Sol-Era Begins with a Whimper at HoHoKam Park

Making his professional debut after signing a reported nine-year $30M contract with the Cubs, Cuban defector Jorge Soler went 0-3 as the DH, and the AZL Mariners pushed across a run in the top of the 12th to edge the AZL Cubs 4-3 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

box score

Soler hit a two-bouncer to the shortstop on a 2-1 pitch leading-off the bottom of the 2nd, a one-bouncer back to the pitcher on the first pitch he saw leading off the bottom of the 5th, and lined-out to the pitcher on a 3-2 pitch with no outs and a runner at 1st in the bottom of the 7th (the runner was doubled off 1st base for a DP) after taking a close 2-2 pitch just off the outside corner for ball three. Soler was removed for a PH in the bottom of the 9th. (He was pre-scheduled to get just three AB in the game and then be replaced).

There is (surprise) a mistake in tonight's "official" milb box score (see link above).

Cubs 2012 1st round Supplemental draft pick RHP Paul Blackburn (selected by the Cubs with 2012 Rule 4 Draft slot #56, the slot awarded to the Cubs when Article XX-B Type "B" FA Carlos Pena signed with TB last off-season) did indeed start the game for the AZL Cubs, but he pitched only one inning (20 pitches - 11 strikes), allowing one run on two hits (both doubles) and a walk. (The second double was a two-out RBI double that was actually a routine pop up that RF Yasiel Balaguert apparently lost in the twilight sky).

Then Cubs 2012 12th round pick RHP Justin Amlung (who is not presently listed in the box score) worked the 2nd & 3rd innings (22 pitches - 14 strikes), allowing a single and no runs, with one strikeout.


Cubs VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita was at the game tonight.

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Comments

Thanks PHIL. What is it with the scorer over there?

Anyway, I guess you would have to literally say it is still a small sample size on Soler.

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 5:54am — The E-Man

Thanks PHIL. What is it with the scorer over there?

Anyway, I guess you would have to literally say it is still a small sample size on Soler.

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

E-MAN: The main problem is that the official scorer has to call the Minor League Baseball HQ every half-inning by phone to verbally recite the play-by-play from the previous inning so it can be posted on the milb.com web-site, and this recitation often spills-over into the start of the next half-inning, and so the official scorer misses lineup changes and sometimes even game action because he isn't paying attention.

Why they do it this way, I have no idea.

There was even one game where the box score did not show a run scoring in the top of the 9th (the run did not have a bearing on who won the game, but still the runner did plainly and clearly score). I don't know how the scorer missed that one, but he did.

One thing I would say about Soler's debut was that he appeared very antsy in the dugout between ABs. Maybe it would have been better for him if he had played RF instead of being the DH in his first pro game.

As it was, Soler tried to find things to do when he wasn't hitting, like playing catch with RF Yasiel Balaguert (Soler's buddy from the Cuban Junior National Team) when Balaguert was warming up prior to the start of the top of each inning, and jogging up & down the RF foul area to stay loose between innings.

So why did they DH him do you think? Is it because they are worried he isn't in game shape? Injury avoidance?

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

Reading this article makes me wonder how much thought goes into how prospects might get along when they are thinking about draft picks. Obviously, it shouldn't come too much into play, unless the guy is a notorious d-bag, but in this case, it strikes me as a real positive that the biggest international signing made this year and the club's top pick have so much in common...

For the most part, I doubt comes into play, but I imagine Soler is under a lot of pressure to succeed with the added stress of not speaking the language of his teammates and being in such a different culture. It's gotta be nice for him to actually be around someone he likes.

I think sometimes we lose focus on how difficult it's gotta be actually being a defector trying to succeed in such a high pressure environment.

Absolutely! I totally agree.

Blue Jays acquired LHP J.A. Happ, RHPs Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter from the Astros in exchange for OF Ben Francisco, RHPs Francisco Cordero, Asher Wojciechowski and Joe Musgrove, LHP David Rollins and C Carlos Perez.

per Rotoworld.

