When Z Comes Back

With Carlos Zambrano expected to be reactivated from the 15-day DL tomorrow, the Cubs will need to make an acompanying roster move.

Here are the three most-likely moves:

1. Option RHP Jose Ascanio to Iowa.

Since his recall from AAA Iowa ten days ago, Ascanio has appeared in just two games and worked a total of four innings. While he might get more work in the coming days, it still might not be enough to keep him sharp. So the Cubs might want to return him to the I-Cubs starting rotation, where he can get regular work, further extend his pitch count, and try and perfect his secondary pitches. Also, Ascanio will be out of minor league options in 2010 (he's using his 4th minor league option this year), so this is the last season the Cubs can send him to the minors without having to secure waivers. Ascanio is still young (he just turned 24 a couple of weeks ago) and he has "electric" stuff, so if the Cubs want to get him some additional minor league experience, they have to do it this year.

2. Designate LHP Neal Cotts for Assignment.

No question Cotts has struggled this season, but he is (at this time) the only lefty in the Cubs bullpen. That said, the Cubs still might decide to DFA Cotts, move Sean Marshall to the bullpen, and keep Randy Wells in the starting rotation.

If the Cubs were to DFA Cotts, they would have ten days to try and trade him, and if they don't find any takers, they would have to either release him (likely only if Cotts has a "no outright" clause in his contract), or (more-likely) place him on Outright Assignment Waivers.

If he were to be placed on Outright Waivers and get claimed, the claiming club would be responsible for paying Cotts the prorated portion of the MLB minuimum salary (about $300K at this point in the season), and the Cubs would have to pay the balance owed. If Cotts does not get claimed, the Cubs could outright him to the minors (presumably AAA Iowa), where he might (hopefully) find his control and at least get back to where he was last season. 

If Cotts were to be placed on Outright Waivers, did not get claimed, and was outrighted to the minors, he would (because he has accrued at least three years of MLB service time) have a player option to become a free-agent immediately. Doing that, however, would mean that he would terminate his contract and forfeit his remaining salary with no termination pay, also meaning the Cubs would owe him nothing. So it's unlikely he would do that, unless he believes he could get as much (or more) on the open market as a FA. Except if he isn't claimed off Outright Waivers for the MLB minumum salary, why would another MLB club offer him more than that should he opt for free-agency?

So figure Cotts would (just as Joey Gathright did earlier this season) swallow hard and accept the outright assignment to AAA, and defer his right to be a FA until after the end of the regular season when his 2009 MLB contract has expired. (Cotts would not be eligible to be a free-agent post-2009 if the Cubs were to add him back to their 40-man roster prior to the end of the regular season, however). 

3. DFA Rule 5 RHP David Patton and begin the return process.  

David Patton is actually a year older than Ascanio, but he is probably less ready for prime-time, especially if the Cubs fancy themselves a contender. Maybe if the Cubs were cruising along ten games in front of the rest of the N. L. Central Division they could afford to keep Patton around as the 12th man on their pitching staff, but with Aramis Ramirez out until who knows when, it appears that the Cubs will have to fight tooth & nail just get in a position to make it to the post-season, and committing a roster slot to an inexperienced kid like Patton probably isn't the best idea.

The Cubs obviously like Patton a lot, and believe he has the potential to be a quality MLB reliever. But he is a Rule 5 player, meaning in order for the the Cubs to send him to the minors, he first must be placed on Outright Waivers (where any of the other MLB clubs could claim him for $25,000 and assume the Rule 5 obligations), and then even if he were to clear waivers, he would still have to be offered back to the Colorado Rockies for $25,000. 

At that point in the process, the Rockies would have the option to take Patton back and assign him to the minors (which is likely). or the Cubs and Rockies could agree to a trade, where the Cubs would send the Rockies cash and/or a player or players in return for retaining the rights to Patton. If that were to happen, or if the Rockies were to decline to take Patton back (which is unlikely), the Cubs could outright Patton to the minors (probably to AA Tennessee) where he could get regular work out of a minor league bullpen. 

There is also one other possibility, but it's kind of tricky. The Cubs could try and finesse Patton through the season without having to place him on waivers or offer him back to Colorado. 

Rule 5 players must spend one season on an MLB Active List (or MLB DL) and accrure at least 90 days on the Active List (25-man roster) before the Rule 5 restrictions are lifted. If the Rule 5 player cannot accrue 90 days on an MLB Active List by the end of their "Rule 5 season" because of time spent on the DL, the player can complete the required 90 days by remaining a Rule 5 Player into the next season (2010). 

