Cubs Minor League Free-Agents

21 Cubs minor leaguers filed for free-agency prior to October 15th, and ten others who were eligible to be free-agents did not file and apparently nine of them have been re-signed by the Cubs to 2007 minor league contracts (the other one has retired). MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS: Cliff Bartosh, LHP (DID NOT PLAY IN 2006) Hugo Castellanos, RHP Wilton Chavez, RHP Jeff Deardorff, OF-1B Brandon Emanuel, RHP Mike Garcia, RHP Lee Gwaltney, RHP Nic Jackson, OF Andrew Lane, INF Kerry Ligtenberg, RHP Pedro Lopez, INF Luis Montanez, OF Augie Ojeda, INF Carlos Perez, LHP Brian Reith, RHP (DID NOT PLAY IN 2006) Michael Restovich, OF Brandon Sing, 1B Jon-Mark Sprowl, C-1B Mac Suzuki, RHP Aron Weston, OF Jake Whitesides, INF A Miami high school shortstop at the time, Montanez was the Cubs #1 pick (#3 overall) in the 2000 Rule 4 Draft (June Draft). He was moved to the outfield in 2004. He was leading the Southern League in hitting in May (.369) when he was promoted to Iowa, but he struggled at AAA. Just as one-time Cub prospect David Kelton wasted no time signing with his hometown Atlanta Braves after he became a minor league FA for the first time after last season, don't be surprised if Montanez signs a AAA deal (with an NRI to Spring Training) with his hometown Florida Marlins. He could well become an MLB extra man (OF-IF-PH) in 2007 for a Marlin team likely to be in search of a cheap bench. Nic Jackson was the Cubs 3rd round pick the same year Montanez was #1 (2000), and was rated by Baseball America as one of the Top 100 Prospects in baseball as recently as 2003. However, his career has been significantly hampered by several different season-ending injuries over the years (leg in 2002, shoulder in 2004-05, and hip in 2006). If he can stay healthy, he can definitely be an MLB 4th OF. Just as I wouldn't be surprised to see Montanez sign a minor league deal with his hometown team (Marlins), I also wouldn't be surprised to see Jackson sign a minor legue deal with the Atlanta Braves, whose AAA club is located in Jackson's hometown of Richmond. Carlos Perez was one of the two players acquired from BAL in the Corey Patterson trade. Sing was eligible to be a six-year minor league FA last year, but opted to stay with the Cubs after he got a slot in the AFL and an NRI to Spring Training. ------------------------------------------------- ELIGIBLE TO BE FA BUT DID NOT FILE: Federico Baez, RHP Ryan Bicondoa, RHP Gary Cates, IF-OF Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B Casey Kopitzke, C (is now an instructor in Cubs minor league system) Albenis Machado, INF Isaac Pavlik, LHP Carmen Pignatiello, LHP Carlos Vasquez, LHP Les Walrond, LHP Bicondoa, Hoorelbeke, Machado, and Pavlik were acquired from Independent League clubs during the 2006 season, Cates and Walrond were signed as minor league free-agents last off-season, and Pignatiello and Vasquez were eligible to be six-year minor league free-agents for the first time but opted to re-sign with the Cubs. Some of the players who re-signed with the Cubs for 2007 (almost certainly Pignatiello, Vasquez, and Walrond, and probably Baez) will get an NRI to Spring Training in exchange for staying in the organization for another year. All of the players who re-signed with the Cubs will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by November 20th. ELIGIBLE FOR 2006 RULE 5 DRAFT IF NOT ADDED TO 40-MAN ROSTER BY 11-20: NOTE: Players most likely to be added top 40-man roster by November 20th in bold Thomas Atlee, RHP Federico Baez, RHP Justin Berg, RHP Oscar Bernard, RHP (1st time 6Y MLFA after 2007) Ryan Bicondoa, RHP Todd Blackford, RHP Chadd Blasko, RHP Jerry Blevins, LHP Bobby Brownlie, RHP Edward Campusano, LHP Jose Caridad, RHP Gary Cates, Jr, IF-OF Rocky Cherry, RHP Robinson Chirinos, 2B (1st time 6Y MLFA after 2007) Matt Ciaramella, OF Matt Craig, 1B-3B Darin Downs, LHP Mike Fontenot, 2B Jake Fox, C Alfredo Francisco, RHP Sam Fuld, OF Alberto Garcia, 1B-OF Luke Hagerty, LHP Ryan Harvey, OF Lincoln Holdzkom, RHP (1st time 6Y MLFA after 2007) Micah Hoffpauir, 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B Jonathan Hunton, RHP Fabian Jimenez-Angulo, LHP Grant Johnson, RHP Scott Koerber, LHP Tim Layden, LHP Richard Lewis, 2B (1st time 6Y MLFA after 2007) Albenis Machado, INF Dary Maria, RHP J. R. Mathes, LHP Zach McCormack, LHP Casey McGehee, 3B Adalberto Mendez, RHP Ryan Norwood, 1B Eric Patterson, 2B Isaac Pavlik, LHP Leonel Perez, RHP Billy Petrick, RHP Carmen Pignatiello, LHP Jose Pina, RHP Elvin Puello, 3B Robert Ransom, RHP Clay Rapada, LHP Tony Richie, C Alan Rick, C Carlos Rojas, SS (1st-time 6Y MLFA after 2007) Issmael Salas, INF (1st time 6Y MLFA after 2007) Joel Santo, RHP Paul Schappert, LHP Chris Shaver, LHP Andy Shipman, RHP Jemel Spearman, INF Nate Spears, INF Jesus Valdez, OF Carlos Vasquez, LHP Chris Walker, OF Les Walrond, LHP Randy Wells, RHP Olin Wick, C Jesus Yepez, LHP
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Comments

