Easy to Be Harden
Rich Harden just hit five years of MLB service time this past Sunday.
Why is that important?
Because Harden signed his current contract in April 2005 under the old CBA, he retains the arcane right to demand a trade after this season. That's because under the rules of the previous CBA, if a player is signed to a multi-year contract and has accrued at least five years of MLB service time when he is traded to another club, the player has the right to demand a trade during the post-World Series Free-Agency Filing Period that follows the season during which he is traded.
If Harden does choose to exercise his option to demand a trade after the 2008 season, and the Cubs don't trade him by March 15, 2009, he can become a totally unrestricted FA at that time (player option), although by exercising the option to be a FA under the aforementioned circumstances, Harden would be giving up his $7M salary for 2009 and the Cubs wouldn't owe him anything past this season.
However, Harden will likely take this track only if he feels he can get more than $7M on the open market post-2008 (which he almost certainly would) and/or if he feels the Cubs are unlikely to offer him a contract extension post-2009 (still TBD).
So if the Cubs had acquired Harden this past Saturday instead of waiting until yesterday, they would absolutely control the rights to Rich Harden through the 2009 season ($7M salary in 2009), with a nice convenient club option (with no buy-out) following the 2008 season in case Harden blows out his shoulder or elbow before the end of the season.
But by waiting to acquire Harden until after he had accrued five seasons of MLB Service Time, the Cubs gave Harden the leverage to either force the Cubs to trade him post-2008, or else give him the option to be a FA one year earlier than he otherwise would have been eligible (but with no compensation draft picks).
Of course the Cubs could always decline their $7M club option for 2009 before Harden has a chance to demand a trade, making Harden eligible for arbitration post-2008. But the Cubs are unlikely to do that unless they are fairly sure that Harden intends to exercise his right to demand a trade, because there is no way he gets less than $7M in arbitration. But if Harden were to sustain a significant shoulder or elbow injury sometime before the conclusion of the 2008 season, the Cubs probably would opt to decline their 2009 club option and non-tender him on 12/12 (as they did with Mark Prior last year).
As a further ado and a point to begin thinking about roster moves into the All-Star Break and beyond, here is the updated projected post-2008 and Spring Training 2009 roster, contract, and option status for the 39 Cubs players presently on the 40-man roster and the one on the 60-day DL, and the updated lists of Cubs minor leaguers who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December and those who will be eligible to be minor league free-agents after the conclusion of the World Series:
ELIGIBLE TO BE FREE-AGENT AFTER 2008 SEASON:
Henry Blanco (club option with buy-out)
SIGNED FOR 2009:
Henry Blanco - $3M club option or $300K buy-out
Mark DeRosa - $5.5M
Kosuke Fukudome - $11.5M
Rich Harden - $7M club option or else eligible for arbitration, and player option to demand a trade
Derrek Lee - $13M
Ted Lilly - $12M
Jason Marquis - $9.875M
Aramis Ramirez - $15.65M
Jeff Samardzija - $1.3M (no minor league split)
Alfonso Soriano - $16M
Carlos Zambrano - $17.75M
ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION POST-2008:
AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) PLAYERS FOR 2009:
NOTE: 2009 MLB minimum salary will be $400K with a $65K minimum minor league split salary ($32.5K minimum minor league split for players with no MLB ST who are on the 40-man roster for the first time)
PROJECTED MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS - SPRING TRAINING 2009:
NOTE: Only players with less than five years of MLB Service Time projected post-2008 are listed, since players with five or more years of MLB Service Time post-2008 can refuse an optional assignment to the minors
* Player must first clear Optional Assignment Waivers
NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT:
Jose Ascanio (see NOTE)
* Mike Fontenot
* Michael Wuertz
NOTE: Jose Ascanio will have used three minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only four “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2009.
TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Billy Petrick (see NOTE)
Jeff Samardzija (see NOTE)
* Ryan Theriot
NOTE: Billy Petrick will have used two minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only three “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons.
Jeff Samardzija will have used two minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only two “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons.
THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
FOUR MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
ELIGIBLE TO BE MINOR LEAGUE FA POST-2008:
Andres Blanco, SS
Jim Brower, RHP
Mike Burns, RHP
Hector Carrasco, RHP
Robinson Chirinos, C-IF
Matt Craig, 1B-3B
Jason Dubois, 1B-OF
Doug Deeds, OF-1B
Danny Fatheree, C
Luis Figueroa, INF
Dumas Garcia, RHP
Koyie Hill, C
Josh Kroeger, OF
Leonel Perez, C
Bobby Scales, IF-OF
Andres Torres, OF
Randy Wells, RHP
NOTE: A player eligible to be a Minor League free-agent cannot be a FA if he is added to an MLB 40-man roster by the end of the World Series.
ELIGIBLE FOR DECEMBER 2008 RULE 5 DRAFT:
James Adduci, OF
Alberto Alburquerque, RHP
Mitch Atkins, RHP
Matt Avery, RHP
Justin Berg, RHP
Todd Blackford, RHP
Edward Campusano, LHP
Russ Canzler, 1B
Yusuf Carter, OF
Jeff Culpepper, OF
Rafael Dolis, RHP
Darin Downs, LHP
Jesse Estrada, RHP
Ryan Harvey, OF
Jim Henderson, RHP
Mark Holliman, RHP
Grant Johnson, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Casey McGehee, 3B-C
Mario Mercedes, C
Jonathan Mota, INF
Jake Muyco, RHP
Mike Phelps, RHP
Jose Pina, RHP
Mark Reed, C
Greg Reinhard, RHP
Kyle Reynolds, 3B-1B
Tony Richie, C
Chris Robinson, C
Jayson Ruhlman, LHP
Alvaro Sosa, C
Nate Spears, 2B
Donald Veal, LHP
NOTE: Any minor league free-agent who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.