Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cubs Convention Recap: Meet Cubs Baseball Management

David Kaplan was joined by Mike Quade, Jim Hendry and Randy Bush for the Meet Cubs Baseball Management session last Saturday at the Cubs Convention. It was an interesting one, so here's the recap:
  • The Matt Garza trade actually started during the Winter Meetings in Orlando. The Cubs were hopeful at the time that they could come to a conclusion within a week.
  • Fortunately, the Cubs were the lucky recipient of Garza. Hendry said that there was an A.L. team with a better offer, but the Rays didn't want Matt to stay in the American League.
  • Randy Bush looks at stats and a lot of other factors when he goes scouting. Bush spends a lot of time reading reports from scouts and statistical analysts.
  • Bush visits each minor league club in the system twice a year. He does most of his scouting within the organization.
  • Who needs to be protected from the Rule V Draft is a big decision at the end of each season.
  • Mike Quade gave credit to Zambrano for his job down the stretch. The entire group in the clubhouse was familiar with Quade, so it made it easier for him once he took over.
  • He was fairly demanding once he took over. Q told the young guys that they "aren't young anymore."
  • The veterans have to carry a team late in the season. The kids played better once Mike took over, and the veterans did their job.
  • When Kap asked if this was Hendry's most challenging offseason, Jim said that you don't look at one being more challenging than another.
  • Matt Garza was "kind of a dream" for the Cubs going into the winter.
  • The situation with Kerry Wood is not only a great feel good story, but it helps the team.
  • Hendry said that it makes it easier to make a deal with a team if he has a good relationship with that club's GM.
  • The Cubs plan on mixing and matching at the top of the order since they don't have a prototypical lead-off man.
  • Jeff Baker did a great job against left handed pitching, but he doesn't have great speed. If there is a lefty on the hill, there is a chance Baker will hit first.
  • Bush said that Oneri Fleita stresses the importance of playing the game the right way at the minor league level.
  • A lot of time when people don't think Soriano is giving a full effort, he is actually trying to play through injuries.
  • Jim Hendry still thinks Sori is capable of hitting 30 home runs, plus he is a great guy in the clubhouse. Jim still sees him as a productive player.
  • Quade and Larry Rothschild are very good friends. The Cubs will miss him and wish him well.
  • Hendry also thinks the world of Larry. He was wanted by the Yankees and the move was the right move for him.
  • He has stayed with the Cubs in the past when he could have made money elsewhere. Jim wanted Larry to be able to do what he wanted to do.
  • It remains to be seen whether the Cubs will be able to fill the holes at first, second and third from within the system. Josh Vitters is a corner infielder very high on the radar who figured some things out offensively last season.
  • Hendry was thrilled that Greg Maddux wanted to return to the Cubs. He doesn't want to be a full time guy yet. He enjoyed his first year and was involved in a few more things with Randy and Jim this winter.
  • Garza throws seven days a week from January first on.
  • Quade is concerned by high pitch counts, especially early in the season.
  • Kap called the concern with pitch count "nonsense."
  • Mike "has no idea" whether or not Garza will be his number one starter. As far as Q is concerned, whoever is pitching for him on a given day is the ace.
  • He is not a fan of having his middle of the order guys lay down bunts.
  • Quade is going to look at it as if Zambrano's problems never happened. That is his philosophy with everyone. The things that go south you deal with along the way.
  • Jose Cera gets credit for signing Starlin Castro out of the Dominican Republic.
  • Castro has done a great job handling all of the challenges along the way. He has a lot of work left to do and he has to improve defensively, but the Cubs are very proud of him.
  • The fans are going to get a quality effort from the Cubs everyday and he is not going to be happy if there are players not hustling.
  • The Cubs are going to find ways to score runs and win close games.
  • There are discussions that the commissioners office is having about realignment. The Cubs have thought about the fact that there is one division in baseball with six teams and there is another division with only four teams.
  • The mentality of football is a lot different from baseball. Each manager handles things in different ways, Quade is not interested in calling guys out publicly.
  • There is a very good likelihood that Andrew Cashner will end up in the rotation.
  • Mike also mentioned Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Casey Coleman and the now traded Tom Gorzelanny as guys competing for spots in the rotation.
  • The guys competing for the rotation could end up helping the bullpen depth.
  • Hendry thinks that Koyie Hill is well worth $850,000. He does a great job with the pitching staff and defensively. Hill is very good with some of the younger pitchers.
  • Especially in the National League, the bench is very important. Quade thinks that having an experienced guy like Hill coming off the bench will be very helpful over the 162 game season.
  • Quade expects Carlos to handle himself well. If he explodes once in a while, that will be okay. The Cubs do not plan on having Greg Maddux be an emotional coach for Z.
  • When asked how they deal with players not taking days off when they are injured, Jim said that the Cubs have a great trainer in Mark O'Neal who is on top of the medical situation.
  • Hendry likes having guys on the team who wanted to play through little injuries, such and Derrek Lee.
  • If there is a guy who goes into a tailspin, Quade will certainly try to get them out of the lineup.
  • When asked about Pujols, Jim said that he cannot comment on other team's players. The Cubs are very happy to have Pena.
  • Mike loves Theriot to death, but he takes what he says with a grain of salt. The Cubs do not need any extra motivation to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Quade might have some things that Ryan said in the back of his mind, and hopefully they can "make him pay."
  • Jim is not bothered by the development of rumors through facebook, twitter, radio and blogs. He does not like the fact that his players names get tossed around for trade rumors that are untrue.
  • He thinks that blogs hurt the quality of good journalists sometimes.
  • The goal for the Chicago Cubs is to win the division and then go from there. That is what they expect to do. "It's that simple," Q said.
  • The day games are part of what makes the organization special, the Cubs need to make sure that they use it as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.
  • The Cubs won more home games in the three year period from 2007-2009 than any other team in the league. They played great at home all summer during 2008.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

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