Much of the focus at Hohokam Stadium this spring has been on Jorge Soler and Javier Baez, the Cubs' top two prospects. But several other heralded prospects are in camp, and many of them will have to step up if the Cubs plan to meet their goal of becoming annual contenders by 2015. After being traded to the Tigers in August on the same day Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters were called up from Triple-A Iowa, Jeff Baker left with some words of wisdom for the youngsters: Produce now, or the rebuilding could last years. "If these guys come up and play well, you can knock years off it," Baker said. "If they don't, you've got to find somebody else, move somebody else in, (have lots of) moving parts." It didn't work out for Jackson and Vitters, who failed to produce and are headed back to Iowa, forcing the Cubs to bring in veteran outfielders Nate Schierholtz and Scott Hairston as a platoon and re-sign Ian Stewart at third base. The young pitchers who were rushed into the rotation — Brooks Raley and Chris Rusin — also struggled in a combined 12 starts, leading to the signing of veterans Scott Feldman and Scott Baker to one-year deals. And catcher Steve Clevenger hit .121 after the All-Star break with two RBIs in 91 at-bats, losing his backup job to free agent Dioner Navarro.
Progress by Cubs youngsters could speed up rebuilding
Chicago Tribune | Mar 5