Cubs Jump On Bears Bandwagon, Sign Another Wide Receiver

According to an NFL draft analyst Tony Paulino and confirmed by Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Cubs have signed Matt Szczur. The deal is reportedly for $1.5M (triple their original offer) and he will not participate in the NFL draft of course.

As long as a 40-man roster spot and a no-trade clause don't come with it, sounds like a wise deal.



Very interesting. An incredible athlete. I know "character" does not
win Pennants sans talent, but it seems that Matt is a winner and will succeed in life. Reading about him being a bone marrow donor to someone not a family member, just to help save a life is pretty compelling.

Hope he works out better than the Wideout.

milton bradley arrested and charged with "unknown" felony...should leak soon

Surely a non-violent one????

making criminal one cited as accuser yet...

you have to make a specific threat to be charged for something like this

threat against "unidentified female"...released on 50K bail...arrested at his home this morning.

sounds like he let his mouth do too much own wild ass guess would be his ex-wife of 4 years...but who knows...

The same ex-wife who he tried to choke out and then tried to confine her to the house and prevent her from calling the police?

At least he is making progress on the career track i see for him.....Federal Prison.

Man, I really hate to see this. I was hoping Milton Bradley would find some success and get right. Very sad.

Hopefully Hendry learned his lesson about the roster slot and NTC for guys in A ball... but in this case, the guy can actually play some, it's not all about projection. It could be really interesting with him getting 600 PA's this year.

Wittenmeyer says the Cubs are working on a multi-year deal with Marmol...

via mlbtraderumors.

I would be surprised if Matt Szczur gets a "no trade" but I would not be surprised if he gets a major league conmtract and a spot on the 40-man roster.

BTW, if Szczur were to sign a major league contract and is added to the 40, he would get four minor league option years.

"Carlos Marmol requested $5.65 million and was offered $4.1 million from the Cubs when arbitration figures were exchanged Tuesday."

5.65m? hell, i hope hendry does go to arbitration with this one. it seems like an easy win.

2yr - 12-13m settlement works, too...

I can completely understand Marmol's people coming up with a number like that. His K per 9 IP was 16 last season. There are no comparables for that.

He made $2.125 last season and they offered him just under double that. 2.55 era, 38 saves, and that crazy K number. I know arbitration guys don't get the same dough they would in free agency, and I'm not sure $5.65 is the number I would have expected, but it should certainly be higher than $4.1, imo.

Although it makes little difference, Szcur was a RB at Villanova. For those who are concerned he has little power, his size and numbers in college seem to indicate otherwise. I look forward to his future with the Cubs.

Tharr! nice you made it TCR - Where Cubs talk
is not always rainbows, roses, and affirmations that
the team is going to make the Playoffs every year with their
awesome talent.

I as well look forward to seeing what this kid can do.

I've been viewing TCR for quite a while and have been particularly impressed with the information on our prospects and factual data on payroll etc. One thing that I've noticed was the independent thinking being presented. I find it difficult to debate "sources" that seem to conflict with factual data. That said, Szcur was and is one of my favorite prospects along with Chirinos who I felt had a good future with the Cubs given an opportunity.

Sort of makes you wonder if the Garza trade made Szcur an extra million.

Not sure there is much wondering about it. Hendry NEEDED to get this done with Szczur, or the farm would have taken a massive hit.

How many projected 4th OFers do we really need? Burgess was,is and will continue to be a much better prospect than Szcur.

Hopefully deals like this don't cause sign-ability issues with our draft picks going forward?

Since Szcur has a higher BA, OBP and OPS and is younger, what makes you feel Burgess is more valuable. His bat is considered slow and he appears to me to be another Harvey.

He's less than a year older and was playing in AA. MattZ was putting up moderately better numbers in a super small 116 at bat sample size.

On this side we have the entire scouting community and the statistical analysis community. On this side we have Dr. aaron b...

In today's great debate - who will you go with?

Szczur is considered a better prospect than Michael Burgess?

Please find me ANY non-Jim Hendry source who will agree with that?

Okay... granted M. Burgess was a first round pick but here's Jim Callis talking Szczur today

Based on his tools and performance, he easily could have been a first-round pick in the 2011 baseball draft had he been eligible.

Szcur was 7th in the Cubs system and I believe they said he would be rated higher if he gave up football, which he now has. This was before the trades and BA had Cubs system ranked high.

Burgess was in the 11-20 range, although we'd have to see what the Nats system is ranked, safe assumption though they like Szczur more.

I asked callis on twitter, see if he responds.

Me for one. A number of others on various sites when asked who they see as having a higher value have selected Szcur. Look at the guys who rank prospects. They see a high value in Szcur. Here's a link

What do you see in Burgess other than power?

Strong throwing arm, good speed and defense, and above all excellent strike zone judgement.

At worst he will be a 4th outfielder with some thump. One who can play all 3 outfield spots.

Taking pitches isn't excellent strike zone judgment, it's just taking pitches. At worst he doesn't get out of AA.

Please find me ANY non-Jim Hendry source who will agree with that?

@jimcallisBA Szczur, wide margin.

I guess I stand corrected?

Some of that is "new toy" prospectus though. Call it Darko syndrome. Nobody thought Heyward was a better prospect than Vitters when they were 116 ML at bats into their careers.

I still think that Burgess will have the better career.

BA loves everyone that was just drafted, that is very true.

but they did have Heyward ahead of Vitters in 2008

I love this site!!!! Thanks for keeping this thing going strong so long Rob. Nowhere else I'd rather argue!

And Vitters was one slot ahead of Joey Votto, and Tyler Colvin was ahead of Neftali Feliz.

But at this point, you've got a guy who's strong enough to play RB in the NFL, quick enough to play WR, and has shown good plate discipline in his college career and his brief taste of pro-ball despite not being a FT baseball player. That's a helluva prospect.

