Cubs Post-2010 into 2011 Spring Training Roster Projections

This is (of course) very much subject to change, but as things stand right now, here are the projected roster and payroll for the Cubs circa post-season 2010 into Spring Training 2011.


The Cubs already have $98.275M committed to nine players for 2011, and if they offer arbitration to all seven players who will eligible post-2010, that should add about another $15M to the 2011 payroll. NOTE: I do not pro-rate signing bonuses (spread the bonus out equally over the length of the contract) unless the bonus is actually paid-out that way.


With nine players signed for 2011 plus seven more eligible for salary arbitration post-2010, nine "auto-renewal" players would be needed to fill-out the Opening Day 25-man roster. These nine players would make the MLB minimum salary ($400K) or a bit more, and so that's about another $4M added to the 2011 payroll.


And then another $1M in payroll would be needed for players on the 40-man roster who are receiving a minor league split salary while on optional assignment to the minors, and that brings the estimated projected 2010 Cubs payroll to a grand total of approximately $118M.


That $118M does not include any payroll that might be allocated to signing free-agents from other clubs. It also does not address the actuial Cubs 2011 Payroll Budget, since that figure probably has not been determined yet, and once it is, it will be a closely-guarded secret.


What we do know is that the Cubs saved about $7M in 2010 payroll during the course of the 2010 season, by re-structuring and back-loading Ryan Dempster's contract, and trading Ted Lilly, Derrek Lee, and Ryan Theriot, and some of that $7M in 2010 payroll savings might be applied toward the 2011 payroll.


I think it's likely that the Cubs will non-tender two players (possibly three) eligible for salary arbitration (Angel Guzman and Koyie Hill, and possibly Jeff Baker) on 12-12-2010, but that would only save the Cubs about $2M-$3M in 2011 payroll, bringing the projected grand total down to about $115M-$116M.


There are presently 40 players on the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), plus one player (roster exemption) on the 60-day Disabled List. When MLB Active Lists expand from 25 to 40 players on September 1st, the Cubs will (barring a medical setback) reactivate RHP Carlos Silva (cardiac) and RHP Esmailin Caridad (elbow) from the 15-day Disabled List (both are presently on minor league rehab assignments), and, after the conclusion of the Pacific Coast League playoffs (the Iowa Cubs are in 1st place in their division), bring up somewhere around eight or nine players (most likely pitchers Mitch Atkins, Justin Berg, Jeff Gray, Jeff Samardzija, Brian Schlitter, and Jeff Stevens, catcher Welington Castillo, and outfielders Sam Fuld, and Brad Snyder) from the I-Cubs.


I think it's very possible that the Cubs will trade 1B-OF Xavier Nady (who will be an Article XX MLB free-agent post-2010) sometime before the post-season roster deadline midnight next Tuesday (8/31), and C Koyie Hill and IF-OF Jeff Baker (both eligible for salary arbitration post-2010) also could get traded, as contending clubs solidify their post-season rosters. If they aren't traded before the end of the season, both K. Hill and Baker would be 12/12 non-tender candidates, or one or both could even get outrighted to the minors in October (and if that happens, the player will almost certainly opt for free-agency).


Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be Rule 55 minor league free-agents post-2010 who are most-likely to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster over the next couple of months are C-IF Robinson Chirinos and OF Brad Snyder, with Snyder (who would be out of minor league options once he is added to an MLB 40-man roster) likely to get promoted to the big club in September to find out ASAP what he has to offer at the big league level.


Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in the December 2010 Rule 5 Draft who are most-likely to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline are RHP Chris Archer (lock), OF Brandon Guyer (virtual lock), 3B Marquez Smith (probable), and C-1B Steve Clevenger and IF-OF Matt Camp (possible), although it's unlikely that any of this group will get a ticket to Wrigley Field in September. (Archer will be pitching for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, and Guyer and M. Smith are possible candidates to be assigned to the Solar Sox as well). Other candidates for the 40-man roster (especially pitchers) could emerge with an eye-popping performance in the AFL.


To make room for the new additions, at least four or possibly five players will need to be dropped from the 40-man roster post-2010, so it will be up to the ones "on the bubble" who get opportunities to pitch in the big leagues in September to have good showings. Possible candidates to get dropped from the 40 post-2010 include pitchers Mitch Atkins, Justin Berg, John Gaub, Jeff Gray (will be out of options in 2011), Scott Maine, Marcos Mateo, Blake Parker, and Brian Schlitter, 1B Micah Hoffpauir (will be out of options in 2011), and outfielders James Adduci and Sam Fuld (will be out of options in 2011). Of this group, Atkins, Berg, Gray, Mateo, Hoffpauir, Adduci, and Fuld would be eligible to be Rule 55 minor league free-agents if outrighted to the minors prior to signing a 2011 MLB contract, and Maine is a Draft-Excluded Player (he can be outrighted to the minors up until the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series, otherwise not until 20 days prior to 2011 MLB Opening Day). Generally speaking and all things being equal, players who cannot be minor league free-agents if outrighted to the minors are the ones most-likely to be placed on waivers, because if they are not claimed, they do not have the option to be a free-agent until after the 2011 season or beyond.


So AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW, here is how the Cubs roster & payroll look post-2010 into Spring Training 2011...


ELIGIBLE TO BE ARTICLE XX-B MLB FREE-AGENT POST-2010:
Xavier Nady, 1B-OF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B (player option)


NOTE: MLB players eligible to be free-agents under Article XX of the CBA can file for free-agency only during the “Free-Agency Filing Period” (first 15 days after conclusion of the World Series).


