Archive - 2012

November 16th

The Arizona Fall League Championship Game will be played tomorrow at Scottsdale Stadium, with the Salt River Rafters (East Division Champs) facing the West Division Champion Peoria Javelinas.

Unfortunately, the Cubs players who went to the AFL were assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox, the worst team in the league.

November 15th

November 14th

Some quick takes on recent baseball news...

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November 13th

What happens when the Doctor Says "Oops?"

You become a Cub.

Lookie here. The Cubs get an early holiday present under their tree in 31 year old starting pitcher Scott Baker. In typical Cub fashion, the wrapping paper is a bit discheveled and the bow on the gift is a little off kilter. Scott Baker toiled on the mound for the Twins from 2005-2011 including his best year in 2009 with 33 starts, 200 IP, a 15-9 record and a WHIP of 1.190. He had Tommy John/Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstructive surgery on his elbow last April, missing the entire 2012 season. Fitting Jedstein's Modus Operandi, it's a one year deal at $5.5M with $1.5M in incentives. According to XM Radio's Jim Bowden, the Cubs have made an offer to lefty Francisco Liriano, so maybe they are just going after ex-Twins. Matt Garza should soon be tweeting: "Collect em all."

Baker was supposed to have the (quicker to recover) flexor-pronator muscle attachment repaired in his right pitching elbow (compared to Tommy John ligament reconstruction) , but there was a change of plans decided intraoperatively...

The Cubs have signed RHP Scott Baker for $5.5M, plus $1.5M in incentives. He became a free agent after the Twins declined his $9.5M option for 2013.

The Good: Baker will be playing his age 31 season and has a career 63-48 record and 3.44 K/BB ratio. His career rates are: 7.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9. He only costs $5.5M in guaranteed money which is pretty cheap for a starter that threw 170-200 innings in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The Bad: Baker is coming off "surprise" Tommy John surgery last April. He also missed time in 2011. His ERA+ for his career is just 102.

The Judgement: While most pitchers are back on the mound a year later or less after Tommy John surgery, it's my personal and casual observation that it takes a good 2-3 months after that for the pitcher to regain their full control and consistency. We may see some flashes of his old self, but I don't know if we'll see it start after start at the beginning of the season. And if they are attempting another Paul Maholm signing to try and flip him at the deadline, a good first half is a key part of that successful equation. Also, he's pretty damn mediocre before the injury (ERA+ starting from 2007: 101, 122, 100, 91, 129). It's not a lot of money, but this seems more like pitching depth than any type of solid foundation. Regardless of the Cubs likelihood to not be very competitive in 2013, I don't think it's wise to make unwise decisions. Sure the risk is moderate, but it's hard to see where the upside is any greater in this case. And while the Cubs new regime may have their moments of brilliance, they've also misfired on their evaluations as well (points and laughs at picture of Chris Volstad).  So ultimately it's a big old shrug of the shoulders on this one for me.

 

 

November 5th

21 Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (the so called "six-year minor league free-agents" and the so-called "second-contract minor league free-agents") were declared free-agents by MLB at 5 PM last Friday, while three others who could have been Rule 55 free-agents agreed to 2013 minor league "successor contracts" and thus will be returning to the Cubs organization next season.


However, the three who are returning will be eligible for selection in next month's MLB Rule 5 Draft (as will any other minor league free-agent signed prior to the Rule 5 Draft).


The 21 Cubs who were declared Rule 55 minor league free-agents join six others who elected to be minor league free-agents per Article XX-D of the CBA over the past month.


November 2nd

UPDATE #2: Just kidding. November Fools!!! Anyway, Marmol apparently was asked to waive his no-trade clause, that leaked before the Cubs and Angels officially had a deal. Then allegedly the Cubs nixed the deal...some say it was over the medicals but who knows. At the end, Haren's option was bought out and he's a free agent now. Twitter Rumors 2, Cubs 0.

UPDATE: Sacre Bleu! Angels beat writer for MLB.com says situation is still fluid and Angels still talking with other teams. Haren's option decision is due by midnight EST. Curse you Twitter!!!


The Twitterverse has exploded with rumors that Carlos Marmol is headed to the Angels for Dan Haren. Money details and confirmation from the Cubs has yet to come.

I should mention that I did call this as the most likely trade for the Cubs in the comments the other day. It might come off as bragging, but I'm really just reminding myself to go buy a lottery ticket.

