Rounding Up the Usual Suspects

In an interview with the Sun Times yesterday, Lou Piniella discussed some of his ideas about the upcoming season, including a desire for added bullpen depth. Sun Times Cubs beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer speculated that in their quest to add depth, the Cubs would probably be looking at minor league free-agents. Of course, teams do that every year. Players on a minor league roster who have been previously released or non-tendered, players outrighted during the previous season who deferred their right to be a FA until after the season, and players who have played at least seven seasons in the minors, are eligible to be free-agents on October 15th of every season. There is a one-week period starting on October 15th where teams retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own minor league free-agents, and then beginning on October 22nd, minor league free-agents can sign with any of the 30 MLB clubs. Last year, the Cubs signed 23 minor league free-agents after October 22nd, nine in November (one of whom was selected in the Rule 5 Draft), none during the "frozen" period between November 20th and the Rule 5 Draft, and then 14 more (including two recently de-rostered Cubs players, one of whom had been released on 11/17, and the other who had been non-tendered on 12/12) after the Rule 5 Draft: MINOR LEAGUE FA SIGNED BY CUBS PRIOR TO 11/20/06 Nate Bland, LHP (11-06-06) - was released at end of ST Jason Anderson, RHP (11-09-06) - got NRI to ST, was released at end of ST Jorge Cortes, OF (11-09-06) Jason Smith, INF (11-09-06) - selected by TOR in Rule 5 Draft Koyie Hill, C (11-10-06) - got NRI to ST Geoff Jones, LHP (11-10-06) Ben Howard, RHP (11-12-06) - got NRI to ST John Webb, RHP (11-13-06) - got NRI to ST Mike Kinkade, 1B-OF (11-20-06) - got NRI to ST MINOR LEAGUE FA SIGNED AFTER 2006 RULE 5 DRAFT: Cory Bailey, RHP (12-11-06) Josh Kroeger, OF (12-11-06) Mike Mahoney, C (12-11-06) Ryan O’Malley, LHP (12-11-06) - got NRI to ST Adam Harben, RHP (12-17-06) - got NRI to ST Kevin Ciarrachi, C (12-17-06) - was released at end of ST Corey Myers, C-INF (12-17-06) - was released at end of ST Derek Wathan, INF (12-17-06) - was released at end of ST Tony Miller, OF (12-19-06) - was released at end of ST Edgar Omana, LHP (12-19-06) - was released at end of ST Val Pascucci, OF (01-05-07) - was released at end of ST Chris Amador, OF (01-12-07) Tomas Perez, INF (01-12-07) - got NRI to ST, was traded to LAD (AAA) at end of ST Bobby Hill, INF (01-26-07) - got NRI to ST, but flunked physical Only twelve of the 23 minor league free-agents signed by the Cubs last off-season survived Spring Training to play in the Cubs organization in 2007, and of the twelve "survivors," only Koyie Hill accrued any MLB service time. So expect the Cubs to sign upwards of two dozen minor league free-agents again this off-season, some prior to November 20th, and then some more after the Rule 5 Draft. They have already re-upped LHPs Les Walrond and Geoff Jones for '08 (and both will likely get an NRI to ST), but the Cubs have probably also already signed a few minor league FA from other organizations, too. However, clubs usually announce signings of minor league free-agents in batches. (Last year, the first "batch" of minor league free-agent signings was announced by the Cubs on November 16th). If the Cubs are indeed looking at minor league free-agents to add potential bullpen depth for the big club in 2008, let's "Round Up the Usual Suspects" and take a look at the Top 15 relievers with MLB experience who are available as minor league free-agents (listed alphabetically): RHP Francis Beltran Ryan Bukvich Franklyn German Kevin Gryboski Chad Harville Mike Koplove Blaine Neal Chad Paronto Cliff Politte Kirk Saarloos LHP Vic Darensbourg Ron Flores Ben Kozlowski Ricardo Rincon Mike Venafro Of the 15 pitchers listed above, those with Cub Connections include Francis Beltran (ex-Cubs prospect who was dealt away in the Nomar deal in 2005), Franklyn German (a member of Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell's bullpen in Detroit 2003-05), Vic Darensbourg (pitched for Jim Hendry when Hendry was managing in the Marlins system), and Mike Venafro (a member of Lou Piniella's bullpen in Tampa Bay in 2004). Anytime a club signs a minor league FA to a minor league contract with an NRI to ST, it's a crap shoot. But sometimes you can catch lightning in a bottle, so it's probably worth a shot. It doesn't cost much. But of course it's not something you can count on, either.


ditech banners are killing me...

FWIW, Here is F-Dome's Winkipedia. Mentions 12-15 mil of 3 years, and that Japanese think Iwamura is his closest comp. Give the job to Murton

Minor league FA - WOW - Sounds exciting.

Glendon Rusch was a good find using this method. Up until the multi-year contract.

Can we throw Kaz Matsui into the "Minor League Free Agent" category?

