Sloth Traded To Nats for 3 Baby Ruth Candy Bars



The Cubs traded Tom Gorzelanny to the Nationals yesterday for 3 minor leaguers. This will make the road to the rotation a little easier for Carlos Silva. Phew. 

The three prospects the Cubs received were 24-right hander A.J. Morris, right fielder Michael Burgess and lefty Graham Hicks. Baseball America has a write-up on each of them.

To the excerpts...




Morris pitched effectively enough as a starter for Potomac, going 3-2, 3.16 with 49 strikeouts in 57 innings, but he came down with a sore arm in June and missed nearly a month. The Nationals shifted him to the bullpen upon his return to Carolina League action in mid-July and Morris showed improved velocity, hitting 95 mph, if lesser results—he notched a 12-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 15 innings to go with a 6.60 ERA.


Burgess ranked among Washington's top 10 prospects every year from 2008-10, but he had dropped into the 11-20 tier heading into 2011 after a second straight season in high Class A. He's taken 937 at-bats for Potomac in the past three years, batting just .245 but with above-average power output in the form of 37 homers and an isolated power figure of .182. Stocky and strong, Burgess concentrated on making more contact last season, which he did at the expense of a bit of power.


Hicks compiled steady strikeout and walk rates for Hagerstown but proved far too hittable because of poor command. A tall, lean lefty, he sits in the high 80s with his fastball, touching 91 mph, and shows the makings of an average curveball and changeup. If it all comes together for Hicks, he could have a future as No. 5 type starter.

Gorzelanny was out of options and the Cubs clearly felt he could net them the best return while still having plenty left to withstand the demands of a 162 game schedule. No big loss or impact in my opinion. The rotation now stands at Dempster, Zambrano, Garza, Wells and Silva with Cashner and Russell trying to force their ways in with a good spring.


wow...gil meche retires...walks away from $12m

pretty nice of him actually, his option was surgery and take $12m of the royals money or pitch in relief and take $7-$8M of their money for an overpriced set-up man that may or may not make it through the season.

Also, Gorzo gets $2.1MM (paid by Nats) and Marshall gets a 2-year deal--$1.6MM this year, $3.1MM in 2012.

Cubs players are being awfully generous this year in arbitration it seems.

Nice for Hendry.

Is it believed that "Teflon Jim" will try to sign an extension this year with Garza? Oh - and a substantial NTC?

First baseman Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers have avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $15.5 million, one-year contract.

That really makes Votto's deal look bad. Not sure what the Reds were thinking on that one.

I thought the Reds got a steal there.

There's an artcile on MLBtraderumors about it... if you think he's going to be top 3 MVP every year, the Reds did OKish. Fielder got $32.5 million (+$1 bonus) for those three years, though he had his first monster year in Y2 instead of Y3.

prices are going up though, but steal may have been a bit of an overstatement and not getting at least one FA year in there would have helped it.

But awards are a big point in the arbitration process, so I see him closer to Howard than Fielder.

I didn't see the point of the extension without getting free agent years from the Cincy POV?

The Club assumed all the risk.

cost certainty, if you're a team with modest budgets and a long-term plan, it helps a lot.

everything the Cubs aren't...

Ideally you have Votto take a discount for the certainty on his end. What is the upside for the Reds to give Votto certainty at Above market value?

Howard made $44M his last 3 years of arbitration, so not sure how you can think that's above market at least with any certainty. Prices are clearly heading up too. And if I read the splits correctly, Reds get deals the first 2 years at the cost of probably back loading a little on the last year, although in 2 years $17M very well could be the going rate.

Fielder just got $15.5M for his final year in a settlement (as opposed to actually going to a case) and Votto's better.

Votto is a year older and has been better in only 1 season. Fielder has a MUCH better body of work thus far.

age has nothing to do with arbitration

MVP's do though

Reds wanted cost certainty and felt it was a good bet. Jocketty isn't no dummy and barring an injury, hard to see them not getting what they paid for and probably a little more.

MVP's rookies of the Year, HR's and RBI's all count, and Howard was significantly better than Votto at three of those four things. It's really hard to see Votto making more than $8 million, $12 million and $18 million in arbitration.

And that is with excellent health and no production slippage.

Not as stupid as the Tulo extension though. GMs still can't save themselves from themselves.

rumor was Reds were going to offer around $7M and Votto submitting in the 8.5M to 9.5M range. Considering Howard made $10M his first year, Reds thought they could lose it and that's all that matters.

I don't think Jocketty went let's give Votto $38M for the helluva of it. At the low end they probably think he makes $34-35M over the next 3 years or less if he's injured, at the high end, $44 or more and didn't want to risk going that road while keeping their star happy.

