Christian Villanueva. Poor guy.

What a drag for him, stuck back behind all the other talented 3rd base prospects.
Years ago, Christian Villanueva coulda been at least a Cubs Convention big wig.
But now?
Just kinda vanilla.
In today's BP Minor League Update, they mention all the home runs hit by Cubs prospects last night: Bryant, Baez, Russel, Soler, and Vogelbach.
And left Villanueva off the list, even though he hit one too.
I hope something good happens for him some day.

Comments

Nicely played, CubbyBlue!

Villanueva is probably at home writing pop-punk songs about girls who just don't notice him, even though their boyfriends are just arrogant jock jerks, a la American Hi-Fi's "Flavor of the Week".

I wonder if tonight's Cubs-D'backs game featuring the Battle of the Titans AKA Edwin Jackson vs Trevor Cahill (kind of an odd choice for both teams to start the first game back from the ASB) might be a showcase for a potential EJax for Cahill "change of scenery" swap.

Jackson is owed $11M in 2015 and $11M in 2016 and he has pitched for the Diamondbacks previously (he threw a 149-pitch no-hitter for the Snakes in 2009), and Cahill is only 26 years old and would appear to be the type of a "buy-low" rebound candidate the Cubs seem to like to acquire these days.

Cahill gets $12M in 2015, $13M in 2016 (or $300K club buy-out), and $13.5M in 2017 (or $500K club buy-out), but if the Diamondbacks say they were planning to buy-out Cahill after 2015 so the salary differerntial between the two players is not even, the salaries could be almost exactly equalized by the Cubs paying part of Jackson's salary ($5M) in 2016, or the Cubs could take back another contract (like journeyman RH-hitting corner-OF Cody Ross, who gets $8.5M in 2015 with a $1M club buy-out for 2016). And if Cahill did bounce back, the Cubs could keep him through the 2017 season (by picking up the club options in 2016 and 2017). 

I talk to a lot of Diamondbacks fans out here in Arizona, and I can tell you that Trevor Cahill is just as popular with D'backs fans as Edwin Jackson is with Cub fans.  

One other thing. I happen to know that Kevin Towers likes Junior Lake a lot (which matters only if Towers has any influence left in the AZ FO). 

God that would be awesome!! I know you're brainstorming but it's a damn good idea.

I'm terrible at this, but what would be a fair swap in your opinion? Would Jackson, Lake, and maybe some cash for Cahill and Ross be even? Or would some further exchange of prospects be necessary? Cahill seems like a great bounce back candidate, whereas I am less sure of Jackson, who is pretty entrenched in his struggles. And Ross (also a bounce back candidate, unless he's just getting old) would be a potential Ruggiano replacement, assuming the Cubs find a taker for Ruggiano at some point this month or in the offseason.

CHARLIE: I would say Trevor Cahill and Cody Ross for Edwin Jackson and Junior Lake would be a fair trade for both teams (especially since both Cahill and Ejax seem to need a "change of scenery"), and it would be almost an exact salary wash, too (presuming the 2016 club options on Cahill and Ross are not exercised), the only difference being the Cubs would take on the entire $22M in salaries in the 2015 season (which they should be able to well afford) instead of $11M in 2015 and $11M in 2016, with the Diamondbacks spreading the $22M in salaries evenly over two seasons 2015-16 instead of having to cover the entire $22M in 2015 (thus giving them an extra $11M to either spend or save in 2015).  

After getting a peak at his "stuff," if you can call it that, Anthony Rizzo and I are somewhat less optimistic about any possible resurgence from Cahill. Not sure I would make this trade, but not sure I wouldn't either.

The Ejax we saw last night showed why the Cubs got him in the first place, despite getting hit around just a bit near the end. He had a nice fastball and slider going. Not sure I want a guy who tops 80 or something. The highly esteemed journalistic wizard G Wittenmyer says the Yanks are a good fit for Jackson.

This is actually probably the right 8 guys to play. Obviously I want Olt to play or go where he can okay, but Captain Assy did pretty good. Why Valbuena is still our #5 hitter? I assume they're trying to give him an opportunity to pad his stats... in reality he is a #2 or # 7/8 hitter.

7/18 @Cubs lineup vs ARI
Coghlan LF
Alcantara 2B
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Ruggiano CF
Sweeney RF
Castillo C
Jackson P

coghlan at least finally has his leadoff ob% above .300 (.301)...i don't get why renteria insists on having him lead off, though.

aside from flailing hard there the first 10+ games in the leadoff slot, he's not fast and i can't figure out why ruggs isn't getting the lineup placement nod over him...better hitter + touch more speed.

Could it be that he is scrappy? Haha.

im having a hard time finding his SGHP (Scrap-to-Grit Hawk Points) score...so well, no idea.

By the way Theo should just call Ricky and tell him to never say the word 'grind' again. He's far exceeded his lifetime allotment of the word.

astros fail to sign b.aiken...ouch.

