Cubs Find Their First Basemen

Cubs have traded RHP Andrew Cashner and OF Kyung-Min Na to the San Diego Padres for 1B Anthony Rizzo and RHP Zach Cates. That should deflect from the Castro sexual allegations rumors just fine...the PR department will be thrilled.

As for the baseball move, generally a good idea to trade a young pitcher for a young position player and even better if you think that young pitcher won't stick in the rotation. So I like the deal. If Cashner becomes a top of the rotation arm though and Rizzo Hee-Seop Choi's it, I won't like it so much.

Have it in the comments on the other 2 guys that I know nothing about.

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Comments

Wow.
Cashner needs to get off dl, so I like this trade.

Love "Hee-Soep Choi'd" as a verb. Nice.

That would absolutely suck, though.

Unless you can flip him for dlee-ish player in a year or two

The only thing that freaks me out is Rizzo's cancer history. Is there a doctor in the house? Is this something that was "cut out" permanently ... Something different than typical remission? Excited about deal though!

Cancer????
Ahhh!!

Yes. That wss something I was thinking too.

All the parties must know this kid literally inside and out.

Still...

hah! When Theo says Rizzo has a huge heart, he really knows it.

He had Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which can't be "cut out." He was treated with chemo in '08 and has been cancer free ever since.

holy crap!
It's Wes! How you doing?

Pretty good, fella. I went on a "I hate this fucking team" sabbatical for a while. Now I feel better. I was able to get my blood pressure back down and I'm ready for April.

Welcome back! I was certainly tempted to do the same there for awhile...

I've been in the same boat. I stayed around here and ranted to everyone instead of being mature and stepping away.

I took the better part of two years off of TCR, I think. Now I'm pumped!!!

I've been away for about 2 years also. I'm back, but I still feel the same....

Good to see you back, Wes!

Correct, WES (welcome back). And, Tony Campana had the same thing I believe.

Campana had non-Hodgkins lymphoma, of which there are many varieties. But Campana has been clean for so long that he's probably in the clear.

The same Wikipedia article that Cubster cites below says, in reference to Rizzo's type of lymphoma, "Since many patients are young, they often live 40 years or more after treatment."

I'm more worried about his swing. Recently I watched the Padres broadcast of the last game of the season (vs. the Cubs) on 9/28 and listened to the announcers, especially Tony Gwynn, as they held forth on Rizzo during his four at-bats. I don't recommend watching the game if you don't want to hear talk about our new Cub prospect needing to re-engineer his swing.

It was like watching Tyler Colvin last year, except that the problem was the swing, not the approach, which is worse, it seems to me. Sorry to be a wet blanket, just reporting what I saw when I watched Rizzo. I know he was young, it was a small data sample, etc.

In any case, he was clearly headed back to AAA, so I'm not surprised that LaHair has been announced as the 1B.

edit: in the Trib just now, Hoyer acknowledges Rizzo's struggles and blames himself:

"To be candid, I don't think I did Anthony any favors when I was GM of the Padres," Hoyer said of his call-up last season. "It was too early, and it was a mistake on my part."

"I'm more worried about his swing."

same. he's got a really wide-looping swing.

sounds like a mistake hitter to me

he's better than that...he's just got a really "long/loopy" swing.

he's still a guy who's gonna K a lot...still young and has nice pop. good tools to build on, but he could be better and less vulnerable even with his current tools.

I just hope he swings on a different plane than Ian Stewart. If they're swinging on the same plane, then there could be some big problems for the other passengers. Unless it's a big plane. Or maybe one could swing in first class and the other in coach? I don't know. I guess it could work.

It's easier to kill snakes if you've got two guys swinging. You're right, though, it's best if they're at least 10 rows apart from each other.

i still say the punchline is that ian stewart is a cub.

rizzo has a long/loopy swing and i like this trade. i see very little value in what stewart does with a bat...and hearing little about what others like about it.

i don't really care what plane either of them swing on as long as Elsa Pataky is on it.

His value is until last year he's been basically completely average OPS+ wise (102, 95, 97). Average has its value especially if that can be improved on at all by coaches. He also seems to have very good patience so combined with relative youth and the possibility for improved hitting with some coaching and he might have some merit on this team.

I don't really buy into your one plane thing cause I've never seen any hitter only hit on one plane. If he did only hit that way his batting average would be a lot worse.

Anything average drastically improves this team.

Got me laughing on that one!!

I would argue that his value his higher than just his OPS showed, because he has been young at every level he has played at.

"I don't really buy into your one plane thing cause I've never seen any hitter only hit on one plane. If he did only hit that way his batting average would be a lot worse."

watch some 2011 footage. remember sosa missing pitches? he's not as bad as dubois (who sometimes closed his eyes while swinging)...and damn the hell i got put through for dubois no matter how much visual support you throw at the issue.

we have youtube now, even.

watch his shoulders as he brings the bat through the zone.

his only "move" is when he's reaching outside-outside/low because it's at the end of his swing and it's about the only point where he can actually push his bat somewhere besides where he started.

it's not pretty.

also, his patience isn't helping his bat. currently he starts his AB opening up his feet very wide in order to get a better look at the ball. then he moves front foot about 2' at the start of the swing to a visual cue he sweeps with his foot when he gets in the box. he's not smooth and has a lot of motion with hands and feet loading up to swing. at least he doesn't load the bat a foot behind his head before he swings now...his hands have been brought down closer to shoulder level...still he's locked up through 1/2 that swing.