Gonna guess they put a lot more thought into it then the 5 minutes everyone on here has.

Yes, Fielder has a much better body.

Yes, I read that right.

Doesn't Votto have Boras representing him? If so, there's no bargain to be had. it a given that Prince will be the Cubs #1 free agent target for 2012? I guess all bets are off if Pujols doesn't re-up with the Birds, but it sure seems like the Cubs, Jays and Nats would be the likely top 3 bidders for Fielder. Even at $20MM/year.

if Pena has a good year, I could see Cubs trying to re-up there. I wouldn't be surprised if they're scared off by Fielder's defense.

Or his large gut.

He's not going to age well.

Neither has Pena.

Gonzalez hasn't signed yet, either, has he?

I think they are holding off the Agon signing until ST, to avoid luxury tax.

Not certain how it works.

Yes. Exactly.

"Scared off by defense" Is Cubs code for too expensive

Likely 2011 Opening Day starting lineup at Tennessee (as things stand right now):

1. Brett Jackson, CF
2. D. J. Lemahieu, 2B
3. Michael Burgess, RF
4. Josh Vitters, 3B
5. Ryan Flaherty, LF
6. Rebel Ridling, 1B
7. Michael Brenly, C
8. Junior Lake, SS
9. Trey McNutt, P

I think it's pretty clear that the Tennessee Smokies will be the crown jewel of the Cubs farm system going into the 2011 season. Most of the Cubs best prospects will be rhere.

BTW, Burgess is the only one of the players acquired from WAS who will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft post-2011. So I would say Vitters, J. Jackson, Carpenter, Beliveau, Flaherty, Burgess, Lake, M. Gonzalez, M. Smith, and Campana are (at this time) the ten post-2011 Rule 5 eligibles who are most-likely to be added to the 40 by 11-20-2011 (if not sooner in some cases), with Vitters, J. Jackson, and Carpenter virtual locks to get added, Beliveau and Flaherty likely but not locks, and Burgess, Lake, M. Gonzalez, M. Smith, and/or Campana only if the player has a good year.

AZP, what's the story on Rebel Ridling & Junior Lake. I'm not familiar. Love the names, but I imagine there's nothing special about a 1B who hits 6th in AA. And I haven't heard Lake's name pop up in the many middle-infielder conversations in the last couple years. Thanks.

Submitted by Stevens on Tue, 01/18/2011 - 2:35pm.
AZP, what's the story on Rebel Ridling & Junior Lake. I'm not familiar. Love the names, but I imagine there's nothing special about a 1B who hits 6th in AA. And I haven't heard Lake's name pop up in the many middle-infielder conversations in the last couple years. Thanks.


STEVENS: Rebel Ridling played college ball at Oklahome State and was drafted by the Cubs in June 2008 (25th round). He had a very strong second-half at Peoria in 2009 (finishing at 310/347/466) and an impressive AZ Instructs post-2009, but then he had an appendectomy with complications (he almost died) last March, and he missed the first month of season while rehabbing at Fitch Park. When he returned (to Daytona), he was not quite the same player he had been at Peoria in 2009, and struggled a bit at the plate (hitting 267/312/426).

Junior Lake and Starlin Castro were born three days apart, both signed with the Cubs as 16-year olds out of the Dominican Republic, and both played for the DSL Cubs in 2007 and for the AZL Cubs in 2008. When I first saw them at Fitch Park in 2008, I thought Lake had the most upside. While Castro was definitely the better hitter of the two (311/364/464 for Castro and 286/335/417 for Lake in AZL in 2008), Lake had the stronger arm, a bit more range at SS, more power, and was a faster runner.

Both Lake and Castro attended AZ Instructs at Fitch Park post-2008, and Castro really took advantage of the instruction from the organization's coaches (fielding, baserunning, and hitting), while Lake did not. For instance, on the advice of organizatinal hitting coordinator Dave Keller, Castro kept a "hitting diary" and studied pitchers for weaknesses. Lake did not.

The thing about Junior Lake is that he is kind of a "street kid," sort of a Dominican Oliver Twist. I'm not even sure he attended school. So it might be harder for him to understand coaching, because he doesn't know how to accept instruction.

So while Castro rocketed through the Cubs system (surprisingly starting the 2009 season at Daytona before getting a mid-season promotion to Tennessee and a slot in the AFL, and then receiving an NRI to Spring Training in 2010 and an April call-up to the big leagues), Lake has moved more steadilily through the system, playing at Peoria in 2009 and at Daytona in 2010. His big negatives over the past couple of years were a scatter-gun arm, brain farts on the bases, and a hyper-aggressive approach at the plate. But if it wasn't for Starlin Castro, you would probably have heard a lot more about Junior Lake.

