Sorry About That

Sorry about the site hiccup yesterday, I have no idea what happened...but I took it as a sign that I needed to upgrade the site immediately. A kind reader volunteered to help me and we took advantage of the downtime by upgrading the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7...the upgrade before the upgrade. Now I need to make the comment and theme modifications. Hopefully by Tuesday, the actual new site will be up and running, but I'm sure there will be some hiccups along the way.

So expect the site to be up and down periodically throughout the weekend. Feel free to leave comments when it is up. Thanks for your patience and enjoy the holiday weekend.


NOTE: This is a re-post of an article I posted Wednesday.

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 6:12pm — Arizona Phil

The Arizona Fall League rosters have been announced (subject to change), and eight Cubs have been assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox.

Five MLB clubs are associated with each of the six AFL teams, and while Cubs players are always assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox (the Cubs are the Solar Sox "host team" because the Solar Sox play their home games at the Cubs Spring Training stadium at HoHoKam Park), the other four teams vary from year to year.

This year, players from the Dodgers, Astros, Tigers, and Orioles will be assigned to the Solar Sox.

Each of the five teams assigns four pitchers (at least one of whom must be capable of being a starting pitcher) and three position players (specific positions to be filled by each team are determined in a conference call beftween the five MLB clubs farm directors in mid-August).

In addition, clubs can assign additional players (regardless of position) to the AFL team's "Taxi Squad," meaning the player can only be active for games on Wednesday and Saturday (and he has to drive a cab on the other days... just kidding). There are four types of players that MLB clubs typically assign to the AFL.

One is a player eligible for selection in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft who is "on the bubble" as far as being added to his club's 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline.

Another is a very talented young player who is being "fast-tracked" through the system.

Then there are guys who are not eligible for the Rule 5 Draft but who are under consideration for an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.

And finally there are players who were promoted to AA mid-season and who need to more time at the AA time (the AFL is equivalent to AA).

Javier Baez, SS
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Zac Rosscup, LHP
Rubi Silva, IF-OF
Nick Struck, RHP
Matt Szczur, OF
Tony Zych, RHP

Kevin Rhoderick, RHP

Rhee, Rosscup, and Struck would be the three AFL Cubs who are eligible for selection in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft who will get a chance to show that they should be added to the 40-man roster.

Baez is the prospect getting fast-tracked.

Roderick and Zych are AA relievers who will have a chance to show whether they should get an NRI to Spring Training next February with the big club.

And Szczur and Silva are guys who received mid-season promotions from Hi-A (Daytona) to AA (Tennessee) and who have had their ups & downs at that level.

NOTE: This is a re-post of an article I posted after Tuesday night's AZL Cubs game:

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 12:24am — Arizona Phil

Josh Collmenter threw four innings of shutout ball with six strikeouts (3/3 GO/FO, 54 pitches - 37 strikes) and Willie Bloomquist punched an RBI single and later scored to cap a three-run 4th, as the AZL Diamondbacks built up an early 5-0 lead and then hung-on to defeat the AZL Cubs 6-4 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

Collmenter (ulcers) and Bloomquist (back stiffness) are assigned to the AZL Diamondbacks while on minor league rehab assignnments from the parent club.

Garrett Schlecht had two singles, a double (line-drive into the RF corner), and a triple (line-drive into the right-center gap), and scored three runs to lead a Cub attack that fell just short, as the tying run was left-stranded in the bottom of the 9th.

RHP Dillon Maples got the start for the Cubs and labored through a 24-pitch 1st inning that saw two unearned runs score. He did not go back out to the mound in the top of the 2nd.

The D'backs two-run 1st was set-up by a two-base throwing error by Maples himself (he picked-up the ball after a bad bunt and proceeded to throw the ball past 1st baseman Ben Carhart and into RF), but in spite of the error the young right-hander was actually (twice) one strike away from escaping the inning without any damage, but he was unable to get an out on a two-out 3-2 pitch to consecutive hitters (first batter walked, second batter grounded a two-run single that took a lucky bounce off the second base bag before ending-up in short left-centerfield).

Maples once again had good success with his near-unhittable breaking ball, but he had trouble commanding his fastball and so he was constantly pitching from behind in the count throughout the inning. (In his last start on Thursday, Maples was removed from the game after walking four batters in the 2nd inning, after he had easily retired the first four batters he faced).

The D'backs plated three more runs off RHP Tony York (making his first appearance in more than two months) in the 4th to establish a five-run lead, but despite Schlecht's big night, the Cubs could just not come back quite far enough by the time out #27 was registered.

