The Scrap Heap is Our Roster Depth?

We still must not have any pitching prospects that are ready to be promoted. Jay Jackson, who's dog did you kick or what the hell happened to you in 2011? As recently as last January, Fangraphs had JJax ranked as the Cubs #5 prospect.

Cubs Insider reports:

The Cubs have agreed to terms with RHP Manny Corpas and RHP Andy Sonnanstine on non-guaranteed split contracts for the 2012 season.

We've had some time to discuss the many corpses that are being wheeled into the catacombs of Wrigley Field of late. The newest name added to that group is Andy Sonnanstine.

Rotoworld says:

Sonnanstine 28, was non-tendered by the Rays in December after posting an ugly 5.55 ERA and 12/12 K/BB ratio over 35 2/3 innings at the major-league level this past season. The soft tossing right hander will serve as insurance for the bullpen and starting rotation.

I'll dig deeper, after the jump...

Until 2009, Sonnanstine was known as a crafty righty and back end of the rotation guy with the Rays. Something happened to the Rays rotation during that season or were they just upgrading their mediocre talent with better pitching prospects?  In 2008, Sonnanstine had a strong season, pitching 193 innings over 32 starts and went 13-9 with an ERA 0f 4.38 and a WHIP of 1.29. Was that smoke and mirrors? Nowadays, the Rays seem to have a never ending pipeline of high end pitching talent that has been bumping guys like Sonnenstine to the sidelines. Names like Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Matt Moore made the decision to unload Sonnanstine this offseason an easy one for Tampa's GM Andrew Friedman. I don't see any track record for Sonnanstine having what I'd call success out of the bullpen either.

per MLB Trade Rumors...

He's made 80 starts and 52 relief appearances during his five seasons with Tampa, though his career strikeout (5.7 K/9) and walk (2.3 BB/9) rates are identical in the two roles. Sonnanstine is a fly ball pitcher and is very homer prone (career 1.3 HR/9), though his ERA is a full run lower when coming out of the bullpen (5.43 vs. 4.40)

He was non-tendered the same day as former Cub, Koyie Hill.

Here's how Sonnanstine originally got Wally Pipped:

On August 19, 2010, Sonnnastine was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Jeremy Hellickson was called up to make his MLB debut that day against the Twins.

I don't know whether 2010-11 was injury plagued for Sonnanstine or that he was just a washed up pitcher. In 2011, he only  pitched 35 innings with 4 starts, an ERA of 5.26 and a WHIP of 1.45. His current baseball reference.com comps evoked Brandon's Duckworth and Backe. I think the Cubs saw a version of this act in 2011 in a younger and very hittable Casey Coleman. In Sonnanstine's final start for Tampa on June 4th, here was an article from after that game:

Sonnanstine has allowed homers in each of his last five appearances and Tampa Bay is 0-4 in games he has started. It was the 5th time in his career he's allowed at least 3 homers in a game. He allowed 11 total HR's in 2010 and has given up 10 already this season.

"By the end of the day I have to throw strikes. I've  always been a guy that can make in-game adjustments but tonight  that wasn't the case," Sonnanstine said.

After that outing, Sonnanstine had 3 more relief outings in June he was sent to triple-A Durham. Ironically, former Cub prospect Brandon Guyer was called up to replace him.

Manager Joe Maddon said Sonnanstine was sent down because “it’s really been difficult to get him usage.”

Subsequently, Sonnanstine didn't distinguish himself in Durham. He had 9 starts, a 3-6 record in 56 IP there with an ERA of 4.82 and a WHIP of 1.41. He resurfaced from triple-A with the September callups and his only work was on Sept 20th against the Yankees with a lonesome shutout inning with 2 hits and 2 K's.

Didn't the Cubs see the mirror image (as in lefty version) of that act last season on May 20th in Boston?

Doug Davis made his second start in a Cubs' uniform and could not complete four innings of work. Davis pitched from behind in the count for a majority of his outing. The veteran southpaw surrendered seven runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Davis threw 89 pitches in 3 2/3 innings, 47 for strikes.

I guess Jedstein must have fond memories of Sonnanstine craftily beating the Redsox in 2008. On September 10th, Sonnanstine pitched 7 innnings of one unearned run ball with no walks and 7 K's. That game was won by Tampa on a 14th inning 3 run HR by Carlos Pena.

Later, in the 2008 ALCS playoffs, Sonnanstine beat the Redsox again to put the Rays within one game of the pennant. Again at Fenway, Sonnanstine held the Bosox to 3 runs in 7 1/3 IP (helped by another Carlos Pena HR) in a 13-4 win. Some managerial quotes from that post-game on Sonnanstine's effort:

from Terry Francona...

Sonnanstine "has a lot of deception in his delivery, but what he does really well -- there's a lot of movement in that delivery, and he keeps it intact," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He throws a ball or two and starts to get out of whack, he gathers himself, stays over the rubber, and he's obviously very confident against us right now. You can tell he feels good about himself, as he should."

from Joe Maddon...

[He] really threw strikes," Maddon said. "I always pay attention to the radar gun readings with him. He was a lot of 87, 89 [mph], which was really good. Actually a lot of 88s and 89s.

"When he's pitching at that velocity, there's a bigger disparity between that and his offspeed stuff, and that's when he does really well."

I have fond memories of Jon Lieber and Mark DeRosa in 2008 too but that doesn't mean they should be back in Chicago for 2012.  Is Sonnanstine more likely to be rotation depth for Iowa than a long man in the Cub bullpen? Could it mean he's the 2012 version of Rodrigo Lopez or Ramon Ortiz? Those are two names I was hoping not to hear in any form during 2012. I recall the Jim Hendry quote after the Lopez acquisiton, "we've been scouring (the minors) for a guy like him (Rodrigo) with veteran experience." 

I'm thinking that the Cubs version of the Carmine software program that now guides the Cubs braintrust must have a virus. Now here's a notion, Cubbery meets Moneyball.

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Comments

Somehow this post inspires me to put some money on the cubs to win it all this year. Easily the most bizarre offseason in my lifetime as cub fan (started watching in '69). I can only conclude that this IS the year!! Carmine with a virus will get it done!

