Cubs Pipeline to Venezuela in Jeopardy?

Luis Aparicio. Dave Concepcion. Manny Trillo. Ozzie Guillen. Magglio Ordonez. Bobby Abreu. Omar Vizquel. Carlos Zambrano. Miguel Cabrera. Ramon Hernandez. Johan Santana. Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. Victor Martinez. Melvin Mora. Felix Hernandez. Jose Lopez.   Just a few of the many past and present MLB stars from Venezuela. On Opening Day 2007, there were 51 players from Venezuela on MLB 25-man rosters, with many more Venezuelans playing in the minor leagues.  Since 1999, the number of Venezuelans playing in MLB has doubled.  Last July, the Cubs gave 16-year old Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez (currently at EXST at Fitch Park) a reported $850K signing bonus (an amount equivalent to "2nd round money"). Venezuelan players currently playing in the Cubs organization: CUBS: Henry Blanco, C Angel Guzman, RHP Cesar Izturis, SS Carlos Zambrano, RHP IOWA (AAA) Ronny Cedeno, SS TENNESSEE (AA) Carlos Rojas, INF DAYTONA (A+) Robinson Chirinos, INF  PEORIA (A) Robert Hernandez, RHP EXST (Boise/Mesa) Marwin Gonzalez, 3B-1B Carlos Perez, C Jesus Reyes, 1B-OF  Larry Suarez, RHP The Cubs are also fielding a team (well, a co-op team with the Twins) in the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL), the first time the Cubs have had a connection with the VSL since 2002. CUBS players on the VSL Cubs/Twins co-op club: Jose Avila, IF-OF Eduardo Figueroa, P Jose Guevara, C  Edilmar Infante, RHP  George Matheus, SS Reinaldo Navarro, P  Gregorio Rodriguez, RHP  Carlos Rojas, P  Carlos Romero, 1B Kevin Soto, OF So clearly, Venezuela is a growing and important source of talent for MLB clubs (including the Cubs) hoping to upgrade their player development and farm systems. It's never been better. Well, then again, maybe not... Along with the growth in the number of Venezuelan players in MLB and the minor leagues, there is also a growing concern about the future of MLB's Venezuelan talent pipeline. There have been rumors that the Venezuelan government (as happened in Cuba) might try to nationalize the country's baseball industry and/or attempt to restrict and control Venezuelan players hoping to sign with MLB clubs, perhaps holding young players hostage while demanding a cut of their bonuses. And will Venezuelan players who venture back to their homeland suddenly find themselves having to pay a hefty ransom to get a visa back to the U. S., or (even worse) maybe get thrown into jail on trumped-up criminal charges so the government can confiscate their land and other personal property? (Ugueth Urbina probably thinks that might be a possibility). I don't know, but if I'm Carlos Zambrano, I might think twice about going home next winter!
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Comments

you mean venezuela wants to set up a system similar to japan's?

how radical.

seriously, though..this thread is gonna go downhill fast.

George Bush hates Venezuelan people!

Ozzie Guillen says screw you, mang!

I smell sulfur.

ozzie=Fenster from "Usual Suspects"

It's all about money. Value. It's cheaper to sign ball players from Venezuela and the D.R. than comparable American talent....

But, half the MLB teams that had training academies in Venezuela have shut down because of political instability and crime.

And, for what it's worth, Chavez told MLB reps in March that he wasn't going to nationalize baseball.

fwiw...most of that article is pure speculation.

the owners of the latin teams are more upset than chavez...but given chavez's socialist reign its not unlikely to HEAR the voices of these team owners.

rumors are running most of the contriversy so far, but the team owners in more than just ven. are kinda sick of having no chance to retain their local tallent thanks to our market economy here...no matter what we think of it.

I smell trouble brewing in this thread...

Oooohhh! Can we get into a discussion on the merits of socialism vs. free market capitalism?

That would be fun...

if chavez was a true socialist it would matter.

but its about as valid of an arguement as trying to say china is communist.

chavez's venezuela isnt a model of socialism and is starting to stink of a cuba-like military/militia dictatorship.

he's put in place many socialist initiatives and has done a lot for the country economically, but its not trickling down to the people at large or for the physical protection of the population.

I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

fwiw…most of that article is pure speculation.

I was going to say "what article crunch?" but I see that Arizona Phil has linked to the Press-Enterprise story that all the blogs are citing. But the worry about Chavez nationalizing baseball in Venezuela isn't coming from blogs, it's coming from MLB teams that have invested down there.

While most news articles about this have disappeared into the archives of their respective newspapers, here's one from last year...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/u...

I think this might be a moot point. It seems the crisis started after he shut down the TV station might lead to a coup.

Hugo Chavez should have never written that book

"George Bush hates Venezuelan people!"

Too funny

Vince -- Moneyball?

a coup over a TV station wont happen, but it is a serious international incident as far as how he's extending his power.

it is nothing new for chavez to shut down or take over something in the interest of seeing his programs/interests move more swiftly. the shut down of this particular TV station was seen as an international blunder, though.

a lotta americans have only heard of chavez the past few years, but the conflict between chavez/US has been going on for a long time. chavez is also not your run of the mill "revolutionary"...he has a pretty extensive education in both military and political science.

a lot of outside observers are still trying to figure out exactly what chavez intends to do with venezeula...its still very violent, but its economically way better off than it was in the 80s and early 90s. still, there are serious questions about censorship and physical protection of the population.

Television censorship? Sounds like conservative media tactics to me...

Just kidding, Chad.

this was a flat out refusal to renew the license of one of the more popular private stations in ven. that reached a lot of the population. it was replaced by a state owned television station featuring inert-television and chavez propaganda.

censorship on a state-funded level is a pretty big "woah, hold on." no matter how vile the message against the government.

even if chavez's charge that the station was influecing anti-chavez/anti-"socialist" factions it should not be a focus of a socialist government to halt this discussion. outside observers question both the charge chavez drew against the station and the severity of the claim. when chavez's govt. actually took control of the station's airwaves hours after the license expired (as expected) there were some upset people.

people here are not so young or uneducated to not remember the past of panama or the current corruption of US ally columbia...some people fear their socialist revolution may be turning into a military dictatorship.

people "there"...i mean...

"ozzie=Fenster from “Usual Suspects"

close Jacos...more like Tony Montana...say hello to my little friend mang!

"Television censorship? Sounds like conservative media tactics to me…"

Huh? Did someone call Venezuelan ballplayers "Nappy headed hos"?

"close Jacos…more like Tony Montana…say hello to my little friend mang!"

Don't you dare compare that fucking cock-a-roacha to someone as cool as Tony Montana!!!

Normally I stay pretty silent, but as Political Scientist who studies Latin American politics I thought I'd weight in. I wouldn't worry about Chavez nationalizing baseball or anything in a similar vein. People in and out of Venezuela already know about how the country has become essentially a personalist dictionarship under Chavez. Political participation is restricted, as was already mentioned censorship is high, etc. There are essentially two types of authoritarian regimes - inclusionary and exclusionary. Think of Peron and his populist regime in Argentina being the former and the subsequent military junta that launched the Dirty War being the latter. Chavez falls under the former. The masses are ok with restrictions on civil liberties because their lives are better off now than before. Without oil Chavez would have been gone a long time ago. But with the oil windfalls he is able to buy people off, give services to the poor in exchange for support, and keep his little personality cult in tact. Restricting Venezuelans from starring in the major leagues would be a bad idea - why punish the heroes of the poor (your base)? Especially since it's not like he needs the money. In fact I think he rather likes the idea of Venezuelans beginning to dominate our national sport here at home. Castro could do it becasue he had the revolution to fall back on, but Chavez has not foundational story that gives him a life-time free pass. His legitimacy comes from results, so he has to keep making the masses happy. So I wouldn't worry about anything bad MLB related happening.

