For those of you who might be interested in looking ahead a little bit, he are projections for the Cubs 2009 payroll, potential Cubs free-agents, Cubs players eligible for salary arbitration, 2009 minor league option status for Cubs players presently on the 40-man roster, potential post-2008 Cubs minor league free-agents, and Cubs minor league players who will be eligible for the December 2008 Rule 5 Draft.
Remember, these are projections based on the way things stand right now, and are very much subject to change.
ELIGIBLE TO BE FREE-AGENT AFTER 2008 SEASON:
Henry Blanco (mutual option with buy-out for 2009)
Scott Eyre (has limited "no trade")
Jon Lieber (has automatic "no trade" through June 15th)
Kerry Wood (has 10/5 "no trade" rights)
SIGNED FOR 2009:
Henry Blanco - $3M club option or $300K buy-out
Mark DeRosa - $5.5M
Kosuke Fukudome - $11.5M
Derrek Lee - $13M
Ted Lilly - $12M
Jason Marquis - $9.875M
Aramis Ramirez - $15.65M
Jeff Samardzija - $1.3M (no minor league split)
Alfonso Soriano - $16M
Carlos Zambrano - $17.75M
TOTAL GUARANTEED SO FAR - $102.875M (includes expected $300K buy-out for Blanco)
NOTE: Most signing bonuses are paid up-front when a player signs a contract (which is why it's called a SIGNING BONUS), so I did not include signing bonuses in projected 2009 payroll unless the bonus is known to be spread-out over the length of contract.
What confuses some people is that per the CBA, signing bonuses (even when they are paid in a lump sum when the contract is signed) are automatically averaged over the length of a player's contract when computing club payroll for the purpose of determining whether a club must pay a luxury tax and for revenue sharing purposes.
PROJECTED ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION POST-2008:
NOTE: Projection based on player spending the rest of the 2008 season in MLB
Rich Hill (projected 2+149 MLB Service Time post-2008 – almost certainly will qualify for salary arbitration as a “Super Two”)
Sean Marshall (projected 2+132 MLB Service Time post-2008 – possibly could qualify for salary arbitration as a “Super Two”)
AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) PLAYERS FOR 2009:
NOTE: 2009 MLB minimum salary will be $400K with $65K minimum minor league split salary
Rich Hill (likely to be eligible for salary arbitration as “Super Two”)
Sean Marshall (could be eligible for salary arbitration as “Super Two”)
PLAYERS SIGNED BEYOND 2009:
Derrek Lee ($13M in 2010, then FA – has full “no trade”)
Ted Lilly ($12M in 2010, then FA - has full "no trade")
Aramis Ramirez ($15.75M in 2010, $14.6M 2011 player option, and $16M 2012 mutual option with $2M buy-out – has full “no trade”)
Kosuke Fukudome ($13M in 2010 and $13.5M in 2011, then FA - has full :"no trade")
Jeff Samardzija (thru 2011 + mutual options for 2012 & 2013 – has full “no trade” through 2011):
2010: $2.5M (no minor league split)
2011: $2.8M (no minor league split)
2012: $3M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary arbitration)
2013: $3.5M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary-arbitration)
NOTE: Samardzija still must accrue six years of MLB Service Time before he can be a Free-Agent
Carlos Zambrano ($17.875 in 2010 and 2011, and $18M in 2012, plus $19.25M 2013 vesting-player option – has full “no trade”)
Alfonso Soriano ($18M 2010 through 2014, then FA – has full “no trade”)
PROJECTED SPRING TRAINING 2009 MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS FOR PLAYERS WITH LESS THAN FIVE YEARS MLB SERVICE TIME:
* To be optioned to minors, player must first clear Optional Assignment Waivers
NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT:
Jose Ascanio (see NOTE)
* Mike Fontenot
* Rich Hill
* Matt Murton
* Michael Wuertz
NOTE: Jose Ascanio will have used three minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only four “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2009.
ONE OR TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT (TBD):
Sean Marshall (see NOTE)
NOTE: Sean Marshall has spent ten days on optional assignment to the minors so far in 2008. If he spends at least another ten days on optional assignment to the minors sometime later in the 2008 season, he will have one minor league option left as of Spring Training 2009. If he spends less than ten more days on optional assignment to the minors in 2008, he will have two minor league options left as of Spring Training 2009.
TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Billy Petrick (see NOTE)
Jeff Samardzija (see NOTE)
NOTE: Billy Petrick will have used two minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only three “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons.
Jeff Samardzija will have used two minor league options through the 2008 season, but because he will have spent only two “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2008 season, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons.
THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
ELIGIBLE TO BE MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2008:
Andres Blanco, SS
Mike Burns, RHP
Andy Cavazos, RHP
Robinson Chirinos, INF
Rafael Cova, RHP
Matt Craig, 1B
Doug Deeds, OF-1B
Danny Fatheree, C (serving as a coach with Boise-Mesa)
Luis Figueroa, INF
Chad Fox, RHP
Dumas Garcia, RHP
Jesse Garcia, INF
Koyie Hill, C
Randy Keisler, LHP
Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
Geoffrey Jones, LHP
Josh Kroeger, OF
Leonel Perez, C
Issmael Salas, IF-OF
Cesar Salazar, OF
Bobby Scales, IF-OF
Andres Torres, OF
Les Walrond, LHP
Tanner Watson, RHP
Randy Wells, RHP
NOTE: A player eligible to be a Minor League free-agent cannot be granted free-agency if he is added to a 40-man roster by the end of the World Series.
ELIGIBLE FOR 2008 RULE 5 DRAFT
James Adduci, OF
Alberto Alburquerque, RHP
Mitch Atkins, RHP
Matt Avery, RHP
Justin Berg, RHP
Todd Blackford, RHP
Edward Campusano, LHP
Russ Canzler, 1B
Yusuf Carter, OF
Corey Coles, OF
Jeff Culpepper, OF
Rafael Dolis, RHP
Darin Downs, LHP
Jesse Estrada, RHP
Ryan Harvey, OF
Jim Henderson, RHP
Mark Holliman, RHP
Grant Johnson, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Casey McGehee, 3B-C
Mario Mercedes, C
Jonathan Mota, INF
Jake Muyco, RHP
Mike Phelps, RHP
Jose Pina, RHP
Mark Reed, C
Kyle Reynolds, 3B
Tony Richie, C
Chris Robinson, C
Jayson Ruhlman, LHP
Chris Shaver, LHP
Joe Simokaitis, SS
Alvaro Sosa, C
Nate Spears, 2B
Donald Veal, LHP
NOTE: A player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft is designated “Draft Excluded” if added to a 40-man roster by November 20th. Also, any minor league free-agent who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection.
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
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.
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.