Cubs Send Down Hart and Waddell, Recall Stevens

The Cubs have optioned RHP Kevin Hart and LHP Jason Waddell to AAA Iowa, and have (apparently) recalled RHP Jeff Stevens from the same club. The Stevens move will not be made official until just prior to tomorrow's game, so something could conceivably happen in the meantime to alter things.

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Hart got the start in Wednesday's game versus the Braves and pitched fairly well (allowing just one run over five innings), although he did take the loss. Waddell had been on the Cubs 15-DL for the past three weeks with an undisclosed non-baseball related issue.

Since the Cubs will not need a 5th starter again until a week from Tuesday, Hart will be able to get a start at Iowa (probably next Thursday) before he willl be needed again in the Cubs MLB rotation on 7/21. And Stevens will be able to pitch all three days this weekend, whereas Hart probably wouldn't have been ready to work again (even out of the bullpen) until Sunday.

This will be the first time on a regular-season MLB Active List (25-man roster) for Stevens. He was added to the Indians 40-man roster last November, and then was traded along with two other Tribe pitching prospects (LHP John Gaub and RHP Chris Archer) to the Cubs for IF-OF Mark DeRosa during the off-season. He has spent the entire 2009 season in the bullpen at AAA Iowa. 

The 25-year old Stevens played college ball at Loyola Marymount, and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 6th round of the 2005 Draft. He signed with the Reds, but was traded to Cleveland in 2006 as the PTBNL in the Brandon Phillips deal. Stevens was also a member of Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

Stevens has been used mainly as a two-inning middle reliever for the I-Cubs in 2009. For the season, Stevens has gone 0-3 with a 2.18 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, allowing just 25 hits (and only one HR) in 41.1 IP (.171 OBA), with a 20/43 BB/K. But he has really pitched well over his last six outings going back to June 21st, throwing 10 innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits and two walks while punching out 14. 

In other organizational moves, the Cubs have signed 4th round pick LHP Chris Rusin (U. of Kentucky) and he has been assigned (at least initially) to the AZL Cubs in Mesa, LHP Jeremy Papelbon was sent back to AA Tennessee from Iowa, RHP Hank Williamson (one of two pitchers acquired from the Baltimore Orioles for OF Felix Pie during the off-season) has been moved up to Iowa from A+ Daytona, RHP Mike Perconte has been promoted from Boise to Daytona (Perconte started the season at Peoria), OF Kevin Soto has been demoted from Boise to the AZL Cubs (Mesa), 19-year old OF Sean Williams has been sent back to the MLB Australian Baseball Academy (MLBAAP) from Mesa, and OF Cliff Andersen (2006 9th round pick out of Cottonwood HS - Salt Lake City) has been released after struggling at both Peoria and (most-recently) Boise.

Releasing Andersen and demoting Soto makes room in Boise for outfielders Brett Jackson (2009 #1 pick out of Cal) and Runey Davis (2009 #12 pick out of NJCAA World Series champion Howard JC), both recently promoted from the AZL Cubs (Mesa)

An "athletic" left-handed hitting outfielder, the 21-year old Andersen was hampered by injuries in 2007 and 2008, but even when healthy he was unable to overcome his propensity to strikeout (283 K in 937 PA in his pro career). If he doesn't sign with another MLB organization, expect to see him surface in indy ball, perhaps with the St. George (Utah) Roadrunners of the Golden Baseball League, the same team that signed Mark Pawelek after the Cubs released him at the end of Spring Training (before selling his contract to the Cincinnati Reds) 

With the addition of Chris Rusin (who got a $140K signing bonus), the Cubs have now inked 25 of their 50 selections in last month's Rule 4 Draft ("First-Year Player Draft"). The Cubs signed 32 of their draft picks in 2008 and 33 of them in 2007, so I guess it wouldn't be too unreasonable to expect the Cubs to sign maybe another seven or eight before closing the check book. Clubs normally have until August 15th to sign players selected in that year's June draft, but the Commissioner's office extended the deadline to August 17th this year because August 15th falls on a Saturday. (BTW, there is no deadline for signing college players who have exhausted their eligibility, but the Cubs have already signed all of the college seniors they drafted). 

