Steve Stone mailbag: Mike Quade's 2011 status

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Steve Stone mailbag: Mike Quade's 2011 status

Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2010
11:40 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer your questions about the White Sox's recent acquistion of Manny Ramirez, Mike Quade's 2011 staus and more!

Tony, Chicago -- What are your thoughts on the White Sox claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers? Don't you think they should be more focused on pitching than offense?

Steve Stone: You can't really choose who is going to go on waivers. If at the time, they knew Eric Threets was going to be lost to the club, there is a good chance or possible scenario, Brian Fuentes to be claimed before Minnesota. But that wasn't the case. Kenny didn't have the luxury to wait and because Threets was throwing very well and it's still believed Thornton is not injured badly, they went after a hitter.
Roman, Hobart, Ind. -- Now that Frank Thomas Day has come and gone, what are your favorite memories of the Big Hurt playing on the South Side?

Steve Stone: You have to understand I was not on the South Side for his career. I was doing some baseball on the other side of town and consequently because our games was, most of the time, completely different in time and time zones, I didn't get to see a great deal of his career. Safe to say, he was one of the great hitters of all time. When you ask me about the great recollections, that is Hawk's plate.

Kate, Chicago -- If Mike Quade ends the season on a winning note, what are his chances of returning next season to manage the Cubs?

Steve Stone: As far as his chances, I said I like him as a good solid baseball man. I believe he knows the game, he certainly pays his dues and understands the culture, but there isn't much I don't like. I think he could make a good manager; I don't think he should manage the Cubs next year but then again, I don't have the decision to make. I am thankful for that and wish him best of luck; he is a quality man. We will have to see what Hendry and Ricketts feel about Quade, but about the many worthy candidates for what I believe is the last and greatest sports challenge -- to win a world championship in the uniform of the Chicago Cubs. If you know someone 102 years old, they were just being born when the Cubs won their last one.
Tommy, Winfield -- What are your thoughts of Sammy Sosa's recent comments about the Cubs not caring about him?

Steve Stone: I think they are very accurate as far as Sammy is concerned. The sad part is, there are a lot of things said and done at the time that maybe, maybe some people felt later on that they shouldn't have said. I know that probably applies to Sammy. I would hope that applied to the Tribune Company. After the death of Harry Carry in February 1998, having been on that broadcast with Harry's grandson Chip, what we were selling was Sammy and the Ivy. The Cubs had a very good break in '98 and made it to the playoffs in the Wild Card, only to be knocked out by Atlanta. Up until 2003, they were not great years and Sammy was a big part of the show most of the time, and sometimes the whole show. He probably made them about 200 million. When a guy does that for you, he deserves a little more consideration as you shoved him out the door. With that being said, we can just go back and perhaps bring him back into the family. I know about his performance-enhancing, but many players with the same cloud over their head. I believe he was an intricate part of the past. I think he should be welcomed back into the family some where down the line. This opinion won't be shared by tons, but that's how i feel about the situation.

John, Chicago -- What has surprised you most this season in MLB?

Steve Stone: Its hard to pin down one thing, but if I were to delete everything as a whole, the most surprising team, the Padres. They have done a tremendous job with a low payroll team in a small amount of time in putting together a ball club that has all the marks of a team going to the playoffs. It's a magnificent story. The Rangers are a good story, but not quite as surprising being in a four-team division and as many stars on that team that they were able to put that race to bed in the West. Omar Vizquel having an opportunity to play a lot more than expected and play better than people thought he could play. If the Sox go on to win, he will be one impressive array of contributors and one of the most surprising. Starlin Castro is also a great story of the year as the Cubs are concerned. It appears he is going to be an excellent player. Don't worry about those errors, they happen. He is here to stay. In my estimation, he could become a truly great story on the north side of town.

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

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AP

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

The sports world woke up to some tragic news on Sunday morning.

Former major leaguer Andy Marte and Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic within an hour of each other, according to multiple reports. A Royals representative confirmed the death of 25-year-old Ventura.

The Cubs and White Sox took to Twitter to give their condolences:

Ventura was a member of the Royals from 2013-16 and won a World Series title in 2015 with Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis, who the Cubs acquired this offseason for Jorge Soler. Ventura also played with White Sox pitcher James Shields in 2013-14.

Marte, 33, played a majority of his seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was teammates with Todd Hollandsworth (Atlanta 2005), Kerry Wood (Cleveland 2009-10), and Miguel Montero (Arizona 2014).

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Theo Epstein's front office is heading into Year 6 with the Cubs and they're finally talking about a pitcher as one of the organization's most exciting prospects.

That's how senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod framed his Dylan Cease report to fans at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago last weekend.

It was a tongue-in-cheek summation from McLeod after he spent the previous few minutes fawning over Cease, the Cubs' sixth round pick in 2014.

Of course, McLeod and the Cubs can poke fun at the lack of impact pitching the farm system has developed when the homegrown position players like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber just helped lead the franchise to its first World Series championship in over a century.

Cease, however, has been one of the more intriguing Cubs prospects for years — a right-handed pitcher capable of touching 101 mph on the radar gun.

"This guy is throwing lightning bolts out of his arm," McLeod said. "It's really exciting. But we also understaned he's only in Low-A this year, so he's far away."

The Cubs expect Cease to pitch for Class-A South Bend in 2017 after spending last season pitching for short-season Eugene and the 2015 campaign working in the rookie league in Arizona.

Cease — who just turned 21 in late December — put up some impressive numbers at both stops in the Cubs system, posting a 2.36 ERA and 1.165 WHIP to go along with a whopping 91 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He also only surrendered one homer and walked more batters (41) than reached via a basehit (39).

Control is obviously an issue for Cease, but the upside is evident.

"He's so far away," McLeod said. "He's gonna go into 2017 as a starter. As with a lot of young guys, it's gonna come down to command and depend on that third pitch and the ability to land them for strikes.

"It's a special arm. He can pitch 95-100 mph with a big power curveball. He's unlike anyone else we have in our system since we've been here in terms of pure stuff."

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One fan compared Cease to Carl Edwards Jr. in terms of their lanky build and high velocity, setting McLeod up for a layup joke.

"Well, Dylan is much stronger physically than CJ is...as is everybody in this room," McLeod said as the ballroom filled with laugher. "Don't tell [CJ] I said that. 

"They have different body types, obviously. Carl is long and lanky and Dylan has probably put on 20 pounds since we drafted him, so he's more like 6-foot-2, 190."

By comparison, Edwards — who goes by "The String Bean Slinger" for his slight build — is listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds.

Edwards was drafted in the 48th round in 2011 and spent his whole minor-league career as a starting pitcher until the Cubs converted him to a reliever in 2015.

Cease may eventually go down the same path, but the Cubs are going to give him every opportunity to make it as a starter first.

Cease was one of the top pitchers available in the 2014 draft, but his stock took a hit when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow while at Milton High School in Georgia.

That scared off a lot of teams — as did the potential signability issues with college offers looming — but the Cubs took a chance and have now watched Cease soar to a top prospect in the system (No. 4 by Baseball America; No. 7 by FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus) despite the cautious approach and lack of innings in professional ball.

"We have to thank Kyle Schwarber, actually, as one of the main reasons we got to sign Dylan Cease," McLeod said. "Because we took Kyle fourth overall, we were able to save money on the selection with him, which gave us the resources to go get Dylan Cease.

"He was a Top 10 pick in the draft — a high school arm that got hurt, fell down to the fifth round and he had a commitment to Vanderbilt, I think it was, and we were able to use the money we saved from Kyle.

"Just another reason to love Kyle Schwarber."