Monday, March 8, 2010

Helluva Battle Brewing for Second Base

I know the Cubs are only three games into Spring Training, so this may be jumping the gun a little bit, but why the hell does Bobby Scales have as many plate appearances so far as Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot combined?

Bobby has seen action in all three games so far while Baker and Fontenot have gotten into one game each.

I thought this was supposed to be a competition for a role as an everyday second baseman.  Has Bobby Scales somehow become a candidate for the position?

We talked about this a bit on the podcast during the beatdown at the hands of the Sox on Saturday and nobody could figure it out. Though there has not been an opportunity to change anything since then, the fact remains that Bobby Scales is getting playing time ahead of two guys that are supposed to be competing for a pretty important job on the team.  I don't get it.

I get why Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, and even Brad Snyder are getting work.  They are young and the coaches want to see a bit more of them so they can be as informed as possible when choices need to be made.  Those guys are young and have potential futures with the major league club.

Bobby Scales is not young and he has no future with the Cubs that we want any part of.  Let me put it this way: If Bobby Scales is on the major league roster at any point this season, it means things have gone horribly, horribly wrong.  Right now, Andres Blanco, Darwin Barney, and Starlin Castro have to be ahead of Scales on the list of players to be used as backups or in the event of an injury to any of our diminutive middle infielders.

I don't dislike Bobby Scales.  His rise to the major leagues was a wonderful story of perserverance and realizing one's dreams.  He had some nice moments, but lets not fool ourselves into thinking that he is suddenly going to be worthy of a major league roster spot for any period of time that does not involve catastrophic injuries to numerous other players.  There is no way in hell he should continue getting time on the field ahead of Baker and Fontenot.  Like them or not, they are the Cubs options at second base this year.

Like I said, it is early and I am sure that Fontenot and Baker will get plenty of playing time, but I have to wonder why Scales has gotten as much work as he has.  Maybe it's a thank you for the effort he has put in, knowing these first few games mean almost nothing at all with starting pitchers going two innings and kids that are barely old enough to vote getting the bulk of the work.

I hope he enjoys it while it lasts, and I hope it doesn't last too much longer.


BleacherBunch said...

Is it possible that the Cubs are trying to display Bobby Scales value to potential scouts for an impending trade involving a much needed veteran bullpen arm?

Clark Addison said...

I agree with BleacherBunch on this. I think they are showcasing Scales as trade bait. He's a non-roster invitee, not on the 40-man roster. No chance he makes the big league club. So logic says he is being showcased.

I think we have no legit starting 2nd baseman on this team. For my money, slide Theriot over and play Blanco or Castro at SS. I'd take that over Baker or Fontenot. Baker can be a solid role player - a little 2B, a little 3B. But he is not a 162 game guy.

Aisle 424 said...

I can't imagine that any GM would believe Scales has any more value based on what Scales may or may not do in a few ABs this Spring. He would be a PTBNL at best in any deal. He is 32 years old, there is no upside to him at all.

These just feel like wasted PAs to me.

As far as Baker/Fontenot, I still like Baker's upside. I think he can hit and hit well. The question about whether he can do it for a full season is valid and there isn't any way to know that except to let him try.

Fontenot has enough pop in his bat to be a left-handed pinch hitter off the bench and occasional spot-starter. He should never, ever face a lefty pitcher again for the rest of his career.

I'm not on board the Castro train yet. He still has much to prove and I would rather he feel he needs to push through to get a shot, rather than have the job handed to him.

Andy White can't hit. Never has and never will, and now he's hurt.

Johnny Abrego said...

I can't remember where I read it, but some blog was once hilariously (and accurately) mocking the idea of 'showcasing' players for other teams. This is 2010, not 1950 - it's not like teams will be hurting to find sources for video of... Bobby Scales ABs.

There's no way that Brian Cashman is sitting around with his people saying, "geez, I'd love to pull the trigger on this Chan Ho Park deal, but they keep offering me some character named Bobby Scales as a throw in. If only I could watch him get a ABs... wait, what's that you say? He's playing this week in some Cactus League games so I can come watch him get 3 ABs a day? Call and see if I can get a direct flight to Mesa."

Why is Scales playing? I have no idea, maybe Lou just likes the cut of his jib. Lou had the man in the lineup nearly every day at the end of last season, so maybe he just has a crush on him.

RE: Castro. Wrigley Bound had a great piece on Castro and how the simple fact that the man has 500 PAs above Rookie League means we all need to calm the F down and let him develop in the minors a little more.

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