Plus, (paging Az Phil?) looking at BRef, is J Jaramillo the second coming of K Hill?!?

Pitching 'depth'... Got it. Meh dudes who are "gamers" or "ballplayers" (good attitude/want to win, something the Cubs have been thoroughly questioned on in recent years)... Got it. This Jaramillo kid... You're starting to lose me.

Starting to feel like the 'plan' is getting harder to defend...

That's what I'm wondering. If he's organization depth, it's no big deal. But does he slot better than Clevenger?

Maybe he's just providing options for Swame in ST. I kind of like that this depth might actual allow for some competition to make guys earn their jobs. Backup cather, yeah, probably not that important, but I'm also not breaking my balls over it.

You would need more depth if you were working on trading a catcher though...

Soto's been bandied about, albeit pure media speculation, and it would reek of selling low, unless they're pretty sure he's not gonna bounce back...

there's also 2 teams who need their compensation for theo/jed

I keep forgetting about that. Losing players for a couple of suits...ridiculous.

Especially suits that swing on one plane.

I may have mixed something up there.

Maybe Ian Stewart IS the compensation?

or maybe it's someone that's worth having...on a plane. hahah...ian stewart is our 3rd baseman and this isn't the PCL...that's just awesome. obama should manage the cubs, imo. we have have hope and change parties in every house in america that bleeds cubbie blue (tm).

having 2 mlb-ready catchers around and picking up rudy j. is moneyballs as hell...there's no way compensation is in play...in play on a plane!

let's just not think of that.

ian stewart is not a very good hitter.

btw, ian stewart is not a very good hitter.

on a plane.

ps - ian stewart is not a very good hitter.

Maybe they will trade Stewart for a plane?

http://www.piratesreport.com/page/content.det...

The scouting report on the switch-hitting Jaramillo is that his strong suit is defense as he is mobile behind the plate with an above-average arm. He is primarily a gap hitter who is willing to take a walk.

"He's a really solid defensive catcher and a hard worker," Russell said. "When I had him in Triple-A two years ago, he probably had been promoted there a little before he was ready but he really improved. The question is whether he can hit at this level and I think he has a shot to do that."

walked about 9% in the minors, averages 3.82 P/PA and saw 4.38 in 2011 in his 43 PA's.

He is primarily a gap hitter who is willing to take a walk.
---

Jaramillo is competing with another rookie, Robinzon Diaz, for the backup catcher job behind Ryan Doumit. Diaz was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays last August in a trade for third baseman Jose Bautista. While Jaramillo and Diaz appear relatively even at this stage, Jaramillo likely rates at least a small edge because of Russell's familiarity with him.

Using 6 degrees of separation logic... the Cubs just signed a guy equivalent to Robinson Diaz who was traded for Jose Bautista (oops). Now, if we could just get Bautista we'd help fix the missing power issue.

all of these are minor league or minor league split deals so big whoop...Corpas probably still has a little rehab left, Sonnastine is probably that 9th starter they talked about and Jaramillo, well see above...sounds decent defensively and will see pitches at the very least. Don't think anyone believes he'll be replacing Soto or anything.

all this depth, plus the Reed move don't make it sound like they intend to punt 2012, although I admit I'm curious where they think the power will come.

I think these moves suggest they are planning to do something or a few things else to improve the 2012 roster, but I have no idea what those things might be. Guess I'll have to wait and see. But I agree here, Rob.

I'd argue that Sonnastine is basically Randy Wells.

One good year out of nowhere. Then struggled to regain that lightning in a bottle form.

FWIW, Andy Sonnanstine has one minor league option left, but must clear Optional Assignment Waivers (which are revocable) before he can be sent to the minors.

Also, Sonnanstine has 4+022 MLB Service Time, so once he hits five years of MLB ST he can refuse any assignment (optional or outright) to the minors.

Same goes for Manny Corpas (two minor league options left and 4+076 MLB ST).

It is surprising to me that the Cubs did not just sign Corpas and Sonnanstine to minor league contracts (with an NRI to Spring Training) for the exact same money they will get by being on the 40-man roster, because with Corpas and Sonnanstine having signed Major League split contracts they have to be added to the MLB 40-man roster, and so the Cubs 40-man roster is now full (or will be once Reed Johnson's contract is filed), and somebody will have to get DFA'd if the Cubs add any more players via multi-player trade, free-agency, or waiver claim.

It doesn't make much sense.

what would the cubs do without alberto cabrera? :(

meh...all stuff, no idea what to do with it.

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 2:40am — crunch

what would the cubs do without alberto cabrera? :(

why is alberto cabrera on the 40 man to begin with?

========================

CRUNCH: Alberto Cabrera was added to the 40-man roster on 11/19/2010 because the Cubs didn't want to risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft after he had a strong season at Daytona.

I was a bit surprised he was added to the 40 at the time because he finished the 2010 season struggling at AA Tennessee, and by putting him on the 40 sooner than necessary, he could get claimed off waivers if the Cubs try to outright him to the minors anytime after that.

The Cubs adding Cabrera to the 40-man roster when they did is probably a good example of when not to do it. A 21-year old pitcher (even a promising one) who struggled after a late-season promotion to AA is obviously nowhere near ready to pitch in the big leagues, and would very likely have been returned to the Cubs at the end of Spring Training even if he had been selected in the December 2010 Rule 5 Draft.

Also, if he does get outrighted, Cabrera would be a six-year minor league FA post-2012, and I doubt that the Cubs would want to risk losing a 6'4 23-year old RHSP with upside for nothing. (Then again, given the way the new management team "values" the Cubs farm system, they just might...).

Actually, I suspect SS-2B Jeff Bianchi (ex-KC) would probably get the DFA if the Cubs need another 40-man roster slot in the next few weeks, since Bianchi would probably have a better chance of getting through waivers than would Cabrera, and it's no great loss if Bianchi were to get claimed. (Bianchi is 25 years old, has only one minor league option left, and has yet to play above AA). You might have noticed that a player claimed off waivers is often the first player to get placed back on waivers when a roster slot is needed.

What is your stance on adding an outfielder with a .694 OPS in A ball to the 40 man roster?

