Cubs Recall Rapada, Send Murton to Iowa

The Cubs have recalled LHP Clay Rapada from Iowa, and have optioned OF Matt Murton to the same club. The side-slingin' Rapada has been the Iowa Cubs primary closer this season, but as shown by his '07 AAA splits, he is really more of a classic LOOGY. That is, he is death on left-handed hitters, but with his frisbee-style offerings that seem to come out of right field, you really don't want him to throw to MLB-quality right-handed swingers if it can be avoided. As for Murton, this move will give Orange Guy a chance to play everyday (probably playing RF and hitting 3rd in the I-Cubs lineup), and (hopefully) get his groove back, either forcing himself back into the Cubs starting lineup as the everyday RF at some point in the not-too-distant future--or at least making him more attractive as trade bait later this season or next off-season. Adding Rapada gives the Cubs a 13-man pitching staff, so expect a pitcher to get trimmed from the roster whenever the first position player (Blanco, Ward or Ramirez) returns from the DL (probably no later than a week from Friday when A-Ram is due back, if not sooner). However, the Cubs do have the luxury of having two pitchers (Carlos Zambrano and Jason Marquis) on their roster who can be used as a PH on days when they're not pitching. The Cubs bullpen has been used quite a bit over the past four games, so adding the 13th pitcher is probably just a short-term thing. This roster move (at least the Murton part) is probably part of Uncle Lou's long-stated desire for a "set" lineup and for a lefty run producer in the middle of the order... 1. Matt Murton gets optioned to Iowa where he will get regular playing time; 2. Jacque Jones goes into the Friendly Confines Witness Protection Program until Hendry can trade him; 3. Cliff Floyd (if he can stay healthy) plays RF and hits 4th or 5th most every day--LHP or RHP, doesn't matter--until further notice. 4. Angel Pagan serves as the defensive replacement in RF whenever the Cubs are trying to protect a lead late in a game.
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Comments

so that gives us 13 pitchers?

and 6 lefties on the current staff

Great! Cause maybe last night Rapada could have batted instead of Hill!!! Unreal. I'm no Murton fan but I don't see this as a smart move.

I do understand it though... the Cubs bullpen has gotten worked hard in 3 of the last 4 games.

I understand the need to get another pitcher up, and even give Murton some regular pt in Iowa, but sending down a tired, ineffective pitcher like Ohman to get another fresh pitcher up might have made more sense right now. Ohman has options left according to AZ Phil's chart.

Absolutely the right call. When your pen is getting overworked every night. The thing you need to fix that is a guy who can get 1 guy out at a time. What are the chances of going to a 27 man pitching staff?

We do still have four right-handers to go with our three left-handers in our bullpen. Can't complain about that. We also have one less outfielder. Can't complain about that.

Makes the already quick-triggered Lou a man down on the bench, though. Now we'll run out of bench guys in the eighth instead of the ninth. Can complain about that.

five..righthanders..in the bullpen

bye bye eyre?

one has to wonder if Michael Barrett was somehow involved in this questionable move?

Please elaborate on your conspiracy theory, aaronb.

wes - didn't you know? barrett is responsible for all things that happen with the Cubs.

Also, what does this do to the lineup card against a lefty? Felix still plays and Pagan plays right? DeRosa in right and Pagan in center? Floyd plays anyway and Pagan plays center?

Fontenot plays both center and left while also playing 2B?

dave,

I BLAME BARRETT FOR MURTON BEING SENT DOWN.

There. I said it.

Yea Wes... I mentioned that in the previous thread. Doesn't that excite you? The only decent option in RF against lhp would be DeRosa, but then Izzy has to play. And no one plays 3b.

The Cubs will miss Murton.

Floyd... against LHP, 2004-2006:

.218/.285/.379

Murton... against LHP - 2005-2006 (didn't play in 2004):

.329/.404/.512

Agreed, AZ Phil. I'm all for Felix playing every day. If we're going to play this kid, then play him. I'm willing to sit through some 0-3 days against a good lefty. I wouldn't hit him second, though.

Cliff's still hitting .300. And he's better than most left-handed hitters against left at 273/331/465 in his career.

He's not going away forever, dave. They didn't trade him. They didn't DFA him. He's going down to figure it out.

Murton does have those nice numbers vs LHP in the last three, but you forgot to include '07 where he's 267/340/356.

His current role is to hit left-handers. He's not doing a good enough job. I have a hunch that once Hendry finds a Jones suitor and Murton actually, you know, hits, he'll be back. And he'll have a much more defined role.