At present, Patton has spent 46 days on the Cubs 25-man roster, and if he were to suddenly acquire some mysterious nagging soft-tissue injury (a sprained hangnail, perhaps) that would result in him being placed on the 15-day DL tomorrow (let's say), the Cubs could send him to Fitch Park for a couple of months to throw bullpen side-sessions, "live" BP, and "sim games" (as Angel Guzman did last year), and then send him out on a 30-day minor league rehab assignment (probably to AA Tennessee) in August, before reactivating him on September 1st. Then he could spend 30 days in September and the first four days of October on the Cubs Active List (he wouldn't even have to pitch in a game), adding 34 more days to the 47 days he will have spent on the active roster through tomorrow (Thursday), for a total of 81 days.

He would then have to spend only the first nine days of the 2010 season on the Cubs 25-man roster (thus completing the required 90 days), at which point the Cubs could option him to the minors (and he would have three minor league option years). 

Of course, Patton would have to go along with DL plan, and the MLB office might look into it if the "injury" appears at all suspicious.


patton still plays for the cubs? didn't realize.

i bet him and freel have a heck of a multi-day Monopoly game going in the clubhouse while the rest of the 23 man roster are playing.

...make that 22 man roster...i forgot k.hill existed.

...accrure at least 90 days on the Active List (25-man roster) before the Rule 5 restrictions are lifted.

Mystery solved, right?

Will probably be option 1, imo.

Put Patton on the DL with anxiety disorder. Worked for Dontrelle.....

The Cubs should DFA Hendry.


I am sure they will just option Ascanio back to Iowa. They should get rid of Patton though. He is a waste of space at this point.

Is anyone 100% sure that Z is ready to be activated?

I'd vote to send Ascanio down now. Let Patton get 10 more days on the active roster right now, then pull the DL shennanigans.

Its bad enough to have the rule 5 pick tie your hands this year.

It's double worse to have it effect the bullpen going into next season as well.

AZ Phil...... With Brad Snyder out of the Iowa lineup 4-6 weeks with a broken hand and Richie Robnett ( .184 batting average)moving up from Tenn to fill in, are there more outfieders going to move around as a result of this injury? Also will the Cubs continue to have patience with Dylan Johnston and leave him in Daytona ( .198ba 116ab/43k ), Nelson Perez in Peoria ( .217ba 120ab/32k ), and Brandon Guyer in Tenn with a .189ba ?

That definitely weakens the Padres hand, even if only slightly. Might be a good time for Hendry to spring for it. Use Marshall in the pen, maybe Wells in the pen, Patton whatever, Cotts DFA, Ascanio to Iowa. Problem solved?

I also know a Peavy deal still wouldnt be easy...but a guy can hope, right?

This quote is telling:

"If this were any one of three or four other teams and they called about him, Jake would jump at it. He would be willing. They know who they are. They know that certain places are more enticing to him."

Hey Az Phil-
Can a rule 5 player only be traded to the team from which he was drafted?

just wonderin.


A rule 5 player can be traded to any team, but the new team assumes the rule 5 obligations. If they want to send the player down and the player hasn't hit 90 days of being on the active roster, he still has to clear waivers and be offered back to the original team he was drafted from.

So another option is for the Cubs to try and trade Patton to a bottom dwelling team that wouldn't have problems using a roster spot on a rule 5 guy. The only catch is, how much value does Patton have right now?


Yes, a trade to a bottom feeder, or anyone else for that matter is what I was thinking. -just to get him off the 25 man roster and get more than zip in return. If Fox is going somewhere, which seems an eventuality, maybe Patton can hitch a ride.
I think he might have a little value based on potential, otherwise we wouldn't have drafted him in the first place (I hope).

I keep getting logged out every time I refresh. It's a pain in the ass. Probably a cookie issue, but I can't see how I'd fix it.

What browser are you in?

If you're using Firefox, try going to Tools>Options>Privacy, click on Exceptions in the cookie area, then type in www.thecubreporter.com and hit allow. Restart the browser.

If you're in IE, go to Tools>Internet Options>Privacy and add the site like you would in firefox. Do one more thing while you are there. While the privacy tab is open, click on Advanced and then make sure Always Allow Session Cookies is checked, then hit OK and restart the browser and see if that fixes it.

Thanks for the help. I'm using Firefox. I've never had trouble before, but I recently cleared my cookies for, something...and since then it's been doing this. I've got all cookies allowed...and even tried your suggestion - allowing www.thecubreporter.com. TCR still thinks I'm Romero whenever I refresh it. Maybe I'll try a restart...

maybe you are Romero...

tonight's very special episode of The Twilight Zone....