What will be interesting from a poltical science perspective is how what happens to Cuba will impact Venezuela. Right now most of the social services that get Chavez his support are actually run by Cubans in exchange for oil subsidies going to Cuba. Venezuela didn't have enough doctors, teachers, or knowledgeable planners to implement the social reforms that Chavez needed, so he has relied considerably on Castro's help.

yeah, what he said, yo.

hehe...

what is the big deal about dictators? How bad can Chavez be?

on a completely different note, just saw the video of Arod duking the Bjays third basemen running by...

About as bush league as his arm flail at Arroyo in the playoffs.

Great player and all, be so hard to root for him if he was a Cub though.

Rob,

you got a link to that play? I have been wanting to see it

That trick that A-Rod pulled also works when the catcher and third basemen are both going after a pop-up in front of the home dugout.

Not that I ever did anything like that or anything.

OK, Giambi is out for awhile.

Jack Jones, Sean Marshall and somebody else for ARod. I know, not going to happen. I just keep dreaming.

front of mlb.com, there's a link on their front stories that says A-rod shout....

the story at toronto's site and quotes from Arod alluded that it happens all the time near the dugout although no one could come up with an instance where it happened in the field of play. I think that's the big difference, foul ball gets missed, you still get a shot to get them PLUS it's pretty easy to distinguish when a bunch of people are yelling it rather than one guy in the middle of the field.

Bush league, no doubt, but that's Arod.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?fil...

Armando Benitez on the block, two teams in serious contention, one being the Marlins, the other a mystery.

Tigers, Phils would be strong possibilities. I guess the Cubs too.

Yeah, that would be a great fucking Cubs move. Armando Benitez is what the Cubs need to get back on top! (rolling eyes thingie inserted here)

crunch:
chavez’s venezuela isnt a model of socialism and is starting to stink of a cuba-like military/militia dictatorship.

Bah.... Chavez... Che... military dictatorships... socialism... things that have more in common than you might think.

But no need to get all political. I don't think this is going to change a whole lot. Talent will have a way to find the money and the money is here.

Benitez to Marlins. I guess they didn't learn from the Jorge Julio experiment.

Consider it a bullet dodged by us.

We had a designated "I got it" guy. Typically a rookie who didn't play much. It obviously doesn't work if the entire dugout is screaming it.
Sometimes we'd have him switch it up and scream "YOU YOU YOU" so they'd both try to take it.

One team had a kid run up the dugout steps and act like he was going to tackle you to try to psyche the you out. Weirdest thing I'd ever seen. That pissed me off. Earned me my first career ejection when I threw at the next guy's head.

Cubs offer Chavez 3/44?

Bush league, no doubt, but that’s Arod.

How is this different than fielders faking out a runner?

benitez to fla for r.messenger

C'mon Hendry, might as well try to rape the Pirates again, this time for Chacon. Check out his line tonight: 7 IP, 3H 0R, 102 pitches, 67 strikes. 1 BB, 10 K. Of course, this is if you're infatuated only with most recent performance, and willing to ignore a lot of what else transpired in the last six years W-L 39-54, ERA 5.03, but a lot of that in Coors. *smirk*

And yet, the Pie-rats pen blows it - Torres gives up 2 ER in the 9th. Good depressing time to try and negotiate, right?

Messenger >>>>>>>>>> Benítez. Meh.

Here is an internet forerunner, Key fax.

I don't remember this because I was in bed by midnite in the early 80's

Cubs box score at 3:30 mark-Buckner, Fergie and another Hall of famer mentioned-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULTliHna0qI

Low point of my life, actually leaning forward to read KeyFax game highlights from 25 years ago, because they might have actually been more hopeful than recent Cubs news. Jeez. OK going to bed now, thanks a helluva lot Jacos.

