Cashner Looks Sharp at HoHoKam

The Scottsdale Scorpions stung the Mesa Solar Sox 11-1 today at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

Cubs RHP Andrew Cashner (2008 1st round pick out of TCU) started the game for the Solar Sox and took the loss, but he actually looked very good, allowing just one run on three hits (no walks) with one K, 5/4 GO/FO, and 54 pitches (36 strikes), over 3.2 IP. He also showed an outstanding pickoff move to 1st base, nailing Diamondbacks 2B Pedro Ciriaco (38 SB at AA Mobile in 2009) cold in the top of the 2nd.

box score

The only run charged to Cashner scored after he left the game (he retired the first two men he faced in the top of the 4th, then gave up a single, and was pulled from the game after throwing pitch #54) when Angels RHP Marco Albano came into the game in "relief" and got royally hammered (four hits and a walk in just 1/3 of an inning) .

LHP John Gaub followed Albano to the mound, and allowed four runs on four hits in 1.0+ IP. After striking out Ciriaco to open the 5th, Gaub gave up a one-out double to Cole Gillespie, with the runner coming around to score on a stolen base and a Domonic Brown sac-fly. Gaub then struck out Brandon Allen on a nasty slider. (Gaub faced only two lefty hitters today--Brown and Allen--and one popped out to CF, while the other struck out swinging).

The Scorpions loaded the bases against Gaub in the top of the 6th on three consecutive line singles to the outfield to start the inning, and then all three runs scored after Gaub left the game, as the Scorpions unloaded the bases against Angels reliever Jeremy Haynes on a two-run RBI single, a FC, and a double. 

So far in three AFL games, Gaub has thrown three innings, and allowed six runs on eight hits, and no walks, while striking out five.Left-handed hitters don't touch him, but he is not fooling the right-handers at all.

Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo were also in the lineup today, Castro the DH hitting 2nd, and Castillo behind the plate hitting 9th. Castro went 1-4 with a line-drive double over the left-fielders head (plus a 6-3, 4-6 FC, and a K-swinging) and Castillo went 0-3 with two strikeouts (both swinging) and a pop out to RF, plus a passed ball (ball just clanked off his glove and rolled to the backstop). 

The 19-year old Castro is now hitting 481, and his one strikeout today was just his first in 28 PA so far in AFL play.  

RHP Blake Parker, LHP James Russell, and 3B Josh Vitters (400/429/500 in five games played) did not play today, but Parker (in particular) has looked very good so far, throwing 3.1 IP of shutout ball over three games out of the bullpen while picking up two saves, allowing three hits and no walks, with three K. Parker was already a strong candidate to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline, but pitching well in the AFL just helps solidify his chances even more. .   

In other Winter League activity elsewhere around the Western Hemisphere involving Cubs players, Iowa Cubs supersub IF-OF Matt Camp is making a bid to get added to the 40-man roster, hitting 378/440/573 with two doubles, a triple, and a HR, plus 6 SB (1 CS) and only three K in 49 PA (10 games) so far at Mexicali in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP). The 25-year old Camp (13th round pick out of NC State in 2006) is a speedy left-handed hitter who hit 284/329/344 with 19 SB at Iowa and Tennessee (combined) in 2009.

Already very likely to get an NRI to Spring Training even if he isn't added to the 40, Camp can play 2B-SS-3B-LF-CF-RF and PR, and should get some consideration from Cubs Manager Lou Piniella in Spring Training 2010 as a possible bench guy, especially if Mike Fontenot and/or Sam Fuld get traded or are sent back to Iowa (both Fontenot and Fuld have minor league options available).  

Meanwhile, RHP Jeff Samardzija is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in three starts for Mexicali, allowing six runs (two earned) on 13 hits, three walks and two HBP, with 12 K and two GIDP, over 13.0 IP. Samardzija will likely battle LHPs Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall for the Cubs 5th starter job in Spring Training, with the two losers going to the bullpen, although both Samardzija and Marshall do have minor league options left (Gorzelanny is out of minor league options, however).  


