TCR Friday Notes
"I'm just not going to get caught shortî$2.75 million dollar insurance policy for next year is a bit hefty when you have so many other holes to fill. Particularly costly when you consider we have at least 4 other candidates to fill that spot in the rotation that come cheaper and could/should and most likely would be nearly as effective. Wouldnít you rather throw an extra $6 million at B.J. Ryan the next 2 years or use that cash to buyout Dusty Baker? Okay, maybe that last one is just me. Not to mention wasting a 40 man roster spot on a 5th/6th pitcher leads to the sort of buffoonery that leaves quality minor league players unprotected come Rule V draft time. Hendry may have a plan though to use a number of those pitching prospects as trade chips, so it wonít be until March before I reach a firm conclusion on this deal. And just so weíre all clear, Rusch was signed by Hendry to be a starter, not a swingman or LOOGY.
"His effectiveness was better this year as a starter," Hendry said. "Obviously, you don't promise anybody ... that they are penciled in the rotation. But I assured him that he could come back as a starting candidate and that I didn't have any interest any longer in putting him in the bullpen."Now whether Baker understands that or not, weíll see. His contract also includes some incentives for games started which may be as much a benefit to him as itís a message to Baker. As Mike C. so delicately put it in the comments earlier this week, Dusty is very aware of players contracts and their incentives and does his best to help the players achieve said incentives. While I wonít proclaim, as Mike C. did, that heís more interested in that then putting the best team out there, I will certainly agree that itís something Dusty is conscious of when making decisions. So maybe that incentive clause is as much for Baker as it is for Rusch. AFL/Winter League Updates - Jon Koronka left the AFL for personal reasons. The Cubs have the right to replace him with somebody else if they choose, but it might be a bit late in the season for that. - Buck Coats was removed from the Taxi Squad and is now eligible to play everyday. As a member of the Taxi Squad, he could only play on Wednesdays and Sundays. - Stats so far:
Matt Murton .321/.375/.506 1 HR, 13/13 BB/K, 10 2bís in 81 ABís Brandon Sing .288/.367/.558 3 HR, 7/16 BB/K in 52 ABís Eric Patterson .273/.319/.364 0 HR, 5/11 BB/K in 66 ABís; 4/7 in SBís Buck Coats .304/.360/.348 0 HR, 2/2 BB/K in 23 ABís David Aardsma 0-0 10.80 ERA, 7/15 BB/K, 2 HR in 15.0 IP Angel Guzman 1-2 3.86 ERA, 10/22 BB/K, 2 HR in 25.2 IP Jon Koronka 1-0 0.00 ERA, 5/11 BB/K, 0 HR in 13.0 IP; 3 SavesFelix Pieís #ís in the DWL: 11/49 .224/.273/.367 1 HR, 2/10 BB/K Adam Greenbergís in the VWL: 18/63 .286/.338/.444 2 HR, 4/17 BB/K Furcal update Well thanks to Furcalís agent Paul Kinzer, everyone knows exactly what is going on in the Furcal negotiations. Thanks, Paul. If youíve missed it so far, 3 teams have so far been in contact with Furcal, the Cubs, Mets and Braves. The Mets want him to play second and Furcal is willing. If everyone is willing to cough up the same amount of cash, heíll likely stay in Atlanta, but John Schuerholz will have to do some serious money moving to make that a reality as it looks like Jimmy Rollinsís recent 5 year, $40 mil deal is the starting off point for any talks with Furcal. Furcal wouldnít mind playing for the Cubs either, as apparently heís close to Aramis and Neifi and of course knows Maddux from past days. Apparently he flunked history though as his agent claims,
"Whatever team he goes to, he wants to be able to go to a World Series, and he feels the Cubs are going to be competitive in trying to get there. I'd say there is very serious interest from Rafael."Bless him for his hubris if he believes he's the guy to finally take us over the hump, but if playing World Series games is your goal, history at least tells us, that you should steer clear of the Cubs. If the Cubs really want Furcal, they should jump in with their best offer (at least 4 yrs/$36 mil w/ a 5th year option). The Braves, I doubt, can match it, although I shouldnít underestimate John Schuerholz. I think the Mets would like to wait until they know if they'll get in on the Wagner sweepstakes, figure out their catcher situation and the likelihood of getting out of some of Kaz Matsui's contract. Given that may take some time to develop, the Cubs could force the Mets hand by ponying up a huge offer on day one. This is of course, exactly the opposite of what Hendry normally does, which is wait until the market drops and tries to get guys on the cheap. The Sun-Times has an interesting piece on Furcalís past discretions, his attempts to overcome his alcohol problems and that the Cubs need to be prepared for any potential relapses. Of course they should have been better prepared for Nomarís injury this year, cause if Vegas were laying odds on ìlong-term injury to Nomar Garciaparraî or ìdrinking problem benches Furcalî, Iíd bet the odds are remarkably close. Other FA tidbits - A.J. Burnett was wined and dined by the Blue Jays, which included taking him to a Toronto Raptors game with Roy Halladay. Donít know if that was such a good idea. Your attempt to attract one of the top free agents is to take him to watch one of the worse run franchises in sports? If the Cubs are interested in Burnett, wooing him shouldn't be much of a problem. - So far itís been the Mariners, Cardinals and Indians that have pursued Brian Giles with the Padres taking their 3 yr/$21 mil deal off the table and taking a wait and see approach. - Former Oís manager, Lee Mazzilli said heíd do whatever it takes to convince the Yanks to sign B.J. Ryan. Bidding war vs Yanks = Find another player - Speaking of another bullpen guy, the Mets are the only team so far to have shown interest in Octavio Dotel. Rumor has it that he could be ready by as soon as spring training after his TJ surgery and considering the signings of Dempster and Williamson the last few years, I can see Hendry taking another waiver on Dotel. - [Cough]Journalism[Cough] I picked this up through Ivy Chat, but if you werenít convinced yet that Jay Mariotti is a buffoon whose opinion changes more often than I do my underwear, then read Eric Zornís Trib blog. It dissects each Mariotti column over the last year on the White Sox and shows him to be the uber-flip-flopper that weíve all suspected over the years.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.