Couple things from the Cubs Convention

The guys at Vine Line got me a ticket to this year's convention.
Because they're awesome.
In the past I always arrived late to that Saturday morning meeting with the GM and Manager, ended up standing in the back of the crowded ballroom getting pictures of the backs of Cub fan's heads.
I thought with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum and Shiraz Rehman, I should finally be on time.
Instead of the Hilton on Michigan, it's at the Sheraton on the river this year.
Phones work here which is fabulous, but... new layout.
"Can you tell me where ballrooms 9, 10, and 11 are?" I ask the lady with the Cubs badge.
She points to the numbers above the doors in the lobby.
Duh.
There are also little halls that run between the groups of ballrooms, and I walk down one of those.
I'm an hour early, and there are only about 50 people in here so I grab a seat 2 rows back, excusing myself to step past a number of fans in the row.
After 20 minutes, the Ricketts all walk in and they're talking to people which is cool.
But then they suddenly Len Kasper jumps up onstage and introduces them.
What the hell?
I look at the program, it must be the Ricketts Family Forum.
I've been sitting in the wrong room for a half hour?
And now I... I can't just rudely walk out because I'm right up front.
But this is a q&a thing only - no real speech from the Ricketts.
Question askers line up behind a mic.
I listen to one and then I actually say to the woman next to me, "Weeeeellll, guess I'll go get in line now. And go ask my question. To the Ricketts."
Every time I step over someone's legs in the row, I whisper, "S'cuse me. Gotta go ask my question."
Then I sauntered to the end of the line and hauled ass.
I'm such an idiot.
Okay so now it's onto the Theo thing.
I'm still actually early and get an even better seat than I had.
They're a really impressive group.
You end up with the feeling that no matter the room, they'd be the smartest guys there.
So there were lots of questions and I can't make "actual" quotes, but I took some notes and you'll get the gist.
The Dempster trade thing was a semantics error. 
When Hoyer said Dempster was "in the office", that didn't mean actually in the same office with Hoyer.
It meant Dempster was in the office (building) just in case they needed to discuss something quickly, Hoyer would summon him.
Hoyer also got a mild laugh talking about the "botched" trades, comparing it to buying a house.
Like if something goes wrong with the inspection or whatever, do you say you botched buying a house?
I kind of buy that.
Randy Bush identified Nick Struck as a pitcher he thought was on a faster track.
Theo spoke at length about the "Cubs Way", which I'd only ever thought of as a concept.
But it's apparently a couple hundred-page manual with everything from batting philosophy to how to act off the field that every player no matter the level gets to read and...live by.
Sveum grunted that he'd never gotten anything like it when he was playing.
(It's awesome when you've got Sveum and Epstein in the same room - if they starred in a 70's tv cop show, it would be called "Pinetar and Vorp".)
More Theo: the "mindset of a small market team with the resources of big market" thing - that they'll build the team and when the time is right will have the juice to go get the player(s) to put them over the top.
Somebody asked about the draft and Theo began the answer with the gif above.
Good stuff.
They talked about leaving Peoria for Kane County so that the players there can get used to Chicago and Chicago can get used to those young players.
Some other funny stuff from a guy "representing the senior citizens" who "don't have alot of time".
All in all, a pretty cool event.
And... the emotional bond being created between us and the new team, don't you think this is unique?
Now?
When teams like the Dodgers are being put together overnight with money?
Once the Cubs are truly competitive, don't you think it'll feel more rewarding to have grown with them rather than buying them from Miami?
I know, we don't have any choice.
But if this makes any sense... it seems like more than most fans we'll get to root for our team rather than just our logo.

So...GROW you kids.


Comments

if they starred in a 70's tv cop show, it would be called "Pinetar and Vorp"

HAHAHA

And this is Ricketts as the police captain-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6Y3JyGvFbs

Arkin is a genius. I hope he wins best supporting again.

Greenberg column on planned renovations:

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/8863056/...

Greenburg does not list the planned renovations, he just elaborates the fight as to who should pay and how. Has anyone seen what the plans are? ESPN comments are mostly about a jumbotron and hip hop music...

If you want to see renderings, Yellon's site has a nifty presentation with 25 slides. Very interesting.

It was stated by Al that the construction plan would rebuild (from memory) like, LF Upper Deck, and RF Lower, then the sequence reverses the next off-season.

I posted the slide show in previous post.

Thanks guys!

I never heard of the guy, at all, until I saw the espn gamecast and kept seeing his name as he picked apart the Bears defense, and I was appalled by how this rookie (basically) came out of nowhere and was just kicking our ass, wondering what the F was wrong with our D. Now that I've seen him play, I know why he was picking apart our D. The guy is pretty amazing.

39 walks in 13 starts (10 complete games) playing highschool ball...he probably (obviously at this point) made a good decision going with football.

Pretty stale 3/44 since I posted this already a week ago.

Dude has a hell of an arm, notwithstanding.

Reds get the 2015 All Star game (Mets in 2013, Twins in 2014).

As far as the Cubs' next turn, there are a few other contenders. Miami was in on 2015, so I assume they'll bid in 2017-19 as well. Miami's been a team since 1993 and has never hosted, but the Cubs haven't hosted since 1990. There's also the Dodgers (last hosted in 1980) and Nationals (last hosted in 1982 as the Expos) in the NL who haven't had the game longer than the Cubs.