Why would the farm system have taken a massive hit if we didn't sign another football player?

Because he's a good baseball player, too. I thought that was pretty obvious.

Although it makes little difference, Szcur was a RB at Villanova.

believe he played QB, all 3 WR positions, RB and kick returner and I know AZ Phil referred to him as a WR. A few of the draft previews I've seen say he's a WR as well and WR makes the best joke though because of Samardzija.

From what I saw, he was a QB/WR, but he he was a run first QB, by a significant margin. Disirregardless now, he's an OF... though I am not sure which field it is.

Regrettably, the joke is Shark. Whatever, let's hope Hendry doesn't find and soccer players that own a bat and glove.

Submitted by Rob G. on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 12:56pm.

believe he played QB, all 3 WR positions, RB and kick returner and I know AZ Phil referred to him as a WR. A few of the draft previews I've seen say he's a WR as well and WR makes the best joke though because of Samardzija.


ROB G: Matt Szczur was a jack-of-all-trades at Villanova, primarily a wide receiver & punt returner, but he also played a lot of Wildcat-QB. That's how he was able to rack-up rushing yards and the occasional TD pass along with catching passes and returning punts (the proverbial "All Purpose Yards"). He also dry cleaned the team uniforms, painted the logo in the end zone, and popped the kettle corn.

And found time to also donate bone marrow...

He didn't drive the team bus?


Vitters #7

7. Josh Vitters, Cubs: Chicago pushed Vitters up to Double-A when it had a hole to fill, and while he didn't put up good numbers at all, the organization was pleased with how he prepared and dealt with the adversity. He still has the great swing, bat speed and raw power that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. He hasn't been so great at making adjustments and doesn't draw walks at all. He's not great defensively, but has a good arm and should be able to stay at the hot corner. The 2011 season could be a big one for Vitters.

Couldn't agree more, it's make-or-break year for Vitters. If he doesn't make GENUINE progress this year, he's a busted prospect, plain and simple. We need to see a minimum 850 OPS in AA and improved defense, or the big league Cubs will need to make other 3B plans with Aramis expected to leave next year. I'm guessing if Vitters does bust, the Cubs quickly move LeMahieu over to 3B as Plan B. I suppose Marquez Smith or a holdover (Baker, DeWitt) is Plan C--ugh.

Don't the Cubs have an option on Aramis for 2012? Even at 16 mil or whatever it'd cost I think that's the preferable option. And perhaps that holds true even if Vitters hits well in AA this upcoming year. I would hope that would leave them enough money to go after Fielder/Pujols too.

It's a mutual option for $12MM or $2MM buyout, according to Cots.

07:$8M, 08:$14M, 09:$15.65M, 10:$15.75M, 11:$14.6M player option, 12:$16M club option ($2M buyout)

Ramirez may void 2012 option, but doing so forfeits $2M buyout
2012 option becomes guaranteed if Ramirez:
wins one MVP in 2007-11, or
places 2nd or 3rd in MVP vote twice in 2007-11, or
wins LCS MVP once in 2007-11, or
is an All Star 3 times in 2007-11, or
is traded & Ramirez exercises 2011 option

Well if he hits like he did last year, Smith will be taking his job mid 2011.

Hopefully Vitters gets it going, and almost as importantly, stays healthy. I think he's just a streaky hitter... see him when he's hot, he's a top 20 prospect. See him the other 70% of the time, he's minor league filler.

Josh Vitters is only 21 years old.

As I've mentioned before, if Vitters had gone to college instead of signing with the Cubs in 2007, he would have finished his junior year at Arizona State last Spring and would have been eligible for selection in the 2010 Rule 4 draft, the first time he would have been eligible for selection in the June draft since HS

If he had been drafted and then signed (let's say by the Cubs), he would have probably been initially assigned to Boise, and might have gotten an August promotion to Peoria. He probably would have been looking at playing at Daytona in 2011.

Vtiters has been pushed very fast through the Cubs system, getting promoted at the first sign of success at a given level. This is NOT a "make or break year" for Vitters, although he is getting to the point where if he has a very good year at AA in 2011 it might influence the Cubs to give him a September call-up, since he has to be added to the 40-man roster post-2011 anyway (otherwise he will be eligible for selection in the December 2011 Rule 5 Draft).

Thanks AZ PHIL. Many folks forget that players don't have to be considered "busts" or "washouts" at the age of 21.

Had he been selected in the June '10 draft, when would he need to be on the 40 man?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 11:17am.
Had he been selected in the June '10 draft, when would he need to be on the 40 man?


REAL NEAL: If Josh Vitters had gone to college and had been selected in the June 2010 draft (and signed), he would be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in December 2013

Phil, we are interested in prospects that can become major league impact players, or at least, can outperform the league average at their position once they hit the show. Even for HS draftees, if they eventually become ML outperformers, then they almost always (a) advance quickly through a system, and (b) look awesome while doing it.

Look at the Youngs, Uptons, Drew, etc.. crowd. Yes, I think it's fair to compare Vitters to them, because Josh was a #3 overall pick. He's not close to the majors, and he has yet to post a single "Wow" minor league season. Those other guys did.

I don't dispute for a moment your opinion that Vitters is still young, so he can still develop into a player that can make the major leagues. Sure. But why should we be excited about someone with a Vance Law, Steve Buechele-like production level? Because that is what the indicators suggest based on Vitters production as a pro ballplayer, not the Longoria, Wright, Ramirez type of production we are/were hoping for.

Not ragging on the kid at all, I'm rooting for him bigtime, but I'm just being realistic given what he's shown since being drafted. I hope 2011 changes perceptions for him and the big league team, I really do.

