Cubs open camp, first injury reported

The Chicago Cubs unveiled their new spring training facility yesterday. Before we even got to see anyone in action, it was revealed that Jake Arrieta has been experiencing shoulder tightness this winter. Does anyone else cringe when they hear the term “shoulder tightness”?

Mesa: come for the Cubs, stay for the Mormon temple.

Mesa: come for the Cubs, stay for the Mormon temple.

“We’ve re-started his throwing program but he’ll be a little bit late into camp as far as throwing bullpens and getting into games,” Hoyer said. “No time tables yet but he is throwing and feeling good now. That was something in the back of our minds as we went through this and added some pitching depth.”

The depth of which Jed Hoyer spoke is Jason Hammel and James McDonald, both of whom are now on the 40-man roster.

“He’s a guy who’s had some success in some pretty difficult places,” Hoyer said of Hammel. “He started in Tampa, Went to Colorado and had some success in Coors Field and then obviously had some success in the American League East with Baltimore. We’re excited to get him.”

(snip)

“James is a guy who we’ve really liked the stuff,” Hoyer said. “He’s dealt with some injuries over the last couple years but he worked really hard this winter. We’ve seen him throw a number of times over the course of the winter and he looks healthy.”

Chris Rusin is still around as a starting option, too. I’m sure that makes you feel a lot better.

In better news, Theo Epstein announced that the Cubs have not already maxed out their payroll budget.

“In the two previous offseasons, we’ve spent every dollar available to us and this is the first winter where we ended up keeping some in reserve to be used on players [that are] hopefully prime age, impact-type players down the road,” Epstein said. “It gives us a bit of a leg-up as we look toward next winter or an in-season move that might make the present and the future better.

“Rather than just spend the money to spend it, if we can book that and have it available to us to sign that international free agent who comes along in the summer or to acquire a player in a trade who carries a significant salary but fits for the long term, or to just start out next offseason knowing we can be a little more aggressive on the guys we really want early because the money will be availble to us, that made more sense than spending the money now just to spend it.”

Does that mean a spending spree next winter?

17 thoughts on “Cubs open camp, first injury reported

  1. Doc Blume says:

    I usually translate “shoulder tightness” as “career is over”.

  2. Doc Blume says:

    “Does that mean a spending spree next winter?”

    If buying off the rooftop owners counts, then yes.

  3. juliedicaro says:

    Chris Rusin? I didn’t even know he was still playing baseball.

  4. Doc Blume says:

    He probably didn’t even know that either.

  5. mightybear says:

    First of all Chris Rusin was pretty effective over most of the second half last year and at the very least could be an effective LOOGY out of the pen. Second, the shoulder seems to be an either or type of injury. Either it’s minor and it clears up quickly and the pitcher goes on his merry way or it gets worse and requires drastic and sometimes career ending measures. That’s why they are so overly careful when a pitcher says his shoulder feels anything.

  6. juliedicaro says:

    If we hear the word “towel,” I’m out.

  7. Doc Blume says:

    No you’re not. You’ll keep coming back like you always do.

  8. J says:

    Shoulder tightness on a guy whose selling point is that he can touch the mid 90s and throws a good 12-6 curve out of the same arm slot? Strop had better pan out in the bullpen or it’s looking like the Cubs got hosed on the Feldman trade.

  9. Doc Blume says:

    Arrieta was always a risk. His upside has always been great. Even if he doesn’t work out, I think it was a trade worth making. Not every trade is going to work out.

  10. juliedicaro says:

    Don’t give up on him just because his shoulder is “tight” the first week of ST. Jeez.

  11. Doc Blume says:

    Um…yeah…not give up on him…yeah…and based on what, in the last 15 years of Cubs history, would you say I should use to justify not giving up on him?

  12. J says:

    My understanding of the Arrieta risk was that he had issues consistently finding the strike zone. Flashes of solid stuff that can make bats miss the ball, but control issues keep him from consistently pitching while ahead in the count. Great strikeout pitches, but his secondary and set-up pitches just don’t work reliably well enough to compliment his fastball/curve.

    He seemed prime for a Bosio flip job, but shoulder issues probably took him from “we can probably get him through inspection” to “fuck, now we’ve got an unsellable, broken Arrieta.”

  13. Doc Blume says:

    Most of Bosio’s flip jobs have been on players who had shown some sustained success at some point who were free agents. Arrieta was supposed to be a potential piece to the future team since he is still under team control for another 3 I think. The Cubs don’t have to pay him much of anything, so he wasn’t going to be someone that they were going to sell in the foreseeable future. If he didn’t work out before the injury, he would have been DFAd.

  14. J says:

    I get that Arrieta is under team control for 3 more years, but I’d think his real value would be as a transitional 4-5 starter for someone else. I’d hope that there are arms in AA this year that project better than Arrieta, so if the front office is doing their job he’ll be gone before 2016 anyways. If he could establish himself as a solid starter on the backend of a MLB rotation, his value becomes exponentially greater on the open market with 2-2.5 years of team control remaining. I don’t see anything in what Arrieta has done so far against MLB hitters that he has either the stuff or the brain to be a front of the rotation pitcher or a lights out reliever, but I would have loved to see him prove me wrong and get traded.

    I wish he could have tried pitching his way onto a winning team, but now that he’s gone and killed his shoulder I might as well stop working on my Cubs 2014 World Series t-shirt designs.

  15. Doc Blume says:

    Arrieta has the stuff. Without a doubt he has the “stuff”. We saw the guy be lights out in a few of his starts last year…and we got all excited. Whether not he the head, yes, that is another issue.

    I don’t quite see how you think the Cubs would in any way consider trading him. If he’s good, they keep him. If he’s not, they will DFA him like they have with so many other players. They aren’t going to trade him. And even if they did trade him, he’s not going to bring anything of substance alone. He’d be a throw-in as part of a much larger deal.

    The only way he’s going to “pitch” his way onto a winning team is if he pitches well and the Cubs, by some miracle, are good this year.

  16. sloanpeterson2 says:

    Former Cub Dempster is sitting out the entire 2014 season for “physical and family reasons.” Thoughts?

    1. FrankS says:

      The Score was saying that he has a problem with his neck, but they didn’t give a source for that info.

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