The gangs all here!!!

We need Transmission!

Yes! Where is trans? Still overseas?

What ever happened to Carlos?

John Hill?

I was just waiting for the real Neal to split. ;) had nothing to do with our crappy 2011 team ... NOT.

Wiki says:

The 10-year overall survival rate is more than 90% for any stage, though early diagnosis portends improved prognoses.

I'm not an oncologist (but I'm married to one)...so I'll get better info later today.

The issue is that chemo protocols have greatly improved from treatment back in the 1980's and so longer term data (which means before 1990) isn't reflecting current treatment. Therefore, they really don't know if remission means "gone forever". Nonetheless, the prognosis for Hodgkins these days is markedly better that it used to be.

Here are two decent webmd links to Hodgkins Lymphoma

The Basics:

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/understanding-hod...

Diagnosis and Treatment:

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/understanding-hod...

Lost my dad to Hodgkin's back in 1967. He was a Cubs fan & I was just a kid. Back then, it had about a 20% survival rate, if I recall correctly. Within five years, it was up to an 80% survival rate. I'm sure that oversimplifies the situation, but I remember the irony of that. It is now so much more treatable than it was then.

you're not freaked out by his loopy swing?

can we call him Tony?

The Rizzinator!

How can you not like this trade for the Cubs, wow. Rizzo is 22. Cashner is 25 and has had arm surgery twice. Plus, he has control issues and seemed targeted (with the Cubs anyway) for the bullpen. Unless your name is Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman in their primes, a reliever is never worth a league-average or better position player. And Rizzo has a Votto-esque upside. And he's a lefty bat! Bravo, Jedstein.

I'm willing to bet few people on Earth know more about the little Korean OF Na than our own AZP, so we'll wait for his rejoinder. But if I recall his earlier postings, Na is very speedy but with absolutely no power whatsoever. Think less-than-Juan Pierre level power.

No idea on the Pads low-level pitcher.

Why do you say Rizzo has a Votto-esque upside? I'm not disputing that - I don't much about him, I'm just curious and I hope you are right, and ya, looks like a good trade.

"Cashner is 25 and has had arm surgery twice."

He was laid up twice but I don't believe he had any surgery.

but I don't believe he had any surgery.
---
Correct. He had a posterior rotator cuff strain with a recurrence after a 6 week layoff and rehab that lead to losing the remainder of 2011 until September. Using a Baseball Perspectus term, Cashner missed 135 Team Games in 2011.

from a previous writeup, Nov 12th, called "TAWL Drills":

Andrew Cashner was lost for most of the season due to a rotator cuff strain. On April 5th, Cashner was cruising into the 6th inning of his first start when his shoulder pulled up lame. He had given up only 2 hits including a solo HR and the Cubs were leading 4-1 when his season flashed before his eyes (the bullpen coughed up that lead although the Cubs eventually won 6-5). He rehabbed and tried to return in about 6 weeks but reaggravated his shoulder in mid-May.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/05/17/...

Finally, manager Quade was allowed to use "Cash" in a few relief outing in September. Certainly, this makes everyone question whether Cashner would fit in better as a starter vs. near the end of the bullpen for 2012.

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2011/11/12/tawl...

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 2:15pm — Jim Hickmans Bat

I'm willing to bet few people on Earth know more about the little Korean OF Na than our own AZP, so we'll wait for his rejoinder. But if I recall his earlier postings, Na is very speedy but with absolutely no power whatsoever. Think less-than-Juan Pierre level power.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JIM H: I've seen a lot of Kyung-Min Na over the last couple of years, starting with Instructs post-2009.

Na was rated the fastest HS player in South Korea when he signed with the Cubs in August 2009. He got the same $725K bonus Hak-Ju Lee got a year earlier, but Na is nowhere near in HJ Lee's class.

Na has a strong arm and is a solid defender in CF, but while he has plus-speed, he is not a good base-stealer or base-runner and he has trouble reading pitchers moves.

He is also not a good hitter (puts the ball in the air too much even though he has zero power), and he doesn't use his speed out of the box on ground balls like HJ Lee does. (HJ Lee cheats out of the box).

I would describe Na as a raw talent (he just turned 20 last month) who needs to work on his base-stealing and base-running, and he especially needs to learn how to take advantage of his speed by improving his bunting and hitting the ball on the ground more-consistently.

Na is probably comparable to Tony Campana. Na is the better defender and has the stronger arm of the two, but Campana is a much better hitter, a better baserunner, and a far superior base-stealer.

Na also was behind a number of other CF prospects in the Cubs pipeline, including Brett Jackson, Jae-Hoon Ha, Matt Szczur, Taiwan Easterling, Zeke DeVoss, and Pin-Chieh Chen, so he was buried in the system. He would have had to battle just to win the 4th OF job at Peoria in 2012.

One thing about Andrew Cashner.

If Cashner spends the 2012 season in the big leagues and gets credit for a full season of MLB Service Time (that is, does not spend more than 19 days on optional assignment to the minors in 2012), he will likely qualify for arbitration post-2012 as a "Super Two."

the fact that Hoyer and McLeod know the Padres system so well means Cates was acquired with substantial insight.

I've been waiting for them to acquire some of the drafted talent they left behind in SD or BOS. This is the first deal and may be comparable to Dallas Green's move for Moreland/Noles for Mike Krukow although they were older than the talent in this deal.

Shshhh, don't tell crunch.

You got inside knowledge from SD and BOS on this one: Rizzo drafted by the Red Sox and sent to the Padres as part of the Adrian Gonzalez deal. FYI: Eric Patterson was sent by the Sox to the friars to complete the trade.

from Bowden on XM:
Josh Byrnes says Cashner's in the bullpen.

Where he belonged all along IMHO

Yeah, I have an honest question about that (APhil/anyone?)

IIRC, Cashner was drafted/touted as a badass college closer (TCU?). Why was the org so hell-bent on him joining the rotation?!?

he's been working on a 3rd pitch (mostly/currently changeup) since he was signed.

he was young and could be stretched out. he still don't have that 3rd pitch, though...the change is moving into year 3 of "it's getting there, really!"

at this point he's probably a danger to pitch more than 150 innings (given how wild he is) even if SD viewed him as a starter...at least for 2012.

His last year in the minors, there was no question that Cashner was a starting prospect. I had my doubts for awhile at the start, but he was carrying good stuff late into games and was showing 3 solid to plus pitches that he could use. So the org putting him in the rotation ... smart move on their part. Keep in mind that he was a starter prior to his junior year.

Thanks guys, I knew about the pitches but I think the 'starter prior to junior year' was the mental piece I was missing

Could the fact that he was moved to closer for junior year, have been related to fatigue his college coaches saw after starting a bunch of games the previous year? I still have it in my mind that there was a physical reason the TCU coaching staff didn't just put up with his 2-pitch-ness and keep him in the rotation due to his superior arm.

It's possible. I really don't recall right now. To defend the old regime's decision on moving him, though, it should be noted that he was showing mid-90's velocity as a starter in that last year he spent in the minors, and he was carrying that into the middle innings.

Theo/Jed saying LaHair will be the starting 1B, with Rizzo starting at Iowa.

Sweet. I like that a lot. Delays Rizzo's service clock and allows him more time to season. They can expose him to MLB pitching again in late 2012 or in 2013. Meanwhile they can find out whether LaHair can hit well enough to stick in the majors.

I think the next move is either to trade Garza for high-end starting pitching prospects or to extend him, because this team is obviously starved for top-of-the-rotation-potential pitchers. I can't think of anyone on the way in the minors with potential for real dominance.

So, we can assume Baker is not going anywhere as he is the de facto platoon partner at this point for LaHair.

Unless, of course, HoyStein hires a stop-gap unwanted veteran 1B.

Is Overbay signed yet?

Well, one thing is for sure. They are certainly changing the makeup of the team, for better or worse. Can't really get much worse, so I'm fascinated.

Totally agree, well said.

Has anybody seen my LaHair? It seems to be thinning out dramatically right now.

i think i saw your LaHair out in LaHeft Field.

Lahardry lahar-har

Dare I say, Many Trillo?

Manny showed up briefly when Hendry got fired. Pretty cool.

Interesting linkage here, as (if you believe the rumors) Wood would only return to the team if Z was released or traded.

By trading Z, Wood agrees to return, making Cashner available to get Rizzo.

So this may be a weird spin-off of the Z decision.

Does KW really deserve to weld that kind of power? He's a 35 year old middle reliever who gets injured every single year.

Does Mark Prior get to make roster demands too?

I personally think that rumor is BS, but they do see Wood as more than just a reliever. Clubhouse presence, value to franchise apart from results on the mound, etc.

Didn't mean to imply that Wood was making roster demands, which I'm sure would not be well-received by Cubs' brass.

What I was merely suggesting is that by returning Wood to the pen it gave them the flexibility to go out and get a guy they really wanted.

"Never confuse condition with causation."

Does anyone know if this trade also covers the player or players owed to SD for Hoyer and company?

haven't heard, sounds like Cubs got a bit of a steal there, so I have my doubts.

It seemed like 2 big upside guys for 1 possibly dominating reliever and someone who runs fast.

i think i saw your LaHair out in LaHeft Field.
---
Pete LaCock is missing?

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://ww...

Kerry Wood still has value as a pitcher so that is first and foremost.

Beyond that, he's a great guy and someone that the fans can appreciate a link with tradition with.

It is not out of the question that he gets in broadcast, pitching coach, or front office opportunity when he is done playing.

A couple of more years and there will be a Cubs Network, anyway.

Please expound.