Worst case scenario, we're looking at another 10 years to wait.

If Ricketts plans go through, Wrigley rehab should be done by 2017.

And I think MLB is going to stay away from Marlins for awhile

I agree on that, but Dodgers/Nats are definitely both better cases for 2017 and 2019, which probably puts the Cubs into 2021 at the earliest. There's always the possibility of an unexpected candidate, including possibly Miami, emerging by 2019 when that game is finally rewarded. Plus, as you mentioned, 2017 is probably the earliest date for the rehab work to be done. In summary, it's been a long time, but it still might be quite a while before it happens again.

CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE DAY!

Few in baseball took note last Oct. 30 when the Chicago Cubs named Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson their minor-league pitching coordinator. But the move did not escape the attention of one rival executive, who viewed the hiring of Johnson as possibly the first step toward the Cubs landing left-hander David Price...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/felix-hernandez...
It's at the end of the page.

at the Cubs convention, Jason McLeod discussed the hiring of DJ based on a fan question during the Q&A part of the "Down on the Farm" panel. The panel included McLeod, Brandon Hyde and Joe Boeringer plus Josh Vitters and Chris Rusin.

Anyway...Derek Johnson had over the past several years been recruited by other major league clubs and turned down job offers. Apparently he's from Bloomington, Illinios and grew up a Cubs fan. Undergrad at Eastern Illinois where he was an All Mid-Continent Conference pitcher before graduating and becoming a coach. McLeod implied that he took the job because of his background as a fan (other organizations were not a draw since he had a "plum" college job...plus the entire Cub minor league reorganization/modernization was attractive). Also this is Johnson's first professional baseball job and they think it will take some time for him to adjust to the "volume" of pitchers he will be interacting with compared to his college pitching duties.

David Price would be a pretty THEO-retical factor.

the following link was posted at the time of his hiring but it's a nice interview with DJ:

http://blogs.tennessean.com/vanderbilt/2012/10/30/...

I don't believe David Price has a NTC, so I don't see how the Cubs will be doing any woo'ing of David Price. Rays won't let him go via free agency, he'll be traded long before that. Certainly not gonna make decisions 3 years out on a coaching gig anyway.

Can he (Johnson)rehab Z ???

Napoli ends up with 1/5M instead of 3/$39M...stupid physicals.

Cub Carpenter DFA'd by Red Sox.

Phils "seriously" considering Delmon Young (or the only hope to trade Soriano this offseason).

It will be interesting if the Cubs have any interest in picking up Chris Carpenter. A power arm with control issues, although he would still be in the 10-20 prospect range at this point, although probably closer to #20. Plus they still haven't sorted out the 40th roster spot to make the Villanueva roster move final, so that makes his reacquisition iffy at best.

Hmmm. I am thinking that the odds of this are slim and none. And, "Slim" left the building...

Just one man's opinion.

"Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that the Cubs are interested in bringing back Chris Carpenter."

lulz.

Some things to keep in mind about Chris Carpenter:


1. He does not have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted, because he has not accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, he was not eligible for Salary Arbitration as a "Super Two," and he has not been outrighted previously in his career. So if the Red Sox can secure waivers (if he is not claimed), he can be outrighted to the minors and he cannot elect free-agency. So if the Cubs really want Carpenter back, they can't sit around and hope he gets outrighted and elects free-agency, and then try to sign him to a minor league contract.


2. If Carpenter is outrighted to the minors, he would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft post-2013 if he is not added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft. He will not be eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (6YFA) until after the 2014 season. Also, he presently has one minor league option left, but if he is outrighted to the minors and then is added back to the 40-man roster of the club that outrighted him prior to the conclusion of the 2013 MLB regular season, he would burn his last minor league option, even though he was not optioned to the minors in 2013.       


3. If the Cubs were to claim Carpenter off waivers, they could then turn around and place him on waivers and try to outright him to the minors themselves. (Similar to what happened with Sandy Rosario). The Cubs do have #2 priority in Outright Waiver claims (behind only Houston)--and will through the 30th day of the 2013 MLB regular season, but it would not be possible for the Cubs to know which other clubs might have claimed Carpenter at the same time the Cubs did. (MLB knows, but the clubs are not informed). So the Cubs would be taking a chance that another club will claim him if the Cubs try to outright him to the minors after claiming him. (Again, just like what happened with Sandy Rosario).   


4. The Cubs 40-man roster is full, so if they do claim Carpenter and then place him back on Outright Waivers, they would first have to remove another player from the 40-man roster. That is, if the Cubs claim Carpenter, he must be immediately placed on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster (players acquired in trades, claimed off waivers, or selected in the Rule 5 Draft must be added to the club's MLB 40-man roster immediately), and if the 40-man roster is full, another player (NOT Carpenter) must be Designated for Assignment (DFA) immediately. Only then can the Cubs DFA Carpenter and place him back on Outright Waivers (and it would then take two business days for Carpenter to clear waivers). 

As far as roster management is concerned, any player on an MLB 60-day DL does not count against the club's MLB 40-man roster, and a player cannot be placed on the 60-day DL unless the club's 40-man roster is full.


