Cubs Sign Vitters in the Nick of Time

I heard it on the WGN broadcast and Jonathan Mayo confirms it on his draft blog. I'll update with the contract details when they become available. It appears the only first rounder not to sign was the Orioles top pick Matt Wieters. UPDATE: My bad, Wieters did sign and received the second highest bonus in major league history at $6 million, just below Justin Upton's $6.1 million from two years ago and more than this year's top pick David Price received - $5.6 million. UPDATE #2: Rumor is the deal is for three years/$44 million. Spread the word. UPDATE #3: I was kidding about the 3/44 deal, a joke from the off-season rumor mill. Paul Sullivan and Baseball America are both reporting a $3.2 million bonus for Vitters, no word on any other details. It appears he's headed to the Cubs Arizona complex to start his pro career, we'll await breathlessly for Arizona Phil's reports.
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Well, the Vitters interview was sure exciting.

He sounded like a shy 17 year old.....we will probably train him as a DH. Although we could use an outfielder with some STICK!

The kid was up in the booth when Hamilton torched Howry and offered no audible reaction. I would have hoped he'd curse into the mic or break something in sympathy for his inept, new teammates. He must not have any competitive fire. We should get rid of him. Pronto.

The Cubs are about to lose their fifth consecutive game to the Astros and Reds. What reason is there to hope they'll ever take control of this division or, for that matter, even do better than a split against the Cardinals this weekend?

What amazes me is someone has to represent the NL Central in the post season...Who will it be?

Well, the Cards represented the Central with a mediocre team last year and won the World Series, so there's hope. I'm quite worried about our pitchers reverting to the mean though. The Cards had pitchers playing above their skill level at the right time while our pitchers seemed to do so at the beginning of the year.

With how weird this division is just when it looks likes Saint Louis is going to take the lead they will probably lose 4 out of the next 5. In 2003 we were 5 down with 17 to play. If we can stay within 3 by the time Soriano comes back I like our chances. I mean pitching is suppose to win. We like to bitch about Marquis, but honestly he'd be a 3 on the other teams in the race. Lets hope he can be solid tommrrow because we really need 4 of the next 5.

Vitters for $3.2 and no mention of a mlb deal.

Also the catcher from Texas (Clark?) seems to have signed, according to Muskett:

'The Cubs have signed all but two of their top 25 picks. Those unsigned includes catcher Kyle Day, selected in the 19th round out of Michigan State University, and infielder Victor Sanchez, a 25th-round pick out of Gahr High School. Wilken said the team did not expect to come to terms with either player.'

Ever since I came to Colorado on Saturday, the Cubs have lost every game. I leave tomorrow, thank God, in the air before 1:20 central time. Look for a nice winning streak starting with Marquis tomorrow.

*Well, the Cards represented the Central with a mediocre team last year and won the World Series, so there’s hope.*

See, there would be hope--if we weren't talking about the Chicago Cubs here.

At least the flag flew on top for what--six hours this year?

real neal,

Clark was our 33rd round pick. I dont think he signed as I doubt Hendry can make it rain with the draft picks after he let it rain with the free agents.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/cs-07081...

$3.2 million bonus, no word on any other part of the deal.

Chifan3887, you're right, Clark didn't sign.

ahh my bad. I was a little inbreniated, Any source for that Navin?

Ty Wright has been hitting a ton.

from the Boise Hawks site:

Roster Moves: After Wednesday's game the Hawks announced that left fielder Ty Wright and third baseman Marquez Smith will be going to Peoria in the Midwest League. The Hawks will be receiving outfielder Brandon Guyer and third baseman Jovan Rosa from Mesa, AZ.

Cubnut were you kidding about Vitter's reaction? I would say I prefer 17 year olds (is he 18 now?) who follow the 'speak when you're spoken to' rule while being interviewed.

After last night's fiasco, I felt about the same feeling I had after the "Bartman" game. I truly hope I'm wrong, but this team is playing its worst baseball as a team, at the most important time.

