Obligatory Thread Overflow Post

Blah, blah, blah...I've been swamped and despite the recent not terrible baseball being played, the Cubs don't give me enough reasons to make sure I watch a game.

So I have little to offer today other than a quick recap of Baseball America's recent chat about their midseason Top 50 list which includes one Cub at #25 - Javier Baez (and one former Cub in Hak-Ju Lee at #47).

First Cub-related question was in regards to signing 2nd round pick Duane Underwood, which already happened to the tune of $1.05M. The Cubs can now pay Albert Amora up to $3,922,895 without forfeiting a draft pick and Boras will certainly demand every last dollar of that for his client. 25th rounder Rhett Wiseman is also still out there unsigned, but it's almost a sure thing he's going to Vanderbilt.

Re: Josh Vitters missing the list

Jim Callis: As someone who does our Cubs Top 30 for the Prospect Handbook every year, I talk to people incessantly about Vitters. He has made some progress, but his ceiling is solid regular and the guys on this list have higher ceilings than that. I'm also not sold Vitters could be an everyday third baseman at the big league level. I think you'd want a better defender than that. So no, I can't tell you he even received consideration for the Top 50.

Re: Jorge Soler

Jim Callis: We didn't include this summer's draft and international signees on the list, in keeping with our past tradition (Although he does make it sound in other comments like Soler would have made it).

Re: Brett Jackson making it into the top 50 by the end of the year

J.J. Cooper: My best guess on the end of season rankings is no. Jackson never wowed scouts with any plus-plus tool, now he's got a significant wart in a strikeout rate that is baffling.

Re: Jackson, Szczur or Vitters being in the top 50

J.J. Cooper: Not that close, further away and not that close to making the list. Jackson's K-rate is a major concern for a guy who doesn't have a lot of 65s on his scouting report. Szczur is a solid prospect, but didn't really compare yet to the guys at the back end of the 50 and Vitters is having a much better season, but there still doesn't appear to be a whole lot of ceiling there.

Re: Baez

J.J. Cooper: A whole lot to like, still has some growing up to do.

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Comments

fwiw, Stewart on twitter replied to a question about his chances of returning by the end of the year with a "None" and to returning next year with a "It's a possibility".

Colvin has homered in three games in St. Louis this week.

Colvin sucks..that's impossible :P

Can he play third?

Sadly no...

JP Morosi tweets about Tigers and Garza interest, and prospects from the Erie Seawolves

(http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_...)


Tigers‬ have interest in Matt Garza. ‪Cubs‬ recently scouted Detroit's prospect-heavy Erie affiliate. But talks not serious, sources say.

That Castle Anus guy has 2bb vs 26k. That's solid.

Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosi

‪#BlueJays‬ showing most interest in pitchers under control beyond this year. Matt Garza and Wandy Rodriguez high on their list, sources say.

Paul Sullivan‏@PWSullivan

Demp starting Sunday.

to be traded Sunday night.

Try Volstad as a reliever. Get something out of his 2.6 mil. I've seen enough of Coleman and Wells. The next guy to bring up is Alberto Cabrera. We need more thump. Volstad does throw 93, Cabrera mid to high 90's, and neither walk too many.

volstad, the king of the one bad inning

sounds like a great plan :)

Everyone else sucks, no other obvious choices in Iowa, and they're not going to bring up the "promising" choices in TN. Turn chicken shit into chicken salad.

Signed: RHP Michael Bowden*, RHP Alvaro Sosa (re-signed)
Draft picks signed: RHP Justin Amlung (12), RHP Tyler Bremer (27), RHP Ryan McNeil (3), RHP Jasvir Rakkar (26), SS David Bote (18)
Released: RHP Ricardo Estevez, RHP Ramon Garcia, RHP Shane Lindsay, LHP Hung-Chih Kuo, OF Eduardo Gonzalez
Recalled: RHP Rafael Dolis, 1B Anthony Rizzo
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Casey Coleman, 2B Adrian Cardenas
Optioned to Rookie-level Arizona League: OF Jorge Soler
Option transferred: RHP Alberto Cabrera (Double-A to Triple-A)
Removed from 40-man: RHP Randy Wells (outrighted to Triple-A)
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Corbin Hoffner, RHP Amaury Paulino, RHP Kenny Socorro
Reinstated from DL: RHP Ricardo Estevez, RHP Shane Lindsay, LHP Hunter Ackerman, LHP Hung-Chih Kuo, OF Taiwan Easterling

Wrongway tweeting that Tigers have called Cubs about Barney.

