Bryant Says Hello & Bye Bye in Des Moines Debut

 

Having waited half a season, I thought as the deluge pounded the car in the Principal Park lot, what’s another hour or so?

When the rain relented and while the grounds crew did its pregame thing I went to check for Superman capes and the like in the Backstop Store. No, the notice of Kris Bryant’s arrival in town had been too short to allow for restocking. Nevertheless, I expect there will be a hastily arranged bobblehead night added to the promo slate ASAP.

 

The lanky young slugger came to town and took Christian Villanueva’s position and uniform number (19), both. He was slotted 5th in the batting order with guess who hitting right behind him? None other than Josh (JV) Vitters, once a promising top five draft pick and heralded third baseman himself. Doesn’t that seem a very long time ago?

Okay, so Bryant fanned his first trip, when he got a semi-standing O from those in the crowd that was smaller than it would have been were it not for the storm that delayed the proceedings. Basically everyone who knew the backstory was on their feet in welcome and anticipation. Routine fly outs in his next two trips were still opportunities to observe. He’s Kingmanesque in stature, though better-looking and more gracious. He digs in with a wide base that spans most of the batter’s box. I’m no mechanic but it appears that most of what happens when he uncoils is from the hips up. Apparently he’s already capable of adjustments, even mid-AB. When he came up for the fourth time in the 7th he worked an 0-2 count full before doing what’s most expected of him. I swear he cut down his swing on the shot that looked like a golfer’s power fade off his bat as it arced to straightaway right. It was gone by plenty into a quasi-SRO area of the park that features a fountain on hot days. When the ball landed it was scurried after like candy tossed from a parade float. The flag on the centerfield pole was limp. There are more where that came from. The word towering will be frequently associated with his blows even though it didn’t apply in this case.

Bryant looks out of place at third but not because he’s awkward there. He just doesn’t fit the profile. I don’t know where but I expect he will be in the C-Cubs’ opening day lineup next year, don’t you, the first of the brood to force his way in. Betcha his Wrigley debut happens in September. This kid has polish. Maybe he and his old man are a contemporary Mutt & Mickey story in the making set in San Diego instead of the Oklahoma zinc mines and, hopefully, minus the boozy subplot.

So far, so good…

OTHER NOTES:

Castillo was announced but scratched, presumably due to the soggy conditions. Alcantara was posted in CF (again) and glided about quite nimbly out there as his utility training continues. Wada’s got that familiar hesitancy that seems characteristic of the Japanese windups and he’s no bigger than a good-sized adolescent but he’s crafty and also bunted for a hit last night; one of those pitchers who gets his uniform dirty and is fun to watch @ work. Nothing wrong with Baez, by the way, that some maturity can’t fix. He eats his AB’s in big bites instead of nibbling at them and in the field he’s pretty slick if not always workmanlike. Patience in the day-to-day plying of his trade will probably be the last piece of the puzzle that comes to him.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Phil, or whoever - when does Mesa start playing?

Mesa plays tomorrow.

Hey Edwin...I was just at the Jerk Store...and they're running outta you!

Ugh...seriously, up 5-0 just throw strikes, and don't give up homers to Jody Mercer...m'kay?

Thanks for the wrap up, Mike. I noticed that about the hips, too, on a youtube video. I'm looking forward to seeing a few home runs from him when he comes out this way.

shwarb hit his 1st HR tonight in his 2nd game for kane county.

2-2 so far...double, homer, walk...6th inning. he was 1/3 (single) in his debut game.

Small sample size but he's having a rough go of it in KC. Only hitting .500 so far. Hopefully he ups his game a bit tonight.

Thanks Mike. Did Bryant have many chances tonight? How was his agility?

from mlbtr...kind of a push because they get an extra 3rd round pick next year but it's interesting that they picked someone in the 3rd round that would not sign.

the Cardinals learned that they will not land third-round pick Trevor Megill, who instead will finish his college career, reports MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. That takes his $504.4K bonus value out of play for St. Louis, though the club will gain another pick in next year’s draft (immediately following the third round).

getting to be old hat to see the Cubs get BP's Hitter (not Hitler) of the Day award...

HITTER OF THE DAY: Kyle Schwarber, c — low Class A Kane County (Cubs)

If he keeps this up, we at BA are going to have to construct the Schwarber-Meter. Sure, it's not as mellifluous as the Mookie-Meter, but Schwarber is treating pro ball like Betts treated Double-A. The former Indiana catcher slugged his fifth homer in seven games and first since his promotion to Kane County. He's slashing .577/.613/.1.308. Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters Friday that the team won't impede Schwarber's progress, even if Schwarber's defense doesn't warrant it. If the bat plays, Schwarber will keep moving up, essentially.

and the most individual highlight hitting lines (11) I've seen of Cubs in the daily BP report, usually they have 3-4 names...Hendricks (got a hitting and pitching mention), Vizcaino and Rivero got pitching mentions (not always good, as Viz had a bad night) and some get mentioned just because of who they are (Almora). The WSux got 13 prospect hitting mentions so maybe their editor changed or has lost his ability to be selective.