AZ, there are reports from mainstream media that Castro might be ready by mid season next year. You agree? God knows where those reports come from -- I trust your take more.

Has Samardzija come up with a third pitch? He could be damn good if he does.

Vitters is dropping fast in the BCS -- I mean, analysts poll. What is your opinion of Vitters? Another bust?

it's going to be Vitterrs age 20 season next year, let's remember that before throwing him down the failed prospect garbage chute....

Samarginal already has three pitches, sinking fastball(90-97), straight changeup(85-89), and slurvy slider(82-84). Some scorers thought they saw him throw a few curveballs as well.

If he can just develop a fifth or sixth pitch.....

Gaub = MLB LOOGy?

Submitted by Old and Blue on Thu, 10/22/2009 - 11:41pm.

AZ, there are reports from mainstream media that Castro might be ready by mid season next year. You agree? God knows where those reports come from -- I trust your take more.

Has Samardzija come up with a third pitch? He could be damn good if he does.

Vitters is dropping fast in the BCS -- I mean, analysts poll. What is your opinion of Vitters? Another bust?


O & B: Castro played for the AZL Cubs (Mesa) in 2008, then jumped to Daytona (skipping Boise and Peoria) on Opening Day 2009 (where he made the FSL All-Star team), then got promoted to Tennessee at mid-season (where he played very well), and now he's hitting .480 in the AFL. So nothing Castro does would surprise me.

Samardzija has always had a plus power-sinker, but his secondary stuff is spotty. I don't know what he's throwing in Mexico (slider & splitter?), but if he can semi-master a couple of other pitches besides his fastball, he could still develop into a decent MLB pitcher. .  

As for Vitters, I think he will develop into an MLB middle-of-the-order run producer, but he has to work a lot harder than he has to improve his defensive play at 3B. The term "defensive indifference" usually applies to a runner taking 2nd base where the run means nothing and where the defense makes no play, but it also might apply to Vitters.

If it wasn't that Soriano is signed for five more years and is untradeable, I would say Vitters would be an ideal LF. I guess he might be able to play RF, but RF is a more challenging position than LF, especially in Wrigley Field.

Thanks PHIL! Did you, or anyone have a gun on Cash? Curious as to his velocity.

Submitted by John Beasley on Fri, 10/23/2009 - 7:52am.

Gaub = MLB LOOGy?


John B: I would say John Gaub projects as the prototypical MLB LOOGY (92-94 MPH four-seam fastball that doesn't move much and a hard-breaking slider), except I'm not sure Lou Piniella knows what a LOOGY is or how to use one.

Word. The problem with LOOGys is what they do to a manager's Walking per Inning ratio.

Remember Lou's 2nd Cubs game when he went to the mount just to remind Dempster that throwing strikes is a good thing? We were lucky to see that from Rothschild this year.

gaub has balls, though...he loves to go inside on righties. now that he's scrapped that crappy curve (or he was supposedly going to) it should only get better, imo.

he could be an inning guy if his control lets him eat the corners as he progresses.

Submitted by The E-Man on Fri, 10/23/2009 - 9:58am.
Thanks PHIL! Did you, or anyone have a gun on Cash? Curious as to his velocity.


E-MAN: I don't have any velocity readings for Cashner from yesterday, but he did get a lot of swings & misses, though not for third strikes. He averaged 14 pitches per inning, which is a low number for him.

The Cubs would be best served trading Vitters ASAP before he ever reaches the majors. Just point that he is a highly touted prospect and hopefully ignore his .319 OBP and SO to walk ration in his minor league career.

Those ratios are just going to get worse as he goes through the system and no one is going to be excited with a 25 year old prospect in AAA hitting .270 with a .290 OBP.

guy has serious power upside and he's showing it...bit early to get rid of him unless you're getting a sure-thing MLB player and the cubs are ready to pay that MLB player now.

k/bb ratio is atrocious, but his contact is pretty awesome.