Ruben Tejada, ss, Ronny Cedeno, 2b, David Wright, 3b, Scott Hairston, lf, Lucas Duda, rf, Justin Turner, 1b, Mike Nickeas, c, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf, Johan Santana, lhp

vs.

Johnson9/Barney6/Rizzo3/Soriano7/Baker4/Soto2/Mather8/Valbuena5/Wood1

Castro's first day off...

Carrie Muskat‏@CarrieMuskat
Sveum told Castro to sit near him in dugout for game to talk situations

Will (NJ): Josh Vitters is on a roll. I've never been huge on him, but this is more than his sporadic hot streaks in the minors. He's consistently gotten better each month. What do scouts think about his ability to hit for power at the next level? Can be a solid 3rd base starter in the bigs? Could he be say, a .270-.280 type hitter, with say, 20 HR potential in a neutral environment?
Ben Badler: He's surprising the heck out of me. I saw him last year, talked to scouts about him and while the swing and the bat speed were still there, the sense was just that he wasn't really taking any steps forward. I'm still not sold that he's a third baseman, or at least an everyday guy there, but there's probably a bigger role for him at the major league level than we thought at this time a year ago.

Vic31 (Chicago): Jeimer Candelario has looked mighty impressive with the bat, so far, but I've heard the glove is the real question. If he can't stick, do you think he's got enough athleticism to handle LF or is he destined for 1b? Will the bat play regardless?
Ben Badler: Could be, just depends a lot on how the body develops, but I don't think he has to move off third base any time soon. He's such a good hitter that I'd be excited about him no matter where he plays.

TJ (MD): Matt Szczur has been on a really nice role. If he maintains his performance (improved discipline, plus defense, improving power, hopefully improves on it), is he a top 75 prospect? Does he still have starting potential in the bigs, as a top of the order CF who chases down balls?
Ben Badler: I don't have Szczur that high. The defense is there, the hitting approach has improved and I think he could be an average regular if a lot of things click, I just don't see the swing working for much more than gap power. He's plenty strong, but I just see a limited offensive ceiling.

David (Va Beach): I know you seem to really like Jeimer Candelario. Should we expect him in Boise all season long and what especially do you like?
Ben Badler: He does so many things that you like to see in a hitter. He has good rhythm, he's balanced, the bat is fast from both sides of the plate, his hands work well, he has an approach at the plate that's advanced for his age, he drives the ball for power now and has the physical projection to add more power in the future. Maybe he stays at third base, maybe he goes somewhere else, but the man can hit.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

y.molina out of the AS game (wife's grandfather died, bereavement)...replaced with m.holliday (lulz)

Ha... Death in the family.

HILARIOUS!!!!!

replacing a STL catcher with a STL LF'r...lulz.

People will say "you can't joke about [death]. [Death]'s not funny." I say "fuck you, I think it's hilarious!

I miss George Carlin.

i just wanna see who catches RA Dickey...that should be fun.

posey/ruiz are the catchers left.

r.johnson's last leadoff homer...2007 vs. j.santana

...and he follows with a double in the 3rd...

15/30 (.500) vs. j.santana lifetime...2hr, 2 doubles, 1 triple

make that 16/31 with a single...he's got 2bb (5k) lifetime, too.

rizz-OOOOOOOOOOOOH!

3r HR vs santana...nice shot, not a cheapie.

pro-tip: don't hang changeups to rizzo

Prolific! Amazing! Stupendous! Superlative!

it's fun to have a cubs power hitting prospect around that projects for 30+ HR and isn't projected for 200-ish Ks.

it's been a while...a long, long, long, while.

