Will Cubs Add Reinforcements?

With the AAA Iowa Cubs having been eliminated from the PCL playoffs yesterday and with veteran RHP Jon Lieber having suffered a possible career-ending arm injury, I would think that there will be some additional players added to the Cubs active roster today or tomorrow. 

The most-likely candidate for recall would be OF Felix Pie, but 1B-OF-RHPH Jason Dubois might be a possibility if Lou wants a power RH bat off the bench. And veteran 4-A OF Andres Torres had a smokin' PCL playoff run, and he could be used as a SWPH, late-inning OF defensive replacement, and PR, especially since Pie has never really learned how to steal bases. Torres is comparable to ex-Cub OF Angel Pagan.

As for pitchers who might get summoned, fireballer RHP Rocky Roquet has been the hottest Cubs AA/AAA reliever going back to July 21st. Over that period of time (at AA Tennessee through August and then promoted to Iowa for the PCL playoffs), the 25-year old Roquet has thrown 22.1 IP, allowing just 11 H, 3 R (2 ER), 7 BB, 32 K, and only 1 HR, with a 0.80 WHIP, 1.21 ERA, and a .142 OBA. While Roquet doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster until after next season, Lou loves power arms in his bullpen, and Roquet throws a 96 MPH heater with a mid-80's slider.

And if Hendry/Piniella want a rubber-armed swingman (spot starter/long reliever) to replace Lieber, 26-year old RHP Randy Wells fits that bill. The Cubs will very likely add Wells to the 40-man roster post-2008 anyway (otherwise he can be a six-year minor league FA), so bringing him up to the big leagues now wouldn't be a stretch. Wells was selected by the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 Draft last December, but was reclaimed by the Cubs in April.   

And there's always the possibility that the Cubs might add a veteran reliever like 39-year old RHP Hector Carrasco, who spent the 2008 season at Iowa. Carrasco had success as a righty set-up man in the big leagues as recently as a couple of years ago (at Washington in 2005 and with the Angels in 2006), but it's unknown how he would fare now.

RHP Mitch Atkins was the best I-Cubs starter down the stretch, but he's only 22, and while he has developed an effective cutter that has turned him into a legitimate MLB rotation starter prospect, I doubt that he will be brought up now, since he has no experience working out of the bullpen. He is a lock to be added to the 40-man roster post-2008, however. 

If the Cubs need additional slots on the 40-man roster prior to the end of the season, they can always transfer Rich Hill from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, or place Lieber on the 60-day DL, or outright LHP Carmen Pignatiello and/or RHPs Adam Harben and/or Billy Petrick to the minors (although if they are outrighted prior to signing 2009 MLB contracts, Pignatiello, Harben, and Petrick would be eligible to be minor league free-agents).

Since Lieber was on the Cubs 15-day DL on August 31st. he would provide the Cubs a third post-season roster exemption (allowing the Cubs to add a third player to their post-season roster who was not on the 25-man roster or 15-day or 60-day DL on 8/31) if he is placed back on the DL prior to the start of the NLDS. RHP Chad Fox (on the 60-day DL), and LHP Rich Hill (who was recalled from Daytona and placed on th 15-day DL on 8/31) give the Cubs their other two available post-season roster exemptions.

 

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Comments

AZ-Phil, great article as always. Question: Will you be writing a Top 10 Cub prospect list (or Top 30), and summarizing the Minor League season?

Early on this year, there didn't seem to be a whole lot to get excited about in the Minor Leagues. The emergence of Samardzija at the ML level, plus power arms like Ceda and Roquet, give hope that more reinforcements are coming next year, particularly given that some pitchers will be leaving us either because we don't meet their demands (Demp and Woody), or because we don't want them (Howry, Wuertz, Lieber).

Still thin at position player, though Wellington Castillo looks good, and good to see Tyler Colvin turn it around. RE: Castillo, we don't really need a catcher, but you always need trade bait.

Submitted by Q-Ball on Mon, 09/08/2008 - 10:46am.

AZ-Phil, great article as always. Question: Will you be writing a Top 10 Cub prospect list (or Top 30), and summarizing the Minor League season? Early on this year, there didn't seem to be a whole lot to get excited about in the Minor Leagues.

 The emergence of Samardzija at the ML level, plus power arms like Ceda and Roquet, give hope that more reinforcements are coming next year, particularly given that some pitchers will be leaving us either because we don't meet their demands (Demp and Woody), or because we don't want them (Howry, Wuertz, Lieber).

Still thin at position player, though Wellington Castillo looks good, and good to see Tyler Colvin turn it around. RE: Castillo, we don't really need a catcher, but you always need trade bait.

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

Q-BALL: I'll do a Top 15 list sometime after the end of the season. I want to look at the Cubs AZ Instructional League team and the AFL Mesa Solar Sox before I make a final list.

Welington Castillo has moved rapidly up through the Cubs system, no question about that. His bat is ahead of his defense right now (he had a ton of passed balls and errors in 2008), but he has the potential to be an outstanding MLB catcher.

While Welington Castillo might indeed become trade bait (and that could happen as early as this off-season), the player I expect the Cubs to actively shop post-2008 is Felix Pie, possibly as part of a package of young players used to acquire a proven MLB CF.

