Cubs South of the Border

In addition to the seven players (RHPs Dae-Eun Rhee, Kevin Rhoderick, Nick Struck, and Tony Zych, INF Javier Baez, IF-OF Rubi Silva, and OF Matt Silva) who are assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, there are 17 other Cubs or Cubs minor leaguers on the rosters of teams in the Latin winter Leagues:


MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE:
Alfredo Amezaga, IF-OF (Obregon)
Esmailin Caridad, RHP (Obregon)
Greg Rohan, 1B-3B-LF (Mazatlan)
Christian Villanueva, 3B (Obregon)


DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE:
Arismendy Alcantara, SS (Licey)
Jeffry Antigua, LHP (Este)
Jairo Asencio, RHP (Este)
Diory Hernandez, INF (Este)
Junior Lake, INF (Oriente)


VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE:
Juan Apodaca, C (Zulia)
Tony Campana, OF (Caracas)
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP (Oriente)
Yoannis Negrin, RHP (Caracas)
Loiger Padron, RHP (Caracas)
Miguel Socolovich, RHP (Caracas)
Luis Valbuena, INF (Lara)
Ty Wright, OF (Aragua)


Tony Campana and Luis Valbuena are both already big leaguers who will likely have bench jobs in 2013 no matter what they do in Venezuela, but Campana still needs to figure out how to draw more walks, and Valbuena needs to improve as a hitter, and it‘s possible that one or both could find the keys to those adjustments/improvements in winter ball.


Junior Lake is already on the 40-man roster and would appear to be headed to AAA Iowa in 2013, but if he has an eye-popping performance in the Dominican this winter, it could provide him more time to show what he can do in Spring Training next March.


Miguel Socolovich was claimed off waivers by the Cubs last month but didn’t have much of an opportunity to show what he could do, so he needs to pitch well in Venezuela if he wants to keep his slot on the MLB 40-man roster going into next season. (Even then he still could get dropped).


Christian Villanueva was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal and is one of the Cubs Top 15 prospects. He will probably be added to the Cubs 40-man roster on 11/20 no matter how he performs in Mexico, but there are others on the list who are also eligible for selection in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft and who are not likely to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline, and they could get some attention from other clubs with a strong performance in winter ball.


29-year old RHRP Esmailin Caridad has big league experience and had a solid year at Iowa in 2012, 26-year old Greg Rohan is the proverbial minor league “big stick” who hit a combined 282/349/491 with 38 doubles, 21 HR and 106 RBI at three stops in 2012, and 22-year old LHP Jeffry Antigua is the type of Rule 5 candidate who might have value to a team in search of a lefty reliever with AA experience. And if they perform well in Mexico and are not selected in the Rule 5 Draft, Caridad and/or Rohan could get an NRI to Spring Training with the Cubs in 2013 and be given a legitimate chance to score a slot on the Cubs 2013 Opening Day 25-man roster.


Arismendy Alcantara won’t be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft until post-2013, and while he probably played his way into Top 15 prospect status at Daytona this past season and projects as the #1 shortstop at AA Tennessee in 2013, he still needs to have a strong season in the Dominican to stay on the front-burner, what with Javier Baez coming up fast behind him.


28-year old Cuban defector Yoannis Negrin was signed by the Cubs in 2011 but spent most of the 2012 season “on loan” to Tabasco in the Mexican League, so how he performs in the LMP this winter could help the Cubs decide whether he gets another year (probably at Iowa) or gets released.


Likewise, Eduardo Figueroa (Daytona) and Loiger Padron (AZL Cubs) could get released if they don’t show well in Venezuela.


27-year old Iowa LF Ty Wright will be a minor league free-agent post-2013 and will be released at Minor League Camp next March if he doesn‘t make the iowa Opening Day roster, so it wouldn’t hurt him to do well in winter ball.


Four of the 17 Cubs playing Latin winter ball will be minor league free-agents next month, and three of them will likely be someplace else in 2013. Alfredo Amezaga, Jairo Asencio, and Diory Hernandez probably won’t return to Iowa in 2013, but the Cubs are almost certainly looking for a veteran catcher who can be the back-up at Iowa in 2013 and who can be 4th on the depth chart behind Welington Castillo, Anthony Recker and Steve Clevenger, and since Juan Apodaca did a nice job as a back-up catcher at both Tennessee and Iowa in 2012, the Cubs might want to try and bring him back by offering him a pay raise and an NRI to Spring Training as inducement. It might help his cause if he does well in Venezuela.

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  • Rob Richardson 2 hours 36 min ago view
  • Can't teach height and thinness

    jacos 4 hours 32 min ago view
  • Hopefully Pirates don't call up A. Lincoln.

    jacos 14 hours 2 min ago view
  • j.buchanan going friday...should be...baseball...or something like it.

    crunch 14 hours 9 min ago view
  • Wow. I didn't know they could do that.

    Nice for Willson, not so much for Addy.

    billybucks 14 hours 26 min ago view
  • Game is officially called...also officially a tie.

    Stats count, no make-up date of course.

     

    Rob G. 14 hours 28 min ago view
  • Yeah -- seeing the weather -- I hope KB and Rizz are inside, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate.

    billybucks 15 hours 14 min ago view
  • rain delay...thanks obama.

    crunch 15 hours 52 min ago view
  • Thanks again Phil. We actually were in Mesa and drove around. Hopefully, I am back for some Fall League. If not I have all of spring training (like the smart people who move here!)

    rvimpeny 16 hours 56 min ago view
  • What Rob G said.  I can't speak for Piittsburgh, but the other end of the state has had absolute crap weather for two days. Perfect day to take it easy.

    Transmission 17 hours 15 sec ago view
  • tarp came off 10 minutes ago...let's do this.

    crunch 17 hours 14 min ago view
  • He will not pitch another game for Cubs

    /Unless injury in playoffs

    jacos 17 hours 31 min ago view
  • ~fart~

    jacos 17 hours 31 min ago view
  • Today is bullpen day

    jacos 17 hours 32 min ago view
  • 10/450 if they win WS

    jacos 17 hours 32 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Even though Hammel is missing start, don't assume he'll not be on #Cubs postseason roster. Maddon says elbow problem isn't that bad

    Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Maddon on #Cubs postseason rotation: "I don't want to announce anything. We haven't talked to anybody yet"

    Carrie Muskat [email protected]
    Maddon hopes Soler can take BP in Cincy, play in sim game Tue. "All of that should give us some kind of indication of where he's at"

    crunch 17 hours 49 min ago view