I was thinking after the HR that I haven't been this excited about a Cubs call-up since Mark Prior. This is definitely the most excited I've ever been for a Cubs hitting prospect to hit the show. From what I've seen, teams are still being aggressive against him - hopefully his skills translate once pitchers start throwing him garbage. His OBP is barely higher than his batting average, but I think so far that speaks more to the pitches he's seen. Color me quite impressed.

Folks were pretty pumped when Palmeiro and Grace were arriving in Chicago. But that was over 25 years ago, a long time between those two and Rizzo.

Rizzoner at full mast

Cindy Sandberg was also really excited over those arrivals.

I've been sort of going out of my way to try to watch Rizzo at bats and he is definitely getting stuff to hit.

One thing is that he is really aggressive on the first pitch. Pitchers will have to stop trying to get that first strike by him and start throwing him crap on the first pitch. To Rizzo's credit, it's one thing to be aggressive on the first pitch. But it's another to actually hit that first pitch. God knows I've seen plenty of Cubs prospects who are aggressive on the first pitch, swing and miss, and just keep being aggressive on the next pitch, missing it, etc. Last night that pitch he hit looked off speed and he still smoked it. I think that is what impresses me the most about him so far. First pitch, off speed or curve or whatever, BOOM!

My prediction is that the league's first adjustment will be to try to get him off balance on the first pitch. My next prediction is that it won't work, at least not for long. For one thing, too many pitchers need to get that first strike. As soon as Rizzo starts discovering what they're up to, he'll adjust and start getting ahead in the count. Then they'll have to get a strike by him. Then, BOOM!

I remember the immortal Hee Seop Choi coming up to the league and he was the most tentative SOB I ever saw. I actually liked his swing - when he swung. Rizzo is sort of an anti-Choi. I don't see him standing around waiting for the pitcher to hand him first base.

2 HR's off Strasburg tonight.

The Surging Santorums approve.

Still a stupid trade, even if Colvin wasn't in the Cubs long term plans. You can't trade for an injured player who hasn't yet had surgery, that's just plain dumb, no matter how much Jedstein want to claim "upside potential." Dumb trade.

certainly shaping up that way...

I did believe in Colvin's power, but ultimately I thought it was crap for crap.

Colorado does do wonders for your confidence though.

Especially a wrist injury. I remember when the trade happened not having any idea about that injury and I was annoyed when I later saw that they did. That is almost a "what are you thinking?" type of move. On the other hand, the Rizzo/Cashner trade so far is looking not too bad.

Wood for Marshall too.

BTW, in case anyone forgot: Marmol sucks eggs.

marmol is the pitching version of adam dunn: home run, walk, or strikeout.

cubs no longer in last place (.5 ahead of HOU)

If the Cubs option Travis Wood to Iowa prior to today's game (Saturday 7/7) and leave him there for the minimum-required ten days and have him start for the I-Cubs next Thursday at Omaha and then recall him on Tuesday 7/17, the Cubs would buy another year of club control over T. Wood that they won't otherwise have.

T. Wood came into the 2012 season with 1+039 MLB Service Time, and (as things stand right now) he will accrue 136 days of MLB ST in 2012 (taking his MLB ST to 2+003) if he remains on the Cubs 25-man roster through the rest of this season, thereby giving him an opportunity to be a free-agent post-2016.

However, if he were to be optioned to Iowa today and stay there for ten days over the All-Star Break (starting the I-Cubs game at Omaha next Thursday before getting recalled on Tueday 7/17 in time to start the Cubs game versus the Marlins that day), T. Wood would finish the 2012 season with 1+165 MLB Service Time, and therefore could not be a free-agent until after the 2017 season.

Since the Cubs rather clearly manipulated MLB Service Time to buy another year of club control over Anthony Rizzo (recalling him from AAA just three days after the cut-off point for him to get to 1+000 years of MLB Service Time in 2012), they shouldn't worry about how it looks to do the same with T. Wood.