CHC AA Silva, Rubi RF 5 1 2 2 .254 3B (4), HR (6), SB (7)

CHC AA Villanueva, Chris 3B 3 0 1 0 .375 3 BB (3), CS (1)

CHC AAA Alcantara, Ari 2B 4 2 2 0 .285 2 2B (18), BB (18)

CHC AAA Baez, Javier SS 4 0 3 4 .226 2B (11)

CHC AAA Hendricks, Kyle P 3 2 1 0 .091

CHC AAA Szczur, Matt CF 4 0 2 1 .244 2B (9), SB (12)

CHC HiA Almora, Albert CF 5 0 1 1 .243

CHC HiA Vogelbach, Dan 1B 5 0 2 2 .269 2B (16)

CHC LoA Candelario, Jeimer 3B 4 0 1 2 .167 2B (1)

CHC LoA Hannemann, Jacob CF 4 1 1 1 .242 HR (4)

CHC LoA Schwarber, Kyle C 3 2 2 1 .500 2B (1), HR (1), BB (1)

...more from BP. They don't like Bonifacio much albeit it's a fantasy league article.
Anyone notice the Cubs are winning a bit more since he went on the DL?

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

2B/OF Emilio Bonifacio -- Chicago Cubs

(show stats before 4/30 (BA .337/BABIP .415) and after 5/1-6/16 (BA .214/BABIP .250)
Perhaps no player in baseball has had his ineptitude better hidden in his overall stats than Bonifacio. The numbers from May through June are unappealing, but it’s worse than that. After his first eight games, Bonifacio is hitting .222/.269/.300. He’s solely carrying a .266 batting average and an on-base percentage over .300 because he hit obscenely well for eight games. Eight games.

At this point, he’s not even accumulating stolen bases for fantasy owners because he can’t get on base enough to matter. He has been the epitome of dead weight. If you own Emilio Bonifacio and continue to start him, please stop. Try to dump him on someone else in your league. Oh, and if someone comes with a trade that includes Emilio Bonifacio, just say no. He’s not a “buy-low” candidate. He’s just not very good.

and this draft signing update from John Arguello/Cubs Den...

7th round pick James Norwood signed for $175K, which is almost $27K underslot. That bumps them to $613,900 below the pool allotment and $883,400 in non-penalty slot money to pay for Dylan Cease and just over $1.3M for Dylan Cease. They still have to sign their 9th and 10th picks which should be more significantly underslot. I think when all is said and done they'll have $1.5M. How much of that goes to Cease, I do not know, but it seems reasonable that the Cubs will have some money left over for 3B Joey Martarano (22) and RHP Brad Depperman (31).

http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2014/06/daily-c...

Who was the guy the Cubs drafted that was considered a very high end prospect but was available deep into the draft because the expectation was he'd go to college? I think it was some southern school - well, that's almost a given so by that I mean I don't think it was a California or Texas school. Does that trigger anything to anyone?

Dillon Maples? Was going to go to UNC and K or P for the football team and play baseball. Cubs gave him a couple of million as a pick in the early teen rounds a few years back.

2011 was the year the Cubs really went all in on amateur bonuses. They were on a good run before that of spending some of the smallest amounts on draft bonuses in the league, like bottom 5, bottom 10 area if I recall. 

 

No, thanks QM - but it was somebody in this draft they picked up in a late round that was expected to sign for college but considered very high end. I'll look into it and see if I can dredge up the info.

Sorry, I didn't realize you meant this year so I activated the wayback machine.

Isiah Gilliam, 1B/OF 23rd round pick BA rank: 132, MLB.com: 114 is probably going to a JUCO in FL

Michael Cantu, C 30th round BA rank: 161, MLB.com: 139 probably going to Texas

Brad Deppermann, 31st round RHP BA rank: 192 North Florida committment

DJ Peters, OF 36th round BA rank: 112 Cal St. Fullerton committment

Riley Adams, C 37th round BA rank: 154 USD committment

Brad Bass, RHP 33rd round MLB.com rank: 165 going to ND

Gilliam was reclassified a HS senior during the season. So he wasn't being looked at closely early in the year.

Wow, thanks QM! I think it was Gilliam. I looked him up based on his ranking/draft pick slot and sure enough I saw that he is really highly rated.