Astros get (depending on the list), #10 (Wojciechowski), #15(Musgrove), #20(Perez) of a good system and Blue Jays get a major league mid/back-end pitcher.

flip reliever as well (Lyon and Cordero) and then there's Carpenter vs. Rollins, but I don't know anything about them.

Seems fair all around, odds of either Wojc or Musgrove being as good as Happ are probably about even.

per mlbtr...Jonathan Sanchez (who was DFA'd) to the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie (to KC).

I wonder what went wrong with Sanchez, but I doubt Colorado will cure that.

ugly for ugly trade.

Guthrie, 33, posted a 6.35 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in Colorado. He allowed a league-leading 21 home runs in 90 2/3 innings. He earns $8.2MM this year.

proverbial garbage for garbage trade

both are FA's after this year anyway, I guess it's a 2-month audition to see if they're worth signing for next year.

Heyman on Dempster:

As of late Thursday night, the Dodgers were balking at including the pitching prospects the Cubs most coveted, and the Cubs were engaging other teams, believed to include the Nationals and Braves. L.A. has a decent stash of young mound hopefuls.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/jon-heyman/...

And in the Real world, somehow my enthusiasm for seeing the new Batman movie has waned somewhat after todays shooting news. How fucked up...

Talk about a cursed franchise. First Heath Ledger, now this. Neither the fault of the movie makers of course, just a very, very unhappy coincidence.

you know, I didn't even think about Heath Ledger til you mentioned it. How must Director, Chris Nolan feel today when a psychopath is "inspired" by his art to blow away dozens of people. So, so, very sad...

Was he inspired by anything in the films or just looking for a heavily populated target?

I heard on the radio he told the police he was "The Joker" fwiw. But I'm sure we'll all learn more soon. After the they dis-arm the booby-trapped apartment the fucker lived in.

I suspect that he would have been some other "character" doing damage in some other way, had it not been the Joker and this movie. I can pretty much guarantee that every movie house in the country tonight will be assigning someone to making sure the damn fire escape door is locked from the outside.

If you want some fun overreaction, I now have to recut a piece because it has shooting in it and the theater owners won't show it.

You HAVE to be kidding? The whole film is violence packed. Hopefully you will be booking OT while you are watching the Cub Game.

Not for Batman, another movie they're promoting in front of Batman. Not Gangster Squad if you stumble across that news.

Useful? Morosi update...Dempster to Dodgers 50/50

https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/22637511...

Source with knowledge of Dodgers - Cubs dialogue says “50/50” chance teams get deal done for Ryan Dempster. Still discussing prospects.

.

Dempster rumors just running in circles at this point.

Seemingly Dodgers, Braves, Nats and Tigers are the suitors.

Dempster rumors just running in circles at this point.
---
A blast from the past:
http://www.thecubreporter.com/2008/03/16/grea...

the first post that had a page 2 on the new format from the default post display...double down on the history.

Where's Brian Roberts when we really need him?

Heyman says Cardinals in the mix. I presume Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez are not though.

Marty Noble article, mlb.com on "Santo Would Be Clicking his Heels into the HOF"

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

The beginning of the HOF weekend. I'm sure I'll shed a tear or two watching the ceremony. Hopefully it will be broadcast live on the mlb network

Buster Olney‏@Buster_ESPN

A handful of teams dabbling in Ryan Dempster trade talks,and some proposals have been exchanged. Talk will continue after he starts tonight.

a behind the scenes video of the State Farm commercial with Kerry Wood and Andre Dawson. Love Dawson wearing Ivy around his neck.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nNRGB7polQ

and the original commercial:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghITg_eq8Zo&fe...

after he starts tonight.
---
Lineup: DeJesus, Castro, Rizzo, Soriano, LaHair, Clevenger, Barney, Valbuena, Dempster, Dempster

hooooooooooooly crap.

tim mccarver without "tv makeup" on REALLY shows his age. i mean...wow.

he was being interviewed on a WGN piece about R.Santo's HOF induction. he barely looked like the person most of us know.

I always assumed he was not a person and just some robot sent by the Cylons to annoy us to death.

Much to my surprise, Dempster has turned into one of my favorite Cubs. I hope he comes back next year.

scoreless streak over at 33 innings...rough 1st for dumpster so far. 1 out, 3 consecutive singles...

-edit- make that 4 singles in a row...0-2, 1 out

3ip 6h 2bb 2k (4er)

...not a good night so far for dumpster

keithlaw‏@keithlaw

Fastball off. 86-88. "@jayrigdon5: @keithlaw How did Blackburn look?"

Former Cub farmhand, Lefty Donnie Veal enters the game in the 8th for the WSux. Men on 1st-2nd, 1 out. K's Ryan Rayburn and Alex Avilla. Tigers ahead 4-2.

I don't like the WSox but do hope Veal succeeds.

You and Steve Stone

up 9-0 in 6th, Strausburg on mound, game over...right?

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?topic_id=11...

Odd that they didn't show Uggla's stop to end the game. Made a dive on a grounder to his right, spun around on his knee or something, and barely threw the guy out, and I'm pretty sure there was a guy on first so it was a pretty big play.

Okay, so maybe she's not the best baseball sourse out there. But still...

peggy kusinski‏@peggykusinski

Hearing holdup of #Cubs #Dempster to #Dodgers could be his desire for a 2 year extension... Wait & see! @nbcchicago

http://twitter.com/peggykusinski/status/22666...

Now this from Rosenthal:

Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_Rosenthal

Source: #Dodgers "very unlikely" for #Cubs' Dempster. Prefer not to trade better prospects for rentals. Garza (thru 13) more logical target.

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/
Muskat Ramblings...including:

The Dodgers haven’t given up on landing Ryan Dempster, although the tone of rumors cooled noticeably Saturday...Meanwhile, the Dodgers reportedly are refusing to deal pitching prospect Zack Lee for Dempster because Dempster would essentially be a two-month rental as an upcoming free agent and the Dodgers invested $5.25 million to sign Lee in 2010...The Cubs are believed to be holding out for Lee.

Dustin Geiger hit his ninth home run and Taiwan Easterling hit his fourth in Peoria’s 9-6 win over Western Michigan. Javier Baez extended his hitting streak to 15 games, and Geiger and Easterling each finished with two hits.

Rock Shoulders went 4-for-4, including his fifth home run...

Jorge Soler was scheduled to start in the outfield Saturday for the Cubs’ Mesa Rookie League team in his second pro game.

(I eagerly await Az Phil's report on Soler in the OF)

The White Sox have acquired Brett Myers from the Astros.

Phew, just traded him in my NL only league.

They say if he's closing or keeping Reed?

Rotoworld says Reed staying as closer.

Astros are paying the bulk of his contract and buyout. The Sox would get stuck paying him should his option vest (games finished). Sounds like they'll try to avoid that.

astros are making a lot of "throwing shit at a wall and see what sticks" trades...

this from the same club that took a perfectly fine 200ip pitcher and turned him into a $14m closer ($21m over 2 years if they chose to keep him long enough to vest his option).

...better to get something than nothing i guess.

Buster Olney‏@Buster_ESPN

Rival execs noting Astros are following path of Devil Rays: Field a team so bad that they will draft No. 1 or near top of draft for years.

matt garza done after 3ip...forearm injury/tightness from the looks of it.

j.germano makes his debut.

Fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff*&%

Seconded. And here I was thinking maybe he left because the Cubs got a deal in place. Looks like maybe they ought to start considering that contract extension more carefully.

fwiw, he didn't crumple or anything...it could be something as minor as cramping (remember Z's issues?).

he didn't seem pissed, anyway...and he's the type that would probably show a physical manifestation of being pissed if he was injured.

len/bob don't seem to be too concerned, though all they have is experience and video to re-run.