The starters have slipped to #3 in the NL, with a down bullet, and the relievers - other than a couple bright spots - are reverting back to April/May.

So, once again, my hopes as an obsessive Cub fan are dashed. What else is new? I like the team generally under Lou - but I'm sure he'll weed out the guys that aren't "his" kind of players for next year. There certainly has been improvement over Dusty's brand. But, after all is said and done, it will probably be a 3rd place finish.

Again, I hope I'm wrong.

That game last night really browned my mordecai.

Basbeball is the most unpredictable sport -- Cubs go from a laughing stock on June 1 to the hottest team inthe MLB for a month and a half, then drop 8 of 10, mostly to bad teams.

Cards lose 5 of 6 to the Nats and Pirates, then go on a tear.

What's next?

Screw the following teams:
• The Chicago Cubs
• The St. Louis Cardinals
• The Milwaukee Brewers
• The Cincinnati Reds.

That is all.

Defensive plays of note yesterday:

I don't want to pick on Jones, espy when he got a single in the ninth, but that throw from very shallow center to the plate in the sixth was a classic off-target bouncer-roller, the kind they still laugh about in Minneapolis.

Lee seems to be aging fast. More often than not this year, he fails to come up with balls he dives for. The one he muffed in the sixth, right after Dunne led off with the solo HR, led to the two tying runs. It was not really that tough a chance, and he's supposed to be a gold glover.

Kendall had two passed balls and he barely got a glove on a pitch by Wood on the outside corner waist high (with no one on base).

And don't get me started on the game Kendall called, in which every pitcher but Wood had a bad outing. I doubt that Kendall's HR and walks compensated for his defense.

(nice, jacos)

That game really tangoed my yo la.

>Bah, it's hard to get excited about a number one pick who projects as a DH..... in about six years.

>I hate the draft and it's bloated bonuses. It creates a two tiered minor league system of overpaid prima donnas on top and cheap easily controlled ballplayers...increasingly latin....on the bottom.

>One of the reasons Matt Murton got sent down to AAA was his slowness picking up and getting rid of hits to the outfield. If yesterday was an indication, he's regressed.

One of the reasons Matt Murton got sent down to AAA was his slowness picking up and getting rid of hits to the outfield. If yesterday was an indication, he’s regressed.

Care to expand on this?

Wow... Michael Wilbon defended Offerman on PTI yesterday...

You simply cannot control Jose Offerman.

Does anyone have a rundown of the final Draft pick signing tally?

Cubster said: Ty Wright has been hitting a ton.

So has Wright's Boise outfield mate Jonathan Wyatt.

Wyatt: 197 ab, 65 h, 13 2b, 4 hr, 11 sb, 330/428/497
Wright: 189 ab, 60 h, 12 2b, 8 hr, 6 sb, 317/408/529

Then there's Tony Thomas:

104 ab, 35 h, 10 2b, 3 hr, 18 sb, 337/417/615

At some point he's going to make the crowded Cub second base situation more crowded.

Speaking of which, Nate Spears is hitting well after a promotion to AA.

One of the reasons Matt Murton got sent down to AAA was his slowness picking up and getting rid of hits to the outfield. If yesterday was an indication, he’s regressed.

Wow. This is the first time I've heard of this. You should be a scout.

Wow. This is the first time I’ve heard of this. .

Why am I not surprised..

Yep Murton is the main reason the Cubs gave up 11 runs.
He didnt catch any of the balls flying into the bleachers, or banging off the walls...

VA Phil's scouting report on Kendall's game-calling and working with pitchers vs the entire Oakland A's organization. You make the call....

Lee's play looked like a tough chance to me.

How about the pitchers left everything up the whole game from Lilly to Wuertz to Howry?

VA Phil’s scouting report on Kendall’s game-calling and working with pitchers vs the entire Oakland A’s organization. You make the call….

