August 2011

Cubs Send Some Talent to Arizona Fall League

According to a Paul Sullivan tweet, the Cubs will send Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, Chris Carpenter, D.J. LeMahieu and Junior Lake to play for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. Bruce Miles adds that P Jeffrey Beliveau will be added to the taxi squad meaing he's only eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That seems to be one of the better crews of talent they've sent to Arizona over the years.

This is the second year in a row that Jackson and Carpenter were sent out to play. It's also Cashner's second go-round, although not in successive years, his first visit being after the 2009 season.

You can check historical Arizona Fall League rosters over at Wiklifieid.

While not set in stone, I assume this means Brett Jackson will not get a September call-up and I'll tell you why I'm okay with that after the jump.

Cubs Roll a Big Five in 8th to Edge D-backs at Fitch

Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, and Rock Shoulders hammered back-to-back-to back doubles and Gioskar Amaya ripped an RBI single to cut the deficit to one, and then Gregori Gonzalez slammed an RBI triple to tie the score and scored the go-ahead run (eventual winning run) on a suicide squeeze play (pitcher threw a ball in the dirt and past the catcher), as the AZL Cubs rallied for five runs in the bottom of the 8th to edge the AZL Diamondbacks 5-4 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.


 This was the final 2011 game for the AZL Cubs, who were eliminated from contention for the AZL Wild Card last Thursday.


Vogel-Jack Bomb Not Quite Enough to Overcome Giant Attack

Cubs 2011 2nd round draft pick Dan Vogelbach crushed a tape-measure three-run HR over the RF fence to cap a five-run 4th, doubled and scored to key a five-run 8th, and reached base four times to lead the Cubs back from 8-2 and 14-7 deficits, only to see the AZL Giants score twice in the top of the 12th on two consecutive two-out balks and go on to defeat the Cubs 17-15 at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning, as the AZL Cubs were officially eliminated from contention in the AZL Wild Card standings.

Carlos Pena Claimed On Waivers

Buster Olney tweets that a claim was awarded on Carlos Pena. Depending on when that actually happened, the Cubs and the mystery team at the moment have about 48 hours to work out a deal. If nothing can be hammered out, the Cubs can pull Pena back off waivers or they can just let him go to the team and save the remaining salary left on his contract which includes the $5M deferred money he's owed on January 1st, 2012.

Tuesday Cubs News Round-Up

Some bits of news from the latest news cycle, most of it mentioned in the comments in the thread below.

- I admit missing out on this rather crucial piece of information, but apparently Aramis Ramirez 2012 option is a mutual option. Technically, if the Cubs exercise the $16M option, he can void it and forfeit the $2M buyout, and his agent suggests that with Hendry gone, that's looking more likely now.

I'm not sure if that's good or bad news yet. $16M for one season is a bit expensive for Ramirez, but there's not a lot out there to play the hot corner either.

- Tracy Ringolsby goes after Cubs team president Crane Kenney today over on Fox Sports.

Tags: 

Mr. Rogers Not So Friendly at Fitch Park

On an injury rehab assignment in the Arizona League, veteran AAA 3B Ed Rogers doubled twice and drove-in two runs, leading the AZL Diamondbacks to a 7-1 victory over the AZL Cubs at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.


Beefy Cubs 2011 2nd round draft pick Dan Vogelbach (Bishop Verot HS - Ft. Myers, FL) made his pro debut in the game, serving as the DH and batting clean-up. 


Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Now that the gauntlet has been dropped and there will be a new sheriff in town - eventually - let me take a look at what a new statistically inclined general manager may think of the current crop of Cubbies with the predisposition that the Cubs are not going into some full 3-year rebuild mode. That may be a faulty assumption on my part, but I assume the Ricketts would at the very least like to make the appearance of contending and with nearly $50M coming off the books and even more after 2012, no reason a savvy GM could not make things a lot more interesting, rather quickly.

Let me preface this with the explanation that this is intended more as a look at who may stay and who may go, then who will they try to bring in, although they'll certainly be some of that mixed in.

Ryno Part Deux

This sounds like an article about a Cub fan's primal desire to bring back an old Cub to manage the team next year. Maybe, maybe not. Consider it an invitation to speculate about the next Cub GM and the first few trades the next Cub GM will make. The key to my thinking is that Tom Ricketts said the next GM was coming from outside the organizaton as in: the club management desparately needs a breath of fresh air.

