The flow of rumors is down to a drip as we near the Christmas break. Yet the Cubs are without a first basemen or much of a starting staff and still employ Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. There is still work to be done JedStein.
- Early in the day yesterday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that "there were signs today (I can't say precisely what) to indicate the Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder." Four hours later Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, claimed the "Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big." I hate when my baseless rumors contradict. WHO AM I TO BELIEVE?!?!?!?!
If there's any truth to Cafardo's report, hard to see the Cubs being in on Yu Darvish either. One recent rumor regarding Pince Fielder was that he was seeking a 10-year deal, which after seeing Albert Pujols get one and being younger makes sense to ask. Whether anyone will give it to him is the real story, but it wouldn't be the worst idea for an A.L. team. For the Cubs or any other N.L. team, that would be a hard one to justify unless there's something we don't know about the DH coming to both leagues, but unlikely that could even happen before the newest CBA ends in 5 years. Otherwise, you would think the Cubs would want some sort of guarantees for the later years (maybe vesting options) or to front-load the contract so to make Fielder easier to move on the back-end of the deal if they decide to take that plunge.
- Speaking of Darvish, we do know the Cubs submitted a bid and that the Rangers, Blue Jays and Yankees did as well and there may be a few more teams involved. One rumor was that one of the bids was north of $50M and another rumor was that the Blue Jays offer was "sky high". It appears we won't know the winner until Tuesday and then it's still 30 days for the a contract to be negotiated with Darvish. I have to say I'm a bit skeptical about throwing $100M at Darvish (posting fee and 6 year contract). Hopefully I'm overestimating the cost, but paying nearly $17M a year on average doesn't sound like it's really building from the ground up and you always have to worry about a pitcher's arm blowing out. On top of that, I don't know how sure you can be that Darvish will be as good as advertised. I think after a decade and a half of Japanese players coming over the majors, it's pretty clear there's a big difference in the level of competition. Maybe Darvish bucks that trend and can make as much as an impact as Ichiro, but I'd sure worry he ends up more like Dice-K. That wouldn't be terrible, but it would be disappointing.
Enjoy the weekend!
(Thanks to Tim for the illustration, click on the image for the full size)
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
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.