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.
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.
For some reason
It is remarkable how my mood has become uplifted with one game against the Cards.
That is sick.
But, I have been an addict for a long time.
A W tomorrow and it will be a .500 road trip.
Also, to keep the losses in perspective, if the Cubs were to lose 10 games a month - a lot at this current pace - they still end up 102-60. Six months of the ride!