The Cubs could easily justify the move:

1. They won't need a 4th starter again until Tuesday 7/17 (Garza, Samardzija, and Dempster would start the games against the Diamondbacks next weekend, and then the Cubs have a day off on Monday).
2. The Cubs need to drop someone to make room on the 25-man roster for Ryan Dempster (scheduled to start tomorrow).
3. T. Wood would stay on his rotation schedule by starting a AAA game for Iowa next Thursday at Omaha.
3. Although T. Wood cannot be recalled until he spends ten days on Optional Assignment, that's no problem because that would be just in time to start the game on Tuesday 7/17.

evil genius

Can a player file a grievance for such an obvious money saving ploy?

Especially when he has 1.13 whip and 3.00 era.

It's a smart move. But it would also be a dumb move. Why piss off a guy just as he is finding a groove?

that too

Good way to piss off the agent. With Rizzo they can play dumb and say the plan was at least 162 AAA games and we'll see if they stick with it with some of the other minor league prospects.

They could probably easily sneak it past the Chicago media by just saying it's a procedural move to get Dempster back in and buy them some time, but I imagine Wood and his agent would be less than happy.

Sat, 07/07/2012 - 6:23am — jacos

Can a player file a grievance for such an obvious money saving ploy?

Especially when he has 1.13 whip and 3.00 era.

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

JACOS: Remember, the Cubs did essentially the very same thing with Anthony Rizzo.

They left Rizzo at Iowa (where he was destroying the PCL) even as the major league club was struggling to score runs and hit home runs, finally recalling him THREE DAYS AFTER the deadline where he would have hit 1+000 of MLB Service Time by the end of this season (thereby pushing eligibility to be a FA until post-2018 instead of post-2017). And he didn't file a grievance, and he doesn't seem to be pissed-off about it, either.

So yes, the player (Travis Wood in this case) could file a grievance.

But then the Cubs can say:

1. We don't need a 4th (or even a 5th starter) again until Tuesday July 17th.

2. We want T. Wood to stay stretched-out as a starter and take his regular turn next Thursday (even if it's at AAA) instead of just sitting around for ten days waiting for his turn (clubs often do this at the beginning of the season coming out of Spring Training, when the club's 5th starter gets optioned to the minors to get regular work as a starter until a 5th starter is needed).

3. Our other four starters cannot be optioned to the minors (Maholm, Dempster, and Garza have too much Service Time, and Samardzija is out of options). Only T. Wood can.

BTW, Travis Wood will be out of minor league options next season, so if the Cubs don't option him out now, then (unless he gets outrighted to the minors or released in the meantime) he will definitely be a FA post-2016.

So gaining one more year of club control (pushing T.Wood's eligibility to be a FA until post-2017) in exchange for optioning him to the minors for ten days when he is not scheduled to start for ten days anyway is just the smart thing to do.

Isn't it?

And from Wood's POV, he will be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time post-2013 whether he has 3+003 MLB Service Time (if he isn't optioned) or 2+165 MLB Service Time (if he is optioned), because even if he falls just short of three years of service time post-2013, he'd still be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two."

As always, good stuff Phil, I just disagree with the comparison with Rizzo. He was a minor leaguer whose last appearance in the majors was a disaster. The team's comparison was to how they brought him up too fast in San Diego. I think that point is arguable -- his batting stance has changed a lot since SD, but it was still a much more reasonable proposition. Free agency is highly prized for baseball players. The combination of pushing my free agency back a year, and the humility of going to the minors, even if it was explained as taking one for the team, would really piss me off as a player.

If the Cubs do not option Travis Wood to the minors for ten days over the All-Star Break, then the question is...

Why did the braintrust recall Travis Wood on May 22, when if they had waited just FOUR MORE DAYS (that is, waited until May 26 to recall him), they would have gained an extra year of club control?

In other words, was recalling Travis Wood on May 22 instead of May 26 worth it, if it meant that Travis Wood would be eligible to be a free-agent a year earlier than he otherwise would have been?

"was recalling Travis Wood on May 22 instead of May 26 worth it"

good point. perhaps there was a Volstad gag-vomit factor that the brain trust just couldn't take anymore.

I don't know if it was worth it, but they obviously needed a pitcher for the 22nd cause he pitched that day.

I believe Wood still has some option years left, so they can still delay his free agency if he falls off the wagon. I'd be surprised if it's not Volstad being optioned.