Among the still unsigned are 2nd round pick INF D. J. LeMahieu (LSU), 3rd round pick LHP Aaron Kirk (Owasso HS - Owasso, OK), and 6th round selection LHP-OF Brooks Raley (Texas A&M). LeMahieu and Raley have college eligibility remaining and Kirk has a scholarship waiting for him at the University of Oklahoma, so even though LeMahieu says he's a big-time Cubs fan (his grandmother lives and dies with the Cubs, his father lives in Wisconsin and is a Cubs fans, and D. J. attended Spring Training games at HoHoKam Park in Mesa as a child), signing any of the three (including LeMahieu) could prove difficult. 13th round pick RHP-SS Chad Taylor (Jefferson HS - Tampa, FL) has already announced that he will not sign with the Cubs and will be attending the University of South Florida (at least he's "almost 100% sure"). The Cubs would get compensation picks in next June's draft if they are unable to sign their 2nd and/or 3rd round picks (LeMahieu and/or Kirk), but MLB clubs get no compensation for failing to sign players selected in Round #4 and below.   

Also, CF Cody Shields (2009 15th round pick out of Auburn U. - Montgomery) is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Cubs signed Shields almost immediately after the draft concluded, and he reported to Fitch Park right away and was even initially on the Boise Hawks Opening Day roster, before getting the bad news. Shields joins 2008 4th round pick C-2B Matt Cerda in the Fitch Park Infirmary. (Cerda is on the DL with a broken hand).

The most-impressive pro debuts among the 2009 draft class (so far) belong to slugging left-handed hitting catcher Richard Jones (9th round pick out of The Citadel) who leads the AZL in HR while hitting 344/382/750, and 20-year old 2B D. J. Fitzgerald (22nd round pick out of Dyersburg State CC) ,who hit 531 for the AZL Cubs before getting jumped all the way up to Peoria (VERY unusual for a first-year player signed out of a junior college).

For those of you who follow this stuff, clubs have up to 15 days to add a newly-signed player to a minor league reserve list, so sometimes a player signed after the June draft does not appear on a minor league roster right away, usually because the roster is full and the club needs to make a move to open up a roster slot.  

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Comments

Too bad about Cliff Andersen being released. He had a nice, strong arm. I remember seeing him in RF for Peoria in their game last year at Wrigley. His throws to 2B were like lasers and "popped" in the infielder's glove so loudly that it made me wince with sympathy pain in my left hand - and I was sitting in the upper deck on the third base side.

It's always fun to see someone play who has skills that make you open your eyes wide. Too bad he didn't have enough of the whole package to stick.

I wonder why they wouldn't have tried to convert him to pitcher like all these other guys. Maybe they only do that for catchers, but whatever the case, it seems to be working.

damn....stevens, welcome to the race through the cubs system.

im interested to see the guy, but i didn't think it'd happen in 09...even in september.

No doubt... I guess anyone on the 40-man is fair game for Hendry.

Pretending for a minute that minor league stats mean anything: Stevens has put up some good numbers this year. I don't see any back-to-back appearances. Looks like a fly-ball pitcher.

Wiki had this little gem:

2008 Beijing Olympics

With the score tied at 7, Lee Taek-Keun advanced to third base when Stevens attempted to pick him off at first, but threw the ball erratically. This was scored as an error. It was a costly one as the batter then hit a sacrifice fly and Lee scored, winning the game for Korea.

AzPhil, What's the scouting report on Fitzgerald? I've only see brief blurbs on him, so I was mildly curious when I saw he got the jump to Peoria to take Vitters spot (I believe he was the corresponding move). With Rosa back at Peoria now, I imagine Flaherty/Lake/Fitzgerald will split the 2nd/SS/DH duties perhaps.

As for LeMahieu, my first thought was that, with Maineri and Hendry's relationship, I'd be a tad surprised if the Cubs didn't have some idea on what it would take to sign him. I'm hopeful that we can perhaps get him in and work on developing some more power in that bat. I really hope we can get Raley in. Heck, he only needs to see what happened to his teammate, Alex Wilson, who I believe got a better offer from the Cubs last year than what he signed for this year. I like Raley as an arm - any idea what the Cubs current intention are?

A bad weekend puts the Cubs 5.5 (or more) games out.

Yikes.

They just need to show some grit and get it done.

...

Bwhahahahahahhahahahahhaha...

Sorry, can't say that with a straight face.

A worst-case-scenario weekend puts the Cubs 7.5 back. A best-case-scenario weekend puts the Cubs a half-game ahead of St. Louis, pending what Milwaukee does.

