12/5/2013 7:38 P.M. ET
Cubs keeping options open for shortstop Baez
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Javier Baez, the Cubs' first-round pick in the June 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is creating a lot of buzz as he gets closer to the big leagues. However, he's a shortstop, and the Cubs already have a talented shortstop in Starlin Castro.
Do the Cubs move Baez? Not now, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.
"At some point, creating options and creating versatility is a good thing," Epstein said Thursday. "In Javy's case, he's got a tremendous combination of instincts and athleticism, which makes us think he'll be a natural at playing other positions."
Epstein said amateur scouting reports say Baez could play every position, including catcher.
"I think it'll be an easy transition for him if and when that time comes," Epstein said. "He hasn't even reached Triple-A yet. There's plenty of time to do it. You don't want to take shortstop away from a kid. Once you move off shortstop, it's really hard to move back.
"There may be a time in the future when he moves on a permanent basis, and there may be a time when we move just to give him versatility. In Spring Training, he'll play plenty of shortstop, and that might be a time to move him around as well."
Baez, 21, was named the Cubs' Minor League Player of the Year after batting .282 with 37 home runs and 111 RBIs at Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
Cubs lose Rule 5 Draft pick due to grievance
CHICAGO -- The Cubs did not plan on taking a player in next week's Rule 5 Draft, but they have apparently lost that selection anyway because of a grievance filed by the Phillies.
In December 2011, the Cubs selected right-hander Lendy Castillo from the Phillies' organization. Castillo spent most of the 2012 season on the disabled list with a groin injury, and he appeared in 13 games for the Cubs.
Any player selected in the Rule 5 Draft must stay on a team's active roster for the entire season. To prevent abuse of the draft, the player selected must be active for at least 90 days. That keeps teams from selecting players and placing them on the DL for the majority of the season.
Castillo missed 91 days in 2012, and he spent all of the 2013 season in the Minor Leagues. The Phillies will have the Cubs' selection in the Rule 5 Draft as compensation.
• The Cubs got encouraging reports about right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, who is coming back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2012. Vizcaino made about six appearances in the Dominican instructional league, his fastball hit 98 mph and he showed good command, Epstein said.
The pitcher, acquired from the Braves in July 2012, could be in the Cubs' bullpen mix in 2014.
• New Cubs manager Rick Renteria is known for his even-keel demeanor. He was asked if he had a temper.
"I can get hot," Renteria said Thursday. "I think any competitor can get hot. I think you've got to pick your spots. I don't think players appreciate people just losing it for the sake of losing it.
"Will I do it for the sake of people watching me do it? No. You probably won't see me doing it at all, but I can't guarantee that. When it happens, it's got to be the right time, and I think those things have to take care of themselves.
"If you're a guy who is even-keeled and you end up losing it, I think [the players] understand you mean business and it means a little bit more. For the most part, I think conversations need to be had behind closed doors."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.