Cubs Claim T-Daddy Off Waivers
Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs have claimed 25-year old RH hitting LF-RF-1B Thomas Neal off waivers from the New York Yankees. Neal had been Designated for Assignment by the Yankees last Friday to make room on their 40-man roster for OF Curtis Granderson, who was reinstated from the 60-day DL.
The beefy (6'2 220) Neal was a 36th round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants out of Riverside CC in 2005 and was signed as a "Draft & Follow" the following May, receiving a $220K bonus (equivalent to what was 4th round money at the time) just a week prior to the 2006 June draft. He missed most of the 2007 season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Neal is a lifetime 301/377/459 hitter in 701 minor league games over eight seasons (2006-13), belting 40+ doubles twice (2009-10) while a member of the Giants organization. He was rated the Giants #4 prospect (behind only Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and Zach Wheeler) and #96 overall by Baseball America pre-2010 after hitting 337/431/579 with 22 HR & 90 RBI and 41 doubles for A+ San Jose (California League) in 2009, and then he was rated the Giants' #7 prospect by BA pre-2011 after hitting 291/359/440 for AA Richmond (Eastern) in 2010.
Neal was traded to the Cleveland Indians for INF Orlando Cabrera in a deadline deal on July 30, 2011, and he received a brief trial with the Tribe last September, hitting 217/250/261 in nine MLB games (24 PA). He was released by Cleveland last January 12th, and was signed to a minor league contract by the Yankees six days later.
Neal hit 325/391/411 (albeit with only with only two HR) in 72 games (297 PA) at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (International) in 2013. His contract was selected by the Yankees on June 14th, but he was optioned back to AAA ten days later. Neal will be out of minor league options next season, but he won't be eligible for salary arbitration until post-2016 and he is under club control through the 2019 season.
To make room for Neal on the MLB 40-man roster, the Cubs have transferred RHP Rafael Dolis from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. This move is a "no brainer," because Dolis has already spent 60+ days on the 15-day DL, and time spent on the 15-day DL is applied to the required sixty days needed to complete a 60-day DL stint. So Dolis could actually be reinstated from the 60-day DL at any time, even as early as tomorrow (if the Cubs wiish to do that).
Dolis was placed on the 15-day DL on June 1st (retro to May 27th) with what was reported at the time as a "mild forearm strain," but he hasn't pitched since (not even a minor league rehab outing). Doliss was eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2013 (and it has been used), so he will be out of minor league options next season.
The Cubs will also need to make a 25-man roster move when Neal is activated. They are presently operating with 13 pitchers, so they may opt to cut back to 12.
BTW, Scott Baker's minor league rehab assignment must conclude no later than next Monday (August 12th), so the Cubs will need to decide by next Tuesday (August 13th) whether to activate him from the 60-day DL (and presumably put him in the MLB starting rotation) or just shut him down for the rest of the season. Baker has not pitched very well (so far) in his minor league rehab outings at Kane County and Daytona (12.0 IP - 20 H - 15 R - 14 ER - 8 BB - 7 K - 3 HR - 10.80 ERA - 2.33 WHIP in four GS).
Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).
Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.
Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.
In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?
Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.
Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.
Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.
I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.
peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.
unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.
they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.
Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester
damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice
Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.
Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.
Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.
Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.
"Pitching prospects not looking so hot"
That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.
Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.
Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:
"Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
"No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"
How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.
Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.
2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.
Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.