A Little Edge? Might As Well

With Angel Guzman scheduled to get the start next Tuesday at Pittsburgh, but with a 5th starter not needed again until May 12th at Philadelphia, here is what the Cubs should do to give themselves a little bit of an edge, although they probably won't: TUEDAY MAY 2 - Recall Angel Guzman from Iowa to start the game at PIT, and option SS Ronny Cedeno to AAA Iowa so that he can play every day. WEDNESDAY MAY 3 - No matter how he does on Tuesday at PIT, option Angel Guzman back to Iowa, and bring up an extra bat (6th man) for the bench until a 5th starter is needed again in ten days. It can't be Cedeno, because he has to remain on optional assignment for at least ten days unless he is recalled to replace a player who is placed on the DL, but it could be Angel Pagan, Scott Moore, or Buck Coats (all are on the 40-man roster), or even Micah Hoffpauir or Mike Fontenot, if the Cubs open up a spot on the 40-man roster by transferring Kerry Wood or Juan Mateo to the 60-day DL, or by recalling Mark Prior from his optional assignment and immediately placing him on the 60. (If Wood or Mateo are transferred to the 60 to open up a spot for Hoffpauir, either would be eligible to be reactivated on May 31st, because they were placed on the 15-day DL on April 1st, and time spent on the 15 counts toward time spent on the 60). Meanwhile, Gooz would get a start for Iowa at New Orleans on Sunday night May 6th (on normal four days rest) to help him stay stretched out as a starter. Then... SATURDAY MAY 12- Angel Guzman--or possibly Sean Marshall or Carlos Marmol, if Guzman is ineffective--gets recalled to get the start at PHI, and remains in the Cubs starting rotation until further notice. At this time, a position player would need to be cut, but Uncle Lou and the Cubs would at least have a six-man bench for every game over the ten-day period May 2-11. And that could mean the difference in an extra inning game where a PH or PR is needed in a key spot, and that one extra win thanks to that "6th man on the bench" could make a difference come the end of the season. You never know. As insignificant as it might seem, the Cubs should play for every little edge they can get.


Very interesting, but you are hoping that the Cubs might be smart enough to pull this off.

Does this burn alot of player's options?

yeah that would be the smart thing to do, in other words - the anti-Cub thing.

You burn so many player options this way though, handcuffing you later down the road with these young kids.....

I think the game's gonna be rained out tonight or at least very wet. Bleh.

Players have option "years", not option events. This should not impact anyone's options. Sounds good to me.

player options go by years, you can send Guzman down and up as much as you want within a year. We already burned Guzman's option by sending him down which is no big deal because due to his service time that option year wouldn't have been available next year as is.

Angel Pagan? who cares
Scott Moore? not a big deal
Buck Coats? who cares
Micah Hoffpauir? old for a prospect, who cares
Mike Fontenot? old for a prospect, who cares
Ronny Cedeno? who cares

Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall? might want to be careful on those I suppose.


Can you email this article to Jim Hendry?

Or better yet, scrawl it on scrap paper and let a carrier pigeon deliver it on his desk, randomly, and let him think the gods sent it to him.

Or better yet-- carve it into his skin.

Yeah, that's a good one.

Right, so activating Marshall on the big league club would start his second option year. Or do the three years start when he first gets called up?

Also, calling up some of those guys starts their option years ticking, no?a

For what it's worth, Fontenot has played a bunch of different positions in Iowa this year-- SS, 2B, 3B, and LF (and maybe even RF). I have no idea how well he's played them.

Post 7 Romero: Just so you are aware:

Hendry is out in Hollywood this week working on the revival of the Leave it to Beaver TV show where he is renewing his role as Wally's friend Lumpy.

A lot of reading on MP... Since, y'know, we haven't had an update in like, almost a day...

Has anyone heard or seen a lineup for tonight?

It's possible that I overlooked the answer scrolling through the 200+ comments for the previous post, but I'm confused about something. According to the Cubs web site, Prior is still on the 40-man roster. Now every report I've seen indicates he'll be out for at least the year, and if I understand the rules correctly, moving him to the 60-day DL would clear a spot on the 40-man roster. So why don't they do that? Is it because he would begin accruing MLB service time if they DL-ed him?

Yeah, Jimn, I was asking the same question a day or two ago. I don't know...


This guys supplied Steroids and HGH to DOZENS of MLB players... Okay, when is the other shoe going to drop on this?

Yeah, that's part of the reason JimN, the other is that there's no need for another 40-man spot at the moment. No reason to make the move until you have to. If it comes up though, it's certainly a possibility, although the team might resist to squeeze out another year of service time. I believe if they keep him till Aug. 15th down on the farm, they save themselves a year.

anyone know the lineup tonight?