Shawon Dunston Jr was hit in the ribs by a pitch in the bottom of the 5th, and left the game after running the bases. He was last seen bent over and possibly having difficulty breathing, and he appeared to be in some considerable pain. The Cubs cannot afford to lose Dunston (who is probably the best all-around player still left in Mesa) as they head into the AZL playoffs.

With tonight's Cub loss, the AZL Athletics clinched both 1st place in the AZL East and the league's best record, insuring the A's of home-field advantage throughout the AZL playoffs (both games, and that's presuming the A's win the first one).

Meanwhile, the Cubs will be the AZL Wild Card team. and will play both of their games on the road (presuming they beat the A's on Thursday and advance to the Championship Game on Friday).

The AZL Cubs could still finish with the league's best overall record (including playoff games), but that's only if they can beat the A's at Papago Park and then win the Championship Game.

Did I see that he played yesterday? Must be okay if so

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 12:04pm — Jumbo

Did I see that he played yesterday? Must be okay if so


JUMBO: No, Dunston did not play last night (Thursday).

He was injured in the game at HoHoKam Park on Tuesday night (left the game after being hit in the ribs with a pitch), but that story (post) got deleted and so I re-posted it here as a comment (see above) because I do not have access to the system to create a story.

The Cubs did not play on Wednesday, and Dunston did not play in last night's AZL playoff game versus the A's.

BTW, some of the AZL Cubs will probably get promoted to Boise for the NWL playoffs that start next Tuesday, and Dunston was a virtual-lock to be one of therm before he got hurt.

In a semi-final playoff game matching the AZL East winner with the AZL Wild Card team, the Athletics rolled a seven-spot in the 6th to break open what was a one-run game, and proceeded onward to a 15-3 thumping of the Cubs last night at Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Park Baseball Complex in Phoenix.

The Athletics and the Rangers (who defeated the Dodgers 7-3 at Camelback Ranch in the other AZL semi-final playoff game last night) will meet in the AZL Championship Game tonight at Papago Park.

Renato Nunez was the offensive hero for the A's, driving-in five runs with an RBI single, an RBI triple, and a three-run HR.

Starting pitcher Vincent Voiro threw three shutout innings with six strikeouts to lead A's pitchers.

Trevor Gretzky doubled and singled and drove-in two runs and Carlos Penalver had three hits for the Cubs.

RHP Paul Blackburn got the start for the Cubs and took the loss, going three innings (37 pitches - 27 strikes) and allowing three runs on four hits (a single, a double, a triple, and a solo HR), plus a HBP and a WP. He struck out three and did not issue an walk.

Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua relieved Blackburn and worked the 4th & 5th innings (33 pitches - 17 strikes), allowing one unearned run, one hit, and two walks, with one strikeout (the first batter he faced). Paniagua struggled to throw strikes in a 25-pitch 4th (his first inning of work), throwing 15 balls and only 10 strikes.

But Paniagua was gone by the time the A's unloaded in the 6th, tagging Carlos Martinez and Ethan Elias for seven runs (combined), on five hits (including two doubles), three walks, and two WP.

The game got a bit chippy in the bottom of the 8th when Cubs RHP Jin-Young Kim hit A's catcher Philip Pohl with a pitch (the third A's batter to get plunked in the game), prompting someone on the A's bench to yell "Just because you're getting your asses whipped doesn't mean you have to throw at his head." It looked like both benches were about to clear and maybe start brawling, but cooler heads prevailed and nothing further came of it.

Since I cannot access the system to post a story, this comment will have to suffice.

Thanks, as always, Phil. Would you expect Juan Paniagua to get called up to Boise, now that his AZL days are over?

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 1:10pm — Jace

Thanks, as always, Phil. Would you expect Juan Paniagua to get called up to Boise, now that his AZL days are over?


JACE: Yes.

Bell Biv Devoe called up, Raley sent down and done for the season (innings limit). Rusin taking his spot.

Brooks Raley must be recalled no later than September 7th or he will burn a minor league option. That's because a player does not use a minor league option if he spends less than 20 days (aggregate) on Optional Assignment to the minors in a given season, and Raley will reach 20 days on 9/8.