That's where Sandberg comes in. In 1981, new Cub ownership, aka The Chicago Tribune, brought in GM Dallas Green from the Phillies organization only one year after the Phils won the 1980 World Series. Green raided the Phils for players he had some hankering for. His first trade (12-8-81) was sending pitcher Mike Krukow to the Phils for Keith Moreland, pitchers Dickie Noles and Dan Larson. A year later (1-27-82) out went Ivan DeJesus (SS and current 3B coach) and in came oldster, Larry Bowa and youngster, Ryne Sandberg.

If we are to believe the media speculaton about the top GM candidates, we should be looking at the Red Sox, Rangers, Braves, White Sox, Yankees, Rays and Giants for that first trade.

Tags: 

Jim Hendry Fired

This is one of those times I wish I could adjust the headline size so it could fill the whole front page.

Anyway, ninja Hendry finally bit the bullet as Ricketts wasn't kidding when he said a major announcement was coming. Hendry says he was informed as of July 22nd that he wouldn't be retained for next year.

"He never missed a beat; it's a credit to his character that we were able to operate the way we did and get the job done," Ricketts said. "We had the trade deadline coming up and I didn't think it made any sense to change horses in mid-stream."

Followed by this little quip...

Hendry, 56, said Cubs Chairman notified him July 22 that he wouldn't be retained. He indicated that was one factor in deciding not to trade away veteran players at the deadline, figuring he should leave those decisions to his successor.

That, along with just naming Randy Bush as the interim sort of defeats the whole purpose of keeping him an extra month, but who am I to question the reasonings of billionaires.

A's Score Often and Late to Trump Cubs at Fitch

Chris Bostick, Kelvin Rojas, Rhett Stafford, and Miguel Marte ripped consecutive two-out RBI hits in the top of the 8th to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead, as the AZL Athletics scored six runs over the final two innings to defeat the AZL Cubs 8-4 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Reds Long Balls Doom Cubs at Fitch Park

Carlos Sanchez, Steven Selsky, and Brennan May hit back-to-back-to back home runs in the top of the 8th to put the game away, as the AZL Reds throttled the AZL Cubs 9-1 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning. 


Selsky (the Reds 2011 33rd round draft pick out of the University of Arizona) also clubbed a solo HR off the LF foul pole to give the Reds a 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd.  


The game was a battle for the AZL Wild Card lead, as the Cubs and Reds came into the game tied in the AZL Wild Card standings. (The three division winners and the second-place team with the best record will qualify for the AZL playoffs). By winning today, the Reds take a one-game lead over the Cubs with ten games left to play (and the Reds own the tie-breaker, having defeated the Cubs three out of four times).   


Z and His Agent Finally Get Story Straight Plus Draft Signing Updates

If you were following the Z drama through the papers or through our comments, you would have noticed the healthy amount of spin his agent Barry Praver was putting on the situation, because there is nothing worse for an agent than losing out on the 10% commission of the $24M or so he's still owed. It went something along the lines of, he said nothing about retiring, wait, yes he did, but it was not meant for public consumption. He came back Friday and returned his stuff, no I meant Saturday...he never punched Michael Barrett, Michael Barrett fell on his fist, etc, etc...

Kapman today scored the first interview with Z and it appears they finally found the narrative they plan to go forward with. Essentially, yes Z did make comments about retiring, but they were all intended to be private (counterpoint: Cubs claim to have text messages saying "good-bye and thanks" from Z). He also tried to return to the team Saturday with his belongings, but was not allowed and naturally, does not agree with the Cubs punishment. They intend to file a grievance by the end of the day.

Anyway, the idea of Z gifting the Cubs $18M next year seems out the window, but give credit to the Cubs for seizing the opportunity to save $3M or so this year by putting him on the disqualified list. Him leaving early means nothing to me, but obviously it rubbed many of his teammates the wrong way and in the end he gets a longer vacation and Cubs fans get Casey Coleman.

And now for the rest of the story...

Big Z: "I received text messages of support from Sosa, Byrd, Ozzie, Jason Giambi, Pena, and Soriano." Also said he and Soriano are cool.

Surprised Derrek Bell didn't think to drop him a note...

Zambrano Hints at Retirement, Cubs Ready Gold Watch

Since this will be the talk of the weekend comments, let's recap tonight's festivities...