Your patience will be rewarded. If the former Senator gets full cooperation from this guy like he says, there's going to be plenty of juicy stuff coming out of his report. I still haven't heard if the results of his investigation are going to be made public or not. A lot of current big leaguers better hope they don't.

"The Cubs’ problems are greatly overstated. They have managed to underperform their indicators by more than a win a week, and that won’t last. Just two NL teams have a better run differential than their +13, and I expect they’ll be leading the NL Central by the All-Star break."
-- Joe Sheehan.

uh, was that optimism by Joe Sheehan?

Mark the day down.

Wes - Man, I hope you're right. I have already given up on the Mitchell investigation. It just seems like everything that is coming out about where that investigation is going is negative. I feel like the feds are going to get to the bottom of this before Mitchell will. I really hope that you're right, though.

new post up with lineup...

Thanks, Rob!
It's good to see Murton getting a chance...

thanks rob...

Jordan — April 27, 2007 @ 3:46 pm
Right, so activating Marshall on the big league club would start his second option year. Or do the three years start when he first gets called up?

Also, calling up some of those guys starts their option years ticking, no?a


JORDAN: Because he was optioned to the minors during ST and was not recalled by April 21st, Marshall's option year for this year has already been exercised because he has spent at least 19 days since the start of the MLB regular season on optional assignment to the minors. Bringing him up and then sending him down again has no impact on that. Same goes for Marmol, Pagan, Moore, Coats, Soto, Prior, Rapada, Cherry, Novoa, Dopirak, and Samardzija. Their '07 minor league options have been burned.

Guzman had already used up three minor league options through the 2006 season, but he got a 4th option year in 2007 because he had not completed five "full seasons" through 2006 due to time spent on the DL in 2004 and 2005. So even if he spent zero time in the minors in 2007, the 4th option he gets this year would not be available again in 2008.because by the end of this season he will have spent five "full seasons" on an active (regular season) minor league or major league roster. So there is no point in conserving Guzman's options.

As for Hoffpauir and Fontenot, both are in their mid-20's, so starting the "option clock" ticking on them is no big worry. In fact, Fontenot used up one minor league option year (2005) before the Cubs outrighted him to the minors after the '05 season., so he would have two left if he were to be added to the 40. Hoffpauir would have three.

Here is the minor league option status of players on the Cubs 40-man roster who can be optioned to the minors without having to give their permission (have less than five years MLB service time) :


* Can only be optioned to minors after clearing Major League Waivers

* Ronny Cedeno
Angel Guzman
* Rich Hill
* Roberto Novoa (will have no options left ST 2008)
* Will Ohman
* Geovany Soto (will have no options left ST 2008)
* Michael Wuertz

* Neal Cotts
Brian Dopirak (will have one option left ST 2008)
Carlos Marmol (will have one option left ST 2008)
Scott Moore (will have one option left ST 2008)
Angel Pagan (will have one option left ST2008)
Felix Pie (15 days toward using up 2007 option)
* Mark Prior (will have one option left ST 2008)
* Ryan Theriot

Rocky Cherry (will have two options left ST 2008)
Buck Coats (will have two options left ST 2008)
Sean Marshall (will have two options left ST 2008)
Juan Mateo
* Matt Murton
Clay Rapada, LHP (will have two options left ST 2008)

Jeff Samardzija, RHP (will have three options left ST 2008)


Here are the players in the Cubs organization who are eligible to be minor league free-agents if not added to the 40-man roster by 10-15-07, and the players eligible for selection in the next Rule 5 Draft if not added to the 40-man roster by 11-20-07.

Chris Amador, OF
Federico Baez, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Cory Bailey, RHP
Oscar Bernard, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Gary Cates, INF
Robinson Chirinos, INF (6Y MLFA after 2007) Jorge Cortes, OF
Koyie Hill, C
Ben Howard, RHP Geoff Jones, LHP
Mike Kinkade, IF-OF
Josh Kroeger, OF
Albenis Machado, INF
Mike Mahoney, C
Ryan O’Malley, LHP
Edgar Omana, LHP
Carmen Pignatiello, LHP
Carlos Rojas, SS (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Issmael Salas, INF (6Y MLFA after 2007)
Les Walrond, LHP
John Webb, RHP

Justin Berg, RHP
Todd Blackford, RHP
Jerry Blevins, LHP
Matt Craig, 3B
Darin Downs, LHP
Mike Fontenot, 2B
Jake Fox, C
Alberto Garcia, 1B-OF
Luke Hagerty, LHP
Adam Harben, RHP
Kevin Hart, RHP
Ryan Harvey, OF
Jim Henderson, RHP
Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
Grant Johnson, RHP
Scott Koerber, LHP
Tim Layden, LHP
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Casey McGehee, 3B
Adalberto Mendez, RHP
Mario Mercedes, C
Ryan Norwood, 1B
Leonel Perez, RHP
Billy Petrick, RHP
Jose Pina, RHP
Elvin Puello, 3B
Tony Richie, C
Alan Rick, C
Joel Santo, RHP
Paul Schappert, LHP
Chris Shaver, LHP
Jemel Spearman, INF
Nate Spears, 2B
Jesus Valdez, OF
Chris Walker, OF
Randy Wells, RHP

