The Fox and the Scrappy Middle Infielder

Jake Fox and his 17 PCL home runs are on their way to Chicago for today's game. To make room on the roster, Aaron Miles will be put on the disabled list with a sore shoulder that has apparently bothered him since spring training. Miles is barely good enough to play major league baseball when healthy, he certainly didn't need to be struggling through an injury all this time.

Fox - even with all his defensive misgivings - was putting up a line that he probably hadn't put up since his days in the Pony League: .423/.503/.886 for a 1.389 OPS.

Bruce Miles also says that Neal Cotts could be on his way out, possibly to Iowa as he states that Cotts still does have an option left. Arizona Phil and other outlets have been saying he's out of options, so we'll see what the loophole is here if the roster move does indeed happen. And if he did have an option left, what the fuck was the hold-up on sending him down?

UPDATE: Muskat says lefty Jason Waddell and infielder Andres Blanco are at the park as well and also says that Cotts should be looking for a Des Moines apartment.

UPDATE #2: Fox, Blanco and Waddell called up, Scales and Cotts optioned to Triple A.

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Comments

So what would be the corresponding Blanco move? Sending Scales down since he is sick?

With Miles out, they needed a shortstop...I don't think it would matter if Scales was sick or not.

That actually made me laugh a little bit; the idea that Miles was our back-up shortstop.

They don't list their source, but Rotoworld reporting:

Fox, Waddell, and Blanco up

Cotts and Scales to AAA, Miles to DL

Matt Wieters (.343 .438 .576 1.014) is coming up this Friday.

and I had to learn this on a blog?

Man, tough break for Scales.

hope the timing's not bad; remember, JF hasn't homered in a week & guys on 17 game hit streaks are sometimes ripe for a slump...

So you're saying that if a guy is hitting well it is usually and indicator that they're about to start sucking? I like your work here Mike, but this seems a little weak.

Hitting streaks/slumps have little/no ability to predict future success.

i guess the question is who starts at third today?

I'd guess Fontenot or Freel - it's not like Fox has had that much time at third base.

That said, at this point, who knows. Andres Blanco is our call-up depth, eh?

Well, you're gonna have to try Fox at least once, and if there was a time, this is it, right?

Scoring 0-2 runs per game on the road...

It is a tough break for Scales - he at least had his "cup".

The most enjoyable thing is that my dream has come true:

COTTS IS GONE!!!

My two most HATED Cubs as players - Neil Cotts, and Will Oh-man! (5.43 ERA - 1.54 WHIP, 2009)

E-Man:
"COTTS IS GONE!!!"

Woo Hoo! Today is a good day! Of course we will all wonder what took so long, but at least it finally happened.

ohman has had an odd year for his track record. haven't been following closely, but he's usually dominant against lefties, but this year, so far, he's struggled badly but done fine against right handed batters.

Does it really matter if Cotts is out of options at this point? Way past time to fish or cut bait on the guy - his performances this year almost make last year's fiascoes on the mound look palatable. Shades of Wade Miller.

the cubs are also facing lefties four of next five
time for johnson to play a few, also if lee is still
(sick) can fox try to play first?

Do you mean, "try to play 1B"?

Interesting moves. I having a little trouble making sense of them.

Blanco makes sense with Miles going to the DL. And Blanco will likely be a defensive upgrade over every infielder currently on the roster, no? And while it would be hard for him to be a worse hitter than Miles, his ML numbers aren't encouraging (though he has hit well at Iowa).

I am STOKED to see Jake Fox up with the bigs, but what position does he play? Third base? Man, I guess we'll see. Should be fun!

And Waddell...has Lou looked at Waddell's splits this year? Dude is not a LOOGY. Waddell might be Neal Cotts with a better BB/9. Maybe Lou has chunked the idea of a LOOGY and just wanted a lefty in the pen for some "balance"? I suppose this move also means that Marshall stays in the rotation, which is probably wise since the dude has the best ERA of our starting pitchers. Does this mean Wells goes to the pen when/if Harden returns?

I HOPE these moves strengthen the team, certainly there's a good chance that Blanco and Waddell will be better replacements.