"The 'Stros reportedly upped their offer to $5 million, but advisor Casey Close held firm at the originally agreed upon $6.5 million bonus. Aiken is the third No. 1 overall pick ever not to sign and the first since 1983." (rotoworld)

tim belcher was the "1983" guy...drafted by the twins.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark issued the following statement on the matter via press release:

“Today, two young men should be one step closer to realizing their dreams of becoming Major League ballplayers. Because of the actions of the Houston Astros, they are not. The MLBPA, the players and their advisers are exploring all legal options.”

Free agents to be?

Wow that is one stupid kid. Doesn't the kid know he's a pitcher and could end up with TMJ in his freshman year at UCLA or Juco or wherever the hell he goes?

Wasn't the first one not to sign a high school catcher who went to college for three years and then was the # 1 choice in the draft for the second time. (Don't remember his name).

He signed, and was a total flop, never smelling the majors.

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

his stats are crazy...cruddy MLB stats, but has a minor league career ob% over .400 and slg% over .500 in 1600 PA.

DAVID P: The MLB Rule 4 Draft (AKA "First-Year Player Draft") was instituted in 1965 (Rick Monday was the first overall pick in the first draft, getting selected out of Arizona State by the KC A's), and C Danny Goodwin (Peoria Central HS - Peoria, IL) was the first overall pick to not sign (White Sox took him with the first overall pick in 1971). 

The story is that the White Sox were not aware that Goodwin's family very much wanted him to attend college (Southern U.) and that he wanted at least $100K to sign (a staggering amount in 1971). Also, the Sox were nearly broke at the time (even without signing Goodwin they only had enough money to sign 14 of their 34 picks that year). 

Goodwin was the first overall pick again in 1975 (by the Angels), and this time he did sign, receiving a $125K bonus. (At this particular point in time, players attending a four-year college were not eligible to be drafted until after their senior year, so Goodwin was not eligible to be re-drafted after his junior year in 1974 as he would be under today's rules). 

The Angels moved Goodwin to 1B, and while he did eventually play all or parts of seven seasons (252 games) in the big leagues (with the Angels, Twins, and A's), he hit only 236/301/373 (with just 13 HR) in 703 PA. 

AZ Phil: I was wondering who you think will be among the September callups. I think Soler seems likely to play in Wrigley if he keeps healthy and hitting as he has the last few weeks because he is in a different contractual position, but what of Baez, Bryant, and the other upper-system guys?

JOHN B: Because neither is eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft and thus do not need to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster after this season, I think it is very unlikely that Javy Baez or Kris Bryant will get to Chicago until around May 1st of next season (at the earliest). The only thing that might change that is if one or both agree to a multi-year (seven or eight year) major league contract (similar to the ones signed by Castro and Rizzo) this September. making a 2014 call-up irrelevant as far as MLB Service Time and Article XX-B free-agency is concerned. But Bryant is a Scott Boras client (so are Addison Russell and Albert Almora, BTW), and Boras usually advises his clients to NOT sign "team-friendly" contract extensions early in their careers (at leasst not an extension that buys out free-agency years).

Baez might, though (he REALLY wants to pay in the big leagues ASAP), so it's possible that Javy could agree to a seven or eight year MLB contract if one is offered to him, and if it is offered in September, he could conceivably see Wrigley Field this season... but that's ONLY if he signs a Castro-Rizzo-Soler type contract this season.  

Even teams out of contention bring up a third catcher when the rosters expand in September (teams would always carry a third catcher if it wasn't for the restrictions of a 25-man roster), and since Rafael Lopez is eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft, I suspect it will be him. It's possible that the Cubs could bring back Eli Whiteside of call up Iowa player-coach Yorvit Torrealba, but I suspect it will be Lopez. 

Jorge Soler is already on the 40-man roster and is signed through 2020 (and would be under club control through 2021), and because he will be out of minor league options in 2016 (he gets a 4th minor league option in 2015), he needs reps anywhere he can get them to make up for all the time he has lost due to injuries. So a two-week September "cup of coffee" call-up to Chicago after the minor league playoffs are over (he would probably get moved up to Iowa in September if Tennessee doesn't get into the post-season but the I-Cubs do) wouldn't hurt him, and then he can go to the AFL after the MLB season ends (the AFL season opens the second week of October), and then he can play in Latin Winter Ball in Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic after that.

IF-OF Logan Watkins is probably a sure thing to get a September call-up, and both Ryan Kalish and Josh Vitters will probably get called up, too.

Vitters and Kalish will both be out of minor league options in 2015, so the Cubs really need to get as much information as possible about both players. A bad showing in Septembver could result in either a post-2014 outright assignment (and both players would be a minor league 6YFA after the World Series if outrighted) or a 12/2 non-tender. Also, as long as the Cubs wait until at least September 1st to call-up Kalish, he cannot be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2014 (because he would not be able to accrue 86 days of MLB Service Time in 2014 if he isn't called up before September 1st). 