The Cubs have been very aggressive with Vitters, and it is the reason you haven't seen a "Wow" year from him (along with some injuries). As a 18 year old at Boise, he had a very nice 61 game stint, hitting .328/.365/.498. He then struggled upon getting promoted to Peoria. The next year, at 19, he started at Peoria again and absolutely raked for 70 games, hitting .316/.351/.535. The Cubs, once again, promoted him midseason and he struggled at Daytona. He started last year at Daytona again and has been the pattern, he hit well in 28 games, going .291/.350/.445 (FSL is even one of the toughest hitters leagues in the minors). So, naturally, the Cubs promoted Vitters instead of letting him have a full year at one level, and, naturally, Vitters struggled mightily in his 63 game stint at AA last year. Although it should be noted that he was killing the ball in his last 10 games before breaking his finger getting hit by a pitch.

I fully expect Vitters to come out and hit reasonably well at AA next year, assuming he is healthy. And finally, I believe the Cubs would give him a full year at one level that he is comfortable at. He made decent strides with his walk rates last year to where they were up to 7.7% in the AFL. I think 2011 puts Vitters back on the prospect map. Of course, I might just be optimistic.

this may be true. Would anyone else like the Cubs to just leave Vitters in AA this season, and let him have a full season there. Successful or no?

Yes. He's so young, there doesn't seem to be much reason to push him to AAA. And there isn't much reason to drop him back to A+, unless he has some enormous confidence failure.

I am OK if his playing dictates it that he moves to AAA or the majors next year, since we need a 3rd basemen for 2012. I am not OK with them jumping him up because he has a one to two week hot stretch, which is what they did the last two years.

fwiw, back when it happened

The contract starts at $8 million with a $5 million signing bonus for next season; from there, the numbers jump, to $14 million in 2007, $15.65 million in 2009, $15.75 million in 2010, a $14.6 million player option in 2011, followed by a $2 million buyout clause of a mutual option for 2012.

the fact that Ramirez can void the option is probably where the mutual option confusion kicks in, but it does look like $16M

I do not know if you folks saw this, but MLBTR has an "Arbitration Tracker" up that allows you to see settlement amounts and figures exchanged. I somewhat shy away from this site, but this is pretty nifty if they did the programming:

OT, but I am thinking of plunking down for one almanac, or "digest" this year that will cover MLB, MiLB, a little prospect action, a little of this and that.

IS the BA Almanac the way to go still, here?

Its up to $27 in the "spiral" edition.

Any other suggestions, boys?

I enjoyed the Hardball Times annual I got last year - but that's going to have more of a stat-head slant. It does cover the various things you mention. I always get the BA Prospects one, that's the one with 40 prospects per team.

Thanks Neal. The Almanac does not cover the prospects in as great a detail as BA's pub that you usually purchase then?

No... let me go grab it. Let's see the 2009 Annual didn't have prospect rankings, but it had an evaluation of what non-star prospects are worth. It has about 30 pages on the 2008 season, 75 pages of short articles written by various people across myriad subjects, 30 pages on historical stuff, 50 pages of hard core number crunching articles, then the team write ups which were three pages each, mostly graphs and charts with some interesting statistical tidbits written out.

Personally I'd get the BA prospects book, and one of the other annuals, but I probably wouldn't double up on BA publications.

nice story.

Chico Outlaws of the new North American League announced today that 1B/OF John Urick has had his contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs.

interesting that he's the grandson of whitey herzog (according to the first website that pops up when you google his name)

Considering his age(29), problematical minor league and independent league record, and the fact that he didn't play full time last year (only 176 AB's), HOW does this guy show up on any team's radar...much less the Cubs? It's a mystery.

Because the Ricketts suck?

Just guessing that'd be your answer.

It's not Ricketts its our scouting and developmental staff who aren't exactly the brightest of the bunch.

Sure a broken watch can get the time correct twice in a day but the watch is still broken. Thats pretty much the Cubs farm system. Shitty scouts and shitty coaches, headed up by a knucklehead who has no idea what he wants to build his farm system into.

Ohhh wait maybe we do....they gotta look good in a uniform, and must be athletic. If they can't play baseball....thats not really important.

I was just joking about Navigator and his vendetta against the Ricketts. Carry on.

Shitty scouts and shitty coaches, headed up by a knucklehead who has no idea what he wants to build his farm system into.

You and Navigator should start your own site so you can bitch constantly there about how what is (or was until the Garza trade) now a Top 10 (many say Top 5) Minor League system, yielding no bona fide prospects to the Big Club.

I had thought Colvin and Castro at least had shut you up proving that the arrow is finally pointed in the right direction, but you just can't let go...

Just don't whatever you do, let the facts get in the way.

I'm always stumped who these athletic guys who can't play baseball are. Are they still talking about Pie and Patterson? Wilken didn't draft those guys, and I will swear that Felix Pie does not swing the bat like a guy Wilken would draft. Look at Pie's swing compared to Colvin's or Vitters'.

Brett Jackson looks good but can't play baseball? Has LeMahieu disappointed?

Guyer was an athletic guy, and it turned out he could play baseball. When Barney puts on a glove and goes to short or second, he looks like he belongs there, and his swing is not half bad, either. What's the problem?

Not to call anybody out, but MikeC and Aaron B. should specify who they're talking about. It's true that Wilken doesn't draft defensively challenged power hitters who have a one-in-fifty chance of turning into Adam Dunn or Prince Fielder. But the guys he does draft can play, including offensively.

You may remember a certain wide receiver who Wilkens drafted...

Were talking about a top notch minor-leaguer who develops into an All-Star worthy player. Even the shittiest of systems can either draft or trade into a minor league star like that on the position front.

For some odd reason the Cubs have come up dry for the last 20 years since they drafted Mark Grace.

Soto is an all-star player.

Many people think that Castro will be an all star.