And yes, tough break for Scales, who I think played well and I really liked him. I hope he re-joins the team later. I guess he is blocked right now by Freel. I wouldn't be surprised if Scales replaces him if Freel struggles or if Farney begins to bother people (there will be little salary lost if Freel is cut).

I would think that Waddell gets tried as a LOOGY and unless he does really well, he will be optioned again when Harden comes off the DL and Marshall will go to the pen. If he impresses, then they will have to make another decision and maybe Wells goes back to Iowa depending on how well he does between now and then. Looks like the next couple of weeks will be key in sorting out the pitching for the summer.

On Waddell - he's got the stuff to deal with lefties. Better LOOGY stuff than Marshall. He also has the past track record. Not like that means much, but I'm hoping he can work.

Freel lookled pretty shitty last night - DP'd when the Cubs were still threatening for tack-ons.

Unfortunately, Fonty, Freel, Blanco, Theriot, Scales - they are all like the same player to varying degrees - bench players assuming starting roles.

None of these are close to the clutch hitter that A-Ram is. Replacing his bat this early is really, really tough. Guess that's why Fox is at least getting a Fox - and for potential trades...

Fox is at least getting a Fox = Fox is at least getting a SHOT...

Edit is your friend.

I wonder where they'll use Fox. I am guessing if Lee is back they'll try him at third, or maybe they just want him to PH. When do we do interleague?

I wonder where they'll use Fox.

Interleague road games... if you catch my drift.

Cubs only road AL games are June 23-28th versus Tigers and White Sox.

I'd guess 1st/RF, with a slim shot at 3rd. He still hasn't gotten that many reps at 3rd, though. That said, Lou threw Fontenot over to short for a sec last year, so maybe he'll force feed Fox and see what he can do at 3rd.

I am shocked at your short reply, toons!

no "wall of text"?!

huh?

if you don't get it, I'm not explaining.

...but he will explain if you do get it.

Good to see we have an upgrade to Cotts finally. And yes, just about any of our AA & AAA lefty relivers would be an upgrade. The problem is Cotts set such a low bar, simply being better than Cotts is not enough. Let's hope this guy can throw some strikes and get a few guys out.

And I'm all for giving Miles tommy john or a hip replacement or anything it takes to keep him away from the active roster.

I wouldn't mind Casey Lambert getting a shot in our pen. Maybe John Gaub, but despite his splits so far this year, Lambert has shown past ability to deal with lefties. His future is probably still in the pen, where his stuff plays better (he was, iirc from early articles, made a starter due to Marcos Mateo rehabbing and needing more time).

I'd look internally before trying to explore the trade market.

Iowa Cubs report that Scales has been optioned back & catcher Steve Clevenger [.364/.443 OBP] has been promoted from Tennessee [7th round pick by Cubs in '06]...nothing about Cotts...

Lou on Fox: "If Derrek Lee was still sick today he'd play first. Look he, he {stuttering} gives us a good bat off the bench. We haven't had that."

Oooh, Gath, Freel, Farney, Miles... Ouch.

Yeah, nothing like calling up a hot hitter and have him cool off on the bench.

At least Freel is starting at 3B. (sarcasm)

Not really defending not playing Fox, but the question is where do you play him? He's had few opportunities at 3rd, and the reports haven't been glowing.

That said, I probably would've put him in RF and put Bradley on the bench for a game.

Clevenger, by the way, has thrown out 8/14 base stealers @ Tennessee...

Clevenger's really been excellent this year. Castillo might have better "upside" but Clevenger's got the more polished bat and is more consistent defensively. I'm excited he's at Iowa and I think he has an outside chance at potentially being our backup backstop in 2010.

*Edited - Didn't catch the Clevenger call-up.

LF Soriano, SS Theriot, RF Bradley, 1B Lee, CF Johnson, C Soto, 3B Freel, 2B Blanco and P Zambrano.

Marmol is back as well.

kinda 3/44 on this one, RobG

didn't see it in the last 4 threads, but possible I missed it.