"That'd be weird." - Nic Cage

Restarted. Still not working. Strange and annoying...~gasp~ TCR is Andy Dick!

using Firefox myself and no problems...I found this.

http://sillydog.org/forum/sdt_14929.php...about the 4th message down.

Is it only our site or other sites as well?

Thus far it's only TCR. Strange, but it sounds like others are having the same problem. I've been liking Firefox less and less recently (before this). I might just have to make the voyage back to IE.

I tried that fix, but it didn't help.

Switched back to IE. No more trouble.


You mean you were Romero? My world is rocked.

No...just a joke:) Just saying that every time I come back, TCR thinks I'm new.

Damn. The WS scored a run. They're still getting seriously twned, though.

You mean "pwned"? Or did I miss another interweb meme?

It's when you're pwned by the Twins.

linked in the other thread but Gerut to Brewers for Tony Gwynn Jr.

Patton was not supposed to never pitch. He was supposed to pitch in lopsided games, while he got his legs under him.

He has appeared in nine games. Seven of those were losses, by an average margin of five-plus runs. In the one game that Patton won, he came in in the fifth inning against Florida, with the Cubs down three runs. He pitched well and the Cubs rallied and won.

The Cubs have not been losing big lately. In games they are winning, Lou doesn't like to take chances. You see how he uses Marmol and Gregg even with big leads.

In games they are winning, Lou doesn't like to take chances. You see how he uses Marmol and Gregg even with big leads.

Yep, and that could be an issue later in the year if they get the Chad Fox disease.

how rare we agree, but I don't find this Patton thing a big issue. Well, it's an issue because we traded away Wuertz, but for now I don't think there's anyone he's keeping from being a Cub that would be used anymore.

I don't think Jose Ascanio or Rheinhard or whomever would suddenly be getting the 7th or 8th inning if they got his spot.

I agree with your posts about 80-90 percent of the time, but when I reply, it tends to be in a spirit of disagreement.

Just for clarification, a Rule 5 player has to spend the entire season after selection on an MLB Active List (25-man roster) and/or MLB 15-day or 60-day DL, or else he must be placed on Outright Waivers.

If he is traded to another club, or is claimed by another club off waivers, that club assumes the Rule 5 obligations.

If the Rule 5 player clears waivers, he must be offered back to the club from which he was drafted, and that club can re-claim the player for $25,000 and outright the player to the minors at that time, or could agree to trade the player (now without Rule 5 restrictions) to any other MLB club.

But even if the player does spend the entire season following selection on an MLB Active List and/or MLB DL, he must ALSO accrue at least 90 days on an MLB Active List (25-man roster) before the Rule 5 restrictions are removed, even if means the player has to remain a Rule 5 player going into the next season (or as long as it takes), until the player has accrued 90 days on an MLB Active List.

Also, a Rule 5 player can be traded at any time, but cannot be non-tendered on 12/12, or released or placed on Outright Waivers any earlier than 20 days prior to the start of the season immediately following selection.

Submitted by falcon on Thu, 05/21/2009 - 12:52pm.
AZ Phil...... With Brad Snyder out of the Iowa lineup 4-6 weeks with a broken hand and Richie Robnett ( .184 batting average)moving up from Tenn to fill in, are there more outfieders going to move around as a result of this injury? Also will the Cubs continue to have patience with Dylan Johnston and leave him in Daytona ( .198ba 116ab/43k ), Nelson Perez in Peoria ( .217ba 120ab/32k ), and Brandon Guyer in Tenn with a .189ba ?


FALCON: Tennessee will probably add a 13th pitcher until they can finish their doubleheader binge, so I doubt that Robnett will be replaced by another OF at Tennessee. And Tyler Colvin will probably be moved up to AA from Daytona pretty soon, and I guess Brandon Guyer could be moved down to Daytona at that time, or Colvin might just replace Tennessee's 13th pitcher at the end of May (presuming the Smokies add a 13th pitcher, which I think they will).

I doubt that Dylan Johnston will go back to Peoria again. He'll probably just have to sink or swim at Daytona.


story about a brawl between fans at Kaufmann stadium involving Dads, Moms and kids...the best part is this comment though.

5:23 PM

Farnsworth came out from the bullpen to address the situation, but somehow gave up six runs in the process.

And PV rejects the trade

Recent comments

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  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?