I doubt they'd want to eff with Wood's confidence or zen or whatever with a demotion and screwing with his free agency while he's going good. Not calling someone up is a lot different than sending someone down IMO. But kudos to Jedstein if they have the balls to pull it off.

Sat, 07/07/2012 - 12:16pm — Rob G.

I don't know if it was worth it, but they obviously needed a pitcher for the 22nd cause he pitched that day.

I believe Wood still has some option years left, so they can still delay his free agency if he falls off the wagon. I'd be surprised if it's not Volstad being optioned.

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

ROB G: Travis Wood will be out of minor league options next season, so 2012 will be the last chance the Cubs will have to option him out

Another player of note who will be out of minor league options in 2013 is Welington Castllo, BTW.

Because the Cubs did not option him to the minors prior to today's game, the Cubs would not be able to recall Travis Wood before Wednesday 7/18 (unless he is being recalled to replace a player who was placed on the DL) if they option him to Iowa tomorrow to make room for Ryan Dempster on the 25-man roster.

That's still OK, though, because the Cubs won't need a 5th starter any earlier than Wednesday 7/18 (or they could even wait to use a 5th starter until as late as Saturday 7/21), so Dempster-Maholm-Garza could pitch FRI-SAT-SUN vesus AZ and Samardzija could start TUE (7/17) versus MIA, and then T. Wood could be recalled to start the Wednesday game versus MIA (that's if the Cubs decide to option Travis Wood to Iowa tomroow).

I can't answer that question, and I completely understand your logic, and, in addition, my overall knowledge of baseball personnel management is the tiny, tiny fraction of what I remember from your posts. I just wouldn't do it if I was them. It's possible that Wood would simply be completely professional about it, understand what is happening, and, I'm sure TheoCorp would talk about the need to take one for the team. I still wouldn't do it. If he wasn't in such a groove? Maybe. But to me, it wouldn't be worth the risk of throwing him off. He probably won't be around by the time he's a free agent, anyway, given the shelf life of pitchers these days, so there's always a chance that the whole point of this free agent shuffling is moot.

AZ Phil- what % would you give this happening?
Also I believe you gave this scenario before with another Cub pitcher in the past. Wells, possibly? Have Cubs done this before?

Sat, 07/07/2012 - 9:12am — jacos

AZ Phil- what % would you give this happening?

Also I believe you gave this scenario before with another Cub pitcher in the past. Wells, possibly? Have Cubs done this before?

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

JACOS: I actually think it's fairly likely, if for no other reason than Travis Wood won't be ready to throw even one inning until the middle of next week (and the Cubs don't start up again post-ASB until Friday), and because the Cubs do need to make a roster move to make room for Ryan Dempster, and they probably will want to keep Chris Volstad on the 25 (at least through this weekend) as a fall-back in case Dempster can't pitch or in case he gets shut-down early in the game.

I would have to look back in the archives, but I believe it would have been this way with Randy Wells one year, and possibly with Sean Marshall another year.

BTW, Jim Hendry would NEVER do something like this. That's why all the agents loved him.

I dunno in some respects this reminds me of treating players like a video game. I am completely stat oriented, but behind those stats are human emotions and failings. You can't just toss players around based solely on spread sheets and expect things to go well.

Implicit in the Cubs' waiting until late June to promote Anthony Rizzo was the unwritten rule that once he was up here--assuming a major-league level of performance--he would stay.

Doesn't Travis Wood get the benefit of the same rule?

Sun, 07/08/2012 - 10:10am — VirginiaPhil

Implicit in the Cubs' waiting until late June to promote Anthony Rizzo was the unwritten rule that once he was up here--assuming a major-league level of performance--he would stay.

Doesn't Travis Wood get the benefit of the same rule?

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

VA PHIL: That certainly would be true if it was a matter of optioning Travis Wood to the minors on September 12th, except in this particular case it was about the All-Star Break where a 4th starter isn't needed again until Tuesday 7/17 and a 5th starter isn't needed until (at least) Wednesday 7/18, and so the Cubs could have legitimately optioned T. Wood to the minors to get his regularly scheduled start on Thursday 7/12 (for Iowa at Omaha), instead of sitting around inactive for ten or more days.