During the 15-day “Free-Agency Filing Period,” MLB clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own free-agents, although the other 29 MLB clubs can talk to the player about everything except money (they can discuss the benefits of playing in a particular city, how the player will be used, where the player will bat in the lineup or whether a pitcher will start or relieve, length of contract, no-trade rights, etc). Clubs then must decide by December 1st whether to offer salary arbitration to their own free-agents, and if they do offer salary arbitration, the player has until December 7th to accept or decline the offer.


If the club does offer salary arbitration to the free-agent and if the player is rated as a Type “A” or Type “B” free-agent, the player’s former club would receive one or two compensation draft picks in the next June’s Rule 4 Draft if the player signs with another club (two picks if the player is rated Type “A” and one pick if the player is rated Type “B”).


If the player’s former club does not offer salary arbitration on 12/1, the club can continue to negotiate with the player, but the club would not receive a compensation draft pick (or picks) if the player signs with another club.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


ELIGIBLE TO BE ARTICLE XX-B MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2010 (1):
Mike Parisi, RHP
NOTE: A minor league player eligible to be an Article XX-B free-agent is not eligible for free-agency if the player is added back to his club’s 40—man roster by the end of the MLB regular season. Clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own Article XX-B minor league free-agents through October 15th. An Article XX-B minor league free-agent is free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club (including the player’s former club) after October 15th, and the player’s former club does not receive any compensation if the player signs with a new club.


ELIGIBLE TO BE RULE 55 MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2010 (16):
Adrian Aviles, OF-LHP (previously released by LAD)
Austin Bibens-Dirkx, RHP (previously released by SEA)
Russ Canzler, IF-OF
Robinson Chirinos, C-INF
Jason Dubois, 1B-OF
Mark Johnson, C (player-coach)
Bryan Lahair, 1B-OF
Antoni Lugo, 3B (previously released by CHW)
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Scott McClain, 3B (player-coach)
Mario Mercedes, C
Jonathan Mota, C-INF
Alvaro Ramirez, OF (previously released by NYY)
Mark Reed, C
Bobby Scales, IF-OF
Brad Snyder, OF
NOTE: Clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own minor league free-agents until the end of the MLB Free-Agency Filing Period. If a minor league player eligible to be a Rule 55 FA is added to his club’s 40-man roster no later than the fourth day following the conclusion of the World Series, the player is not eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league FA. Also, any minor league FA who signs (or re-signs) with the Cubs prior to 12-9-2010 would be eligible for selection in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


ELIGIBLE FOR SELECTION IN DECEMBER 2010 RULE 5 DRAFT (37):
Chris Archer, RHP
Ryan Buchter, LHP
Kyler Burke, OF
Alberto Cabrera, RHP
Matt Camp, IF-OF
Marco Carrillo, RHP
Hung-Wen Chen, RHP
Steve Clevenger, C-1B
Manolin DeLeon, RHP
Marwin Gonzalez, IF-OF
Jose Guevara, C
Brandon Guyer, OF
Chris Huseby, RHP-OF
Dylan Johnston, RHP (ex-OF)
Blake Lalli, 1B-C
Casey Lambert, LHP
Jordan Latham, RHP
Alessandro Maestri, RHP
Oswaldo Martinez, RHP
Ronny Morla, RHP
Craig Muschko, RHP
Jake Muyco, RHP
Jeremy Papelbon, LHP
David Patton, RHP
Andres Quezada, RHP
Chris Robinson, C
Nate Samson, INF
Chris Siegfried, LHP
Kyle Smit, RHP
Marquez Smith, 3B-2B
Luke Sommer, LHP
Alvaro Sosa, RHP (ex-C)
Matt Spencer, 1B
Larry Suarez, RHP
Tony Thomas, 2B
Jose Valdez, OF
Ty Wright, OF
NOTE: If a player on this list is added to an MLB 40-man roster by 11-20-2010, the player is not eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


SIGNED FOR 2011 (9):


+ Player has NO TRADE rights


+ Alfonso Soriano - $18M
+ Carlos Zambrano - $17.875M
+ Ryan Dempster - $15M (contract was restructured)
+ Aramis Ramirez - $14.6M (player option)
+ Kosuke Fukudome - $13.5M
Carlos Silva - $6M (SEA pays $5.5M of Silva's $11.5M 2011 salary)
Marlon Byrd - $5.5M
John Grabow - $4.8M
+ Jeff Samardzija - $2.8M
2011 TOTAL: $98.275M


PROJECTED ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY ARBITRATION POST-2010 (7):
Jeff Baker
Tom Gorzelanny
Angel Guzman
Koyie Hill
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Geovany Soto
PROJECTED SUB-TOTAL: $15M


PROJECTED AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) POST-2010 (24):


NOTE: 2011 MLB minimum salary will be $400K with a $65K minimum minor league “split salary” ($32.5K minimum “minor league split” for players with no MLB ST who are on 40-man roster for the first time). Also, a minor league split salary for an “auto-renewal” player must be at least 60% of what the player was actually paid in salary during the previous season.


