Cubs Trade Russell and Speedy Neifi to Braves

Yesteday, the Cubs acquired LHP Felix Doubront for a player to be named later from the Boston Red Sox. A trade that I like a whole lot presuming the PTBNL isn't much and considering Doubront's ability to strikeout many hitters. A move to the NL Central certainly won't hurt his numbers either.

Today, the deadline has been rocking and the Cubs big moves were out of the way earlier in the month, but they have just traded Bonifacio and James Russell to the Braves. In return, they got catcher Victor Caratini, the Braves second round pick from last year. Here's what Sickels had to say about him before the season:

10) Victor Caratini, 3B-C, Grade C+: Borderline B-. Solid line drive hitter with good strike zone judgment, hit just one homer in the Appy League but some scouts believe that the homers will come in time. Others aren’t sure, but at least he has a good eye. Will be interesting to see how he adapts defensively.

After the jump, a breakdown of some of the other trades from the last few days...

- Cardinals get RHP Justin Masterson for OF prospect James Ramsey

- Cardinals get RHP John Lackey and LHP Corey Littrell from Red Sox for OF/1B Allen Craig and RHP Joe Kelly

- Brewers get OF Geraldo Parra from DBacks for OF Mitch Haniger, LHP Anthony Banda

- A's get LHP Jon Lester, OF Johnny Gomes and cash for OF Yoenis Cespedes and a competitive balance pick

- A's get OF Sam Fuld for LHP Tommy Milone

- Yankees acquire INF/OF Martin Prado for 1B prospect Pete O'Brien (3rd in the minors behind Joey Gallo and Bryant for HR's) and cash.

- Yankees and Red Sox swap INF Stephen Drew for INF/OF Kelly Johnson

- Marlins acquire RHP Jared Cosart, INF Kiki Hernandez, OF Austin Wates from Astros for OF Jake Marisnick, INF Colin Moran, RHP Francis Martes and competitive balance pick

- Tigers acquire LHP David Price in a 3-team swap with Rays getting LHP Drew Smyly, INF Willy Adames and INF Nick Franklin from the Mariners, who get OF Austin Jackson (that seems like an awful trade for the Rays).

- Orioles get LHP Andrew Miller from Red Sox for LHP Eduardo Rodriguez

- Mariners get OF Chris Denorfia for OF Abraham Almonte and RHP Stephen Kohlscheen from the Padres

Huzzah, you step out for 2 hours and all hell breaks loose. Some fun deals, really love how the Red Sox got major leaguers in their deals. Cardinals look well poised for another late season run and the Rays seemed to whiff on a deal, unless Drew Smyly is a lot better than I think he is.


Len and JD on the air saying Doubrant is going on the DL and will be "considered a starter down the road" and that Baez will NOT be called up to replace Bonifacio.

Because Doubront is out of minor league options, the only way the Cubs would be able to get him "stretched-out" as a starter would be to place him on the 15-day DL and then send him on a 30-day minor league rehab assignment. That should give him enough time to get stretched-out as a starter, and then he can be reinstated on September 1st (when rosters expand) and can be used as a starter the last month of the season.

The Cubs would then have to decide by 12/2 whether or not to tender him a 2015 contract (he will be first-time arbitration-eligible post-2014). If he struggles as a starter in September, the Cubs might non-tender him on 12/2 and then try and re-sign him to a 2015 non-guaranteed minor league contract with an NRI to ST. 

BTW, if Doubront is placed on the DL, Zac Rosscup would probably be recalled to be the #2 bullpen lefty.  

this is the 2nd player the cubs have placed on "mystery DL" with a non-existent very minor injury the past few days.

so we got airy/wood/jackson/hendricks/wada moving forward...with doubrant as the new wildcard in the mix.

I don't get the point of Wada.

I don't think I've mentally prepared myself for the Logan Watkins era.

in other news, Phillies didn't trade anybody...

Jake Arrieta still being awesome, gets the win today; 7 IP, 7 K, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 H


I don't know anything about this guy. I just know the Braves have a knack for picking decent catchers.

Hi guys! Perhaps we have evolved past the only criteria I have recognized when doing an assessment on a catchin prospect....
1st question: is his last name Molina?
No other questions apply....

Logan Watkins is 1-3

Javier Baez 3-3, 2 run HR

That's some exciting perspective.

I was hoping a few other spare parts would be dealt, but I imagine another player or two could slip passed the deadline.

Wrongway Phil Rogers one contribution to the baseball trade deadline twitter frenzy...I think he sent this in by morse code and pony express

Seems like Taijuan Walker is in the 3-team David Price trade but that's unconfirmed.

That would certainly make much more sense than the hosing that's currently being reported.

Olt 1 for 3 tonight so far with a STOLEN BASE! Ha! Still batting .343

Straily 3 hit 1 BB 0 ER so far through 5 ip with 4 K's.

Bryant HR (AAA #13, #35 overall) just over the RF wall near the foul pole.

