Arizona Phil's Archives

Tseng & Company Fan Flames as Cub Hitters Extinguish Blaze

Cubs 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jen-Ho Tseng and six relievers combined to toss a four-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts, David Bote singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases, scored three runs, and drove-in another, and Shamil Ubiera singled twice, walked twice, and knocked-in three runs, as the Cubs blanked the Langley Blaze 10-0 in Minor League Camp game action today on Field #3 at Mesa Cubtown.   

Toros Don't Dig Graves at Mesa Cubtown

Calvin Graves drilled a double and a two-run single and Varonex Cuevas singled twice and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to an 8-5 victory over Los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League) in Minor League Camp game action this morning at Mesa Cubtown Field #3.

The speedy Graves also made the defensive play of the game, an outstanding full-sprint running catch in left-centerfield. 

Miguel Torrero walked and roped a two-run single and Efren Espinoza singled twice, walked, and scored a run for Los Toros. 

The seven Cubs pitchers who worked in the game were from the Iowa (AAA) squad, and with five NRI pitchers having been sent down to Minor League Camp today from the MLB club, all seven of the guys who threw against Tijuana are probably "on the bubble."

Most (if not all) of the The position players who played in the game are likely destined for the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad, and so most all of them are probably "on the bubble," too.   

For those of you who follow the Tijuana Toros in particular and the Mexican League in general, Mexican League Opening Day is Friday April 3rd, and Tijuana will be on the road at Mexico City Red Devils. So if you were planning to be in Tijuana to watch Los Toros on Mexican League Opening Day, you will need to divert to Mexico City.

Here is the abridged box score frrom today's game (Cubs players only):

2015 Cubs Minor League Camp Rosters

Dylan Cease, James Farris, Scott Frazier, Michael Heesch, Barret Loux, Brad Markey, James Pugliese, Starling Peralta, Alex Santana, Jen-Ho Tseng, Michael Wagner, and Ben Wells threw "live" BP today, as Cubs minor leaguers had their first "full squad" workout of 2015 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

(last updated 3-14-2015):

Cubs Minor League Pitches & Catchers on Field at Riverview

83 pitchers and 14 catchers were on the field at  the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park this morning, as the Cubs minor league pitchers & catchers engaged in an extensive workout at Minor League Camp. The full squad will be on the field later this week, with the first minor league Cactus League games scheduled to commence on March 19th. 

Among the pitchers on the field at Riverview Park today were two ex-position players. 

Cubs Add Three More Minor League Free-Agents to the Fold

SAT 1/10 UPDATE: Matt Eddy at BA is now reporting that the Cubs have also signed 27-year old RHRP Jorge DeLeon to a minor league contract. DeLeon was signed by the Houston Astros as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and was converted to RHP post-2009. He was added to the Astros 40-man roster post-2010 and made his big league debut in August 2013. He was claimed off waivers by Oakland in October 2014 and then was released last month. DeLeon will almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training, and then be bullpen depth at AAA Iowa.   


Baseball America reports the Cubs have signed three more minor league free-agents over the past few days, including veteran MLB catcher Taylor Teagarden, INF Chris Valaika, and RHP Andres Santiago. The trio join RHRP Anthony Carter, RHRP Fernando Cruz, OF Adron Chambers, and INF Jonathan Herrera, who were signed to minor league contracts earlier. All seven will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training.  

Feliz Navidad

The Cubs acquired/signed two Mexican players last week, 18-year old 2B Carlos Sepulveda and 19-year old RHP Jesus Camargo.  

Both played for league champion Diablos de Hermosillo of la Liga Norte de Sonora (the top Mexican professional developmental league) this past season. 

Camargo made a brief cameo appearance with Diablos Rojos del Mexico at the very end of the Mexican League season in August, and Sepulveda was the #1 draft pick of Naranjeros de Hermosillo (and the #1 overall pick) in the Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (Mexican Pacific League) draft this past summer.

The Cubs had previously signed 16-year old Mexican League RHP Hector Garcia in September, after acquiring the rights to the teenager from Leones de Yucatan.

2014 Rule 5 Draft

UPDATE: The Cubs selected 2B-SS Taylor Featherston off the AAA Albuquerque roster (Colorado Rockies) in the Major League Phase of the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, and OF-1B Ariel Ovando from the AA Corpus Christi roster (Houston Astros) in the AAA Phase... The Cubs subsequently dealt Featherston to the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations... The 6'4 225 Ovando was signed by Houston out of the Dominican Republic as a highly-regarded 16-year old left-handed hitting slugging RF in 2010, but he has been unable to hit anywhere over the last four seasons and has yet to get past Short-Season "A" ball... The Cubs are expected to convert Ovando to a LHP... 