Lake looked like he might finally have made some improvements to his game at mid-season 2010 at Daytona, hitting home runs, starting to show more patience at the plate, and cutting down on his throwing errors and baserunning gaffes.

The Cubs trading Hak-Ju Lee makes Junior Lake the Cubs new #1 shortstop prospect (at least going into 2011), but I would not be surprised if he eventually morphs into a Bill Hall-type IF-OF multi-postional super-sub, with plus power, above-average speed, and the athleticism needed to play both infield and outfield positions.

I don't know if Lake will ever be a good hitter, but even if he doesn't hit a whole lot for average, his other tools (power, arm, range, and athleticism) should make him a decent MLB supersub.

PHIL: You have always liked Flaherty. Do you still feel the same way about his prospects?

Submitted by The E-Man on Tue, 01/18/2011 - 3:48pm.
PHIL: You have always liked Flaherty. Do you still feel the same way about his prospects?


E-MAN: I had Ryan "Flash" Flaherty at #10 in my post-2010 Cubs Top 15 Prospects list. I have always projected Flaherty as a LH corner IF-OF who can also play 2B, and SS in a pinch (he played SS at Vanderbilt and with Team USA), and nothing has changed my mind about him eventually doing that. A left-handed hitting version of Mark DeRosa is a reasonable projection.

Flaherty is a big guy and a growing boy (6'5 230), and he has the potential to be a big-time HR hitter (he hit 20 at Peoria in 2009). He is a fairly patient hitter and he runs OK for a big guy. One thing about him is that throughout his career he has struggled against LHP while murdering RHP, so I see him as a platoon guy playing 1B-2B-3B-LF-RF at the MLB level.

Flaherty is the son of a college baseball coach (Southern Maine) and he has a lot of baseball smarts and is a student of the game. He knows how to play each of the positions in his kit the right way, he knows how to run the bases, and he can work a pitcher. He was the first-base coach for Mesa Solar Sox (AFL) when he wasn't playing in a game.

Cool. Thanks, PHIL. I look forward to getting the chance to see him live.

It sticks in my mind (and my craw) that Flaherty had 3 XBH's--3 doubles--in 82 at bats in the AFL recently. The pitchers couldn't all have been lefties.

But . . . if Burgess and Vitters and Flaherty can start to live up to their lofty draft positions, that Tennessee lineup will be something to behold.

I can dream, can't I?

Great info as always, AZP. Thanks so much!

The Chicago Cubs avoided arbitration with four players but couldn't reach an agreement with closer Carlos Marmol, who filed for arbitration on Tuesday.

"closer Carlos Marmol, who filed for arbitration on Tuesday"

Well, he's got a better story than Theriot did last year.

they include Gorz in that list, trade isn't official apparently

The Tribune says Gorz's arrival in Washington for a physical has been delayed until Wednesday, probably because of the latest winter storm.

Nah. I think he is just slow getting there...

Michael Burgess played high school ball at Hillsborough HS in Tampa, FL, the same school that produced Dwight Gooden, Gary Sheffield, Carl Eveett and Elijah Dukes.

The Nationals selected Burgess in the Supplemental 1st round (overall pick #49) in the 2007 Rule 4 Draft, one slot below the Cubs, who selected Auburn C Josh Donaldson (compensation pick for the Cubs losing Juan Pierre to LAD) at #48.

Burgess had signed an NLI with Central Florida, but gave up a chance to play college ball at UCF when he signed with the Nats ($630K signing bonus). Like Josh Vitters (who had signed an NLI with Arizona State), Burgess would have just finished his junior year in college last Spring (and would have been eligible for selection in the 2010 June draft) if he had not opted to turn pro out of HS.

Burgess has one of the top OF arms in the minor leagues, so if he flames out at the plate, the Cubs could always make him a pitcher.

" Dwight Gooden, Gary Sheffield, Carl Eveett and Elijah Dukes."

That's a lot of talent and a lot of 10cent heads.

I was thinking the same thing, every one of those guys is/was a total nozzle. What's with that HS? Serenity now!

I think their history teacher is famous for snorting coke while screaming that dinosaurs never existed.


There was another one that came from the same group. In 1981 the Cubs drafted a left handed pitcher out of the same HS that was said to be a close friend (and perhaps relative) of Scheffield. His name was Vance Lovelace, and had just about the best stuff I ever saw in a prospect. Fantastic fastball (no gun used in those days) and a slider to equal Marmols. Unfortunately, his control on his best day was worse than that of Marmol on his worst day.