I-Cubs now say Cotts expected to join them "in a few days" - in other words; he'll probably do whatever he does when he's feelin' blue for the full 72 hour reportin' window...

Ice that cleat shaped bruise on his ass?

5 stars

I know we've had success with converted catchers/pitchers.

Maybe Cotts can play 3rd, and hit for power?

Glad they called Fox up, now Lou has to find him some ab's. It's strange that they wait to call him up until after they score 14 runs in 1 1/2 games.

Also, have you guys noticed how many players around baseball are out with the flu? The latest is Adrian Gonzalez.

Again, not that strange imo - the team has been averaging only about 3rpg for the year! So, don't be surprised by two games against the bucs. I'd go out on a limb saying that the Dodgers might be a bit of a better team whom they face starting tomorrow.

4.57 Runs per game on the year...10th in the NL.

4.04 RPG on the road.

Their W-L is not good scoring 4 runs.

4.04 RPG on the road.

Which, of course, is still significantly more than 3 runs a game.

well yes, but since about the dawn of baseball, they only play half their games on the road.

The strangest one is Valley Fever with Conor Jackson that has lingering effects for years.

I thought the "Flu" was code for Hungover for ballplayers?

Is it possible that Memorial day weekend caused so many of these "Flu" outbreaks?

probably not gonna miss 3 days though with the drunken flu...maybe if it's a one day thing, they could feed that to the press.

I guess we're a fickle bunch - we've been clamoring for Jake all year and now he's up all we can do is critize because he doesn't have a place to play?

I for one love the fact that we have Hoff and Jake from either side of the plate for PH duties now - and with all the lefties coming up on the schedule, Jake should get some AB's

Do we think Bradley is out of his slump?

I think 3 games might be a bit premature, but he does have his average over .200 right now.

Agreed three games does not make a trend, but it is at least a hopeful sign.

in parachat...join the fun for Z's 100th win.

Nice Whammy.

Well depends what site you want to get your stats from. ESPN says he is at .204 while CBS Sportsline, Yahoo, Baseball-Reference have him sitting at .196 and has never been above .200 according to their game longs this season yet.

ESPN updates immediately, the rest wait until the next day.

Not sure if anyone anywhere has mentioned this yet but DERREK "DP" LEE grounded into his FIRST double play of the year a few minutes back.

looked like a tie at first base as well...

Hopefully Scales missed his flight.

Why did Fontenot come in to play third?

Why was Freel replaced by Fontenot in the top of the 5th?

Freel hurt his hamstring on the single....running hard rounding the base and then did this slide stop.

I wonder if Scales has reached the State line yet?

seemed to wince after fouling off the first pitch in his third AB...didn't really run out his pop out and walked back gingerly to the dugout.

sigh.

munch munch. Me love options. Munch.

ANOTHER umpire instigated incident. Idiots and their union. MLB should be ashamed. If Ty Cobb were alive, he'd put these umps in the hospital.

See you in about 6 games, Carlos.

Maybe the Cubs should switch to Powerade?

after Soriano played a single into a triple on the leadoff hitter, Z got a pop-up and then the ball bounced away from Soto on the next batter. Morgan came home, play at the plate and Z blocked the plate and thought he got him (replays look like Morgan just got his left hand in).

Z freaked and then ump leaned into Z while arguing and made contact with their shoulders, Z sort of shoved him away with his shoulder and got tossed and then went ballistic. Threw ball, threw glove, destroyed Gatorade machine...etc.

The notion that guys are getting automatic suspensions for making incidental contact with the umps is completely absurd. Sure, a purposeful bump should lead to a suspension, but Milton's suspension was ridiculous, and I suspect Carlos will get some games as well, even though the contact was the fault of the umpire and in no way malicious.

Z tossing the ump out of the game was high comedy, though.

I feel kinda bad for the Gatorade machine repair guy who had just fixed it.

Has anyone considered the possibility that maybe these guys just don't like gatorade?

Was Z pulled after the wild pitch that scored a run? That's how Yahoo has it.

pulled by the ump...yes.

