He has the arm for it like Franl Edwardo said. He needs to just rear back and throw instead of thinking for 5-6 innings. The kid got talent, just can'[t harness it for extended periods of time.

  7. So, from the Cubs standpoint, Gee, Montero and Ruben Tejada or a Low-A arm would not be an intriguing offer for Castro? I think its fair to say the Mets and Cubs are as good trade partners as youll find, with the Mets having a strong pipeline of arms and Cubs having position players. They’re (Cubs) already in good stomping position for good free agent arm this off season. They take Castro off the books and they might be able to pull in this winters best mound presence, no? Also, is it out of the question that Dombrowski flips Price this winter to Chicago for Castro or anyone worthy of his void at SS?

    • cubsfan97 12 months ago

      Cubs have enough pitchers similar to Gee. We dont need another 3-4 spot starter, we need a 1-2 starter. I dont think Cubs are interested in anything Mets have at major league level except for HArvey and Wheeler. I dont expect Harvey to go anywhere, so that leaves Wheeler, and I think they want more than that. We dont need Tejada, we already have more position players than positions. Theres bigger fish in the sea to throw Castro out for, I dont see anything happening with the Mets.

      • Agreed on all counts, especially Gee destined for 3-4. Chances of of Castro packaged with other pieces (not too much without extension of course) for Price this winter?

        • stl_cards16 12 months ago

          Scherzer will leave as a Free Agent. The Tigers aren’t trading Price.

    • cubs7691 12 months ago

      Castro is like the least costly all-star caliber short stop out there…

    • Frank Richard 12 months ago

      The Tigers will have Iglesias back at short next year. Also the Cubs want a TOR pitcher. Castro is on a team friendly deal so his contract isn’t an issue, also they finally have Soriano’s deal coming off the books, they saved lots of money that they set aside for Tanaka this year, and they have save around $6 million in money from trades this season. They may have around $40-50 million to spend this offseason and that’s if the Cubs keep the payroll around $90 million. I think they are in great position to sign a top free agent arm. For the Cubs to move one of their top quality shortstops they would need top quality in return. This deal wouldn’t be about minor league depth so a 4 for 1 deal wouldn’t work.

      • Forgot about Iglesias. Nice point

      • Uncontrite 12 months ago

        The Cubs have the market support and flexibilty to drop an extra $100mil on their roster. They have proven they can hold a $150mil budget under Ricketts which means they can easily add 2 ace caliber pitchers through free agency in order to contend once their lineup fills out. With that being said, They could attempt to compete next year, or more likely let the kids grow an additional year and use trades and free agency to fill out whichever positions end up busting with the prospects, and then add the necessary rotation pieces to compliment the lineup. Hoyer and Epstein have done an amazing job setting this team up for competing while making it look like a small market. It’s about time for them to change that approach and actually compete

  8. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    If the Cubs did have Castro on the trade table……the return starts out with #1 starter plus other top prospects.

    • stl_cards16 12 months ago

      A #1 starter…as in an Ace?

      • Frank Richard 12 months ago

        Not an ace but a pitcher with 1-2 potential. In the mets case DeGrom, Wheeler, Harvey are the type the Cubs would be looking for in return. Shortstop is the 2nd highest value position on the field behind pitchers. They would want to be wowed in order to move one of these guys.

        • Anthony Delgado 2015 WS Champs 12 months ago

          Cubs would not get Wheeler or Harvey for castro

    • Anthony Delgado 2015 WS Champs 12 months ago

      I am sorry are you suggesting HARVEY?

      • Frank Richard 12 months ago

        Not suggesting, just giving an idea of what they are looking for in return. Also Harvey’s value is low right now so the mets would be dumb to deal him.

  9. Drunken Superman 12 months ago

    I love how every story about this involves Hoyer or Epstein repeatedly saying they don’t need to trade one of these guys, and then immediately follows up with trade speculation because New York says so. It’s not happening, does anyone pay attention to how they’ve been operating the last few years?

    They also don’t even NEED to trade for a pitcher. If they can sign one of the aces on the market and pick up a 3-4 type starter (McCarthy? Masterson? Hammel again?) somewhere like they have the past 3 seasons, then they’ve got a rotation that can win.