Olt with a BOLT over the LF wall, line drive HR. 1st Iowa HR. 4-0 I-Cubs, top 7th.

Batting .361 with 5 Multi hit games out of 10 at Iowa. Facing mostly RHP of course. Stolen base tonight.

Straily finishes with 6 shutout innings, 4 hits, 5 K, 1 BB . . .

I'd say bring him up, but there's no point. He'll just straddle pine as long as Valbuena is around. I like Valbuena a lot, but as a supersub on a contending team, not as someone blocking Olt. That's ridiculous. I'd love to see what a September infield of Olt, Castro, Baez and Rizzo could do for about 30 days in a row. Maybe even Soler in right.

Agreed all around. Keep Olt at AAA as long as Captain Moran and Valbuena are in love. It's worth noting that. Luis' batting average is plummeting ... not that it matters.

I think Soler will be up for sure. It makes sense in every way unless he is hurt or falls off the rails performance wise.

For what it's worth, MLB now has Caratini as the Cubs #13 prospect - in between Vogelbach and Candelabra.

Vizcaino with 2 innings of shutout pitching. Not quite gorgeous with 2 BB and 1 H but better than most of his recent appearances in Iowa.

With Valaika getting called up I guess they're still not happy with something they are seeing from Baez. Valaika is a 4A guy with a career minor league OPS of .644.

I think it's just a token gesture and they are holding onto Baez for service time and to avoid hype about the avalanche of prospects getting called up. Have to lose big this year again and I think next year they'll start the building part of the rebuilding. At the major league level . . .

You meant MAJOR league OPS of .644. But that's only in 127 at-bats. Valaika's career minor league OPS is .735 and he's at .768 this year.

And as others pointed out, it's about service time with Baez.

Ok, here's my question: Cubs have Vitters, Watkins, BJax, Sczcur on option at Iowa which IMO is a pile of suck. Joe Stevenson of the NW Herald (HS sports) writes last night that former NW Herald POY 2007 - Elliot Soto, has been promoted to Iowa to take Watkins spot on moving up to Chicago. If Epstoyer would rather select Valaika and play Sweeney/Schierholtz over recalling any of these 4 guys, then why are they on the 40-man at all?

I mean it's not like any of these guys are going to have any value, even as 'throw-ins' in a waiver trade. So why not outright them off the roster now? Certainly Hatley, Lopez & Baez offer more value now.

Completely agree. Hoping we see some indication in the next 10 days that front office has a plan for the 40 man and obvious stragglers?

I'm sure Phil will clue us in, but it seems there are few reasons to make a 40 man change until you need to.

GEORGE A: A player MUST be added to a club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) during the season if the player is added to the club's MLB Active List (25-man roster), or during the off season if the player was a free-agent and signed a major league contract, or was selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, or was claimed off waivers. A player MIGHT be added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) after the season to protect the player from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft and/or to keep the player from becoming a minor league free-agent. So slots on the 40 have a lot of value.

All things being equal, it's good to have 40-man roster slots open. And because players can be claimed off waivers in the process of being removed from the 40-man roster (like when a player is out of minor league options and the club needs to outright the player to the minors to open up a slot for another player), a club wouldn't want to add a player to the 40-man roster too soon in the player's career or if it isn't necessary. (It's sometimes better to not add a player to the 40 and risk losing him in the Rule 5 Draft but with the chance that you can get him back, than it is to add a player to the 40 too soon in his career and then have him run out of minor league options before he is ready to stick in the big leagues and then risk losing him off waivers--without a chance to get him back--when the club tries to outright him to the minors because his roster slot is needed for another player).

Also, if the 40-man roster is full a club might have to DFA (Designate for Assignment) a player it might prefer to keep (at least for a while longer) just to open up a 40-man roster slot, and once a player has been Designated for Assognmernt the club generally must either trade, release, or outright the player to the minors, effectively losing control of the player.   

In the cases of Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters, and Logan Watkins, the Cubs added Vitters to the 40 post-2011 because he was eligible for selection in the December 2011 Rule 5 and (as one of their top prospects at the time) the Cubs did not want to risk losing him. He has been optioned to the minors in 2012, 2013, and 2014, so he will be out of minor league options in 2015. He also would be a minor league 6YFA after the World Series if he were to be outrighted between now & then.  