I'd believe it's a point of pride for MLB-experienced guys like Sonnanstine and Corpas to ask to be added to the 40-man, even if they might have to log some innings in Des Moines. Pro athletes definitely run a large part on ego, and if the offer was just a minor league deal, there's nothing to distinguish the Cubs from the other 25-29 MLB teams who would easily make an identical offer.

It's probably the answer to an earlier question: In the mind of Hoy-Stein, Corpas & Sonnanstine > Flaherty; in the name of pitching depth of which the org is now aspiring, it's hard to me to disagree.

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 5:43am — John Beasley

I'd believe it's a point of pride for MLB-experienced guys like Sonnanstine and Corpas to ask to be added to the 40-man, even if they might have to log some innings in Des Moines. Pro athletes definitely run a large part on ego, and if the offer was just a minor league deal, there's nothing to distinguish the Cubs from the other 25-29 MLB teams who would easily make an identical offer.

It's probably the answer to an earlier question: In the mind of Hoy-Stein, Corpas & Sonnanstine > Flaherty; in the name of pitching depth of which the org is now aspiring, it's hard to me to disagree.

=============================

JOHN B: Then why did they both agree to non-guaranteed split contracts that make it easy for the Cubs to release them prior to Opening Day or send them to Iowa? If they had so much leverage, why didn't they demand a guaranteed contract with a player-option opt-out at the end of Spring Training and with no minor league split?

Corpas signed a minor league deal with Texas this time last year, and Sonnanstine is in the same position right now that Todd Wellemeyer and Braden Looper were last off-season, and Wellemeyer and Looper both signed minor league contracts with an NRI to Spring Training with the Cubs.

If Corpas and/or Sonnanstine would only sign with the Cubs if they got slots on the 40-man roster, then they should not have been signed. Signing either one to a Major League Contract such that they have to be added to the 40-man roster during the off-season is stupid enough, but giving up Ryan Flaherty and/or Marwin Gonzalez to be able to do it is even more stupid.

I think we should hold off on judging it at least until Flaherty and Gonzalez make their first All-Star teams.

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 7:36pm — JD

I think we should hold off on judging it at least until Flaherty and Gonzalez make their first All-Star teams.

======================================

JD: No we should not hold off on judging these moves.

We have been judging moves made by Jim Hendry here for years without waiting to find out if the player involved will become an All-Star, Hall of Famer, or the Greatest Baseball Player Who Ever Lived.

It isn't a matter of Ryan Flaherty or Marwin Gonzalez making the All-Star team, it's the stupidity of giving up on a player before you know what he can offer at the MLB level, especially when it should have been possible to roster both Flaherty and Gonzalez AND sign a couple of pitchers like Corpas and Sonnanstine (if not them in particular) to minor league contracts with an NRI to Spring Training.

If I believe Epstein-Hoyer have demonstrated piss-poor roster management, I will say so. I don't need you to tell me when I can start to make that judgment.

You seem to think everything Theo has done has been piss-poor roster management so far, so I'm basically taking everything you say with a grain of salt now.

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 9:49pm — johann

You seem to think everything Theo has done has been piss-poor roster management so far, so I'm basically taking everything you say with a grain of salt now.

==============================

JOHANN: Speaking as a child of the 60's, I am going to tell you something that I hope you will consider.

You should take ALL opinions with a grain of salt.

Question authority.

Make up your own mind.

Think for yourself.

If you go back and read what I have written, you will find out that I ALWAYS state why I believe what I believe. And I do believe that (with the exception of the Sean Marshal trade) Epstein-Hoyer have made a series of poor roster moves so far, and each time I explained why. I did the same thing when Jim Hendry was GM.

You are certainly entitled to disagree with my opinion, but when you do I hope you can offer a good reason why.

Is there a requisite level of sass required at TCR? Once Neal left, someone had to take up the slack?

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 10:12pm — The Joe

Is there a requisite level of sass required at TCR? Once Neal left, someone had to take up the slack?

========================

THE JOE: Yes. And yes.

I'm cool with that.

Well, I think some moves can be immediately judged and some you might have to wait on. Giving a LOOGY a 2 or 3 year deal or signing 4 second basemen or giving Milton Bradley a 3 year deal are justifiably criticized, in my opinion. However, I think moves with prospects involved call for a little more patience. A lot of people were pretty upset over the Garza trade, but that didn't make it a bad move. The likelihood of any of those prospects being as good as Garza are pretty slim. And I think the likelihood of Flaherty or Gonzalez being anything significant is pretty slim, also. We can talk about the new regime undervaluing inherited players, but the fact is that it doesn't look like either of those players were that valued by the old one, either. And just because both were taken in the rule 5 doesn't mean they'll stick or that they won't end up back at Iowa this coming season. It's just too early to telll and I'm not ready to start moaning about the new regime because of those 2 players. I don't really care about prospects, though, unless they're guys that have "no doubt about it" talent. I'm waiting for the cubs to get THOSE guys.

Thu, 12/29/2011 - 8:16am — JD
Re: The Scrap Heap is Our Roster Depth?

Well, I think some moves can be immediately judged and some you might have to wait on. Giving a LOOGY a 2 or 3 year deal or signing 4 second basemen or giving Milton Bradley a 3 year deal are justifiably criticized, in my opinion. However, I think moves with prospects involved call for a little more patience. A lot of people were pretty upset over the Garza trade, but that didn't make it a bad move. The likelihood of any of those prospects being as good as Garza are pretty slim. And I think the likelihood of Flaherty or Gonzalez being anything significant is pretty slim, also. We can talk about the new regime undervaluing inherited players, but the fact is that it doesn't look like either of those players were that valued by the old one, either. And just because both were taken in the rule 5 doesn't mean they'll stick or that they won't end up back at Iowa this coming season. It's just too early to telll and I'm not ready to start moaning about the new regime because of those 2 players. I don't really care about prospects, though, unless they're guys that have "no doubt about it" talent. I'm waiting for the cubs to get THOSE guys.

=============================

JD: I understand what you're saying, but one of the things I do here is I try to make timely comments on Cubs roster strategy as it relates to things like MLB Service Time, minor league options, the Rule 5 Draft, Minor League FA, etc, so to say I shouldn't comment about those things until sometime later (perhaps even years later) kind of restricts what I can talk about.

