TCR Monday Notes
I was suppose to post this Friday night, but life got in the way the rest of the weekend...
- Arizona Phil does what only he can do...an amazing retrospective on how the 1969 Cubs were built and his memories of the season.
- Ryan Theriot is losing fans in the Cubs organization apparently by sticking to his $3.4M demands. Bruce Miles on the radio and Bruce Levine both saying that an arbitration hearing looks inevitable. It would be the first arbitration hearing in 17 years between the Cubs and a player (Mark Grace).
- Orlando Cabrera signs with the Reds on a 3 million deal for one year with a $1M buyout on a $3M mutual option in 2011. They then acquired Aaron Miles from the A's for Wily Taveras and Adam Rosales. As long as they don't land Johny Damon...
(Interesting twist to this story, A's DFA Taveras immediately. Also, the A's are sending a PTBNL to the Reds as part of the deal).
- Reed Johnson was offered $800K by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Wezen Ball relates some interesting press quotes when Andre Dawson signed with the Cubs in 1987. There's been a bit of myth perpetuated that Dawson was dead set to
play for the Cubs at any cost. But what really happened was that he was a victim of
collusion by the owners and the blank check story was a desperate plea to find a team for '87. To his credit though, he was a man of his word and certainly didn't sulk over the low-ball contract offer.
"I didn't think they'd make an offer, because I thought they didn't want to be the first ones to sign a free agent," Dawson said yesterday. "But since they did, I'm man enough to stick by it.
I know I'll miss Montreal . . . but you gotta do what you gotta do. I don't want to say a move was overdue, but with the problems I had the last couple years . . . I had the same salary the last six years, and then they offer me a pay cut . . .
It got so that towards the end of the season some of my own teammates told me it would be best that I make a change."
- An interview with an author of a book on how the Cubs may have thrown the 1918 World Series.
- The Xavier Nady deal was made official Friday. The Cubs will be cautious with Nady in March and April though and he probably won't see much time in the field to start the season, much like Tyler Colvin did at the beginning of last season after his Tommy John surgery. I do wonder what that will do to the bench since it means Fukudome won't have a platoon partner. They could possibly put Baker out there, but that means either Fontenot plays against a lefty or Blanco. They could also carry an extra bat at least for the first two weeks as a 5th starter isn't due until April 18th.
- Jayson Stark says the Cubs prefer to sign a reliever such as Chan Ho Park or Kiki Calero, otherwise a trade with the Blue Jays for Jason Frasor or Scott Downs is a possibility.
- Jerry Crasnick tweets that Jermaine Dye essentially turned down the offer that Xavier Nady accepted.
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.