Hoyer on Rizzo when they decided to call him up this last season:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpvOvei0onk

I've never seen any of these douchebags hit a homerun.

Hoyer says the idea of winning a job out of spring training is a dangerous thing. #Cubs

smart guy.

winning a job out of spring training had been a Cubs tradition

Maybe Hoyer is smart about spring training; but sending a young guy up to the majors to fail twice in the same season is probably not a good idea, which is why I squawked last season when Hendry did it to Colvin (and also why Hoyer has accepted some of the blame for Rizzo's performance).

Rizzo was 4 for 30 in September.

after holding a press conference announcing you're bringing up your AAA hotshot you usually have to suck up some blame for him not being a savior.

can't say I agree there, Padres were done and it was a September call-up (the second one). Wasn't going to do much going home. At least he'd learn how to tip the clubhouse attendant and where the good bars are on road trips.

Logically, the deal makes sense. Cashner's best case to hit rotation duty was 2013, if not 2014, and that's just too many wasted years of waiting. Rizzo has upside and fills a big need.

If Rizzo is even a decent starter, this is a good deal. Factor in Cates, who seems like the clear 3rd best asset in the deal with good mid-90's velo and a plus change, and this is a win for us.

I'm just lukewarm on Rizzo. Na might've been the best defensive CF in the system overall, but the bat was squadoosh (and with Cates as the 3rd best asset and Na as the weakest, one could make the argument that the overvaluing of pitchers continue and that Cashner might've been viewed as the most valuable asset in the deal ... or the Padres really love Na ... or the Padres are really, really down on Rizzo (I could see 1 and 3, not 2 ... at least I don't think 2)).

I do have a little concern over Rizzo's production. He had monster #s in the PCL last year. However his stats during the Boston years look to be fairly unimpressive overall.

Especially for a guy who you hope is an offensive cornerstone.

Quade would have called our new acquisition: "Riz", as in...we just traded Cash for Riz.

This is for all the prodigal posters returning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMbcieE7rQU&fe...

it won't be official until ruz joins in the mayhem...

Was Kotter's wife hot? 'Julie', wasn't it? I was pretty young, but I always thought she was hot...

PS My (brief) stepfather, who was a complete douchebag, had the last name 'Woodman', like the principal. The principal was way cooler. And I have no idea why I just shared all that....

Wooden was vice principal.

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0072582/fullcredits...

Definitely Woodman, didn't know about the vice

Yes, I meant woodman. Drunk typo.

Let's assume Theo is successful in dumping Soriano. Can LaHair play a level of defense in LF that is acceptable to an organization that now places a high value on defensive play?

If so, playing Rizzo at 1B and moving LaHair to the OF would certainly increase our power production, especially from the left side.

Not sure about that LaHair D, but that's exactly the positioning I'm secretly hoping for come 1 June

hard to imagine he'd play it much worse than Soriano, but fwiw, Goldstein tweet in the sidebar says he can stand in LF, but he's pretty awful out there.

Maybe Mike's seen him out there.

Hoyer followed Epstein's lead in SD in terms of "overslotting" for Cates. They really like him, I guess.
http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/201...

Cates is really promising. I really don't know where to rank him in the Cubs system right now, but a good power arm with mid-90's heat and a plus change, along with a decent breaking ball. Very fascinating, and will help boost that A+ rotation next year (I'd be surprised if he was sent back to A, and AA seems a bit unlikely).

Re: old posters

Bring back John Hill, the gay dude, and that Ruz guy. : )

Still no Silent Towel though, right?

Of course.

Rob traded him to Despio for a used infield rake and half a can of Simoniz.

"the gay dude"...I assume you're referring to Chad?

I kinda liked Chad.

Me too. I loved Chad and his mullet and camaro.

disagreed with him a lot, but at least he had a sense of humor about himself...

I assumed he killed himself after Jim Edmonds retired.

That's a thread winner right there.

Extremely awesome

Paul Maholm just won't go away...Cubs, Orioles, Mariners, Redsox still considering.

https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1553...

well, the cubs need a #2 pitcher behind garza...or a #1 if garza goes away.

...oh...my...god...*sigh*

poor Dempster.

have to say after seeing Volstad's numbers after his call back up, I'm a bit more excited about him as well.

I still find it funny that a lot of people seem to think Travis Wood is a safe and Volstad is a far riskier proposition. Both are unknowns, relatively speaking (Volstad is only a few months older than Wood), but I'm far more enthused about Volstad's 2011 than I was about Wood's.

this time for real:

Duncan stepping down. Derek Lilliquist named Cardinal pitching coach.

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/profe...

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/profe...

wow.

he'll probably be back, but wow.

bad timing...his wife had surgery in like june/july/aug or something, but she must not be doing well enough...or he's too distracted...or aliens.

coaches report in about a month...probably for the best if he's checked out.

Mike Tice just named offensive coordinator for Lovey.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football...

I'm reasonably ok with this. I agree with Cutler having consistency is a good thing for an offense and this is as consistent as you can get short of keeping Martz which was a no go.