sadly you're probably right about Ryan Harvey being put on the 40-man even though he has no reason to be....

Where can one get this information for other teams?

thanks as always Phil.

I count 9 "did not files" - was Kopitzke the minor leaguer who retired, or was it someone else?

yeah Kopitzke retired....

Casey Kopitzke has retired (for now) and was an instructor with the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team, so I would imagine he will be the Cubs minor league roving catching instructor next year. And if they run out of catchers at Iowa or AA at some point next season, he's still young enough that he could be activated.

Casey was (is) an excellent defensive catcher, so if he can communicate some of his knowledge to the young catchers in the Cubs organization (like Jake Fox, for instance), he will be one valuable guy.

#2 of 5: By Hollinger (October 24, 2006 12:13 PM)
Where can one get this information for other teams?

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HOLLINGER: #2 of 5: By Hollinger (October 24, 2006 12:13 PM)
Where can one get this information for other teams?

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HOLLINGER: Here are the lists of Minor League Free-Agents from all 30 MLB clubs.

#3 of 6: By nate (October 24, 2006 12:18 PM)
thanks as always Phil.

I count 9 "did not files" - was Kopitzke the minor leaguer who retired, or was it someone else?

--

NATE: I had originally listed RHP Cristian Gonzalez as "ELIGIBLE TO BE A FA BUT DID NOT FILE," but I removed his name because he is still on the Restricted List.

houston's FA list has more than a few "hey, wasnt that guy supposed to be good?" types...

eric munson, jr house, walter young, tike redman, and carlos hernandez (the pitcher).

Once again, AZ Phil, you're the best at letting us know about the organization.

The sad one here to me is Montanez. It sure looked like he was going to be something, then after he fell from being a future star shortstop, re-established himself as a possible major league outfielder.

I know a long-time teammate of his who told me he never saw anybody handle a bat like him. For example, he'd work on situational hitting in the batting cage, and say where the ball was going and hit it there, regardless of where the pitch was.