    • stl_cards16 12 months ago

      Their pitching in the minors is really underrated. If they could get Lester on board with a reasonable deal, their rotation could be very good. They’ve supplanted the Cardinals as the team that takes under performing pitchers and turns them into gold. I really don’t know why everyone thinks the cubs needs to change directions and trade for an established starter.

      • I think they’d look to trade for a front-end starter if they don’t add one through free agency this offseason.

        • stl_cards16 12 months ago

          I’m not sure. I think the Cubs front office wants to see which of these guys transition into legit Major Leaguers before moving any of the big pieces. If they did go for a front-line pitcher, I think it would be for someone that isn’t your typical trade candidate. It would be for someone fairly young with 3+ years of control. Just my opinion.

          • Epstein has already stated that acquiring pitching will be a priority due to the imbalance on their farm regarding the caliber of position players versus pitchers. Their best starting prospect probably projects to be more of a late-inning guy than starter at this point, which I think will factor into their decision-making this winter. Also, the ’16 class of FA P doesn’t have anyone quite the caliber of Lester or Scherzer, although there are some viable options like Cueto, Shark, or Latos. I feel the Cubs would at least kick the tires on a potential trade target primarily because of their farm’s depth; they could conceivably move guys in the bottom half of their Top 20 who would be Top 10 guys for another club. That being said, they’ve got beaucoup money to spend and will probably want to add without subtracting.

          • Uncontrite 12 months ago

            Price is not the caliber of Lester or Scherzer? I would take Price over either of them because of his age and track record against top offenses

          • I’m working under the assumption that Dombrowski will pay whatever it takes to keep Price, especially since it’s easy to believe Scherzer will be elsewhere in ’15, and at the moment, Verlander simply isn’t right. Price has been the worst postseason starter of the three, but in interleague play, all three have been similarly good. One could argue the trade for Price wasn’t just for this year and next, but to also offset the likely loss of Scherzer as well, who I also don’t believe is a better SP than Price.

          • Uncontrite 12 months ago

            Fair enough, I believe that they will manage to find an ace one way or another (possibly Lester this year?) and maybe another top arm next winter. That gives them a nice 1-2 to work around for 2016

          • I definitely see them at least making a play for Lester this winter. The guys I listed (plus Gallardo, who is under-the-radar good) would seem to be good fits for the #2 spot in the rotation, behind someone like Lester or Scherzer. That would hopefully slide EJax down to 4 or 5 in ’16, provided he’s still a Cub.

          • Uncontrite 12 months ago

            Or AAA…Ejax should not be anywhere near a contending team if he doesn’t improve

          • jb226 12 months ago

            Scherzer’s price tag will be prohibitive, but I wouldn’t hate if the Cubs went after Lester and Shields this offseason. They really need to land at least one of them.

            Beyond that, I’d like to take a year to see what we have with Turner. I’d be quite happy going into next season with a rotation of Lester, Arrieta Hendricks, Wood and Turner. Hopefully we can find a taker for EJax, otherwise a shift to the bullpen in a Villanueva type role isn’t out of the question.

          • You’re assuming that because Scherzer reportedly turned down 6/144, that he’s looking for more, which may not necessarily be the case.

          • jb226 12 months ago

            I’m pretty sure he’s looking for more, though my assumption comes in the fact that it would take that much to get him. Maybe his price drops.

            That said, for the same money, I’d still prefer Lester to Scherzer.

          • Agreed. Because, southpaws are dreamy. (And some stuff about Lester being pretty good in the postseason or whatever)

          • jb226 12 months ago

            That’s exactly my view on it.

            Not to mention, these players will have MORE value if they transition from “prospect” to “successful major-league player with serious control left.” Trading them early only makes sense if you’re seriously concerned about them being busts. If you believe in them, finding time in the Majors and then evaluating your franchise makes the most sense.

          • Yeah, but if you wait for them to reach the majors and they bust, then their value goes down the drain and you’re stuck with guys like Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. This is why prospects are often flipped; there are no guarantees that even a “can’t-miss” guy won’t bust.

  10. calicub 12 months ago

    I love how the New York media believes that if they say something loud enough and long enough people will believe its true. Enough of this self serving nonsense Joel.

    Castro is a special player and would require an INSANE haul to pick up. Russell isn’t even likely to be a SS in the big leagues. So in short, it’s not going to happen.

    • Yeah, it’s pretty much like this in all four major pro sports, especially baseball and basketball.