As far as the pitchers are concerned, the ones on the 40-man roster who are not called up prior to September 1st (presuming Hendricks and Wada are called-up to fill the 4th and 5th starter slots next week, that would be Chris Rusin, Dallas Beeler, and Blake Parker) will likely get September call-ups once the Iowa season is over.

I-Cubs RHRPs Alberto Cabrera (who has been pitching "lights out" at Iowa) and Marcus Hatley will both be minor league 6YFA post-2014 if they are not added to the MLB 40-man roster by the 5th day following the conclusion of the 2014 World Series, so one or both could get called-up for an MLB audition in September as the Cubs decide whether to keep one or both of them around for 2015 (Cabrera would be out of minor league options if recalled, but Hatley would have three).

Call-ups involving players not already on the 40-man roster would depend on how many 40-man roster slots are available in September after the 3rd catcher is recalled. Both Brett Jackson (who has had a resurgence at Iowa recently) and Matt Szczur are candidates to get outrighted to make room on the 40-man roster in September (or post-2014), because neither can be a minor league 6YFA post-2014, and neither is eligible to elect free-agency if outrighted, either.  

Brett Jackson's resurgence is a .208 BA over his last 30 games and he struck out in 25 of his 53 at-bats. I have to believe his Cubs days are numbered. And Vitters is hitting .191 over his last 30 games (.509 OPS).

I would assume Dan Straily will get called up too; he's on the 40-man.

By "resurgence recently" I was referring to Brett Jackson hitting 257/350/571 with two HR, two triples, and a double so far in July (12 games), which is in-line with what he hit over the first four months in 2012 (256/338/479) back when he was rated one of the Cubs top prospects and prior to getting called up to Chicago in August of that year. So it's not like what he has hit in July 2014 is something he hasn't done before, but he hasn't done it since 2012.  

That said, as I mentioned, Brett Jackson (despite his recent "resurgence") and Matt Szczur are the top two candidates to get outrighted in September (or post-2014) if additional 40-man roster slots are needed because both would remain under club control past this season even if they are outrighted (presuming they aren't claimed off waivers).

Josh Vitters and Ryan Kalish are a different situation. They would probably need to prove something in the big leagues in September to keep their 40-man roster slots past this season, and (unlike Jackson and Szczur) both Vitters and Kalish will be out of minor league options in 2015, and (also unlike Jackson and Szczur) if outrighted both Vitters and Kalish would be minor league 6YFAs post-2014. So while Vitters and Kalish may very well get outrighted, it might not happen until one last chance in September to show the Cubs something (anything). 

 

Tim Wilken had some real clunkers for #1's wit the Cubs, along with one potential hit (still a prospect, in Baez) and a solid in Cashner: Tyler Colvin (2006), Josh Vitters (2007), Andrew Cashner (2008), Brett Jackson (2009), Hayden Simpson (2010) and Baez (2011). DJ Lemehieu might be one of his lower round picks as well Josh Donaldson?

Well, he hasn't really done it over "July 2014" either. His success in July came on one day: he went 4-6 in a double header against Omaha on July 1. Since then he has a 182/280/409--which is in line with what he put up over the entire 2013 season. But I don't put any stock in 10 or 12 games in revealing a trend. He has 1,800 minor league plate appearances at AA and AAA and has an OPS around .780 in them. Given the greater skill of major league pitchers, it was not a surprise to see that drop to .644 during his call-up in 2012. We already have one Junior Lake, we don't need another one.

I'd have to agree from what I know at this point: Vitters and Jackson are likely busts with the Cubs.

I hope they get catch on with other clubs, or get good real jobs.

At least Jackson has the Golden Bear Cal network to assist him.

Vitters...he can still go to college if he wants - or get into IT and found a start-up and make billions with a new App.

Josh Vitters may someday figure out how to hit well enough to be a PH or very fringey LF and bounce around the majors/minors. But he's done absolutely nothing so far this year to suggest that even a great September would convince the Cubs to give him a shot at a LF job next year. Which is too bad, because they obviously need outfielders. I'd think Jackson and Vitters are as good as gone with no one to blame but themselves--Coghlan, Sweeney, and Lake are hardly blocking them with their blistering 2014 performances. Thank goodness one of Soler, Bryant, Baez, or (later) Schwarber or McKinney seems destined for that LF spot, barring a big trade/signing.

Kalish can man all 3 positions adequately and is a balanced enough player to fit the 4th/5th outfielder role and potentially stick with the team depending on the competition for roster spots.

"Jackson and Vitters are as good as gone with no one to blame but themselves"

I think the new regime in 2012 was a little harsh with the prospects they inherited, placing some on the closeout rack (Flaherty, LeMahieu) and applying makeovers to others (Castro, Barney, Jackson). Castro seems to have survived intact:

"You have to listen to the things that can help you -- not everything. When you come to home plate, you don't have any idea, because you listen to too many things."

