Cubs Minor League Free-Agents

The contracts of 18 Cubs minor league players expire on October 15th, and so each of the 18 is eligible to be a free-agent. The Cubs have until the day after the conclusion of the World Series to decide whether to add a potential minor league free-agent to their 40-man roster (which the player cannot refuse), offer the player a minor league contract for the following season (which the player can refuse), or just allow the player to walk away. Several of the 18 players were orginally signed by the Cubs and have completed their required seven years of minor league service (they are known as "Six-Year Minor League Free-Agents" because their contracts were automatically renewed by the Cubs for the maximum six seasons). Others are previously-released and/or itinerant minor league players from other organizations who were signed as free-agents last off-season or during the 2007 season, and these players become free-agents after every season as long as they are not on a MLB 40-man roster on October 15th. The Cubs would appear to have a need for experienced utility middle infelders at both AA and AAA in 2008 and an experienced catcher with some major league experience at AAA, so a couple or three of their FA infielders (Cates, Chirinos, Nelson, Rojas, and/or Salas) and a catcher (K. Hill and/or Mahoney) might be offered 2008 minor league contracts, although the player would have the option to decline the offer. The Cubs might also choose to look outside the organization to fill those needs. To entice a minor league free-agent to sign a 2008 minor league contract (especially a player with major league experience), the Cubs would probably have to offer a salary equivalent to a minor league split contract for a player on the 40-man roster ($60K+) plus an NRI (Non-Roster Intivation) to 2008 Spring Training. Last year, the Cubs convinced 6YMiLFA LHP Carmen Pignatiello to re-sign by offering him a slot in the Arizona Fall League plus an NRI to ST (and probably a $60K+ minor league salary). They did the same a year before that with 6YMiLFA 1B Brandon Sing. However, no such deal (AFL slot plus NRI) was arranged with any of the minor league FAs this time around, so that would tend to indicate that the Cubs aren't particularly interested in retaining any of the 18. OF Josh Kroeger is probably the best player on this year's Cubs MiLFA list, but I would think he will most-likely choose to sign elsewhere, probably someplace where he will get both an NRI to ST 2008 and a decent chance of making his new club's Opening Day 25-man roster as a 4th OF/LHPH. If the Cubs had been interested in retaining Kroeger, they probably would have added him to their 40-man roster in September. Side-armin' LHP Geoff Jones pitched great out of the bullpen at Tennessee, but he's 29 years old and has never pitched effectively above AA. He received a well-deserved mid-season promotion to Iowa, but was not effective pitching in AAA and was returned to AA Tennessee, where he finished the season. As with Kroeger, if the Cubs were interested in retaining Jones, they probably would have added him to the 40-man roster last month. Clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own minor league free-agents up until the end of the World Series, and then minor league FAs are perimitted to sign with any of the 30 MLB clubs if not added to their club's 409-man roster. MINOR LEAGUE FA IF NOT ADDED TO CUBS 40-MAN ROSTER BY END OF WORLD SERIES: Federico Baez, RHP Cory Bailey, RHP Gary Cates, INF Robinson Chirinos, INF (6YMiLFA) Jorge Cortes, OF Adam Harben, RHP (non-tendered by Cubs on 12/12/06, then was re-signed to minor league contract) Koyie Hill, C Ben Howard, RHP Geoff Jones, LHP Josh Kroeger, OF John Nelson, INF Mike Nannini, RHP Mike Mahoney, C Ryan O'Malley, LHP (released by Cubs on 11/20/06, then was re-signed to minor league contract) Carlos Rojas, INF (6YMiLFA) Issmael Salas, INF (6YMiLFA) Les Walrond, LHP John Webb, RHP
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Comments

Didn't Kroeger get hurt somewhere in July/August and missed a good chunk of time? I'm thinking that's why he didn't get any mention of a Sept callup.

Seems like the only guy worth a 40-man spot out of that list.

ROB G: Kroeger suffered a strained oblique in July, but was back in the I-Cubs lineup by mid-August.

still, only a few weeks to get his stroke back, oblique injuries seem to linger and we really had no reason to bring him up in Sept.

As I said, the only guy even worth trying to protect.