Cubs actually signed Rusch after he was dropped by the Rangers at the end of spring training. He didn't sign with the Cubs until April 5th...

Rays deny any Crawford trade talks...

sometimes you can catch lightning in a bottle, so it’s probably worth a shot. It doesn’t cost much.

Meh! What a waste of focus, time and money. We've had ninety-nine years of trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

Dealing with the Rays is like negotiating strategic arms with the Soviets..........I wish Jimbo luck.

Sure would like to see Crawford in CF and Fukudome in RF, but I wish Hendry luck.

The D-Rays deny there have been any talks. So who planted This->>>"It's been reported the Cubs are willing to move Rich Hill, Eric Patterson and a prospect for Crawford, the Rays' All-Star left fielder."

Cubs should offer them Marshall and as many non-Wilkens-drafted minor leaguers as they want and be done with it.

Paul Sullivan throws out some names in a Trib article that he thinks the Rays might be interested in and two hours later, it's a legit rumor that Hendry has offered them up...

Go shoddy journalism and the Internet...


about that Boras/Arod story..

Rosenthal (who I would classify as not-shoddy) lets us know that it would be in direct violation of the CBA for the Yanks and Arod to negotiate without Boras. Arod would have to fire Boras first, although I'm sure there are ways to work around that.

this is old but bears repeating...

the guide to the offseason rumor mill....

I'm shocked. You're telling me that you can't believe there is any fire behind the smoke when a Paul Sullivan or a Phil Rogers write "The Cubs could try to pull off a trade for Tampa Bay's..."

Shocked I say.

The rumor has to pass thru TCR before they get to write anything with some reality behind it (right, Navin?)


A-Rod reaches out to the Yankees with a statement confirming it on

Me thinks this was a brilliant ploy by Boras/Arod to get the Yankees back into negotiations to drive up the price.

The Rays - other than Kazmir - and the great GM, Steve Phillips engineered this trade - who has traded with them? George Altman is spot-on. They don't spend money. They always want the moon without seemingly willing to give near-equal value in return.

Screw them. New unis, tiny payroll, and Florida summer baseball. They still are the laughing stock of MLB. And the owners will continue to laugh all the way to the bank.

well if Arod stays in the AL, better for the Cubs at least. Now if we can't get in on Cabrera let's do what we can to make sure the Angels get him.

Yes, screw the Rays! How dare they refuse to trade us their best player for guys we don't really want? Cedeno not good enough? Whatever.

Minor note: they have denied that there have been talks, so they haven't actually refused to trade, but still...

I know it is a snowball in Haities probablility, but what about Bonds? Uncle Lou has some sort of Cialis hard-on for a left handed bat. What makes more sense in an "on the field" production standpoint?

1) 1 year or Bonds for 10 million
2) 4/60 for Fuckyoudome

Bonds it is in my book

total change of subject....

i thought i heard when the cubs first brought up the re-sodding that the cubs would actually lower the playing field by a foot or this true?

this would make wrigley more of a pitchers park if true (harder for balls to clear the wall, harder for balls to reach the wall)....anyone know if it is? the pics i've seen don't make it look any lower which is different from what i remember hearing originally.

"snowball in Haities"

well, while that snowball wouldn't last long in the would last even less long in the real location of that phrase, "Hades" or the Greek mythological hell (more or less...)

snowball in Haiti

Haiti is an island in the Caribbean.

Hades is where Bonds is from.

What a bunch of Haders...

Green Lantern: The OF wall heights will remain the same. From my understanding, the crown was in the middle of the field and down toward the dugouts/home plate.

But that means that if the middle of the field is lowered, home plate will be lowered as well (meaning a slightly longer distance to the wall for hitters if the wall remains the same height). However, and I don't know the geometry of it, but there's no way moving home plate down a foot will change Wrigley from a hitter's park to a pitcher's park.

Haiti is a country on the island of Hispanola, which it shares with The Baseball Factory, aka The Dominican Republic.

Haiti = Hades? Unfortunately, it's not far from the truth.

Green Lantern-
Yes I believe I read the same thing, about how the field was going to be about 1 foot lower. However, that is not going to have any impact on how many balls reach the wall. Still the same distance from home plate to the wall. The wall would theoretically be one foot higher, so it may impact how many balls clear the wall.

I heard that the field was being lowered also. It may make it harder to hit the ball over the wall, but not to just reach it.

I'm a repeater.

From the pics at BCB, the field has not been lowered at all. The crown has been removed, making the field flat, but overall the field has not been lowered.

My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw the field lowered.

Is it Feb. yet?

It's not February till Lou has his MLFA bullpen

Sheffield/Cornelia — November 14, 2007 @ 4:29 pm
It’s not February till Lou has his MLFA bullpen

Any someone to hit lefthanded,Damnit!!!!!! Even if they suck

if you read the message closely you get this quote:

"Prior to entering into serious negotiations with other clubs..."
I didn't think Prior was a free agent yet.