Barney has only partially recovered from his hitting lessons with Dale Sveum.

"First and foremost, you take full responsibility for the numbers you put up," Barney said. "Maybe some guys weren't on the same page with people. In the end, you're the one who goes up to the plate."

The new Cub brain trust came to town with several missions, one of which, unfortunately, was to alter Brett Jackson's approach. Bear in mind that at that time, Jackson had always had a walk-to-strikeout ratio of around 1 to 2 or better. It was 28 to 64 in 215 PAs at Iowa in 2011.

Chicago would like to see him get a little more aggressive and attack more often early in the count. -Jim Callis, Baseball America, November 2011

One of the ways he seems to have adjusted is to be more aggressive early in the count. Jackson is a very patient hitter and pitchers were attacking him early, not allowing him to get ahead in the count and putting him in a lot of two strike holes. Lately, Jackson has pounced on some of those pitches and made pitchers pay for trying to get ahead. -Arguello, June 2 2012

When the coachable Jackson encountered the strong-willed Sveum in the spring of 2012, I think Jackson might have lost sight of the fact that he's the one who goes up to the plate. Since that time, his walks-to-strikeouts have been one-to-three or worse. At Iowa in 2012, it was 47 to 158. Jackson's OBP and OPS, always high (including at Iowa in 2011), have nosedived. Hindsight is 20/20, but why would you tinker with someone's approach--which may be more finely tuned than you realize--when his OBP and OPS are already in fine shape?

I give credit to Lake and Alcantara and Baez for doing as well as they have in the context of an organizational leadership that didn't choose them. Maybe he's just honest to a fault, but I think Jason McLeod could have kept it his little secret that he had no intention of drafting Baez with the twelfth pick in 2011 (for the Padres) if the Cubs had not selected him with the eleventh.

I buy that Dale Sveum and others may have asked some hitters to alter their approaches more than was really productive for them, but if he somehow made Darwin Barney and Brett Jackson as miserable as they are now, then he was both historically influential and historically terrible.

Also, it's been half a season since Renteria has been the new manager--why is Barney still not shooting the ball to RF (which was the key to his mediocire if empty batting averages of 2011-2012, rather than horrible and still empty batting averages or 2013-2014)? Barney's struggles aren't mysterious.

In terms of Sveum being "historically influential and terrible" if I'm right that his fingerprints are all over the downturns of Castro, Barney and Jackson--it may just be hard to fight off the influence of your hitting coach if he's also your manager. Sveum was in the group that worked with Barney in Arizona after the 2012 season.

Sveum said last year that Barney could be a .300 hitter but he has to prove it. Sveum, hitting coach James Rowson and assistant hitting coach Rob Deer worked with Barney in November in Arizona to boost his slugging percentage.

My impression is that hitters need to tune out their coaches on a fairly routine basis and remind themselves, as Barney put it, that you're the guy at the plate. Sveum was a tough guy to tune out--a tough guy generally, and very outspoken about hitting, and your manager to boot.

I'm not saying that Jackson and Barney were long-term answers for the Cubs. But Theo came to town seeking what he called "assets" among the personnel he inherited. Those two guys were assets at the beginning of 2012 whose value was subsequently much reduced.

Somewhat related article from Fangraphs about how Castro (and Rizzo) are pulling the ball more this season. Curious to how much this is due to change in coaching and the approach the players are being instructed to take.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-opposite-trends...

Yes, it's certainly possible that Jackson was going to be a good player and the coaches messed with him and he tanked. But it's also possible that he was going to tank anyway because he strikes out a ton (20-25% of his at-bats in the low minors, and about 33% of his at-bats in AAA--even in 2011 that you seem so fixated on) and pitchers adjust to that and exploit it.

It's also possible he would have tanked even MORE had the coaches not tried to help him. We have no real idea how to measure the effect of something like coaching styles on an individual player, and there are so many other variables changing at the same time that it would be difficult to isolate the extent of its effect even if we knew it.

I liked Sveum a lot and I still do, but in retrospect I would say he was a little too hands-on with hitting advice, especially coming from the manager, who controls a young hitter's playing time. Triple-A and the big leagues might be a little late to teach a guy how to hit. If Bill Meuller is even partly responsible for the year that Rizzo is having, then he's a great coach, but I haven't heard Rizzo mention it, and I suspect that Rizzo has figured it out himself. In horse racing, the trainer talks to the horse, but that doesn't mean the horse is listening.

Bottom line for me is that it would be better if Jackson had just sunk or swam by himself, or if they had just traded him immediately if they didn't like him, like they did with Colvin and LeMahieu.

I would doubt that Dan Straily will get a September call-up unless he starts pitching better at AAA. 

But despite his struggles at AAA and even if he is not recalled in September, Straily will almost certainly remain on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster into next season (at least through Spring Training). 

