Thursday Morning Starters, Including Cashner’s Progress

This is an important week for the Chicago Cubs. All of general manager Jim Hendry’s assistants and scouts are in town to discuss the Cubs strategy for the deadline. Among them are special assistants to Hendry Gary Hughes and Greg Maddux, and assistant general manager Randy Bush. Hendry addressed the deadline yesterday in his session with the media, though, he did not particularly share any details that were not already known. We go in more detail on that subject after the jump, and also give an update on Andrew Cashner as part of the Thursday Morning starters.

Sahadev Sharma of ESPN Chicago reports that the Cubs will not trade any of their core players, using quotes from Hendry as a reference.  While I certainly applaud Hendry for saying all of the right things, there was one area that I took issue with. Hendry was emphatic that there would be no fire sale this season. Though, I do not recall anyone calling for a fire sale. The core players on this team are Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Matt Garza, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, and Brett Jackson. Those are players that the Cubs will have to build around in order to contend in 2012. Trading players like Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, or Kosuke Fukudome would not be considered as a fire sale. All of those players do not figure into the long-term future of this team, which makes them all expendable. Hopefully, Hendry realizes that.

Hendry is confident that injured starting pitcher Andrew Cashner will return this season, though, there is no timetable set for his return. Cashner will be re-evaluated on Thursday and if all checks out, the injured pitcher will be able to begin a throwing program on Friday. Going off of Cashner’s last rehab, he is about a month away from being ready. Putting a possible return around late July. However, the Cubs are likely to be extra cautious with Cashner, meaning it might not be until August when we see the second year pitcher  return.

Despite Ryan Dempster having only thrown 83 pitches in the game, manager Mike Quadepulled Dempster in the ninth inning after the Cubs starter gave up a lead-off double to Pat Burrell. Though in fairness to Dempster, if center-fielder Tony Campana would have took a better route to the ball, Burrell–who may be the slowest player in the majors–would have been held to single. Closer Carlos Marmol came into the game and blew the save and the victory for Dempster. Looking back at it, the hindsight is 50/50 seeing as the Cubs won the game in the bottom of the ninth. But, I would have left Dempster in the game to give him a chance to finish what he started.

Topics: Alfonso Soriano, Andrew Cashner, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, Darwin Barney, Gary Hughes, Greg Maddux, Jim Hendry, Kosuke Fukudome, Matt Garza, Pat Burrell, Randy Bush, Ryan Dempster, Sean Marshall, Starlin Castro

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  • Luke Blaize

    I’m not sure about the press, but there are definitely fans calling for a fire sale. Scan the comments for almost any Cub story and you’ll see things like “trade everyone over 30″, “trade everyone but Castro”, “the whole roster is worthless get rid of all of them and call up everyone in Iowa” and so forth. I’m guessing that’s who Hendry was referring to when he said some people are calling for a fire sale. I’m guessing if you walked into any sports bar in Chicago, you could find a dozen people willing blow this team up completely, even if it means losing every game the rest of the year.

    I don’t think we can take Hendry’s comments regarding not holding a fire sale to mean that Hendry is making stuff up, is delusional, out of touch, etc. The plan he laid out is exactly what the Cubs should be doing. We can quibble around various names and which category they go in… Dempster in particular… but the broader plan makes sense.

    Regarding Dempster: Let’s assume Zambrano is traded and that Cashner comes back. That sets up a rotation of Dempster, Garza, Cashner, Wells, and Coleman. Now, let’s trade Dempster also. Who takes that starting slot? Jay Jackson has been inconsistent. Alberto Cabrera has struggled with Triple A, Trey McNutt has been injured, Rafael Dolis has been pitching out of the pen… who’s the new fifth starter?

    The Cubs would have to acquire the starter to replace Dempster either in the Dempster trade, or before Dempster is traded. If that player comes in a separate deal then there is no point in Hendry talking about moving Dempster until he has that replacement starter in house. If the replacement starter would come in the Dempster deal, then that raises the question of why a team would trade for Dempster when they already had a starting pitcher they could spare that is good enough the Cubs would want him. There are some players out there in situations that would fit the bill and that it would make sense for both teams to flip that pitcher for Dempster, but they are the exception. There just is not much pitching out there to be had.

  • StevenF

    I have come to accept and agree that the Cubs should not trade starting pitching until replacements are truly ready. I am not at all convinced that Cashner is going to hold up as a starter, despite our hopes and wishes.

    Fukudome’s value is dropping and here’s why:
    He was having a good year until Quade played him too much. I understand why Quade feels the desire to do so. I have determined that Fukudome should not exceed 66 at-bats per month or 148 innings played per month. I’ll spare you all the math, but think back to Fukudome’s seasons in Japan. While there he played less games and traveled less and had phenominal success. His heart may want to play more games in MLB each season, but his body just won’t respond. Some people just take longer than others to recover. “Conditioning” factors in only so much. This is biological. Anybody who has trained hard with weightlifting will understand this. This approach will net excellent stats and raise his value. Unfortunately, this relegates him to 2/3 of full-time playing status. In my mind, the positive net results would make him worth about 9-million per year. He just needs to be used right. I’d play him against all righties, and make up any difference of games by emphasizing home games to reach his maximum monthly alotment. This approach should keep him fresh all year, and produce those April numbers all season long.

  • ddevonb

    “Looking back at it, the hindsight is 50/50 seeing as the Cubs won the game in the bottom of the ninth. But, I would have left Dempster in the game to give him a chance to finish what he started.”

    And if Dempster had given up a HR to the next hitter, everyone would have been trashing him for not removing Dempster in time.

    A manager is often in a no win situation. Sometimes there is no best choice and even hindsight doesn’t prove that the other choice would have been better.