60-day DL assignments made during Spring Training cannot be backdated, unless the player is placed on the 60-day DL within nine days of MLB Opening Day, and then the assignment can be backdated only as far back as nine days prior to MLB Opening Day (and that's presuming the player did not appear in an MLB Spring Training game in the meantime).


The earliest a club can place a player on the 60-day DL is 45 days prior to MLB Opening Day, so the Cubs could create room on their MLB 40-man roster by placing Arodys Vizcaino and/or Scott Baker (both rehabbing from 2012 TJS) on the 60-day DL as early as February 14th (and if the player is placed on the 60-day DL on 2/14, the player would be eligible to be reinstated beginning on the 16th day of the MLB regular season). 


Unfortunately, February 14th is still three weeks away so placing Vizcaino and/or Baker on the 60-day DL on 2/14 won't help open up a slot on the 40-man roster for Carlos Villanueva or Chris Carpenter (if the Cubs do claim him off waivers), but the opportunity to place Vizcaino or Baker on the 60-day DL on 2/14 could allow the Cubs to outright Ian Stewart to the minors (presuming he isn't claimed off waivers) now, with the promise that they will add him back to the 40-man roster on February 14th if he does not elect free-agency after being outrighted. It wouldn't cost Stewart anything in money or MLB Service Time, and it would give the Cubs the roster flexibility needed to add Carlos Villanueva to the 40 or to open up a 40-man roster slot for Chris Carpenter (if the Cubs claim him off waivers).      


Players on the 60-day DL cannot play in MLB Cactus League (or Grapefruit League) Spring Training games, but they can play in minor league Spring Training games, so if Vizcaino and/or Baker are placed on the 60-day DL during Spring Training, they still would be able to get game work, except it would be at Fitch Park versus minor leaguers instead of at HoHoKam Park against major leaguers.


BTW, players cannot be placed on an MLB 15-day DL until nine days prior to MLB Opening Day, and 15-day DL assignments cannot be backdated any further back than niine days prior to Opening Day (and a 15-day DL assignment can be backdated only if the player did not participate in an MLB Spring Training game during that period of time).

PHIL: Based on one year in with TheoCorp., what is your view on how the new regime manages the "40", waivers, TOS, and general MLB rule management/tweaking - compared to the Hendry regime?

Just curious if in your opinion you notice a difference between the new guys, and the NTC's Best Friend.

E-MAN: I don't think Hendry spent much time considering the value of waiver claims or minor league FA. The fact is a club can (to some extent) build a credible MLB bench and bullpen by astute off-season waiver claims and signing the best minor league free-agents, and Hendry instead seemed to prefer signing established big leaguers (often to to multi-year contracts) to perform the more-limited (but still important) roles. Hendry also had a proclivity toward signing middling major league free-agents (like Scott Eyre, Bob Howry, and Jacques Jones) that cost the Cubs high draft picks, and the new regime is not doing that.   


I can think of a couple or three roster gaffes made by TheoCorp since taking over, the most obvious ones being miscalculating service time for Travis Wood and (later) Welington Castillo, so that by recalling them when they did it (barely) pushed them over two-plus years of MLB Service Time by the close of the 2012 season, when if they had waited a few extra days both would still be under two-years of Service Time (and thus not eligible for free-agency until after the 2017 season, instead of after the 2016 season as is now the case).


As I mentioned here at TCR during the season, the Cubs could have quite legitimately optioned T. Wood to Iowa over the All Star Break to make one start for the I-Cubs at Omaha, since the Cubs did not need a 5th starter for two weeks and a 4th starter for ten days during that period of time. But they instead chose to keep T. Wood on the 25-man roster over the ASB (and he did not pitch for ten days), and that cost them a chance to keep his MLB ST under two years through the 2012 season and postponing his free-agency until after the 2017 season. Or they could have waited an extra five days to recall him in May, and that would have kept him under two years MLB ST through 2012, too.


Same goes for W, Castillo. If the Cubs had waited to recall Castillo until August 10th (or even wait until rosters expand on September 1st) instead of calling him up on July 31st (immediately after Geovany Soto was traded), it would have kept Castillo's MLB ST under two years through the 2012 season, and delayed his free-agency until post-2017 instead of post-2016. Of course they would have had to bring up a different catcher from Iowa after they traded Soto (either Juan Apodaca or Brian Esposito, although both had previous MLB experience), but the Cubs weren't in contention, and it would have kept W. Castillo under 2+000 MLB ST through 2012. (The Cubs could have said, "We want Castillo to spend the rest of the PCL season at Iowa, because he will be out of minor league options in 2013, and so this will be his last opportunity to get AAA experience").


Since both T. Wood and W. Castillo are now out of minor league options, it will no longer be possible to do anything about their MLB Service Time toward free-agency, unless they get outrighted or released somewhere along the way (and that's not likely to happen).


The Cubs figured out Anthony Rizzo's Service Time limits OK and manipulated the rules to their advantage (they waited until June 26th to recall him, and so he ended up with 0+168 MLB ST through the 2012 season, keeping him four days short of becoming a FA after the 2017 season), but for some reason they weren't quite as astute with regard to T. Wood and W. Castillo.  