I am taking a wait and see approach on Jedstein's overall off-season, but I absolutely agree with you on Flaherty and Gonzalez, Phil. We can judge those moves based on the risk rather than the outcome. I think that Jedstein were willing to give both Sonnanstine and Corpas roster spots also shows that they are not concerned about losing Cubs minor leaguers. That's a little sad to see.

i kinda wonder what would happen if hendry had given a roster spot and a 1-1.7-2m deal to a reliever coming off arm surgery who hasn't had a sub 4.50 era since 2007.

i know the guy can be cut and all, but really...corpas...

i don't think it's a huge deal either way, but more people than i assumed think it's a slick move.

seems most people don't really care much since it's a non-guaranteed split contract. If he's deemed good enough to be in the majors, he'll probably be worth the up to $2M or whatever it is.

i'm yet to meet a reliever with a 4.50era and a 1.40 whip worth 1.7+ million...but he'd be one of many if he did stick.

funny thing about Colorado...

Corpas....corpse....whichever...

Corpas is a year and a half removed from TJ surgery, which is about the time that pitchers begin be useful again, I could understand him getting more than a minor league deal. Sonnastine is a big old shrug of the shoulder.

Pretty sure Flaherty and Gonzalez weren't left of the 40-man to make room for these guys though. Those two just weren't all that liked by folks in the organization or don't think they'll stick. Could be the old guys still there, could be the new guys...

Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus on the Sonnanstine acquisition...

The Cubs signed Andy Sonnanstine to a split contract. Other than a quick shrug of the shoulders, it deserves no more analysis.

found this saber-type analysis of Sonnanstine from 2008, titled: Too Many N's not enough K's (around the time they played the Cubs in Tampa)

like this quote: "He doesn't seem to do much other than throw strikes, get grounders, and give up home runs."

http://www.cubsfx.com/2008/06/andy-sonnanstin...

Baseball Prospectus' updated prospect rankings after the Sean Marshall trade. The original list is dated 9-8-11 and the updated version says it's from 10-21-11 (but obviously just got re-modified). Sure seem volatile.

Baez/BJax are 1-2 but they flipped them (Baez is now #1).

Maples #4, Candelario #5, Vogelbach #7, Wells #10 (from #14), McNutt #11 (from #2), Torreyes #12, Carpenter #14 (from #4), Lake #15

Off the list: HSimpson (from #5); Jay Jackson (from #13), Burgess, Dolis, Golden, AReed.

belore...
http://topprospectalert.com/2011/09/08/2011-c...

after...
http://topprospectalert.com/2011/10/21/2012-c...

I'll never understand that rank..Baez #1, Jackson#2...If Jackson is a step away from being the cubs CF, and Baez has not played a full season of even Lo-A ball yet, how the the bloody hell can he be the best prospect? I call shenanigans.

Because prospect listings are not about who will reach the big leagues the soonest. They are about who projects to be the best.

Ok. Without seeing Baez play almost at all in the minors, I again call BS on him projecting to be the best. Let's see him hit breaking pitches in Hi-A and AA first before we start sucking each other's popsicles on Baez. Sheesh..18 atbats, and he's 19, and he's projected best? Off of what he did in high school? Great....I have a 12-year old nephew I'm projecting to be excellent in 2018...

take note of the word "prospect" as in short for "prospective" meaning they are trying to project the future.

Yes. He's a prospect based on what he did in HS, and 18 at bats last year, I project him to be the next A-Rod.

Wait...

I don't think that's an official Baseball Prospectus list. Seems to be a list put together by some random guy who admits he hasn't actually watched any minor league games.

oops, my bad (was up in the middle of the night surfing')

not BP at all. Some site that nobody pays attention to called Top Prospect Alert Minor League Blog

To quote Emily Litella:

Nevermind.

MLBTR has an interesting piece on the top remaining FA ISO guys in MLB. The league average, which was surprising to me, was only .144.

Prince, as you would imagine, kicks ass with his .267 ISO (over 120 points more than league average).

But after Prince, Carlos Pena is not too far off with .237.

Andruw Jones was just ahead of Pena with .247 in 2nd place, but with only 222 PA's. And, this is not the 2002-2005 version of Andruw Jones.

Anyway, as has been alluded to several times, pretty slim pickings in run-producers this year. I would like me some Mike Stanton, but this certainly is not going to happen until his contract is up.

Also, I sure am hoping Vogelbach turns into a Big League masher.

Was this Scrap Heap, or Crap Heap?

connor jackson isn't a cub yet? odd.

You know i would take a shot on Conor Jackson if we are going all rebuild mode and stuff.

He was pretty much a .300 hitter with a .370 OBP till he contracted valley fever in 2009. He just hasn't been the same player since.

But he would be a prime bounce back candidate at an ultra low price and at the very least a person to compete with LaHair.

I know its a crappy thought, but i just feel he is gonna have a come back year in 2012. I got nothing to support or back that up either.

it would fit in with what's going on...a million here, a few million there, gambles all over.

connor's power has been stolen from him...his current ceiling seems sub-lyle overbay at this point. at least he can play corner OF in a pinch...and he's a right handed compliment to lahairy. i've just been expecting connor in a 1/2-ass way to be signed since the fielder issue got wishy/washy...not that i'm counting fielder or anyone out yet.

manny corpus deal worth 1m base while on the 25 man roster + 700K pro-rated for days on active roster + 200K in incentives.

from the dept. of ballers being ballers...

"R.A. Dickey plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in January despite the Mets' disapproval of the idea.
The Mets sent a letter to Dickey's agent last month, warning that the knuckleballer's contract could be voided if he is injured during the climb."

I have a friend of below to average fitness that did it a couple years ago. It's just walking uphill on a trail for 6-7 days. Should be a piece of cake for a professional athlete. Just depends on how he adjusts to altitude, which is really hit or miss.

he's got the loot to do it up right, too.

at least he's not around more dangerous things like reclining chairs, unopened DVDs, glass tables, and trucks that need washing.

Lol. Jeff Kent is a douche.

