Independent Living

For those of you who follow the Cubs minor leagues, you may be interested to know that getting released isn't necessarily the End of the Baseball World as it once was.

While 1B Brian Dopirak (now at Hi-A with Toronto Blue Jays), RHP Joel Santo (at Hi-A with Houston Astros), SS Carlos Rojas (at AA with Baltimore Orioles), and RHP Bobby Brownlie (with Cleveland Indians at AA in 2007, now with Washington Nationals at AA) were able to sign with MLB minor league affiliates after getting released by the Cubs, many other ex-Cubs prospects have signed deals with independent professional baseball clubs for 2008.  

Independent professional leagues are located from California to New England, from Florida to Canada, and more than two dozen ex-Cub minor leaguers and (in some cases) one-time Baseball America Top Ten prospects currently populate independent league rosters.

Playing in an independent league isn't necessarily a dead end, either. RHP Tanner Watson (curently a rotation starter at AA Tennessee) and RHP Dumas Garcia (currently the co-closer at Daytona) were signed by the Cubs last year out of independent leagues, and (for example) LHP George Sherrill (BAL), LHP Joe Thatcher (SD), and RHP Nelson Figueroa (NYM) got back to the minor leagues (and eventually got to the big leagues) after pitching in independent professional leagues.  

Here are the ex-Cubs presently on the rosters of independent league teams (and I wouldn't be surprised to see recently-released INF Ryne Malone and RHP Ryan Meyers join them):

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION:
Albenis Machado, SS (El Paso)
Derek Schermerhorn, 1B (Wichita)
Brandon Sing, 1B (Pensacola)
John Webb, RHP (Pensacola) 

ATLANTIC LEAGUE:
Gary Cates, SS (Camden)
Nic Jackson, OF (Camden)
Richard Lewis, 2B (Camden)
Mike Nannini, RHP (Lancaster, PA)
John Nelson, INF (Lancaster, PA)
Chris Walker, OF (Camden)
NOTE: Cates, Jackson, Lewis, and Walker were teammates on the Cubs AA West Tenn DiamondJaxx club in 2006, and Nannini and Nelson were teammates on the Iowa Cubs last year.  
 
CAN-AM LEAGUE:
Isaac Pavlik, LHP (New Jersey)

FRONTIER LEAGUE:
Corey Bachman, RHP (Washington, PA)
Matt Hudgins, C-1B (Kalamazoo)
Brian Leclerc, OF (Rockford)
Andrew McCormick, RHP (Chilicothe, OH)
Matt Maradeo, RHP (Washington, PA)
Billy Mottram, 3B (Florence, KY)

GOLDEN LEAGUE:
Michael Bartek, RHP (Orange County)
Peter Farina, C (Yuma)

NORTHERN LEAGUE
Patrick Brooks, 2B (Gary)
Luke Hagerty, LHP (Schaumburg)
Scott Koerber, LHP (Fargo)
Ryan O'Malley, LHP (Schaumburg) 
Robert Ransom, RHP (Winnipeg)
Alan Rick, C (Fargo)
NOTE: Koerber and Rick were teammates last year at AA Tennessee.

Comments

Thanks, Phil.

I'm surprised to read that Ryne Malone was released. He seemed like he might have a decent bat. What's the word?

ROMERO

AZ Phil,

What happened to the sidewinder? Seemed like he had good promise.

Anybody know whatever happened to "Moonlight" Greenberg? Last reference I can find is a Royals minor league stint...

Submitted by Romero on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 7:24pm.

Thanks, Phil.

I'm surprised to read that Ryne Malone was released. He seemed like he might have a decent bat. What's the word?

ROMERO

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

ROMERO: Ryne Malone has a decent bat, but he also has minimal power, below-average speed, and well below-average defensive skills no matter where he plays, so he just got caught in a numbers game.

The Cubs preferred Matt Matulia and Jonathan Mota as utility infielders over Malone.

Submitted by SheffieldCornelia on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 10:00pm.