But even if it's an "unwritten rule" that Travis Wood can't be sent to the minors for ten days over the All-Star Break, even though a spot on the 25-man roster is needed for Ryan Dempster and the 4th and 5th starters aren't needed again until 7/17-7/18 (and I don't agree that in this particular case it is, for the reasons I explained as carefully and thoroughly as I can in previous comments on this thread), then why didn't Epstein/Hoyer wait FOUR MORE DAYS to recall T. Wood (that is, wait until May 26th instead of recalling him on May 22nd), if the difference was whether Travis Wood could be a FA post-2016 (if he was recalled on May 22) or not until post-2017 (if he was recalled on May 26)?

Cause it's T. Wood, not Anthony Rizzo and they needed a starter for the 22nd.

Sun, 07/08/2012 - 1:41pm — Rob G.

Cause it's T. Wood, not Anthony Rizzo and they needed a starter for the 22nd.

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

ROB G: So for a club that talks about the importance of "long-term assets" versus short-term benefits, it was worth giving up a year of club control to recall T. Wood on 5/22 instead of waiting four more days to bring him up?

Because clearly no one in the Cubs' FO has a grasp on these things as well as our AZ Phil (and I mean that without even a hint of sarcasm).

I'd think twice about optioning players playing well to the minors
to restrict their service time. It would sure be something that would piss off players and agents. Keeping a minor league guy in the minors is one thing. doing that to a player who has spent most of the last 3 seasons in the majors is stupid, and needlessly penny pinching.

Mon, 07/09/2012 - 9:24am — Dusty Baylor

I'd think twice about optioning players playing well to the minors
to restrict their service time. It would sure be something that would piss off players and agents. Keeping a minor league guy in the minors is one thing. doing that to a player who has spent most of the last 3 seasons in the majors is stupid, and needlessly penny pinching.

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

DUSTY B: You didn't notice that the Cubs left Anthony Rizzo in the minors just long enough to prevent him from being eligible to be a free-agent post-2017, thus postponing his eligibility to be a FA until post-2018? You don't see that?

I'll bet Rizzo and his agent know it.

"the Cubs left Anthony Rizzo in the minors, etc."

Phil, you can leave a guy in the minors his whole career, or send him home this morning. He has no standing. The rules--some perhaps unwritten--are different for major leaguers. That is, unless--like Wells--they flirt with demotion. But you're not suggesting that the Cubs demote Wood, just they send him down for a few days. I don't think they're at liberty to do that.

BTW, Jim Hendry would NEVER do something like this. That's why all the agents loved him.

What GMs HAVE done something like this?

Again... this would be obviously and intentionally demoting a high-performing player solely to preserve an extra year of club control. The MLBPA would (rightfully) freak out.

And this is completely different than keeping Rizzo down in the minors to get an extra year of control. For one, Rizzo came up last year and really struggled. Two, Wood is already up and has pitched extremely well. They simply are not comparable.

Sun, 07/08/2012 - 9:30pm — big_lowitzki

What GMs HAVE done something like this?

Again... this would be obviously and intentionally demoting a high-performing player solely to preserve an extra year of club control. The MLBPA would (rightfully) freak out.

And this is completely different than keeping Rizzo down in the minors to get an extra year of control. For one, Rizzo came up last year and really struggled. Two, Wood is already up and has pitched extremely well. They simply are not comparable.

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

BIG LO: Anthony Rizzo was absolutely destroying the PCL and the Cubs desperately needed middle-of-the-order power and yet Rizzo was left in AAA until he reached the point in the season when the Cubs would gain an extra year of club control (where he would be eligible to be a FA for the first time post-2018, instead of post-2017 if he had been recalled on or before 6/22).

Only then was he recalled.

Apparently you fail to see this, but the Cubs front office clearly manipulated the rules to gain an extra year of club control with respect to Rizzo, and they had every right to do this and I applaud them for doing so. MLB is a business, and both clubs and players (and their agents) do what they have to do (within the rules).