Come on Rob - you know that it is Kendall's fault that the pitchers kept throwing mediocre fast balls up and over the plate. He really should stop calling for the home run pitch.

I was hoping that because there was some time between Barrett leaving and Kendall arriving that Kendall wouldn't have been able to learn the signal for the home run pitch.

A's are .500 since Kendall left, about the same as before.

The "entire A's organization" traded Kendall. Do what they do, not what they say.

Lee gets big bucks and he's lionized, our latest clay-footed hero. He can't hit a fastball down the middle--he's missed half a dozen since I wrote that last week--and the tough chances are too tough for him.

No one is supposed to notice.

The “entire A’s organization” traded Kendall.

Of course they did - he was a high priced up-coming free agent. It had little to do with his abilities, and everything to do with the business side.

Further, they have a hot-shot prospect that they wanted to give playing time to so that they could see how legit he was.

And who hasn't noticed Lee's recent struggles?

A’s are .500 since Kendall left, about the same as before.

The “entire A’s organization” traded Kendall. Do what they do, not what they say.

That's the logic you want to present. The A's traded a guy in the last year of his deal because they're a mid-market team who has a young catcher already in the fold for next season and weren't going to pay Kendall but you think it's because they weren't happy with his game-calling and working with pitchers? What do Chad Gaudin and (I think) Joe Blanton have to gain by saying how disappointed they were that Kendall got traded and enjoyed throwing to him.

And if I'm not mistaken the A's ERA, particularly with their starters has gone significantly up since Kendall left. Not that means much but by your logic that couldn't possibly happen.

Your man-crush on Koyie Hill is getting in the way of your brain.

How are the last two losses the fault of Lee or Kendall? Sure, Kendall didn't play well defensively last night, but he also hit a 2-run homer. Cubs have scored 14 runs in two games and lost both. It's not Lee's or Kendall's fault that Wuertz is useless if he can't throw his slider for strikes or that Howry tries to get a letter-high fastball by Hamilton.

You, uh, have a source for that info, cwtp?

The “entire A’s organization” traded Kendall. Do what they do, not what they say.

By the way... by your logic, does that also mean that Mark Teixeira sucks to? Because teams only trade players that suck, right?

Is Kendall the new Barrett? It seems like whenever we have a catcher start to hit. Some of the minions suddenly hate him for his defense.

I've said that catchers get lazy and tend to ask for sliders and don't mind calling for the same pitch over and over, basically until it gets hit. I've said that with certain catchers, pitchers forget they have a fastball.

When Hill was catching a lot of games, Dempster was throwing 95+ and Marmol 97.

What are their radar numbers today?

Howry is a different matter since he doesn't have a slider, or at least he tells his catchers that he doesn't like to throw it. Hill fights him on this. Kendall, not so much. If you threw Hamilton enough fastballs, he was going to hit one.

I'm not absolving Howry by any means. Show me another pitcher his age who doesn't think you have to change speeds. It's the height of cubbery, I mean stupidity.

When Hill was catching a lot of games, Dempster was throwing 95+ and Marmol 97.

What are their radar numbers today?

Hahaha... So it is Barrett/Kendall's fault that they have lost some velocity?!?!

In Dempster's case, his velocity has been down ever since he was on the DL. In Marmol's case, it could easily be a case of over-usage, or at least a tired arm.

Where have you gone Scott Servais our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.......

Where have you gone Scott Servais our nation turns its lonely eyes to you…….

I heard Joe Girardi is available...

In Dempster’s case, his velocity has been down ever since he was on the DL.

But you haven't explained it in the other direction. Why did his velocity go up when Barrett left? Because a catcher came along who called for the fastball on a pitch that had to be a strike. Dempster reached back for something extra, and found it.

So maybe a catcher should challenge a pitcher like that. These overpaid athletes are lazy. Dempster's too lazy to throw hard. Howry's too lazy to master a breaking ball.