I suppose fewer people believe the same about Colvin, and I'm not going to convince the sceptics on this blog; but I would argue that a player who can play three outfield positions, who according to his manager was the fastest man on the team, and who hit 20 homers in his rookie season has all-star potential. Those 20 homers were in spite of his hitting a wall on about 8/1, when he already had 16 HRs. Colvin hit 1 HR in September.

Scouts seem to be very high on B. Jackson. And the Cubs just traded two of their three or four brightest prospects, so that's a couple more players who are athletic and toolsy and can also perform at a high level.

WTF? I'm on record saying that I would be comfortable firing everyone in Cubs management EXCEPT Wilken even if he isn't the drafting genius people make him out to be.

That was before the Cubs hired Greg Maddux. It goes without saying, I'd keep him too.

Other than the three years in a row you posted your "Teflon Tim" campaign, you may have something there.

Probably because the Cubs are casting about for someone to help Iowa win some ball games... The Yankees gave a guy who played independent league last year more money than this.

Submitted by navigator on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 2:07pm.
Considering his age(29), problematical minor league and independent league record, and the fact that he didn't play full time last year (only 176 AB's), HOW does this guy show up on any team's radar...much less the Cubs? It's a mystery.


NAVI: The Cubs usually bring one or two indy guys to Minor League Camp each year as injury insurance depth and to provide some additional competition, but they almost always get released prior to Opening Day. Why they chose this particular player (Urick) is unknown, but he probably has some prior connection to or relationship with somebody in either the Cubs scouting or player development department.

And, after they cut him, maybe the Cubs new poet will say, "Alas, poor Urick, I knew him well."

Twitter-"PWSullivan All those Milton Bradley defenders from various Cubs blogs conspicuously silent today. Rat got your tongues? "


What a dick.

So much for civil discourse.

It just makes us wish Milton Bradley got his hands on Sullivan.

Cashman recommends not signing Soriano to closer money, Steinbrenner's sign him anyway.

deal is $1.4M plus the original $100K to make it $1.5M, says he'll start in Peoria

Interesting. I would have thought Daytona.

to Cardinals on a minor league deal

Brian Fuentes 2/$10.5M to the A's

and he appears to me to be another Harvey.
A Pookah? I see an invisible 6 foot tall rabbit at times too.

Fox borrowing money to McCourt so he can keep running the team.

That's a shame. Seriously, that's one of the MLB's flagship teams.

Glad we have a take charge commisioner who will come in and save the day.

ROB G: is there any local discussion that the Dodgers might have to declare bankruptcy? Or, will they need to sell off quality assets (Kershaw) if they go in the tank baseball-wise and people don't go to the games?

Dodgers always do well attendance wise, team should be decent this year so doubt that will be an issue.

If they declare bankruptcy they would just be forced to sell which is where they're headed to anyway once all the appeals get sorted out. Frank is desperately trying to maintain control of his finance cash cow after losing round 1.

I don't think anyone cares for the McCourts out here and there was talk of the O'Malley's buying them back which the die-hards would love.

Who is borrowing the money? Fox is lending? McCourt is borrowing?
Sorry peeve, and my coffee hasn't kicked in yet..

Once it became clear that Gorz was ticketed out of town for budget relief, I was hopeful that the Cubs would target a good AA 1B prospect who (1) was blocked by a Teixeira-esque star at the ML level, and (2) was advanced enough to provide a viable option to Carlos Pena in 2012. My reason for (1) was that the blocked prospect would hopefully be available in trade and would have a price tag somewhat equal to Gorz's.

AZ Phil, if Pena continues his decline and is kicked to the curb after 2011, do the Cubs have any in-house candidates (aside from Colvin) who could step in to play 1B? Or is the plan to pay the hefty (no pun intended) FA price for Prince Fielder?

Many thanks.

Pujols and Fielder at the moment...

if not Pena, Berkman and Lee go back in the market next year as well and I'm sure some trade options will open up.

Also, if the Mets were to make a play on Prince or Pujols, Ike Davis could be made available. Same story with the Dodgers (Loney). Royals might make Billy Butler available if both Hosmer and Ka'aihue excel. IOW, there should be several external options for the Cubs in 2012 if they don't want Pena back.

And then there's always Soto and Colvin. Brett Jackson in the majors in 2012 isn't especially far-fetched, and Castillo is at least possible.

Castillo's MLB upside is Henry Blanco. Everyone write that down, please.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 11:04pm.
Castillo's MLB upside is Henry Blanco. Everyone write that down, please.


REAL NEAL: My grandmother's MLB upside is Henry Blanco and she's been dead 20 years. Our cat's MLB upside is Henry Blanco. My alarm clock's MLB upside is Henry Blanco.

Welington Castillo's MLB upside is Benjie Molina.

Submitted by Seamhead on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:32pm.

AZ Phil, if Pena continues his decline and is kicked to the curb after 2011, do the Cubs have any in-house candidates (aside from Colvin) who could step in to play 1B?


SEAMHEAD: Probably nobody who is playing 1B right now, but the Cubs might move somebody there from another position, like Geovany Soto if his shoulder doesn't bounce back, or Colvin, or Ryan Flaherty if he has a good year at AA, or maybe Josh Vitters if he hits but struggles with his throws at 3B.

Personally I think the Cubs will look outside the organization for a 1B post-2011, and they could very well spend whatever available cash they have this time next year on a stud FA 1B (like Fielder). I don't think the Cubs were particularly enamored with the 1B FA crop that was out there this off-season, plus Hendry did not have much cash to spend. The Cubs will probably have more money available to sign a high-profile FA post-2011 than they did post-2010.

Bruce Levine's chat from yesterday:

Darwin Barney says, say it ain't so...(BL, one toke over the line?)

Hey Bruce, do the Cubs look to go after another second baseman with a trade or do they stick with DeWitt and Baker for the time being? Is there any talent in the minors that could possibly make the roster come Opening Day?
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM): The only move I can see the Cubs making is signing a veteran who may have fallen through the free-agent process. Orlando Cabrera would be a nice addition.

hope not...