James Adduci
Mitch Atkins
Darwin Barney
Justin Berg
Esmailin Caridad
Andrew Cashner
Welington Castillo
Starlin Castro
Casey Coleman
Tyler Colvin
Blake DeWitt
Thomas Diamond
Rafael Dolis
Sam Fuld
John Gaub
Jeff Gray
Micah Hoffpauir
Scott Maine
Marcos Mateo
Blake Parker
James Russell
Brian Schlitter
Jeff Stevens
Randy Wells
PROJECTED ESTIMATED SUB-TOTAL: $5M (includes estimated $1M in minor league split salaries for players on Optional Assignment)


CUBS ESTIMATED PROJECTED TOTAL MLB PAYROLL – OPENING DAY 2011: $118M+


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 


MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS (SPRING TRAINING 2011):


Players who have accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time can decline an Optional Assignment to the minors, even if they have options left. The following players will have accrued less than five years of MLB Service Time through the 2010 season. A player who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time (Baker, Gorzelanny, A. Guzman, K. Hill, and Soto) or who has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career (Diamond and Wells) can decline an outright assignment and opt for free-agency instead


NOTE: Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall have to clear Optional Assignment Waivers before they can be optioned to the minors, Blake DeWitt, Kosuke Fukudome, and Randy Wells would have to clear Optional Assignment Waivers before they can be optioned to the minors beginning on 3-31-2011, and Thomas Diamond would have to clear Optional Assignment Waivers before he can be optioned to the minors beginning on 4-17-2011.


NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT in 2011:
Jeff Baker (also can decline Outright Assignment)
Sam Fuld
Tom Gorzelanny (also can decline Outright Assignment)
Jeff Gray
Angel Guzman (also can decline Outright Assignment)
Koyie Hill (also can decline Outright Assignment)
Micah Hoffpauir
Jeff Samardzija
Geovany Soto


ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT in 2011:
Mitch Atkins
Justin Berg
Blake DeWitt
Thomas Diamond (can decline Outright Assignment)
Sean Marshall (can decline Outright Assignment)
Carlos Marmol (can decline Outright Assignment)
Marcos Mateo
Jeff Stevens
Randy Wells (can decline Outright Assignment)


TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT in 2010:
James Adduci
Welington Castillo
John Gaub
Blake Parker
Brian Schlitter


THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT in 2011:
Darwin Barney
Esmailin Caridad
Andrew Cashner
Starlin Castro
Casey Coleman
Tyler Colvin
Rafael Dolis (see NOTE)
Kosuke Fukudome (can decline Trade or Outright Assignment, and probably has the right to decline an Optional Assignment, too)
Scott Maine
James Russell
NOTE: Dolis has used one minor league option, but he has three options remaining because he is eligible for a 4th minor league option, as long as it is used prior to the 2014 season.


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


CUBS PROJECTED POST-2010 SEASON RESERVE LIST (40-MAN ROSTER):


* bats or throws left
# bats both


PITCHERS (25):
Mitch Atkins
Justin Berg
Esmailin Caridad
Andrew Cashner
Casey Coleman
Ryan Dempster
Thomas Diamond
Rafael Dolis
* Tom Gorzelanny
* John Grabow
Angel Guzman (likely 12/12 non-tender)
* John Gaub
Jeff Gray
* Scott Maine
Carlos Marmol
* Sean Marshall
Marcos Mateo
Blake Parker
* James Russell
Jeff Samardzija
Brian Schlitter
Carlos Silva
Jeff Stevens
Randy Wells
Carlos Zambrano


CATCHERS (3):
Welington Castillo
# Koyie Hill (likely 12/12 non-tender)
Geovany Soto


INFIELDERS (6):
Jeff Baker (possible 12/12 non-tender)
Darwin Barney
Starlin Castro
* Blake DeWitt
* Micah Hoffpauir
Aramis Ramirez (player option)


OUTFIELDERS (6):
* James Adduci
Marlon Byrd

* Tyler Colvin
* Kosuke Fukudome
* Sam Fuld
Alfonso Soriano


POST-2010 MLB ARTICLE XX FREE-AGENTS (1 or 2):
Xavier Nady, OF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B (player option)


TOP CANDIDATES FOR 40-MAN ROSTER POST-2010
1. Chris Archer, P
2. Brandon Guyer, OF
3. * Brad Snyder, OF
4. Robinson Chirinos, C-INF
5. Marquez Smith, 3B
6. * Steve Clevenger, C-1B
7. Alberto Cabrera, P
8. * Matt Camp, IF-OF
9. Austin Bibens-Dirkx, P
10. Craig Muschko, P

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Comments

Excellent stuff, as always AZ Phil.

Do you think if Nady or Baker get traded there's a chance we see Chirinos and or Smith added to the 40 man for a looksee in September?

Do the Cubs ever do the "you're not on the roster, but come for a few weeks on tour with us" with prospects like Les Expos used to do?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Fri, 08/27/2010 - 1:32pm.
Excellent stuff, as always AZ Phil.

Do you think if Nady or Baker get traded there's a chance we see Chirinos and or Smith added to the 40 man for a looksee in September?

Do the Cubs ever do the "you're not on the roster, but come for a few weeks on tour with us" with prospects like Les Expos used to do?

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

REAL NEAL: I don't think the Cubs will bring anybody up to the big leagues for a September look unless they think the player will get playing time.

The Cubs always have added a third catcher in Sepember, but not a 4th, so bringing up Robinson Chirinos would depend on the Cubs trading or releasing K. Hill, since I think Welington Castillo (barring injury) is a virtual lock to be the 3rd catcher.

Or if Jeff Baker is moved, the Cubs could bring Chirinos up to play some 2B-3B (which he has played quite a bit in his minor league career prior to being converted to catcher), since if Chirinos does make it in MLB, it will probably be as a C-1B-2B-3B-RHPH. I just don't know if the Cubs want to move Chirinos around like that at this point in his development as a catcher (he hasn't played 2B-3B since 2008).

Marquez Smith also could replace Baker if Baker were to get traded, but I'm not sure that M. Smith is seen as a 2B at the big league level, even though he has played some 2B in the minors. But Smith would likely get brought up if Ramirez is traded (not likely, but possible), or goes down with an injury, or if the Cubs start to suspect that Ramirez will opt out of his contract post-2010 (which seems VERY unlikely at this point).