Cardinals weekends are always the most exciting, especially when both teams are in the mix.

Better dead than Red Bird, word.

Get the wives and children in the house. The red-clad chubby Budweiser-swilling hicks with their tube socks and sandals are descending on my beautiful city to gawk in amazement at a downtown with actual people in it, stare in confusion at signs that say Museum and, as always, fill the alleys with urine.

From Ben Maller @ Foxsports.com... "Milwaukee's Prince Fielder (77) and Ryan Braun (58) have combined for a major-league best 135 RBI. St. Louis' Albert Pujols (83) and Ryan Ludwick (47) are next with 130."

The Cub's best combination is Theriot-Scales for a combined 22 RBIs.

Actually it's Derrek Lee (53), and Alfonso Soriano (32) for 85.

Couple more for Pujols and he'll have as many by himself as our best two players.

Minor-league trivia: a couple of weeks ago, Kyler Burke had 28 doubles and Tony Campana had 28 stolen bases. Campana now has 39 SBs, while Burke has gone into a deep slump--until yesterday, when he went 3 for 3 with two doubles, to finally reach the 30-double mark.

Campana has continued to hit (all singles, of course) and may find himself in AA one of these days. Lou has been complaining about lack of speed on his team.

There is some speed at Daytona right now. Start with Campana, then Castro with 14 SBs, and finally Brandon Guyer, who wasn't able to make the jump (along with Sandberg) from Peoria to Tennessee, but is thriving at Daytona, hitting .378 with 10 SBs (1 CS) in 24 games.

What do you mean, lack of speed? Soriano's a 40-40 threat.*

*It may just take 3-4 years to get there.

AZ Phil: How about a quick hit update on your preseason Top-10 prospects, and how they are progressing in your eyes?

Who do you see emerging into your top 10 next year, based upon performance so far?

On a side note, very impressed with Williamson this year. He was the hard throwing youngster in the Pie deal, and so far, he's been solid. Still has some work, but with the fastball/breaking ball, he has a shot at the bigs. I imagine he might go back to AA at some point (seems like a stopgap jump), but he's been a pleasant surprise. I think I like him better than Schlitter.

Name the only active pitcher with 130 wins and no all star selections.

Jamie Moyer?

Nevermind, he probably has way more than 130 wins.

130 wins or more.

Moyer All Star 2003

Mike Hampton?

2-time all star... f*** me... I give up.

Ah... I found it but I cheated so I won't let the cat out of the bag.

He's Rob G's favorite opening day pitcher.

Jeff Suppan?

Yes.

don't see it posted here yet but i am getting word that soto to the 15 day...

Confirmation, Soto to DL, could miss a month. No call up yet.

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

Maybe next year Soto will remember it's important to come into spring training in shape.

The article says the Cubs could make a trade for a back-up catcher. I know the Phillies currently have three catchers on their roster, one of whom is Gabor Paul Bako.

I'd rather see someone from the system, like Clevenger. Whoever is available now is either overpriced or really mediocre.

Bradley not in lineup today...

Not like we will miss his 0 for 3 with a walk.

Len Tweets that Keith Moreland will be in the booth today and Sunday. BJB on vacation.

Raining in Chicago, looks like there could be a rain delay to start. But there is a window after that they should be able to get most or all of the game in before the next bunch of rain hits.

I'd like to see Pujols hit by lightning on live TV.

It would probably only make that fucking robot stronger.

"I'd like to see Pujols hit by lightning on live TV."

From your lips to God's ears....

Possible 1:55 start time.

Wow, even the "great" TLR sac bunts in the first inning.

Ryan Ludwick is sporting a Larry Bird-esque pornstache. Disgusting.

Is this considered an unsurmountable lead?

two words:

Chris Carpenter

Soriano showing some great hustle in getting to that Pujols "triple."

Unbelievable.

And sac bunting a guy from 2b to 3b in front of Pujols is idiotic.

Would anyone on the Cubs' roster have taken third on that hit? I can see every single one of them taking a clean play for granted and just jogging into second.

Pujols just does everything right (tagging from first on a fly to RF, taking third on an easy double), and that has to trickle down to the other guys on the Cards. If you're a role player and the superstar on your team is taking extra bases and hustling, you better damn well be sure you're hustling on every play too.

Exactly. When you hear people say things like "the other team just wants it more"... this is what they are talking about.