But he also told me after half-season ball (Montanez's 1st professional season), that he'd never make it to the major leagues because he would get so mentally down on himself.

http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=260&p=9&c=2&cid=...

Scott Moore and E-Pat get to play in some "Rising Stars Showcase" in the AFL this Friday.

you forgot to include the scout.com password TCR has so we can all use it. post it publically, we wont tell anyone.

hehe...link is part of their controlled content.

here's a non-controlled link...

http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/rele...

Not the Bartender?!?!

He's the only one in the whole organization with a good nickname.

sorry about that... usually I mention if it requires a subscription

a nothing story anyway to go along with this week of nothingness...

AZ PHIL:

Will Pignatiello ever amount to something?

From FoxSports.com Rumors:

The Phillies probably won't find it in David Dellucci, either. The outfielder who shined in 2006 as the fourth outfielder isn't content with being a platoon player, so, despite his strong (if discontented) season as a Phillie, he will be shopping around. "I think he'd probably benefit from hitting the free-agent market,'' assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We've told him that's the best thing to do at this stage of the game."

Any of these guys likely to be picked up by other teams?

Levine is reporting the Cubs are looking to interview Chambliss, Ron Jackson and some guy named Keller as potential hitting coaches.

dave keller, probally..minor league roaving hitting instructor.

Ron Jackson was the Red Sox hitting coach relatively recently, wasn't he?

I know some folks want Von Joshua, but I think he's far more important to our minor leaguers.

Yes Crunch it's Dave Keller, couldn't remember his first name...and yes Jackson has been the BoSox hitting coach for the last few years.

Ron Jackson has been praised by David Ortiz as "the guy that made him a power hitter, instead of an undisciplined masher" and is part responsible for the Red Sox's patient approach to hitting.

I hope they're not talking to former Cub Mick Kelleher, who hit less than one home run in over 1,000 big league at-bats.

Red fans were definately happy to see Chambliss go. He took a lot of heat for Dunn's lack of progress concerning his Strikeouts and Average this year.

He also took a lot of heat for the teams offensive meltdown late in the year. I personally think a lot of that has to do with Griffey getting injured and having to replace Lopez/Kearns with Clayton/Defornia due to the Washington trade.

I know fan bases generally dont like their coaches, so take it for what its worth....

so why did they fire Jackson? It wasn't there offense that sucked.

chambliss has been hitting coach for some patient teams I believe as well, so that's a good sign. It's not like you can force it onto these guys, but I think it's important to stress the right things, unlike the hackery of you know who and his flunkies.

here's a bit from Fire Brand when Jackson got canned:
As for Ron Jackson, the man who masterminded the greatest offense in history (yes, even better than the 1927 Yankees - look it up) is now gone. Criticism of Jackson mostly was due to the fact that while he was always there for you, he could not help you if you were hitting bad. He was always available and always able to keep you hitting good, but he was not adept at reversing slumps.

Boras is representating Matsuzaka, and the word from NY is that the Yanks are after him.

Two reasons why we can scratch him off our list.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

Hendry has no problem dealing with Boras and if you put up the winning bid, your going to sign the man. Everyone knew the Yanks would be involved, so will the Mariners and a good chance the Mets, Angles, Dodgers and Red Sox as well. Padres were getting a lot of buzz for awhile too.

and yes I doubt the Cubs will get him too.

How ironic would it be if Aramis leaves via free agency and we signed Bobby Hill and Randall Simon via free agency?

Serious on Tribune Sale.

I have read and heard on the radio that indeed as I understand it, The Tribune Company is soliciting bids.

One of the suitors is a large NY Holding company.

If a sale become imminent, How the hell does this impact the North Side ballclub at this crucial rebuilding stage? Again?

Carmen:
"How ironic would it be if Aramis leaves via free agency and we signed Bobby Hill and Randall Simon via free agency?"

Ironic? More like suicidal.