Well, that's encouraging at least. Doesn't sound like Dave Dravecky v2.

Here's to hoping he doesn't even have to miss his next start.

Welcome to Cubbery Theo and Jed!!

Lordy. Was looking to log into here and see that a deal was done. Figures he was removed for an injury. Yep, pure cubbery.

len/bob just said he's 100% -not- being pulled for a trade.

no word in seriousness of injury yet, though.

garza...cramping right triceps.

xrays taken, negative.

Phew.

8 run bottom 7th...and counting...2 out...ugg.

...make that 9 runs

...make that 10 runs

...make that 12 runs (7 doubles this inning, 1 triple)

61 pitches, 4 pitchers...and it's finally f'n over. 12 runs ties franchise records for the most runs scored in an inning for STL, as well as most runs given up in an inning for CHC.

Javier Baez at it again...

3-4, Triple, HR, 2rbi, stolen base.

thru 8, South Bend ahead 6-5
-edit- final, 6-5. no further at bats for Baez.

Posted this on another site earlier, here's my comments from tonight's Peoria game:

I went tonight with my family and had to leave after the 5th, so I managed to see Baez homer, single, and triple. Zapata was in left and had a good at bat with an RBI opposite field single. I'll probably go tomorrow and Monday, too. A few notes:

Baez:
First inning, first pitch HR to dead center out of the park. The fence is (guessing) 12' tall and the batters eye is probably 20' tall above the fence. 405' to center field and it cleared it easily.
Second at bat he took a few pitches and eventually went back up the middle for a single. He made a delayed steal of second, the catcher's throw was to the 3rd base side of the bag, but had it been accurate would have made it a close play. The throw went into CF and Baez moved over to 3rd.
Third at bat he went with the pitch and hit the wall on the fly (maybe 5' shy of another homer) in right center. He was looking triple all the way and slid into third head first, though he could have went in standing up. He was eventually stranded at third, but he put continuous pressure on the catcher by starting for home on every ball in the dirt.
I'm not sure if there was a ball hit to him while I was watching, but in the 4th he chased a blooper/pop-up into left center and caught it on the run over his shoulder. Both outfielders were running at him and he never quit running to get to it. Very impressive play.
It was obvious that he was by far the best player on the field tonight. The opposing pitcher was nothing special, throwing 89-90 mostly.
Cates:
He looked to have a very deliberate delivery/motion, even in warmups. That said, he didn't look like he was max-effort guy. The first inning really screwed him with two errors (a throwing error by Darvill at third and a fielding error by DeVoss with the bases loaded). He threw a lot of pitches that inning. He was 90-92 throughout. Also threw a 73 mph curve and I believe a 81 mph change up.
Shafer: 2 K's in his first inning of work. Looked very fluid/loose compared to Cates.
DeVoss and Zapata both showed a good plate approach, taking a lot of pitches and eventually making solid contact.
Darvill hit the hardest non-Baez ball of the night. He continues to intrigue me, but his odds seem slim of getting to MLB level.

If any questions or requests for what to look for tomorrow/Monday, let me know.

How does Baez look against breaking balls?

I've said it before, we are so used to seeing so-so prospects in the Cubs system over the years. But when occasionally the REAL deal arrives, it so obvious it makes all the others look silly. Baez is the real deal, Cubs finally got a winner with a top 10 draft pick. Yay!

Bring back Hendry!!!

I'm psyched about Baez so far, too, but let's not jump the gun. Remember, this is what Corey Patterson did in the Midwest League in his age 19 season: .320/.358/.592 20 HR 17 3B 35 2B 33 SB. So far I'll give Baez that he's having a great season, that the reports on his bat speed are glowing, and that he is apparently extremely competitive and driven. He'll clearly be the Cubs #1 prospect going into next year. But "real deal" is a title he'll have to earn by repeating (or improving upon, especially in the area of plate discipline) this performance as he proceeds through the system.

In many ways, Patterson was the real deal.