Baseball or Porn Name? This quiz is hilarious and rather difficult:

http://www.sporcle.com/games/Yunel/dickcox

rain delay (2hr) over...game on.

cj nitkowski is doing the game for Fox with len tonight.

cj is still getting his feet wet with the whole game calling thing, but he's doing a great job considering this is one of his first few games. he's obviously done his homework on the cubs and the bigger names in the minor league system. he crutches a bit on the media guide, but isn't just reading it to the audience...he has a point and expands upon it. he's far from a finished product and seems to be prone to some "dead air" moments, but i've seen worse.

he's working off len's setups/comments/jokes rather well (which is refreshing). hell, i wouldn't mind CJ and len if this is what CJ can do. JD is good...but something just isn't clicking between len and JD. they miss each others setups/jokes a lot. JD, especially, misses a lot of len's setups that bob would roll with.

also, woo...rizzo HR. cubs lead by 1.

coghlan attempts to dive for a ball...misses it by about 6-8 feet. 2014 cubs.

Soler playing for Mesa tonight.

soler 3-5 (2 doubles), 2K...played DH

e.jimenez pinch hit...0-1, 1K

...elsewhere...

bryant 0-4, 3Ks

baez 1-5 (single), 3Ks

kane county rained out.

You know the lineup is bad when there is absolutely no justification for batting lower than sixth in this arrangement of players.

i'd like to know why the hell c.coghlan keeps leading off or hitting 2nd...and why he's playing more than ruggs.

It's like electricity runs through Bryant instead of blood. First a rising shot off the facade of the Cub Club in left, then a soaring blast to dead center; both of them doubtless...

d.norris (OAK) simply cannot quit being hit with bats on a backswing behind the plate. i think this is his 4th time in 3 games the past couple weeks.

herrera just full-on nailed him.

The first got the I-Cubs back in the game; the second was a tie-breaking game winner...

Seems Cubs and team USA have more in common than the same team colors.

Bryant's 3 homers have been to right, left & center, in that order...

Full MiLB report of the I-Cubs win today

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140622&...

per mlbtr...

The Cardinals are down not one but two pitchers, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, after losing them both to shoulder injuries, MLB.com’s Jen Langosch writes. Wacha has what GM John Mozeliak called a “stress reaction,” and will miss several weeks. “He has been dealing with a little bit of shoulder irritation going back [four to five starts],” said Mozeliak. “Up to this point, we always thought it was manageable.” Garcia could not complete his regular bullpen session Sunday. The Cardinals are placing both pitchers on the disabled list, and they will announce corresponding moves on Monday. Here are more notes from throughout the big leagues.

Stress reaction is the term currently being used as a precursor for a stress fracture. A stress fracture is a hairline crack in a bone that is related to overuse and repetitive trauma. It can also happen from a focal impact where the x-ray is normal. Before MRI imaging was available, that would have been diagnosed just as a contusion (bruise or if more extensive a bone bruise). I tell patients that when it happens, it's similar to a hairline crack in a car windshield and that we need to treat it (rest) to prevent the crack from propagating into something more extensive. Stress fractures are more common in the lower extremities because weight bearing bones take on greater loads and stress fractures commonly occur in the foot (metatarsal), leg (tibia) or hip/femur.

Stress fractures do happen in the upper extremities in throwing athletes (by repetitive stress or by being hit by a ball) and I've written about this before, regarding Matt Garza-Cal Eldred. Bone contusion also comes up in this general area but contusion usually implies there was a direct trauma to trigger the problem, whereas stress reaction implies that there was no trigger just repetitive use/overuse.

In the leg, the common term for the prequel to a stress fracture was called shin splints, so stress reaction is the "newer" term because it's happening in many other sites including the shoulder and elbow now (shoulder refers to either scapula/shoulder blade or humerus/arm). Shin refers to the tibia/leg, so shin splints as a term was not readily adaptable to other bones and "splints" is an archaic term. Also, shin splints as a term predates MRI, so the anatomic information has advanced enough to warrant updated terminology.

Wacha was complaining of posterior shoulder tightness, so he's being shut down. I assume he had an MRI to make sure it wasn't a labrum or rotator cuff tear or other structural issues. A stress fracture would be a structural problem too and should show up on an MRI. A stress reaction might not or at least only show some changes in the bone (edema) that was minor enough that they don't consider it a formal stress fracture. Because his complaint is posterior shoulder tightness, the bone of concern would be his scapula/shoulder blade.

Garcia has had shoulder problems before which is why he's missed so much time from their rotation including only 9 starts in 2013 and underwent labrum and rotator cuff surgery last year.

Wacha audio:

http://www.stlbaseballweekly.com/audio-wacha-discu...