AZ Phil, What happened to the sidewinder? Seemed like he had good promise.

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

SHEFF: I would say Matt Maradeo is the type of pitcher who could be very successful in an independent league and he could very well find himself back in the minor leagues (like maybe Hi-A or AA) after spending a year or two in indy ball.

The only reason the Cubs released him is simply because he was too old (he turns 25 in June) to go back to Extended Spring Training and then Boise. He really had to make either the Peoria or Daytona roster coming out of minor league camp, and he just missed the final cut at Peoria.

He still has decent potential, though. His age was against him.

Submitted by dbt on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 10:45pm.

Anybody know whatever happened to "Moonlight" Greenberg? Last reference I can find is a Royals minor league stint...

 =================================

DBT: Adam Greenberg signed with Bridgeport of the Atlantic League (same league where Walker, Lewis, Jackson, Cates, Nannini, and Nelson are playing) after he was released by the Royals at the end of Minor League Camp last month. Bridgeport is close to Adam's home in New Haven, so he should be a very popular player.

Compared to the other independent leagues, the Atlantic League tends to attract older players with extensive AA and AAA and sometimes even MLB experience. For instance, ex-Cubs Bobby Hill and Randall Simon are playing for Newark in 2008, and guys like Ricky Henderson, Jose Canseco, and Jose Lima played for Newark in past years when they were trying to get back into MLB.

The Atlantic League is essentially a AA league where all the players are veteran "organizational players" (that is, it's a AA league minus the "Top Ten Prospects" you would find in the Southern League, Texas League, and Eastern League).

Most MLB clubs (especially the Cubs) regularly scout independent baseball, and it's not unusual for MLB clubs to sign guys out of independent leagues when reinforcements are needed at Hi-A, AA or AAA during the season. 

Independent teams do not stand in the way of a player who has a chance to get back to the minor leagues, so any player who wants his release will get his release, and then they're usually welcome to come back later if things don't work out. That's what happened with Ryan O'Malley, who signed with Schaumburg (Northern League) in February, then got his release after he was offered a minor league contract by the Cubs, before returning to Schaumburg after he got released by the Cubs at the end of Minor League Camp. 

Great story as always!

Here's something you might be able to research for us in a similar manner: What ex-Cub farmhands are playing in the Mexican/Japanese leagues?

The statistics and peers would not agree with your assessment of Malone Romero ...if you breakdown the stats , Malone was the best power hitting mid infielder we had in the minors ? Think is was more of a overdraft with Thomas and Barney plus some young Latin players ...Malone never got a shot at what hitting coaches at spring trading called the best hitting mid infielder in the system ..something went wrong after spring training and I am pretty sure it wasn't talent..just another good Cub let go for no reason ??? Didn't take him long to find a club.