He was the youngest player in the majors when he made his debut at age 20 in 2000. He has played in over 1,200 games, has played solid CF defense (career .987 fielding percentage), stolen bases at a solid clip--218 stolen bases with 64 CS (77%)--and hit for some power (career .400 slugging percentage)

Patterson was rushed, probably had some bad managing, hit some injuries, and also ran into some tough luck/timing.

When I look back, I think we ended up seeing the worst Corey Patterson. That was the Corey Patterson that flamed out, and he still has played in 1200+ big league games.

You give me another Midwest League Corey Patterson today, and I take him in a heartbeat. I figure like he has a 1/3 chance of being a serviceable bench guy/spot starter at worst, probably a 1/3 chance of being a Mike Cameron good defense/decent power/decent speed guy, and probably a 1/3 chance of being a Bobby Bonds/Cesar Cedeno type all-star speed-power guy.

When I watched Patterson play I saw a natural athlete, but I didn't really see a baseball player. He seemed to have absolutely no instincts for the game. He had a horrible vision of the strike zone, flailing away at anything low and away in a waythat made the early Shawon Dunston look like a master of the strike zone. His outfield play was pretty poor, with bad routes and no apparent ability to know how and when to hit a cutoff man. His base running was poor.

I don't know how much of that has changed since leaving the Cubs. He's managed to cling to a job somewhere all this time, and the guy deserves some credit for perseverance. It has to be tough hearing about what a great star you'd be and end up with a career line like he has.

I get the sense that Baez doesn't lack those same baseball instincts. It would be interesting to hear AZ's take on that, however.

good points.

I thought Cpat had figured it out in 2003 then he blew his knee out.

SI's treatment of Ron Santo, HOF

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers...

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

Garza, who has a screw near his elbow from a childhood injury, went on the DL for 21/2 weeks last season with tightness in the same area. It was diagnosed as a bone contusion.

‘‘Anything to do with your elbow area as a pitcher, you get nervous,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m still young. I wanted to take the precaution, so I said something. Usually I wouldn’t say anything and go out there and muscle up.’’

Manager Dale Sveum said Garza would be evaluated again in the next couple days to determine his status for his scheduled start Friday against the Cardinals at home.

Garza, who said he had trouble fully extending his elbow after the third inning, didn’t sound especially certain.

‘‘I’m more of an optimist,’’ he said. ‘‘I hope so. I hate missing starts.

‘‘I don’t know how it happened. I’m just pissed off and frustrated because it felt like I was throwing the ball well.’’

No Soler debut in the OF. Game postponed. Rain in Goodyear?

http://www.milb.com/scoreboard/league.jsp?sid...

the AZ Cubs are at home Sunday night vs the Reds (9pm CST start, 7pm local).

Sun, 07/22/2012 - 8:11am — Cubster

No Soler debut in the OF. Game postponed. Rain in Goodyear?

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

CUBSTER: We had a dust storm (haboob) with scattered power outages out here last night around 6 PM.

The Cubs-Indians game at Goodyear was the only one that was actually postponed, although another AZL game was called after five innings, and a couple of others had lengthy delays.

Garza postgame interview (video)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/71...

Says he wasn't dehydrated.

Rogers article on Santo and the timeline of how he let teammates and the Cubs organization know about his diabetes. First Cub teammate in on it was his roommate and backup catcher Cuno Barragan.

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

Baragan just turned 80. His only mlb HR was on his first Cub at bat. His brief Cub career was from Sept 1st, 1961-April 21st, 1963, so he must have been Santo's roommate for the 1962 season.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuno_Barragan

Quote from a Cafardo article:

“Some of the demands out there are ludicrous,” said one NL adviser. “We asked about a lefty pitcher and they asked us for our best pitching, best hitting, and a couple of other established players. I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ That’s why I’m thinking despite all the talking, I’m not sure much is going to get done.”
-------------------------------------------
Francisco Liriano, Wandy Rodriguez, Jason Vargas, Paul Maholm? Or probably Cole Hamels.