Elbow stress fractures:

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2011/05/24/beware-fi...

Thanks for the analysis! I'm sure the Cardinals will just now calmly call up 2 guys who will promptly win all of their starts and battle for the NL Rookie of the Year award.

here's the first candidate

The Cardinals will call up pitching prospect Marco Gonzales to make his major league debut on Wednesday against the Rockies.

Gonzales was pegged as a likely fast-mover when the Cardinals drafted him in the first round last year, and he has lived up to the billing by making his major league debut less than a year after his first pro start. While his ceiling is more of a No. 3-4 starter, Gonzales has been terrific in his first 99 2/3 pro innings, posting a 2.08 ERA and 101/26 K/BB ratio  The Cardinals will call up pitching prospect Marco Gonzales to make his major league debut on Wednesday against the Rockies. Gonzales was pegged as a likely fast-mover when the Cardinals drafted him in the first round last year, and he has lived up to the billing by making his major league debut less than a year after his first pro start. While his ceiling is more of a No. 3-4 starter, Gonzales has been terrific in his first 99 2/3 pro innings, posting a 2.08 ERA and 101/26 K/BB ratio

a few Cub related comments from Nick Cafardo's sunday baseball column in the Globe:

4. Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs — Theo Epstein can look forward to a power-hitting third baseman at some point. There aren’t many of those guys, and Epstein has one. In his first start with Triple A Iowa last week, Bryant hit an opposite-field two-run homer in the seventh inning of a victory over El Paso. The second pick of the 2013 draft, it hasn’t taken him long to move up. At Double A Tennessee, he was basically winning the Triple Crown — .355 with 22 home runs and 58 RBIs in 68 games. I would say this kid is going to be a keeper.

7. Christian Vazquez, C, Red Sox — One major league scout informed me that in any package of young players the Red Sox would have to give up in a major deal, Vazquez would likely be atop every team’s list. “If they wanted [Jeff] Samardzija, Vazquez would be one of the prospect the Cubs would ask for,” said the scout. “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively. We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.” Asked which of the Sox’ catching prospects he would keep, the scout said, “Swihart. Rare athleticism for a catcher. He’ll be the complete package.”

9. Edwin Jackson, RHP, Cubs — One Epstein would love to have back. Jackson, a four-year, $52 million blunder, has been horrible. In his last six starts, he’s 2-4 with a 7.20 ERA. If he were pitching well, Epstein would be able to send him off to another team. But unless Jackson, a former All-Star, turns it around, no chance. Jackson, of course, has always been durable but rarely dependable. He’s gone through good stretches in which his stuff dominates, but those have been few and far between this season.

The Cubs will likely deal outfielder Nate Schierholtz, though he hasn’t had a good year at the plate.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/06/21/major...

good stuff...but as far as BOS giving up c.vazquez goes...well, BOS is 6 games under .500 in late june.

per Roto...Cashner has been fragile too but they speculate on a trade. Not likely if they just fired their GM, no?

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Andrew Cashner has been scratched from his scheduled start against the Giants on Monday.
No reason has been given as to the reason for the scratch, but with a change in management on Sunday, a trade is certainly a possibility. As Tim Dirkes of MLB Trade Rumors noted earlier, Odrisamer Despaigne will be recalled from Triple-A El Paso to start in his place.

This is why I am liking the Theo approach to pitching so far. Just keep stockpiling arms. Yeah, he did pick up Jackson, a bit of a boo boo, but otherwise he doesn't seem sold on spending first round picks on them and hopefully he won't pay $100m + to His Sharkness. All pitchers are fragile it seems these days. Now excuse me while I watch a youtube video of this little leaguer with the amazing breaking stuff.

there he goes again!

yeah, another HR for Bryant. And Alcantara is 2-4, .844 OPS on the year and .911 over the last 30 days. Also 17-20 in SB on the year. I'd be happy to see him take Bonifacio's spot.

*2015 call up!

He still needs to refine parts of his game. For example, the rounding third part of his home run trot just isn't MLB ready yet. In all seriousness, is after next year's Super 2 deadline the probable ETA at this point?

SONIC: I doubt that Super Two will matter, but the Cubs would probably want to wait at least 12 days after 2015 Opening Day to call Bryant up, because doing so would buy them an extra year of club control. And with Scott Boras being Bryant's agent, Bryant might not be inclined to sign a Rizzo or Castro type deal that buys out arbitration and free-agent years. 

Two things to rermember about Service Time:

1.  The MLB season is 183 days in length, but 172 days on an MLB 40-man roster constitutes a "full season" for Service Time purposes. That's why the Cubs would want to wait at least 12 days to call Bryant up in 2015, so he can't accrue a full season next year, and so the Cubs can retiain club control through the 2021 season even if Bryant becomes an MLB Article XX-B FA at first opportunity. (This would also apply to Javier Baez in 2015).