As to whether the Cubs might bring up a Bobby Scales, a Jason Dubois, or a J. R. Mathes for a September "courtesy call-up" as a reward for loyalthy, I don't think so. Every player who gets called up in Sepember costs the club about $50K per month in payroll (the difference between what the player is paid in the minors versus what he gets if on an MLB Active List), and the Cubs are already going to be allocating payroll to several other I-Cubs who are already on the 40-man roster.

Thanks, AZ Phil.

I was wondering if you could tell me what type of stuff a couple Austin Reed and Luis Liria have?

Submitted by Raisin101 on Fri, 08/27/2010 - 1:52pm.
Thanks, AZ Phil.

I was wondering if you could tell me what type of stuff a couple Austin Reed and Luis Liria have?

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

RAISIN: Luis Liria has a low-90's fastball, a curve, and a plus-change-up (his best pitch). He has to establish his fastball in a game before he can use his change, however, so sometimes he gets into problems (walks) because he can't spot his fastball or throw his curve for strikes before he has a chance to bring-out his change. He is probably going to need to make it as a starting pitcher.

Austin Reed is a tall dude with long legs and a thick lower body, sort of reminds me (physically) of Mark Prior. He throws two fastballs (one he'll pound in the strike zone and another one that acts like a sweeping cutter), and a decent slow curve and an OK straight change-up. His big problem is that he doesn't always repeat his delivery from outing-to-outing, and so sometimes it takes him a few ABs to get to the right slot and release point. He played 3B a lot in HS, and probably just needs to concentrate on pitching.

From what I have seen of the 2010 draft picks, I would say Reed is absolutely the #1 starting pitcher prospect, but might need some time to develop. Aaron Kurcz is a definite closer prospect and could move VERY fast through the system. And Dallas Beeler (2009 TJS) is better (and much more-polished) than I thought he would be, considering he was a 41st round pick and didn't pitch much in 2010. He has three quality pitches, and throws all of them for strikes.

Thanks!

maybe we can sign a quality arm for 2011 in the indie leagues...

http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/player.ht...

Wow. What is that, like Low A talent?

indie league...one of the lesser talented ones as of now. the tucson, az team features junior spivey as a star.

Still it's nice numbers - even without a point of reference. I wonder if you can fish around and find some scouting type stuff on him. I assume the guy that almost got the Cubs to the World Series is still somewhat a story in Podunkville.

Here we go - 90 in his first appearance.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/prior-2611...

I know he's just being a vagina and not throwing 95 when he really could, but nice to see a guy stick with his dream.

Go Toros!!! (They also had Robin Yount's kid Dustin, LA grabbed him before the start of the season, not sure if he's still in their system)

im trying to move to tucson this winter (if i can find work)...went to some spring training there this past spring.

i'll pay the $6 to go sit around a nice evening of wood bat baseball...no problem.

evidently spivey isn't playing there anymore, but they have wally backman jr. and jessie orosco jr....that's worth $6, i think.

CRUNCH: The Padres will be moving their AAA PCL affiliate out of Portland after this season, and it's possible that they will eventually move it to Tucson or El Paso if they can't find a new permanent location somewhere in Southern California (the Padres AAA PCL affiliate will temporarily be relocated to Lake Elsinore, sharing the stadium with the Padres Hi-A team in the California League).

The Texas League also could conceivably expand from eight to ten or even 12 teams, possibly with new teams in El Paso and Tucson.

Tucson Electric Park is a first-class Spring Training/Minor League facility, but unless Pima County can get two or three Japanese (NPB) teams--reportedly the Nippon Ham Fighters, Chiba Lotte Marines, and Rakuten Golden Eagles--to relocate to Tucson for Spring Training (two at TEP, and one at Hi-Corbett Field), TEP will continue to be under-utilized. If the three NPB teams moved their Spring Training operations to Tucson, it could mean 18 teams in the Cactus League instead of the more awkward odd-number of 15 teams as is the case now.

yeah, I understand Tucson has been a chore for spring training (no one wants to take that bus ride and many don't), but it was disappointing when ARZ moved it's AAA team out of there.

i didn't get to see the guts of the TEP, but the park itself looked great.

looking around the guts of Hi-Corbett i can't believe teams didn't leave there a long time ago. it's a decent little park and all, but to spend a month+ there as a spring home is a bit of a stretch, imo. it's like a nice highschool/college facility at best.

And home of the Tucson Toros!!!

(Random side note, their radio guy, 'Katfish' somebody-or-other, is either prone to similar mistakes or similar Bud Light fiascoes as a younger Harry Caray, and is a blast to listen to free over the interwebs)

Thanks Phil as always. When does the Instructional Lge and AFL begin play?

Submitted by Hagsag on Fri, 08/27/2010 - 3:17pm.
Thanks Phil as always. When does the Instructional Lge and AFL begin play?

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

HAGSAG: As far as I know, the first Instructs games will be on September 27th, and AFL Opening Day is October 12th.

tonight's lineup...brought to you by Screw You Soto Soda...the 7th or 8th best soda around.

dewitt, castro, byrd, aram, nady, colvin(RF), soriano, soto, gorz

...and jay bruce is batting leadoff for CIN tonight.

Who was the interim manager for the Reds tonight?

per Muskat tweet:

Carlos Silva threw 50 pitches over 2 2/3 IP in rehab start for Class A Peoria Fri, giving up 2 H (both singles) and striking out 1.

https://twitter.com/CarrieMuskat/status/22311...

well that game sucked...

