Tag: Dave Sappelt

Alfonso Soriano

Alfonso Soriano sits, not traded yet


The Alfonso Soriano Hug Watch is on, but while the aging slugger isn’t in the Cubs lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbacks, it was simply a scheduled day off, according to CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney.

The Cubs have newcomer Junior Lake filling in for Soriano in left field tonight. Lake had been playing center field the last few days, but David DeJesus came off the disabled list today and has reclaimed his old position. Dave Sappelt was sent down to make room for DeJesus.

Soriano was rumored to be headed back to the Bronx with the Yankees on Monday night, but it appears the New York Post jumped the gun there, and even if a trade does get agreed to, Soriano hasn’t committed to waiving his no-trade clause.

“If they get something close, I want to have time to think about it,” Soriano said Tuesday. “But now there’s nothing to think about.”

Cubs calling up Ryan Sweeney from Triple-A

Ryan Sweeney

Ryan Sweeney, who’s been playing at Triple-A since signing a minor-league deal with the Cubs this offseason, is on his way back to the majors.

Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that the Cubs are expected to call up Sweeney and demote Dave Sappelt to Triple-A. Sweeney hit .337 with six homers and a 1.022 OPS in 23 games at Triple-A, but is a career .280 hitter with a .715 OPS in 535 games as a big leaguer.

He can get on base and play all three outfield spots, and the Cubs figure to give Sweeney most of his action against right-handed pitching. Sweeney spent last season in Boston and the Red Sox acquired him shortly after now-Cubs president Theo Epstein stepped down as their general manager.

Running down the rosters: Chicago Cubs

Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Marlon Byrd

Forget about 2012 and probably 2013 as well; the Cubs are thinking long-term after luring Theo Epstein from Boston as their new showrunner. This year’s club won’t necessarily be one of the worst in baseball — the pitching depth could help it avoid that fate — but there’s also little in the way of upside until more of the youngsters come along.

Ryan Dempster  -R
Matt Garza – R
Randy Wells – R
Paul Maholm – L
Chris Volstad – R

Carlos Marmol – R
Kerry Wood – R
Jeff Samardzija – R
James Russell – L
Marcos Mateo – R
Andy Sonnanstine – R
Scott Maine – L

SP next in line: Travis Wood (L), Rodrigo Lopez (R), Sonnanstine, Casey Coleman (R)
RP next in line: Chris Carpenter (R), Manuel Corpas (R),  Lendy Castillo (R)(Rule 5), John Gaub (L), Rafael Dolis (R), Casey Weathers (R)

The Cubs have yet to find a Garza trade to their liking, leaving the rotation as the team’s strength. No one from the group aside from Garza stands out, but the team should get reasonable innings from everyone. I have the other five starters projected with ERAs ranging from 4.18 (T. Wood) to 4.42 (Maholm).

The bullpen, on the other hand, will need a bounce-back season from Marmol, a healthy Wood and continued improvement from Samardzija if it’s going to be any good. The last three spots should all be up for grabs. I like Carpenter, but he’s going to have to throw a few more strikes in spring training to claim a spot initially. Castillo, a Rule 5 pick from the Phillies, could be kept and hidden as a mop-up man.

RF David DeJesus – L
SS Starlin Castro – R
CF Marlon Byrd – R
LF Alfonso Soriano – R
1B Bryan LaHair – L
C Geovany Soto – R
3B Ian Stewart – L
2B Darwin Barney – R

C Welington Castillo – R
INF-OF Jeff Baker – R
INF-OF Blake DeWitt – L
OF Reed Johnson – R
OF Tony Campana – L

Next in line: C Steve Clevenger (L), C Jason Jaramillo (S), 1B Anthony Rizzo (L), 2B-3B Adrian Cardenas (L), 3B Josh Vitters (R), INF Matt Tolbert (S), INF Bobby Scales (S), INF-OF Alfredo Amezaga (S), OF Dave Sappelt (R), OF Brett Jackson (L)

The lineup appears set, as the Cubs have made it clear that Rizzo will start off at Triple-A Iowa. It could actually be surprisingly productive if LaHair proves that his 2012 was no fluke and Soto continues his even year-odd year pattern (he had an .868 OPS as a rookie in 2008 and an .890 OPS in 2010).

As for the bench, we’ll have to wait and see what happens to DeWitt. He re-signed for $1.1 million last month, only to be designated for assignment in February. The Cubs could cut him and eat about $200,000, but he’s not such a bad guy to have around. If not DeWitt, then the last spot could go to Tolbert; ideally, someone on the bench would be able to serve as a backup shortstop. As is, Barney is the second option there.

Outside of Castro, no one in the lineup here is a great bet to be on the next contending Cubs team. Byrd and Soto are candidates to be traded this summer. Of course, the same goes for Soriano if he can play well enough to draw a suitor. Ideally, Rizzo, Jackson and maybe even Vitters will occupy lineup spots in the second half the season.