I suspect Nate McLouth might be the target (left-handed hitter with pop), since he is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this coming off-season. So the Pirates might be inclined to exchange McLouth for three younger auto-renewal guys (they would probably want some combination of Pie, W. Castillo, Atkins and Ceda).

Hmm... is the new Pirates management stupid enough to trade McLouth for three of Pie, Castillo, Atkins, and Ceda?

Very doubtful.

McLouth for three of Pie, Castillo, Atkins, and Ceda?

Well, Hendry was stupid enough to trade Nolasco, Pinto, and Mitre for a rental of Juan Pierre so there's always hope.

BTW, Nolasco 13-7, 1.12 WHIP, 3.56 ERA

last four starts

29.1 IP
17 hits
6 earned runs (1.84 ERA)
2 hit complete game shutout
33K, 3 BB

I wish complaining about that trade now could reverse the fact that it was made prior to the 2006 season.

Pinto had a nice year going in Florida, too, up until recently. At least Pierre did set a record: only player in the modern era to collect 200 hits in a season without batting at least .300. Awesome.

What does Nolasco, Pierre, or any of the other crap have to do with this post or McClouth?

Nothing. Navigator is just obnoxious.

I hope the Pirates are dumb enough to trade McClouth. But Dave Littlefield or Cam Bonifay aren't the GMs anymore, so I'm not hopeful.

But I would gladly part with Pie,Castillo,and Atkins for McClouth. He's GOOD.

RE: CF, regardless of what we do there, I think Reed Johnson is arb eligible. To me that is a no-brainer to pick him up another year, whether as starter or 4th OF (preferably as 4th OF).

AZ Phil, great news on top prospects, and I can see waiting.

What minor leaguer to you made the biggest strides this year? (Other than Samardzija).

It would be a surprise to see Hendry trade Pie within the division.

Not if he's getting someone better in the trade, which, in this scenario, he would be.

What HAS he ever learned how to do --- except party all night in Chicago?

Frankly, It wouldn't bother me if we don't see Pie again this year. He's done little to merit a September callup.

.284 .330 .432 in August
.245 .287 .367 against LHP over all
.240 .290 .399 vs AAA starting pitching

And with Fukudome's problems with the bat (how do Cubs' coaches help a guy with a swing like Kosuke's?) causing a coaching overload there will be little Lou-tolerance for Felix "The Fan" Pie's
approach at the plate.

I Christen thee, Ro-K.

Get Manny Ramirez and McClouth .unload Fukadome AND Lee both.

Unload Lee because he's not performing like a superstar? Does that leave us with Hoffpauir at 1B, DeRo in RF, and Fontenot at 2B?

I'm hoping this was sarcasm...

I don't understand why Pie is not on the Cubs now, to serve as a late-inning defensive replacement in center. Have to think he would have caught that ball in the ninth yesterday.

That should tell how low he sits on Lou's totem pole.

I have to agree. Lou and 'the Facts' are seldom bedfellows. If Pie runs a lot of laps before the games though, he can probabaly get into Pinhead's good graces.

He is up now.

So what does that say about where he sits on Lou's totem pole?

I hereby nominate a resolution - that there will be no more mentions of the great, awesome and all - powerful Nolasco. That horse has been ridden and put away wet, son.

you'd have to take that up with 1 person...1 person who doesn't like constructive feedback.

good luck with that.

team 1 gives up a series of pitchers who have taken a couple years to find consistancy/health...its given them a shakey pen arm in pinto and a future/current 2-3 type starter in nolasco. good for them.

team 2 gets exactly what they were in the market for and expected at a below-market value. good for them...too bad they gave up a future high-end starter that came into his own 2 years later. that happens, though.

its not like v.zambrano was traded for s.kazmir...a universal "wtf?"

no matter whether we wanted a guy like pierre or not, that's what the team wanted and they pretty much got exactly what they wanted.

I don't know. It would've been better if they had traded those three pitchers in return for Juan Pierre not playing baseball for a year. Watching him in 2006 hurt me. Who thought he was worth any of those guys?

It was all part of a fiendishly clever plan.

We all know that a one year rental of Juan Pierre wasn't worth what we paid for him.

We also all know that there was no reason not to call up Pie in September 2006 (although the way things are looking nowadays it might not have done any good, either). Instead the Cubs continued to trot out Juan Pierre day after day allowing him to reach 200 hits and pad his SB totals while he auditioned his services as a free agent for the 2007 season.

BUT ... Hendry had a secret plan. Pierre's 750 PAs weren't a total waste because he qualified as a Type B Free Agent.

So ... when the Dodgers signed Pierre, the Cubs got a supplenmentary pick which they turned into Josh Donaldson. Then a year later they included Donaldson in the package they sent to Oakland for Rich Harden.

So ... when Hendry traded Nolasco et al to Florida he was really working on a long range plan to get Harden.

I believe it. Of course I also believe that the Cubs are going to win the World Series this year.

Ahhhhh, Zambrano for Kazmir ... a trade not even Chuck LaMar could say 'no' to.

Oh the joy of reliving past failed trades over and over and over again. Happens every time a newbie or a navie shows up.

Looking at Hendry's body of work, he has won more than he has lost. The only way to complete avoid bad trades is to never make them. And nobody can predict the future.

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