Rumors are some money will swap hands, maybe the Angels sending a little to offset the 15.5M owed Haren vs. the 9.8M owed Marmol. Regardless, a good deal for the Cubs. Presuming some sort of bounceback for Haren, starting pitcher>relief pitcher and if things aren't going the Cubs way this season, he should be relatively easy to pawn off in June or July.

October 30th

The Cubs hired Derek Johnson as their minor league pitching coordinator. Apparently this is a bit of a coup, but it might as well have been Bugs Bunny for all I know about amateur pitching coaches. But I'm supposed to pretend that I'm some sort of authority on these subjects, so here's what I uncovered on the man, the myth, the legend.

October 29th

First off, Darwin Barney is a "finalist" for a Gold Glove at second base...as if they dont' already know the winner. But they've decided to drum up interest by naming the top 3 or 4 at each position and then announcing the winner in a televised event on ESPN2 tomorrow. Holy overkill Batman!

As for the rumor, it's that the Angels are trying to ditch Dan Haren and Ervin Santana before picking up their options this week. Haren is owed $15.5M and Santana $13M. The Cubs aren't going to be giving too much in prospects for either, but they certainly could take on the salary. It's not much of a committment in my opinion and I'd certainly take flyers on either guy in hopes they could rebound in a walk year and a switch to the National League (or in Haren's case a switch back to the NL). And they'd certainly be worth something in a deadline trade if 2013 isn't working out.  Either one makes all kinds of sense for the Cubs in my opinion, as long as the Angels asking price is reasonable considering the salaries in question. For those not paying too close attention, Haren will be in his age 32 season after a 12-13, 4.33 ERA over 176.2 IP last year and Santana will be 30 after a 9-13, 5.16 ERA in 178 IP.  Haren sports a 116 ERA+ though for his career, while Santana rests at a meager 97 ERA+ with quite a few peaks and valleys to get that number.

October 27th

By outrighting eight players and losing two more off waivers over the past couple of days, the Cubs are beginning to clear some space on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).

The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 33 players, but three more players (RHP Matt Garza, 3B Ian Stewart, and RHP Arodys Vizcaino) are still on the 60-day Disabled List and they will need to be reinstated no later than the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. So the Cubs essentially have a 36-man MLB Reserve List right now.

October 26th

The Cubs were obviously going to non-tender Chris Volstad, so they wisely outrighted him to give them some 40-man flexibility. He still may have resigned with the team, but at a much lower price, but it's pretty clear the Cubs were rather bearish on Volstad after the disastrous 2012 season. The Royals, for whatever reason, decided to clog up their 40-man by picking Volstad off waivers. While it does give them first rights to negotiate with him until the non-tender deadline, I can't possibly imagine why the rush. In about a month, he would have been very likely available and if not, there's gonna be a dozen or so other prospects that never fulfilled their potential floating around the free market. But you don't have 9 straight below .500 seasons (and 18 of 19) by doing things the smart way.

In other Cubs minutiae, Jason Berken, Adrian Cardens, Miguel Socolovich and Marcos Mateo all cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple A. And Phil Rogers tweets some stuff about Manny Corpas becoming a free agent and Justin Germano, Blake Parker and Joe Mather being removed from the roster and being sent to Triple A as well. Rogers claims the Cubs have cleared 9 spaces (the 10 above names minus 1 for adding Carlos Gutierrez) from the 40-man roster. A Bruce Miles tweet quoting the Cubs says the 40-man stands at 33 at the moment.

October 25th

Catcher Anthony Recker (Designated for Assignment yesterday to make room on the 40-man roster for RHP Carlos Gutierrez after Gutierrez was claimed off waivers from Minnesota) was claimed off waivers today by the New York Mets, and the Cubs have sent RHP Jason Berken (claimed off waivers from Baltimore in September), 2B Adrian Cardenas (claimed off waivers from Oakland last February), RHP Marcos Mateo (who was on the 60-day DL after undergoing TJS in June), and RHP Miguel Socolovich (claimed off waivers from Baltimore in August) outright to Iowa after the quartet cleared waivers. 


October 24th

Findings on Carlos Gutierrez's shoulder arthroscopic surgery by Dr Yokum. Looks like a loose body to me. Missing a "key" component?

No wonder he got moved.

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