The Miami Marlins selected LHRP Andrew McKirahan off the AAA Iowa roster (Cubs) in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and the Texas Rangers selected 1B Rock Shoulders and the Houston Astros selected C Luis Flores off the AA Tennessee roster (Cubs) in the AAA Phase... A 2011 21st round selection by the Cubs out of the University of Texas, McKirahan underwent TJS in 2012 and spent most of the 2013 season rehabbing at Fitch Park, and so 2014 was his first full-season of minor league ball... He had a nice year combined between Daytona & Tennessee in 2014, but he fared better against RH hitters than he did versus LH hitters... A power-hitting LH hitter with below-average defensive skills at 1B, Shoulders was the Cubs 25th round draft pick out of a Florida JC in 2011. and he received an "overslot" bonus ($294,000, which is about equal to "4th round money"),.. Shoulders was blocked by Dan Vogelbach and Anthony Rizzo in the Cubs system, and the opportunity to rotate Vogelbach and Shoulders between 1B and DH every day (as has been the case the last three seasons) is not possible at AA (where the DH is used only sporadically)... A Houston-native, the 28-year old Flores was the Cubs 5th round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2008... He was eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2014, but opted to sign a minor league successor contract wiith the Cubs in October... He received an NRI to Spring Training as an extra catcher each of the last two seasons... Flores has a really good eye at the plate and has solid defensive skills, and he has been a role model and mentor to some of the younger Cub minor leaguers... 



The Rule 5 Selection Meeting (AKA "Rule 5 Draft") is the last order of business at the MLB Winter Meetings, and it is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) players off minor league reserve lists.

There is a "Major League Phase" where an MLB club can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs for $50,000, a "AAA Phase" where a club's AAA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a lower classification for $12,000, and finally a "AA Phase" where a club's AA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of Class "A" clubs for $4,000.

Cubs Clear Roster Slots in Preparation for Off-Season

The Cubs have sent RHP James McDonald, INF Chris Valaika, IF-OF Josh Vitters, and OF Ryan Kalish outright to Iowa. 

McDonald--who spent the entire 2014 season on the 60-day DL with a sore shoulder--elected to be a free-agent immediately (he was able to elect to be a FA because he has accrued more than three years of MLB Service Time). and Kalish and Valaika can elect free-agency right away, too (they have up to eight days to decide), because they both have been outrighted previously in their careers. 

Vitters cannot elect to be a free-agent, but he will automatically be declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league six-year free-agent (6YFA) at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series unless he agrees to sign a 2015 minor league successor contract before then (possible but not likely... he will probably prefer to try his luck elsewhere). Kalish and Valaika will automatically be declared minor league 6YFA at that time, too, if for some reason they have not elected free-agency in the meantime.


Recent comments

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  • Yep

  • AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?

  • Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?

  • CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!

  • Lulz

  • Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.

    --- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.

  • Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.

  • ...I want to reinforce the observation that there was no sea of red in the crowd. The usual Cardinal fans roaming the stadium were few and far between.

    Also, almost every 2 strike pitch brought the fans to their feet. Good for those in knee rehab.

  • "1st team hit hit 6HR in a game in the postseason." rises above obvious...i checked it with the official fact-finding commission of Douche, Douche, and Douchestein. they agreed with you, but they're a bunch of f'n douches so who cares?

    btw, the cubs are 2-1 in the post-season series.

  • I should be able to watch the game on the NFL replay app, whatever that thing is called. I've got it on my iPad. This is the first year I haven't forced myself to somehow watch every game - no I take that back, last year was - in quite some time. Last year was so unbearable, no pun intended.

    You make some good points about Cutler, and I was a holdout defender of Cutler for a long time. I gave up on him a bit after one too many dumb interceptions, but last year doesn't count. Trestman was the worst coach in Bears history.

  • Nice little reportage there!. I think you're older than me. Considerably older. Maybe several generations. Working out is so essential, especially as age kicks in, isn't it? I still lift weights, and so I'm confident that when I get to be at the hip breaking age, mine won't be a statistic. But I have a ways to go for that to be a concern.

  • What was impressive to me is that the Cubs won despite poor base running, several defensive miscues, Russell leaving due to injury, Arrieta having an off game and getting knocked out early, and Rondon giving up 2 runs in the 9th. If they can win a game like that... 

  • I was there too. The crowd was absolutely electric. People were standing for every big and semi-big moment, from the first inning on. It felt incredibly strange and exhilarating to see the Cubs (the Chicago bleepin' Cubs!) score playoff insurance runs on the Cardinals. What a game. One to remember.

  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.

  • Wrigley was electric tonite
    Not many card fans
    Video board was great, they played "there goes my hero" by foos over ryno highlights before he came out. Spectacular

    Good times hopefully they win tomorrow but think Lester will beat poopy pants on Wednesday.

    Happy 4th anniversary of Theo's signing

    Go Cubs !