Yeah, Martz turned into a madman. I was pretty excited about him at first but he sure demonstrated he didn't know how to adopt an offense philosophy to his players. Cutler is a classic pocket QB - and I guess Martz hoped his crap offensive line would do better with 8 step drops, but that didn't work out so well.

Eh... not so sure that there will be much consistency. I don't see them keeping Martz's offense, so the playbook/terminology will probably all change again for Cutler.

I agree with that Dave. More talking about just consistency in someone Cutler knows. The playbook has to change though or Cutler is gonna get murdered one of these days.

Disagree. Playbook/terminology will BE Cutler. Look for Colston-like receivers in the draft, and Hester a 3rd downer for the rest of his days. Just get the damn Super Bowl over with so we can have a regular season again, with no lockout. Even the NBA is looking dazed and confused...

I like it. Going to be curious who is hired as passing coordinator and OL Coach. With Forte/Barber, they can power run, and the OL is arguably suited more towards a power run, play-action type offense. Going to have to utilize the TE more, I think. Kellen Davis has better athleticism than acknowledged and I think he can stretch the seam, and Spaeth is a decent 2, but wouldn't surprise me if the Bears expended a pick to try and find a young, raw TE that can really stretch things out in the middle.

I would be stunned if Marion Barber is a Bear next year.

really? stunned? It's possible they let him loose, and yes, the gaffes in the Broncos game still hurt. But he ran well late, is only on the books for 1.9 million (250 K workout bonus and 100 K roster bonus). It's not much, and I'm not sure that I buy Bell as a good number 2 back. Possible.

All in all, I would like to see the Bears add a shiftier guy to the mix. Assuming Forte is back, it's probably going to be tough to carry five backs (including Clutts as the FB), so it might be a case of Bell or Barber III.

Yes, stunned. His gaffes in that game, plus the one in the Chiefs game, cost him a lot of goodwill. I suppose it's possible, I don't know his contract, but Bell is better anyway. Just don't see Barber being back.

I think it'll come down to what Tice is looking for. If he wants a guy who can hammer it b/w the tackles as his 2nd back (I guess all this assumes Forte is back first), I think Barber has a better shot. Bell is a decent all-around guy, not exactly the shiftiest guy, not the quickest, not the most explosive, not great b/w the tackles, but decent in all areas (sort of a really poor man's Forte).

It really doesn't seem like that much money that they would definitively rule out bringing back Barber. Again, not saying it will or won't happen. I just don't know if I'd be stunned if he can back. While I want a shiftier guy as the 3rd guy, they have bigger needs to address so I guess it wouldn't stun me if all three came back. With Bell as an ERFA, he's almost a lock to be back.

probably would have preferred the GM have some say in that, but I believe I heard some teams asking about Tice.

gonna be one boring offense, hope they get some actual talent instead of counting on the scheme.

They turned down a team last offseason looking to interview him for offensive coordinator. Might've been the Titans. That's why he got the Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach title.

I think the assumption is that it will be boring, power runs and what not. But it's easy to forget that the Tice offenses in Minnesota were a bit more aggressive. Granted, they had elite skill guys, and eventually, Linehan took full reigns on the offense, but Tice had heavy input there at the start. I think this is going to be power runs, play action over the top bombs, work the TE in the seams. They will need to probably find a bigger downfield target, though. Alshon Jeffrey and Michael Floyd could be in the mix in the first, assuming they figure out what to do at LT before then.

Umm... Has anyone ever seen Tom Gorzellany and Paul Maholm in the same room? Just saying...

Cubs 40-man roster is full right now, so they can't add Wood or Maholm unless they create space.

Dumping Soriano would likely create room, as I doubt that they would get back prospects worthy of 40-man roster status at this time.

I just looked at the 40 man roster and it seems to me the most expendables are: Casey Coleman, Marlon Byrd, Blake DeWitt and the rule 5 pick (Lendy Castillo)

Coleman is triple-A candidate with Sonnanstine being available

Byrd is probably trade fodder or Theo compensation

Not sure what they need DeWitt for unless it's backup at 3B if Stewart gets hurt.

and I doubt they would jettison the rule 5'er without a training camp look

Fri, 01/06/2012 - 4:22pm — CubsterNew
Re: Cubs Find Their First Basemen

I just looked at the 40 man roster and it seems to me the most expendables are: Casey Coleman, Marlon Byrd, Blake DeWitt and the rule 5 pick (Lendy Castillo)

Coleman is triple-A candidate with Sonnanstine being available

Byrd is probably trade fodder or Theo compensation

Not sure what they need DeWitt for unless it's backup at 3B if Stewart gets hurt.

and I doubt they would jettison the rule 5'er without a training camp look

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

CUBSTER: Rule 5 players can be traded at any time, but cannot be non-tendered, and cannot be outrighted to the minors or released any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

I would say Jeff Bianchi is probably the most-likely player to get dropped from the Cubs 40-man roster if a slot is needed. Players claimed off waivers are often the first to get put back onto waivers (and outrighted if not claimed).