2. If a player is already on the 40-man roster (like Arismendy Alcantara), the player accrues a full season if he spends fewer than 20 days on Optional Assignment to the minors in a given season. So if the Cubs want to call Alcantara up next season but want to buy an extra year of club control, they would want to wait at least 20 days (not 12) after 2015 Opening Day before calling him up, or 20 days plus as many days as he spends on an MLB Active List in 2014 (in case he gets called up sometime later this season).     

"Super Two" status varies from year-to-year, but with the 2012-16 CBA expanding the percentage of players who qualify as a "Super Two" each season, 2+120 MLB Service Time is probably as far as you would want to go to avoid it, so if the Cubs care about future "Super Two" status with respect to Bryant and/or Baez, they would want to wait at least until June 1st to call them up, maybe even June 15th just to make sure. 

But again, I doubt that the Cubs care that much about Super Two status (at least not enough to leave a player at Iowa if he is clearly ready for MLB), but they probably care a lot about that extra year of club control if they think they might have difficulty signing Bryant and/or Baez to contract extentions that buy-out arbitration years and one or two years of MLB Service Time.

Jorge Soler is already signed to a major league contract, and he will get a 4th minor league option in 2015, but it will be his last one. So he will be out of minor league options in 2016. He also has the right to opt out of his contract if he is eligible for salary arbitration (probably post-2018), but even if that happens the Cubs would still retain club control until Soler reaches six years of MLB Service Time (probably post-2021).

As things stand now (barring any future contract extensions) it's very possible that all five of the Cubs projected core position players (Castro, Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, and Soler) will reach free-agency at almost exactly the same time (Castro post-2020 and the other four post-2021).

It's also conceivable that salary arbitration and/or free-agency thresholds wil lchange in the next CBA (2017), but that is unknown at this time.

As always, thank you AZ Phil.

If he ends up with 40 hr he's ipso facto opening day lineup

first run for the i-cubs came when baez stole 3rd & scored on a wild throw...sb #14?

Has Josh Byrnes joined the Cubs front office yet?

just catching up here, are they really looking at bringing back Kevin Towers?

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/mlb/diamondbacks/2014/06/23/padres...

oh dear...

updated the draft signing sidebar, I've got the Cubs with $1,754, 800 left at the moment, but 8th round pick (Thorpe) and 10th round pick (Williams) both posted on their twitter that they have signed as has 22nd round pick Martarano. And 9th round pick Farris is still out there, but guessing Cease should get $1M+ and sign when it's all said and done.

they could surprise, but seems Cease (5th round), Martarano (22nd round) and Deppermann (31st round) would get the leftover money. Still doesn't seem like Gilliam is in play.

FYI, this link says: "MLB Draft Update Add a little bit more to the Cubs under slot savings. 8th round pick, Tommy Thorpe, a polished, finesse type college lefty out of Oregon signed for $26,800 below slot value."

http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2014/06/daily-c...

thanks, BA has it as official as well. Odd thing is BA has 10th round pick Ryan Williams signing for a mere $1000 bonus which would be $140K in savings.

Might be a typo, seems absurdly low, although he was a college senior.

If true, Cubs have over $1.6M for Cease, Farris, Martarano and maybe Gilliam, Depperman or Cantu. Not sure where CubDen is getting his numbers (says it's more like $1.3M although he's seems to be estimating Williams and Farris).

ROB G: I guess it could be a typo, but it's not unusual for college seniors to get $1,000 or sometimes even an $800 signing bonus, except they usually get picked in the 20's or 30's.

Could be Wiliiams was told by the Cubs before the draft that they wanted to use him as a "straw man" in the 10th round. and he was smart enough to know that $1,000 is all he was going to get anyway, no matter where he was picked. 

cool, Farris being a senior too, maybe he'll sign around the same. Should give Cubs plenty of money to sign Cease and one or two others.

on that note, Farris gets $3000

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/2014-draft-signingbonus-tracker?ymd=...

also confirms the $1000 bonus for Williams.

speaking of McLeod as a GM candidate, Jim Bowden put him on a short list for Padres job.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/06/padres-notes-gm-search-byrnes-cash...

Mid-season hiring from another organization seems odd, especially pre trade deadline. I would assume McLeod has been in a conversation or two with Jed and Theo about players from other organizations they have an interest in. With San Diego also being a seller that seems to cut into the best interests of the Cubs.

coghlan leading off again.

i still don't get it.

also, olt is sitting. he has 2 hits and 2 walks this month...and only 29 PA this month. i wonder what they're doing with him between games because playing in games is far from what he's donig.