Carlos Zambrano started the game, he gave up five home runs in 4.1 IP and 8 ER, then decided he didn't want to wait for Q-Ball to take him out and just threw at Chipper Jones.  At least he had the deceny to not throw at his head. With the calmness of a serial killer, he walked off the mound, seemed to say a few words to someone on the bench and then proceeded to pack up his locker, go home and apparently told a few folks he's retiring.

There's even a silver lining in the Cubs 2011 cloud.

Because if he retires, he saves the Cubs $18M next year, not to mention the roughly $4.5M he's owed for the rest of this year.

Jim Hendry's comment from Tennessee where he was watching the Smokies play was, ""We will respect his wishes and honor them and move forward."

(Ominous drum hits)

Thanks for the Memories...

statueThere are more than a couple hundred players enshrined at Cooperstown and they are paid homage by something like 350,000 annual visitors to baseball’s Hall of Fame. At Wrigley Field a mere three Cubs have been immortalized in statuary and only half a dozen’s numbers flutter atop the foul poles. This Mecca draws in excess of three million pilgrims per season. Maybe Ron Santo was on to something when he listed the corner of Clark & Addison in Chicago as the address of his personal HOF.

Angels Late Rally Flips Cubs at Fitch

Welington Castillo reached base five times on three walks, a single, and a double, but the AZL Angels rallied to score three runs in the 9th and one in the 10th to edge the AZLCubs 8-7 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Cubs Walk-Off with 7-6 Decision at Fitch

After Neftali Rosario was walked intentionally to load the bases and set-up a potential game-ending double play, Taylor Davis drilled a one-out two-run game-winning walk-off single on a 2-2 pitch past a a diving 3rd baseman into LF to score Marco Hernandez from 3rd base with the tying run and Gioskar Amaya from 2nd base with the winning run, as the AZL Cubs rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge the AZL Rangers 7-6 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.  


Hernandez Extends Hit Streak to 15, Kim Throws Blanks

Marco Hernandez extended his hitting streak to 15 games and Jin-Young Kim threw five shutout innings, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL Dodgers 2-1 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.  


BJ Bookends Not So Subtle Hints

headshot


The street that runs behind the right-center field wall of Principal Park in Des Moines is no Sheffield Avenue. Ballhawks do not roost there nor are there rooftops from which knotholers eavesdrop on the ballgames. Beyond it runs the Des Moines River which has been known occasionally to swell up and invade the playing field.

When Winning Is A Bad Thing

Gee, you get tied up for a full day and the comments explode and forget to put Matt Garza and James Shields in your fantasy starting lineup.

(kicks dirt)

Anyway, the Cubs have managed a 4-game winning streak, in close proximity to a 3-game winning streak (wth a 5-game losing streak in between) and it's about the most enraging thing that could happen besides Hendry sleeping through the trade deadlne. If Q-Ball goes on another second half run, Hendry and him are gonna be validated that it was just the injuries and the pieces are in place to be a good team. Not to mention screwing up their draft spot for next year.

(heavy sigh)

That being said, nice to see the Pirates falling back to Earth a little. Neat story and all, but the offense is bad (of course so is the Giants), but I don't really believe in their pitching talent much, unlike the aforementioned Giants. That being said, they're seemingly on their way back to respectability and can start considering diving back into free agency in the upcoming offseasons.

Perplexing, Isn't It?

So the trade deadline came and went, not with a bang, but a whimper. The only move that Hendry sought fit to make was trade Kosuke Fukudome and about $4M for a couple of non-descript minor leaguers. Ones that must be better than what the Cubs already have per Hendry's reasoning below. It was also a move Hendry indicated had to happen so they could make room for Tyler Colvin, whom promptly sat on Sunday night versus a right-handed starter.

Hendry's reasoning behind the rest of the inaction...

“There’s not somebody waiting to take [Pena's] place for next year
in-house like Tyler is hopeful to do that in the outfield in moving
Fuke,” Hendry said. You have to look at it that way, too.

“The other factor, if you get a second-tier or two prospect back
and you already have people better than that in your own system, then
you really haven’t done anything to help the organization, and then
you’re also put in the spot where if you add minor-league players today,
that means somebody’s going to be sent backwards in our system or
eliminated. That’s just the way I looked at it.”