I saw Jackson last night in Iowa and thought, without knowing who he was right away, wow, that kid's got a sweet, sweet swing. Then he got a hit, and I thought, who is that guy in the two spot setting the table for the two goliaths? Could it be some unheralded kid I haven't heard of that I should keep an eye on? Then I realized it was Jackson and said to myself, "Oh." Talk about an enigma. I can see the reluctance on the part of the team to give up on him. They don't want to see him go all Josh Donaldson on us. Although Donaldson did have much better numbers in the minors so it's not a good comp I guess.

"Baez might, though (he REALLY wants to pay in the big leagues ASAP)"

Obviously a typo but still rather appropriate.

Thank you for the update. I suspected much the same configuration.

It's possible that the Cubs could bring back Eli Whiteside of call up Iowa player-coach Yorvit Torrealba, but I suspect it will be Lopez.
---
Cubs released Yorvit Torrealba on Friday (7-18) per Trib's Mark Gonzalez tweet around 5pm. Is he still hanging around as a coach or is he gone? I'd much rather see Lopez get some time in September as Az Phil suggests.

https://twitter.com/MDGonzales/status/490259357938...

http://cubbiescrib.com/2014/07/19/13909-chicago-cu...

Yorvit Torrealba has been working as a player-coach at Riverview Park for the past month, mentoring the young catchers while getting into playing shape. 

He was promised a slot at Iowa if one became available, but it didn't, so I guess he figures he can still play (he actually does look fairly spry for a 36-year old) and maybe score a AAA player-only gig with another organization, and (if he's lucky) maybe even a "3rd catcher" job in MLB in September.

so like...rizzo...yeah.

unf.

Tony Eight Sacks

Baez Bryant Schwarber all with HR's tonight.

Also Candelario, of the lesser prospects way down the bottom end of the top twenty.

Shark (no decision) kept the A's in the game but needed a 9th inning, 3 run walk off HR by Josh Donaldson to avoid a loss and gave the A's a 5-4 win.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_...

The right-hander gave the A's seven innings in his third start in green and gold but was touched for a pair of two-run homers (Machado, 7th inning) along the way, including a shot by Jonathan Schoop in the fifth after hitting J.J. Hardy with a pitch.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_...

The game has Cub fingerprints all over it.

from the BP column: "What Scouts are Saying"'

Cubs 2B Arismendy Alcantara: “You hear all about the guys like Bryant, Almora, Baez, and now Russell, and rightfully so, but Alcantara might be the most complete player in their system. He brings advanced hitability, plus-plus speed, and impact defense. He's an exciting guy to watch and reminds me a little of Jose Reyes. I saw they said they aren't going to send Alcantara down just yet, and I would be surprised if he ever made it back to Iowa.”

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

I feel like I've heard a lot of conflicting reports about Alcantara's defense.

From what I've seen, there's not much to be conflicted about.

that part of the blurb caught me off guard, too.

the only "impact defense" i've heard about him having is his potential-to-inevitable move to CF because there's not many (if any) that like him long term at 2nd.

The only thing I have heard about his move to CF is that they need to make room for Baez at second base. From what I have seen so far, he is a very good second baseman, which is probably to be expected from someone who was a decent shortstop.

I was able to take in a lot of last night's game for a change (I usually catch a couple innings on a good day) and I was wondering why E Jackson isn't a better pitcher than he is. I do know he tends to get behind in counts, but he's got a decent fastball and whatever breaking thing that is that he has - looks like a slider? Anyway, it's not a bad pitch and he was moving stuff around. Even the hits guys got, some of those were just doing some good hitting. I liked AZ Phil's trade idea, but I suspect Edwin will be here next year and wouldn't it be nice if the Cubs were competitive and Edwin picked next year to be his best year with the Cubs? If nothing else, he could be an innings eater in the back of the rotation if, just if....

solid mid-90s 4seam fastball, nice slider, and even a slightly slower decent 2seam fastball he doesn't throw too much...and he pitches like someone who throws 89mph with a crappy slider. go figure.

he's got other off-speed stuff, too, but he rarely breaks them out.

Bosio is a pretty good pitching coach, from what I can see from here, which granted, isn't much. But whatever secret sauce he uses on others is not finding Jackson's palate. Still, if he sucks every year but next, and he somehow comes around, I really wouldn't care about the times he's sucked, since the team was pretty lame.

No coach, however good, can connect with every player. Personalities and styles often just don't match up well with some guys.

Also the Huston Street trade between the Angels-Padres has ex-cub ramifications. Ian Stewart was DFA'd by the Angels to make roster room.

Stewart, 29, was hitting .176/.222/.382 in 72 plate appearances for the Angels.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/07/angels-desig...

speaking of Ian Stewart...per Rotoworld:

Rays released RHP Casey Weathers.
The 29-year-old right-hander appeared in eight games at High-A Charlotte, posting a 13.06 ERA, 2.52 WHIP and 8/12 K/BB ratio. He has lengthy history of injuries, but could find another organization willing to give him a shot on a minor league deal.