I would take a shot at Kroeger on the 40 man. He had a huge year at AA and started very well at AAA until he got hurt. He is young enough to be someone that may have finally found himself. Not everyone developes at the same pace. Worth a shot.

How did we even get Kroeger? I see he came through the Diamondback system, was waived in 2006, and then acquired by the Phillies to play in their system for one year. Then, Tennessee. Did we get him on waivers or sign him as a minor league free agent after Philly failed to protect him last year at this time?

While I agree with RobG that he seems to be the only guy on this list worthy of consideration, but I'm not sure we'd be doing him or us a service by putting him on the 40-man simply to have him play in AAA. If he doesn't have a realistic chance of making the team next year, we should let the guy have a chance somewhere else.

injuries happen and he won't get a starting gig anywhere. Not like he couldn't supplant Angel Pagan or something.

NL Central News...

Reds president says they're likely to pick up Dunn's option which gives Dunn's an NTC until June 15th and Cards sign Joel Pineiro to a two year deal.

Rob -- check your e-mail, please. The thecubreporterATverizon.net one; I don't know if you check your other addresses.

yeah, they've neutered Internet access here at work temporarily, will have to do it later.

Alright. It's nothing urgent.

in the meantime Carlos, please get your fantasy roster up in our Yahoo group before they take our fantasy league page down.

Anybody hear how much Dusty's contract is worth with the Reds?

I think Dusty is actually paying them to let him manage.

I already took screencaps of it. Do I need to upload them to the group?

I think Dusty is actually paying them to let him manage.
======
I thought Dusty was still working for the IRS until back taxes are settled.

under the Database link there's a table for 2007 rosters, easier to read and follow than the screencaps. Take you about 5 minutes to enter.

Geroge:
"Anybody hear how much Dusty’s contract is worth with the Reds?"

3 years/$10.5 million ($3.5 million per).

I believe there's a clause in our deal with Manny & MVN that has him traded to whichever blog represents Dusty's team. Have fun at "Redlegs Rundown"....

just messin'

Well, Dustbag Baker is dropping the same shit on Cincinnati he dumped on us four years ago--->

" Baker said “a number of players…called me about coming to Cincinnati.”

“I can attract players to come here,” Baker said.

"“I think (winning)'s a possibility because (the Reds) have a mixture of veterans and youth,” Baker said. “This is what I’ve always yearned for. Young players you can teach about how to play baseball and how to play winning baseball.”

So, besides Neifi and Freddie Bynum who are locks, who's called Dusty??

JJ?

hey, Scott Eyre said he chose the Cubs because of Dusty and his non-running spring training.

Does that count?

Wouldn't now be the time to trade JJ or Pagan to Cincy for Hamilton, Bailey, or Bruce?

btw-- thanks AZ Phil for this post.

Besides Kroeger, who do you like in this group? Chirinos seems worth keeping, no?

And Rojas is interesting because it looks like he actually learned to hit a little bit while at Iowa (Von Joshua's influence?)

rock on,

ROMERO

"Anybody hear how much Dusty’s contract is worth with the Reds?"

3/44

"So, besides Neifi and Freddie Bynum who are locks, who’s called Dusty??"

Lenny Harris

All kidding aside about Dusty in Cincy, I see Edwin Encarnacion as being the fellow most likely to be undervalued and underutilized by Dusty. Very streaky, sent to minors for corrections last year and year before, suspect defensively, and now he is out of options. The team as Dusty-friendly creditable "veteran" players like Freel, Keppinger and even Cantu.

I see Dusty losing patience with Encarnacion fairly early and we could possibly see Encarnarnation traded as a Spring Training roster move (like the Cubs dumping Juan Cruz). If Red management is smart (?) they should anticipate that coming and try to move Encarnacion this winter.

Not that I'd want Encarnacion on the Cubs particularly...I just see this happening to what was once one of the most highly-touted hitting prospects in the minors.

"So, besides Neifi and Freddie Bynum who are locks, who’s called Dusty??"

todd walker another one of those players besides eyre who publically pointed to dustbag as a reason.

fwiw...neifi and bynum werent...i guess its a lot funnier to pretend. its not so funny to look at who they were taking the place of playing and/or lack of proper backups to take their spots.

when you got the choice of 2-3 flavors of crap a contest to see which crap tastes less like crap doesnt sound like a contest i'd wanna get into.