In other news. Lastings signed with the Swallows. Giggity.

richard (dick, lol) justice on MLB Network saying the cubs have been talking to boras about fielder...along with at least 3 other known teams that he mentioned (there may be more, but only 4 specifically mentioned).

fwiw, he's closer to boras than most sportswriters.

if the cubs can get in on this for 6 years or less...mint. i wouldn't complain about 7-8, but it'd be sketchy...9-10 is insanely sketchy, imo.

Just as long as there's not a Hendry-esque complete no trade clause. I just think year 5 on he is DH or injured. I want him tho! I just don't know if NL teams can compete for these 10yr first basemen. Maybe the best reason yet to bring DH to the NL. I think st Louis would still have Pujols if there was a DH. I'm not actually a fan of the DH at all . . . But when it starts interfering with NL teams' ability to sign elite players it makes you think . . .

If the contract is more than 5 years, Fielder will get 10/5 complete no trade rights.

Oh yeah . . . That's league mandatory, correct?

Tue, 12/27/2011 - 8:06pm — superjimmer

Oh yeah . . . That's league mandatory, correct?

============================

SUPER J: The way it was in the previous CBA (and I'm not sure if it's the same way in the new one), a player who signs a contract that will take him past 10/5 can agree to waive his automatic 10/5 rights at the time he signs the contract, and if he does, the player can designate no more then 16 teams to which he cannot be traded once he reaches 10/5.

This apparently was an issue when the Miami Marlins were negotiating a long-term deal with Albert Pujols before he signed with the Angels. The Fish wanted Pujols to waive his 10/5 rights in advance, but he (apparently) refused.

Getting a player to agree to this 10/5 waiver would be an important consideration for a lot of MLB clubs (especially an N. L. club, where a player could morph into a DH before he finishes his contract), just because so much can happen over the course of a contract that runs longer than five years (#1 EXAMPLE: Alfonso Soriano). Apparently Jim Hendry was absent the day they taught this at GM school.

BTW, a 10/5 player can agree to waive his 10/5 rights at any time (like Derrek Lee did in August 2010), but if it isn't agreed to in advance, the club has to ask the player each time a deal is proposed, and the player can refuse any trade.

But if there is an agreement in place in advance where the player agrees to waive his 10/5 NTC, the club always knows what teams it can and cannot trade the player to, without having to worry that the player will reject the trade once it's set-up and ready to roll.

I've been thinking about this as well. Agree, i t makes you think...

I'd like to see a 7/154 or a 8/168 offer to Fielder. Tell him to pick a deal. Just give him a drop dead date of Jan 6-ish.

Then start making loud trade negotiations with the Pads about Rizzo around January 3.

If he wants to come to Chicago. He will come to the table. If not then sign Connor Jackson and get into 2012.

fwiw, boras has already come out and "LOL. U CRAZY, BITCH." about prince taking a 3 year deal...seeking long-term (undefined).

I'm thinkin' that Boras just called Peter Gammons, HOF a delusional pothead.

"Not only is that inaccurate and delusional, but it seems that some people have gotten into their New Year's Eve stash just a little bit early this year," Boras told ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday.

fergie jenkins approves.

The fact that Gammons believes that a) Boras will take a 3-year deal for Fielder; and b) at age 30, Fielder could still beat Pujols' AAV on the open market, does indicate some kind of delusion, whether drug-induced or otherwise.

Just a little perspective: I just watched the key AL games from Sept 28th 2011 tonight on mlbtv ... Baltimore down to its last strike with bases empty against Papelbon, and the Rays 7 run comeback in 8th and 9th against the Yanks in which Dan Johnson batting .108 hits a two out tying homer. This highly unlikely series of events (watch it again - amazing) sent Theo our way. In a decade if the Cubs are a well oiled winning machine - we may well want to reflect on the good fortune of September 28th 2011. All pessimism and number crunching aside - I believe it may have been one of the greatest bits of Cub fortune in my lifetime. I bet we all may look back on it as a bit of karmic fate that changed our baseball lives for the better. Watch the games again if you can I bet you find it inspiring! Go theo and go cubs!

TRAGICALLY it was put out.

Really? I happen to love the place.

The Cubs are burning down the team so why not burn down the park? Seriously, the best thing that could happen would be for the grandstands to burn down so they could finally get rebuilt completely. The 2012 Cubs are going to have a hard time winning 60 games at this point so all they'll need is the bleacher seats.

rsox trade for a.bailey...guess that's one less team for the supposed-marmol move (which isn't getting as much press as the supposed-garza move).

ps- the A's are f'n pathetic.

Boston Red Sox have acquired closer Andrew Bailey from Oakland, along with Ryan Sweeney, for Josh Reddick and prospects 3B Mike Head, and RHP Raul Alcantara.

Wrong! I just watched Moneyball...so the A's are awesome. Billy Beene (ok, actually Jonah Hill) is a genius. They're not pathetic, you're just using the wrong barometer...the one the measures how good they are.

The A's had a one or two year window to be geniuses. Once teams with five times the money started using the same approach, the A's got dumb again.

Garza is getting some twitter buzz...

@JimBowdenESPNxm
The Cubs and Blue Jays continue to discuss a Matt Garza deal

Kaplan on Facebook...

Hearing that talks on Matt Garza are heating up. Lots of interest because he is under control contractually for two more seasons. Price though is incredibly high so not sure if a deal gets done. Toronto, Yankees, Boston are all involved.

http://www.facebook.com/thekapman/posts/29973...

words cannot express how unimpressed i am with kyle drabeck even though he's got a ton of ceiling...meh.

i'm assuming that would be a starting point for getting garza done, anyway.

it's a shame joel carreno is only a 2-pitch pitcher...he'd be a hell of a middle-rotation starter with a 3rd pitch he could count on.

and a Nick Cafardo mailbag Q&A includes Garza...