Sorry if OT, but Cubnut mentioned Tom Dressen at "A Hundred Next Years". Some thoughts about him:

I always feel bad for disliking him. He seems to contribute to charity et al. But he takes less than 5 seconds EVERY time to bring up his friendship with Frank Sinatra and I just KNOW that when the Cubs finally do get to the World Series that this guy (assuming he lives long enough, which after last night seems less than 50-50) will be first in line to try and milk his Cubsfanness (others in line I suspect will be in no particular order) Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, George Will...Others?

These overpaid athletes are lazy. Dempster’s too lazy to throw hard. Howry’s too lazy to master a breaking ball.

If you say so. But if they are lazy (which I don't agree with), how is that the catcher's fault?

And Dempster's velocity went up after Barrett left? And you know this how?

I think it is a pretty ridiculous assertion to say that a catcher has anything to do with a pitcher's velocity. Do you have ANYTHING to support this?

Va Phil,

Dempster and Marmol's best pitch is not the fastball. It's the slider for both. Despite the fact that they both throw 94+, the slider is better than their fastball, which is why they throw it more often. Marmol shakes off a lot of fastballs, actually.

Marmol shakes off a lot of fastballs, actually.

Wes... that is not possible. Pitchers don't shake off pitches. The catcher always decides what pitch is going to be thrown.

Marmol shakes off a lot of fastballs, actually.

I'll watch for that next time, Wes. I haven't noticed it.

cubster — August 16, 2007 @ 5:49 am
Ty Wright has been hitting a ton.

from the Boise Hawks site:

Roster Moves: After Wednesday’s game the Hawks announced that left fielder Ty Wright and third baseman Marquez Smith will be going to Peoria in the Midwest League. The Hawks will be receiving outfielder Brandon Guyer and third baseman Jovan Rosa from Mesa, AZ.

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

CUBSTER: With these latest roster moves (Jovan Rosa and Brandon Guyer to Boise), the AZL Cubs (Mesa) have been basically gutted. Rosa was one of the AZL Cubs best players (Cliff Andersen and Carlos Perez being the other two), so while I understand Josh Vitters will be reporting to Fitch Park, he might not be in playing shape yet. And so I suspect this means I will have to watch a lot more of Chih-Hsiang Wen, who would be hard-pressed to start for the Chandler Little League team currently in the LLWS in Williamsport.

BTW, I believe Josh Vitters will be moved to 1B at some point in the near future (possibly in the post-season AZ Instructional League). With third-basemen Scott Moore, Kyle Reynolds (who has developed HR power this year), Josh Lansford (voted by rival managers as the MWL top defensive 3B), Marquez Smith (#8 opick out of Clemson who just got promoted from Boise to Peoria), and Jovan Rosa (just promoted to Boise) already in the pipeline and with no real 1B prospects anywhere in the system (Brian Dopirak and Russ Canzler would probably be the top two, and neither would seem to have MLB futures), Vitters should be able to move much faster and without getting blocked along the way if he plays 1B instead of 3B.

Derrek Lee's contract expires after the 2010 season, and it's posible that if Vitters is as good a hitter as he's supposed to be, and depending on how fast he progresses, he could conceivably be ready for MLB by 2011 (that is if he plays at Peoria in 2008, moves up to Daytona in 2009, and to AA in 2010).

Va. Phil-

I have also noticed Lee letting a lot of 2-0 and 3-1 (and 3-2) hittable fastballs go by -- don't know if he is guessing breaking balls, or is not seeing the ball well, but it has been somewhat alarming.

The thing is VA Phil, I think there's a big misconception about shake-offs. It's that the catcher drops a sign down and then the pitcher ALWAYS has to shake his head 'no' in a very pronounced manner and then the catcher tries again. While that does happen, some pitchers and catchers are working with their own code. Some pitching coaches, catchers, and even pitchers are so paranoid about tipping pitches that they don't want the batter to see that head shake. There's a sign the pitcher can give to simply add a sign or subtract a sign to the one the catcher dropped (wipe your face, adjust your jersey in a particular way, make a certain facial expression) and then you go from there. The hitter never knew (or most of the audience for that matter) that you shook off the catcher.