Jonathan Mota > Peoria Chiefs > Batting Stats AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
Overall 91 25 2 1 0 6 0 1 14 1 1 2 0.275 0.323 0.319 0.642 0.325 48 8 12 7 4 0
vs LHP 30 10 1 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 0.333 0.375 0.367 0.742 0.357 17 3 4 3 1 0
vs RHP 61 15 1 1 0 4 0 1 12 1 1 1 0.246 0.299 0.295 0.594 0.306 31 5 8 4 3 0
Home 62 16 1 1 0 3 0 0 11 1 0 1 0.258 0.292 0.306 0.599 0.314 34 4 7 4 3 0
Road 29 9 1 0 0 3 0 1 3 0 1 1 0.310 0.382 0.345 0.727 0.346 14 4 5 3 1 0
0 out 34 11 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 1 0 1 0.324 0.361 0.324 0.685 0.379 20 2 4 1 3 0
1 out 31 8 2 1 0 2 0 0 4 0 1 1 0.258 0.294 0.387 0.681 0.296 15 3 5 4 1 0
2 out 26 6 0 0 0 3 0 0 5 0 0 0 0.231 0.310 0.231 0.541 0.286 13 3 3 2 0 0
none on 47 15 2 1 0 4 0 1 7 0 0 0 0.319 0.385 0.404 0.789 0.375 23 5 7 2 3 0
men on 44 10 0 0 0 2 0 0 7 1 1 2 0.227 0.255 0.227 0.483 0.270 25 3 5 5 1 0
RISP 26 7 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 0.269 0.286 0.269 0.555 0.292 14 3 3 5 0 0
C & L 20 5 0 1 0 2 0 0 8 0 1 1 0.250 0.304 0.350 0.654 0.417 8 1 3 1 0 0
AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
April 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.167 0.167 0.167 0.333 0.200 4 1 0 0 0 0
May 58 18 1 1 0 3 0 0 8 1 1 1 0.310 0.339 0.362 0.701 0.360 34 3 9 4 2 0
June 27 6 1 0 0 3 0 1 5 0 0 1 0.222 0.323 0.259 0.582 0.273 10 4 3 3 2 0
Bat 1st 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 2 0 0 0 0 0
Bat 2nd 34 9 1 0 0 3 0 0 8 0 1 1 0.265 0.316 0.294 0.610 0.346 15 2 5 4 1 0
Bat 6th 5 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.400 0.500 0.600 1.100 0.500 0 2 1 1 0 0
Bat 7th 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.375 0.375 0.375 0.750 0.375 7 0 1 0 0 0
Bat 8th 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 4 0 0 0 0 0
Bat 9th 37 11 0 1 0 2 0 1 4 1 0 0 0.297 0.350 0.351 0.701 0.333 20 4 5 2 3 0
As 2B 12 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.250 0.308 0.333 0.641 0.273 5 2 2 2 0 0
As SS 78 22 1 1 0 4 0 1 13 1 1 1 0.282 0.321 0.321 0.642 0.338 42 6 10 5 4 0
As DH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.500 0.000 0.500 0.000 1 0 0 0 0 0
Park Adj 91 26 2 1 0 6 0 1 14 1 1 2 0.286 0.333 0.330 0.663 0.338 47 8 12 7 4 0
MLE 91 19 1 1 0 3 0 1 16 1 1 2 0.209 0.240 0.242 0.481 0.253 45 8 12 7 4 0