RHP Alberto Cabrera with 10 K tonight for Daytona. Cabrera has had his ups & downs this season, but he is probably one pitcher on the list of those who will be eligible for selection in the December 2010 Rule 5 Draft who could do what Rafael Dolis did last year, and that is pitch himself onto the 40-man roster with a strong post-season (Instructs, presuming he goes there).

What's the general opinion on putting guys from A onto the 40 man? I am sure there's been an exception or two, but it seems like there's a lot more David Pattons than Johan Santannas being exposed.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Fri, 08/27/2010 - 8:43pm.
What's the general opinion on putting guys from A onto the 40 man? I am sure there's been an exception or two, but it seems like there's a lot more David Pattons than Johan Santannas being exposed.

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

REAL NEAL: A-ball position players are almost never selected in the Rule 5 Draft, because they can't get stashed on a 25-man roster for a full season as can be done more-easily with a young pitcher. There are exceptions.

As for pitchers, the type you sometimes will see selected in the Rule 5 Dtaft is a Latin kid who signed when he was 16 and is now in his 5th year in pro ball, but has yet to get past A+, usually because of an injury suffered somewhere along the way. That was the circumstances behind the Cubs protecting Rafael Dolis last year. He had battled arm problems earlier in his career, but topped out at 100 MPH in his last outing in the AZ Instructional League in front of several MLB scouts, and it was thought that just because of that outing, Dolis was a lock to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft if not protected, possibly as the #1 pick, and the Cubs did not want to take that chance. But he is a high risk/high reward long-term investment, and probably won't see MLB until 2012 (if ever).

Your rule 5 list is always very interesting.

A couple of Tennessee pitchers, Ryan Buchter and Marco Carillo, might tempt a few teams. And we know the Cubs like Kyle Smit, so maybe they're not alone.

loses his major league debut.

Speaking of impact bats, Snyder hit his 22nd for Iowa tonight, LaHair his 20th, Chirinos his 18th. After losing game one of the series, Iowa has won two straight at Omaha (Royals), one of two teams they're trying to fend off to win the division. They square off against the other contender, Memphis (Cardinals), at home September 3-6.

It just occurred to me that he probably isn't feeling too keen after seeing Strasburg tear his UCL under his "watch".

Speaking of which, I wonder if the Wood's poor season will pave the way for him coming back to the Cubs in 2011. There's certainly a need on the Cubs' side this time.

I wonder if the Wood's poor season will pave the way for him coming back to the Cubs in 2011.
---
Since acquired from the Yankees, Wood's been on fire (although still a bit wild). He's supplanted Jaba the Hutt in their 8th inning with the following stat line (from Yankee's website):

11.2 IP, 9H, 1R/ER, 1HR, 7BB, 15K's. BA .214, WHIP 1.37

As picked up on Rotoworld and from a NY Post article, the pitching coach Dave Elland has moved Wood's arm slot up a bit supposedly getting credit for the improvement over the Cleveland version of Woody although Wood did have blister problems (again) in Cleveland.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/mound_...

http://www.rotoworld.com/Content/playerpages/...

When Kerry Wood was acquired from the Indians at the July 31 trade deadline, it was believed he was going to provide a bullpen upgrade over a struggling Chan Ho Park , who was released to make room for Wood.

Now, however, the veteran righty has developed into a trusted late-inning arm partially due to work with pitching coach Dave Eiland , who had Wood raise his arm angle to add more depth to his breaking ball and a better angle for his fastball.

In 10 games with the Yankees, Wood is 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA. The former Cubs ace has 15 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings and has surrendered nine hits. Seven walks and a hit batter are a sign his command could be better.

If he keeps this up, Wood's going to re-sign with the Yankees and I doubt any bidding war in the offseason would include the Cubs getting a home town discount. The historic Chicago tour bus has left town.

http://www.chicagotraveler.com/virtual-chicag...

via CM...

2B DeWitt, SS Castro, CF Byrd, 3B Ramy, 1B Nady, LF Colvin, RF Fuke, C Hill, P Wells

also it's Lou "tough as hell, no crap taking, oh well, i think i'll quit on my 3rd team" Piniella's 67th birthday. enjoy your cans of beer, lou.

...and brandon phillips sits out another game with wrist soreness (which dusty caused, no doubt).

Phillips shouldn't have been fisting Dusty.

-shudder-

volquez scratched from SUN's game in favor of travis wood.

"It was beyond gratifying. I was inspired. There were a lot of things that inspired me. It was more religious, much more religious (than political). ... I'll raise money for those folks anytime. Albert got a legitimate award I was asked to introduce. I don't see the problem." - Larussa

lol wut?

"I know a lot of people were thinking it was going to be a political thing or something like that. What I heard was ... everybody praising God for the amazing things done in their life, family and the soldiers," - Pujols

lol wut?

Wells seems very streaky, with multiple great starts and then terrible outings. However, I don't see most of the games (just Gamecast, as I live in NY and don't have access to most games), so I would be very interested in hearing people's thoughts on Wells and his stuff now and how whether he will become more consistent and better in the future.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated...thank you.

His bad games are so bad it's almost as if he's tipping pitches. But then he'll throw a decent game or two and obviously that's not the problem. He seems to have games here though where he just comes out flat, throwing balls over the heart of the plate to start the game and is getting killed. As the season has worn on he's just having those types of innings, just later in games. I'm not sure if he's changing his pitch selection, or arm slot, or what. I'd hate to see him remain so inconsistent he has to come out of the rotation. Even a .500 type of starter is such a plus to have, and last year he looked like he was going to be much better than just a .500 pitcher.

