Archive - 2008

December 17th

December 15th

Is the Car Jumper a Cub?

Update (11AM, CST): site makes it sound official. Per ESPN, Gathright will get a one year deal at $800K. Gordon Wittenmyer at the Sun-Times also weighs in with this confirming article, as does Paul Sullivan from the Tribune.

This is far from being confirmed, but I have found several links saying the recently non-tendered KC Royal, Joey Gathright will be finding his way to the Cubs roster. Apparently a report by Jesse Rogers on WSCR-AM mentioned that he's been signed (around 6pm Monday evening). Carrie Muskat then posted this odd mention of Gathright at Noting that the 27 year old speedy, no power, lefty hitting OF could be added to the roster soon. She also reminds us that Gathright played for Lou Piniella and stole 20 bases for Tampa in 2005. Finally, in an interview with Joe Castellano on XM radio monday night, Cubs superscout Gary Hughes (special assistant to GM Jim Hendry) mentioned that "we're going to add a speed guy". He didn't name names but it sure seems odd to have this confluence of soft information match up all at once.

Maybe Jim Hendry wants Gathright for his jumping skills. You can see his famous car jumping video here. The Cubs can use anyone who can top Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and  Gathright garnered attention when he jumped over Kuroda avoiding a tag in a spring training game last year. It certainly isn't based on his hitting prowess, 263  .324  .308  are his career splits vs righty pitching.

If the Pitcher Jumping, Car Jumping, 5th OF is signed to a contract, does that hasten, ala Snagglepuss, an exit - stage door left for Felix Pie?  I'd like to see Pie get one more chance but it seems like he may literally as well as figuratively be running out of options. In any event, it's hard to get too worked up over the 25th roster spot in December, particularly when the starting right fielder has yet to be sorted out.

I've put my notes from the Gary Hughes interview after the jump...

December 13th

Dead or Not Dead

So ends the saga of Jake Peavy to the Cubs for 7 or more players. But is the deal really dead? In fact, even the Brian Roberts deal isn't exactly dead. These kind of non-transactions take a "life" of their own. So I thought we might play a little game. One of the more common cliche's is "the best trade is often the one not made".

December 12th

Cubs Sign Gaudin, Tender Rest of Arbitration Eligible Players

No suprise here, but the Cubs end up offering contracts to all of their arbitration eligible players that Arizona Phil went through this morning.

They even got Chad Gaudin to sign a one-year deal already, terms have yet be to be disclosed.

December 11th

No Peavy Deal for Cubs

As reported in multiple places, including here, the Cubs are baling out on the Jake Peavy trade talks. Writes Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs were frustrated by the Padres' attempts to seek five or six
players for Peavy with one team executive saying, "They're looking for
a Herschel Walker-type deal."

2008 Rule 5 Draft

UPDATE: The Cubs lost three players in the 2008 Rule 5 Draft this morning, one in the Major League Phase and two in the AAA Phase.

1. Donald Veal, LHP - selected off AAA Iowa roster by Pittsburgh Pirates with 4th overall pick in Major League Phase.

2. Yusuf Carter, OF - selected off AA Tennessee roster by Oakland A's in AAA Phase.

3. Mark Holliman, RHP - selected off AA Tennessee roster by Milwaukee Brewers in AAA Phase  

The Cubs did not select any players, but they did acquire RHP David Patton from the Cincinnati Reds in a cash transaction after the conclusion of the draft. Patton was selected from the Colorado Rockies by the Reds with the 8th pick in the 1st round of the Major League Phase, and so the Cubs will assume the Rule 5 obligations (Patton must remain on Cubs 25-man roster for the entire 2009 season--or at least 90 days on the active roster if he spends time on the DL--before he can be optioned to the minors).

The 24-year old Patton is 6'3 175, and was selected by Colorado in the 12th round of the 2004 draft out of Green River CC in Washington. He struggled as a starter his first two years in pro ball before turning his career around after a move to the bullpen in 2006. He throws a hard breaking ball and has an above average fastball, and so he could project as an MLB reliever. The only problem is, he spent the last two years pitching in the California League (Hi-A), and has yet to throw even one inning of AA ball, although he did get into nine games with the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the AFL post-2008 (an atrocious 9.24 ERA and 2.13 WHIP in 12.2 IP).  

