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I-Cubs Drop Pelicans at Minor League Camp

Jacob Rogers drilled a two-run single to cap a three-run 6th, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run, and Billy McKinney ripped an RBI single to open the scoring in the top of the 4th and doubled and scored a run in the 6th, leading the Iowa Cubs to 5-2 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in Minor League Camp game action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Andruw Monasterio hammered a double and an RBI single, walked, stole two bases, and scored a run, and Cubs 2015 2nd round draft pick Donnie Dewees (U. of North Florida) collected three singles and stole a base for the Pelicans in a losing cause.

18-year old 6'8 LHP Bryan Hudson (Cubs 2015 3rd round draft pick - Alton HS -Alton IL) threw two innings of hitless/shutout ball for Iowa, walking two, and striking out two.

The game was called after seven innings of play.  

Because a number of players were called up to play in the Cubs MLB Cactus League split squad games, several players were temporarily moved to different squads for the game at Riverview. Starting pitcher Jonathan Martinez, catchers Erick Castillo, Gioskar Amaya, and Tyler Pearson, and infielder Chesny Young were moved down to Myrtle Beach from Tennessee, SS Andruw Monasterio was moved up to Tennessee from South Bend, CF Trey Martin, DH Billy McKinney, and 1B Jacob Rogers were moved up to Iowa from Tennessee, 3B Andrew Ely, LF Charcer Burks, and C Tyler Alamo were moved up to Iowa from Myrtle Beach, and pitchers Justin Steele and Bryan Hudson were moved up to Iowa from South Bend.

This was the first game action for catcher Will Remillard since undergoing TJS last March. Prior to his elbow injury, Remillard was considered a rising star (at least defensively) among the Cubs catching prospects, so highly regarded by the Cubs that he received an NRI to Spring Training in 2014 less than a year after being drafted out of Coastal Carolina U. (where he was a teammate of Cubs minor league RHP Josh Conway). Although he is presently assigned to the Iowa squad at Minor League Camp, Remillard will will likely be the #1 catcher at Myrtle Beach come Opening Day. 

In Minor League Camp roster news, Francisco Garay and Wander Feliz have arrived from the Cubs Dominican Academy, and both are being converted from position player to pitcher.

A 17-year old 6'2 Panamanian, Garay hit just 126/190/146 with a whopping 96 K in 220 PA while playing both 3B and SS for the VSL Cubs in his debut pro season last year, and the 18-year old 6'2 Feliz hit 235/375/333 in 202 PA and 54 games (mostly in RF) for the DSL Cubs in 2015 (his rookie season). Garay received a $200K signing bonus in July 2014, so his failure as a position player is especially noteworthy.

Garay and Feliz have been assigned to the South Bend group, but both will very likely be assigned to the Extended Spring Training squad, once it is formed in the coming days.  

Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart
Minor League Camp Rosters (updated daily)

Here is the box score from today's game at Minor League Camp: 

Cubs Sign Kawasaki to Minor League Deal

Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports reports that the Cubs have signed veteran utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a 2016 minor league contract, and Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune further reports that Kawasaki will receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.

Try a Little Non-Tenderness

12/2 UPDATE #2: Mark Gonzales at the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs have signed arbitration-eligible LHP Clayton Richard to a 2016 contract ($2M salary), and have non-tendered RHRP Ryan Cook and LHRP Jack Leathersich. The Cubs claimed both Cook and Leathersich off waivers last month, Cook from the Boston Red Sox and Leathersich from the New York Mets.

The other twenty unsigned players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster were apparently tendered 2016 contracts, and six of the twenty (RHSP Jake Arrieta, OF-IF Chris Coghlan, RHRP Justin Grimm, RHRP Hector Rondon, RHRP Pedro Strop, and LHP Travis Wood) will be eligible for salary arbitration if the player is not satisfied with the club's salary offer.  