If the Cubs do recall Raley on or before 9/7, the "ten day rule" (where a player generally must remain on a minor league roster for at least ten days if he is sent to the minors by optional or outright assignment) won't apply because the Iowa Cubs' last scheduled game is/was 9/3 (all of the I-Cubs games in New Orleans this weekend have been canceled because of the hurricane, which is why Chris Rusin was sent to AA Tennessee to get work), and a player can be recalled when his minor league club's season is over even if he has not spent 10 consecutive days on Optional Assignment prior to the recall. (The other three cirumstances where a player can be recalled without regard to the "ten day rule" is if the player is recalled to replace another player on the 25-man roster who is placed on the DL, or if a player is recalled as the "26th man" for a doubleheader, or if a player who was on a minor league roster is optioned to the minors by his new club within 24 hours after being acquiired in a trade).

The Cubs could do it as a "Recalled - Not to Report" if they don't want Raley to phyically report to the MLB club (since he has been shut-down), but he would still get paid at the major league salary rate rather than the minor league rate if he is recalled (a difference of about $65K).

So the Cubs need to decide if retaining an extra minor league option year on Raley is worth $65K (plus MLB meal money for each day the Cubs are on the road). I would think it would be, even though Raley isn't exactly a top prospect.

BTW, the Cubs would need to recall Chris Rusin no later than 9/13 (when Rusin reaches his 19th day on Optional Assignment in 2012) if they don't want to burn one of his three minor league options. However, that apparently is not going to be an issue, because Rusin is supposed to start for the Cubs in Washington next Tuesday (9/4).

Also, Miguel Socolovich cannot be recalled by the Cubs until Sunday 9/2 because he was CLAIMED OFF WAIVERS on 8/23 before the Cubs optioned him to the minors and so the "ten day rule" DOES apply to him because acquiring a player by being awarded a waiver claim is not considered the same as acquiring a player in a trade.

Likewise, the "ten day rule" also will apply to Anthony Recker (so he cannot be recalled prior to the official conclusion of the Iowa Cubs regular season on Monday), because even though he was acquired in a trade and then immediately optioned to the minors by the Cubs on 8/25, he was recalled from his Optional Assignment by Oakland and then Designated for Assignment for a period of seven days prior to being traded, which is not the same thing as being recalled for the purpose of being traded.

So, Tony Campana, Adrian Cardenas, Dave Sappelt, and Rafael Dolis can be recalled on Saturday 9/1, but Socolovich can't be recalled until Sunday 9/2, and Raley, Recker, and Rusin cannot be recalled until the day after the conclusion of the minor league regular season (which means no earlier than Tuesday 9/4).

Justin Bour (Southern League)
Dan Vogelbach & Carlos Martinez-Pumarino (Arizona League)
Gioskar Amaya (Northwest League)
links aren't auto-linking....

none for Pacific or Midwest League, Matt Loosen and John Andreoli made FSL

should mention Hak-Ju Lee made Southern League team as well.

DFA'd by Tigers. Guessing Cubs don't end up getting their 2 PTBNL's...probably just cash.

Tigers dealt him to Braves. So hopefully we'll get some kind of PTBNL warm body with the cash?

As of the beginning of today's game, Jackson's slash line is .216/.341/.473 OPS .814 OPS+ 119. Not too shabby, actually, despite all of his whiffs.

Brett Jackson OBP and SLG higher than Rizzo's. Even after Rizzo's HR.

Jackson seems to be super-Jackson right now. Not a better version of Brett Jackson, just an even more extreme version of his strengths and weaknesses.

Seems way to early to judge him, but overall I have a pretty good feeling about the guy. His baseball instincts are on a completely different level than our last baseball prospect. The prospect that isn't frequently overmatched very early in his career is pretty damn rare.

Jackson reminds me in a few ways of Jim Edmonds. Obviously I'm not comparing his accomplishments, but some of his body language, and physical features.

I like Jackson, but he's got this posture and facial expressions that look arrogant. Chin up, puffy chest, sleek glassses, prances around, kinda stiff. Edmonds always looked like the guy you'd want to punch. Jackson has that . . . But I am glad he's our guy you want to punch.

Cubs top of the lineup Mather and Vitters, batting average added together equals .296.

streak buster!!! 2 wins in a row for him.

Pro Scouting Coordinator

I know he rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way, but he was very accessible and had a lot of contacts in scouting industry.

not wanting to go to San Fran

"It’s very hard to play on the West Coast, especially on that field. It’s nothing against that team, it’s more the city, because of the weather. They have a very good team. They’re in first place. But I want to go somewhere I feel comfortable. I know if I go to San Francisco, I won’t feel comfortable in the city. I’d feel comfortable with the team, but not the city.”

