Earlier this morning, I had the privilege of interviewing Cubs' VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita. This is not the first time I have spoken with Fleita, but with the latest moves the Cubs are making, it was time we sat down for another interview. Fleita has been traveling around all season checking in on the minor league clubs and development programs around the country and in Latin America, making sure the future Cubs can make an impact as soon as possible. I want to thank him for giving me some time for this interview.
ELI: The Cubs traded Derrek Lee to the Braves for three pitching prospects, were you surprised by the trade?
ONERI: Yes and No. He's such a great guy and he obviously was connected to the city and wanted to keep his family here. It's bitter sweet because now he will get a chance to win a division with a team that is a legitimate contender in October.
ELI: With Lee gone, do you think Tyler Colvin will play some first base?
ONERI: I think it is possible, but that kind of decision is left to Lou and the other coaches, and Jim [Hendry] and Randy Bush.
ELI: The Cubs have called up several minor leaguers this year. Of them, have any caught your eye more than others?
ONERI: They have all caught my attention, really. Starlin Castro has done a great job, [Andrew] Cashner is showing signs of being a great pitcher, but there is definitely a learning curve. James Russell, Brian Schlitter, all did a good job.
ELI: Cashner, along with Sean Marshall, are former starters working in the bullpen. Do you think there future is in the bullpen or will they make a transition to the rotation?
ONERI: I give them a lot of credit. They are very versatile and make the team very versatile. I think they could be starters in the future but if they are needed in the bullpen that is where they will be.
ELI: Chris Archer is having a great season between Single-A and Double-A, is he someone we could see make the September roster this year?
ONERI: Probably not. He may go to big league camp next season, and we may see him in the Arizona Fall League, but he is in the middle of a championship run in Double-A and we want to see him continue to perform down there. He's a real talent, a special player.
ELI: How about Brett Jackson, the first round pick for the Cubs last season. What do you think of his performance at Double-A this season?
ONERI: He is having a great year, having a fun time down in Double-A. He was an All-Star in the first half of the season, appeared in the Futures Game, he is a great all around player.