He was traded to the Dodgers for Ron Cey, but floundered in their system also. I believe he finally made it to the majors for a cup of coffee.

There were all sorts of rumors about his being a drug abuser, but I sort of wrote them off when he was appointed a very high level scout with the Dodgers about 10 years ago.

His fastball was better than that of Carl Hamilton, another lefty in the Cubs system that looked outstanding until injury knocked him out of baseball.

In all fairness, the Cubs get a (rare) pass on that 1st round pick failure with Lovelace. I remember they got that pick in a deal with another team, I forgot who, but the Cubs used their own (higher) pick that year to choose some guy named Joe Carter. Pretty good pick....

Outstanding references to Lovelace and Carl Hamilton!! I'll be discussing Herman Segelke and Brian Rosinski this weekend!

Are we still on for our Derek Wallace and Jayson Peterson talk on Saturday?

PRetty well-written article about HWY 50, and the Brat Stop, those of you familiar with the infamous border-line restaurant.

For once, something not about the Yankees or Jets.

Who knew Monk went to Curly Lambeau's high school?

Monk is the cousin of former Chicago radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier.

/ya hey there

Moo Moo, I love you.

Rosenbloom says Quade is a hypocrite...

Quade and every other manager...

that being said, it was utter B.S. that people lapped up last year when he benched Castro and it got him a 2 year job, so well played Quade.

This is not unique. I can't stand this guy. This is his schtick.

He would find something wrong with Mother Theresa. And, on top of it, he's a Sox fan.

But as a "columnist" he can write opinions.

what a crock of shit...

...and that's about rosenbloom, not quade.

That quote he has is quite obviously used out of context. I never even noticed him benching Castro though. What was that for?

he was benched after a boneheaded running error...officially "lapses in concentration" but the running error tipped the whole thing.

it was a slew of things followed by an iceberg tipping...not an off-the-handle reaction to 1 thing or something like that...

The Cubs have signed 29-year old former 1st round draft pick (2000 #3 overall) OF Luis "Lou" Montanez to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training. Montanez was one of biggest busts among Cubs 1st round draft picks over the years, especially if you consider the fact that he was the 3rd overall pick the year he was drafted.

1st overall pick Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley, and Adam Wainwright turned out to be the best players picked in the 1st round of the 2000 draft, but in the Cubs defense, Gonzalez was gone when the Cubs picked 3rd, and a number of teams passed on Utley and Wainwright.

Montanez spent seven seasons (2000-06) in the Cubs minor league system before becoming a Rule 55 minor league FA post-2006 and signing a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles. He spent the past four seasons bouncing back & forth between AA Bowie, AAA Norfolk and Baltimore, hitting 223/251/323 with four HR and 11 doubles in 93 MLB games (266 PA). A right-handed hitter, Montanez can play all three OF positions.

Montanez was signed by the Cubs as a SS out of a Miami HS in 2000, but was moved to the outfield in 2004. He has not played one inning in the infield since the move. He hit a career-high 26 HR for Bowie in 2008, but has only hit six dingers in the past two seasons.

He's got little power and a bad glove. At least he compensates a bit with attrocious plate discipline!!!!!

Sounds to me like Montanez has Jose Macias' skill-set covered just fine. Guaranteed Chicago roster spot! /snark

In reality, unless I'm missing something with Phil's earlier depth chart, it seems there is no one at Iowa to play in LF with Guyer traded away. So Montanez is organizational filler to cover LF there, that is unless Bobby Scales plans on playing some LF for the I-Cubs this year (and I thought Phil said he was going to start coaching? Or maybe that was Doobie).

I'm not sure who plays SS for Iowa, either.

Also, some good news: just saw a Twitter that Matt Szczur has picked the Cubs over the NFL. Woot! I'm guessing he'd be targeted for Peoria's OF, right Phil? Too much college experience to go to Boise.

I'll miss Gorz. By WAR, he's already the Nats third best pitcher. He'll never be more than a decent fourth starter on a good team, but he has nice stuff and competes. Hard to project any of those suspects is ever gonna be able to contribute nearly as much as Gorz has. Meh.

Well, those suspects won't get paid $2 million, either.

The problem the Cubs had with Gorzellany is the same they had with Hardin. When he pitched, you had to expect your bullpen would go 4 innings that day.

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 2 hours 34 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 7 hours 19 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 7 hours 20 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 17 hours 1 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 19 hours 59 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 20 hours 11 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 20 hours 20 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 20 hours 26 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 20 hours 44 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 21 hours 20 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 21 hours 38 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 21 hours 40 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 21 hours 58 min ago view