(playing 'I am the Walrus' backwards and still trying to hear one of the Beatles say, "I buried Paul")

Drugs are bad..............mkayyyyyyy

Why are there going to be MILFs in the bullpen? And why didn't anyone think of this before?

The statement issued by Cubs public relations said the perimeter of the field would remain at its present height--- not lowered to accomodate another row or two of seats.. As previously noted, the field was crowned by over a foot at the center so that rain would run off to the perimeter.

Word be the Arod deal is done via XM radio....

Didn't hear it myself though..

Similar to a retractable roof, the Cubs should have an adjustable playing field -- lower it when the other team bats, raise it when the Cubs bat.

If so, I will cease feeling sorry for the poor son of a bitch when he's booed. Glutton for motherfucking glutton, but still...

Headline: Crist wants to help Rays build new ballpark

what's next, Pope to manage Rays?

Oh sure, now that they dropped the devil, Crist is all about the Rays. Whatever happened to 'loving' your enemies?

looks like 10/280 with incentives that could take it up to $300

Reason # 15 for not paying a manager $3.5 milllion a year:

'Lou Piniella discussed some of his ideas about the upcoming season, including a desire for added bullpen depth.'

After that I fully expect Pinhead to come to spring training with a bananna in his mouth and wearing a diaper.

Crews have removed about 7,500 tons of dirt and will lower the playing surface about 14 inches. The work is being done because Wrigley was the only Major League ballpark that still had a "crown" to drain rainwater off the field.

aw fuck, I'll bite...

What's the issue with the bullpen depth comment?

Is that irony? You're calling him an idiot in the process of misspelling banana? Or wait, are you calling him an ape (apes can's spell very well) or a baby (neither can they)?

Do apes and babies prefer bullpen depth? My daughter can't spell banana, BUT she loves bullpen depth. the way, my daughter is a baby, not an ape.

Does she like bananas?

I gotta say...Lou does look a bit like an ape, though.

She's just beginning to eat food, so we haven't gotten to bananas yet. She LOVES banannas though.

Do apes and babies prefer bullpen depth?
I must be dense. I thought the Lou comment about bullpen depth was a Rodeo reference.

mmmm, bananas....loaded with potassium.

or does the Wrigley field renovation lower the bullpen 14 THAT is my idea of getting real bullpen depth.

I sat through that entire clip...please tell me, what a car spinning it's wheels has to do with a bullpen?

Potassium contains 4 of my favorite words: pot, ass, I, and um.

new rodeo clip now, with a real bullpen...the car spinning was a Isuzu Rodeo from Lou's backyard in Tampa...well logic isn't a strong suit here...but I can free associate with the best of em.

if lou would let a guy go more than 70-90 pitches a bit more often the pen wouldnt be stretched as much.

his micromanaging of SP to enable a pinch hitter to take a gamble is one he took a whole lot last year. heck, sometimes it wasnt even to facilitate a PH.

be careful, most 14 inches links on this site go to MVN moderation

Ah, now I see. Makes perfect sense.

maybe that's why our pitchers stayed healthy...

nah, fuck it, throw them out there until they can't feel their fingers.

nah, fuck it, throw them out there until they can’t feel their fingers.
I can fix that...but the rehab is hell.

btw...not to get into the physics of it too much, but moving the field down by a foot WILL make it harder for balls to reach the wall. think of the extreme....if the infield were 40 feet below the outfield, the ball would have to be hit harder/higher to get the same spot on the wall. it will make it harder to hit the wall on the fly, go over the wall, or even get further in the outfield.

again, it won't be by much but "baseball is a game of inches" blah blah blah. won't change anything dramatically but will make a difference on a few balls over the course of a season.

also, i agree, from the pics it does look like it will be exactly the same level.

so Derrek Lee's warning track shots won't even make the warning track? Nuts...

yeah, like im the only person who thought those 70-90 pitch outtings were strange.

sorry, not buying into that...

we're talking about a pretty pronounced early pulling...not isolated incidences of a guy throwing 80 pitches after a few 100+ pitch outings.

im very directly talking about a long string of guys being pulled early possibly adding a bit of stress on that pen.

i cant be the only person who's seen this "huh? that's it for ________ (SP not named Z)?"

and please notice im not even tackling the Z postseason thing...that's a whole separate line of thinking than what im touching on.

Cubster -- re # 37:

Put away your "I am the Walrus". The reputed phrase "I buried Paul" occurs during the fade-out of "Strawberry Fields Forever": One hears the slowed-down voice of John Lennon saying, (apparently) "i BURIED paul" (trying to indicate the relative volume -- the "Paul" fades out).

In fact, John was saying "cranberry sauce". This was one of his nonsense statements that he often made in count-ins. While Paul would do your standard One - two - three - four (e.g., the beginning of "I Saw Her Standing There"), John can be heard doing silly count-ins such as, "sugar plum fairy, sugar plum fairy" in outtakes included in the Beatles Anthology CDs. The "cranberry sauce" phrase was one of these jabberwocky moments of John Lennon.