His current role is to hit left-handers. He’s not doing a good enough job.

No... but he is doing better than any of the other options in RF.

Wes you make a great point. How is Pie ever going to learn to hit lefties if he never faces them? Let him play everday, and maybe sit him against the BEST lefties. When he's in the lineup against a southpaw, bat him 7th.

I do think, for Murton's sake, that he needs to get things figured out.

I just worry about this team against LHP - especially in CF/RF.

I'm waiting for Silent Towel's imput on this.

A. Soriano lf
F. Pie cf
D. Lee 1b
C. Floyd rf
M. DeRosa 3b
R. Theriot ss
M. Fontenot 2b
K. Hill c

Thanks for breaking the news, Phil.

Sucks a little bit. I like Murton A LOT. But I understand the move. I'm hoping it's temporary (does he come back when Jones is traded? When Floyd gets hurt again?)

I'm not sold on Rapada, though. Now we have TWO LOOGYs who SUCK against RHs. Remember that spring training game this year that he gave up three home runs to three straight RH hitters? That was awesome.

Btw-- where's the Fontenot list?

did rocky cherry kick hendry's dog or something?

he working on something in AAA besides 390ft. flyouts to CF?

Rocky Cherry has a 7.32 ERA, a .286 BAA, and a 1.78 WHIP in AAA right now.

Ariz Phil....

Can you give a rundown on our higher level catching prospects. Is Soto a legit option next year or are we resigned to scouring the FA market for a catcher who knows how to handle a staff, block pitches, and throw to the right bag?

Romero — June 13, 2007 @ 5:18 pm
I’m not sold on Rapada, though. Now we have TWO LOOGYs who SUCK against RHs. Remember that spring training game this year that he gave up three home runs to three straight RH hitters? That was awesome.

=============================

ROMERO: I remember it well. I was there.

Joe Sheehan:

"The Cubs are wasting Matt Murton, both by not having him creating runs for them, and by killing his trade value by turning him into a part-time player. Most analyses of the Cubs focus on their need to trade Jacque Jones, but Jones is a 32-year-old platoon player with no arm and a .230 batting average. Trading is about perceived value, and Jones doesn’t have very much at the moment. Murton, however, would bring back more as a pre-arb, pre-peak player. While I wouldn’t recommend trading him, he’s the chip that can bring back a useful infielder, not Jones."

Subscribe to BP to read the rest of the article.

He is better than Jones or Floyd against left, dave, but Murton's also hitting 243/325/324 against right.

Floyd is hitting 298/360/423 against right. I'll take that 50/40/100 point increase the 5 days a week we face a right-hander and deal with the rest.

Especially if Pagan will throw up a 281/343/531 against lefties, which he is currently doing. When you couple that with his defense, I think that makes him the best fit against left in rightfield.

crunch, I'll take that order just about anyday when Rammy's not in there.

the best fit.. with Murton slumping.. that is. If Murton is swinging the bat at his career line, I want him out there. My apologies.

joe "i lub the cubs" sheehan...

oh no..murton gets to go somewhere he plays everyday and all the cubs have left is floyd/jones....

hell, its not like he got sent down so pagan could play.

let murton find his groove playing everyday (or nearly everyday) and use floyd/jones til you get rid of someone.

seems...sane.

well, i guess sheehan's comment was with the premise he's still gonna be on the active roster...so well, yeah...

Iowa Cubs note: Ronny Cedeno is hitting .314 but has made 5 errors already in just 26 games at shortstop.

JF — June 13, 2007 @ 5:25 pm
Ariz Phil….

Can you give a rundown on our higher level catching prospects. Is Soto a legit option next year or are we resigned to scouring the FA market for a catcher who knows how to handle a staff, block pitches, and throw to the right bag?

==========================

JF: Geovany Soto is just a so-so defensive catcher. He is not very good at throwing out base-stealers, but he has OK receiving skills (although he's kind of stiff). However, he knows all the Cubs pitchers very well (he's been at ST and then at Iowa for three years running). Actually, I consider Soto to be a better hitter than he is a catcher (he developed a power stroke the last couple of years).

I would project Soto as a future MLB back-up catcher, but since Henry Blanco is signed through 2008 (with a club option for 2009), and because Soto will be out of minor league options next ST, I don't think it will be with the Cubs.

Jake Fox is a lot like Michael Barrett defensively, in that he has poor catching mechanics and receiving skills. However, he does have the best power of any player in the Cubs farm system. (He is a freakin' masher).