What is he talking about? The weather? The field? The people? This doesn't make any sense...

a bit of a guess on my part, but being on the bay, there can be a lot of mist and fog. With his knees, he may not want to be dealing with a consistently slick field. Considering it could be a 2+ year move, that's his choice.

That the weather kicks some serious ass. Maybe he's thinking of Candlestick.

Btw, Soriano, just shut up about it. Cause I'm pretty sure you're not expressing yourself well because of the language barrier. And now it's gonna be twisted into something personal against the city of SF and I'm pretty sure that's not what you mean. Sheesh.

DFA'd by Tigers. Guessing Cubs don't end up getting their 2 PTBNL's...probably just cash.
Baker picked up by the Bravos. Round and Round he goes, where he stops, nobody knows.

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  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 39 min 58 sec ago view
  • rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.

    Fwiw, he can give up 1 ER in 5 innings (or more) and still be under 2. If he gives up 2 ER, he would need throw 9 IP to keep it under 2. 1 ER in 4 IP would give him an ERA of exactly 2.

    In terms of WAR, it's still Scherzer by a lot (6.4), then Cueto (5.6), Lester (5.5), Kershaw (5.5), Roark (5.4), and then Hendricks (5.1)

    Rob G. 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.

    billybucks 2 hours 38 min ago view
  • Agree -- I think you want to keep him on a regular schedule.

    billybucks 2 hours 57 min ago view
  • Ramos torn ACL

    jacos 3 hours 25 min ago view
  • Sure, its not about his record.

    jacos 3 hours 27 min ago view
  • Do you start him Sunday or not?

    @jonmorosi Pitchers w/ sub-2.00 ERA in year of 185+ IP this century: Pedro ’00, Clemens ’05, Kershaw ’13/’14, Arrieta ’15, Greinke ’15, Hendricks ’16.

    Rob G. 4 hours 48 min ago view
  • Yeah -- that would be rough for him. But, Monty is getting people out, he's a lefty and he has experience working out of the bullpen. Hammel? None of the above.

    billybucks 5 hours 43 min ago view
  • even if he's not starting, abandoning hammel would be a bit of a 'screw you.' i think it might be -monty +hammel, but it's speculation.

    either way, someone's gonna be disappointed.

    crunch 6 hours 44 min ago view
  • Joe said he is leaning towards 11 pitchers and 14 position players.

    - 4 starters, Chapman, Rondon, Strop, CJ, Wood, Grimm, Monty. No dice for Cahill or Smith.
    - 3 catchers, Rizz, Zo, Addy, KB, Javy, Heyward, Fowler, Soler, Coghlan, TLS and then Sczcur over Almora?

    billybucks 6 hours 55 min ago view
  • Cubs 3B Jason Vosler made two really bad throws on consecutive AB in the 8th. Fortunately the game was no longer in doubt at the time  

    The first one was a one-hop lob that allowed the batter to reach base on an infield single, and the second was air-mailed so far over the first-baseman's head that it went over the fence and landed in Field #4.

    Arizona Phil 7 hours 30 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Despite the HR, Donnie Dewees is really more of a slash hitter (the HR was an opposite-field line-drive) who can accumulate lots of doubles & triples. He's also a good bunter and can get on base that way, too. Although he was thrown out trying to steal in the game, he's actually a good base-stealer and baserunner.

    Defensively he has plus-range and tracks fly balls OK, so he can play CF, but he has a rag arm that requires the middle infielders to go out further into CF to make relays.

    Arizona Phil 7 hours 31 min ago view
  • I don't know how many of you remember Bobby Knoop, who played 2B for the Angels, White Sox, and Royals back in the day, but he is a coach-emeritus for the Angels, and works with the infielders at Minor League Camp, Extended Spring Training, and Instructs. He's pretty spry for a 77-year old, and he really knows his shit.

    Arizona Phil 7 hours 59 min ago view
  • With a big lead, Chapman was throwing sliders and changeups, something he's reluctant to do in a save situation. (Len and Jim covered this.)

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 7 min ago view
  • Maybe they have a bad owner, I don't know, but they still have players and fans and a franchise, all devastated by this loss of life. Plus, everybody who follows baseball is a fan of a guy like this. It's why I used the word tragedy, which other people throw around but I try to be careful with.

    I'm at an age where I remember old incidents better than recent ones, but I have to go back to Herb Score for something as disturbing.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 23 min ago view
  • That was Dee Gordon's only HR this year. Wow.

    billybucks 8 hours 25 min ago view