TCR Best of: Arizona Phil Votes Early and Often
Here on election day, I'm voting for none other than Arizona Phil. Anyone armed with so much information can't lead our country wrong. I can't wait for Chris Berman to get his post-election interview with Phil.
Strong commentary by Az Phil from the "Cubs make the First Trade of the Offseason" post.
On newly acquired Ryan Buchter:
Ryan Buchter was drafted by the Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, but he didn't sign, and instead went to a JC in New Jersey.
The Nats signed Buchter as a "Draft & Follow" in May 2006 (prior to the new CBA, clubs retained rights to their Rule 4 Draft picks until one week before the next year's draft), an indication that his draft stock had gone up after his year playing JC ball.
What probably happened is, the Cubs area scout in New Jersey "turned in" Buchter off his performance in JC in '06 ("turned in" being the term used by scouts when they recommend a player), but the Cubs never got a chance to draft him in 2006 because the Nats had already signed him as a DNF in May, although the Cubs probably kept his name on file for future reference should a trade be made with the Nationals at some future date.
Chances are the Nationals approached the Cubs about Matt Avery (you might have noticed that the Nats seem inordinately attracted to Cubs or ex-Cubs minor leaguers from Virginia) after watching him throw in the AFL in 2007, but the Cubs weren't ready to trade him then (he had been the closer at Peoria in 2006 and at Daytona in 2007 and appeared to possibly have a future as an MLB reliever). But then Avery took a step backward in 2008 (getting demoted from AA back to Daytona at one point), and so he may have asked to get traded. And for the Nats, getting Avery in a trade is better than selecting him in the Rule 5 Draft and having to deal with keeping him on their 25-man roster all next season.
Avery's "out" pitch is a sweeping curve ball that is far more effective against right-handed hitters than against lefty batters (which makes him something of a "ROOGY"), but he struggled with his command last season, and he really doesn't have the quality hard stuff to be much more than an MLB middle reliever (if that) even when he does throw strikes. Avery was a teammatre of Cubs prospects LHP Casey Lambert and OF Brandon Guyer at UVA.
As for Buchter, he should get a chance to compete with fellow LHPs Dustin Sasser, Zach Ashwood, and Chris Siegfried for one of the two lefty reliever gigs at Daytona in 2009, although he is a long-shot to make it to the big leagues.
The Cubs did "buy" an extra year of control by acquiring Buchter, since Avery is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this year and will be eligible to be a minor league FA after the 2011 season (if he isn't added to a 40-man roster), while Buchter won't be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time until after next season, and he can't be a minor league FA until after the 2012 season.
On Petrick, Piggy, Oneiri Fleita and Danny Fatheree:
Carmen Pignatiello and Billy Petrick were outrighted to the minors after I posted the list of potential post-2008 Cubs minor league free-agents, and all three are eligible to be minor league FAs. Also, Danny Fatheree (Kerry Wood's catcher in HS) has re-signed with Cubs for 2009, although he actually served as a mentor-coach for the catchers (like Matt Cerda and converted infielder Robinson Chirinos) at Fitch Park in 2008.
Cubs Director of Player Personnel (and Player Development Director) Oneri Fleita will sometimes sign an older guy to a minor league player contract and then instead use the "player" as a "mentor." Besides the 30-year old Fatheree, other players who served as mentors in 2008 were 25-year old Mexican IF-OF Issmael Salas for a while at AA Tennessee (before he was loaned to a team in the Mexican League), 24-year old Dominican catcher Leonel Perez at Daytona (and Perez was recently released), and 25-year old Korean OF Min Kyu Sung at Peoria (Sung went wherever 18-year old Korean RHP Dae-Eun Rhee went, which means Sung returned to Fitch Park after Rhee underwent TJS in August).
Sung played college ball in the U. S. (at Nebraska-Omaha), so he was able to help Rhee adjust to the U. S. while the youngster was at Peoria, and he also helped 18-year old SS Hak-Ju Lee in the AZ Instructional League last month (where Sung was the 1st base coach and OF instructor). Sung will probably be retained for 2009, since the Cubs recently signed two more Korean players (RHP Jung-Soo Min and OF Jae-Hoon Ha).
BTW, Danny Fatheree will make a fine minor league manager or roving catching instructor some day, IMO. He relates real well to young players, and he is a hard worker.
On Ed Campusano:
As for Edward Campusano, I've rechecked his history, and in g=fact he cannot be a minor league FA until after the 2009 season because he spent the entire 2007 season on the MLB 60-day DL with the Tigers after undergoing TJS in April of that year (full seaszons spent on a major league roster do not count toward the seven seasons required to be a minor league FA), and he was not returned to the Cubs (outrighted back to AAA Iowa) until October (after the close of the 2007 MLB regular season). So I should not have had Campusano on the list. Campusano will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft next month (on 12-11-08), however, and then he will be eligible to be a minor league FA after next season if he is not added to a 40-man roster by the close of the 2009 World Series. He will likely compete for a lefty reliever job at AAA Iowa in '09, although he could end up at AA Tennessee.
AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.
Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...
Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.
The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request
Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer