According to Wittenmyer, the Cubs will non-tender 2 of their 5 arbitration eligible players.

The tweet seems to indicate Ian Stewart is one of those two, which leaves M. Garza, J. Samardzija, J. Russell or L. Valbuena as the other. It would seem obvious that Valbuena would be that other, as he's hardly a great loss if they can't resign him for less. I imagine the Cubs would be happy to sign Stewart back for less, but he may very well want to test the market.

 

Hardball Talk is running a list of non-tenders so far, a list of players the Cubs may look into signing, so keep checking back there.

The only other news of note is that Jessie Rogers will take over the ESPN Chicago Cubs beat from Doug Padilla next season, who is moving over to the White Sox. Rogers was covering the Blackhawks beat, which means he had a lot of free time lately.

The Cubs add to their stable of pitchers today, by signing RHP Scott Feldman to a one year deal for $6M, plus $1M in incentives according to various sources. Feldman seemed to be a popular target among Cubs armchair GM's this offseason for reasons unbenknownst to me, but TheJedi seemed to concur. He's certainly cheap enough and getting away from that Texas park and the AL should theoretically help, although his career road vs. home ERA defies conventional wisdom (4.40 at home vs. 5.24 on the road).

Career-wise he's 39-44 with a 4.81 ERA (95 ERA+) and 5.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9 peripherals. Last year, apparently after recovering from micro-fracture surgery on his knee, his ERA was a robust 5.09 in 132.2 IP. His career high in innings was in 2009 with 189.2 IP. That happened in 2008 when he went 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA (114 ERA+). In the 4 seasons that he's been able to muster at least 20 starts, his ERA+ are 84, 114, 82 and 89 (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012).

Regardless of those less than spectacular numbers, it's a cheap enough deal that it's hard to get too worked up about it. It's certainly not going to get anyone excited about the season, but should provide some decent depth and the possibility of some upside much like Paul Maholm last year.

BRIEF UPDATE: A most excellent article from Fangraphs comparing Feldman vs. B. McCarthy with bonus tweets from McCarthy about how he changed his style to emulate Feldman and calling him the best bargain this offseason.

Today was the deadline to add players to the 40-man so they wouldn't be eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft. The winners were: RHP Trey McNutt, RHP Robert Whitenack, 3B Christian Villanueva and INF Logan Watkins. Nick Struck seems to be the only surprise name left off the 40-man additions...enjoy the Astros! To make room for the additions, Bryan LaHair was desginated for assignment and RHP Carlos Gutierrez was waived and assigned to Iowa after clearing waivers (I swear I don't even know who that is). LaHair is apparently going to sign to play in Japan.

The Cubs also traded RHP Jake Brigham (acquired in the trade for Geovany Soto) right back to the Texas Rangers for RHP Barret Loux and a player to be named later. Brigham allegedly has an elbow injury according to Bruce Miles, so that would explain why the Cubs are getting such high upside with Loux as it must be a reworking of the Soto deal (mighty nice of the Rangers). Loux was a former first round pick of the Diamondbacks (6th overall in 2010) out of Texas A&M. After agreeing on a $2M deal with the D'Backs, the club backed out citing an issue with his elbow and shoulder and the Rangers signed him for $312K later that year as a free agent. 2 years later, he put up a 14-1 mark in AA for the Rangers on a 3.47 ERA (7.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9) and Texas League pitcher of the year honors.

The Arizona Fall League Championship Game will be played tomorrow at Scottsdale Stadium, with the Salt River Rafters (East Division Champs) facing the West Division Champion Peoria Javelinas.

Unfortunately, the Cubs players who went to the AFL were assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox, the worst team in the league.

Some quick takes on recent baseball news...

Tags: 

What happens when the Doctor Says "Oops?"

You become a Cub.

Lookie here. The Cubs get an early holiday present under their tree in 31 year old starting pitcher Scott Baker. In typical Cub fashion, the wrapping paper is a bit discheveled and the bow on the gift is a little off kilter. Scott Baker toiled on the mound for the Twins from 2005-2011 including his best year in 2009 with 33 starts, 200 IP, a 15-9 record and a WHIP of 1.190. He had Tommy John/Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstructive surgery on his elbow last April, missing the entire 2012 season. Fitting Jedstein's Modus Operandi, it's a one year deal at $5.5M with $1.5M in incentives. According to XM Radio's Jim Bowden, the Cubs have made an offer to lefty Francisco Liriano, so maybe they are just going after ex-Twins. Matt Garza should soon be tweeting: "Collect em all."

Baker was supposed to have the (quicker to recover) flexor-pronator muscle attachment repaired in his right pitching elbow (compared to Tommy John ligament reconstruction) , but there was a change of plans decided intraoperatively...

The Cubs have signed RHP Scott Baker for $5.5M, plus $1.5M in incentives. He became a free agent after the Twins declined his $9.5M option for 2013.