Looks like the Cubs are just waiting for the Red Sox to forget about them taking their general manager and putting off for as long as possible the team's compensation. It seems like the value of that compensation will become less and less the longer they wait. Why aren't the Sox trying to push a deal for Matt Garza and some prospects the Cubs are looking for to help build their farm system?
-- Frank, Modesto, California

I think the Red Sox have been asking for Garza. In fact, they asked for Garza as compensation for Theo Epstein. Garza is a nice fit for Boston. He'd be an excellent piece to their rotation and they know it. Not sure they have what it takes to give up in a deal, however. That was the reason they walked away from Gio Gonzalez.

http://articles.boston.com/2011-12-27/sports/...

and Heyman joins the Garza noise...

cubs seem to be prioritizing young starting pitching in garza talks. rival exec: yankees & bluejays have what it'd take

https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/15214...

Does this mean:

Making a list, and checking it twice?

Finding at least ONE MLB ready pitcher, with Ace
upside?

Going the "quantity" route?

It would seem like the bar was set in the A's 4-for-one trade, correct?

Anyone want to venture a guess on our opening day ACTUAL payroll? I say under 100 million. Somewhere between 95 at 97.

I think it will be in-line with last years.

I still feel there will be a decent free agent signed, and a couple 4/5 starters.

I'd be shocked if we got anyone of note. We are sitting around 100 now with Garza on the block. Looking at another 50 going away next year on top of that.

Frank McCourt pulls this and is forced to sell. However I'm sure Selig and Reinsdorf are completely on board with Ricketts playing McCourt in Chicago.

If they don't get Fielder, then I think they need to sign a few LOOGYs and second basemen to get that payroll up.

So you really just compared Ricketts to McCourt?

Both guys bought teams with 15% down and 85% financed.

Ricketts borrowed the 15% from his dad, McCourt got his 15% through some questionable real estate dealings.

The reason fans turned on McCourt was that his wife said his plan was to raise prices and slash payroll to maximize his profit. What have we seen from Ricketts at this point in time?

Well, let's see, McCourt ran afoul of MLB with his divorce proceedings, had to borrow money to meet payroll and pay other bills, was accused of taking money from the team for personal use and was reviled by fans. So yeah, perfect comparison.

Did any of that happen in year 1?

Obviously Ricketts will have a longer rope because his father has money to back him up. Doesn't change the fact that we have 5 Ricketts drawing a VP salary and a payroll that is down 60 million from 2 years ago, 40 + from last year, and has another 40 coming off after this year.

Oh, no, five Ricketts VPs!

THE SKY IS FALLING

Who cares if the payroll is less when the money wasn't even spent wisely before?

Until Ricketts drives the team into bankruptcy and is forced to sell, it's a bad comparison.

All things being equal....I'd rather the payroll be high.

Can you win with a small payroll? Sure

Is it easier to cover mistakes with a higher payroll? Absolutely

In 2009, the Cubs were paying Soriano and Bradley something like $28 million.

So I'll take smart payroll over high payroll.

Obviously Hendry was terrible.

However a good GM could have actually used that 28 million on good players.

Everything being equal, I'd rather have the money than not have the money.

Everything being equal, I'd like to be able to fuck a bunch of sluts and not get divorced for it. I'd also like to get paid 10x what I do now, or just win the lottery.

Jumbo --

You've got my OK on that. Go ahead!

Honey, is that really you?

+1

Interesting numbers

"we have 5 Ricketts[es] drawing a VP salary"

Quick glance at the Front Office page on cubs.com shows two presidents, one executive VP (Hoyer), one senior VP (McLeod) and eight assorted VPs ranging from Fleita to the persons who run ticket sales and legal/community affairs.

Tom Ricketts is chairman of the board of directors, and his siblings are directors. Directors are not usually salaried.

They are, of course, part owners of team, as is appropriate, since they used their money (mostly derived from their father) to buy the team.

This reminds me of TRNs gripe about cronyism.

cubs also have a president that's a GM, a co-president that does the president's work, and a GM that...well, i dunno what our GM's role is, really.

that said, none of those guys (generally) make a hugely significant amount of payroll-commited loot compared to what some teams pay their offices and non-player personnel...there's 5+ million dollar managers out there on some teams which take up most of the pay of this crew combined.

Any thoughts on highly paid managers?

the ones we had got us the playoffs so they must be worth it. of course, they also sucked so bad they either quit on the team (nothing new for lou) or didn't get picked up again.

sure as hell wasn't the players and you can draw no evidence supporting it was players.

*nods*

Did garza get traded yet?

LaHair hit his 15th HR tonight, leads the VWL by five.

LaHair has one regular-season game remaining. Does he stay for the round-robin playoffs?

I vote no. Put the bat down, take your 55 home runs in 2011 and go home.

If Ryan Ludwick could wait until he was nearly 30 yo to make it in the big leagues, then why not LaHair, too? At worst, he's earned a chance for a big league platoon job and power PH bat off the bench opportunity. And I'm willing to bet he'd be plenty satisfied with that, too.

If Fielder isn't an option, than I vote for LaHair to take that 1st base job. Especially if our option is LaHair or Carlos Pena.

Maybe he can cheaply hold the spot until Shoulders or Vogelbach is ready.

Really important stuff since we are apparently penny pinchers.

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 10:44pm — Dr. aaron b

If Fielder isn't an option, than I vote for LaHair to take that 1st base job. Especially if our option is LaHair or Carlos Pena.

Maybe he can cheaply hold the spot until Shoulders or Vogelbach is ready.

==========================

DR AARON B: I agree that Bryan LaHair should be the fall-back option at 1B if the Cubs don't sign Prince Fielder, but it wouldn't surprise me if Epstein-Hoyer re-sign Carlos Pena.

Re-signing Pena would be like signing David DeJesus or re-signing Reed Johnson: A safe, short, relatively cheap, big name that will help sell the 2012 team to fans. And then Pena can always be traded at the July 31 trading deadline.

I think Anthony Rizzo is a good candidate to end up as the Cubs 1B long-term, even if Epstein-Hoyer have to trade Brett Jackson to get him (and I think Brett Jackson would probably be the price).

Jason McLeod drafted Rizzo when he was with the Red Sox, and Hoyer-McLeod traded for him when they ran the Padres.

He's a long ways away--just a teenager still--but I'm really excited about Vogelbach. The youtube clips on him are just awesome. He has a pretty, effortless swing and gobs of power, and by all accounts, the early signs are that he has some plate discipline to boot. Me likey.