Fox is the classic "first-ball/fastball" power-hitter (rarely walks except when the other team pitches around him, and he strikes out a lot). He is a much better RF, LF, or 1B than he is a catcher, however.

Fact is, none of the Cubs catching prospects are really worth mentioning, although if you could find a Dr. Frankenstein who could put the best of each one (Jake Muyco's arm, Mark Reed's athleticism, Chris Robinson's brain, Jake Fox's power, Welington Castillo's stroke, and Geovany Soto's experience) together in one body, you might really have something.

Not very uplifting AZ Phil....but thanks!

Looks like we'll be scouring the FA market next year or forced to trade for a serviceable catcher...........paging Damian Miller:)

JF: If there is going to be a platoon in RF at some point in the future, I'd rather the right-handed half be Jake Fox than Murton or DeRosa. Remember when Glenallen Hill hit that dinger on top of the building at Waveland + Kenmore? Fox has that kind of power. And he has the arm to play RF.

Yep, it was written yesterday, without the knowledge of Murton's demotion.

Sean Marshall has the best seat in the house, He must have enjoyed Ichiro's grounder that DLee fielded while he watched.

and Koyie Hill has his imitation of Barrett blocking balls into the dirt down pat, showing it twice in the first.

Fortunately they (Marshall/Hill) lucked out with no damage.

Routine first inning. What are you talking about, Cubster?

Inf single (pitcher doesn't cover), passed ball, 6-3, wild pitch, Ichiro baserunning mistake, out 5251, Guillen to 2nd, F8.

Looks awfully vanilla to me.

CUBS WIN

CUBS WIN

carlos rubi said: " would bring back more as a pre-arb, pre-peak player."

is that similar to a pre-op tranny?

so when blanco comes back do we send
hill down and risk losing him i think there
are no more options left.

Marshall is pretty much single handedly saving the season for the Cubs.

I like the Murton and Rapada moves, though I disagree with AZ assessment that Rapada can only get lefties out, since he had no trouble with righties last year. I think one of the geniuses on the Cubs coaching staff got a hold of him in ST and did something stupid, which Rapada has now corrected.

I have been a huge Sean Marshall supporter since the beginning when he was drafted, I am so VERY happy to see him having some truly impressive success. I think it's noteworthy that Marshall has been pitching this well going immediately AFTER Rich Hill in the rotation, that can't be easy given their similar pitching styles.

Zambrano, Hill, Marshall, I believe all three are under 28 yo. Incredibly, Mark Prior is just 25, isn't he? Gallagher gets his first cup of coffee here, The Don is the best lefty prospect in the Cubs' system. An awful lot of young pitching talent, let's hope they can all stay healthy.

This current Cubs team will miss Murton about as much as Turkey misses the 'Black Death' of the 13th Century. That's OF move #1. Move #2 will be when they trade/DFA Jacque. Murton is a LF playing for an organization that doesn't need a LF for the next 7 years. He would have to hit .320/.370/.500 against all types of pitching for me to put up with his defense in RF and base running if I was a ML manager.

I agree with AZ Phil, if you want a RH hitting RF who will put up better #'s vs. LHP than Floyd/Pagan then bring up Fox.

Good luck Matt M. in putting up some great AAA numbers so the Cubs can trade you for better value than you have now (which is slightly above a sore armed A level pitcher).

Regarding comment #7, bingo! Piniella seems like a dyed-in-the-wool American Leaguer whenever the Cubs are facing down extra innings. He seems to have no idea how to conserve his bench. Hard to believe he managed in NL for three seasons, and successfully at that.

Matt Murton in a good coaching system would be a joy to behold. Last year he showed good opposite field power, and there are not many players who can be "taught" a keen eye at the plate. However, a good coaching system CAN teach someone how to play the outfield.

The Cubs' system, however, has not in the past been a good coaching system. There are some indications that may be changing -- Felix Pie comes to mind (2 walks yesterday makes me almost wet my pants in the way Sammy's blasts used to).

Hopefully, the coaching staff is getting a little better and Murton can learn how to play the outfield. He's 25 and has the potential to be a good player. People who raved about him aren't stupid. They know a good natural hitter when they see one. Even if he does well in the minors he won't get much in a trade. Might as well hold onto him and see if Tyler Colvin or Josh what's-his name can beat him out for the right field job after Cliff gets his final injury.

Buck Coats is playing RF for Iowa right now. Hitting about .550 in June. Murton is now blocked at that level. Can they send him to the AA squad? Does Peoria need a RFer? Arizona here he comes.

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