"How is this different than fielders faking out a runner? "

It's one of the many unwritten rules in sports. But now I will get flamed cause the idea of unwritten rules is not accepted here.

Agreed, Chad. Any pro ball player will tell you that they've done the exact same thing A-Rod did 100 times. It just never works. You rarely catch a situation where the 3B isn't used to playing with that SS and doesn't know his voice when he's trying to call him off.

That was kinda like whoever it was last year or two years ago (Furcal?) stopping D-Lee on a ball that was hit behind him and telling him it was foul. D-Lee was actually stupid enough to stop and it cost him a base.

The old fake to first throw to third thing falls in this category, too. It always looks stupid, and hardly ever works.

The same with the hidden ball trick. Although it worked for Lowell a couple of years ago.

I guess the point is that players who make A-Rod's kind of money shouldn't need to pull stunts to win.

Plus, as we all know, when you are losing everything is under scrutiny--esp. players that no one likes.

Most over & under-paid players, by Passan (shudders).
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=Ao4VrkJ...

The only Cub's appearance is Scott Eyre, lol:

RP: Scott Eyre, Chicago Cubs, $3.83 million – What is worse: Eyre allowing 41 baserunners in 16 1/3 innings this season or Cubs manager Lou Piniella trotting him again and again only to see him fail?

Ozzie-"Chevy Trucks have a grreat starting line-up"
Announcer-"In English please?"
Ozzie-"what?"
Announcer-"In English!"
Ozzie-" Gimme the keys you fuckin cocksucker...whatthefuck!"

Btw... re: tricking the other team. Totally acceptable. Plus, if you do stuff like that, expect one of your teammates to receive a fastball right in the side during their next AB. Also, totally acceptable.

People forget baseball's roots sometimes. It wasn't the honest, nicey-nicey people who played the game over a 120 years ago. I'm just saying... if you want fair, try competitive Scrabble.

Amen, Rynox.....Amen.......more gamesmanship in baseball than any other sport I ever played.

#47--BadGuy...Hilarious, man.

You all are keeping me sane, as sane as TCR can be, whilst away from the family in Mankato.

Good work.

Joey

Wes-
Juan Uribe of the Sox did that to Lee.

If he can do that to a runner then a runner can juke the fielder. If the fielder is dumb enough to fall for it.

To second Rynox, I'm reading "1908" -great book btw- and the stuff those guys pulled would make modern ball players look like golfers.

crunch says:

May 31st, 2007 at 3:37 pm

if chavez was a true socialist it would matter.

but its about as valid of an arguement as trying to say china is communist.

chavez’s venezuela isnt a model of socialism and is starting to stink of a cuba-like military/militia dictatorship.

he’s put in place many socialist initiatives and has done a lot for the country economically, but its not trickling down to the people at large or for the physical protection of the population.

And I respond:

Really? What a surprise!

A-Rod's play: straight out of John McGraw or Leo "I come to kill you" Durocher.

Wow... if you all didn't watch the Cavs/Pistons game last night, you missed something special.

Lebron gave one of the greatest individual performances on the basketball court that I have ever seen.

It was even more incredible in that he had no Pippen.

Did it all himself.

I could see how people would compare the performance to Jordan. M-Jeff performed in this manner for 6 championship seasons, and of course the 63 he put up against the Celtics in the playoffs, was legendary as well.

Time will tell.

48 points in a double overtime game is one the greatest performances ever?

Did he get half of those point in overtime or something?

Hey, struggling top prospect Donnie Veal (Tenn. Smokies) may have turned things around last night. 7 K's, 1 BB, 3 Hits, and Zero Runs in 6 IP.

E-man-
And no Pippen at that Boston Game, too.

But hats off to Bron-Bron for that hellasious game last night. Now finish the job on Saturday.

Now back to your regular scheduled Cubs misery.