For all you "Paul is dead" conspiracy theorists, sorry for for throwing the cold water on one of the cherished clues. BTW, "I am the Walrus" does figure in the "Paul is dead" mythology but not for any phrases hidden in the song itself -- whether played forward or backward.

non-baseball thread jack but radio report (via rotoworld) that Kobe nixed a Prince, Hamilton, Amir Johnson(?) and 1st round pick trade to the Pistons.


Yeah I don't think he pulled guys super-early to save their arms but it was nice benefit to have a healthy staff for once on the other hand.

Doesn't every team want bullpen depth? Bullpens are notoriously unpredictable, I guess I don't see the bad in wanting more arms to draw from...

oh, i think his statement was harmless enough. and no, i dont think he "ruined" the pen. but yeah, i think he has too short of a hook.

he spent a lot of time early complaining about the pen while still keeping guys on a short hook. it seems that a good pen is something lou values. he'll get his arm (wood or etc) more likely and it should be all good.

the pen has had a hell of a workout the past 2 seasons...only 2 seasons ago the SP sucked ass while last season it wasnt that bad (though not perfect).

Thanks for the listing and links to data about possible minor leaguers to pursue. If you look more closely at the pitchers' minor/major league records, ERA, and innings pitched, only the following individuals actually might be worthwhile for the Cubs to investigate further. If one can't accrue a decent in minor ERA that person is not likely to produce at the majors. Similarly, some have mixed major records but for a modest investment may pay off. Here's the interesting ones:

Mike Koplove

Vic Darensbourg
Ron Flores
Ben Kozlowski
Ricardo Rincon

healthy and rested for game 4!

"...Kobe nixed a Prince, Hamilton, Amir Johnson(?) and 1st round pick trade to the Pistons."

Nah. He's coming to the Bulls.

CRUNCH: "...yeah, like im the only person who thought those 70-90 pitch outtings were strange."

Well, then is Z rested now for game 4?

GREEN LANTERN: Yes, a "game of inches" with new help coming from instant replay!

It won't be farther to the wall with the field lowered. The same spot on the wall will be one foot higher. The bottom of the doors will now be one foot off the ground.

Lowering the field is to protect Lee's ribs.

How about Griffey Jr? Murton could plat the other 155 games after Jr runs into the wall.

From Chicago Sun Times ....

``I’m not going to get into that,’’ he said. ``I don’t know who said what [about wanting me gone]. I’m with a great manager over there in Detroit [Jim Leyland], and I’ll learn under his tutelage and his system and go from there. ``I gave [the Cubs] everything I had. I don’t have any hard feelings toward anybody. I went over there and did everything I was capable of doing and played my ass off every day. I did all I could do.’’

Jones hit .285 in each of his two seasons with Chicago, including rebounding in 2007 to lead the team in hitting after the all-star break at .332 after regaining an everyday job, in center field, when rookie Felix Pie failed in repeated chances to hold the position.

Jones, who averaged 23 homers over his previous five seasons, hit only five in 2007 but suggested that was a one-season aberration.

``Our scouts really like him and how he fits because he’s a left-handed hitter that can play all three spots in the outfield,’’ Leyland told The Associated Press. ``But I think it was a great trade for both teams because Infante can really help a National League team because he can play short, second, third and in the outfield.’’

Pretty old, SCF. Here, that is.

Again... the entire field is not being lowered. Only the "crown" is being removed.

No crowning their ass anymore?

No A-Rod to the NL ....Hoorah!!!!

Agent Scott Boras rep just took a major blow. A-Rod showed him no respect and reached out to Yankees & whatever the deal is Yankees will deduct $21M due from Texas to pay remainder of A-Rod's salary but lost when Scot Boras had A-Rod opt out of his contract. To think you interrupted the World Series and A-Rod is still a Yankee!!!

Agent Scott Boras rep just took a major blow. A-Rod showed him no respect and reached out to Yankees & whatever the deal is Yankees will deduct $21M due from Texas to pay remainder of A-Rod’s salary but lost when Scot Boras had A-Rod opt out of his contract. To think you interrupted the World Series and A-Rod is still a Yankee!!!

Received info Re: Arod from ESPN's BusterOlney just now..

thanks for the Beatles refresher course Pepi

and of course the clue that Paul's barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road

Must be in honor of their reunion tour but just found out that XM Radio has made channel 59 all Led Zeppelin (XM Led)...


Not so fast it looks like the new deal will be 280/10 with incentives that can make it worth 300 million.

Hope this isn't 3/44, but the local Denver news reported last night that the Washington Wild Things of the Independent Frontier League have offered Barry Bonds a contract for the 2008 season.

Apparently the deal calls for the IFL maximum base salary of $1200 per month, plus he gets a private king room on all road trips. He will also be able to reach certain bonus levels for breaking any Frontier League offensive records.

Yeah, the whole inches, harder to hit it out argument ONLY applies if homeplate is lowered. I'm not hearing that it is, so there should be no effect.

