Cubs Lose Two Hurlers in Rule 5 Draft
The Cubs lost two minor league pitchers in the AAA Phase of today's Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in Florida.
Players selected in the AAA Phase cost $12,000, and "all sales are final" in the two minor league phases, meaning neither player will be returning to the Cubs.
Morla was one of three players acquired by the Cubs from Oakland a year ago (RHP Jeff Gray and 1B Matt Spencer were the other two) for INF Aaron Miles and C-IF-OF Jake Fox. Morla spent the 2010 season at Peoria, where he went 4-4 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, allowing 76 hits in 78 IP, with a 20/86 BB/K. I was very surprised that Morla was made available in the AAA Phase and was not protected on the Iowa roster.
Lambert was the Cubs 6th round pick out of the University of Virginia in 2007. He was the Cavs closer in college and was used aa a reliever his first two years in pro ball before being moved to the starting rotation at AA Tennessee in 2009. He was sidetracked by Tommy John Surgery at the end of the 2009 season, and spent most of the 2010 season rehabbing at Fitch Park, before moving up to Daytona in July, where he posted a 1-0 record with a 2.95 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 14 games (21 IP).
There were 48 Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft, and with a 38-man AAA Reserve List limit the Cubs could not put all of their Rule 5 eligibles on the Iowa roster. But I would have thought that both Morla and Lambert had enough upside to be protected on the Iowa roster, making them available in the more restrictive Major League Phase, where the Cubs at least might have been able to get them back next Spring.
The Cubs did make one selection in the Major League Phase, tabbing RHP Mason Tobin from the Angels. But Tobin was subsequently traded to the Texas Rangers for cash, in what was obviously a pre-arranged deal. (The Rangers had the 26th pick. while the Cubs were picking 9th). The Cubs have done this before, spending $50,000 to draft a player (most famously Josh Hamilton in 2006), and then selling the player to the team for whom they made the pick for maybe $100,000 (thereby making a tidy $50K profit).
It's also possible that the Tobin deal could be the pre-cursor to a trade involving Chris Davis.
BTW, the Cubs were able to make a selection in the Major League Phase only because they still had one slot open on their 40-man roster, as Carlos Pena was not officially added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List until after the draft.
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?