Any word on whos the favorite to replace the late great Ron Santo in the radio booth?
Bruce Levine (1:47 PM): The Cubs were said to have done an interview over the weekend at the Cubs convention. Candidates are presumed to be Gary Matthews, Doug Glanville, Dave Otto and Keith Moreland. My gut is Otto is the favorite.

Levine's been on the Orlando Cabrera bandwagon for 2 offseasons now...

Otto will probably be the one picked. He is the only one in the group that is really poor at the job.


Cripes, Otto is awful. I wouldn't mind Glanville, there would likely be some quality insights and banter with a pair of intellectuals like Pat and Doug. It even sounds right.

But Moreland would be a better mix of insight and humor, I like him. He was a pretty damn decent ballplayer, too, he knows his stuff and played what, 5 different positions in the big leagues? Go with Keith.

I have not heard Glanville other than in interviews. Ron's shoes are gonna be tough to fill from the "jocular" and entertainment point of view.

Glanville seems much more subdued than the role calls for from the little I have heard him. Sarge I have heard and he's got several years under his belt with the Phils. I used to rent an office in the same building when Sarge was starting a corporate promotions biz (believe it or not! flashlights, fridge magnets, etc.) and he was really personable. His observations have been good when I have listened to him online.

Zonk has that easy-going vibe along with the baseball acumen to back it up.

But Otto???!! Ugh.

Sarge would be inspired, Moreland would be solid, Glanville would be entertaining, and Otto is my opportunity to continue to bemoan the incongruous state of Cubs 720.

i'd go w/ sarge on the grounds that i like the sound of his nickname if not necessarily his voice & i know i don't like the other candidates...

For the sake of disclosure. Matt Szczur sounds like a really great kid, along with a decent prospect. My only complaint is that we reached 2 rounds on Simpson in the top half of round 1 for signability. Then proceeded to go cheap the rest of the draft except for 3 guys.

I'd have rather used the 1.5 to offer an extra 100-300k to 5-15 extra signability guys last summer.

Without the football aspect lurking this kid wouldn't have gotten 500K.

Meh, they reached on Simpson cause they were confident he was going to be taken before their next pick and that has since been confirmed.

And that Fukudome, Soriano, Bradley, Marquis, Glendon and Neifi all had bigger $ offers on the table!

Manny was back the other day, but he's hardly missed with our new broken record. College pitchers who throw 95 with command of three pitches don't last until pick number 65 in the draft. It's that simple.

Here's a little snippet about Keith Law's top 100 players for the draft:

"Similarly, the Citadel's Asher Wojciechowski was unranked back in Febrary, but sits at #28 in Law's latest list."

So this kid went from the 3rd round+ to the first round (wound up 41st)...why? Because of scouting. The job of scouts is not to find guys and trumpet to all the baseball publications how great he is... it's to find guys and shut up about them. The guy who scouted Greg Maddux thought he should have been a first round pick, he staked his reputation on it. Instead the Cubs went with the consensus and took Drew Hall... That's who you are, the guy championing Drew Hall over Greg Maddux.

Jane, you are an ignorant slut!!!!!

I realize you're making one of your hyperbolic jokes, but I believe only Fukudome was reported as having a better offer than what he signed with the Cubs for.

as for Simpson, I recall the Angels whispers and then over the offseason I read something on twitter, I think it was from baseball america, but I can't find it at the moment.

believe what you want...

I love the job Wilken has done, I am very much a supporter. But I gotta admit, I'm STILL scratching my head on the Simpson pick, I just don't get it. I suppose it doesn't help that we have yet to see him pitch for the Cubs, but if you have any stories from last year on Simpson and why Wilken apparently loves him, I'd appreciate a re-post.

After all, don't all the publications have Golden ranked above Simpson?

BA has Simpson ahead of Golden I know. Him having mono isn't going to soothe any fears at the moment.

The Angels had 3 first round picks. And a couple more supplemental 1st round picks.

I too recall that it came out that the Angels were going to pick Simpson, if the Cubs didn't.

Apparently the Cubs had a legitimate reason to believe that if they didn't take Hayden Simpson with their 1st round pick that the Angels would take him with one of their extra picks before the Cubs had a chance to select again in the 2nd round.

That said, my big problem with the Cubs gambling on a questionable "1st round talent" like Simpson in the 1st round was that a big-time proven D-1 college power bat like left-handed hitting 3B Zack Cox (U. of Arkansas) was still on the board. Of course the Cubs signed Simpson for just over a million, while Cox would have cost $2M and a major league contract (and thus a spot on the 40-man roster). But it's just too much like 2007 when the Cubs took Josh Vitters instead of a more-proven college hitter like Matt Wieters.

You cannot gamble like that with a 1st round pick if you want to "build from within."

maybe they just didn't like Zack Cox

Agreed 100% with AZ Phil

Are there any big time college bats out there this year beyond Anthony Rendon?

Anyone follow pre-draft prospects?

I agree too, but honesty forces me to say that I was a huge Wieters guy in that draft, and when I see how he's struggled so far with Baltimore...well, maybe a young HS guy wasn't such a bad idea after all. Wieters will be 25 in May.

The HS guy that appears to be the big get of course is Moustakas, I live here in KC, they are (justifiably) pumped about the kid. He should be the 3B Alex Gordon never became (#2 overall pick, will be 27 in three weeks).

So go Josh go! Please.....

Vitters put up a sub 700 OPS in AA. Weiters will be starting his 3rd Major league season as a starter.

I think Weiters will end up being at least a solid MLB regular. Probably a few All Star appearances in there as well.

Moustakas was a bust until 2010.