Vince-
He scored the last 25 points.

48 points in a double overtime game is one the greatest performances ever?

You obviously did not see it.

he scored 29 of the teams last 30 points. He scored the teams last 25 points.

He completely took over over the game with three minutes left in the 4th, and utterly dominated from that point on through the two overtimes.

And yes... he had 29 points in the 4th/OT.

from the dead horse department? This was from the last thread. Well Played Chad!:

Chad — May 31, 2007 @ 5:37 pm
Hey Corey, go back to finger painting. This board is for the big kids.

James was unbelieveable last night. As good as any performance by Jordan. The Pistons pretty much knew that James was gonna shoot every time down the floor and they still could not stop him. Several times he just took the ball from above the three point line in the middle of the court, without any picks or screens, and drove down the middle and dunked the ball. When he was not driving to the basket, he would dribble off to one side or the other, with two or three Pistons trying to guard him, and repeatedly make three point shots. I saw Jordan at his best and James' performance rates right up there with MJ at his best. James had just 19 points at the end of the third quarter and ended up with 48. And all of those baskets were by and large clutch shots that were crucial to keep the Cavs in the game.

No, I didn't see it.

So there you go, now it sounds a little more dominating.

*a lotta americans have only heard of chavez the past few years, but the conflict between chavez/US has been going on for a long time. chavez is also not your run of the mill “revolutionary”…he has a pretty extensive education in both military and political science.*

Pol Pot had a lot of education, too--look how that turned out.

Maybe Chavez will hold his ballplayers back until a few Northeastern teams have consecutive losing seasons, then trot out another one of the rich spoiled punk Kennedy kids who haven't yet skiied themselves into a tree or an assassin's bullet [from the 'we've never met a dictator we didn't like Kennedys'] to offer them to said Northeastern cities at a substantial discount all because Hugo Chavez is such a nice, nice dude.

VIVA LA REVOLUCION.

Or something.

Agreed, Chad. Any pro ball player will tell you that they’ve done the exact same thing A-Rod did 100 times. It just never works. You rarely catch a situation where the 3B isn’t used to playing with that SS and doesn’t know his voice when he’s trying to call him off.

Meh, no one on the Blue Jays or Yanks can ever recall it happening before, Omar Vizquel said he's never had it happen to him once and I just listened to a whole XM diatribe where not one person can ever recall it happening in a game.

And I think it's a huge difference between a runner doing it and someone on the bench. As Chad said, an unwritten rule of baseball (and I never disagreed there was one Chad, disagreed about your interpretation of it on that no-no), that you don't yell at the infielders as you run past them.

Rob... what is the difference between a runner doing that or a fielder faking out a runner? No one complains about it when a fielder does something VERY similar.

Hope I'm not pulling a 3/44 here, but Blanco has been put on the DL with an amusingly named injury and Koyie Hill has been called up.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/press_releas...

hmm... interesting news on Blanco. So who catches Z today?

The report says Hank White has a cervical disc herniation. That diagnosis means he did have an MRI which is the way that dx is confirmed. Usually this responds to rest, anti-inflammatory medication and therapy. If he has nerve compression there can be pain going down his arm or even weakness. The press release didn't say about radicular symtoms. I did hear he's had some neck symptoms that he's been trying to play through, so it's been a nagging thing possibly for a few weeks. Maybe it's contagious and Scott Eyre's next.

It will be interesting to see Koyle Hill play. Especially if he can show any kind of ability to bat. Time for our I-Cub experts to chime in!

never mind the man behind the curtain...

(where are spinner and paddlefoot when you need them)

Blanco's not getting 3/44 is he?

:D

what the?

Is someone trying to replace our beloved cubster?

Well Koyie Hill is so going to hit 800 home runs in the next 2 weeks. And what's the 40-man roster move btw? I assume it involves Wade Miller and the scrap heap.