I refer you to my post on Monday wherein I described Jeff Samardzija doing his best Carlos Zambrano impression when a runner was called safe @ home on a close play resulting from a short wild pitch JS had just thrown. Samardzija cussed his way back to the mound but didn't get tossed & didn't bump the ump - no, he's no Zombie...

P.S. - that play too came after an outfielder [Sam Fuld] had misplayed a single into a triple...the next signpost up ahead - The Twilight Zone...

Wow. Was it funny in a Z is nuts kind of way, or scary/pathetic in a Z is an idiot kind of way?

Both. Z tossing the ump from the game and then throwing the ball to the warning track was pretty funny.

Z smashing the Gatorade machine with a bat was pathetic/idiotic.

Yeah, funny like when he thought he was Bo Jackson and broke the bat over his knee. Not sure when Z is going to grow up. But him possibly missing starts (either to suspension or injury from freak out) does not help the team and this team is in no shape to be missing starts from their "ace" who just came off the DL.

more idiot kind of way...in his defense, the ump initiated the contact.

I love Z moments. Where's Jake Fox? I'm glad I'm recording this one.

"Z tossing the ump out of the game was high comedy, though."

So Z tossed the ump out? I'm looking forward to SportsCenter.

Reed Johnson is Mr Do-it-all today! A great catch barreling into the ivy and the go ahead homer in the eighth...

Can you say Fan Favorite? Extra points if you can say scrappy outfielder.

I had just finished wondering why Skinny Dick was still in the game (instead of Fukudome) when he proceeds to bash the go-ahead homer. I am smart.

Your clever name for Johnson would make sense if his name was Reedy. Been meaning to point that out.

Someone should point out to you that:

1. "Reedy" is not an adjective, it's a proper noun.
2. Someone who is built "like a reed" is skinny.

But I appreciate the concern, ignorant as it was.

Someone should point out to you that:

1. It is clear that Tito already knew #2 above because he noted that "Reedy" would equate with "Skinny".
2. "Reedy", as a word, is an adjective (see any dictionary). So by #1 above I can only assume you are first using the word "Reedy" as a new first name for Reed (and thus proper noun), and then taking that word and making it into "Skinny".

The larger point is that his name is Reed Johnson, does he really need a nickname? Much less one derived from the observation that reeds are skinny combined with a word for penis?

"does he really need a nickname". When you've got such an awesome nickname, yes.

Furthermore, Dick Pole shall henceforth be known as Wiener Post. Hee hee it's got synonyms.

Thank you, WISC, for saving me the trouble.

Was hilarious being told that "reedy" is a noun, though.

J Fox doubled to deep right center, A Blanco scored.

Jake's still hot!

A bad day to miss parachat.

K Gregg relieved C Marmol.

Uh-oh.

Freddy Sanchez with the Moises Alou Memorial Baserunning Moment. Wow.

I want to see Jake Fox at 3B, to hell with his defense, let the monster hit.

The umps in this series are a fucken joke.

Winning Streak!! Woo!!!

one word: Pirates.

I've been out of touch for a few weeks, but did see Peavy gunned down a trade to the White Sux. Has anyone heard if we looking at getting him in the fold, or is our ownership situation just too messed up right now?

probably not on the table right now, but the Cubs would probably like to get something resembling healthy first before addressing any needs. Right now, offense (catcher, 2B, RF when Bradley goes down) and the bullpen would be bigger needs than a starting pitcher. 3B too depending on how rehab goes for Aramis.

Winning! It's like, better than loosing.

Loosing is one of my favorite biblical verbs.

Maybe inappropriate to ask ... but any of our TCR scalpers have Cubs/Twins tickets?

What a laugh - for "El Cheapo"!

You gotta be kidding!

Good luck.

What a laugh - for "El Cheapo"!

Huh?

Dude, you are always railing about scalpers - anyone selling tickets for more than face - I have been reading your whining for a long time here. You pride yourself on your "tips" to others about how they can get tickets in the cheapest way possible. Because, it is beneath you to pay more than face for a ticket?

You bitch about someone who has plunked down the big money and invest in the season tickets. Regardless whether the club has shit seasons like 2006, or winning ones like 2008.