I'm not sure I've heard Zack Cox and "proven D-1 college power bat" mentioned in the same sentence before. Most believe Cox will have average power, and some don't even think he'll get that. If he moves to 2B, his power would play better, but at 3B, he's not a good bet to be an impact player.

Agree 100% on the Vitters/Wieters pick, though. I wanted Wieters something fierce.

Submitted by Hrubes20 on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 10:51am.
I'm not sure I've heard Zack Cox and "proven D-1 college power bat" mentioned in the same sentence before. Most believe Cox will have average power, and some don't even think he'll get that. If he moves to 2B, his power would play better, but at 3B, he's not a good bet to be an impact player.

Agree 100% on the Vitters/Wieters pick, though. I wanted Wieters something fierce.


HRUBES: Zack Cox hit 22 HR in just 115 college games, and then he hit two HR in his last four AFL games, one of which was a 450-ft+ bomb at Peoria. From what I saw of him in the AFL, he will be an impact player.

My main point about taking a proven D-1 bat in the 1st round (presuming one is available) is that a 1st round pick should not be an over-reach (Simpson) and should not be a long-term developmental project (Vitters).

That doesn't mean I don't think Simpson or Vitters can make it to the big leagues and do well, just that a 1st round pick should be as much of a sure thing and as close to being MLB-ready as a 1st round pick can be. Then use picks in later rounds to reach for the less-proven high-ceiling prospect, even if it means paying an over-slot bonus to sign him.

Remember the media frenzy during Fukstock? It's like the guy was the missing link. In the meantime, the TCR braintrust had pretty much deduced that the guy was going to hit like Tadahito Iguchi in a corner outfield spot for $12M per annum.

Actually I did say his bat was over rated. The comps I found on him were that he was most similar to Iwamura in Tampa Bay.

The cursed of HAVING to have a left handed hitting right fielder who can bat 5th.

well he's hit a lot better than Iwamura, he's a $7M outfielder getting paid $12-$14M. Still a good player...just overpaid.

heck, he had the 7th best wOBA in 2009 for CF's

14th among RF'ers with at least 420 PA's last year out of 32 or so, better than TCR love child, Bobby Abreu.

I agree that he is a useful player. I just thought it foolish to pin that whole offseason on getting Kfuk.

Better, cheaper options were out there to be had. Not to mention it led us to dump DeRo and Marquis off of a 98 win team to get Bradley to be what Kfuk was supposed to be the year before.

Fukudome is consistently overrated in TCR. Where did all his detractors go?

He's still in my crosshairs (you should pardon the expression). The Cubs have been trying to get rid of Fukudome for three offseasons now. Do you think that if he is really worth $7 million, the Cubs are unwilling to pay the other $5 or $6?

Let's see if he's in the major leagues next year, and if he is, at what price tag.

I'm sure the Cubs are willing to pay that, also means a team has to give up some talent on top of paying him. They don't have to do that in free agency.

At age 35 though, I don't know what he'll get next offseason or if he'll just go back to Japan.

but, his value with the Cubs has been in the range I mentioned, although I didn't check that before I said it.

It may be that he was worth $7 million a year ago, but then with two years left on his contract, you were asking another team to cough up $14 million. This year, while his averages (BA, OBP, SLG) stayed constant, his raw numbers went down as Colvin took his starts away: doubles dropped from 38 to 20, total bases from 210 to 157.

When you have an overpaid starter and you stop playing him, his trade value drops with his numbers. It's a real bind. If Fukudome is coming off 38 doubles, maybe you can trade him. But then where would Colvin be?

That's the cold logic, by the way, behind Quade saying that Soriano gets treated differently from DeWitt.

I am joking obviously. But lets be real here. When was the last time you heard a GM say something like:

"We probably outbid ourselves by 30% on this guy" or "We had this guy rated as a 2nd rounder. But we knew he'd take under slot to sign"?

I'm glad we got this Szczur kid in the fold. I just hate we did it at the expense of going under slot at 13 overall. And penny pinched in the draft in general.

I'd rather offer an extra 100-300K for tough signing BASEBALL players than to go 1.5 on a football player in hopes that our coaches can teach him how to play?

Call me crazy

You're not crazy. You are just doing rank speculation, and then acting as if your speculation was established fact.

There is substantial reason to believe that Simpson would have not lasted until the next Cub pick, and that belief does NOT come only from Cub
sources. Nor is there any reason to believe that the pick was for any other reason other than the one Wilkin gave - that he believed he was the best pick available.

Wilkin has been consistantly goaded for the great "reach" for Colvin, and even after Colvin reached the majors and played rookie of the year calibre baseball, no one admitted to being wrong. They merely moved on the the next unprovable complaint.

The system has improved greatly under Wilkin, just as it did in his job at his former team. There comes a time when the constant "If the Cubs did it, it must be wrong" whining to ease up a little.

Who has Wilken drafted on this current Cubs roster other than Colvin?

What year did Wilken take over the drafting?


Not a lot of guys so far.

I'm not really slamming the guy. Obviously there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff we aren't privy to (budgets, push from marketing dept, etc.).

That said the guy really seems to like to reach on athletes and fastballs.

Case in point. Look at his 1st rounders:

Colvin was considered a 3rd round talent by BA.

Vitters was fairly highly regarded, but Weiters was the higher rated, more expensive obvious pick

Cashner was OUR 17th rounder the previous season and a College SR.

BJackson Was considered a slight reach at the end of round 1. Looks like a good pick thus far

Simpson Was considered a 3rd-5th round talent by BA. Signed under slot, even though he was our highest draft pick since 2007.

Not sure if the guy is a contrary guy who just want to prove everyone wrong or what?

the guy generally recognized as one of the best scouting directors in the game, when you hire someone like that you let him run your draft, not Baseball America.

and that Cashner comment is preposterous.