This is why I agree with you, Phil, that putting Sonnanstine & Corpas on the 40-man is/was a mistake. Theo could have made the exact same contract deals with them as ST NRI's. I would still love to hear his rationale for not doing that.

I would also add any previous regime's Cubs draftees (e.g. Cabrera, Campana, etc.) as possible roster castoffs.

Since we don't know why they got split deals, isn't it wiser to presume Jedstein had a good reason behind it rather than their Ivy league idiots?

With all of the quotes from Jedstein about organizational culture and trust, I'm not sure they're looking to trade Byrd. By all public accounts, he's a standup guy and a professional. He'll be good to have in the clubhouse with the young guys around, and he's really not that unproductive at the plate or in the field.

Agree keep Byrd (unless he would be part of bringing a more important piece).

I don't know how to distinguish between guys who are really great to have in the clubhouse and guys that management is trying to brand as great to have in the clubhouse. I just see a vet with one year left on his contract who isn't worth extending and who doesn't set an example of how to play the game, except that he tries hard (sounds like Reed Johnson to me). He certainly doesn't fit into any organizational model of grinding out at bats. But it is possible that the team leader sticker is actually applicable to Byrd. I don't know for sure.

Byrd isn't going to bring back any arbitration picks, trade him if you can. They may keep him around until they want to call up Brett Jackson (mid-June maybe), but then they run the risk of Byrd sucking terribly and getting nothing for him.

not that they'd get a whole lot for him right now.

Good points both; guess we'll have to trust our proxies, TheoJed, to accurately value Byrd's clubhouse intangibles. No matter how you slice it on the field, he costs too much now. It is pretty clear that 2009 (.283 with 20 home runs and 89 RBIs) was in fact his career year.

Byrd's leadership was on display when he said "take me too" to the camera when Fukudome was being traded. Can't remember the exact quote, and I'm sure he was joking, but that's probably not what I'm looking for out of my clubhouse leader.
I don't really care about that event, but I don't think he's going to stay on the team because of his leadership.

And thus starts the other shoe from the results of the Colvin-Stewart trade.

The 40-man was down to 35 then.

"Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Mets are close to signing free agent infielder Ronny Cedeno to a one-year deal worth $1.1-1.2 million."

mets 2012.

shouldn't a no-hit middle infielder at least be able to field on an above-average level? =p

I didn't think the Mets could get any dumber.

Yes. Cedeno can make any team collectively dumber.

= $ -0.1 million

That would seem about right...

That's a pretty good deal for Cedeno... Theo woulda charged him lg minimum to play here again...

Ronnie Cedeno a Met backup SS for 1.1M

A little slow with the scalpel today, CUBSTER. Tice announcement was from around 2:00 on ESPN Chicago.

I suppose staying status quo for Cutler probably is the best thing for now.

cepedes expected to be officially declared a FA in about a week...should be interesting.

A Soriano dump and a Cespedes and/or Soler signing would make for quite the finishing touches on a sweeping overhaul by JedStein in one offseason...

If Jedstein finds some way to dump Soriano and trades Byrd, the Cubs will have enough openings in the outfield for both Brett Jackson (who knows if he's ready yet) and Cespedes.

Looks to me like the Cubs are trying to gather players in their early and mid 20's who might be average-ish contributors but have upside as well as question marks. Seems like Cespedes would fit with that, albeit with a significant price tag.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ezVp46mUOQ

rizzo BP from AAA this summer. big loopy swing, pulls hands back (not uncommon), and has a bottom right hand twitch he uses as a timing mechanism along with the hands pulling back. he's pretty much committed to swing as soon as he loads, but he has enough of an eye to stay away from swinging at everything.

he opens himself up pretty good even through he steps into the pitcher's delivery toward the plate. inside pitching shouldn't cripple him like choi. as much space he swings through to get his bat through the zone, it's still a good velocity swing.

there's work to be done, but he's got the tools to make it...still will probably end up with a high K hitter even if he settles in enough to be a .350-ish ob% power hitter.

Honest question--That vid just looks like he's f'n off. Is it a good representation of his in-game swing?

yeah, but in that particular clip it looks like whoever is throwing BP to him can barely get the ball to him. i dunno what's up with that even with all the wind that was kicking that day.

newest Cub on twitter...

https://twitter.com/TheRizzMan27

Anthony Rizzo

AHHHHHH CHI TOWN!!!!

Does anyone know if Anthony is related to Frank Rizzo?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygv0bUw93Tg

Is the Tony S. on this blog actually that happy ass lackey Tony Scarboni? Zamboni? Pepperoni???

Glad I'm not the only Jerky Boys fan.
I thought of Frank Rizzo too.

"GET BRETT WARE"

"all my shoes and all my glasses"

FRANK RIZZO! Open your fucking ears, jackass!

So I have them

Am I supposed to know you, Mr. Ahthree, cuz I don't know you

Of course you know me. We go way back - we used to shoe each other up the ass in the old days!

another Muskat article up...

Hoyer quote:

"We're not finished acquiring starting pitchers," Hoyer said on Friday. "We want to have as much depth as possible.