Wells has, at best, mediocre "stuff." In turn, in order for him to pitch well, he essentially has to be perfect with his command/location. When he isn't perfect, his mediocre stuff gets hit. A lot.

Nice to see the bullpen pitch like they belong in the majors - two nice appearances in a row for Cashner.

Fukudome's numbers, admittedly mostly against RH pitching - are starting to look like about what we hoped for when we signed him.

fuku got a HR robbed by j.bruce early in the game, too. he was having a hell of a night with his power.

I don't know if actual statistics back in up, but it seems to me Fukudome either gets worn down or into funks or bad habits that he can't get out of when he plays day after day. Once he's out of the lineup or used sparingly for a while and then plays regularly he does well until sliding again. It seems to me the best way to use him might be to play him (something like) 3 weeks on and one week off. Not sure how that meshes with the rest of a 25 man roster, but it seems like it might be the way to get the best out of him as an individual. Playing him part time doesn't seem to do it--he seems to need extended breaks of little or no play.

That's just what I think I see.

I agree, when Fuku plays regularly he falls off quickly. Then he sits on the bench and gets a start here and there and he plays well. Then they play him regularly and get pissed off when he reverts back to crap.

Jake Muyco seems to be doing well now in the I-Cubs bullpen (2+ scoreless IP tonight). Another converted catcher who has taken to pitching and has moved up fairly quickly. I suspect he still needs more time to learn how to pitch. He will be 26 in September. I doubt he will be in the Sept callups but I wonder if Az Phil and some of our milb guru's can comment on his ceiling.

In 13 IP at Iowa, he has a 2.63 era and a BA against at .220.

Bears took a beating by the Cardinals and the Bear's critics (watching Waddle now) postgame. I'm not very upbeat on this season particularly because the O-Line is really bad. If this season is Cub 2010-like, it forces management changes to occur finally...particularly Jerry Angelo's exit.

Their offensive line had to be among the league's worst last season, and they didn't do a single thing to improve it. Then they spent all offseason talking about how much better the line would be, but it's the same guys, and suddenly the knuckleheads running the team are shocked at how bad the line is.

This season is doomed like last season. It doesn't matter if the defense plays better and happens to stay relatively healthy, Cutler will be running for his life once again.

The only good thing is it frees up Sundays.

But you forgot about Peppers, Taylor, and Manumaleuna. They'll make the team better, won't they?

They will make the defense better but they'll be on the field during the whole game, which kills even the best defenses.

The refusal to updgrade the O-line was astonishing, given how bad it really was last year, and given that you would pray that Angelo's job has to be on the line. You really never know if it is on the line with the McCaskeys, though.

Sorry, I know this is more fitting for the Bear Truth, but I also feel a little bummed over it because I think Cutler could be pretty good if he didn't have to dodge 300 pound bullets half the game.

i think the bear truth is still in hibernation, so to speak. and i'm with you 100% on the o-line upgrade, although hard to say in whose direction the bears were going to throw free agent millions.

kind of a parallel situation to hendry finally having the leash removed, only to find the most appealing free agent was soriano. poor management and poor timing by both clubs...correlation, or causation?

They will make the defense better

Yea... those two offensive additions will make the defense a lot better!

It's a pretty widely held belief that the less a defense stays on the field, the sharper it is.

The schedule is brutal to start and end season ,easier in the middle
maybe Lovie will get canned half waythru season.

The bears do have a few ex head coaches on staff.
Your interem head coach of the Chicago Bears is Mike Tice .

Let us remember it is only 42 days until the newest championship
banner is raised at the United Centre.

With ten games left to play, the AAA Iowa Cubs still have the best record in the Pacific Coast League, but their lead in the PCL American North was cut to a half-game (one up in the loss column) last night as they lost 5-4 at Omaha while Memphis was blanking Round Rock 2-0.

The problem the I-Cubs have is that while they do have the best record in the PCL, they also are in the same division as Memphis and Omaha, which have the 2nd and 3rd best records in the league, and only the four division winners advance to the post-season. There are no Wild Cards.

The I-Cubs finish their series at Omaha today (and Omaha is only 2.5 games back), before traveling to Albuquerque to start a five-game series on Monday night. The Cubs and Isotopes will be completing a suspended game before the regularly scheduled game Tuesday night, a game in which the Cubs lead 4-0 in the middle of the 1st inning.

Then the Cubs will return to Des Moines and play Memphis in a four-game "showdown series" over the Labor Day weekend.

Iowa Cubs scheduled pitchers:

AT OMAHA
SUN 8/29: Chris Carpenter

AT ALBUQUERQUE
MON 8/30: Mitch Atkins
TUE 8/31 (completion of suspended game): TBA
TUE 8/31 (regularly scheduled game): Jeff Samardzija
WED 9/1: Jay Jackson
THU 9/2: Austin Bibens-Dirkx

VS MEMPHIS
FRI 9/3: Chris Carpenter
SAT 9/4: Mitch Atkins
SUN 9/5: Jeff Samardzija
MON 9/6: Jay Jackson

All of the game versus Albuquerque and Memphis will be on MiLB-TV.

Meanwhile, the AA Tennessee Smokies (best record in the Southern League both halves) long ago clinched a spot in the Southern League playoffs, and the Daytona Cubs are still in contention in the Florida State League, 3-1/2 games behind the Tampa Yankees in the FSL North.

Peoria and Boise are not realistically in contention for the post-season playoffs in their leagues (Boise could get eliminated today), and the AZL Cubs have already been eliminated in the Arizona League.

DSL Cubs #1 finished with the best record in the Dominican Summer League and are presently engaged in the the first round of the DSL playoffs versus the DSL Reds, while DSL Cubs #2 (AKA "The Bad News Cubs") finished with the worst record in the DSL.