Yes, but ground rule doubles will be lessened.

If they're lowering the field 14 inches to get rid of the crown, they're probably going to lower it in the middle but not so much near the wall, no?

what grade is this?

Speaking of the usual suspects, a rather large (14%) chunk of the ML free agent list once wore blue pinstripes....

Paul Bako, c
Corey Patterson, of
Matt Clement, rhp
Kenny Lofton, of
Neifi Perez, ss
Rondell White of
Jerry Hairston, inf-of
Sammy Sosa, of
Cliff Floyd, of
Jason Kendall, c
Steve Trachsel, rhp
Kerry Wood, rhp
LaTroy Hawkins, rhp
Luis Gonzalez, of
Ramon Martinez, inf
Ray King,lhp
Antonio Alfonseca, rhp
Jon Lieber, rhp
Michael Barrett, c
Damian Miller, c.

"What’s the issue with the bullpen depth comment?"

The guy has six potential closers in his bullpen and he want's more depth?

Monkeys can't be housebroken, so if you have one, like Pinhead, you need to put them in diapers or clean up a lot of shit (like 3 -4 year contracts to JC Romero and Latroy Hawkins).

Fukudome still thinking about Japan, probably won't make any decisions until after Turkey Day.

Hmm...6 closers?
Howry, Marmol, Wuertz, ???, ???, ????

I assume you're counting Wood and Dempster, Eyre too?


How many teams in baseball can say the same thing?

Eyre is a potential closer? And Dempster will have a hard time being a closer and a starter.

And Wood isn't currently on the roster.

For those that didn't catch: JH was on WGN last night with Dave Caplan. Cap played a sound bite of Lou stating all of the areas the team needs improvement - LH power, corner OF, more starting pitching, better obp people, Pie needs to have his swing shortened to make contact more frequently and start slapping the ball, etc.

Hendry said that was quite a list, and wished he was , "6'2 and skinny, too, but we'll see how far we can go with what Lou is asking for."

He also said that ideally, he'd like to have a balanced ratio of trades to FA signings.

Oh - re signing of Wood - it is not a "done deal" by any stretch. Conversations continuing - that's all.

Paul Sullivan in Chicago Tribune 10/26/07:

"Once the field is lowered 14 inches and leveled, Bossard will fill in the area with the finest Kansas City clay, then install his own patented drainage system with 1 1/2 inches of drain tile before covering it with four inches of pea gravel and 10 inches of soil"

So to summarize, once the project is finished, the field will NOT be lowered 14 inches:

STEP 1. Field gets lowered 14 inches as sod and dirt is removed. (This has been completed)

STEP 2. Brossard's custom draining system is installed, (Hasn't been completed, probably about to start or might even be in progress)

STEP 3. Four inches of pea gravel and ten iches of soil (that's 14 inches total) cover the drainage system. (Hasn't been completed).

So the field level will ultimately remain the same. Only the mid-field crown (formerly used for drainage) will be lowered.

2. Brossard’s custom draining system is installed, (Hasn’t been finished, probably about to start or might even be in progress)

I believe it is already in, or at least in process, as sod has already been going in according to pics at BCB.

But who knows... we know this - the crown is being removed, the field is not actually being lowered, and Wrigley will FINALLY have a big league drainage system.

AZ Phil, are things at Fitch pretty lonely now?

Hagsag — November 15, 2007 @ 8:50 am
AZ Phil, are things at Fitch pretty lonely now?


HAGSAG: You got that right!

dave — November 15, 2007 @ 8:49 am

I believe it is already in, or at least in process, as sod has already been going in according to pics at BCB.

But who knows… we know this - the crown is being removed, the field is not actually being lowered, and Wrigley will FINALLY have a big league drainage system.


DAVE: That's good news. I know Bossard said he hoped to finish the project in three-to-four weeks (instead of the usual six-to-seven weeks), and since the project started the week of October 22nd, it could indeed very well be completed this week.

They're certainly working hard at it. I live in the neighborhood, and there's always trucks going into or out of the right-field gate onto Sheffield.

Should note there's also plenty of gapers trying to take a first-hand look's pretty bizarre to see the field, something you always imagine as lush and green, becoming a construction site with giant trucks all over it.

I know this could unleash howls of execration, but the one name that jumps off the free agent list of ballplayers who used to wear Cubbie blue who actually might fit a need is Corrie Patterson.

He's only 28, hits left handed. Can play center or right. Has a more than decent arm and occasionsl power. He stole more than 80 bases in the past two years while cutting down on his strikeouts by a full one-third. I know he's not going to have on OBP of more than .320. But possibly letting him hit lower in the order, which he should have been doing from day one, will make him more productive. Put him in the mix with Pie and Fuld and see what happens.

non-baseball thread jack but radio report (via rotoworld) that Kobe nixed a Prince, Hamilton, Amir Johnson(?) and 1st round pick trade to the Pistons.



What sport is that, curling?