"At this point, we're still very much in the process of gathering as many quality arms as we can, and we'll put those pieces in place as we get closer to Spring Training," he said.

The goal is to avoid what happened to the team in 2011, when it lost both Cashner and Randy Wells to injuries after their first starts. Cashner was dealt Friday to the Padres for Rizzo and is expected to pitch out of the bullpen.

"We have worked hard, and we continue to work hard, and hopefully we'll have even more starting-pitching acquisitions," Hoyer said. "We want to go seven, eight, nine deep in the rotation and we hope to replenish the bullpen as well."

...and some stuff on Kerry Wood:

"We've had a lot of conversations with Kerry and his agent, Pat Rooney," Hoyer said. "We've all made it very clear that we want to bring him back. We're hopeful that gets done. It's not done yet, and I can't say it definitely will, but it's certainly the Cubs' goal to bring him back here and put him in the Cubs' bullpen."

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

that's an interesting philosophy -- really good starters can get hurt, anyway, and if you get a bunch one or two might come out of the crowd and kick some ass. I'm starting to get sold on these guys -- well, I was already, but I'm wiping off my cynical brow, the one that comes with being a Cubs fan.

At least it's getting interesting.

Keith Law on Cates:

The Cubs also get right-hander Zack Cates. He's a raw but very intriguing conversion guy with limited experience on the mound, but can show two plus pitches in a fastball up to 96 MPH (sitting 92-93) and a plus changeup that is a 70 on its best nights. His delivery is a little rough in back but he gets great extension out front with good downhill plane to keep the ball in the park, especially against right-handed batters. He's still in search of an average breaking ball, and his command and control are what you'd expect for a raw pitcher without a lot of innings behind him. He's a great lottery ticket for the Cubs here with the upside of a mid-rotation starter if he finds a breaking ball and a plus reliever if he doesn't.

Interesting twist to the Rizzo-LaHair faceoff is that Rizzo had 26 homers and 101 RBI at Tucson even while spending most of June and July with San Diego. If he had stayed at AAA, he might well have been PCL MVP in place of LaHair.

more Keith Law...

on Rizzo:

He's a plus-fielding, plus-makeup, power-hitting first baseman...with more of an average hit tool and a history of wide platoon splits.
...He's got a good feel for the strike zone, evident even during his major league struggles, and the power to profile as an above-average or better first baseman on offense. I'd rather have Rizzo than Yonder Alonso, and had Rizzo spent all of 2011 mashing in AAA, this trade would be viewed as a heist for the Cubs.

on Cashner:

...he has the weapons to start, but even 100 innings in a swing role in 2012 would be aggressive for a guy who has little history of starting and recent shoulder trouble. The floor in relief is fairly high, as he could be the next Craig Kimbrel in that role, but the odds of him holding up as a starter are fairly small.

on Na:

...plus defender in center in both glove and arm with 70 speed, so he's more than just a throw-in, but questions about his bat range from lack of overall strength to mechanical issues (like a high leg kick) that interfere with timing. He's also had some trouble turning that speed into value on the bases... He's also a lottery ticket, but without Cates' upside

Summary:

...so the deal really boils down to a good everyday player (Rizzo) for a high-ceiling reliever (Cashner), which favors the Cubs overall.

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/la...

I'm getting the sense that Byrnes wasn't as high as Hoyer, McLeod and possibly Theo are on Rizzo.

had Rizzo spent all of 2011 mashing in AAA, this trade would be viewed as a heist for the Cubs.
---
It's odd that Hoyer has taken credit for bringing up Rizzo too early and that it was a mistake and thereby slightly devaluing Rizzo. Obviously not intentional at the time but it did change the Rizzo timeline is the same way that the Redsox collapse changed Theo's (and therefore Hoyers)...in a Star Trek kind of way.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708455/

If Ricketts gets caught up in a ponzi scheme, Does that bring in Mark Cuban and his wallet?

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/mino...

"Looking at the table above, we see that only 7% of players in Triple-A are 22 years old or younger. The bold diagonal lines, which starts from 17-year-olds in rookie ball and moves up and to the right to 22 year olds in Triple-A, outlines the path of elite prospects."

Vitters fits the bolded line or younger year for year. Somewhat encouraging, at least

If Vitters hadn't been such a high pick, he'd not have been pushed so aggressively.

probably true, but regardless, he's been slightly above league average despite being young for his league (look at his wOBA+)

http://firstinning.com/players/Josh-Vitters-a/

chances of being a superstar may be slim at this point, but a power hitter that doesn't strike out a lot is still very hard to find. First he has to become a power hitter like expected, then he needs to get his BB% up at least to the 7-8% range.

still has two years imo to break the majors...

"In the world of analytics, context is imperative."

some of his colleagues should get this tattooed on the backs of their hands.

Callis claims Rizzo would be #3 prospect behind Jackson and Baez, citing position scarcity but equal levels of talent.

Really? 26 HRs in AAA at age 22 and he's behind a high school draftee that probably won't stick at SS who's barely played any pro ball? I could see an argument for Jackson, since the two players have similar weaknesses offensively but Jackson has some speed and may be an average defensive CFer, though I think I like Rizzo's power potential.