And, with Bryant in Iowa, it's not like they can send him there for ABs unless they have him DH for awhile, which may not be a bad idea. Olt clearly has his issues at the plate, and maybe a month of Manny would help him. At this point, he's just filling up roster space. I still wonder if he's done something to piss off the head honchos, because this is actually kind of weird.

As has been pointed out by others, he could play first in Iowa.

That's true. Then they should just do it, because this is really not helping his development at all.

It's interesting about Olt...as I've mentioned, I'd be in favor of just letting him play since the team isn't any good anyway. But when a guy is hitting like he is -- or I should say, isn't hitting -- I don't think you can attribute it all to playing time. Most of it? Some of it? Sure. But crucifying a manager for not playing a guy with a .225 OBP over about 180 plate appearances (not that small of sample size) seems pretty silly. It makes me wonder if it's just because it's Olt? Because he plays 3B and the Cubs need one (for now, anyway)? If it were someone else, would there be an outcry? If Junior Lake was hitting that poorly, would people clamor for him to be in the lineup?

He's a first round pick.

So there's some pedigree there that would say he's good.

Playing once and twice a week batting eight is not going to help, send him to minors and play every day.

Must be some minor league option thing that Theo knows that keeps him up here.

JACOS: Mike Olt is 25 (he'll be 26 in August) and he has two minor league options left, so I doubt that not wanting to use up an option would be a reason to keep him in Chicago. And even with Kris Bryant playing 3B every day at Iowa, Olt could could always play 1B there to get regular AB (the Cubs know he can play 3B, and the I-Cubs have been using 4-A utility infielder Chris Valaika at 1B).  

Ryan Kalish was optioned to AAA in May and that was his last minor league option, so he will be out of minor league options next season. Same goes for Josh Vitters and Neil Ramirez, who also used up their last minor league options this season. But (as I said) Olt has two minor league options left, so even if he is optioned to AAA in 2014 he still would have another option available in 2015. 

BTW, Hector Rondon is an unusual case in that he is eligible for a 4th minor league option this season but it will not be available for him to use in 2015, so he will be out of minior league options next season even if he is not optioned to the minors in 2014.  

Azphil

So why not send him down?

JACOS: That is a good question. 

I can come up with only two things, neither of which make much sense to me. One is that at 25 Olt needs to prove himself against MLB pitching (but obviously he's not going to do that from the bench). The other is that the Cubs have no one to call up to replace him on the roster (but then, there's Watkins if they just need a body to sit on the bench or someone to get on base .225).

So basically this makes no sense to me either. Olt playing 1B every day in AAA makes tons of sense. Or sit Barney and let Olt play 3B in Chicago every day no matter how bad he is just because you want to see if he comes out of it and because even with what he's done he's not any worse of an offensive player than Barney is.

Olt sucks major ass right now. Here's the thing though: if the Cubs didn't want him they'd play him every day. They'd want to shop him and play up his power and defense. I think he is just taking a huge fucking hit for the team here and they told him: you'll be playing every day once we dump all these guys we don't want. Just hope there is something left of him. The Cubs are not sell low types at all ... if they didn't want him they'd be pimping him somehow.

I agree with your entire analysis. I would just add that Bryant is making the Olt situation a little more convoluted.

If the Cubs can leave Bryant at third base they will, because his value goes through the roof: his offensive peers will be 1Bs and corner outfielders.

Olt will have a couple of months to play every day and raise his own value, while the Cubs try to arrive at a final decision whether Bryant plays third. If he does, Olt probably gets traded over the winter.

It's a good problem to have. Meanwhile, I don't think it raises Olt's value to demote him. At least now, when he hits a home run it puts him that much closer to twenty in a major-league season.

Completely agreed.

And if you watched turn&Coghlan's first at bat it's amazing he's in mlb.

On strike three he bailed out and twisted his head on a swing against a RH pitcher.

Haven't seen that since 10 year old little league

potential future Cub LHP Nathan Kirby pitching for Virginia right now in College World Series (possible top 5 pick, possible #1 pick actually).

Kirby was doing well in first 2 innings, then inning 3

K, BB, 2B, BB, 1B, BB, BB, BB, E-3

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/25104/promotions-generall...

“Sometimes there is a rush,” Epstein said. “You take a guy that is still young for his level at Triple-A and he starts to produce decent numbers. Then I see people speculate, ‘Oh, he should be up here, he can help now,’ but you have to look beneath the surface a little bit. If a player [for example] is still struggling with off-speed pitches but he manages to put up respectable numbers, it might not be the right time for him to come up here and all of a sudden get abused by those pitches and have it set back his development. It’s not so much the production as it is where they are on the learning curve with their greatest issues.”