I'd usually agree Mike, but a 25 year old in AAA...Isn't Vitters only 20?

So he can't improve in 5 seasons?

I don't know if I could support trading Vitters, but it's not a crazy idea. Look at it this way: a. what kind of player could the Cubs get for Vitters right now and b. under the direction of Cubs minor league coaching will Vitters reach the level of the player from question a?

Because, let's face it, the Cubs system has a knack for letting promising, young talent fizzle.

This comes with the understanding that our minor league system sucks ass and has been that way for decades. We have not develop meaningful positional talent since Mark Grace, and before that do we have to go back to the 1960's?

When the best your organization has to offer for LF and RF injuries is Bobby Scales, The Hoff, and Fox who aren't even OFers by trade, something has gone seriously wrong with your system. But we have known about that for years.

I have zero faith that Vitters will contribute anything to the Cubs. His power may be legit in A ball against fastball pitchers, but they are going to make him look silly if he doesn't change his approach, lean how to take a walk and cut down his strikeouts. The Cubs seem hell bent like the many prospects before him to just let him do his own thing.

Tyler Colvin is just a further along version of Vitters. A guy that has some pop but doesn't like to take walks. If your gonna strikeout and walk that little you better have some Chris Davis like power. Colvin and Vitters don't have that, not even close.

The thing is, though, that Vitters doesn't strike out very often. I don't know what you're getting at with the "have to have Chris Davis power" talk. Vitters is simply a terribly aggressive hitter early in the count. He sees the ball well and makes good contact. He isn't Vlad Guerrero, who has never met a pitch he didn't like. I would hope the Cubs would focus on this, as well as his defense, but who knows.

"We have not develop[ed] meaningful positional talent since Mark Grace."

Even Grace was a first baseman. Palmeiro was a 1B/LF type; Joe Carter a left fielder. When did the Cubs ever develop or even draft a player capable of playing center, right, third, second, short or catcher at a high level in the majors?

Going back 30-40 years, I can think of Soto, maybe Dunston.

But that has all changed. Wilken drafts only two-way players, i.e., players who actually have a shot. The system is now full of center fielders (who can move over to right) and shortstops (who can play second or third). Two nice recent catchers are Donaldson and Brenly.

Strength up the middle--versus what has historically been strength at first base, the weakest kind of strength.

I'm one of the older posters here but I'm willing to be patient with Wilken's picks, because I sense a very deep change in the organization. Wilken loved Colvin's swing and Vitters' swing. That's good enough for me, for now.

I brought this up last season, and will again:

For the most part, the goal of the minor leagues is to, a. help train players well enough so that they may be one of 800 Major League ballplayers - whether they are on the Yankees - or the Nationals - they have reached the "Best of the Best" - considering the aggregate number of professional minor leagues and even "dreamers" playing International ball, and semi-pro.

Were talking how many thousands of players, right?

800 make the cut.

b. These players are used to obtain MLB-ready talent (and of course other minor-leaguers), and this value cannot be minimized.

If a team gets lucky, and they scouting department has a "run", THEN it is icing on the cake for Albert Pujols to get spotted and not get traded by an asshole GM. But, it happens more than not probably.

The Cubs have not "birthed" an Albert Pujols, or a superstar, in a long time. But they certainly have turned out very good, as well as "servicable" major leaguers from their Minor League affiliates, as well as through trades.

So "meaningful" talent is subjective to some of you, but the goals of the minors (and I have heard Randy Bush speak of this) remains the same.

Was Hee-Sop Choi for DLee not "meaningful"? Randy Wells this year? Soto, last year? All obtained through the methods stated above.

Wow, this guy seems to think a Bradley for Vernon Wells trade makes sense.


Not sure why the eff Toronto would do that, but okay...

Maybe if you throw in a Carlos Zambrano they'll entertain the idea.