Wiki:

On December 8, 2011, Weathers was traded along with Ian Stewart to the Chicago Cubs for Tyler Colvin and DJ Lemahieu.

Any chance of Javy and Bryant doing it three games in a row? I'm gonna be there tonight, so they better come through, dammit. I'm bringing my wife, who enjoys the minor league ballpark atmosphere and loves to dance in the aisles to the silly music between at bats.

There are 49 pitchers in the NL that have qualified for the ERA title.

Cubs "big 2" are #48 (Travis) and #49 (Guess Who?).

That's a big bag of suck right there.

Hammell got just pounded yesterday. This seems to happen for everyone we trade at deadline over the last few years. Either Bosio is the best coach ever OR there is something to the psychology of pitching for the Cubs (no pressure) versus a team in a pennant race.

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2014/07/cubs...

27yr old Cuban OF, Rusney Castillo linked to having interest from the Cubs

http://mlb.com/news/article/mlb/cuban-outfield-pro...

I saw Baez at second base last night. As far as fielding? He's ready. He made a great tag on a double play, a very nice play on a fairly sharp grounder to his left, should have thrown out a runner on a perfect relay but Whiteside mishandled it, and of course drove in a couple runs. He did look bad on an offspeed pitch after the pitcher, Germano, had been feeding the rest of them a lot of fastballs, most of which were either crushed or missed completely by various guys, including Bryant (missed).Baez absolutely looks like a natural out there in the field. Seems completely immersed in the game and aware of everything going on. Manny Ramirez didn't look too good at the plate, but I heard more than a couple conversations about how cool it was he was down there helping the kids, and these weren't Cubs fans - Texas fans all the way in my immediate area.

MiLB article on 19 yr old Jen-Ho Tseng (KC Cougars)

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140718&...

Why wait until he's 21? Bring him up now so the Cubs can go to a 2 man rotation.

from Thursday (so it's a bit 3/44) Cubs get on the Bus...16-year-old Venezuelan righthander Emilio Ferrebus per Ben Badler of BA

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/cubs-...

olt and lake seek to rebound from yesterday's performances...by sitting on the bench.

2 articles on both of them today...

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-will-have-face...

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

my favorite quote from either article...

"One of the things that I try to talk to them about is not to focus too much on the results," Renteria said. "I want them to focus on the at-bats. It’s one of the toughest gigs they have as young men (in) the big leagues – to come off the bench, play every three or four or five or six days…and still try and develop."

k.hendricks t.wada to be recalled to start vs SD on wednesday.

wada's okay and all, but hendricks projects as more of an immediate + long-term solution even if it's just middle/end of the rotation talent.

t.wada to be recalled to start vs SD on wednesday.
---
Hendricks starts Tuesday

getting kinda used to these rizzo HRs...

23rd on the year with a bit under 2.5 months left to play.

o.despaigne (SD) has a no-hitter through 7 vs the mets. it's the 5th start of his career.

100 pitches, though. he had a rough 7th...started the inning with 74 pitches thrown.

-edit- no hitter gone with 2 outs in the top 8th.

j.russell...lefty pitching j.russell...you just let m.trumbo steal a base on you.

dude...wtf?

Comes in with a runner on first and two out -- lets the runner score....

I expect there are knife fights between the starters and the bullpen. Not working well in tandem.

Addison Russell is 2-4, 2 HR, through 5 innings. 6 rbi including a grand slam.

Bonifacio is 4-5, I'd expect him back in Chicago vs Padres Tuesday.

and Christian Villaneuva has a HR (albeit, Vanilla)

Almora is 4-5, Schwarber is 2-5 and Billy McKinney 1-5 but 3 rbi

I was actually at the game and witnessed Russell's feat. The first homer was a monster shot to left center that went about 380 feet. The grand slam was pulled to left and a line drive. He also walked. He came up in his last at bat with the bases loaded and struck out on a 3-2 pitch that bounced in front of the plate. Oh well, I guess he was tired. Just looking at he and Soler (which i learned pronounces his name Hore-hey So-lair) they are quite the athletes.

It's not George Sole-r?

No, it's pronounced Hore-hey So-lair. We sat right by him and you would not believe how large he is. He was even speaking fluent Spanish for some reason.

Me thinks Jacos was pulling your leg.

Thank you for the eye-witness report!

I feel pretty stronlgly we will see him in Wrigley next year if he's not traded.

"Pull the other one"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHFXG3r_0B8

Thanks for the on the spot reports, always appreciated and I love the fan's perspective.

Ah, forgive me for my dim-wittedness. I love the site and read it often. This is the last year for the Milwaukee farm team which is leaving Huntsville, AL for Mississippi next season. I wanted to see West Tennessee in town for the last time. Mr. Russell made my day enjoyable.

and Alcantara makes it a 3-2 game in the 8th with a double to drive in Coghlan

Rosscup down, Hendricks up.

Alcantara stays for another few days.

did they get swept by the dbags?

Q:When was the last time a team had three top-10 prospects?