There also is the matter of TheoCorp leaving Marwin Gonzalez and (especially) Ryan Flaherty exposed in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft, eventually giving what would have been their roster slots to Manny Corpas and Andy Sonnanstine. For a club that claimed to be focusing more on long term value over short terms assets, leaving M. Gonzalez and Flaherty available for selection was puzzling. (BTW, after being selected by Baltimore in the Rule 5 Draft, Baseball America subsequently rated Flaherty as the Orioles #7 prospect, which I believe is the first time a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft ended up on the BA Top 10 prospects list of the claiming team).


The Cubs recently hired Scott Harris to be their new Director of Baseball Operations, and he was previously the Coordinator of Baseball Operations in the MLB office (he was responsible for checking transactions for possible mistakes or rules violations). So perhaps the Cubs might now have a better chance of not making the same kinds of mistakes they made previously, since Harris probably knows most of the better "Inside Baseball" tricks a club can use to manipulate the 40-man roster to the club's best advantage. 


We'll see.

Thanks PHIL.

So we'll have to how this pans out.

Regarding Ryan Flaherty, TheoCorp. probably felt (and still feel) like they wanted to have extra innings to save what bullpen they had - rather than a 25 year old utility guy who may not be much of a prospect now. It would appear that there are several more (they feel) in the farm system that would give what Flaherty gives (an OPS+ of 66 - BA of .215) and is not even a Top Ten O's prospect. But the Andy Sonnanstine deal was a head-scratcher PLUS leaving Gonzalez and Flaherty exposed is just weird.

Sheesh, whatever happened to tossing the bat between two captains, hand-grabs and finger climb until final grip defends it from the bat being kicked out of his hand? First pick goes to the winner... = )

Fantasy Baseball...

one of our owners dropped out, so we're looking to find someone.

15 team league (if we find an owner), points based, keeper league (6 a year...may expand soon but not by much), daily lineup changes...mostly made up of TCR folks readers. $30 to play for entire year. Seeking (very) active owners....

Reply to this comment and I'll email you the details if you're interested. Draft is most likely Sunday, March 10th in the morning.

My Dad and I'd like to join if the space is still open. Our team name would be Little Cubster.

Thanks!

Ken

sweet, I'll email you the info in a bit to the gmail address associated with your account.

perfect... looking forward to it!

Shit. Let me know if there are any more openings. One of my money leagues is a weekly lineup change thing and I'm bored with it.

while we're talking league...if anyone here is actually in the league, go to the yahoo groups page and vote on some these polls that are close to closing.

we gotta remind people in-season to actually check the yahoo groups page at least once a week in Jan/Feb next year.

will do...it's certainly a league for active owners.

Same for me. If you end up with another opening let me know.

you're on the list...

an opening has indeed surfaced. Yours for the taking...draft is Sunday, March 10th at 4:30pm. I sent you an email as well.

DeRosa gets 775K from Blue Jays to keep playing.

Vogelbach looks like he's really slimmed down.

https://twitter.com/svoges24/status/28336501160531...

His sister (I am assuming?) is pretty nice looking as well...

Looking for the sarcasm font on the sister comment. I think it's his honey -- otherwise, the body language is creepy.

it's his sister (for real)...older sister.

it's his sister, easy on the eyes from the neck down.

 

I missed seeing that it's from his sister's twitter page -- Sarah Vogelbach. I still say she's snuggling up to him in a way that's a little icky.

It's Florida.

http://bcove.me/9i01zzi4

Mark Grace from Diamondbacks Fantasy Camp talking about his DUI/etc...1/15/13

his next trial date is 3/19, fwiw.

Thanks.

I am quite surprised the Diamondbacks have a Fantasy Camp1

Maybe only the 2001 Team has players on it? Schilling, Randy Johnson, Byung-Hyun Kim, Tony Womak, Craig Counsel, et. al.?

Geez - the team has been around for how many years? 20?

A lot of suck in many of those years, and 2001 WS. Plus - all the transplants and empty stands. And a Fantasy Camp? Go figure...

Another Cuban to bid for:

Guerrero has been one of Cuba’s best players the last few years, hitting .338/.408/.641 in 2009, .343/.414/.583 in 2010 and .310/.400/.599 in 2011. Between the three seasons, he delivered 60 homers in 886 at-bats. One imagines that if the reports are true and he eventually becomes a free agent, he could take over as a starting shortstop or second baseman for an MLB team in short order.
http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/01/21/repor...

Crain magazine reporter on WSCR basically said Alderman Tunney is in rooftop owners pocket due to "donations". Basically said Ricketss will have to "pay off" Tunney and roof top owners.

And that's the Chicago way.

Yep. We expect to vote twice here.

Prior's 2003 is #15 on ESPN's Top 25 list of Best Under-25 Seasons

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/32231/...

Braves making a run at Justin Upton, allegedly a good offer although no one knows the parts.

if it happens and depending on who they trade, could be

McCann, Freeman, Uggla, Simmons, Prado, J. Upton, BJ Upton, Heyward

Medlen, Hudson, Minor, Maholm, Beachy, Teheran and Delgado among the SP's

damn....

sort of presume Simmons would be in the deal though, said to be looking for a SS despite the trade they made with Reds and Indians.

