Some highlights from the Cubs Convention seminars:
* Javier Baez is headed back to Puerto Rico to continue to play for Santurce, most likely through the playoffs. GM Jed Hoyer says Baez is well aware he has to make adjustments.
“He has to earn his playing time,” Hoyer said of the 21-year-old infielder. “He knows he has to make more contact to stay in the big leagues.”
* The Cubs pitching staff actually did well last season but the offense struggled. The Cubs ranked 12th in the National League in runs scored, ahead of only the Reds, Braves and Padres; 13th in on-base percentage; and 14th in batting average with runners in scoring position (.223). Where will the runs come from in 2015? Theo Epstein says he’s counting on better performances from Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara and Luis Valbuena, plus feels they will get more production from the catching position with the addition of Miguel Montero. What about Kris Bryant? Epstein said Bryant definitely is expected to be in the lineup in 2015.
“When it’s the right time for Kris’ development and the right time for the team, he’ll be on the roster,” Epstein said.
* The Cubs may open the season with three catchers: Montero, David Ross and Welington Castillo. The Cubs added Ross because they felt he was too good a player and person in the clubhouse to pass on, Hoyer said.
* Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was asked about Sammy Sosa and whether the team can reconcile with the former right fielder.
“I don’t want to get into Sammy,” Ricketts said. “There will be a time and a place for it, and we’ll wait for that time and place.”
* Jon Lester’s ability to pitch at Fenway Park will help him at Wrigley Field, Epstein said. Lester would pitch at Fenway in ways that were counter to the type of pitcher he is, and that was because of the way the ballpark is built.
“We all know Wrigley plays two different ways,” Epstein said. “When the wind is howling in and it’s April, and it’s really hard to hit the ball out of the ballpark, he’ll go right at guys and be extremely efficient. He has the power and the mix to be able to do that. On the days when [the wind] is howling out, he can change things up and work his two-seamer a little more, change speeds a little more often and keep hitters off balance. For a left-handed pitcher having gone through your whole career basically at Fenway Park, that’s a gauntlet and it forces you to get creative.”
* Someone asked Epstein how he was able to lure Lester to the Cubs.
“Well, $155 million,” Epstein quipped.
— Carrie Muskat