...and no one "bit" on my comment about hairston playing better than theriot in a former thread...awww...lou should have played _________ (fill in the blank) instead.

Reading Baker's comments lets me re-live the happiness I experienced during his final press conference in Chicago. You know Dusty, I was pretty beat up, too when I realized my team had a manager that would play Neifi Perez out of respect to Neifi and with no respect for the fans, the team, and the act of winning.

And at this point, having seen work ethic and talent level of the Dustyites like Scott Eyre, I think it's safe to say that any player Dusty attracts is not someone I want so much as sniffing the ass of my 40 man roster.

Good luck, Cincinnati. You're going to need it.

"I see Dusty losing patience with Encarnacion fairly early and we could possibly see Encarnarnation traded as a Spring Training"

not to pick on this statement in particular cuz there's a few dozen in the posts the last few days to pick on...but c'mon...its one thing to not trust the man but too many people already have everyone under the age of 30 on the bench or shipped outta town before dusty's even got a pre-season roster.

how many people he "block" in SF/CHC? that's a list that wont take up too many pencil strokes and there's not a slam-dunk in the list anywhere.

think back to these blocked hot prospects...did dustbag not give them a try or is he a f'n genius for knowing what he had?

goes both ways and i wouldnt hurry to label him as bad or good in the area based on any criteria. yeah, he favors vet hitters, but he's not immune to youth when he gets something he likes in SF and CHC.

Can we please stop with the Dusty bashing already. You are all a bunch of haters and I'm tired of hearing about it. You're all acting like women who have dumped their boyfriends and found out he's now dating someone you know. Get over him. He's gone, bitches.

I agree, crunch. I didn't like Dusty as a manager, but he didn't hold back any guys that went elsewhere to become All-Stars. I don't think. I don't remember any, but, then again, I'm just the ghost of a monkey.

And it doesn't surprise me which TCR managers are the last to get their rosters up. Except for MikeC. That's a little surprising.

Lay off of the Dusty bashing. The dude knows his players.

well-played....

Chad Fox! Yeah that is proof positive that Dusty is a bad manager. If not for Dusty, Fox would have never blown out his arm.

I don't think I could split Dusty's players into who he made and who he ruined. I doubt anyone could, scientifically and objectively. Fox doesn't incriminate Dusty any more than pardon him. But he shouldn't have pitched two days in a row, dude.

A little simultaneous (OK also drunken) Dusty and Rosenthal ripping for your enjoyment (page 1)

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7334796

mannytrillo — October 15, 2007 @ 1:47 pm
Geroge:
“Anybody hear how much Dusty’s contract is worth with the Reds?”

3 years/$10.5 million ($3.5 million per).

Move over Pirates there's a new dumb kid in town. I literally laughed out loud and said 'Holy Fuck' when I saw that post. Maybe Krinsky is doing all of Hamilton's drugs to save him from himself.

But to honestly anser Geogre's question, I would say Dusty's contract is worth about negative $6 million a year to Reds as NPV.

"But he shouldn’t have pitched two days in a row, dude."

Why?

I've always been torn on the whole high pitch count thing but people really need to stop using Zambrano as an example of someone who could "handle" it.

Dusty will be glad Dunn's still under contract - all those strikeouts will never clog up the basepaths.

Time to start laying odds of Harang's first 120 - pitch start (sorry, those were cheap shots, couldn't resist).

"Dusty will be glad Dunn’s still under contract - all those strikeouts will never clog up the basepaths."

Dunn's OBP last year was .386. That would be good for second on the Cubs last year. As well, his 101 walks would have been almost 50% higher than Derrek Lee's 71.

Don't confuse strikeouts and walks.

Don't confuse humour with utter seriousness, Chad. Jeebus.

"but people really need to stop using Zambrano as an example of someone who could “handle” it"

i dont get it. its still early in his career and way to early to say for sure if he's an iron-man...but hell, he's not disproved it and his biggest injury issue seems to be a battle with the waterbottle.

i mean, i can think of a few reasons why you shouldnt use Z as an example on the grand scale...but as far as what he's shown so far he seems to be a good of a candidate as any pitcher out there to be called a true workhorse.

just wondering what approach you taking with that...