The fact that Travis Wood has been pitching well lately (albeit not good enough to make the N. L. All-Star team, or even well enough to start this weekend versus AZ) does not mean that he was not the best choice to go down when Ryan Dempster returned from the DL (even if it had no affect on when he would be eligible to be a free-agent), and there is no way that Travis Wood could win a grievance on this (just as Rizzo would not have been able to win a grievance):

1. The Cubs needed a roster slot on Sunday 7/8 for Ryan Dempster.

2. A 4th starter would not be needed again until 7/17 and a 5th starter would not be needed again until 7/18 (at the earliest) or 7/21 (at the latest).

3. Maholm, Garza, and Dempster have too much MLB Service Time to get sent to the minors, and Samardzija is out of minor league options. Among the starting pitchers, only Travis Wood has minor league options available.

4. By sending him to Iowa, T. Wood could stay stretched-out and get his regular work and start a game with five days rest on Thursday (at Omaha), and then be recalled in time to start the game on Wednsday 5/18 (also on five days rest) at Wrigley Field versus Miami, instead of sitting around for ten days between his last pre-ASB start at NY on 7/6 and his first scheduled post-ASB start versus MIA on 7/17.

The last two times a player won a grievance as the result of being optioned to the minors was Minnesota Twins LHP Glen Perkins, who was optioned to AAA Rochester by MIN on September 1, 2009 (the date Active List rosters expand) just so that he would not qualify for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2009 (Perkins did not dispute the Twins right to option him to the minors to keep him from being eligible for salary arbitration as a"Super Two," but instead claimed he had a sore shoulder and so he should have been placed on the Twins DL on 9/1 instead of being optioned to the minors), and Los Angeles Dodgers INF Tony Abreu, who filed a grievance after he was optioned to the minors in July 2007 when he claimed he had an abdominal injury (this was not a matter of the Dodgers tryng to suppress Abreu's MLB Service Time to avoid salary arbitration after that season, although it did ultimately affect when T. Abreu was first eligible for arbitration in 2010).

So the last two times a player won a grievance after being optioned to the minors was a matter of the player claiming he was injured when he was optioned to the minors, NOT because being optioned to the minors affected when he would be eligible for salary arbitration or when he would qualify to be a free-agent.

BTW, Mark Prior filed a grievance and had a minor league Optional Assignment voided a few years ago (back when he was with the Cubs), when he claimed he had a sore shoulder when he was optioned to the minors during Spring Training.

When I mentioned Jim Hendry in a previous comment on this thread, it was with respect to his tendency to look out for a player's interests more than most GMs do, like not offering salary arbitration to Type "A" and Type "B" free-agents (making them more attractive to other clubs because the club that signs the player would not have to give-up a compensatory draft pick), or giving players more money and for more years (and maybe even a NTC) than the player probably deserved, and not using the CBA and MLB Rules to his advantage.

Apparently you fail to see this, but the Cubs front office clearly manipulated the rules to gain an extra year of club control with respect to Rizzo

Huh? How do I "fail to see this" when I explicitly stated that what you are suggesting is different than how they treated Rizzo. Yet somehow I fail to see how they treated Rizzo? Got it.

You bashed Jim Hendry for not doing this kind of roster management, but then I asked this:

What GMs HAVE done something like this?

And you didn't answer. What examples do you have of GMs sending high-performing players down to the minors simply to delay their arbitration clock? I don't want the Rizzo examples - those are different. There is a difference between waiting to call a player up, and sending a player down even though he is performing very well on the big league club.

Didn't the Marlins do this with Logan Morrison last season?

No- Logan Morrison got demoted because of a bad attitude, among other things, if I recall. I never saw anything linking his demotion to adding a year of club control. This again would be a completely different situation with Wood.

Also, Morrison did file a grievance over the demotion, but I am not sure there has been a resolution on the grievance.

Do you realize how often you start a post with "Huh?"

No... how often?

A lot.

That's some good work, AZ Phil.

r.hill (BOS) was moved to the 60-day DL yesterday...elbow must not be looking so good.

from mlbtr...

The Cubs have released Hong-Chih Kuo. They signed him to a minor league deal in early-June. The 30-year-old left-hander has not appeared in a game yet this season after battling back and anxiety issues last year. Kuo owns a 3.73 ERA in parts of seven big league seasons, all with the Dodgers.