AZ Phil-

Thanks for the write up as always. I've got a few questions so just answer any or all of these.
Do you think that Iowa has a realistic chance at making the playoffs? It feels like the big team keeps poaching all of their talent and they realistically have little to no chance at making the playoffs after that. If you had to assume what they do for the suspended game, would Hung Wen Chen get the nod for that game or do you see them making a move to AA for some pitching?

After the Daytona "team" rocked it at Peoria last year, they seem to be struggling (outside of that one ridiculous hot streak). Is there anything that can explain why they seem to be having so much trouble scoring runs?

Is the talent level at lower level teams just not as solid as the upper levels or are just most of those players for the Cubs more raw than anything else?

Are there a lot of kids playing in the DSL that have seen time at AZ instruction or things like that they we may have seen their name before? Rafael Disla is one name I kept seeing pop up that I felt like I read at one point or another in one of your articles but he was playing at DSL 2.

My last question is about Instructional league. How do the Cubs decide who will be attending that? Do they choose mostly people that could be top prospects along the line, people with big years? With that, what big name players do you think we will at instructs and are there any sleepers from overseas that we could be looking out for as instructs approach.

I know it's a lot but any answer I can get would be much appreciated.

Submitted by W Flag on Sun, 08/29/2010 - 11:09am.
AZ Phil-

Do you think that Iowa has a realistic chance at making the playoffs? It feels like the big team keeps poaching all of their talent and they realistically have little to no chance at making the playoffs after that. If you had to assume what they do for the suspended game, would Hung Wen Chen get the nod for that game or do you see them making a move to AA for some pitching?

After the Daytona "team" rocked it at Peoria last year, they seem to be struggling (outside of that one ridiculous hot streak). Is there anything that can explain why they seem to be having so much trouble scoring runs?

Is the talent level at lower level teams just not as solid as the upper levels or are just most of those players for the Cubs more raw than anything else?

Are there a lot of kids playing in the DSL that have seen time at AZ instruction or things like that they we may have seen their name before? Rafael Disla is one name I kept seeing pop up that I felt like I read at one point or another in one of your articles but he was playing at DSL 2.

My last question is about Instructional league. How do the Cubs decide who will be attending that? Do they choose mostly people that could be top prospects along the line, people with big years? With that, what big name players do you think we will at instructs and are there any sleepers from overseas that we could be looking out for as instructs approach.

I know it's a lot but any answer I can get would be much appreciated.

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

W FLAG: I think the Iowa Cubs have a reasonable chance of winning the PCL American North. I doubt that the Cubs will bring up many players from Iowa until the I-Cubs season is over, maybe a catcher (Welington Castillo), but that's about it.

What is hurting Iowa a bit right now is that closer Brian Schlitter and AAA veteran LHSP J. R. Mathes are both on the DL with sore shoulders (back-up catcher Chris Robinson is also on the DL with a sore knee, which is why Robinson Chirinos got moved up to AAA from AA earlier this month), and that affects the team's pitching depth when it's needed most. Schlitter and Mathes are both at Fitch Park right now, so I doubt that either will be returning to Des Moines anytime soon, but if he's OK to play, C. Robinson could get reactivated from the DL if the Cubs recall W. Castillo on September 1st.

What the Cubs could do is move Esmailin Caridad's rehab up to Iowa frrom Tennessee, and that would add an experienced arm to the Iowa bullpen, at least until the race for the PCL American North is decided. Then if the I-Cubs do manage to win the division, Schlitter and/or Mathes might be ready to return for the PCL playoffs, and Caridad could rejoin the Chicago Cubs.

As to who will get the emergency "start" for the I-Cubs in the suspended game at Albuquerque on Tuesday, I would think Hung-Wen Chen will probably be that guy, unless he pitches tomorrow. It's possible that a starting pitcher might be moved up to Iowa from Tennessee just for the Albuquerque series, since Tennessee is just playing out the string waiting for the Southern League playoffs to start. (Chris Archer's next scheduled start would normally be this Tuesday, but he gets pushed back a day because the Smokies have a day off on Monday, so he could just as easily move up to Iowa temporarily and pitch at Albuquerque on Tuesday, and then return to Tennessee in time for the start of the SL playoffs the week of September 5th).

As for Daytona's offensive struggles, the big difference between the D-Cubs version 2010 and the Peoria Chiefs circa 2009 is the piss-poor offensive performances at Hi-A by both Kyler Burke and Nelson Perez, and Brett Jackson getting a mid-season promotion to Tennessee. Burke was the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year last season at Peoria, but has failed to make the grade at Hi-A Daytona in 2010 (same with N. Perez, who got demoted back to Peoria earlier this season), and B. Jackson will probably be the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year this season. Smaily Borges, Jose Valdez, and Evan Crawford cannot replace B. Jackson. I'm a bit surprised that D. J. Fitzgerald wasn't moved up to Daytona to play LF somewhere along the way, because DJFitz is (if nothing else) a pretty good hitter.

The Cubs have talent throughout their system, but the best big league prospects are at Daytona and Tennessee. The 2010 AZL Cubs are a pretty weak squad, especially offensively. The Cubs have emphasized improving team speed at the lower levels this year, and speed usually does not translate into big innings.

DSL Cubs #1 is the Cubs DSL "A" team, and DSL Cubs #2 is a sort of "B" team, and because there are 70 players down there, the Cubs can move the players and pitchers who are performing the best to DSL Cubs #1, and use DSL Cubs #2 as more of a developmental squad. I don't think the success on the field of DSL Cubs #1 means that the Cubs have a lot of hot Latin prosopects down there.