Tuscon where he played AAA ball is a band box fwiw.

BA ranks strictly on ceiling and Baez's is SS with wrists like Gary Sheffield (not gonna happen, but that's the ceiling). They always give new draftees a huge benefit of the doubt.

not only is it a bandbox, but it's infield might as well be made of concrete.

shame...decent little park, but it should have been built better and it defiantly should have been built with better player/training amenities more in line with other AAA parks...that's killing the park. SD is only there temporarily waiting for another park in another city to be built.

I have BJax over Rizzo. tough for me to put Baez ahead because he's so far away. But while Rizzo has better power potential (easy to forget that more people came around on BJax' power this year and you see people writing that he has 20-25 HR power potential now), I'm not completely sold that his hit "tool"/contact ability is better than BJax's by a lot, if any, and both will take their fair share of walks. I think BJax on the bases, but more importantly, that BJax could be a solid to good defensive CF in his cost-controlled/team-controlled years, gives him the edge.

All in all, while I'm lukewarm on Rizzo, there's a nice little potential core that they are putting in place with Castro/BJax/Rizzo. Furthermore, an Iowa club that was stripped of some potential pieces this offseason (Flaherty/Gonzalez/LeMahieu), got a lot more interesting.

Vitters, while farther down the top prospect list at this point, is right there in terms of age and ceiling with that group (Castro/BJax/Rizzo).

http://mobile.minorleagueball.com/2012/1/6/26...

Sickels take on the prospects.

I never was one of those fans who hates a team just cuz it seems like the thing to do (cardinals excepted), plus my dad was a sox fan. Ive never really taken a liking to them, but I don't hate them a lot. But even if I did it's hard to not respect Reinsdorf. A world series winner and six Nba championships. And a few more now conceivablle. Boozer is looking good and that bodes well, and I think.any true sports fan can get my appreciation for reinsdorf. Ducks, but is ready to throw back.

Good peek at the new kid... And the reporter's huge cans make it all the more interesting... kinda reminds me of Stifler's mom...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB0EMUlksjs&fe...

bewbs!

Holy shit.

And wow, Rizzo is pretty.

I love this kid!

And my word, that woman's chiropractor's never gonna be outta work..!

Also appears to be single....

JCrasnick tweet about 45 mins ago, says Kerry is talking to mult teams and Cubs deal "far from done".

Hold me...

PS Rob, it's first basemAn (singular), unless you know something we don't...(or I missed a joke...)

Being that LaHair will be the starter, and Rizzo will start in AAA, I think that the two combined would be mEn, not mAn.

i wouldn't mind seeing him go.

he's neat and all, but *shrug*

don't get me wrong...i think he's been an awesome cub, but i'd be more interested if he could throw 200 innings.

I would - favorite player of all time after Mordecai Brown (boy, I loved watching him play). I want him to end his career in Chicago.

fwiw, kerry wood is the only player besides grace that i own a uniform of...and i got 2 wood jerseys and only 1 grace.

i love the dude and his maturity and his leadership. i dunno if this particular club needs to pay him 3+ million a year for the next 2-3 years. they sure as hell have the money for it, though.

right now it looks like any splash that might be made would involve cepedes, and that's only loosely rumor linked (no team can talk about potentially employing a cuban player without getting into legal area MLB would rather teams not get into)...and there's still a question of whether the cubs will keep garza.

yeah, that was a rush to get up, but Dave's point is good so I'll leave it.

@jcrasnick Jerry Crasnick
Kerry Wood still talking with multiple clubs and a deal with #Cubs is "far from done," says a BB source

Hot damn i really like that we got Rizzo! I can't remember the last we got one of the better prospects in baseball, we are so used to getting washed up veterans 2-3 years past their productive years.

Mark it down: January 6, 2012: MIKE C likes a Cubs prospect!

And it took a Wilken player to make it happen, of all things.

Wow - who knows what you will say if Brian LaHair is actually productive?

Considering you have only said how washed up and shit he is.

You might forget i was a big Dubois, Choi, Theriot, Murton, and Marmol fan for various reasons.

My take on LaHair has always been never pass up someone better and how a 29 year career minor leaguer might catch lightning in a bottle.

If the Cubs are not gonna spend money then by all means throw LaHair against the wall and see if he sticks. I am just not expecting much out of him.

Suddenly i am this anti-prospect person, which is not true. I am the biggest fan of building from within on this site, i just don't think we ever had the talent or the people in place to recognize and develop that talent. I have never been delusional in thinking our farm system was good but somehow that gets translated into hating prospects.

Again i will bring it up, after what went on last year in terms of hitting depth and the rotation. No one can seriously sit there and say our farm system is good or even average. The fucking cupboard was bare/non-existent/dogshit.

You might forget i was a big Dubois, Choi, Theriot, Murton, and Marmol fan for various reasons.

Building your ethos, right there.

I was on board with all those guys too, except Dubois, but I would consider mysefl one of those people that has been delusional in thinking our farm system was good or is good, or whatever.

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