Just saw this play...ridiculous. Having trouble picking up the ball--that's going to happen sometimes. All the more reason not to JOG to a ball in the corner with the best baseball player in the world running the bases. #$@#%*!

Ballsack

DLEE!!!

Yay, we have a guy who isn't underperforming with the bat! Awesome!

There goes D-Lee mailing it in again.

I was just going to post how the invincible Carpenter did give up 6 runs to Giants two starts ago.

Harden is a mess.

Just completed 5 innings...

101 pitches. You think the Cardinals aren't trying to get into the Cub bullpen?

I think they enjoyed Harden just fine. How did he get so bad in one year?

why in the hell is reed leading off with fuku batting 3rd?

aram/sori batting 5th/6th?

I can't stand Heilman.

this team inspires only disgust

Is it really that hard to catch a "can of corn" pop fly? Soriano. What a joke.

Sometimes when a player is awful at the plate, they put a little extra hustle in their defense. No such worries from Alfonso.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The Cubs, on the other hand, just roll over and play dead.

This lineup has exactly one batter who hits the ball like he has a pair of testicles.

The Cub's new theme song... so appropriate...

The Notorious B.I.G., "Mo Money, Mo Problems"

they got 99 problems but first place ain't one

It won't be long and the whole Iowa team will be up playing for the Chicago Cubs.

lol... clever.

HIT ME!

Divorcing couple is in court fighting for custody of their 7 year old son, Billy. After both parents make their case for custody, the judge says, "Billy, tell us, do you want to live with your mother?" Billy responds sheepishly, "no, my mommy hits me." The judge asks, "Well would you rather live with your father?" Billy sadly whispers, "no, my daddy hits me too."

The judge pauses and thinks for a minute and then says, "Well Billy, who do you want to live with?" Billy smiles brightly and chirps "The Cubs!"

The judge, looking confused asks, "The Cubs? Why would you want to live with the Cubs?"

Billy responds, "Because they don't hit anybody!"

sorry to rain on your parade but it works better when you substitute the word hit with the word beat.

Yeah, but we're playing .500 ball so we do beat some people. Our big problem is that we can't hit anything. I adapted. Like when you're going to a German gay bar and wear lederhosen instead of your normal assless leather pants.

What? I've never been to Germany

Heh. You win. Again.

I think those are called 'chaps'.

1) I HATE HEILMAN

2) Lou on postgame said that they tried to acquire someone but it didn't work out. He's going to meet with Hendry to decide what the roster move will be.

A few more like that, and the season shifts from tragedy to camp comedy.

Nice job by Harden to keep his name in the running for Biggest Turd of 2009. Lots of competition:

- Hendry
- Lou
- Milton
- Sori
- Fat Geo
- Harden
- Fontenot
- Heilman

That's Fat & Stoned Geo to you. Pass the Ben & Jerry's.

It seems like Harden is really having a hard time right now. You almost have to expect an outling like this. But this team just picked a bad time to go flat and lose 3 games in a row. It just doesn't make alot of sense the way things have gone. Man how bad would things look if D. Lee was not in the lineup.

Terrible and with the payroll at what it is, unacceptable. I lost interest after the Cards blew by the 3-3 tie.

Lou can't make a lineup, our pitchers can't pitch their way out of a wet paper bag, our highest priced players are looking like children, and every time our team looks to be 100% healthy, someone else goes down.

Hey the Cubs win the next 3 games everything will be o.k.

Riiight. By "everything will be o.k.," do you mean that our players will figure out how to hit and play with reasonably decent fundamentals? Or do you mean that the sheer unlikeliness of it will cause the world to spin backwards, reverse time, and we get a do over on the whole season? Both seem a little far fetched.

If we did win the next three games, as unlikely as that is, this team would still be playing lousy baseball overall. Three games in any regular season context is a small sample size. What's not a small sample size? The first half of this season.

Pujols may be a tad better than Soriano but we've got the grasshopper inked for FIVE MORE YEARS!!!!!

bullpen....what's the point? Lets cut lose the bad apples and just bring up a steady diet of younglings. I mean a minor leaguer can't be much worse than Heilman or the irish fella.

And lets put Milton as a righty for a month and see what happens. Move J Fox back to catcher. Its all crazy - but we aint winning with this current formula, so lets take some risks.

