Out-Foxed

Chad Fox is landing on the DL again, apparently re-injuring his right elbow playing catch with Scott Eyre. If you play the game of six degrees of separation, Will Ohman's ghost just played a trick on Chad Fox. Or maybe it was just being overly optimistic to expect his oft injured right pitching elbow to hold up. Fox has been on the Cubs 25 man roster for a whopping 17 days. He was activated May 2nd, so in his 2nd stint with the Cubs he's made it to the DL faster than his first. In 2005 he went on the DL April 26th, and he's spared us this time as his injury that year occurred while on the mound. I have vivid memories of his pain on that cold April night in 2005:

when he threw a slider Monday night and felt the "pop," he knew it was bad.

This time the diagnosis is ulnar neuritis or inflammation of the ulnar nerve. For a 37 year old pitcher with a history of 3 surgeries on the elbow (he didn't get surgery after the 2005 event), it's not surprising that pitching, given his surgical history, will make the nerve cranky. The ulnar nerve passes behind the medial/inside of the elbow called the cubital tunnel but this area is what most people call "the crazy bone", which gets it's name because impact to that area often dings the nerve causing sharp pain and tingling. The nerve is susceptible to inflammation leading to what is called cubital tunnel syndrome where the ulnar nerve inflammation leads to pain, numbness or even weakness in the hand, starting on the inside of the elbow and radiating down the forearm into the ring and little fingers. If the symptoms don't calm down with rest and anti-inflammatory medication then there are surgical options including transposing (moving) the nerve to a location anteriorly (further in front of the elbow) where it isn't as likely to be crimped from repetitive bending. There are alot of variations on that surgery. The fact that Chad Fox has had 3 previous surgeries, including Tommy John (Ulnar Collateral Ligament reconstruction), and he opted not to have surgery with his last "event" in 2005 indicates he will pass on any procedure this time as well. Expect the nerve symptoms to calm down but always be eager to come back with repetitive activity. The timeline to recovery? Well Cubs trainer, Mark O'Neal said:

"it could take a week, it could take two weeks, it could take two months. Who knows?"

The extra righty spot in the bullpen moves on. Kevin Hart, Chad Fox and now Jose Ascanio. My guess is if Ascanio, who has been closing for the Iowa Cubs (9 saves) can throw strikes, Lou is gonna fall in love with another hard throwing option out of the bullpen. Ascanio in Iowa has pitched 21 innings, given up 14 hits with a 2.08 era. Now if those numbers could translate to the big club, trainer Mark O'Neal's most pessimistic prognosis just might be a bit too optimistic.

UPDATE [1:00PM CST]: It will indeed be Jose Ascanio getting the call-up. 

Comments

Test comments....

Yay! It works! (I presume this is the numbering system you were going for.)

"It could take a week, it could take two weeks, it could take two months. Who knows?"

I believe Rumsfeld said this about Iraq.

Does Fox have his own supply of oil that will pay for the whole thing so it doesn't cost the Cubs anything? (Thanks, Mr. Wolfowitz)

In all seriousness, why does Chad Fox merit his own thread? What we have here is just another failed Hendry reclamation project---- in this case one from the middle of the Dustbag Era who has pitched a total of 11.1 ineffective innings for TCC. The last time he made a significant contribution to a team was 2001 when he was 30 and the last time he was any good was 2003. We didn't get him until 2005---way past his expiration date.

Chad Fox's only historical importance as a Cub, as far as I can tell, was as a talking point when the subject of Dusty Baker pushing pitchers past their physical limits came up.

"Chad Fox, I just cant quit you." - Jim Hendry.

Considering Fox's performance to date, this isn't such a bad thing for the team. It was a nice potential story, but I imagine few among us expected him to be very relevant to the '08 Cubs.

Meh.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way to the training room, Chad.

The numbered comments should work now. The numbers are based on when the comment is made, so in flat view it'll just go down sequentially. In threaded view though, if someone replies to a comment the numbering may jump to something different if the reply came after a new comment. See #1, 7 and 2 for example at the top of this page.

So if you want to refer to comments by numbers, it's there now.

In order to be able to activate minor leaguers (players not on the 25-man roster as of 8/31) for the post-season (as the Cubs did with Kevin Hart and Geovany Soto last year, when Hart and Soto "replaced" Mark Prior and Angel Guzman), there needs to be a similar number of players on the DL who can be "replaced" by any minor leaguer(s) the Cubs might want to make eligible for the playoffs (if they can get in). At the very least, Chad Fox can perform this function.

EXAMPLE: Let's say Angel Guzman goes on a 30-day rehab assignment to Daytona when EXST ends on June 4th, and then is activated from the 60-day DL and is optioned to Iowa after the rehab assignment is over on July 4th. (As long as Guzman spends less than 90 days active on a regular season minor league or major league roster in 2008, his 4th minor league option will be preserved for 2009).

