Cubs Send Some Talent to Arizona Fall League
According to a Paul Sullivan tweet, the Cubs will send Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, Chris Carpenter, D.J. LeMahieu and Junior Lake to play for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. Bruce Miles adds that P Jeffrey Beliveau will be added to the taxi squad meaing he's only eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That seems to be one of the better crews of talent they've sent to Arizona over the years.
This is the second year in a row that Jackson and Carpenter were sent out to play. It's also Cashner's second go-round, although not in successive years, his first visit being after the 2009 season.
You can check historical Arizona Fall League rosters over at Wiklifieid.
While not set in stone, I assume this means Brett Jackson will not get a September call-up and I'll tell you why I'm okay with that after the jump.
First, calling Jackson up means putting him on the 40-man roster, which in and of itself is no big deal because there's plenty of dead weight there. On the other hand, there's some good reason not to do it if you don't have to quite yet and Jackson does not need to be protected this offseason from the Rule 5 draft. On the other hand, there are plenty that do and the new gonna-be-totally-awesome-GM-that-does-everything-I-want-them-to-do might appreciate the roster flexibility with the Rule 5 and possibly signing some free agents.
If that were the only reason, I'd certainly be saying fuck it, let's see what Jackson can do over a month against some major league pitchers. But, we all know Q-Ball is managing to save his job or at least set himself up for another job and that means there's no way he'd trot Jackson out there every day or close to every day. Maybe he'd do it at the expense of Colvin, but certainly not at the expense of the precious veterans that he owes his job too.
Finally, there's some considerations about starting his service time clock for arbitration and free agency. It's not as a big a concern for the Cubs deep pockets, compared to let's say the Rays, but something to consider. Jackson will be playing his age 23 season next year and normal aging patterns say his best years are gonna be 26-30 (different studies, different bell curves, but 26-32 is about a big a stretch as you want to go). So if you're under the predisposition that the Cubs will suck next season(I am not one of those people) and are probably 2-3 years away from being a serious contender, isn't it smart to ensure that one of the better prospects on the team is gonna be around for those years and at the most advantageous cost to the team? Which means Jackson's call-up really shouldn't be any sooner than May or June of next year, presuming he's still hitting the crap out of the ball next season. I don't think the Cubs will learn much about Jackson those first two months that they won't learn the last four.
Food for thought...
Also a good time to bring up my thoughts on Bryan LaHair. He'll most certainly get called up once the AAA season ends and he's named PCL MVP. There's seems to be a swell of support to let him play 1b and bench Pena (or preferably trade him when they had the chance). And if they had moved Pena, that certainly would be my preference. But they didn't, and now I have to think that letting Pena play and likely maintain Type B status on the free agent market may be more valuable. Last time MLBTR put out their reverse-engineered Elias rankings, Pena was near the bottom of Type B status and he'll need to finish out the season at his current levels in all iikelihood to stay there. I don't know if the aforementioned gonna-be-totally-awesome-GM-that-does-everything-I-want-them-to-do will actually offer Pena arbitration, but I assume he or she wouldn't mind having the option. Sucks for LaHair and I'll eat a healthy plate of crow if he ever amounts to anything in the majors, but that probably is the best option for the Cubs organization going forward.