"The Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien reports that the Braves' offer to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton includes Julio Teheran plus 2-3 other prospects.

O'Brien cautions that he "thinks" that is what the package looks like but is "not sure.""

"City Hall sources said the mayor is prepared to lift the 30-game-per-season ceiling on the number of night games to the 37-to-44 range, with some of the dates reserved for concerts."

oh boy...more concerts...make the field looks like they play football there every sunday all season.

At least there's 10 games between the Pearl Jam concert and a home game this year. Hopefully new sod - again...

scott hairston is now a cub for 2 years...for some f'n reason...

hairston was looking 2/8m from the mets...the mets wouldn't budge from 1/2m...wonder where the cubs met him...

...also, the cubs 40-man will be 42 shortly (still have venauleululeuleua to add). trades, cuts, or exposure to waivers...who's on tap?

Damn CRUNCH. You are fast. And as obsessed as I am.

Bruce Levine‏@ESPNBruceLevine

Scott Hairston can earn up to 6 million total with incentives over two year deal

not bad...still, it'd be nice to have something to go with all these high end accessories.

campana/sappelt must be sweating a bit...

If he just shows up and has a passably-decent Spring Training, Brent Lillibridge should have an excellent opportunity to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster.


Other than Anthony Rizzo, Lillibridge would be the only guy on the 25 with experience playing 1B in the big leagues (45 games 2011-12), and he has the versatility & athleticism to play just about anywhere. He would also probably be the #1 RH PH on days the Cubs are facing a LH pitcher (where Sappelt gets the start in CF and Hairston starts in RF).   


Lillibridge had a really bad 2012, but his PH numbers 2010-2012 are good (321/367/786), and (at least prior to 2012) he mashed LHP (287/346/585 vs LHP in 2011 and 303/343/606 vs LHP in 2010). 


Lillibridge and LHRP Hisanori Takahashi are (IMO) the two NRI guys most-likely to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster

I was discussing this with my White Sox Die-Hard friend. His words last week regarding "Lilli" were, "Good luck with him.". He doesn't get on base. Doesn't hit.So I guess he fits in there - but not only a 1B but he plays decent enough SS - so perhaps he does have a shot. Every team needs some automatic outs, anyway.

Wondering if you are game for handicapping who gets the 40-man boot? Speedy Tony? Sappelt? Both?

Thanks PHIL.

E-MAN: If the Cubs sign Scott Hairston tomorrow and then wait the full 20 days before filing his contract with MLB (which is when he would have to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster), they could place Arodys Vizcaino or Scott Baker on the 60-day DL the same day Hairston is added to the 40.


As for adding Carlos Villanueva... 


Besides the Ian Stewart "roster trick" I have mentioned here several times before, I would say Lendy Castillo is the most likely member of the 40-man roster to get dropped. After his piss-poor performance in the DWL he should get through waivers, and he can't be a free-agent if he's outrighted. Brooks Raley is another possibility. He can't be a FA if he is outrighted, either. I don't think Tony Campans will be placed on waivers, although he could get traded for a similiar-type player not on the other team's 40-man roster. 


Because he has Draft-Excluded status, Chris Rusin can be released but he can't be outrighted until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and same goes for Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon, although both could get dropped from the 40 prior to Opening Day if roster slots are needed for Lillibridge and Takahashi. Also, Michael Bowden is out of minor league options, so he would get dropped from the 40 (either traded or claimed off waivers, or outrighted) if he doesn't make the Opening Day 25-man roster (and because he has been outrighted previously in his career, Bowden can elect to be a FA if he is outrighted).

Lillibridge has outfield experience, so say good night to the little guy Tony Campana.

Perhaps some day Scott Hairston will lament why we haven't retired his number yet.

so...as it stands...

garza/e.jackson/ninja/feldman/baker-t.wood

dejesus/barney/castro/rizzo/soriano/schierholtz-hairston/i.stewart-valbuena/w.castillo
(1-5 likely, 6-8 variable mix in lineup order...especially if i.stewart can hit again, solidifying himself in the 6 slot)
i wouldn't be surprised to see schierholtz-hairston in the 2 slot and barney hitting 7/8, though. hell, aside from the 3/4/5 and dejesus leading off vs righties the whole lineup could be erratic.

marmol/camp/russell/bowden...etc...with our new japanese savior showing up mid-season

not bad...not great...especially when/if they gut the SP (and maybe some bats) mid-season.

CRUNCH: Kyuji Fujikawa finished the 2012 NPB season on the DL with a right adductor (hip) strain, but he should be ready for Spring Training.


Were you maybe thinking of Korean RHP Chang-Yong Lim? He had TJS in July 2012 and probably won't be ready to pitch until mid-season (at the earliest).

If you think I am wrong in wanting Z back...PLEASE tell me why. Look, here's a chance to let him go get the one thing we all thought he was capable of: Cy Young! He certainly would look better out there than Chris Volstad, so offer him a heavy incentive contract and teach him The Cub Way...And don't forget Welington will be behind the plate with a much improved defense. Please get Z back!!!

Based upon the post time of 3:49 a.m., one can only assume you were sleepblogging from an alternate universe where Z's velocity hasn't fallen faster than teams' willingness to deal with his erratic and prickly personality.