So then let's say the Cubs recall Guzman on September 1st, and he pitches great out of the bullpen the last month of the season and so Lou wants Gooz on the post-season roster. But because he wasn't on the 25-man roster on 8/31, the only way Guzman can be eligible for the post-season is if he replaces a player who is on the DL. That's where Chad Fox (if he doesn't come back healthy later in the season) might be useful.

I just used Guzman as an example, but it could be any Cubs minor leaguer. Last year at this time there was no reason to expect Geovany Soto or Kevin Hart would be added to the Cubs post-season playoff roster as "replacement" players, so who knows which yougster might burst on the scene this September and light it up.

It's all about keeping roster options open, even if the slots ultimately aren't needed.

So injured guys (even slugs) can have some value. In fact that was the only value Mark Prior had to the Cubs last season (as a scarecrow allowing the Cubs to activate Soto or Hart as his "replacement" in the NLDS).

AZ-Phil, thanks! Wow, I could help out the Cubs doing THAT. And I will also work for the minimum and promise not to file for arbitration. I'll even pack my own lunch and lay off the postgame spread. Do you have Hendry's number?

Seriously, do you have a scouting report on Ascanio? Other than "Throws very hard, sometimes has trouble finding plate?" I just hope he isnt' another Beltran/Novoa.

Last September he showed a 94 MPH fastball that breaks left to right and rises and a HEAVY sinker in the mid to high 80's while beating the Nationals.

[edit} Oh, and I should mention his slider that moves opposite to his fastball and sometimes breaks so much he can't control it.

no such thing as a rising pitch.

yes, it's an illusion but that's what Ascanio's fastball looks like nonetheless.

Then how did Ryu hit that bird?

Tonight's game is going to be on WGN. Woohoo!

I like that we got rid of Oh-Man! for something useful. And a 23y.o. fireballer is fine w/me.

finally

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.js...

Not looking good for Jake Fox who can play 1b and is, of course, available from the Smokies.

Ascanio suffered a broken back in 2005. Anyone have the details?

Whew!

I just sniffed around a bit in ESPN's sortable MLB Stats:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?stat...

The Cubs are "6th" in baseball according to their wierd splits, BUT the interesting thing is the team's BAA is like .233. Now THAT is telling.

Also, this is 3/44 but the offensive stats are truly impressive when compared to the rest of the NL - and all of the ML. .372 TEAM OBP?! It is going to be a very, very interesting summer.

What weird splits?

That list is sorted by ERA.

"The Cubs are "6th" in baseball according to their wierd splits..."

These are PITCHING stats. Sorry...

I guess its not really weird.

Just "interesting" I guess that the .500 Cleveland club's pitching staff is ranked #1, but by era only. Looking deeper, the other stats, such as BAA, arguably more important, whould kick them down considerably.

Again... it is not a "ranking." It is just sorted by ERA, and you can sort by any stat you want.

They probably automatically sort by ERA because it is the most known and understood stat.

i see.

makes sense.

I saw today that Dempster has the best BABIP in the league at .211. I suppose that goes a long way to explain his success.

Although, in fairness to him, he's done a great job of getting the ball down. I think his GB% was near 60% last time I checked.

Most of his pitches are indeed around the knees - so far, an amazing transition this year. Hope it keeps up.

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  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 19 min 45 sec ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 20 min 13 sec ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 29 min 2 sec ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 49 min 12 sec ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 23 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 26 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 46 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 1 hour 56 min ago view
  • Billy McKinney had season-ending knee surgery last August and came to Minor League Camp this year somewhat restricted. (He was used mostly as a DH in Cactus League Minor League Camp games), and I'm not sure he's 100% right now (he's repeating AA, and his XBH numbers are way down, like he's not getting good rotation in his lowev half). That might have been part of the reason why the trade wasn't completed right away.

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 3 min ago view
  • Rashad Crawford was a basketball star in HS (he was known as "Baby Jordan", and baseball was only his second sport) and he has plus-speed and athleticism, so when the Cubs drafted him (Keith Lockhart was the scout)  he was seen as a long-term project.  

    I was at Fitch Park the day that Rashad Crawford became a LH hitter, He waa never a switch-hitter, He went directly from being a RH hitter to a LH hitter, which I had never seen before. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • I'm with Rob G and Johann here. It's not about Chapman as a pitcher. I just don't want to have to block out a real problem (the domestic violence) in order to try to enjoy the frivolous ball and stick game.

    Charlie 2 hours 19 min ago view
  • ROB G & BOB R: You're right. The QO can only be extended if the player spends the entire previous season with one club, so only the Yankees could have offered one to Chapman (if he wasn't traded). If an Article XX-B FA is traded during the season, the new club can't offer a QO. .

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 20 min ago view