That makes sense. Then Epstein explained the simple metric the Cubs look at most.

“A lot of time you can get clued into that by looking at their walk rate and their strikeout rate,” he said. “If a guy isn’t doing a nice job controlling the strike zone ... if they haven’t mastered that in Triple-A, it might not be the right time for him to come up here. It all depends on the individual, but just because a player is having some statistical success at Triple-A doesn’t mean we’re in a rush to promote him, especially if they are young for their level.”

It's nice to have a modern evidence based front office.

I wonder how Bryant is handling the wicked stuff. I have been thinking about getting an MILB TV account just so I can see some at bats. He's going to be here in Round Rock soon but I honestly suck at seeing what kind of pitch is being thrown live unless it's a really good vantage point. Third base seats so maybe I'll be able to see. I'm more interested in seeing how Alcantara looks, since Bryant sounds like as sure a thing as there can be in prospect land. Last night, Bryant walked twice along with his HR. He doesn't seem Oltish.

Speaking of Olt, by Theo's reasoning, why is he up with the big club? Olt struggles mightily with off speed from the few times I've seen guys throw that to him.

Bring her up!!

Samardzija pulled a Zambrano on a failed bunt attempt in 3rd.

Rizzo single, Castro double in 4th to lead-off inning. No Cubs end up scoring (Valbuena fly out to right, Castillo ground out to pitcher, Ryan Sweeney fly out)

Luis Valbuena holding down the 5 spot in the lineup. 1 for his last 20 AB with 1 HR and 6 RBI in his last 22 games. 4 K's in last 10 AB.

well he was crushing it before that...if Bonifacio is the test case, it'll take Renteria 2 months and an injury to realize he's cooled off

I actually think he deserves to play through the slump. It's just somewhat frustrating - Happy's lineups. Though I have to agree with several of you and Old & Blue that his handling of pitchers is great, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the way Rizzo and Castro are playing. The lineups though seem blatantly political. I assume he was instructed who would be shopped hardest to make way for the new wave and those people play. It's the only thing that makes sense.

AZ posted that he has some insiders telling him that this is so. But Coghlan at leadoff is preposterous. Overall, his lineups are bizarre, but other than the 3-4 spot he doesn't have much to work with.

sting singing the 7th...one of the most famous chicago natives and huge cubs fan.

i thought they promised the fans they'd quit whoring out the 7th...whatever.

When did they promise (HR Rizzo!) that?

that HR was so far/wide outside of the zone it's crazy that went over the fence.

it was a promise of the last administration after a slew of out-of-place guests. it's been mostly carried over into this administration...but things have been slipping this season.

They promised to only whore it out to Chicago natives.

yeah this...which leads to thrilling guests like a local college lacrosse coach and struggling actors.

len and bob did it best...mostly cuz you don't get 1/2+ inning of an interview no one cares about.

They never said Chicago natives only, though they did say they would try to have more people with Cubs/Chicago ties than not.

Tony Four Sacks

Hit a hanger a foot outside oppo deep left

Back foot behind home plate when he connects

Was like 12" softball

Holy shit

He's pretty good.

Someone needs to tell Cpt happy not going to score runs with .293 obp guy at the top, especially when he has gone longer without a hit then Sting.

/topical

Hahaha! Nicely played sir!

You'd think Len would want the 7th cuntductor in the booth at bottom 7th, would be shorter interview.

Damn it watched Stink do stretch and missed Chris Davis walk off vs Sox and Hawks reaction.

No interview too, good!
Take it outside limey!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD4u4sIjHmY

hector rondon hates the cubs...and freedom...and america.

With Renteria batting Coghlan first, apparently he does, too.

I don't see the big deal here. As you said, he doesn't have much to work with. Coghlan was 4-7 with a 2B, 3B, and HR from June 17-20th. So he's the hot hand and Renteria bats him leadoff June 21st. He was 1-4 in that game with a run, and no one else on the team had more than 1 hit. The next day he was 0-2 with a walk; and no on else on the team was on base more than once. Then last night he was 0-4, but the only people who had hits were Rizzo, Castro, Castillo (all of whom you would not hit leadoff) and Barney--who I am guessing you wouldn't want there either. So I am meh on this. He put Valbuena there for 5 games when he was hot, but then he cooled, so he moved Coghlan there when he was hot and I would guess he'll get a game or two more and if he cools he will try someone else. At this point, it's just throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks.

The article is in the twitter box. Jon Paul Morosi says the Cubs are looking for Triple-A right-hander Aaron Sanchez, Double-A left-hander Daniel Norris, and Class-A center fielder Dalton Pompey from the Blue Jays for Samardzija. The Blue Jays don't want to give up all three.