What the hell does the time of my post have anything to do with it? I suppose you are never awake at 3? Rehab is my point, Lamont. If you think he can't be rehabbed, say it. Drink your friggin coffee before you comment...

The Cubs just paid $15 million to another team last season to take Zambrano and his diminished physical skills and attitude. Do you really think that they're going to pay to have him come back?

Sleeper? Tons have had bad years, Get him out away from Ozzy and offer a heavy incentive contract in familiar surroundings. Sell him the pride angle, along with how latino this team is getting. It could work!

You don't need to sell the idea to Zambrano. He'd be all for anybody giving him money at this point.

It's the Cubs front office who thought so much of his current pitching ability and erratic and prickly personality they paid heavily for him to go away.

And at this point I think we can include every other MLB team's front office as having a lack of interest in Zambrano.

I bet Z is in Japan this year.

He should sign with the team that just signed Nyjer Morgan. They can share mental health professionals.

As a hitter, right?

With Justin Upton going to Atlanta, that should clear the way for an eventual Matt Garza for Mike Olt (plus pitching prospect) deal at the end of SpringTraining, AS LONG AS Garza makes all of his Cactus League starts and has no significant medical set-backs.


The D'backs were the other team interested in acquiring Olt, and he almost certainly would have been the centerpiece if J. Upton had been traded to the Rangers.  

If the Cubs get Olt, and he's what he is hyped as, the Cubs will be in good shape in the infield for quite some time.

while it's far from the most attractive thing about his makeup (because his bat/power is)...the fact he can actually play 3rd without people projecting him to end up at LF/1st is really nice. plays 3rd and actually belongs there...nice in this era of projected 3rd basemen who don't quite belong there on the MLB level.

Christian Villaneuva will not be a happy camper though...kind of like trying to avoid one's own shadow.

Cubster, that is funny! But AZ Phil, why do you feel the Rangers will trade Olt at all? Beltre has gotta be getting close to an age-related decline?

beltre's still good as hell @3rd...and signed for a long time (3 years, 4th vesting with 1200 PA in 14/15). it says a lot about olt's D that he's "too good" to consider sticking him at 1st or in the OF. he's not as good as beltre there, but he's MLB-capable.

I would love to get Olt, but just seems odd they are hell bent on moving such a talent. Beltre will be 34 in April, but perhaps that contract has them against a wall...I would think if Olt's that good they would hang on to him and move beltre to DH or 1B in a couple years. They had Olt at 1B a bit last year, maybe it's as you say about him being so good at 3b, that they feel the window to win is closing and they would rather cash the chips now, and he's too good at 3b to move. Still ...

it's still no slam dunk they'd be looking to move him...it would just be a disservice to olt to play him anywhere but 3rd for a huge chunk of the year. it's assumed he'll be trade bait rather than shifting around 1st/DH/LF/3rd trying to steal 400-500 PA in a season.

it's also assumed they're looking a top power bat, a load of prospects, or top pitching in return. the only place they have left to put a 2013 bat is CF, though. the cubs/olt connection is just a connection of convenience, especially with upton out the way, hamilton signed to the Angels, and the cubs looking to shop the guy who should be one of the (if not the) top FA pitchers next year. they got the money to take on garza's 10.5m and a place for him.

I saw an article by some Ranger baseball writer who was practically begging them to find a way to trade Beltre and keep Olt. He seemed to realize it would not probably happen, but his overall point was that Olt is that good in his eyes (and he did some saber-metric crunching too).

I saw an article by some Ranger baseball writer who was practically begging them to find a way to trade Beltre and keep Olt. He seemed to realize it would not probably happen, but his overall point was that Olt is that good in his eyes (and he did some saber-metric crunching too). I don't have a link - it was a ways back.

Braves apparently get Upton for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, and 3 minor leaguers.

Upton reiterated this week that the Diamondbacks were wasting their time talking to the four teams on his recently submitted no-trade list. He was not willing to play for Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs. The Diamondbacks believed the list was a negotiating ploy, but Upton told them it wasn't about the money. He did not want to play for those franchises.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/01/2...

Scott Hairston seems like a decent signing. He's a good platoon option and could pretty well replace Soriano's skil set (cheaply) when Soriano gets hurt or is traded. He's got a career .449 slugging percentage, and that's after playing most of his home games for the Padres and in the Mets new ball park. I could see him hitting 25 or even 30 HRs for the Cubs if he gets enough plate appearances. Can't ask for much more than that at 2 yrs./$6 million.

I'd feel pretty good about this offseason if the Cubs are able to either extend Garza or trade him for a good prospect at a position of need (like 3B, SP, or C).

heard this on XM today...the Braves new OF nickname is: Up, Up and a Hey.

neat.

Hey Cubster - Avascular Necrosis for Napoli, if you didn't hear.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/mike-napo...

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/7320

The Cubs are facing a roster crunch on the 40-man. They’ve yet to announce the signing of pitcher Carlos Villanueva. When both Hairston and Villanueva get done, the Cubs will have to drop two from the 40-man. There are still plenty of candidates the Cubs can cut and hope to outright to Class AAA Iowa. Outfielders Campana and Dave Sappelt have to be feeling the heat. Also possibly on the bubble are catcher Steve Clevenger and pitchers Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin and Hector Rondon.