The trib thing is interesting...

so far they're sure acting like it's business as usual, Lou got a 3 yr deal. The bids are "nonbinding" and it could mean they're just trying to figure out how much they're worth. They may want to hold onto some of their assets like the Cubs and WGN as well.

one article I read suggested the following:
It seems more likely that Tribune would sell the company piecemeal than sell the entire entity to one buyer, says Barry Kaplan, managing editor of the M&A Advisor, a newsletter devoted to mergers and acquisitions.

But I have my doubts on that $115 mil payroll that was thrown out there.

"How ironic would it be if Aramis leaves via free agency and we signed Bobby Hill and Randall Simon via free agency?"

It wouldn't be ironic as we didn't trade Randall Simon for ARam. In fact Simon had nothing to do with ARam.

Irony is writing a song about irony but not using examples of irony.

back-handed slap of Alanis Morrissette, damn we need baseball news.

http://www.all-baseball.com/firebrand/archive...

and even a bit more CBA info...

Rob G.:
"But I have my doubts on that $115 mil payroll that was thrown out there."

I agree with that and I will believe the payroll bump when I see it.

WGN Tonight: Kap is reporting that his sources are telling him that Aramis had a full no-trade clause for the first 2 years of this deal, and a limited no-trade for the final 2 yrs, if he did not elect to test FA. Kap cited that he had multiple sources for this. Further, he states this deal was written by MacPhail. This part might be damage control for tHendry as many here and elsewhere have lamented that Hendry should have traded Aramis before the deadline due to his ability to leave for FA.

Cubs made another offer to him today according to Kap.

If he leaves, I will miss his bat. But he was so bad when it counted this year, it makes you think you could live without him. I don't know who they would get for 3B, but I don't see it as the end of the workd if he leaves.

well if that's true, how the hell did that slip under the radar?

#14 of 37: By Carlos (October 24, 2006 02:59 PM)
AZ PHIL:

Will Pignatiello ever amount to something?

----

CARLOS: Pignatiello isn't really a LOOGY, like Will Ohman or Clay Rapada (for instance). He doesn't throw that hard and lefty hitters get a pretty god hack against him. But then he also pitches better out of the bullpen than as a starter. Except he doesn't have the stuff to be a closer or set-up guy. So he seems to be a bit of a misfit.

"But he was so bad when it counted this year, it makes you think you could live without him"

Like when?

And no we cannot expect to play well without him, as there are no free agents out there that can replace his production.

Post #36 is "Teflon Jim" at its best. Hendry can do no wrong!!!

I kind of like the "Teflon Jim" nickname.

We don't have Dusty to kick around anymore.

Is this your creation, MANNY? ROB G?

I honestly don't remember E-man, I think I came up with it, but I may have picked it up reading something else.

E-Man:
"Is this your creation, MANNY? ROB G?"

Not sure, I did say it on July 9th this year on a thread on TCR. Not sure if I heard it from somewhere else. But either way it seems to be very accurate, as almost everything is somehow turned around and blamed on someone else.

Hendry better not screw up the 40-man this time with the likes of deadbeats like Koronka and Reyes! Get Holdzkom and Rapada protected on that list dammit, they're the only two I really care about losing.

Harvey is a bust.

actually with the new CBA, the Cubs wouldn't have to protect any of those guys if the new Rule V change goes into effect immediately.

Not sure, I did say it on July 9th this year on a thread on TCR. Not sure if I heard it from somewhere else. But either way it seems to be very accurate, as almost everything is somehow turned around and blamed on someone else.

Then Manny's it is!!! I didn't start using it until MacPhail and Baker got canned. Mind if I use it though, Manny? I'll be sure to credit you if anyone asks.

Arizona Phil,

Could you please tell me more about Rocky Cherry? I read somewhere that he was close to being called up in July before he hurt his finger. Thanks.

Rob G.:
"Mind if I use it though, Manny? I'll be sure to credit you if anyone asks."