In theory, the head shake eliminates one of the pitches that the batter can guess. If you continue to shake-off, you continue to eliminate the # of pitches the batter has to guess from. That also works in reverse of course. Last year in the ALDS, Kenny Rogers shook off Pudge in an AB (against Giambi, I think) and mouthed the word "fastball" to Pudge. He then prompty threw a curveball and fooled him completely.

And Dempster’s velocity went up after Barrett left? And you know this how?

Chicago Trib, June 17th:

Ryan Dempster's fastball reached 97 m.p.h. when he retired Josh Bard on a flyout in the ninth inning of Friday's 4-1 victory, reflecting the Cubs closer's change in philosophy.

Dempster is trusting his fastball more and manager Lou Piniella said it's the best Dempster has thrown all season.

'I feel good, my body feels good, and I've been working hard, trying to stay as strong as possible,' Dempster said. 'I can't explain it. I just keep trying to throw it. As long as I'm getting outs, I'll take outs at any speed.'

Barrett and Zambrano fought on June 1st, and Hill got into the lineup for the first time. He shared the catching job with Barrett for the next couple of weeks before MB was traded.

June 10 and 11 were interesting, and I wrote about it at the time. On the 10th, Barrett caught Dempster and called (with a couple of exceptions) all sliders until Dempster had blown a 3-run lead.

The next night, Hill caught Dempster in a 2-1 game against Houston, and called mainly fastballs. Dempster had a 9-pitch inning and got the save.

A week later he was throwing 97 and people were asking, Where'd that come from?

this is one of the weakest arguments ive seen on TCR in a long time...

Dempster is trusting his fastball more

So Dempster is trusting his fastball more... and that is Hill's responsibility? I really don't get the logic.

I guess we will just have to disagree, as I am still baffled about how a catcher can be responsible for how hard a pitcher throws.

dueling theories...

- Cubs pitchers were afraid to throw breaking balls to Barrett cause he was bad at blocking pitches.

- Cubs pitchers didn't throw enough fastballs under Barrett (and apparently Kendall) cause they call for the breaking ball too much.

TCR Readers - You make the call!!!!

TCR Readers - You make the call!!!!

How about this - Cubs pitchers are inconsistent, and it has little/nothing to do with the catcher? :)

I know I'm in a minority here. So what?

Incidentally, if you want to know why Zambrano likes Koyie Hill, here's a good anecdote. It was in the paper at the time, but you might have missed it.

Hill was discussing a meeting with Zambrano before their first game. Hill said (and I'm paraphrasing):

"I told him, Carlos, if I give you a sign and you decide, in the middle of your windup, that you want to throw something else, that's fine with me. Go ahead!"

How about this - Cubs pitchers are inconsistent, and it has little/nothing to do with the catcher? :)

Whaaaattt??????

That can't possibly be the case.

Fantasy question for today. I've got a utility spot open, do I start?

Keppinger vs Marquis
Josh Fields vs Danny Haren
Iguchi vs Joel Hanrahan

All 3 have been pretty hot of late although Iguchi's cooling a bit. I'm leaning towards Keppinger at the moment.

I say Iguchi. Marquis = stopper today.

game thread up....

I once heard a ML pitcher say "I've never seen LC in the box scores, meaning 'Losing Catcher'. There's 'Losing Pitcher', so the catcher makes a suggestion and I throw what I want to throw."

The Real Neal says:

ahh my bad. I was a little inbreniated, Any source for that Navin?
--------------------

Tim Wilken said that Vitters was their only signing yesterday - that meant no C Kyle Day (19th rounder - MSU), no 3B Victor Sanchez (25th rounder - Gahr HS - CA), no C Preston Clark (33rd rounder - Texas) plus 14 other guys drafted in the second half of the draft.

