Cubs Rumor Round-Up; Pineiro, Cameron, Sheets & More
Let's see here, Yankees get Curtis Granderson, Mariners add Figgins and Cliff Lee, Phillies swap Roy Halladay for Cliff Lee essentially, Red Sox add Lackey and Cameron so far and the Cubs are looking at Joel "4.4 K/9" Pineiro.
- Buster Olney is the one with the Cubs/Pineiro rumor from yesterday. Supposedly Piniero wants a four year deal worth more than $10M plus a season. Why am I afraid that didn't scare the Cubs off?
- Scratch Mike Cameron off the Cubs center field wish list, he's signing with the Red Sox for 2/15.5M to play left field of all places. I'm sure he'll get some time in center, but seems like a waste of his talent and value, which mostly comes from being an exceptional center fielder. That leaves Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel among the supposed center fielders the Cubs are interested in, with Byrd clearly being the front-runner.
- According to Rosenthal, the Yankees are quite interested in Ben Sheets, but are in no rush to sign him.
- It seems like half the league is in on Matt Capps, with at least 3 teams willing to offer him a closer role. Considering Capps wants $3-$4M, plus a multi-year deal, I doubt the Cubs will land him, especially since it sounds like he'll be able to close somewhere else.
- I'm still trying to grasp this 3-team blockbuster deal. I believe it's Roy Halladay and $6M to the Phillies who send Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis D'Arnaud to the Blue Jays. The Phillies then send Cliff Lee to the Mariners and get Phillipe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and Juan Ramirez from the Mariners and are not sending any of those players to Toronto. The Blue Jays are then sending Michael Taylor to the A's for Brett Wallace. So essentially it's just three separate deals and one in which the Phillies make out like bandits. They basically got from the Mariners what they gave up for Halladay (albeit slightly inferior talent) and the Phils get $6M to pay Halladay.
- The Florida group had a party last night to raise money for their continued efforts to lure the Cubs.
- The Cubs were in attendance along with 14 other teams for Aroldis Chapman's throwing session today in Houston. The 21-year old lefty topped out at 96mph and threw a few sliders and change-ups.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.