My fault, 29th round

# June 7, 2007: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 29th round of the 2007 amateur draft, but did not sign.
# June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 1st round (19th pick) of the 2008 amateur draft. Player signed July 10, 2008.

he was also selected by the Rockies and Braves, I have no idea what your point is on this one.

Do you think Wilken even knows anyone in the marketing dept of the Cubs, less had a conversation with them?

Then why the 10 Million dollar contract with Samjay? Why this deal with the hero football player? Why were Maddux and Wood brought back in the twilight of their careers?

You honestly don't think the Cubs are more PR conscience than the average MLB team?

What did Wilken's signing and drafting of amateur talent have to do with Maddux or Wood?

I think the Cubs liked Samardzija and had no picks for 3 rounds and used that money to take a chance on a first round talent in the 5th round, which seems to be what you want them to do, except when it doesn't fit whatever you're trying to argue at the moment which I admit I'm lost on.

the average Cubs fans couldn't tell you one Cubs minor league player, less who they drafted that year. I doubt Wilken or anyone else gives two shits how it goes over. I have Vitters, Colvin, B. Jackson and H. Simpson picks to back that up. You have a conspiracy theory.

It is what I want them to do. I want them to do it consistently.

If the "Plan" is to build from within. Build from within. Don't go cheap on the draft. Don't pick an under slot bonus guy with the 13th pick. Spend to sign a guy like Cashner when you get him in the 29th round. Draft a power bat once in a while.

All that said, I think Wilken has done a fine job as SD. I just wish we'd cast a little larger net.

well I agree that the one thing the organization could use is some power bats, but then I remember that's what Colvin has turned into and what Vitters is suppose to be. We'll see if he gets there.

The Cubs 2nd round pick was a power bat.

It's not football where you can trade picks, you take the guy you like the most, unless you're reasonably certain he's going to be there for your next pick. Signing bonus may or may not play into it. Following your argument, the Cubs would have been better suited to give Simpson a $3 million bonus, then the pick would have been legitimate... (from the same guy who is complainging about the Cubs giving more money than necessary to players). If the guy was your #1 guy on the board, and he wasn't going to be around for your next pick - what would you do? Pick the guy Baseball America says (Drew Hall) and pay him slot?

The worst Wilkens pick he's made in the first round so far, was the #2 guy on Baseball America's big board when they picked - and he cost $7 million less than the #1 guy.

The Orioles, had no 2 or 3rd round picks that year - so they had more money to blow on a first if they wanted. They've graduated 2 guys to the majors, and have one more guy from that draft in their top 20 prospects. The Cubs have graduated 2 guys to the majors, traded a third (college power bat!) that is in the majors with a different team and four more guys in their top 20 from that draft, and the Cubs still have a better system.

Yes, that is exactly what I'm advocating Neal.

Lets draft terrible players. Then overpay them!!!!!!

Simpson WAS a reach by almost every single account. The fact he signed below slot only confirms that opinion.

Again, IF the strategy is to build a farm system. Then spend some money and get the high end prospects you need to fill the system.

Before the Szz Signing. The cubs were in the Mid 20's in draft bonus expenditures. THAT IS COMPLETELY AGAINST THE STATED RICKETTS MISSION STATEMENT.

All I am saying

seriously, you're argument reads as if the Cubs should have just paid Simpson more to make it legit.

I'm not trying to argue anything. Just wishing the Cubs varied their approach a bit. Overall Wilken has done a decent job. Improvement COULD still be made though.

If Wilkens starts drafting unknown 7 footers out of Eastern Europe I'll be concerned he's becoming Jerry Krause.
Otherwise, I'm just happy we finally have a farm system that is actually developing players.

2006: Tyler Colvin, Jeff Samardzija

* Jake Renshaw was used to get Trachsel

2007: Darwin Barney, James Russell

* Josh Donaldson was used to get Harden and Gaudin
* Brandon Guyer was used to get Garza

2008: Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman

* Josh Harrison was used to get Gorzelanny and Grabow

I have read that Fleita was the one who nabbed Castro from the Dominican brothel he was living in - actually I think B Levine had discussed this on his Saturday show as well.

However, we do not know what input/approval Tim Wilken provided.

Oh, the brothel remark is a "joke".

Castro too

was castro drafted?

you think Wilken doesn't approve the international signings?

I thought that was Oneri's Job?

I don't see why it would be, he would be in charge of setting the minor league rosters and coaches and promotions. I'm sure he has some say in who they actually sign, but no more than any other scout in the organization.

You're crazy
He's a baseball player. And he was pretty fucking goof at it the last couple years

2009 age 19 Villanova 346/438/438/874
2010 20 Villanove 443/489/667/1156
2010 20 Boise 397/439/521/960

And he does it playing CF. Just forget he is athletic enough to play football and embrace that he's a great prospect. You'll be happier

I'm happy we got the kid!

I'm bitching that we did it at the expense of being cheap the rest of that draft.

Where were the Cubs cheap, other than in the first round?

Looks like they stayed slot pretty much all the way through.

Oh, I thought we were talking about the Cubs who arguably were over slot in the 2nd round, and definitely over on 5,7,9 and 10... which team were you talking about?

That's who you are, the guy championing Drew Hall over Greg Maddux.

Man, that is so funny and so well put.

And indeed the ones in organizations that pick winners over disasters have such a long-term effect.

Look at the Cardinals, for example in our own Division.

They seem to be in the "hunt" year after year.

They seem to be in the "hunt" year after year.

But that really isn't from having a great system and picking winners. The Cardinals have built their team around the best player in baseball (Pujols) and a couple of very good starting pitchers. The rest is just filler- and the best of the filler (folks like Rolen, Holliday, Glaus, etc) have come through trades or free agency.

Pujols is exactly my point. A scout in their system made the
call on this one player, which shifted the balance of power in the NL Central for years. And, I do not agree with you that "hole-fillers" exclusively have kept the Cards "in the hunt".