All three of the Cubs players selected in today's Rule 5 Draft were 2005 Rule 4 Draft picks (Veal in the 2nd round out of Pima CC, Holliman in the 3rd round out of Ol' Miss, and Carter in the 12th round out of El Paso CC), and this was the first Rule 5 Draft for each player.

Veal is still only 24, and was rated one of the Cubs top pitching prospects for most of his time with the Cubs, before falling out of favor in 2008. Veal has a plus-curve and a 93 MPH fastball, but he has struggled with his mechanics throughout his pro career and tends to hit his pitch limit before he can get through five innings. To help him throw fewer pitches-per-inning, the Cubs had him junk his curve in favor of a more-pedestrian slider in 2008, and that could have led to his downfall. I suspect the Pirates will have Veal try and get back to where he was before the Cubs started messing with him. I have projected Veal as a future MLB reliever for some time now (I would compare him to Arthur Rhodes), and I believe that is his best chance to have success at the MLB level. He is very effective against left-handed hitters, and pitching more often but without a pitch limit (as will be the case if he works out of the bullpen) should help him find more consistency with his posture, release point, and arm slot.    

The 25-year old Holliman was a "Friday Night Starter" (ace) at Ole Miss in his college days, and he had some success as a rotation starter the first half  of 2006 and 2007 with the Cubs at Daytona and Tennessee. But then he would hit a wall at about 110 IP and was unable to finish strong. With it becoming increasingly obvious that Holliman lacked the stamina to throw the 180 innings per season needed to remain in the starting rotation, he was moved into a middle-relief role at AA in 2008, and that appears to be his future.

Drafted out of JC ball as a catcher, 23-year old Yusuf Carter was moved to RF his second year with the Cubs. He has a plus-arm and plus-power, but he is also a very raw hitter (226/275/409 hitter in 298 career minor league games) who strikes out a lot and rarely walks. He would have had to win a job as the 4th outfielder at Tennessee in 2009 if he had remained with the Cubs. He is the nephew of retired MLB star outfielder (and ex-Cub) Joe Carter.

When a Rule 5-eligible player is placed on a AA reserve list in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft (as was the case with Holliman and Carter), it usually means the player's club sees the player as having a 50/50 chance of getting released in Spring Training, and so the club is happy to get $12,000 for the player. And since they were selected in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, Carter and Holliman will not be offered back to the Cubs. They are gone.

Veal's situation is a different matter, however, as he has to remain on the Pirates 25-man roster for the entire 2009 season (or a minimum of 90 days if he spends time on the DL) before he can be optioned to the minors. So it is possible that the Cubs could get Veal back, if the Pirates decide they can't afford to keep him in the big leagues for an entire season and if the other MLB clubs aren't interested in assuming the Rule 5 requirements. 

 -- AZ PHIL  


December 10th

Winter Meetings 2008 Day 3

10:32 PM CST: Here's a new name in the mix, Chone Figgins, from an article in the LA Times blog. Apparently the Cubs have asked the LA Angels of Anaheim about the leadoff batting, switch hitting, infielder/outfielder. The Angels don't have a good idea of what they would want in return until they get beyond the possibilities regarding Mark Texeira or a new closer such as Brian Fuentes. File this under good stuff that could get put in the ol' Christmas stocking on Dec. 24th. (Cubster)

9:40 PM CST: Jayson Stark writes that the Peavy deal "doesn't seem so inevitable anymore," adding that all the reports of the Cubs' willingness to move Mark DeRosa have really chummed the trade waters:

Since word leaked out that DeRosa might be available, the Cubs have
been bombarded with calls from other clubs interested in DeRosa. So
some of those teams report that Cubs GM Jim Hendry is telling them he
might deal DeRosa separately, but he doesn't really want to deal him at
all. So that, said one source, "has opened up a whole 'nother can of