Richard N. — November 14, 2007 @ 8:00 pm
Thanks for the listing and links to data about possible minor leaguers to pursue. If you look more closely at the pitchers’ minor/major league records, ERA, and innings pitched, only the following individuals actually might be worthwhile for the Cubs to investigate further. If one can’t accrue a decent in minor ERA that person is not likely to produce at the majors. Similarly, some have mixed major records but for a modest investment may pay off. Here’s the interesting ones:

Mike Koplove

Vic Darensbourg
Ron Flores
Ben Kozlowski
Ricardo Rincon


RICHARD: Originally I had ex-Diamondbacks LHP Randy Choate listed as one of the Top 15 minor league free-agent relievers, but before I finished writing the post, Choate signed a major league contract with the Brewers and was added to their 40-man roster.

Choate is pitching very well in the Dominican Winter League, but it's very unusual for an MLB club to sign a minor league FA and add him to their 40-man roster.

Choate is the only minor league FA to sign with a new team and get added to the 40 so far this year, but four other minor league FA re-signed with their old teams over the past month and were added to the 40-man roster:

RHP Adam Harben (CUBS)
RHP Warner Madrigal (LAA)
OF Joe Mather (STL)
1B Brad Nelson (MIL)

About Adam Harben:

Harben was acquired from MIN as the PTBNL in the Phil Nevin deal (August 2006). He had been a rotation starter at AA for the Twins, and was on the 40-man roster.

While pitching in the AFL for the Mesa Solar Sox a year ago, Harben was diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament. After undergoing TJ surgery, Harben was non-tendered by the Cubs on 12/12/06, but was re-signed to a 2007 minor league contract (with an NRI to ST) that gave him the opportunity to re-hab at Fitch Park throughout the '07 season.

Harben eventually got three rehab starts with the AZL Cubs in August, and he looked good. And although he had the opportunity to go elsewhere as a minor league FA, he re-signed with the Cubs for 2008 and was added to the 40-man roster.

This in today from MLB Trade Rumors

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has a new colum up this morning; let's check it out.

The Carl Crawford/Cubs thing won't die. Cafardo says the Cubs are after him, possibly offering a package starting with Rich Hill and Carlos Marmol. This rumor originated with Bruce Levine a few days ago, though Roger Mooney dismissed it yesterday.

****Please don not give up Marmol!! Any relief pitcher besides Marmol...NO!!!!! ****

If it's STARTING with Hill and Marmol, that tells you enough about what a bunch of dbags the Rays are to trade with.

Yomuri Giants are now chasing Fukudome:

He wont make a decision until after Thanksgiving. It is starting to look like Jimbo will have to hit the trade market for his RF, and if that the case I have two words of advice for him for him: Andre Either or if he is willng to trade Zeus for one Matt Kemp wouldnt be bad.

I know he’s not going to have on OBP of more than .320.

Even that is a bit generous, don't you think?

He had an OBP of .302 last year, and a career OBP of .298. That is awful.

And power? He has only had two seasons where he had a SLUG over .450.

There is no question that he is fast and a decent base stealer. But he is a bad hitter.

I would also say that Pie is a better defensive player.

Are you really interested in a guy coming of a line of .269/.304/.386? And a career line of .258/.298/.414?

(he = Corey Patterson)

No point in signing CP, since Pinhead seems determined to turn Pie into him, anyway.

Sandberg's team got outscored by 37 runs but was three games above .500. That makes him the Cubs organizational manager of the year in my book. How long is Pinhead's contract?

doesn't sound like much of a rumor about HIll/Marmol but if they can make it Marshall/Marmol/Epat or Cedeno that wouldn't be too bad.

Rob G., I think the Cubs would make that trade in a heartbeat. If only Tampa Bay wasn't SO UNREASONABLE!!!!!!!!!!

random rumor musings...

Rockies interested in Barrett or Kendall if Torrealba walks
Cordero looking for 4/43
Rosenthal says Cubs showing interest in Jenkins along with 4 other teams

fwiw, Hendry on WGN

- loves Hill, would take a "great" player to move him
- wants Wood back, would like Wood, Marmol, Howry at the end of the pen
- Pie/Fuld for CF because of D and speed
- MUST get lefty RF with high avg/high OBP
- another lefty bench bat with speed
- some nonsense about trying to trade for a "great" player

I suppose if he considers Crawford a great player then those Hill rumors make sense. No way in hell you trade both Hill and Marmol though for Crawford.

I'd rather he just get Miggy from Balt, sign Fukudome and call it an offseason. And resign Kerry...

Fuld has juvenile diabetes? I imagine that was in an AZ Phil post somewhere and I missed it.

If we trade Rich Hill for Carl Crawford, I will puke.

"I’d rather he just get Miggy from Balt,"

i'm down with this but what will it take. Again, I'm not willing to give up rich hill unless it netted us a Miggy Cabrera.

if the Cubs are willing to take all of Miggy's contract, probably not that much. O's said there more interested in position players right now.