Another nice outing for 23 yr old RHSP Matt Loosen yesterday: 7IP, 3H, 0R, 1BB, 10K. 7-3 / 2.84ERA on the season, 73IP, 48H, 25BB, 71Ks, all with Daytona. 20 yr old Alcantara a single short of hitting for the cycle, with 6th HR, 7th triple, and 13th double ... and no fielding/throwing errors to boot.

Alcantara is showing he is a hitting prospect with his performance as a 20 yr old at a pitching friendly Florida league.

Daytona also has interesting pitching prospects now....Loosen is coming along well. Kyler Burke is starting to get his bearings at Daytona (he had a rough start after an all-star performance at Peoria and now is getting slightly more consistent). PJ Francescon was also dominant at Peoria (53 IP, 28 H, 14 BB, 42 K, 5-1 1.86) though he was repeating that level. He is 23 and is also starting to get his bearings at Daytona (now 1-2 with 3.40, starting tonight). Austin Kirk had a great first half at Daytona (as he did at Peoria last year) and is now 4-2 2.63 95.2 IP, 86 H, 58 K, 26 BB. Robert Whitenack is trying to make his comeback from TJ surgery there and hasn't been great, though his performance is getting more stable.

I am not sure of Francescon's stuff, though I know he was someone who fell (we got him in the 40th round) for signability reasons. Truly I think Loosen, Francescon and Kirk are all 3rd or 4th starters who could be reliable players. Whitenack has, I believe, the knucklecurve, that could make him a #5 or, if as good as his performance before TJ, a #2. Burke has the arm to be a #1 or #2, though nowhere near the experience and consistency.

All in all, Daytona is pretty exciting to watch, with these pitchers, Sczur, Alcantara and Rubi Silva as most consistent hitters (and Rohan before being promoted) and Torreyes as one to watch and hope.

There were no signability issues with P. J. Francescon.

He was drafted as a college senior in the 40th round of the 2011 draft out of an NAIA school (Trevecca Nazarene) and got a $1,000 bonus. (He spent his first two college years at Middle Tennessee State before suffering a shoulder injury).

Francescon was the break-out pitcher at Minor League Camp this year, as he developed a sinker to go with his four-seam fastball and his strikeout pitch, an outstanding change-up that breaks straight down like a forkball. It looks almost exactly like Michael Wuertz's drop-slider, and in fact Wuertz is the pitcher to whom I would compare Francescon.

And just as Wuertz was a starting pitcher in the minors before getting moved to the bullpen mid-seaaon 2003, I suspect Francescon will eventually end up a reliever, too.

Thank you Az Phil....based on his strong performance, I must have convinced myself that he was a better prospect when drafted than is actually true!

from a BP/Kevin Goldstein "future shock" article...

First Base: Dan Vogelbach, Cubs
A second-round pick last year who signed for first-round money with a $1.6 million bonus, Vogelbach drew some Prince Fielder comparisons during his high school career in Florida, both for his monstrous power, as well has his physique. At just six feet tall and somewhere around 250 pounds, Vogelbach is the definition of a bat-only prospect, as he's a 20 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale and a poor defender. While it's early, he's hit .432/.368/.773 in 10 Arizona League games, and he wouldn't have gotten that kind of bonus without scouts believing that the bat can play.

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

Not only has Vitters been hitting well, he is also walking more. His line in the last 10 games is .368/.457/.632, with 7 BB in 45 plate appearances.

For those who thought he would never take enough walks, the Cubs have found the magic solution: Put Vitters in a key spot in the order (#4 in most of these games) and hit Blake Dewitt behind him. At least one of these walks (from last night) was intentional, and I am sure that some others were unintentionally intentional.

and hit Blake Dewitt behind him
---
finally, Blake DeWitt has a purpose in the universe!

When I saw the game in Round Rock, they had Dewitt batting fourth, which was probably the strangest clean up hitter sitch I have ever seen in my life.

so much for theory and saving a year of Wood free agency...

Volstad send back to Iowa to re-activated Dempster

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