Be my guest, spread the word/truth...:)

A yahoo search puts Jim Tressel as the first 'Teflon Jim' and Jim Bowden as baseball's first 'Teflon Jim'.

Even if it is original, I don't think it's very apt. It's not like he doesn't take responsibility, that was Dusty's thing. Maybe '9 Lives Jim' or Cockroach Jim.

And one of the things in the Morisette song was ironic.

yeah, the plane thing was ironic, that's true.

I always think of Teflon Jim as none of the responsibility or blame sticks to him. Shall we have a Hendry nickname contest?

Not sold on the plane line being ironic. He was afraid to fly cause it was dangerous then it crashed. if anything just proves his fear to be rational. Now a guy who is a safety inspector for an airline who dies in a crash due to something faulty, now that is irony.

#45 of 48: By Rob G. (October 25, 2006 12:19 AM)
actually with the new CBA, the Cubs wouldn't have to protect any of those guys if the new Rule V change goes into effect immediately.

---

ROB G: Holdzkom, Rapada, Fox, and Cherry would still need to be protected this year, because this is not the first time they are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. They were eligible last year, too, but none of them were selected. In fact, Holdzkom has been around so long that he will be a six-year minor league FA after next season if he is not on a 40-man roster by October 15, 2007.

If the new CBA and new Rule 5 go into effect prior to November 20th (when MLB 40-man rosters rosters need to be finalized), the only Cubs minor leaguers who would be affected (and would not be eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft until 2007) are those players who are first-time eligibles for the Rule 5 Draft this year:

Justin Berg, RHP
Todd Blackford, RHP
Jerry Blevins, LHP
Jose Caridad, RHP
Matt Ciaramella, OF
Darin Downs, LHP
Sam Fuld, OF
Ryan Harvey, OF
Jonathan Hunton, RHP
Fabian Jimenez-Angulo, LHP
Scott Koerber, LHP
Tim Layden, LHP
Dary Maria, RHP
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Zach McCormack, LHP
Ryan Norwood, 1B
Eric Patterson, 2B
Leonel Perez, RHP
Jose Pina, RHP
Elvin Puello, 3B
Joel Santo, RHP
Paul Schappert, LHP
Chris Shaver, LHP
Nate Spears, 2B
Jesus Valdez, OF
Olin Wick, C

And the only ones on that list who are candidates to be added to the 40 this year are Harvey, Patterson, and Shaver.

However, I would be very surprised if the new CBA goes into effect before the old one expires, and the old one doesn't expire until December 19th, a month after the 40-man rosters need to be finalized, and two weeks after the Rule 5 Draft.

If the new CBA does in fact take effect on December 20th, then the first effect of the new CBA will be when contracts are tendered to arbitration-eligible and auto-renewal players on December 20th, because the new MLB minimum salary will be $380K (up from $327K), and there are also increases in the split contract minimum for players on the 40-man roster who get optioned to the minors. Then starting next season, the contract tender date would get moved up to December 12th.

So it probably won't be until next year when the effect of the new Rule 5 will be noted, and it also means that Sean Gallagher and Donald Veal will not need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the 2008 season, instead of after the 2007 season (as would have been the case under the old Rule 5).

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/ne...

yeah, Rule V changes go into effect this off-season. The arbitration and Free agent changes go into effect next off-season.

ROB G: That's interesting.

OK.