Some combo of Pie, E-Pat, Colvin, Cedeno to start. Considering our position players are kind of sucky, probably have to throw in some pitching.

Cubster, what about the other clues on that LP cover? Cigarette in hand, license plate with "28-IF"...

And Pepi, didn't Paul count it out as "One, two, three, FUCK!"

Andre Either or if he is willng to trade Zeus

Check out the #1 comp for Mr. Either. The grass isnt necissarily greener

I was afraid that Jenkins would pop up at some point. He seems to be Hendry kind of guy (see Burnitz and Floyd), i.e, lefty hitters well past their prime. Crawford and Fukedome talk, we'll probaly end up with Jenkins and some BS about price being too high, or they didn't want to come here or whatever. I agree, I would take Tejada in a heartbeat if not to expensive prospect wise. Even Tejada at this point is a huge upgrade at SS. Let's hope McPail makes the same types of trades he made when he was here.

just letting you guys know that I wasted a good hour reading up on the "Paul is Dead' theory on wikipedia and the net since you guys mentioned it. Thanks...

The way the McFail bent Hendry over in the Trachsel deal. He should be working for the DRays. Hendry owes his job to McFail. So I imagine any trade will be overly one sided. Gallagher,Patterson,Ceda,Donaldson for Miggy would be what we would be looking at.


Check out the #2 most similar by age for Ethier. He is undoubtedly a Hendry target.

Olney says Dodgers making a big play for Rowand....

Baltimore Sun saying the O's discussed Kemp, Broxton and Kershaw for Bedard. Also reported that O's are looking to just give an extension to Bedard.

Zambrano #5 in the cy young, peavy unanimous (good job voters).

what a weird year Z had.

almost sign extension, awful, punch teammate, great, sign extension, awful, get booed at home, good again.

never would have thought after the first three that he would have finished #5 in cy young voting.
here's to a better and more normal (with Z? yeah right) season in 2008.

3 third place votes for Z...

Peavy, Webb, Penny, Harang, Z, Hamels, Smoltz, Valverde, Franics

Those comps on Ethier are spooky.

Tejada is signed through 2009 and is almost certain to be traded. The Orioles are working on trying to extend Bedard's contract, so MacPhail probably simply wants to shift the $24M or so owed to Tejada right to Bedard.

There was an interesting, unattributed report in the Baltimore Sun the other day that the offers the O's are getting for Tejada now are significantly less than the offers made to acquire Tejada prior to the trade deadline this season. It's nice to see that MacPhail has not lost his touch.

For whatever reason, folks in Baltimore like Korey, so a package involving Eric Patterson and Gallagher might be enough to get it done.

fwiw, NL VORP ratings..

Peavy 77
Webb 66.1
Penny 61.7
Oswalt 59.8
Hudson 59.7
Smoltz 56.7
Harang 53.8
Hamels 48.8
Cain 47.6
Lilly 46.7
Young 45.8
Z 43.5
Snell 42.8
Francis 42.7
Gorzelanny 42.6
Billingsley 40.7
Hill 40.7

Bet no one guesses who was the top NL leader in VORP amongst full-time relievers (hence excluding Billingsley)?

I'll bite, Rob G...Marmol? If not him, then Corpas?

Torrealba to the Mets for 3 years...

Barrett, LoDuca, Kendall and Barajas out there for the Marlins and Rockies now. Padres had some interest in Kendall as a backup I believe.

no and no....

The difference between Ethier and Murton is that Ethier is a lefty who can play right. Which is the antithesis of Matt Murton.

re 133. I'm going to say it wasn't Derrick Turnbow. And I'm still waiting for all of you Turnbow bandwagon jumpers to admit that I was right about him.

Article in Baseball Prospectus today by Mike Plugh (who lives in Japan to write about baseball there, it seems), on Japanese prospects ready to make the jump.

Not really any news on Fukudome, but notes that the elbow surgery rehab "went extremely well", and indicates that Chunichi offered $20M over 4 years and that Fukudome would earn "significantly more in the United States."

Has this to say about Kuroda, the 32-year old pitcher:

He's not Daisuke Matsuzaka, but Kuroda a very strong power pitcher with a low to mid-90s fastball and a wicked forkball. In addition, he features a plus shuuto, something like a screwball, as well as an effective change. Even if he only pans out as a third or fourth starter in the majors, he will give you innings, work deep into games, and he should be fairly consistent start to start.

What's interesting about all of the "prospects" listed is that all of them are in their 30's. It seems that Japanese teams are trying to lock in their stars for a few more years than they did earlier. Ichiro came to US when he was 27, Kaz Matsui came to the US when he was 28, Hideki Matsui when he was 29, and Iwamura when he was 28. Fukudome at 30 is the youngest listed.

3/33 for higher...

answer is Heath Bell btw...

Chad — November 15, 2007 @ 1:45 pm
The difference between Ethier and Murton is that Ethier is a lefty who can play right. Which is the antithesis of Matt Murton.