As for Rafael Disla, he was reportedly not very happy about going back to the DSL at the end of Extended Spring Training when all of the other ex-DSL guys remained in Mesa, and his play at DSL Cubs #2 reflects that. I can't say for sure, but his demotion back to the DSL may have been for disciplinary reasons. A lot of times when you see a player demoted for no appareant reason, it's because the player screwed up off the field (fight with teammate, insubordination with manager or coach, missing the team bus at the start of a road trip, underaged possession of alcohol, et al).

The AZ Instructional League is designed to help the most-recent draft picks and some of the better prospects at Mesa, Boise, and Peoria (and occasionally Daytona and Tennessee) work on improving their deficiencies. All of the Cubs minor league coordinators and instructors are there, so the players get a lot of quality instruction every day. That's where Starlin Castro made his Giant Leap Forward post-2008. Players can decline an invitation, but it's a wonderful opportunity to make themselves better, so most go if given the chance. Not everybody is invited.

In addition, players who are learning a new position (like an infielder or outfielder learning to be a catcher, or a catcher, infielder, or outfielder being converted to pitcher, etc) often make the move at Instructs, because all of the organization's instructors are there. Sometimes the move works, sometimes it doesn't.

And injured guys will sometimes rehab at Instructs.

A few years ago, Sean Marshall threw about 75-80 pitches in an AZ Instructional League game to stay stretched-out while the Cubs were playing the D-Backs in the NLDS.

quade sure does make some interesting lineups...

Fukudome for K-Rod over the winter? Discuss.

Let me expand a little - both are useful and overpaid players making 8 figures on the last year of a deal (KRod has an option but it'd be unlikely to vest if he played for the Cubs).

From the Cubs perspective, they could use an overpaid but useful RP more than an overpaid but useful 4th OF at this point. They could also take advantage of a team desperate to dump a guy.

As for the Mets, they want KRod gone and could get back a useful player who actually matches up as a potential platoon partner with one of their guys (Francouer) very nicely.

KRod's contract was converted to a non-guaranteed contract by the Mets after his criminal behavior. Unless the Players Union gets their appeal heard quickly and wins, KRod will most likely be released by the Mets before Spring Training.

I would bet that the odds of the MLBPA winning this one is better than 50-50.

Cautious bet, since you're not betting the result, just the "odds." Go out on a limb much?

He did commit a felony on Met's property and suffered a season ending injury requiring surgery during the crime. If any case ever called for voiding a contract this is it.

Huge win for Ryne Sandberg's Iowa Cubs at Omaha this afternoon.

Down early 4-0 as Chris Carpenter struggles, the I-Cubs rally to tie the game in the top of the 4th, scoring four times on five singles (including RBI singles by Bryan Lahair and Welington Castillo), a throwing error, and a Matt Camp sac fly.

Then with the scored still tied 4-4, Jeff Gray surrenders three in in the bottom of the 8th, as Omaha takes a 7-4 lead.

But the I-Cubs come back in the top of the 9th. Ty Wright and Welington Castillo single to lead off the inning. Then O-Royals #1 lefty reliever Tim Collins is brought into the game to face lefty swingers Matt Camp and Sam Fuld, retiring Camp on a ground out and striking out Fuld. But Marquez Smith walks to load the bases, before Brad Snyder lines a two-out two-run single to right and Jason Dubois drills a two-out two-run double to LF, giving the Cubs an 8-7 lead. (The big improvement for Brad Snyder this year is, just like with Tyler Colvin, learning to hit LHP--336/404/570 versus LHP for Snyder in 2010).

Then Jeff Stevens tosses an eight-pitch 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th (fly out, pop up to catcher, and a comebacker to the mound) to preserve the victory.

With the win, Iowa holds it's tenuous half-game lead over Memphis (who beat Round Rock again) in the PCL American North, while Omaha drops back to 3-1/2 games out, as today's loss was likely a real stinging crusher for the O-Royals' post-season hopes.

PHIL: I know I may have asked this during the last year, but what will happen to Jason Dubois? And, why has he not learned to play 1B - a position (with a power bat) that the organization needs?

Thanks!

How does Dubois hit left-handed pitchers? His only potential value at this point would be, I think, if he can mash lefties.

Submitted by The E-Man on Sun, 08/29/2010 - 6:55pm.
PHIL: I know I may have asked this during the last year, but what will happen to Jason Dubois? And, why has he not learned to play 1B - a position (with a power bat) that the organization needs?

Thanks!

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

E-MAN: The Cubs signed Jason Dubois mainly to provide a right-handed bat to help balance the I-Cubs lineup, what with all the lefty hitting 1B & OF who were there at the start of the season (Hoffpauir, Lahair, Snyder, Fuld, and Adduci).

Dubois can play 1B, but the Cubs have been using him only in LF and at DH at Iowa in 2010, because either Lahair or Hoffpauir would always get the start at 1B. Dubois has been moved back & forth from the I-Cubs Active List to the 7-day DL at various times during the season with a so-called "sprained ankle" that amazingly gets better when the Cubs need to activate him and then gets worse whenever his roster slot is needed for another player (just like with Mark Johnson). So he is sort of a player-coach, and he probably is hoping to remain in the Cubs organization as a coach or manager when he retires, at least as long as Jim Hendry and Oneri Fleita are still around.

i wonder why the BOS@TB dugouts are using plain white styrofoam cups tonight. there's probably some marketing/contract conflict involved...or the paper cup room got severely flooded...or back to college kids stole them all to play beer pong...or aliens (not the mexican kind, but they probably want our american cups, too).

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