Plus, the avenue between 1B and LF is a simple one for many sluggers, no reason the Cubs couldn't accommodate both Rizzo and Vogelbach someday down the road.

Phil, I really hope BJax isn't the price for Rizzo, this team has such a sorry history in CF, it looks like there might finally be a home-grown option there, I don't want to lose that. I'd prefer the 3-way trade idea, where we somehow end up with Rizzo as part of a Garza trade.

Vogelbach won't be in the majors until 2015(age 22 season) most likely and probably not a solid contributor until 2017-2018(age 24-25 season). I think it's okay to try and fill the position in the meantime and see what happens.

Thu, 12/29/2011 - 1:32am — Jim Hickmans Bat

He's a long ways away--just a teenager still--but I'm really excited about Vogelbach. The youtube clips on him are just awesome. He has a pretty, effortless swing and gobs of power, and by all accounts, the early signs are that he has some plate discipline to boot. Me likey.

Plus, the avenue between 1B and LF is a simple one for many sluggers, no reason the Cubs couldn't accommodate both Rizzo and Vogelbach someday down the road.

Phil, I really hope BJax isn't the price for Rizzo, this team has such a sorry history in CF, it looks like there might finally be a home-grown option there, I don't want to lose that. I'd prefer the 3-way trade idea, where we somehow end up with Rizzo as part of a Garza trade.

===========================

JIM H: As you could probably tell from my reports from Fitch Park (AZL Cubs and Instructs) this past season, I like Dan Vogelbach a LOT.

He does indeed show outstanding plate discipline, and he has as much power as any Cub prospect in recent memory. And while he is not fast by any means, he does run pretty well for a guy his size. (I have compared Vogelbach to a "pulling guard," while Rock Shoulders runs like a left tackle).

I don't think that having Vogelbach in the system will have much impact on whether the Cubs acquire Anthony Rizzo. As ROB G mentioned, V-bach is probably at least four or five years away (he doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster until post-2015, and then once he's on the 40 he wouldn't run out of options until Spring Training 2019... by that time Rizzo could be an Article XX-B MLB free-agent!).

I agree about not wanting to give up Brett Jackson to acquire Rizzo because I think Jackson is more-likely to be a successful MLB player than Rizzo (who could boom or bust), but I think that's probably who the Padres would want back. With Cameron Maybin firmly ensconced in CF, B-Jax would play LF and hit lead-off in SD, and Rizzo is expendable what with Yonder Alonso having been acquired from CIN in the Mat Latos trade (Alonso really needs to play 1B, not LF).

I think the fact that the new Cubs management has a history with Rizzo and have a positive opinion of him could influence them to overpay to get him. Also, Jae-Hoon Ha, Matt Szczur, Taiwan Easterling, Pin-Chieh Chen, and Zeke DeVoss all profile as a CF (DeVoss is a butcher at 2B), so the Cubs do have depth at that position throughout the system should they decide to trade Jackson.

If B. Jackson were to be traded and presuming Marlon Byrd does not return in 2013 (if he's not gone sooner), David DeJesus (who is under control for three seasons should the Cubs exercise their club option for 2014) could slide over to CF until one of the CF prospects emerges.

Any chance theyd take Szczur and a pitching prospect instead?

I'd be surprised if they traded Jackson, he seems like the one player that fits their philosophy of working pitchers and playing defense. Trading a CF for a 1B-man is usually bad business too.

Although a straight up swap for the two is about even and very possibly what the Padres would want, I'd be surprised if the Cubs would agree to it without getting something significant in return along with Rizzo.

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 10:32pm — Jim Hickmans Bat
Re: The Scrap Heap is Our Roster Depth?
If Ryan Ludwick could wait until he was nearly 30 yo to make it in the big leagues, then why not LaHair, too? At worst, he's earned a chance for a big league platoon job and power PH bat off the bench opportunity. And I'm willing to bet he'd be plenty satisfied with that, too.

=============================

JIM H: Major League Baseball history is full of players who were late bloomers. No reason why Bryan LaHair can't be another one.

The only problem with a late bloomer is you can't count on him in advance because of the doubts related to him not developing into a big league player earlier, so he will usually either emerge out of nowhere after getting a shot due to an injury during a season, or as a de facto fall-back option on a team that knows it's not going anywhere going into the season.

I am sorry but MLB is not full of players who late bloomers. But it also depends on how you define late bloomer and 29 for me is beyond a late bloomer.

Ryan Ludwick is not a very good example, he had 1 good year and has been pretty unremarkable since. Is that what we hope LaHair turns into? Were talking about developing talent... not looking for a 1 year wonder while by passing better options.

Thu, 12/29/2011 - 2:56pm — MikeC

I am sorry but MLB is not full of players who late bloomers. But it also depends on how you define late bloomer and 29 for me is beyond a late bloomer.

Ryan Ludwick is not a very good example, he had 1 good year and has been pretty unremarkable since. Is that what we hope LaHair turns into? Were talking about developing talent... not looking for a 1 year wonder while by passing better options.

=============================

MIKE C: I said MLB history is full of players who were late bloomers. (In other words, if you go back over the years, you can find a lot of players who emerged as major league players later than normal).

And apparently you have forgotten that it was you yourself who dropped the name Ryan Ludwick the other day in a post-comment where you were glorifying the Cardinals player development system, when in point of fact Ludwick wasn't even developed by the Cardinals (he was signed by STL as a six-year minor league free-agent).

Ok name all the great 29 year old and older players who had at least 1 good season but virtually little major league experience before that.

I am challenging the fact that MLB "history" is full of them. And being a .01% chance of someone doing something productive at age 29 and beyond is not considered a lot, or full of them, or whatever.

I will even help you get started.....

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/685326-jos...

But as you will start to notice its very hard to find players with little major league experience before age 29 who suddenly became good.

And maybe i will just solve this with this link....

http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/11/20/2...

Its a pretty unremarkable list outside of Jackie Robinson. Unless LaHair has been kept out of the majors because of racism i am fairly confident he won't amount to much in the future. The odds are pretty astronomical in finding a good player with little major league experience at age 29.