So it would be worth trading Marmol to get Ethier because of his lefthandedness?

not saying that Dr. Aaron. Just saying that Ethier is a much better fit to the Cubs than Murton.

I will stand by Chad's expertise when it comes to Dodgers players. Remember how excited he was when we landed All-Star Izturis?

Ooooh buuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrnnnned!

I didnt say Either is god's gift to baseball, but compared to the list of guys that Hendry might go after in a trade if he wants a atheletic lefty, he is the best:


Cold Neal. Cold.

If you play the end of "I'm So Tired" on White Album Lennon says,"Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him..."

Wait a minute chifan, how is Ethier better than both Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew?


Didn't he just reup with them? I think they want him to stay a while.

Re: 148 --

Jacos!! Stop the Madness!! Once you start, there's no end to it!

McCartney had a secretary named Lennon, and Lennon had a secretary named McCartney.

Re: #124 --

Sorry 'bout that, Rob. When I first started checking out the clues ("Turn me on, Dead Man" -- Revolution 9 ref -- "Number Nine" phrase played backwards) it was like a good ghost story -- gave me that spooky, scary feeling. The subject still gives me the grins.

Oh, & Ranch (#121) -- I interpreted it as, “One, two, three, FAWH!”
I put it down to equal parts excitement and Liverpool accent.

Brick -- You mean they took each other's dictation behind the grassy knoll?

-- or in the Ford theatre box?

Lincoln once spent a night in Monroe, Maryland

Kennedy once spent a night in Marlyn...

153- Me too, Joe.

If you hold a mirror up the Bass drum on SGT Pepper album Cover it reads


jacos -- you might want to put out a daily PID (Paul Is Dead) clue during the off season. Will keep everyone entertained while we wait for spring training for the next few years...

So, you guys are suggesting that my wife dragged me to a dead guy's concert 2 years ago? That she paid $120/ticket to see a dead guy? Who was the guy parading around on stage? It looked a lot like Paul. At least it looked a lot like the Paul that I have always seen and heard since I've been alove (1973)...

The theory (if I remember from MY late insomniac's night on the Web) is that a winner of a Paul McCartney lookalike concert took his place after the accident.

So Jace, the man you saw was very much alive. But he was not Paul.

Jace -- Your DOB -- that's what the problem is. According to the Wikipedia article, " 'Paul is dead' is an urban legend alleging that Paul McCartney of the British rock band The Beatles died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike and sound-alike.

You were born after the switch was made. Sorry to break the news to you...

...and of course that should have been "a Paul McCartney lookalike contest." The lookalike concerts began shortly thereafter (e.g. #159).

Technically the Beatles quit touring after 1966, another clue the new Paul, William Campbell, not good live.

You know, come to mention it, I had a crap last week that, when I was all done, I looked down into the toilet, and it spelled out "Someone needs to kick Ringo's ass" I really didn;t think anything of it hen, but now that you guys have opened my eyes, I can see now that it wasn't just a very well worded coincidence...

this Paul look-a-like winner has to be the luckiest motherf*** on the planet....

Other than Jim Hendry....

"Wait a minute chifan, how is Ethier better than both Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew?"


Crawford- Too much talent to give up
Drew- Too much money and given his ALCS and WS performance I doubt they will dump him and probably want too much in return also.

I honestly think Either would only cost us Wuertz and Murton.

"Didn’t he just reup with them? I think they want him to stay a while."


Beane recently said he might blow up the team if he feels they cant be competive next year.

So you meant "better options for the Cubs". Got it, just wanted to clarify.

JACE: You have a real knack for toilet references, don't you.

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  • Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?

    Hagsag 2 hours 19 min ago view
  • It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.

    Still impressive.

    John Beasley 2 hours 21 min ago view
  • Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.

    He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.

    billybucks 9 hours 16 min ago view
  • Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.

    Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.

    billybucks 9 hours 20 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

    neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.

    crunch 9 hours 36 min ago view
  • Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?

    billybucks 9 hours 39 min ago view
  • Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump

    jacos 9 hours 43 min ago view
  • Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.

    billybucks 9 hours 47 min ago view
  • j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.

    felix pena, your turn.

    crunch 9 hours 49 min ago view
  • it's been a while since joe's over-managed a's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.

    crunch 10 hours 35 min ago view
  • Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.

    John Beasley 12 hours 51 min ago view
  • barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.

    crunch 13 hours 13 min ago view
  • Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?

    Brick 13 hours 22 min ago view
  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 14 hours 23 min ago view
  • rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.

    Fwiw, he can give up 1 ER in 5 innings (or more) and still be under 2. If he gives up 2 ER, he would need throw 9 IP to keep it under 2. 1 ER in 4 IP would give him an ERA of exactly 2.

    In terms of WAR, it's still Scherzer by a lot (6.4), then Cueto (5.6), Lester (5.5), Kershaw (5.5), Roark (5.4), and then Hendricks (5.1)

    Rob G. 15 hours 37 min ago view
  • Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.

    billybucks 16 hours 21 min ago view