Rondon but not Lendy? Say whaaaaaaa?

I personally think Sappelt is dead weight. I don't find him compelling at all and hope he is dropped from the 40! And maybe Lendy. Keep Campana!

Chris Rusin has Draft-Excluded status so he can be released or traded but can't be outrighted until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, and Hector Rondon is a Rule 5 player so he can be traded, but he can't be outrighted or released until Rule 5 restrictions are removed, and that can't happen until 20 days prior to Opening Day.  Also, Rondon is out of minor league options and has been outrighted previously in his career, so he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted even if and when Rule 5 restrictions are removed.

Haha! I think you are on to something, jacos....

awesome!

Clevenger is the guy on the 40-man who looks the most expendable to me.

After him, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs accepted one of the underwhelming offers for Marmol that may still be on the table.

The guys you mention--Castillo, Rusin, Raley, Campana, maybe even Bowden--I think they like.

Actually, I totally agree here. Clevenger should be first. Or Sappelt. And then Lendy and I'd be happy to trade Marmol. But yes, Clevenger is very expendable in my eyes.

Disagree. They'll need a third catcher at some point due to a DL stint, and if they bring someone else up they'd have to be added to the 40 man, anyway. One of the pen arms is most expendable

Lendy....he's nowhere near ready...bad last year, and got lit up in winter ball.

...and lendy it is...c.villaulauenenauva signing final.

The Cubs now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright Lendy Castillo...

1. Because he has not been outrighted previously in his career, and/or has not accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, and/or did not qualify as a "Super Two" player post-2012, L. Castillo does NOT have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted.

2. If he is outrighted to the minors, L. Castillo will receive a salary of $288K (60% of what he was paid in salary in 2012), and he will automatically become a Rule 55 Minor league free-agent (6YFA) at 5 PM on the 5th day following the conclusion of the 2013 World Series unless he either agrees to a 2014 minor league successor contract or is added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to that deadline. 

So any club that claims L. Castillo off waivers would not only have to pay the Cubs the $20,000 waiver price, but the claiming club would also assume L. Castillo's $288K 2013 minor league split salary, which might be a bit steep for a AA (at best) pitcher. Not to mention L. Castillo's piss-poor performance in the DWL post-2012.

Therefore, I would say there is a very good chance that the Cubs will be able to get L. Castillo through waivers.

Depending on when the Cubs officially sign Scott Hairston and if they take the full 20 days to file his contract with MLB, it's possible that they can add Hairston to the 40-man roster at the same time they place either Arodys Vizcaino or Scott Baker (both rehabbing from 2012 TJS) on the 60-day DL (presuming they decide to place one or both of them on the 60-day DL before getting a chance to watch them throw "live" BP at Fitch Park).   

If they add Hairston to the 40-man roster at the same time they put Vizcaino or Baker on the 60-day DL, the Cubs would not have to DFA a player from the 40 to make room for Hairston.

However, if the Cubs were to claim Chris Carpenter off waivers (should the Red Sox place him on waivers rather than trade him first), the Cubs would have to remove a player from the 40-man roster immediately. They wouldn't be able to hold-off adding Carpenter to the 40 until the start of Spring Training, which they could do with Hairston.   

 

fwiw, the team is still giving off optimistic words about baker being ready to pitch this spring and maybe breaking with the team at the beginning of the season.

they keep saying baker is "ahead of schedule" every time it's brought up to them. even if he does break with the team he'll supposedly be limited to 75/80 pitches for a while.

newest almost-Cub Scott Hairston is only one of eight in this elite club...

http://www.baseballrealitytour.com/2013/01/the-und...

According to WSCR

Dan Bernstein's "Cubs insider" said that rooftop owners' plan is nothing. That Rahm likes Ricketts plan and is "squeezing Tunney's balls" to get what the Cubs want done asap.

The rooftop owners plan is just lip service.

Sounds like a desperation move to me. Once the Rickettses said they'd pay for the whole renovation, the rooftop owners lost all their leverage. Tunney's in a bad spot here -- has to play nice with the rooftop owners who've filled his pockets for so long, but can't be too much of an advocate or Rahm will yank his chain.

I believe Tunney does plenty of ball squeezing (or fondling) on his own.

And the roofies cut and paste presentation

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/ch...

"The Roofies" - a sitcom?

Major League Baseball is investigating the age of Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, according to multiple sources.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2013...

Quick bit on Junior Lake from Sickels.

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2013/1/26/3918528/j...

Lendy Castillo DFA'd. Carlos V. on the 40.

Note the time.

This video was presented at the Cubs convention....The Cubs Way propaganda

http://vimeo.com/channels/madayproductions/57887658

they sure go out of their way to make losing acceptable and winning dependent upon an influx of cheap kids in one of the largest baseball markets around.

...at least we got e.jackson out of this offseason.

i like most of the signings this year...but almost all of them are here-today-gone-june/july (or at least that's what most cubs fan love of the signings are based on).

i'm ready for the new TV contract money, already...the fans can't ignore that when it rolls up in the laps of the Ricketts/Theocorp.