I'll let it be, Arod did something perfectly acceptable that players have been doing for years now despite not one person coming forward yet who's ever heard it happen before. :)

Let's say I'm not looking for Arod to become a trendsetter.

In the end, not the biggest of deals of course, go Cubs.

Maybe it involves all of the "relievers" going on the 60-day?

Rob,

The conversation about etiquette during a no-no was not the only conversation about unwritten rules in baseball.

Chad,

What about the unwritten rule that you don't talk to people you don't know like a jerk? You've been ignoring that one on this blog forever.

Just sayin...

ouch ZHL, I sense tension.

Well the only one I recall disagreeing with you was some no-no about the Mariners taking pitches or something when the lead was only a few runs against the mighty Red Sox offense.

"Chad,

What about the unwritten rule that you don’t talk to people you don’t know like a jerk? You’ve been ignoring that one on this blog forever.

Just sayin…"

I have never heard that rule. In fact I have not idea what the hell you are talking about. But there is no rule (written or unwritten) that you can't act like a jerk on an anonymous internet blog. If there was, the next sound you would hear would be that of the entire blogoshphere collapsing. But if you would like me to change the way I post, how about this for a post:

Hi,

I like the Cubs. I like Derrek Lee. Go Cubs!

Better?

"I'm perfectly calm, Dude. ... Calmer than you are."

Not trying to be a jerk myself, just saying that this diatribe about unwritten rules is coming from the same guy who treats anyone who mentions OBP like they just shit in his bed.

Chad is probably a fine person off the Internet, but sometimes keyboards and monitors causes some people to forget that there's actual flesh and blood on the other side.

If you've never heard of respect then don't even worry about it, because I'm clearly not going to be the one to teach you.

And not a moment too soon..

Soriano
Theriot
Lee
ARam
Murton
Barrett
Jones
DeRosa
Z

Chipper out again ... might go to the DL now... I hope...

Johnson
Harris
Renteria
McCann
Jones
Francoeur
Thorman
Orr
Davies

I'm sick of looking at Hugo Chavez, could we have a new thread or two, PLEASE?

Wow, the Brave's lineup stinks. They must be hoping for good pitching.

cwtp:
I’m sick of looking at Hugo Chavez, could we have a new thread or two, PLEASE?

...or, change the picture to a pic of Kotsay's wife?

Am I the only one who found what ARod did to be hilarious? I just can't get past how freaking funny that stunt was, especially since it worked. Lots of people seem mad about it, though -- maybe I should take baseball more seriously.

how about i photoshop a picture of mike fontenot banging kotsay's wife to the tune of .400 ob% (omg bangin' %) while chavez films it for the people?

Hey, where did Jason Schmidt end up going? I cant for the life of me remember.

…or, change the picture to a pic of Kotsay’s wife?
..........................................................................

Aaron B seconds that emotion!

aaronb:
Hey, where did Jason Schmidt end up going? I cant for the life of me remember.

The DL? *rimshot*

Holy shit i laughed al the way threw this thread starting @
BadGuy — June 1, 2007 @ 6:08 am
Ozzie-”Chevy Trucks have a grreat starting line-up”
Announcer-”In English please?”
Ozzie-”what?”
Announcer-”In English!”
Ozzie-” Gimme the keys you fuckin cocksucker…whatthefuck!”

433,

I did not find anything wrong with that play or the one he had on Arryo in the ALCS a few years ago. If a David Eckstein or a Ryan Freel makes those plays everybody would be praising their grinder plays. Since its the hated A-rod there "bush league".

5 minutes of yahoo images...5 minutes of photoshop...10 minutes of boredom...

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u257/crunc...

nice crunch...

I called Fick bush league for the play on Karros and I would call Eck bush league if he slapped at the ball too.

It has nothing to do with it just being Arod, at least not for me.

Damn crunch, that looks like an old fashioned gangbang! Kudos!

That was awesome crunch

lol... nice, crunch.

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