The best-case scenario for the Bradley saga to end on the north
side, while adding a needed piece, exists. Yes, it does, and it exists
north of the border.

Vernon Wells.

Okay, I'll give you a second to get back up off of the floor, either
from falling out of your chair in a giant fit of laughter or dropping
from shock.

Yes, Wells represents the best option for the Cubs.

another avid subscriber to the my ideas are fucking unfallible...see Colin Cowherd, Joe Sheehan, every other hack columnist...

nonetheless, Bradley for Wells would probably work if the Cubs wanted to take on another bad contract. Blue Jays would probably love to move him off their books...but that doesn't seem to be the position the Cubs are taking right now for obvious reasons.


I agree with MikeC for once.

Toronto would do that in a second.

Why WOULDN'T Toronto do that?

Seems to me Toronto would love to trade Wells for Bradley. Toronto is handcuffed with Wells' contract and getting out of it is about the only way they will ever be able to afford to rebuild and compete in the AL East.

The truth is that I don't think the Cubs or anyone else is going to trade for Wells and his gigantic contract. I didn't understand the way the article Ryno linked to broke out Wells annual income, but Cot's Contracts lists it as:

2010 -- $12.5 million
2011 -- $23 million
2012 -- $21 million
2013 -- $21 million
2014 -- $21 million

The only way Toronto will ever get rid of that contract is if they either eat a lot of it or they somehow sweeten the pot. For instance, they could package Wells and Roy Halladay. Teams want Halladay and they are willing to pay a king's ransom to get him (although his value is decreasing every day he gets closer to the end of his contract). The Blue Jays should use the market for Halladay to also try to move Wells.

Just to be clear, a straight up Vernon Wells for Milton Bradley trade is way too expensive for the Cubs, but I'm pretty sure the Blue Jays would jump at it.

I don't get that guy's number$$ for Wells. But here are the figures for what the total obligation each year is for the remaining years on Wells' contract according to Cot's.

2010 $16,142,857

2011 $26.643 million
2012 $24.643
2013 $24.643
2014 $24.643


I'm seeing different numbers. Here's what Cot's Contracts has to say:

7 years/$126M (2008-14)
signed extension with Toronto 12/06
$25.5M signing bonus (paid in 3 $8.5M installments, March 1 2008-10)
08:$0.5M, 09:$1.5M, 10:$12.5M, 11:$23M, 12:$21M, 13:$21M, 14:$21M
full no-trade clause
Wells may opt out of contract after 2011
award bonuses: $0.25M for MVP, $0.2M for World Series MVP, $0.15M for LCS MVP, $0.1M for receiving most All-Star votes in league
Wells to donate $143,000 annually to Blue Jays charity

In addition to being owed $12.5 million in 2010, Wells is owed $8.5 million remaining on his original $25.5 million signing bonus. So he's actually owed $21 million in 2010.

I know how we hate math and all, but can I just say that when I looked at the google spreadsheet I came up with:

$126-$16.142857 - 4*$26.643 + $6 = $9,285,143.

So Navigator thinks he got payed roughly $4.6 million per over the last two years?

Toronto would flip Vernon Wells for Bradley in a heartbeat. They would be out from under those last 4 years of Wells contract that pay him over 80 million dollars.

Think about that for a minute. Vernon Wells will average near A-rod money to knock in 60-80 RBI hit maybe 20 HR, and run around with a career .329 OBP.

I would rather bring back the dead corpse of Neifi Perez to play CF than to trade for Vernon Wells and that stupid contract.

On the bright side Wells can opt out of his contract in 2011. Maybe if we can sucker him into opting out and saying we will pay him 30 million a year we can go for it. Then at the last minute goooo opppps did i say 30 million? I ment 3 million a year. Awwww damn sucks for you Vernon, you could of made 63 million over the next 3 years.

That fucker isn't opting out of shit.

We discussed this a month ago. The Jays would have to throw in about $30 million to make the trade reasonable, if memory serves.

way to dodge, Mike


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