Hopefully the Cubs can get in on this while there is still a bubble. With sports leagues driving up basic cable prices, this bubble isn't going to last forever.

I'd guess that the cost to broadcast Cubs' TV rights isn't something that will ever depreciate.

PHEW! For minute there I thought I was clicking on another Mike Quade video on how it gets better...

Jed Hoyer will be one of the guest on the GM show Sunday AM on XM radio's MLB channel (Hosted by Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette, per a Bowden tweet)

As of yesterday (1/26), only four MLB clubs had open slots on their 40-man roster:


WAS: 1
NYM: 2
SF: 2
ATL: 3


That's why now is the best time of the year to get players through waivers.


Players claimed off waivers must be placed on the claiming club's 40-man roster immediately, and most clubs have Draft-Excluded players and Rule 5 guys clogging up their 40-man roster, plus injured players can't be placed on the 60-day DL until the start of Spring Training.

If you were asked to re-write the 40-man rules, would you? In a league with so much parity, I don't think talent-hoarding would be a huge problem, so why make it so hard for teams to keep their own guys?

JOHN B:


I believe a player should not be punished for what a club does.


So...


MLB FREE-AGENTS: I think it's fine that a club receives a compensation draft pick immediately after the 1st round if it loses a player after extending a Qualifying Offer (tenders a one-year guaranteed contract for a salary at least equal to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid MLB players from the previous season), but the club that signs the player should not have to surrender a draft pick. So for example, any club that signs Michael Bourne or Kyle Lohse now would not have to surrender a 1st round draft pick (or 2nd round pick if the club has a top 10 pick in the 1st round), but the club that made a Qualifying Offer to the player would get a draft pick as compensation if the player signs elsewhere. Thus the player's former club receives compensation, but the player isn't punished by a limited market caused by a club having to lose a draft pick if it signs the player.


OUTRIGHT ASSIGNMENTS: Prior to 2006, it was possible for a club to outright a player to the minors during the off-season by the use of what used to be called "Major League Waivers" (which were revocable, as long as the player was not first Designated for Assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for a player acquired via trade, selected in the Rule 5 Draft, or claimed off waivers). That way, a club could "pull back" a player if the player was claimed, although if the player was "pulled back" (waiver request withdrawn). the club could not place the player back on Major League Waivers again for at least 30 days, and if the club placed the player on Major League Waivers again during that same waiver period, the waivers would become irrevocable the second time. So what I would do is say that Outright Waivers would be revocable if a player is placed on Outright Waivers after the conclusion of the MLB regular season but prior to the Rule 5 Draft (as long as the player was not first Designated for Assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for a player acquired in a trade or claimed off waivers), allowing a club to place as many players from its 40-man roster on revocable waivers as it wishes during that period without having to risk losing the player off waivers (because the waiver request can be withdrawn if the player is claimed), but then any player outrighted in such a manner would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (because any player on a minor league reserve list who has been outrighted previously in his career is automatically eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).


RULE 5 DRAFT: It should be possible for a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft to be optioned to the minors (as long as the player has options remaining -- for example, Hector Rondon does not), but a player selected in the Rule 5 Draft would have to remain on the claiming club's 40-man roster for one full year, and thus could not be traded, released, non-tendered, outrighted, or placed on the 60-day DL (although the player could be placed on the 15-day DL). In other words, the roster slot would be essentialy "frozen" for one full year. So (for example) Lendy Castillo could have been optioned to Daytona last season, but the Cubs could not drop Castillo from the 40-man roster (release, non-tender, outright, trade, or place on the 60-day DL) until after the next Rule 5 Draft. Likewise, a club would not be allowed to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft and then trade the player to another club (as happened with Josh Hamilton a few years ago). You pick him, he's your's (for better or worse) for one full year, although the impact would be on the 40-man roster, not on the 25-man roster, and a young player's development would not be hindered. 


WAIVER CLAIMS: Same as the Rule 5 Draft. A player claimed off Outright Waivers can be optioned to the minors (as long as he has options remaining), but the player cannot be removed from the claiming club's 40-man roster for one full year after being claimed. As such, a club could not claim a player off Outright Waivers and then put him back on waivers again a few days later (as happened with Sandy Rosario and several other players this off-season). If you really want the player you can have him, but if you claim the player, you are stuck with him for one full year. He can be optioned to the minors, but he can't be traded, non-tendered, outrighted, released, or placed on the 60-day DL (although the player can be placed on the 15-day DL) for one full year. This would eliminate frivolous waiver claims made during the off-season, while allowing clubs who really want a player to get him. This would result in fewer waiver claims and thus more players would be outrighted to the minors, but it would also mean that more players would become minor league free-agents as the result of the increase in outright assignments, And a minor league FA would be able to sign with the club of the player's choosing, instead of being bound to the club that claims the player off waivers. 

>I believe a player should not be punished for what a club does.

speaking of...

i'm about ready for the whole "club gives up draft pick" compensation to go away for signing a player...i'd rather see the club that's losing a player get a supplemental 1st (or 2nd, or whatever) round pick without the signing club losing their pick.

bourn/lohse are paying for having a pick loss hanging over them...it's assumed nick swisher got low-balled in pay on his contract because of the pick hanging over him (even though it was only a 2nd pick for CLE).

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