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/ask-ba-rare-...

Very illuminating. Thanks ....

Why in the world would the Cubs trade prospects for Price right now? Possibly lose him in a year. I would love to see them take a crack on him in 2016 free agency when they actually could use him:

http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/david-price-tam...

You can't account for out of town stupid.

Last week in Daily News believed Castro would be "moved to third" next year.
Huh?

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/all-star-ga...

It's Fox, big name club + big name player + trade intrigue = ad impressions, surprised it wasn't a slide show so they can charge advertisers 12 impressions for a single article Bleacher Report style. Plus Rosenthal gets the added benefit of getting to act like an "insider expert" by knowing the Derek Johnson, Vanderbilt, Price connection.

I simply cannot envision any scenario between now and fall 2015 where the Cubs trade for David Price. Signing him as a free agent is an entirely different matter, and if he goes to market healthy, I expect the Cubs will be in the buyers' column.

a buyer for a $25-$30m a year pitcher?

one d.price is better than 2.5 ejax, that's for sure...but this team needs to actually spend like they're in the 3rd largest US market before even thinking about that.

Cmmmmmmmmmmmooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

Opening day infield in 2016 will cost about $ 20 million (Riz, Beaz, Castro, Bryant)
Outfield Alcantara, Soler, ??? $ 10 $15 million.

They can sign 2-3 Prices.

Of course that s if Bryant, Baez, Soler pan out

once they start showing up, I think Cubs will show some aggressiveness in free agency that we haven't seen yet from this regime, but I don't see them doing anything dumb either. I still think they'll stick to deals of 5 years or less and not offering no-trade clauses, unless it's a prime under-30 free agent.

 

I could see the Cubs kicking the tires on Scherzer or Price at five years of ace money but not seven. I think you're right to make that important distinction. A guy not older than 30 and not longer than five years. But within that frame, I don't suspect there will be much hesitation to target an "ace" when one is available. The single reason why it looks most difficult for this team to compete in 2016 appears to be lack of top-line SP.

From the next 2 FA classes, the guys who will be 31 or younger and are good enough to at least be called a #2-3 on a playoff team.

2014 and FA age:
Lester (31)
Masterson (30)
Scherzer (30)

2015 and FA age:
Cueto (30)
Latos (28)
Medlen (30)
Porcello (27)
Price (30)
Samardzija (31)
Zimmerman (30)

If you raise the age to 32, Shields joins the 2014 class and Lincecum joins the 2015 class.

If you tell me the Cubs sign 2 of those guys, I like the odds to compete in 2016. If they get one, I think the odds of competing in 2016 are OK. If they get none of those guys, the odds are probably slim.

one d.price is better than 2.5 ejax, that's for sure...
----
Ask Larry Himes how valuable Juan Guzman, Juan Guzman was.

http://www.fangraphs.com/not/wp-content/uploads/20...

...one of the more stupid things I've ever heard a GM say. Himes and the 1994 strike actually caused me to pay very little attention to Cubs baseball for a few years following that.

Former Cub INF Tom Veryzer died. He a forgetable member of the '84 team.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/detroit...

He sucked, but he didn't deserve to die.

Anyone know why Soler was pulled after going 2 for 3 in a close game tonight? (Fingers crossed it's not an injury. Batting over .400).

Planned early exit.

Whew! Thank you!

Yeah, evidently they are easing him along a bit because of the hammys. Hammies? There is no squiggle for this. How am I supposed to spel right if there are no squiggles????

Some Schwarber stuff:

"The early returns have been a little surprising as to how positive it's been for him [behind the plate]," said one NL scout. "[It's] hard to know what to make of that; obviously it's gonna be dictated a little bit by what's the need of the team going forward. It still might not make a ton of sense going forward, but that bat as a catcher is an unworldly profile."

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/259...

I'm not saying Kyle Schwarber is Buster Posey or Matt Wieters, but just a couple of examples of catchers who were not held back just because they were catchers...

Buster Posey was drafted by the Giants out of Florida State in 2008 and spent his first half-season in short-season ball (AZL & NWL) before playing in the old Hawaiian Winter League (like the AFL, but for younger players) post-2008. Then he began his second season (his first full-season) in 2009 at Hi-A before getting a mid-season promotion to AAA (despite 14 PB at San Jose) followed by a September call-up to San Francisco, before completing his season by playing in the AFL. Then he started the 2010 season at AAA before getting called up to SF to stay in May (thus delaying his MLB Service Time to give the Giants an additional year of club control before he could be a FA). And Posey has remained a catcher (even after breaking his leg in a home-plate collision), although he occasionally moves to another position (1B) when Bruce Bochy wants to give him a day off from catching. 