By the way, both cubs.com and Sullivan say that Vitters will head to Boise for a bit before the season ends, which I found rather surprising. Like AZ Phil said, I expected Vitters to not be in playing shape and it seemed kind of strange to push him up to Boise for a few games if he wasn't ready. But hey, I'm no expert.

By the way, both cubs.com and Sullivan say that Vitters will head to Boise for a bit before the season ends

That's amazing because Boise's season ends Sept. 5

Navin — August 16, 2007 @ 11:49 am
By the way, both cubs.com and Sullivan say that Vitters will head to Boise for a bit before the season ends, which I found rather surprising. Like AZ Phil said, I expected Vitters to not be in playing shape and it seemed kind of strange to push him up to Boise for a few games if he wasn’t ready. But hey, I’m no expert.

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

NAVIN: I would be absolutely dumbfounded if Vitters makes it to Boise this season. The Hawks only have about two weeks left in their season. It would make a lot more sense for him to play (probably mostly DH) in a few AZL games once he gets into playing shape, and then stick around for the AZ Instructional League program at Fitch Park starting in mid-September where the Cubs will find out just how good he really is.

If all goes well, Vitters could coinceivably come out of 2008 ST and go straight to Peoria, but that would be truly a Best Case Scenario. Staying at EXST in April and May and going to Boise might be the more realistic (and logical) expectation

The Padres got burned pushing 2006 1st Round Supplemental pick RF Kyler Burke too fast (allowing him to go from AZL Padres in 2006 to the Padres MWL club at Ft. Wayne on Opening Day 2007, skipping Eugene), as did the Cubs with SS Dylan Johnston (allowing him to skip Boise in 2006, and now he's back there after "flunking out" at Peoria).

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com...

says the Cubs weren't handing out any major league contracts this year after giving Samardzija one last year. Also says O's got Wieters signed to a minor league deal and hints that the Cubs passed Wieters because they thought it would take a major league deal to get him.

Wieters did get the largest upfront bonus in draft history, $6 million, Upton's $6.1 was spread over 5 years.

amusing little Sullivan/Lou exchange...

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com...

innocent enough exchange, imo.

lou's handling of the media has always been a little suspect. he's prone to throwing fits and not letting the others do their jobs having to go hound players for info after games insted of being a man and giving his interviews after hard/emotional losses.

lou was the first manager to not give a post game since the early 90s and he's done it 3 times this season, alone.

not like the media are bullies (sometimes), but if he's gonna keep throwing fits and laying it all on the players to screw with the media its gonna create tensions with the press.

dunno how it impacts the players...a player personality like theriot or t.walker are the type of guys that probably wouldnt give a flip and dont mind the media anyway...

gonna miss todd walker's mouth...he was a pretty open player with the media without being a bonds-like dick about it.

reading that article though, Sullivan did make it sound like Piniella is was crying.

i didnt get that out of the article at all, but i thought lou at least was semi-prompt in addressing it and "ending" it.

i really dont buy that lou would literally be crying given how it was written...

"Where's that Wrigley Field wind?" Piniella cried afterwards. "Where's it at? I thought it was out of the ballpark. I really did."

Yeah, I agree with you AZ Phil. I always like to err on the side of bringing someone up slowly - I think it's much better than rushing a minor leaguer.

Wilkins has said though that he likes to push the kids, see what they can do in tougher competition. Hard to argue with his success.

Vitters did say he's been working out pretty hard since he was drafted, so we'll see. We're talking a week here, doubt it'll matter much.

[...] Cubs Sign Vitters in the Nick of TimeBaseball - Hahaha So it is Barrett/Kendall s fault that they have lost some velocity?!?! In Dempster s case, his velocity has been in the system (Brian Dopirak and Russ Canzler would probably be the top two, and neither would seem to have MLB futures [...]

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