Watkins was named Cubs Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 and was added to the 40-man roster in November of that year because he was eligible for selection in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft. He has used two minor league options (2013 & 2014), so he will have one more left next season. He did spend a couple of months in the big leagues at the end of last season, he can play mulitple positions in the INF & OF, and he has had an OK (though not great) year at Iowa in 2014, so he probably will get recalled again at some point this season. Why the Cubs chose to call-up Valaika instead of Watkins right now is unknown, although it could be they want to see if Valaika (who is 28 years old and can play SS-3B-2B-1B) is worth keeping around as an extra man along with Valbuena-Coghlan-Ruggiano as the young future core arrives over the next year or so.    
Szczur was added to the 40-man roster at an odd time (prior to the 2012 season and long before he was eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft) because (just like with Jeff Samardzija) he was given a major league contract to keep him from going to the NFL Combine (Szczur was a football star at Villanove who continued ti play college football even after he signed with the Cubs, and he was considered a definite NFL prospect at the time), and once he was on the 40, the Cubs did not want to take the chance of losing him off waivers, so he remains on the 40 to this day even though he is still not considered ready to play in the big leagues. (BTW, because he was added to the 40 so early in his career, Szczur will get a 4th minor league option in 2015, presuming he remains on the 40-man roster). 

B. Jackson was added to the 40-man roster when he was called up from Iowa in August 2012, but he would have been added to the 40 post-2012 anyway to protect him from being selected in the December 2012 Rule 5 Draft (he was considered to be one of the Cubs top prospects at the time). 

So each of the the four remain on the 40 (at least for now), but it's also quite possible that one or more of them (especially B. Jackson and/or Vitters) could get dropped (outrighted or even released) at any time to make room for other players the Cubs wish to add to the 40, but probably not until their roster slots are actually needed.    

Except for the "26th man" who can be temporarily added to a club's MLB Active List for doubleheaders, all MLB clubs are required to have at least 24 players (but no more than 25 players) on their MLB Active Lists from Opening Day through August 31st (a temporary variance alllowing clubs to go below 24 players is permitted if a club trades multiple players at the same time). So while a club could choose to play with 24 players all the time (to save salary), it would be a competitive disadvantage to do that if all the other clubs play with 25. (There was one year back in the 1980's when all MLB club colluded to play with 24 players, but it didn't last because a couple of clubs "broke ranks" and added a 25th player).  

There is no such requirement for the MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), however. A club is not required to keep its 40-man roster full, and in fact there are times during the off-season when a club's 40-man roster might have as few as 31 or 32 players (this happened with the Cubs back in October-November 2004, after several Article XX-B players filed for free-agency but before other players were added to the 40 in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft). 

The common practice now is for clubs to take advantage of openings on its 40-man roster (especially at certain points during the off season) to make waiver claims, and then when the roster is full and a slot is needed for a free-agent signing or for a player acquired in a trade, the player claimed off waivers is put back on Outright Assignmemt Waivers as the club tries to outright the player to the minors. Some players are claimed two or three times in a given off season because of this practice. (The Cubs have done this several times over the past couple or three off-seasons).   

But duiring Spring Training and the MLB Regular Season, a club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) is usually full or nearly-full most all of the time, and sometimes it's so full (like at the end of Spring Training when NRI players who make an MLB 25-man Opening Day roster need to be added to the 40-man roster) that clubs have difficultty finding enough room for everybody. Because players on the 60-day Disabled List do not count against a club's 40-man roster, injured players expected to be out of action for a lengthy period of time are often placed on the 60-day DL (or transferred from the 15-day DLto the 60-day DL) to clear roster slots on the 40, most often right at the end of Spring Training, but also sometimes during the regular season, too. (A player can be placed on the 60-day DL no earlier than the start of Spring Training, and all players on a club's 60-day DL must be reinstated to the 40-man roster no later than the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series).

Tommy Milone was traded for Sam Fuld.

Can anyone compare and contrast the value of Travis Wood, Tommy Milone, Chris Rusin and Felix Dubront (outside of injuries). Projection including contract and years of control can be included

If Oakland needed a 4th outfielder, clearly Beane thought Santo's little helper (Fuld) must have more value than Sure-outs, Coughlan, Ruggiano. I wonder if Theo/Jed was a at all interested in Milone, or was the Dubront acquisition enough for his near term lefty arsenal and Milone would have been like having Wood lite.

AZ Phil, can you give me an update on the injuries to Andreoli, Silva, Balanguert? Thanks.

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  • Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?

    Hagsag 2 hours 4 min ago view
  • It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.

    Still impressive.

    John Beasley 2 hours 6 min ago view
  • Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.

    He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.

    billybucks 9 hours 54 sec ago view
  • Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.

    Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.

    billybucks 9 hours 5 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

    neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.

    crunch 9 hours 20 min ago view
  • Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?

    billybucks 9 hours 23 min ago view
  • Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump

    jacos 9 hours 27 min ago view
  • Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.

    billybucks 9 hours 32 min ago view
  • j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.

    felix pena, your turn.

    crunch 9 hours 33 min ago view
  • it's been a while since joe's over-managed a's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.

    crunch 10 hours 19 min ago view
  • Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.

    John Beasley 12 hours 35 min ago view
  • barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.

    crunch 12 hours 57 min ago view
  • Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?

    Brick 13 hours 6 min ago view
  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 14 hours 7 min ago view
  • rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.

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

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

    Rob G. 15 hours 21 min ago view
  • Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.

    billybucks 16 hours 5 min ago view