During the 5th inning Sirott said that Harden told him the shoulder is great, but it's changed his mechanics, which he's still working on getting straight between starts. No time like July when your team is about to fall off the cliff to start THAT workout.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 4:03am.
AzPhil, What's the scouting report on Fitzgerald? I've only see brief blurbs on him, so I was mildly curious when I saw he got the jump to Peoria to take Vitters spot (I believe he was the corresponding move). With Rosa back at Peoria now, I imagine Flaherty/Lake/Fitzgerald will split the 2nd/SS/DH duties perhaps.

As for LeMahieu, my first thought was that, with Maineri and Hendry's relationship, I'd be a tad surprised if the Cubs didn't have some idea on what it would take to sign him. I'm hopeful that we can perhaps get him in and work on developing some more power in that bat. I really hope we can get Raley in. Heck, he only needs to see what happened to his teammate, Alex Wilson, who I believe got a better offer from the Cubs last year than what he signed for this year. I like Raley as an arm - any idea what the Cubs current intention are?

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

TOONSTER: D. J. Fitzgerald (AKA "DJ Fitz") was drafted as a SS, but he was immediately moved to 2B when he arrived at Fitch Park. He is what I would call an "offensive-first" second-baseman. He makes most plays OK, but nothing to write home about. He could improve once he learns the moves from the right side of the bag.

But in his short stay in the AZL, he looked like a D-1 All-American at the plate. Quick bat, hit the ball hard to all fields, good knowledge of the strike zone, just an outstanding all-around hitter. He has decent speed, but he's not a burner. I could have understood a promotion to Boise, but jumping him to Peoria was really a surprise. I guess the Cubs saw Fitzgerald's self-confidence/brashness, and decided he could handle a jump like that.

I agree that the Cubs SHOULD have a pretty good idea about what LeMahieu is looking for. The only thing I can think is, the Cubs intend to pay him over-slot, but they are going to wait until later in the summer to sign him, when paying over-slot won't cause as much of a problem as it would now for other clubs and their still-unsigned 2nd round picks.

As for Brooks Raley, I have heard nothing.

I am beginning to think that the decision to jump Fitz all the way to Peoria was a bit of a mistake. He looks completely indecisive and overmatched at the plate. Last night he was 0-4 with 2 K's and in 8 games has 12 K's in 28 AB's. I am hoping he turns it around soon, but he appears to be in over his head.

I usually can find something funny to say. In fact, that's often the reason I bother to comment. To overwhelm you with my wit. But today, I realize something I remember from the end of the year, and that a bunch of you guys mentioned at the beginning of this one. This is the same team that couldn't hit during the playoffs.

The only difference between this team and last year's, really, is Milton Bradley.

A lot of folks were upset with Hendry for not working harder this off season.

At the end of the day, I'm just gonna hope this damn sale goes through and we get a reboot.

I'm old, but this team has no chance now, or in the near future, without a young, gung-ho dude willing to rip the thing down and start over.

Well, no worries, O&B... even if I don't reply to your comments with a "lol" post, I am laughing.

I'm amazed at how quickly dismantling a bullpen and changing one key player can bring a team down from a really good team to a .500 team. It's humbling.

That said, I don't think tearing the team down to the ground is necessary. At this point I'm not totally opposed to it either. I also think Hendry could eventually put together a team to win it all, but I'm also not opposed to Hendry getting axed.

Ever since the Cubs were "five outs away" [remember where you were then?], upper management has tried to put us back there. Almost worked in 2004 (Victor Diaz, aggghhh).2005: Neifi! and Korey. Then came the trade for Juan Pierre,followed by the free agent merry-go-round: Soriano, Fukudome, Bradley. Lots of money, lots of optimism, didn't quite get there in 2007 and 2008. All along, those in the know (i.e., TCR posters) knew that somewhere down the road all these guys (including Lee and Ramirez) were going to get old all of a sudden.

So here we are. Maybe we'll take three in a row and get back in it, maybe the goddamn Cardinals will stick a fork in us. No matter what happens this weekend, it seems to me that 2010 will bring a clean slate. This is a ballclub with expensive, aging players in key positions. They will be hard to move. But I am prepared to tolerate a rebuilding phase, even giving up players like Zambrano for prospects. We do seem to have some possibilities in the minors, and I'd like to hang on to a couple of the current occupants of the dugout like Wells, Marshall, Marmol, and Soto (with a personal trainer), but overall I think it's time to blow things up.

God, I hope this post looks really stupid at the end of October...

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