JimN — April 27, 2007 @ 4:22 pm
It’s possible that I overlooked the answer scrolling through the 200+ comments for the previous post, but I’m confused about something. According to the Cubs web site, Prior is still on the 40-man roster. Now every report I’ve seen indicates he’ll be out for at least the year, and if I understand the rules correctly, moving him to the 60-day DL would clear a spot on the 40-man roster. So why don’t they do that? Is it because he would begin accruing MLB service time if they DL-ed him?


JIM: Mark Prior is on the Cubs 40-man roster, but he was placed on the DL after he was optioned to AAA, so he is on the Iowa DL and thus is not presently accruing MLB service time.

The only reason to place a player on the 60-day DL (which is only available for use from March 1st through the end of the regular season, and all players on the 60 must be placed back on the "active roster" by November 20th) is to make a spot available on the 40-man roster for another player, and as of right now, the Cubs don't need Prior's spot. If they do need his spot later in the year, then they can "recall" him from his optional assignment at that time and immediately place him on the 60-day DL, which would accomplish two things:

Make Prior's spot on the 40-man roster available for a player acquired in a trade or from the minors, AND, start Prior's MLB service time accrual again.

The thing with Prior is that he has 4+131 (years+ days) of MLB service time coming into the 2007 season, and he needs 41 days of MLB service time in 2007 to get to five years, which would allow him to refuse an optional assignment to the minors in 2008 AND keep him on track to be a FA after the 2008 season. However, as long as he is on optional assignment to Iowa, he can't get those 41 days. And if he doesn't, he would go into the 2008 season with less than five years of MLB service time, and thus would not be eligible to be a FA until after the 2009 season. With less than five years MLB service time going into next season, he also could get optioned to the minors again and that could theoretically delay his free-agency until after.the 2010 season!

But all of that is probably moot, because it's doubtful that the Cubs will offer Prior arbitration after this season. That's because even if he got a full 20% maximum allowable salary cut, he would still get $2.86M for 2008, anfd I don't believe the Cubs would want to commit that kind of money to a pitcher who might not even pitch next season.

So the most-likely scenario is that the Cubs will non-tender Prior (not offer him arbitration) next December and then try and re-sign him to a contract with a low base salary plus incentives (like they did with Wood and Miller after last season). But to do that the Cubs have to first non-tender Prior, and that makes him a free-agent eligible to sign with anybody. Whether he would freely choose to re-up with the Cubs is a big unknown.

My guess is that Prior will get non-tendered by the Cubs next December, the Cubs will offer him a low base salary plus incentives, and he will sign a very similar deal with his hometown Padres instead.

Rob G. and AZ Phil:

Thanks for the explanation guys. I suspected it might be something like that, but I wasn't sure. I have to admit that despite being a baseball fan since I was old enough to say "Hey Hey!," there are still a few things about the game that I find confusing, such as the finer points of the player transaction rules. If I had known as a child that I would eventually need to become a lawyer in order to follow the game, I might have taken up stamp collecting instead of baseball fandom. Fortunately, guys like you have made it a little less confusing. Thanks.

let me add, that while it's unlikely they'll non-tender him and Prior agrees to stay on, there is that small chance. Because even if they do non-tender him but do manage to re-sign him, the service time doesn't change, so on that off chance it does happen might as well try to save a year of service time.

Also Buck Coats and Brian Dopirak are still rotting on our 40-man, I'd start with them if we need a spot.

I realize $2.8 million is a somewhat hefty price tag for someone who may or may not pitch next season.......but come on, seriously.........this is still the same FO that decided to give Glendon Rusch and Neifi Perez $3.3 and $2.5 million respectively. Plus, Jim Hendry will probably be out of a job next year, this might not even be his decision to make.

Speaking of Dopirak, he should be playing for Tennessee but he left in the middle of a game ten days ago with a leg-muscle tweak and hasn't been back. That's why Jake Fox has been playing first.

Dope has been in the starting lineup at 1B a couple of times this past week; they're easing him back into games.

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  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 36 min 1 sec ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 2 hours 30 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 7 hours 1 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.


    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 22 hours 12 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 22 hours 17 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 22 hours 22 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 22 hours 34 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 22 hours 45 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 23 hours 10 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 23 hours 50 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 1 day 6 hours ago view