9:20 PM CST: Bruce Levine with his evening update on the show (ESPN 1000) with Carmen and J. Hood said that Kevin Towers, if he does get Jason Marquis, expects that he can flip him in a secondary trade for additional prospects or more cash. Apparently Hendry and Towers met for 90 minutes earlier this evening and if a deal gets accomplished he doesn't expect it to be announced until late weekend or early next week, if you include physicals and possible ownership signoff issues.  (Cubster)

6:47 PM CST: Levine must have been at the same lunch as Bruce Miles, but he got that a deal for an outfielder should be done very soon, either Raul Ibanez or Milton Bradley, with the odds favoring Bradley. (Rob G.)

5:07 PM CST: The rumor queen is back saying that, oh just maybe they will move DeRosa in the right deal. She then regurgitates a Steve Phillips story that the deal could be DeRosa to the Phils for Happ or pitcher Carlos Carrasco and shortstop Jason Donald and then those two prospects plus Felix Pie, Josh Vitters and Jason Marquis (and you have to assume cash) to the Padres for Peavy.

- Bruce Miles says that Randy Johnson is still very much in play if the Peavy deal doesn't happen, the Twins and a number of other teams are interested in DeRosa if he is available and Gabor might be back as an NRI this spring competing for the backup catcher job. Lou also said he believes the left-handed hitting outfielder will come to the Cubs via free agency and not trade. (Rob G.)

3:03  PM CST: All kinds of bullshit floating around now...

We've got BP and Jon Heyman saying the Cubs need to move Marquis and his contract before finishing the Peavy trade.

- A few odd WSCR radio reports that Hendry is just keeping the trade talks alive as a favor to Towers in hopes that another team will swoop in. I can't say that makes an ounce of sense. Followed by another WSCR radio report that Towers may just keep Peavy. Always a good time to point out that WSCR's sources are trained monkeys living at the L-station stop on Addison.

- Muskat-love says DeRosa is staying put.

- Sullivan can't get anything out of Hendry and throws a monkey wrench in there with, "According to some reports, manager Lou Piniella said
the Cubs have little interest in Peavy, which is contrary to everything
that has been said and written over the last two months."
He also mentions that some think the Padres are trying to move Peavy before he blows out his elbow, not because they need the money.

He says Sean Marshall is off the table but Josh Vitters is in and Marquis needs to be moved. Then throws in some stuff on the outfielders.

- Heyman also had a note saying the Mets asked the Cubs about some of their relief pitchers (shrug). (Rob G.)

1:52 PM CST: Bruce Levine has a blog?  Claims the current deal being discussed is DeRosa to the Phils for Happ and a second prospect and then sending Happ, Vitters, Hart and Marquis plus $3-4M for Peavy. It makes it sound like the Cubs would keep the 2nd pitching prospect from the Phils.

Levine also mentions a possible trade in the works for an outfielder.

The Kerry Wood deal sounds likes it's going to be 2/20 with some sort of option and they're just waiting for the physical. (Rob G.)


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Not AZ PHIL but after being DFA'd by the Cubs (after they got him from the Pirates in the "I get a chance in the Majors clause"), the Cubs re-signed him for the remainder of the season. I do not believe service time is an issue for him, so he is eligible to opt for Major League Free Agency - which he is doing and the Cubs or someone else will sign him to an MLB deal. AZ PHIL please correct this if you see fit - but that is the most current info that I'm aware of.

  • To also be fair to Emery, wtf do you draft Shea McLellin as a #1, Jonathan Bostic in the same draft, let Peppers go in lieu of signing Jared Shit-Head, Brandon Hardin, Evan Rodriguez, Isiah Frey, on and on...

    I will give him credit for Kyle Long - who is like my favorite player (what does THAT say about the team - but he did throw in the 90's as a former pitcher), and Jeffrey.

  • Geo Soto leaves the WSux and signs with the Angels who lost Chris Ianetta to the Mariners.

    Freed... The Angels also promoted Bobby Scales from director of player development to special assistant

  • 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.