So then the Cubs minor leaguers who WILL be eligible for selection in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft (which will be held on December 7th) if not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by November 20th are these fellowS (likely candidates to be added to 40-man roster in bold):

Thomas Atlee, RHP
Federico Baez, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Oscar Bernard, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Ryan Bicondoa, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Chadd Blasko, RHP
Bobby Brownlie, RHP
Edward Campusano, LHP
Gary Cates, Jr, IF-OF (MLFA after 2007)
Rocky Cherry, RHP
Robinson Chirinos, 2B (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Matt Craig, 1B-3B
Mike Fontenot, 2B
Jake Fox, C
Alfredo Francisco, RHP
Alberto Garcia, 1B-OF
Cristian Gonzalez, RHP (MLFA after 2007)
Luke Hagerty, LHP
Lincoln Holdzkom, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B (MLFA after 2007)
Casey Kopitzke, C (retired)
Richard Lewis, 2B (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Albenis Machado, INF (MLFA after 2007)
Casey McGehee, 3B
Adalberto Mendez, RHP
Isaac Pavlik, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Billy Petrick, RHP
Carmen Pignatiello, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Robert Ransom, RHP
Clay Rapada, LHP
Tony Richie, C
Alan Rick, C
Carlos Rojas, SS (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Issmael Salas, INF (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Andy Shipman, RHP
Jemel Spearman, INF
Carlos Vasquez, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Chris Walker, OF
Les Walrond, LHP (MLFA after 2007)
Randy Wells, RHP
Jesus Yepez, LHP

And I would add that Rocky Cherry is a big question mark, because he had season-ending finger surgery in July that may preclude him from throwing his splitter ever again (same thing happened to Sean Marshall a couple of years ago, but Marshall had a plus curve ball he could use in place of his abandoned splitter). Cherry's mid-90's heater may not be enough without the splitter to go with it, and thus the Cubs may decide to risk losing Cherry in the Rule 5 Draft again this year.

The change in the Rule 5 Draft might also mean a temporary reprieve for guys like Buck Coats, Jose Reyes, and Miguel Negron, since their slots on the 40-man roster might otherwise have been needed for Ryan Harvey, Eric Patterson, and Chris Shaver (who now will not need to be added to the 40-man roster until after next season). Of course, the slots occupied by Coats, Reyes, and Negron still might be needed for Fox, Holdzkom, and Rapada (and possibly Cherry), depending on how many Type XX MLB FAs the Cubs sign this off season.

Not needing to reserve Harvey, E-Pat, and Shaver might also give the Cubs reason to consider adding Chris Walker and/or Randy Wells to the 40, if there is room.

#46 of 53: By Nick (October 25, 2006 02:24 AM)
Arizona Phil,

Could you please tell me more about Rocky Cherry? I read somewhere that he was close to being called up in July before he hurt his finger. Thanks.

--

NICK: Rocky Cherry was drafted by the Cubs in the 12th round of the 2002 Rule 4 Draft (June Draft) out of the University of Oklahoma. He had mixed results pitching in the Cubs system as a starter 2003-2004, before suffering a torn elbow ligament early in the 2005 season at AA West Tenn that required TJ ligament transplant surgery.

Cherry returned to action this past season as a reliever (set-up man) at AA West Tenn, displaying a mid-90's fast ball that got him a promotion to Iowa, and he was probably on the verge of getting a call-up to the bigs, when he suffered a torn finger ligament that required surgery and put an end to his promising season.

Since Cherry is essentially a two-pitch pitcher (hence greater success as a reliever than as a starter), his career may be permanently stymied until he can prove whether he can return successfully from the finger injury. If he can return and get back at least to where he was in mid-2006, he is a definite MLB relief prospect (along the lines of David Aardsma and Lincoln Holdzkom).

Thanks.

I see Les Walrond is on your list, did the Cubs take him off the 40-man already?

NICK:

Yes. He was outrighted to the minor leagues last week. He decided not to become a free agent.

Another bad defensive game for Eric Patterson yesterday for the Mesa Solar Sox. Two more errors (he now has five, and that leads all AFL players at all positions), one of which was a throw that sailed about six feet over the first-baseman's head, and the other a double-clutch on a slow grounder. One of the errors led to the Scottsdale Scorpions scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th.