Yeah, but aren't the "demands" of the FA agents for their players ludicrous too? The owners always manage to find the money - except for the last year or two for the B-Type.

Take A-Ram, for example. Here is what 3/36 gets you for a 34 year old 3rd baseman that is not a good fielder:
.274 .345 .467 .812

So, what exactly is ludicrous Mr. "NL Advisor"?

I didn't get if you were condemning the A-Ram contract or defending it?
The avg NL line is .254/.318/.401, and a OPS+ of 94. Ramirez has 30 doubles, 10 HR, 54 RBI, and a OPS+ of 114. Meh...given the alteratives? I'd take A-Ram over most NL 3B.

Not at 34 years old, imo. Its $12MM this year, and 14MM 2013.

This year, with what he's doing, absolutely.
I saw it as $6 mill this year..$14, then $16.
Compared to what the Cubs have got for their $2 million? .201/.292/.335

Of course, since the Cubs were planning on a rebuild, letting him go was the right thing to do.

brief comments on Santo from:

Mark Grace, Jimmy Bank (Cubs traveling Secretary), John McDonough, Chip Caray, Brant Brown (now Round Rocks's hitting coach), Andy Mazur, Piniella, Hendry, Baker, Ken Lehman (driver assigned to RS to get him to the press box in a golf cart), Matt Boltz and Pat Hughes.

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

more sourpuss from the Cafardo Sunday Baseball notes:

7. Matt Garza, RHP, Cubs — Is he really what the Red Sox want? Garza has only pitched seven or more innings five times in 18 starts, has allowed 7.9 hits per nine innings, and came out of Saturday night’s game with cramping in his right triceps. He’s also allowed 15 home runs, and occasionally has the yips while throwing to bases. He’s 5-7 with a 4.02 ERA, but did pitch very well July 15, in which he went seven innings, allowed five hits, one walk, and struck out seven. Garza has a year remaining on his contract after this season. The Cubs could be interested in Daniel Bard. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod obviously have a strong history with Bard.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/07/22/...

Bard? The Cubs need another relief pitcher that can't find the strike zone?

Bard? The Cubs need another relief pitcher that can't find the strike zone?
---
Cafardo wants his revenge for Chris Carpenter?

CarrieMuskat Carrie Muskat
#Cubs have recalled LHP Jeff Beliveau from @IowaCubs and optioned Rafael Dolis to the Minor League team

Where did Tony Campana go?

him and joe mather have a really intense game of Monopoly going on in the clubhouse.

One of the clubbies tweeted that it's actually Risk that they're playing.

len/bob said the Garza update is that "it's not a DL-able injury"

also Beliveau, when he gets into a game will be his mlb debut.

otherwise, bad Travis Wood on the mound today. 0-4 and just got out of the 1st.

Vicki Santo finished up her speech.

Congrats to Ron and his family.

Cubs celebrating by losing.

"Cubs celebrating by losing"

How completely and entirely fitting.

Just wait until Dempster, and/or GArza are gone.

The team will set the Cubs losses record for sure.

Let's hope so -- if we are going to be bad, let's be very bad and (i) hopefully get one to two future valuable parts and a few other contributors in trades, (ii) get a high draft pick and hopefully grab a star, and (iii) due to a relatively terrible record, have a relatively higher international signing cap next summer.

If you are bad, there really is no upside on getting to 70 wins....much better to follow the Rays and be very bad for a short period of time and develop a good team more quickly.

HOU laughs at anyone else's attempt to be a last place team...suffer world, suffer.

also, marwin gonzalez (Cubs rule5 pick) seems to be their starting SS and #2 hitter lately.

And Flaherty had HRs Friday and Saturday against Cleveland. This one had some distance.

cubs outscored 23-1 in this sorry ass series vs STL.

fun.

Wait. You are going to hear the ubiquitous, "Sometimes you run into hot pitchers."

d.veal returns to AAA...that was fun for a second.

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