    • Frank Richard 12 months ago

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Russell is the Cubs starting SS in 2 years. The kid can rake, is younger, and better defensively. Castro has the better arm but that plays well at third or the outfield.

      • calicub 12 months ago

        I’m not saying he isn’t a great SS, but his body type projects more towards 3rd base.

        Just because BA, BR, MLB, etcetera etcetera has them on the top of the list doesn’t mean they are going to make it. Castro has done things that very few shortstops in history have done and improves every year. He has shown that he can not only handle MLB pitching but flourish.

        Russel hasn’t proven a thing. Castro has years of cheap control through his prime years.

    • bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

      Russell is consider to be the next Barry Larkin type of player.
      I would take that over Castro any day.
      Russell is consider to be a better shortstop then Castro.
      29 other teams know this, and this is why they ALL want Russell.

    • OriginalHitman 12 months ago

      A 1.5 WAR player with questionable defense is not a special player.

    • Anthony Delgado 2015 WS Champs 12 months ago

      Castro Would cost #2 Starter and B+ Prospects to pick up

    • oleosmirf 12 months ago

      A special player?

      That’s insane. Castro is only a good player because he plays a premium position. He’s essentially Daniel Murphy, but he plays SS instead of 2B.

      Tulowitzki, McCutchen, Trout, Stanton, Cabrera. Those are special players. Guys with a .760ish OPS with poor defense are not special players.

  11. Frank Richard 12 months ago

    Jacob Turner might end up being an Ace for the Cubs. He has TOR stuff just needs to work on location. Also his power sinker plays well at Wrigley with the slow infield.

    • Uncontrite 12 months ago

      He has #1-2 potential, but do you really want to put all of your eggs in one basket? Especially if that basket is a maybe at best when you have the money to add multiple TOR starters with a track record of success?

  12. tenncub 12 months ago

    Yeah, I agree that Jackson’s problem is “location,” and I think the Cubs need to work on “relocating” him.

  13. oh Hal 12 months ago

    Didn’t Jackson come on board shortly after the person who refers to himself as “Tom Tango” join the organization? His contract was a good value based on statistical analysis.

    • EJax’s biggest problem is the one thing that provided the most value, his durability, hasn’t really shown up. It’s hard for him to touch 200+ innings when he’s given up 5 ER and thrown 100 pitches through 6, seemingly every start.

  14. Ray Ray 12 months ago

    The second part of this story is about the Cubs not wanting to trade any of their young shortstop prospects instead choosing to reposition them. It’s ironic that the first part of the story is about the complete failure of the last young Cubs SS prospect, Junior Lake, that they decided to reposition.

    • TheFallenSoldier 12 months ago

      Lake was never a well regarded SS. Cant compare him to Russell/Alcantara/Baez/Castro.

    • Definitely ironic (which I love), although Lake wasn’t quite regarded as highly as Starlin, Baez, Russell, or even Alcantara. He’s still young enough to turn it around and be a solid 4OF, though.

    • petrie000 12 months ago

      Lake was never considered major league SS material anyways and was already blocked by Castro. Lake was also never as highly regarded outside the organization as even Alcantara as a an overall talent.

  15. MetsEventually 12 months ago

    No way the Mets get Russel or Castro. Baez is pushing it, so why not Alcantara? Montero for him?

  16. I think most met fans are just dreaming about Castro. He’s a proven commodity. 3 all star appearances and still only 24 years old. He hasn’t even hit his ceiling yet and he’s already an all star. Yet some people think they can get him for a few 2nd tier prospects? The Cubs aren’t even trying to trade him, don’t need to, and don’t want to. It would take an incredible prospect haul for them to even consider a trade.

  17. rkellerm 12 months ago

    It would be really interesting to see Bryant for the Mets in left field…. I’d give up Syndergard for that…

  18. rkellerm 12 months ago

    I find it reallllllly interesting people seem to think Castro is going to return big prospects… Look at what the Rays got back for Price… Teams aren’t dealing prospects as quickly as they used to. What the Cubs got from the desperate to contend As was a bit surprising. The Mets, will not make a foolish/desperate trade. Especially not for Castro…. Here’s why:
    Castro is over-rated. Here’s why:

  19. stl_cards16 12 months ago

    I think you should check out johnny’s comments then determine the troll. Anyway, what page shall I return to?

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