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Cutting Tony Campana A Sign The Cubs Are Improving

By bullpenbrian at 02.11.2013 6 comments.

Tony Campana
I know many Cubs fans are disappointed Tony Campana was DFA.
He’s a likeable guy. A fan favorite with a good story.
A cancer survivor. A scrappy white guy who made the bigs.
Tony the person is easy to root for, the ballplayer, not so much.
World class speed and base stealing abilities are not enough.
Good for a 101-loss team, sure. But not where the Cubs are heading.
Cutting Campana is a sign the Cubs’ roster is improving.
There’s more overall talent and less opportunity for fringe players.
In the end, that’s all we really want as fans.
The most talented players who give the team its best chance to win.

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  1. Raymond Johnson says:

    Sadly, I have to agree with you here. Tony fits in with a 100-loss team, and might even fit with a 100-win team that is so loaded with talent it can afford a bench spot for a base-stealer. But for a team that’s likely to be somewhere in the middle, it’s hard to make room for a player that might get in a couple games a week and only make a difference in the W/L column once a month. The guy who makes the 100-win team a 105-win team might secure a playoff spot. The guy who makes the 72-win team a 77-win team barely gets to brag to his buddies about how he helped a 4th-place team raise their winning percentage by 0.03.

    I might just have to file Tony away with Ced Landrum as two of my favorite Cubs base-stealing threats. Tony and Ced might end up with similar big league stories: http://www.greatest21days.com/2010/08/ced-landrum-getting-on-base-94.html. (But if memory serves me, I watched Ced steal 2nd on a pickoff throw to first. He might have even done it twice!)

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Ah yes, terrific comparison!
      Their careers are essentially step-for-step.

      On thing that jumped out in the article you linked was Ced’s incredible speed on ‘turf’. That’s one advantage Campana doesn’t have…and of course I’d need to look closer, but Campana may have never played a single big league game on turf in his career!

      We’ll know shortly if Campana is traded or picked up by another club on waivers. For everyone’s sake I hope he has the opportunity to play somewhere else. Otherwise, buckle in for Cubs fan to start calling for his promotion by opening day. Heaven help us :0

  2. J-Huff says:

    That probably means that Dave Sappelt will get 25th man and 5th OF (Soriano-DeJesus-Schierholtz-Hairston-Sapplet). I think Sappelt will get plenty of opportunities against LHP.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      I feel the same way about Sappelt.

      Couple others to keep an eye on this spring are Brent Lillibridge, Darnell McDonald and Brian Bogusevic.

      Lillibridge is already getting a lot of attention. But a solid spring by the other two could having fighting for the 25th spot as well.

      Glad we’re getting underway!

  3. Biitner Blue says:

    Sorry, but Bullpen Brian is wrong. These two 17-year-old prospects will likely be Cabanna boys before they ever become major league picthers. They bitched about Tony’s C average, but he hit .262. As a team still struggling to score runs, tell me who will even still 15 bases for the Cubs this year, let alone 30. I doubt whether Hairston or Sappelt hit .262. Campana just needed a htting instructor to teach him the lost art of bunting and making better overall contact in order to utilize his speed. Campana may never make it, but Leal and Castillo are longshots at best! Campana is more valuable than Valbuena and some of worthless Cub pitching prospects. He should have been left on the 40-man roster.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      The Cubs lost 101 games with Campana on the roster last season. He’s been given ample opportunity during the past two seasons to prove he’s more than just a one-dimensional base stealing threat. Unfortunately, he’s failed miserably in proving otherwise.

      Batting average is only part of the equation. The main gripe with Campana is his terribly weak on-base percentage. He simply does not reach base often enough to justify playing time, not to mention, his unsteady production is far below the offensive standards teams are looking for in a corner outfielder. Sorry, but 40 singles, 6 doubles, no triples and zero HR doesn’t cut it.

      You’re entitled to be a Campana apologist if you so choose, but it’s unfair to blame the Cubs’ coaching staff for not ‘fixing’ a player who lacks big league talent at the plate. It was in the best interest of the Cubs’ hitting instructors and manager, Dale Sveum (a former hitting instructor), to figure out ways to get the best base stealer in the game on base, which make it hard to believe the coaching staff didn’t put great effort in to molding Campana into a serviceable hitter.

      Campana is a 26-year-old, seasoned minor leaguer with two years of big league experience under his belt. He should be able to consistently bunt the baseball instead of relying on wild attempts to slap the ball for a single. This points to a lack of talent (which I don’t hold against Tony) and not a lack of proper coaching.

      It’s true both teenage prospects for Campana are long shots to make the major leagues, let alone reach the high level minor leagues. But here’s the simply truth, of all the 29 other teams in baseball who could have traded for Campana…the best offer the Cubs received was the one from Arizona…two 17-year-old, no-name prospects.

      If it was just a matter of coaching, we could fairly assume more teams would have jumped at the chance to acquire Campana via trade and coached him to greatness. But that didn’t happen.

      There’s no question Campana is a fun player to watch run the bases, and easy to root for, but that doesn’t justify keeping a player on the roster whose contributions are minimal on a team desperate to add more talented players.

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