Yet here you are, asking "any Scalpers on the board have tickets for me for the Twins series...?"

I just find some irony here. Its funny to me. Good luck, man.

I have no idea what you are talking about.

I don't believe that I have ever given tips about getting tickets in the cheapest way possible. I don't believe that I have ever bitched about people buying season tickets.

Do I like that people scalp tickets? No... not really, because I don't like to have to pay absurd amounts for tickets. But I don't believe that I have ever made a big deal about it on here.

I really have no idea what you are talking about.

You don't like scalpers that raise the price ridiculously? What about those of us whose mothers support themselves by scalping tickets? You should be ashamed of yourself.

"Zambrano jumped up, argued the call and appeared to nudge Carlson. The excitable right-hander then pointed in Carlson’s face and gave him the ejection sign."

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap?gid=290527116

Pictures can be seen here:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/photos?photoId=22396...

What an idiot...

But you gotta' love the picture of Lou standing behind him laughing.

that ump bumped Z, he should be suspended.

Watching the highlights, if I can read Big Z's lips he said "you bumped me" before ejecting the ump.

they argued, maybe a foot apart....the ump leaned into Z and their shoulders touched. Z pushed back with his shoulder to get the ump off of him and was kicked out. Ump definitely initiated the contact but I don't think the guy that shoved Ordonez in the back got suspended, so I doubt this one will either.

on postgame interview, Lou said he'll have a long talk with Z tomorrow.

I would pay HUGE money to see Z punch Lou out in the dugout.

"Go umps go, go umps go...

Hey Chicago whaddya say? The umps are gonna win today..."

Yes, big league baseball is all about the umps. Thank you umps for entertaining us! Lordy knows we're all paying money to go see you guys perform. Anyone know where I can get an official MLB umpire hat? You know, those sweet black ones?

If you ask me, the umpires had a perfectly exciting game going until Zambrano had to mess it up. I don't mind if he argues, but at least display a little consistency, Z...

Right on, Ryno. This is the first time umps have ever decided to be part of the game. It's bullshit and the league, if it is honest about its traditions, should start slamming them. I also think that players should not show up the umps, though, especially at home plate.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Wed, 05/27/2009 - 11:21am.
Clevenger's really been excellent this year. Castillo might have better "upside" but Clevenger's got the more polished bat and is more consistent defensively. I'm excited he's at Iowa and I think he has an outside chance at potentially being our backup backstop in 2010.

================================

TOONSTER: Welington Castillo's defense has improved a lot this year. In fact, he was one of the last cuts from Iowa at the end of Minor League Camp, getting assigned to AA Tennessee the last weekend of ST. Of course, now that his defense has improved, he isn't hitting. Oh, well...

But Steve Clevenger is indeed the one who is really sailing through the Cubs system, now getting a promotion to AAA. And he just started catching in Instructs post-2006! (Clev played SS in college and 2B his first year in the minors with the Cubs).

Oneri Fleita and the Cubs Player Deveolpment people really love Clevenger. Despite his limited experience as a catcher, the pitchers like throwing to him, and he has really worked hard on improving his throwing and mechanics behind the plate. He is a baseball version of a basketball "gym rat" ("diamond rat?"). He had trouble with academics in college, but his baseball IQ is sky high. I believe he will be a manager some day.

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE THRU 5/25:

Welington Castillo – 13-22 CS (59%), 1 PB, 1 E
Steve Clevenger – 8-14 CS (57%), 0 PB, 1 E
Michael Brenly – 10-27 CS (37%), 2 PB, 1 E
Geovany Soto – 6-27 CS (22%), 1 PB, 1 E
Robinson Chirinos – 4-21 CS (19%), 3 PB, 0 E, 1 PO
Mark Reed – 5-33 CS (15%), 4 PB, 1 E
Chris Robinson – 4-28 CS (14%), 3 PB, 0 E
Mark Johnson – 3-19 CS (14%), 3 PB, 2 E
Luis Flores – 3-25 CS (12%), 1 PB, 2 E

Koyie Hill – 2-5 (40%), 0 PB, 0 E
Mario Mercedes – 2-5 (40%), 0 PB, 0 E
Jake Fox – 1-3 (33%), 2 PB, 0 E

I think it's a virtual lock that both Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo will be added to the Cubs 40-man roster by 11/20 (if not sooner). Both will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this December, and there is no way Hendry & Fleita will leave them exposed. In fact, Clevenger could be the Cubs back-up catcher (C-1B-LHPH) as early as next season, although Koyie Hill has certainly done nothing to hurt his chances to remain Soto's back-up until further notice.