DC Tom — October 15, 2007 @ 11:57 am
How did we even get Kroeger? I see he came through the Diamondback system, was waived in 2006, and then acquired by the Phillies to play in their system for one year. Then, Tennessee. Did we get him on waivers or sign him as a minor league free agent after Philly failed to protect him last year at this time?

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DC TOM: Josh Kroeger was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 4th round of the 2000 draft and was considered one of their better prospects.

He was added to the D'backs 40-man roster in November 2003, and was optioned to AA in 2004 and to AAA in 2005.

He was claimed by the Phillies off Outright Waiver in January 2006 (the Diamondbacks needed his slot on their 40-man roster), and was optioned to AAA by the Phils out of ST 2006.

Kroeger had a bad year at AAA in 2006 and was outrighted to the minors in September when the Phillies needed his 40-man roster slot. And then he became a Six-Year Minor League FA on October 15th, 2006.

He signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in December 2006, but he did not get an NRI to ST. He had a good month of March at Minor League Camp, but was assigned to AA coming out of ST because the Cubs didn't have room for him at AAA (Iowa's 2007 Opening Day outfielders were Buck Coats, Felix Pie, and Angel Pagan).

The rather substantial drop in his effectiveness over the last 2 years. Was it the heavy workload? I don't know, but it could be or it could not be. Pointing to him as the gold standard of "hey look, he's fine, no worse for the wear" is dubious at best. Less control, more homers, drops in velocity, etc, etc....

As I said, could be the heavy workload, might be 800 other things, but he's hard to say he's better off for it or even no worse for all those innings and pitches he racked up. Cause he's looked considerably worse to me...

p.s. - coming from the guy who doesn't blame Baker for Wood or Prior or pays a whole lot of attention to pitch counts.

Romero — October 15, 2007 @ 2:18 pm
Wouldn’t now be the time to trade JJ or Pagan to Cincy for Hamilton, Bailey, or Bruce?

btw– thanks AZ Phil for this post.

Besides Kroeger, who do you like in this group? Chirinos seems worth keeping, no?

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

ROMERO: I would say of the 6YMiLFA infielders, Robinson Chirinos probably has the most upside, He just turned 23 in June (he was signed as a 16-year old out of Venezuela), and seems to be improving, albeit at a very slow, steady rate (he just finally got to AA at mid-season 2007).

Carlos Rojas is also only 23 (he'll be 24 on Opening Day 2008) and he is a good defensive SS with a plus-arm (he has a cannon), but he's a slow runner (especially for a middle-infielder) and a weak hitter with zero power. Sounds like an ideal AAA back-up middle-infielder to me.

Kroeger should be kept. Left handed bat with pop, patience, and potential to hit for power. He can play either corner spot in the outfield. He's certainly not a sure bet to turn into a productive major leaguer, but with the Cubs lack of good left-handed hitting, he could easily prove worth the 40-man roster spot.

Charlie — October 16, 2007 @ 4:33 pm
Kroeger should be kept. Left handed bat with pop, patience, and potential to hit for power. He can play either corner spot in the outfield. He’s certainly not a sure bet to turn into a productive major leaguer, but with the Cubs lack of good left-handed hitting, he could easily prove worth the 40-man roster spot.

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CHARLIE: I agree.

Josh Kroeger would be a good Plan "B" as a LHPH and back-up corner OF in case Daryle Ward chooses to exercise his option to be a FA (Ward's contract includes a "mutual option" for 2008, but the Cubs will likely want him back), or in case Ward isn't 100% at the start of next season (he had off-season thumb surgery).

The only negative about Kroeger is that he is out of minor league options, so if he doesn't make the Opening Day 25-man roster, he would have to clear Outright Waivers before he can be sent to the minors, and even if he did clearOutright Waivers, he can refuse the assignment and become a FA because he was outrighted previously in his career. But even with that possibility, there is really no good reason for the Cubs not to add Kroeger to the 40-man roster. He would be a good "insurance policy" in case Ward isn't available to start the '08 season..

Glad I found this blog... awesome info.

I go to about a dozen Iowa Cubs games per year, so it's fun to read about familiar names.

Cheers!
Phil from Iowa
http://www.maestrocoffeeroasters.com

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