The Good: Baker will be playing his age 31 season and has a career 63-48 record and 3.44 K/BB ratio. His career rates are: 7.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9. He only costs $5.5M in guaranteed money which is pretty cheap for a starter that threw 170-200 innings in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The Bad: Baker is coming off "surprise" Tommy John surgery last April. He also missed time in 2011. His ERA+ for his career is just 102.

The Judgement: While most pitchers are back on the mound a year later or less after Tommy John surgery, it's my personal and casual observation that it takes a good 2-3 months after that for the pitcher to regain their full control and consistency. We may see some flashes of his old self, but I don't know if we'll see it start after start at the beginning of the season. And if they are attempting another Paul Maholm signing to try and flip him at the deadline, a good first half is a key part of that successful equation. Also, he's pretty damn mediocre before the injury (ERA+ starting from 2007: 101, 122, 100, 91, 129). It's not a lot of money, but this seems more like pitching depth than any type of solid foundation. Regardless of the Cubs likelihood to not be very competitive in 2013, I don't think it's wise to make unwise decisions. Sure the risk is moderate, but it's hard to see where the upside is any greater in this case. And while the Cubs new regime may have their moments of brilliance, they've also misfired on their evaluations as well (points and laughs at picture of Chris Volstad).  So ultimately it's a big old shrug of the shoulders on this one for me.

 

 

21 Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (the so called "six-year minor league free-agents" and the so-called "second-contract minor league free-agents") were declared free-agents by MLB at 5 PM last Friday, while three others who could have been Rule 55 free-agents agreed to 2013 minor league "successor contracts" and thus will be returning to the Cubs organization next season.


However, the three who are returning will be eligible for selection in next month's MLB Rule 5 Draft (as will any other minor league free-agent signed prior to the Rule 5 Draft).


The 21 Cubs who were declared Rule 55 minor league free-agents join six others who elected to be minor league free-agents per Article XX-D of the CBA over the past month.


UPDATE #2: Just kidding. November Fools!!! Anyway, Marmol apparently was asked to waive his no-trade clause, that leaked before the Cubs and Angels officially had a deal. Then allegedly the Cubs nixed the deal...some say it was over the medicals but who knows. At the end, Haren's option was bought out and he's a free agent now. Twitter Rumors 2, Cubs 0.

UPDATE: Sacre Bleu! Angels beat writer for MLB.com says situation is still fluid and Angels still talking with other teams. Haren's option decision is due by midnight EST. Curse you Twitter!!!


The Twitterverse has exploded with rumors that Carlos Marmol is headed to the Angels for Dan Haren. Money details and confirmation from the Cubs has yet to come.

I should mention that I did call this as the most likely trade for the Cubs in the comments the other day. It might come off as bragging, but I'm really just reminding myself to go buy a lottery ticket.

Rumors are some money will swap hands, maybe the Angels sending a little to offset the 15.5M owed Haren vs. the 9.8M owed Marmol. Regardless, a good deal for the Cubs. Presuming some sort of bounceback for Haren, starting pitcher>relief pitcher and if things aren't going the Cubs way this season, he should be relatively easy to pawn off in June or July.

The Cubs hired Derek Johnson as their minor league pitching coordinator. Apparently this is a bit of a coup, but it might as well have been Bugs Bunny for all I know about amateur pitching coaches. But I'm supposed to pretend that I'm some sort of authority on these subjects, so here's what I uncovered on the man, the myth, the legend.

First off, Darwin Barney is a "finalist" for a Gold Glove at second base...as if they dont' already know the winner. But they've decided to drum up interest by naming the top 3 or 4 at each position and then announcing the winner in a televised event on ESPN2 tomorrow. Holy overkill Batman!

As for the rumor, it's that the Angels are trying to ditch Dan Haren and Ervin Santana before picking up their options this week. Haren is owed $15.5M and Santana $13M. The Cubs aren't going to be giving too much in prospects for either, but they certainly could take on the salary. It's not much of a committment in my opinion and I'd certainly take flyers on either guy in hopes they could rebound in a walk year and a switch to the National League (or in Haren's case a switch back to the NL). And they'd certainly be worth something in a deadline trade if 2013 isn't working out.  Either one makes all kinds of sense for the Cubs in my opinion, as long as the Angels asking price is reasonable considering the salaries in question. For those not paying too close attention, Haren will be in his age 32 season after a 12-13, 4.33 ERA over 176.2 IP last year and Santana will be 30 after a 9-13, 5.16 ERA in 178 IP.  Haren sports a 116 ERA+ though for his career, while Santana rests at a meager 97 ERA+ with quite a few peaks and valleys to get that number.

By outrighting eight players and losing two more off waivers over the past couple of days, the Cubs are beginning to clear some space on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).

The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 33 players, but three more players (RHP Matt Garza, 3B Ian Stewart, and RHP Arodys Vizcaino) are still on the 60-day Disabled List and they will need to be reinstated no later than the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. So the Cubs essentially have a 36-man MLB Reserve List right now.

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