Cook was eligible for salary arbitration for the second time and was projected to get about $1.5M for 2016 (he was paid $1.4M in 2015), and the Cubs may not have wanted to pay him that much if he is expected to spend most of the year as "bullpen injury insurance" at AAA Iowa. So the Cubs could possibly re-sign Cook to a major league contract with a minimal base salary (perhaps $750K) plus a performance bonus based on days spent on the MLB 25-man roster in 2016 (something they could not do if he was tendered), or they could sign him to a 2016 minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training. Whether Cook would agree to such an arrangement remains to be seen, but the Cubs might not have non-tendered Cook if they didn't already have a 2016 deal in place. 

Leathetsich is not yet eligible for salary arbitration, but he could not be outrighted to the minors during the off-season (after 11/20) because he is injured (July TJS), so non-tendering him and then re-signing him to a 2016 minor league contract is the only way the Cubs can remove Leathersich from their MLB 40-man roster but still keep him under club control. Of course the Cubs could have simply waited until the start of Spring Training and then placed Leathersich on the 60-day DL (thus removing him from the 40-man roster), so it would appear that the Cubs believe they will need his roster slot on the 40 before then. It remains to be seen if Leathersich will sign a minor league contract with the Cubs, but (as with Cook) the Cubs probably would not have non-tendered him if they did not already have a pre-arranged minor league deal in place. 

So the Cubs MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster") now stands at 36, with four slots left open for free-agents who might be signed over the next few days and weeks, off-season waiver claims, or perhaps even a Rule 5 Draft pick.  

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12/2 UPDATE #1: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports reports that the Cubs have signed LHRP Rex Brothers to a 2016 contract ($1.42M salary). Brothers was paid $1.4M in 2015, and would have been arbitration-eligible for the second time post-2015. He was acquired by the Cubs from the Colorado Rockies for minor league LHSP Wander Cabrera last month.  


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Tomorrow (Wednesday December 2nd) is the deadline for MLB clubs to tender 2016 major league contracts to unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster").

Cubs Sign Two Minor League Free-Agents

Baseball America reports that the Cubs have signed Rule 55 second-contract minor league free-agent RHSP Drew Rucinski(ex-LAA) and Rule 55 minor league 6YFA LHP Jeffry Antigua to 2016 minor league contracts. 

Both will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft, although it's not likely that Rucinski would get picked because he was not claimed off waivers when he was outrighted in September, and the only way Antigua gets claimed is if the Cubs placed him on the AA Tennessee reserve list, which would make him eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the draft ($12,000 draft price with no roster restrictions and no chance to be re-claimed).  

Cubs Add Four to 40-Man Roster

The Cubs selected the contracts of four minor league players today (all four from AA Tennessee), adding 3B Jeimer Candelario, C Willson Contreras, RHSP Pierce Johnson, and 1B Dan Vogelbach to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), and thus insuring that the foursome will not be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

So what exactly is the Rule 5 Draft? 

19 Cubs Minor Leaguers Declared MLB Rule 55 Free-Agents

NOVEMBER 10th UPDATE: BA transactions reports that the Cubs have re-signed RHP Starling Peralta to a 2016 minor league contract. So now the Cubs have re-signed eight of their 24 2015 Rule 55 6YFA (RHP Frank Batista, OF Pin-Chieh Chen, C Willson Contreras, INF Ryan Dent, RHSP Felix Pena, RHRP Starling Peralta, RHP Jose Rosario, and INF Logan Watkins). Unless added to an MLB 40-man roster by 11/20, each of the eight re-signed Rule 55 6YFA will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft.    

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 13 hours 6 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 13 hours 12 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 13 hours 17 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 13 hours 28 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 13 hours 40 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 14 hours 5 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 14 hours 45 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 15 hours 57 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 16 hours 14 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 16 hours 18 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 17 hours 3 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 21 hours 54 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 23 hours 8 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 23 hours 11 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 1 day 30 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 7 hours ago view