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  • If it was 2006 Hendry would be there w a Bible and a contract
    https://mobile.twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/77...

    jacos 23 min 50 sec ago view
  • he subscribes to my twitter, he's beyond TCR. #yolo #swag

    crunch 1 hour 1 min ago view
  • Whoops. Maddon must have been reading TCR (for his daily crunch) and got confused.

    CTSteve 1 hour 4 min ago view
  • kuhl is a righty, not a lefty.

    i think maddon might think kuhl is a lefty, too. i wonder what the reasoning is for baez leading off vs a rightie.

    crunch 1 hour 44 min ago view
  • "trout's one of the best, and at this point should probably win over donaldson (and should have more MVPs in the past, too), but the defensive aspect of valuing WAR still needs more tweaking...imo."

    that's from my 1st post. there's no suck involved in that. maybe with a few less posts about bullshit that point would have jumped out more.

    crunch 2 hours 32 min ago view
  • crunch - you do know that, taking defense out of the equation, Trout has led the AL in wRC+ each of those years, right?

    And, if you want to complain about position adjustment (which would be serious #crunchsplaining), he's been in the top 3 in the AL in WC (not park/league/position adjusted). And the only players ahead of him (if there were any players ahead of him) in any of those years have been DHs or 1B that play lousy defense.

    But sure - Trout sucks (or at least isn't as good as WAR says). Because it factors in defense and position.

    big_lowitzki 3 hours 36 min ago view
  • early tim tebow stuff rolling in...

    ran a 6.7 60yd (above average)...shagging flies in RF and showed off a rather impressive arm a few times, but average-at best on most of his throws...hit a few over the fence (both fields), fouled or weak contact a few...he's got a touch of power

    it'll be interesting to see who bites on this project, if anyone. he probably projected himself out of RF and into LF/1st because of his arm, but unless he can make that power work on a steady basis it'll be hard for him to play himself up anyone's system.

    crunch 4 hours 22 min ago view
  • LHP Clayton Richard (released by the Cubs earlier this month) is pitching very well as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and could be a good candidate to get traded to a contender looking for a veteran SP before tomorrow night's post-season roster eligibility deadline.

    Because they released him, the Cubs are paying most of Richard's 2016 salary (the Cubs are on the hooks for $2M, minus the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary that is paid by the Padres).

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 9 min ago view
  • it is honestly awesome (for real) that anyone would even have a strong opinion on AZL playoffs. i guess if you invest enough time watching it, you want to see a fair/just playoff structure.

    plus, the kids deserve it.

    crunch 6 hours 9 min ago view
  • The AZL team with the best record over the course of the full 2016 AZL season and the only AZL team to play .600 ball (the AZL Dodgers) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, and the AZL East Division team with the best record over the course of the full season (the AZL Athletics) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, either. 

    That's because of the ridiculous "split season" schedule most of the minor leagues now play, a stupid system that rewards mediocrity at the expense of the worthy. 

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 16 min ago view
  • Despite good movement on his fastball, I think location kept him from getting Ks. Left some pitches up and away that got hammered up and away. Then of course Travis Wood gave up the 2-run double in the 7th, but both runs counted against Arrieta.

    Charlie 6 hours 52 min ago view
  • "i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date."

    This level of discourse is #charming.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 6 hours 53 min ago view
  • I would be having this discussion with anyone who (a) blathered on ad nauseum about the topic. (See, "Olt, Mike, not given an opportunity") or (b) responded directly to what I posted (which you did).

    Have a nice day.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 6 hours 56 min ago view
  • what would you do without me? aside from having your posting content here cut by 75%+?

    i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date.

    crunch 6 hours 59 min ago view
  • In this instance, yes, I care more about the result of this big thing that isn't really a big thing.

    #crunchsplaining

    #willlistentojeffsullivanmorethanyou

    #blessyourheart

    #hitler

    #tcrmartyr

    #billyhamiltonwar

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 6 hours 59 min ago view
  • Two things:

    Fangraphs WAR #s include baserunning and Hamilton is elite at that. He leads in SBs with the 54 and and has an 87% rate which is really good. I'm sure once he gets on base he's able to take the extra base quite often too. Both those things will up his overall WAR value.

    The differences between BR and FG WAR is pretty well documented online and thus If there are discrepancies it's fairly easy to figure out why. It's fairly well accepted that BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is better at predicting future value.

    johann 7 hours 4 min ago view