If were rebuilding then fine play him but don't make him as an excuse to by pass someone better.

melvin "roids work" mora retired today. heh.

MIKE: Your list included only late-bloomers who made their MLB debut at age 28 or later. Naturally a lot of those guys are Negro Leaguers who never had a chance when they were younger.

Except Bryan LaHair isn't making his MLB debut at age 29. He made his MLB debut at age 25. He isn't even considered a rookie anymore by the BBWAA.

I'm sure you can find a lot of other players who had opportunities earlier in their career but did not emerge as an everyday player until age 28 or 29, not just players who made their MLB debut at that age.

Just considering the example you mentioned earlier, Ryan Ludwick did not become an everyday player until he was 29, but he made his MLB debut when he was 22. It just took him a long time to develop into an everyday player. I would call him a "late-bloomer." (Actually, you did, too).

Michael Morse and Nelson Cruz are a couple of other recent examples that come immediately to mind. Morse made his MLB debut at age 23 but did not become an established MLB everyday player until age 28, and N. Cruz made his MLB debut at age 25 but did not become an established MLB everyday player until the season he turned 29.

The Cubs have had a few of them over the years, too, but none as good as Morse or N. Cruz. I can remember guys like Lloyd McClendon, Carmen Fanzone, Larry Biittner, and Champ Summers, who filled-in as regulars or semi-regulars for a year or two back in the 70's and 80's, and I guess you could say Keith Moreland was a "late-bloomer," too, because he didn't get a chance to play everyday until Dallas Green got him from the Phillies when he was about to turn 28 (he had been a seldom-used back-up catcher for a couple of seasons with the Phils).

It's just not as rare as you're trying to make it seem.

BTW, I agree with you about the value (or lack of a value) of a late-bloomer.

Because they emerge so late, they usually have fewer "prime" years than the average MLB player, and you never know ahead of time which 4-A guys are going to be late-bloomers (and which ones are going to end up in Japan), so you can't really build your team around these guys.

So generally-speaking (and with a few exceptions), they are filler until a better long-term option comes along. But in the meantime, they can provide a useful service for a while.

The key is virtually no major league experience. The less you have the less likely you will ever be worth anything.

BTW all those recent ones you mention had well over 500 AB's of major league experience before age 29. Nelson Cruz alone around 1000.

And the Cubs examples are painfully thin. Carmen Fanzone? Really? Really? Larry Biittner? Ohh come on now.
Keith Moreland was the only one worth a shit that you mentioned....is that it out of the thousands of Cub players? So what are we looking at......less than 1/10th of 1/10th of a percent in Cubs history alone?

I am not looking for someone who at age 33 who has his one good 400 AB season and goes back to being a 100 AB bench guy. I am looking for a long term replacement.

Again it just doesn't really happen as often as some people think. Your pretty much hoping a miracle happens.

I argue the LaHair point when i see people wanting to give him a shot in exchange of by passing someone better just because of his recent offensive outburst. He is a man at this point playing against kids, he should be destroying them. Its not very impressive or very noteworthy.

Much like the Tyler Colvin fan boys, lets just play the shit out of LaHair and end the flavor of the month on him.

Carlos Pena is a prime example of a guy who didn't really break out until a full year at AAA at age 28.

Most of these late bloomers were considered better prospects when they were younger fwiw. Scouts saw the tools early on, but it took a long time to put them together.

Nonetheless, no one really better than LaHair right now in the system.

Carlos Peña is good cause he was in Moneyball too!

No reason why Bryan LaHair can't be another one.
----
Can't we just let Roy Hobbs play?

I can't wait for the HR that makes the lights explode.

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 10:57pm — Cubster

No reason why Bryan LaHair can't be another one.
----
Can't we just let Roy Hobbs play?

I can't wait for the HR that makes the lights explode.

============================

CUBSTER: No reason why Roy Hobbs can't be a member of the 2012 Cubs. He would be a reclamation project (hasn't played since 1939), and Epstein-Hoyer would be buying low.

Seattle Times article (Geoff Baker not Jeff Baker) on why long term deal with Fielder makes sense. Some Cub parallels but the M's do have the DH at the back end of any deal they go long term on.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariner...

BP has a Kevin Goldstein article on 10 prospects that had sub-par 2011 seasons and discusses bounce back possibilities, called "Prospect Resolutions":

the Cub discussed, McNutt or McMutt?...

Trey McNutt, RHP, Cubs
McNutt came out of nowhere in 2010, leaving scouts wondering how a big-framed power right-hander who can touch the upper 90s and back it up with a plus slider could last into the 32nd round. McNutt spent the entire year in Double-A, struggled with a variety of maladies, and didn't pitch well when healthy; he finished with a 4.55 ERA while allowing 120 hits in 95 innings. “I like him as a bounce-back candidate because he has really good stuff,” said a scouting executive. “But our people had concerns about why he suddenly stopped missing bats.”

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Tim Souers posts...

"What to do while waiting for the Garza trade: make Banoffee Pie."

Awesome baking pics and a link to the recipe:

http://www.cubby-blue.com/my_weblog/2011/12/w...

Cubster, you must be as bored as I am!

And the Cubs examples are painfully thin. Carmen Fanzone? Really? Really? Larry Biittner? Ohh come on now.
----
just adding a name to that list. Jim Hickman.

Hickman spent his early career with the Mets but didn't become good until his Cub days. Hickman got 400-500 PA at ages 25-29 with the Mets but batting average was around .238 with 15 HRs. Either he was injured or just got worse until he became a part time player and went to the Dodgers for the 1967 season which was his worst (age 30), hitting .163 with NO HR's in 114 PA.

In 1968-9 with the Cubs, in a backup OF role he hit .223 and .237 but flashed some power in 1969 with 21 HRs in only 389 PA's.

in 1970 he became their regular RF...

Hickman had a career year (age 33) in 1970, in 613 PA he hit .315/.419/.582/1.001
...and he was decent until age 35 although reverted to stats more similar to his earlier years.

...I'm sure Jim Hickman's Bat approves this message.

Jose Bautista is no late bloomer in terms of becoming a useful MLB starter but he sure is a late-blooming superstar.

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