It's nice to know that there are some other options behind the plate in case Geovany Soto turns out to be Rick Wilkins Redux.

And if Chris Robinson keeps hitting at AAA, he could get the Josh Paul Memorial 3rd Catcher Promotion in September. Robinson's defense is overrated, so he will probably have to continue hitting if he wants to get a look from the Cubs in September.

Phil, maybe you can solve a riddle for me. What is David Macias doing at Iowa?

Boise last year, Peoria and then Iowa in May of this year. Plays second, third and outfield.

Whatever it is they love about him is not apparent from his numbers. Do you know?

If there's really something there, he can have Ryan Freel's job.

Michael Brenly – 10-27 CS (37%), 2 PB, 1 E
---
Az Phil: can you give your opinion on Brenly's progress both as a hitter and defensive catching skills?

Regarding the (apparent) Neal Cotts Optional Assignment to the minors...

Coming into the 2009 season, Cotts had been optioned to the minors in three separate seasons, by the White Sox in 2003, and by the Cubs in 2007 and 2008. There is absolutely no question that Cotts used an option up in both 2007 and 2008, but 2003 is where there may be some confusion.

Here's what happened:

Cotts was acquired by the White Sox from AA Birmingham in August 2003, at which point he was added to the Sox 40-man roster (and 25-man roster). He made four starts for the White Sox in August and got creamed (8.10 ERA), and was optioned back to Birmingham on August 30th.

In one way it would have made sense for the White Sox to recall Cotts from Birmingham in September prior to his spending 20 days on optional asignment (to avoid expending an option year), except it was never reported anywhere that the Sox did that. Cotts was NOT added back to Sox Active List in September 2003.

However, the White Sox MIGHT have recalled Cotts prior to his spending 20 day on optional assignment (sometime prior to 9-18-03), recalling him but also ordering him "not to report." This would have meant that an option year would not have been spent, and that's how it is Cotts could have one minor league option left now. But again, it was never reported anywhere that the Sox recalled Cotts in September 2003.

Submitted by Cubster on Wed, 05/27/2009 - 5:04pm.
Az Phil: can you give your opinion on Brenly's progress both as a hitter and defensive catching skills?

==================================

CUBSTER: Michael Brenly is a better prospect than I would have thought based upon where he was drafted (36th round). It probably helps that he has a dad who was a big league catcher, and that could explain why he has more polish than the average young catcher you see in the low minors.

The problem with polished college players (and polished college pitchers) is that they have limited ceilings and sometimes make better impressions and look better than they really are. That said, Michael Brenly has a good chance to keep moving through the system, and it's possible he could develop into a #1 or platoon AAA catcher or even an MLB back-up catcher at some point.

I don't know if you have seen Michael, but he is a LARGE dude. He looks like a defensive tackle. And so he really needs to watch his weight and stay in shape. And for a guy who is that big & strong, where is the power?

But Welington Castillo has the best defensive tools of any catcher in the Cubs organization, and in fact I wouldn't be surprised that if Castillo can get his hitting stroke back, that he could supplant Soto as the Cubs #1 catcher by 2011. Castillo's big problem in the past was erratic defense (he liked to show off his arm by making needless pick-off attempts at all the bases, and he also used to dick around with his receiving mechanics and showboat too much), but he seems to have matured (he only just turned 22!) and smoothed out those problems, possibly at the (temporary) expense of his hitting. As I have said here many times, Castillo fits the description of the Missing Flying Molina Brother you sometimes see on milk cartons in the MLB office.

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