Malone > Peoria Chiefs > Batting Stats AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
Overall 183 52 16 2 2 27 0 3 34 0 0 2 0.284 0.385 0.426 0.811 0.340 58 18 59 13 1 0
vs LHP 45 11 1 1 1 2 0 3 12 0 0 0 0.244 0.320 0.378 0.698 0.313 14 3 13 3 0 0
vs RHP 138 41 15 1 1 25 0 0 22 0 0 2 0.297 0.405 0.442 0.847 0.348 44 15 46 10 1 0
Home 88 31 9 1 1 16 0 1 11 0 0 1 0.352 0.457 0.511 0.969 0.395 29 5 36 7 0 0
Road 95 21 7 1 1 11 0 2 23 0 0 1 0.221 0.315 0.347 0.662 0.282 29 13 23 6 1 0
0 out 61 16 3 0 2 10 0 2 9 0 0 1 0.262 0.384 0.410 0.793 0.280 23 6 16 6 1 0
1 out 62 16 8 1 0 9 0 1 14 0 0 1 0.258 0.361 0.419 0.780 0.333 17 5 21 5 0 0
2 out 60 20 5 1 0 8 0 0 11 0 0 0 0.333 0.412 0.450 0.862 0.408 18 7 22 2 0 0
none on 98 26 7 1 1 10 0 2 14 0 0 0 0.265 0.345 0.388 0.733 0.301 31 9 38 5 1 0
men on 85 26 9 1 1 17 0 1 20 0 0 2 0.306 0.427 0.471 0.898 0.391 27 9 21 8 0 0
RISP 48 16 7 1 0 12 0 0 10 0 0 0 0.333 0.467 0.521 0.988 0.421 15 6 13 4 0 0
C & L 34 10 5 0 0 10 0 0 4 0 0 0 0.294 0.455 0.441 0.896 0.333 16 3 10 1 0 0
AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
June 13 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 0 0 0.308 0.357 0.538 0.896 0.500 1 3 3 1 0 0
July 94 28 8 1 1 12 0 3 15 0 0 1 0.298 0.394 0.436 0.831 0.346 33 9 31 5 1 0
August 76 20 5 1 1 14 0 0 14 0 0 1 0.263 0.378 0.395 0.773 0.311 24 6 25 7 0 0
Bat 1st 7 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0.286 0.375 0.286 0.661 0.500 3 0 1 0 0 0
Bat 2nd 77 23 8 0 1 11 0 0 13 0 0 0 0.299 0.386 0.442 0.828 0.349 27 6 28 3 0 0
Bat 3rd 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.250 0.000 0.250 0.000 2 0 0 1 0 0
Bat 4th 7 2 2 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 0.286 0.500 0.571 1.071 0.333 1 1 3 1 0 0
Bat 5th 46 12 0 1 1 5 0 2 7 0 0 0 0.261 0.358 0.370 0.728 0.289 18 5 10 5 1 0
Bat 6th 18 7 2 0 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 0.389 0.500 0.500 1.000 0.467 4 2 7 2 0 0
Bat 7th 19 5 4 0 0 2 0 1 6 0 0 0 0.263 0.364 0.474 0.837 0.385 2 4 6 1 0 0
Bat 8th 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0 3 0 0 0
Bat 9th 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.333 0.333 1.000 1.333 0.500 1 0 1 0 0 0
As 2B 63 21 7 0 1 8 0 0 11 0 0 1 0.333 0.408 0.492 0.901 0.392 20 6 23 3 0 0
As 3B 84 24 4 1 1 12 0 2 12 0 0 1 0.286 0.388 0.393 0.781 0.324 31 8 26 6 1 0
As DH 34 5 3 1 0 7 0 1 11 0 0 0 0.147 0.310 0.294 0.604 0.217 7 2 10 4 0 0
As PH 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 3.000 1.000 0 2 0 0 0 0
Park Adj 181 54 16 2 2 29 0 3 34 0 0 2 0.298 0.404 0.442 0.846 0.359 56 18 57 13 1 0
MLE 181 39 11 1 1 16 0 2 40 0 0 2 0.215 0.286 0.304 0.590 0.271 54 17 55 13 1 0

Mota / Made / Matulia / 10 others ..not close

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  • I am right there with you closing in on 60.

    I don't care that much about "mortgaging" one player who is not only blocked by two guys, but is not ready to hit the majors for at least a couple years.

    There is no reason why this team, this year, can't have a real shot at something NONE of us have experienced.

    Further, I don't feel that even if they fall short that they have ruined their farm system.

    I have made my opinion clear here, with others, Warren was shit on the Cubs save one spot start.

    The E-Man 6 min 2 sec ago view
  • Trading for Warren, Warren sucking, getting Warren back for Chapman plus 3 prospects, sounds like Revenge of The Yankees on the former Boston executive. Old rivalries never die.

    I pray to the heavens above Chapman doesn't suck for some reason, or he'll be booed out of town faster than a Todd Hundley revival meeting.

    Old and Blue 13 min 41 sec ago view
  • I'm kind of nostalgic for the Schwarber-for-Miller rumors.

    Brick 25 min 25 sec ago view
  • This offseason, after some ridiculous playoff run and Chapman saving every game from here until the end of the postseason striking out 27/9innings, I welcome anyone to quote this thread and call me a dummy: I hate this trade, and my hate is 2 parts Chapman makes this team less likeable and 1 part that's a ridiculous overpay for 30 regular season innings and, at tops, 10 postseason innings. Already hoping they don't extend him.

    Charlie 27 min 14 sec ago view
  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 49 min 33 sec ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 50 min 1 sec ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 58 min 50 sec ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 1 hour 49 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 53 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 56 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 2 hours 18 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 2 hours 21 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 2 hours 24 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 2 hours 26 min ago view