Matt Wieters was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of Georgia Tech in 2007, but he signed too late to play minor league ball during the regular season (there was a mid-August signing deadline at the time), but he did play in the Hawaiian Winter League post-2007. He started 2008 at Hi-A and got a mid-season promotion to AA, and finished the year playing in the AFL. He began the 2009 season at AAA, and got called up to Baltimore to stay in late May 2009 (thus delaying his MLB Service Time to give the Orioles another year of player control before he could be a FA). Wieters was used as a catcher (and occasionally a DH when he needed a day off from catching) prior to undergoing TJS this past April.  

So Schwarber could remain a catcher AND be fast-tracked if his bat continues to play at each level (as it has so far). No reason why he necessarily has to move slowly even if he remains a catcher. If he plays in the AFL after this season and then starts 2015 at AA, he could very well get called up AS A CATCHER as early as May 2016. And if he turns out to be an offensive force, he could get a day-off by playing LF (or DH versus A. L. teams).   

 

Yes. And the Cubs are the ideal team to do this with as there will be a wave of young players coming up - so it's not like he is going to frustrate a bunch of veterans as he adjusts, or blow a pennant race with inexperience. Granted by the time he arrives the cubs should be more competitive, still they will be youth oriented. And the kid seems like a baseball rat, so I think he'll work hard if that's his course.

Wieters and Posey were considered to be good defensive catchers coming out of college for what it's worth, although folks were worried about Wieters height.

Heck of a play by Villanueva at third in the side bar.

BP writeup...

Hitter of the Night: Rock Shoulders, LF, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 2-2, 2 R, HR, 2 BB.
Shoulders has struggled in the Florida State League this season against pitchers with a more advanced plan to attack the holes in his swing. Still, the power is very much intact, and his home run on Monday got out of the park before Shoulders had even left the batter’s box. He’s patient and looks for his pitch to hit, but he can be exploited on the inner half and struggles with decent breaking stuff once he’s behind in the count. He’s also not a left fielder, though he’s playing there some of the time. A massively built human being with some of the strongest legs I’ve ever seen, Shoulders will have to make adjustments quickly to continue to get at-bats in a stacked Cubs farm system, but his power potential remains enticing.

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

Law's Midseason Top 5 Farm Systems (ESPN Insider)
1. Chicago Cubs

I know Cubs fans have heard this before, but just wait 'til next year, because this club is going to get good in a hurry, at least on the run-scoring side of the ledger. The system already had the minors' best collection of high-end bats, and it added several more during the past seven weeks, including the fourth-best prospect in the minors in shortstop Addison Russell, who came over with promising left fielder Billy McKinney in the Jeff Samardzija trade with the Athletics.

The Cubs also added catcher/left fielder Kyle Schwarber with the fourth overall pick in this year's draft. It's a pick I think was an overdraft in part due to doubts he will stick at either position, but he has raked so far in limited at-bats, mostly against younger competition. They used the savings on Schwarber's bonus to grab several high-upside high school arms later in the draft, including right-hander Dylan Cease, whose elbow ligament injury might require Tommy John surgery but who was seen as a top-15 pick talent before his injury. Cease has a fastball that can touch 100 mph and at times a plus breaking ball. The Cubs also have some promising hitters on their AZL club (rookie league) from their Latin American spending spree in 2013, including bonus babies Gleyber Torres (from Venezuela) and Eloy Jimenez (from the Dominican Republic), both just 17 years old.

These infusions have helped balance out a few disappointments in the system of players I ranked highly coming out of last year. Albert Almora has been a disappointment (.306 OBP in high Class A), continuing his record of awful walk rates in pro ball to date. C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson, their top two arms going into the season, both have missed substantial time with injuries; Edwards is still on the shelf, and Johnson hasn't been effective at Double-A when healthy. Jeimer Candelario, whose only tool was his bat, hasn't hit at two levels and is about to be buried by the wave of infield prospects ahead of him. Scott Frazier, their sixth-round pick last year, appears to have the yips, with 12 walks and four hit batsmen in 22 batters faced.

Most of the successful arms in the system this year have been pitchers at low-Class A Kane County, particularly undersized Taiwanese right-hander Tseng Jen-Ho and 2012 draftee Paul Blackburn, which means the Cubs probably won't get the starting pitching help they need from their system in the next year or two. Fortunately for them and their fans, they have the bats to trade to acquire pitching from outside the organization.

This has to be the most loaded the Cubs' farm has been in at least 30 years.

2. Minnesota Twins
3. Houston Astros
4. New York Mets
5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Chase Headley to Yankees for Rafael De Paula and Yangervis Solarte

Barney....DFA'd

Thank frickin god. D-day

(Dude totally got punked on maternity leave, tho.)

That's alright, dude's been punking us for 5 years.

it only took about 1360 PA of sub-.300 ob% ball to get him out of here.

...1600+ if you throw in his second half of the 2011 season where he hit .238/.286/.328

i don't care about his gold glove year and it's inflated WAR value (hell, he has a positive 0.4/0.6 WAR this season) because the guy has been defensive-bench-player quality at the plate since mid-2011. his only value at the plate is he's not K prone and actually puts the ball in play.

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