Certainly they seem to evaluate FA talent as well as most, but they
have also developed impact players from within over the last 50+ years.

Way more than the Cubs.

Lou Brock says "hi"


It's all about talent evaluation at every phase. Even when they start out as Cubs.

Pujols was drafted in the 13th round. It seems to me that that speaks more to the inexact art of scouting than on the skill of a StL scout.

Basically they got lucky.

Good God, they offered him $10K to sign...

Wonder how those numbers compared to Bryce Harper's.

They ignored their scout for more then 10 rounds. If they truly saw greatness in Pujoles, they were crazy to risk him being taken by some other team as a flyer.

Pujols is a red herring.

It's easy to get caught up in the 'best player in all of baseball' thing (which is true), and totally forget that the St. Louis Cardinals have built a fundamentally sound team of non-flashy, but consistent and good baseball players behind Pujols. I believe that is as important, if not more important, as having Pujols.

Without Pujols the Cardinals probably only make the playoffs one time since he arrived. Not only is he very good, he also has been under paid for his entire career. By Fangraph's calculation the Cardinals would have had to spend about $200 million in free agency ontop of what they've paid him to replace his production.

Last night on MLB Network, during a discussion of potential comeback player of the year picks for 2011, Dan Plesac picked ARam. Not a bad pick, but then he said "ARam is more important to the Cubs lineup than any other player to their team in the NL Central". I guess he forgot Pujols plays in the NL Central.

potential comeback player of the year picks for 2011, Dan Plesac picked ARam
Muskat article is on Jaramillo currently working with Pena...

there are some interesting quotes on ARam being stubborn regarding taking RJ's advice on his .207 first half and apparently now they have better rapport. Supposedly, Pena will be more likely to push ARam's competitive spirit than DLee did. (no Soriano mention, guess he's unfixable).

"(no Soriano mention, guess he's unfixable)."

Sori-"rudy i'm not hitting the ball well."

Rudy-"well let's study some film and work on your swing.."

Sori-"no, no, no. I think I need a bigger bat."

Rudy- facepalm

Garcia and rasmus say hi

Yadier Molina would like to chime in too...

Some interesting discussion on what the Mariners can do about MB including the difficulty in voiding his contract and the double standard they may have set for themselves by keeping a player in their organization that they received in the Cliff Lee trade (Josh Lueke).

releasing Bradley while keeping pitcher Josh Lueke in the organization would be a dangerous double standard. Lueke pleaded no contest to sexual assault charges last year in Bakersfield, Calif., while he was with the Rangers Class A affiliate.

Seattle PI article on MB:

USS Mariner blog on MB:

I think I am going to start a movement to ban the phrase "sunk cost" from the baseball blogosphere. Cameron's use here is particuarily bad, because just after he invokes it, he writes a paragraph essentially explaining why Bradley's contract is not a sunk cost.

Apparently Tim Wilken and Marti Wolever were talking and it led to the Cubs hiring one of the Phillies scouts, Tim Kissner, and making him the Cubs' west coast crosschecker. So now we have Big Tim and Tiny Tim.

Tiny Tim offers insight into why he was hired, "we really believe in scouting tools as opposed to statistics."

and the beat goes on...

And he wants God to bless us. Each and every one of us!

This site has some nice draft and prospectus info. Just for future reference.

So, is it safe to say the Cubs were the "winner" in the Fat Boy/MB trade?

I would like to see a thread of regurgitated comments about that trade. I would be amused to reread some of the hand-wringing about it (myself included).

ME: 12/18/2009 - 4:51pm Giving [Silva] a chance makes sense, I guess. Say he goes 8-12 with a 4.90 ERA this next year... was this trade then a success? Maybe... it's a big grey area.

(Actual 2010 numbers: 10-4, 3.76 ERA)

Here's the trade thread.

10-6, 4.22 ERA

first half was great though

Would you believe WIKI is not always accurate/up to date?

You use wikipedia for stats?

In this instance, yes, I did. And I learned my lesson.

Wikipedia says Milton Bradley is an old white man who lives on a hill creating board games. He also phones in death threats to ex-girlfriends, much like Colonel Sanders had a penchant for.


"You use wikipedia for stats?" Sounds kind of absurd in hindsight.

much like Colonel Sanders had a penchant for.
tastes like chicken?

in all its glory

Cubs were worse last year than in 2009, so not sure they won anything, although in the narrow view of that one trade, Paul Sullivan is a happier man.

Szczur said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry told him he wanted to see him be the starting center fielder in 2014, with Brett Jackson in left and Tyler Colvin in right.

Paul Sullivan article on "Caesar"

(link fixed now, sorry)


I think Reggie Golden might have something to say about that "2014" outfield lineup. I like him plenty. And besides, if it takes until 2014 for these guys to hit Chicago, we're screwed anyway. 2013 Opening Day, please, for Jackson at the very least.

I doubt that Hendry was saying that NONE of the three would make the majors before 2014. I took it to mean that by 2014, Ceasar would join Jackson and colvin, who would have already made it by then.

Especially since Colvin is already there.


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  • 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 5 hours 24 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 5 hours 28 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

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

    crunch 5 hours 44 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 5 hours 47 min ago view
  • Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump

    jacos 5 hours 51 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 5 hours 55 min ago view
  • j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.

    felix pena, your turn.

    crunch 5 hours 57 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 6 hours 43 min ago view
  • Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.

    John Beasley 8 hours 59 min ago view
  • barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.

    crunch 9 hours 21 min ago view
  • Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?

    Brick 9 hours 30 min ago view
  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 10 hours 31 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. 11 hours 45 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 12 hours 29 min ago view
  • Agree -- I think you want to keep him on a regular schedule.

    billybucks 12 hours 48 min ago view
  • Ramos torn ACL

    jacos 13 hours 16 min ago view