I thought that was a little light since Pompey is so far from the bigs and Sanchez has control issues. I'd want a 4th piece with some promise. But what do I know.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/jeff-samardzija...

seems like a good start, imagine a few more pieces would be tacked on..

in bad news, report that Rays are ready to move David Price, imagine teams will explore that first delaying this whole thing.

Silver lining for the Cubs is that if Toronto is hesitant to give up a prospect package for Ninja, there's no way they send them in the division to Tampa.

he gone done and did it again!

three run shot

At this rate he could be the worst rally killer in history.

This is ridiculous.

Also ridiculous? Gordon Wittenmyer's article on Samardzija's contract. I won't bore you , but it goes "Blah Blah blah...something about respecting the players' union..I want to get paid...blah, blah.."

I really wish GDub would move back to Minneapolis where he could cover Juniors hockey. Something he might know more about because he sure as hell doesn't know shit about baseball.

Wittenmyer may hate his job and following this dreadful team with absolutely not one decent personality would make me hate it too, but don't get why the article is ridiculous

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/28266069-573/respect-for-pl...

gives both sides of the story, quotes from Samardzija...standard stuff

“The only reason we’re in the fortunate spot we’re in is because of the guys that played before us and how they went about their business,” Samardzija, who grew up in a strong union household in Northwest Indiana, said in a recent conversation with the Sun-Times, “and how the whole free-agency thing started and what it’s become today. You just want to keep that going.

“You want to grow with the game. You always want the game growing, too. The way you do that is you work your butt off and you earn your way to free agency and you go from there.”

It’s not always a popular position. But it’s no less a part of the business of the game than rooftop battles and sign-to-flip free-agent deals.

It's riduculous, because Samardzija is full of crap. "The guys that played before us...keep it going." I'm pretty sure that if he re-signed with the Cubs for $17 million a year, that the Free Agency system would still be in place, and that the gains made by the players union in the last 45 years would NOT be given back.
Samardzija wants to get paid like an ace, that's it. There's no noble bullshit cause behind it. Good for him. Enjoy life in the AL East.

ah, got you, thought you were ripping on Wittenmyer for writing it, but I guess that was Altman. Carry on...

Yeah, I could've worded that better....d'oh!

Wittenmeyer is on WSCR Mulley&Hanley on my drive to work every week. No matter how many times the 'Theo-rebuild' has been explained, GDub doesn't get it. I've come to the conclusion he doesn't want to get it. He rails against it on radio and print every chance he gets. Believes Cubs should be signing big name FA's (doesn't say who), believes payroll should be Top 5 (doesn't say where money would come from), Wrigley should be renovated but no Jumbotron/signage/changes, etc.

Whether you're on board with Theo or not it gets real old real fast, and he never misses a chance to put in his digs.

sounds like a good percentage of the comments on here :)

the money is there if they want to be top 5 before any renovations are done, Ricketts and Theo (imo) just realize it's fooiish to put lipstick on a pig and to waste money now. Could they be "competitve" with a little more spending? I think so, but not consistently and not at a future cost of having very bad contracts on the books. I think some of the non-spending is Ricketts trying to put pressure on the city, and some is trying to save some money to pay debts now knowing that it isn't the smart move so they can spend later.

Living in the Chicago area on/off for 25 years, no doubt politics is a big factor in these moves. Fundamentally, I don't see the point in 'spending to be competitive' if it doesn't lead to a World Series appearance but that's how I think.

The only other GM who had a plan was Dallas Green but 1984 happened and his fights with the Tribune suits sealed his fate prematurely. I don't know if Theo's plan gets us to the playoffs/World Series consistently, but Damn, isn't it refreshing vs. The last 20+ years of front office ineptitude?

Print media guys are now chicken head biters of the side show.

Gordo refers to Hammel as "flip guy" nearly every time...as if anyone reading it doesn't get what's likely to happen. He definitely has filled Sullivan's tiny shoes as most miserable beat writer.

Javier Baez named to US Futures Game for World Squad.

Bryant named to USA Team.

Joey Gallo also named to USA Team at 3B, that'll be some fun batting practice.

As Carlito said, Ninja has been less than "Ace-like" lately. Over the last 30 days, in 5 starts, he has nearly a 5.00 era plus a WHIP of almost 1.50. He can't help it that there are two offensive players on his team. Or, somitimes 3. But he can control how he pitches. I just have never been 100% sold on this guy being a near-elite pitcher. He has for the most part just been able to pitch half-seasons. Or pitch one goid game and two or three crappy ones. He has the "stuff", but the jury is still out on if he can repeat success from start to start. If Theo can get a sweet bounty for him, that would be a fine thing...

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