Once again E-Pat looked outstanding at the plate (he smoked a triple to the wall in right-center and a single to CF, plus a hard-hit liner that was hit right at the CF), but was positively skittish in the field. He did NOT look like that last year in the AFL or in ST. There is some kind of mind-freak thing going on with him on defense. He has excellent range and gets to balls other second-basemen can't, but when he gets to balls, he seems to... PANIC!!!!!!!

Great he has got the new virus called the Cedeno/Knoblach disease. Only the Cubs.....

A rough outing for Lincoln Holdzkom today at HoHoKam.

He looked fine in his first two innings, giving up two hits (one of which was an infield single) and a walk with 2 Ks and a DP ball. His heater was humming and his slider had good break. But then Solar Sox manager Pat Listach decided to extend Holdzkom, and you could clearly see he was laboring in the third inning of work. He gave up two hard-hit singles and walked another hitter on four pitches, and then got hammered with a bases-loaded triple.

Holdzkom had thrown three innings one time before (last week), but in that outing, he only threw about 25 pitches (total) and threw a lot of strikes. Today, Holdzkom had thrown 25 pitches before he had even finished two innings, and he obviously had some difficulty with his command such that it should have been obvious that he should not go out and pitch a third inning.

Holdzkom was developed as a reliever by the Marlins, and one-year post-TJ surgery, I have no idea why he was suddenly asked to throw 50+ pitches today. It just does not make any sense. He is NOT a starting pitcher (the last time he was used as a starter was in rookie ball in 2001). He's strictly a one or two inning guy, and he needs to be kept at around 30 pitches or less per outing.

I usually don't question what's done in an AFL game, but leaving Holdzkom in the game to throw a third inning after he had already thrown 30+ pitches was just plain stupid. Not because of the result on the field, but because of how it could affect Holdzkom physically to go past what is obviously his limit (about 30 pitches per outing).

Also, Eric Patterson--who had another day from Hell in the field yesterday--was used as the DH today. The Cubs should assign somebody (Ryne Sandberg maybe?) to work one-on-one with E-Pat at the Cubs minor league camp at Fitch Park, even if it means hitting him grounders two or three hours a day starting at 9 AM. It seemed to work with Felix Pie, when he got one-on-one base-stealing instruction from Bob Dernier.

Eric Patterson is too valuable a prospect to allow him to get into a psycho-rut, but it does appear that he is beginning to lose confidence in his defense. The thing is, E-Pat needs to play 2B and play it well, or else he is not a valuable prospect. Because if Patterson can't play 2B, the Cubs will probably have to move him to LF (a la Tim Raines or Frank Catalanotto), and even if he continues to develop as an offensive player, the Cubs don't really want or need that type of LF.

Despite his defensive struggles (he leads all AFL players at all positions with five errors), Eric Patterson will be playing in the AFL "Rising Stars Showcase" at Surprise Stadium tomorrow night. Scott Moore is the other Cubs prospect selected to participate.

The "Rising Stars Showcase" is not really an All-Star game, because the players were chosen at the beginning of the AFL season. It's really more like the "Futures Game" played during the MLB All-Star break in July, in that it features the best prospects in the AFL.

2006 overall #1 draft pick RHP Luke Hochevar (KC) was supposed to start for the West team, but he has been shut-down and sent home with a sore shoulder (and I'm sure the Royals are just thrilled to hear that).

As you mentioned Phil, WHY THE HELL WAS HOLDZKOM OUT THERE FOR 3 INNINGS? The guy has reliever all over him....

ROB G: And what's REALLY amazing is that the Cubs have their own guy (Pat Listach) managing the Solar Sox this year! Why would Listach risk wrecking a CUBS pitcher!?! If you're going to torpedo a pitching prospect, destroy Mike Pelfrey or Philip Humber or Matt Albers or Jonathan Meloan, not your own guy. And up until that third inning of work yesterday, Holdzkom had been the best looking pitcher I've seen throw for the Solar Sox so far, too.

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