Cubs Roster Moves

I waded through about 5 minutes of clips from "The Benchwarmers" trying to find something funny for this post. 5 minutes I'll never recover...

Anyway, the Cubs are taking advantage of the roster expansion with a few call-ups. The lucky bastards so far include:

(Drumroll)

  • Dave Sappelt, OF
  • Crazy Legs Campana, OF
  • Adrian Cardenas, INF
  • Miguel Socolovich, RHP
  • Jaye Chapman, RHP
  • Rafael Dolis, RHP
  • Anthony Recker, C
  • Chris Rusin, LHP

Rusin is actually taking Brooks Raley spot in the rotation as Raley hit some innings limit on the season and has been shutdown.

In the minors, the Arizona League Cubs lost to the A's team in the one-and-done semifinal playoffs last Thursday (15-3). Boise is the only other affiliate in the playoffs and lost Game 1 to Yakima (Diamondbacks affiliate) last night 5-4 (despite an early 4-1 lead on a Rock Shoulders grand slam). 1st round supplemental pick from this year's draft, Pierce Johnson pitched 3 innings, giving up an unearned run in the losing effort. They play again tonight in a must-win game for Boise.

Cubs vs. Nats tonight; Rusin vs. E. Jackson; Cubs lineup - DeJesus, Valbuena, Rizzo, Soriano, Castro, Castillo, Jackson, Barney.

I've added the Draft pick standings to the left sidebar...might as well do some scoreboard watching.

So pretty much out of nowhere yesterday, the Cubs decided to promote Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. In a lost season, where getting the #1 draft pick is more important than winning 70 games, I'm all for going with the youth movement. Now when the Cubs were keeping Rizzo in the minors to delay his shot at free agency, TheJedi were spouting that they like their prospects to get a full 162 games at the Triple A level. Rizzo ended up with 163 between his time in Tuscon and Iowa to the tune of a 336/405/670 slash line. There was another factor and that was the play of Bryan LaHair, who after a red hot April deserved all the chances in the world to keep his spot. Yeah, they could have moved him to the outfield sooner, but between LaHair's early play, Rizzo's long-term future and that the Cubs were going to suck regardless, it was a wise decision to keep Rizzo in Iowa.

I'm on vacation this week, so no blog-a-palooza from me at the trade deadline. That being said, word is that Reed Johnson has been traded. No word on the team as of yet, but Levine says 4 teams made their best offer today including the Pirates and Tigers.

Update: No time for linkage, but Cubs get 24-year-old RHP Jake Brigham from the Texas Rangers for Geovany Soto(meh). From the Atlanta Braves they get pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman(Vizcaino could be very good in a few years, but currently is out after TJ surgery).

Rosenthal rumors that Reds are in on Matt Garza.

Soriano apparently said no to any ideas of trading him to the San Francisco Giants.

Plenty of good info in the comments, so read on.

It was hinted at on twitter last night that big Cubs news was coming today and news did come.

IF-OF Blake DeWitt was Designated for Assignment on Sunday to make room on the Cubs 25-man roster for LHP Travis Wood, and in the process DeWitt (at least temporarily -- see below) has been removed from the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), although he will continue to get paid and accrue MLB Service Time while he is on the Designated List.


The Cubs now have ten days to decide his fate.


While many Cub fans couldn't care less and probably just wish he would go away, here are the Cubs options (and DeWitt's options):


Back when Chris Carpenter was announced as being sent over to the Boston Red Sox for Theo Epstein, I mentioned that the deal still can't properly be evaluated because there were still 2 players to be named later involved. There was some talk that it was just a logistic move, that the Red Sox had to send a player  to the Cubs besides an executive and the two players would be non-news. Well that turned out to be B.S. Today the Cubs announced they're sending RHP Aaron Kurcz to the Red Sox and we still don't know who the Cubs are getting. Temples were built in less time.

As for Kurcz, he's hardly a nobody, a matter of fact I was going to put him around #15 on my prospect list I was hoping to get out for Monday. He was a teammate of Bryce Harper at College of Southern Nevada, but beyond that coincidence, he's a 21-year old power righty reliever with a 9.9 whiff rate to go with a 3.7 BB/9 ratio. He might not be the quality of Chris Carpenter, but certainly not someone to just dismiss.

As the baseball world turns...

I try not to use that headline too often, but it seems fitting here. The verdict has been reached and the Boston Red Sox will get RHP Chris Carpenter from the Cubs. Cue the feigned outrage!!!!

The 26-year old righty can hit 100 mph and occassionally the broad side of a barn; 6.4 BB/9 in 45.1 IP in AAA. The overall minor league numbers are 1.384 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9 , 3.62 ERA and a history of arm problems. He's probably a good bet to have a few good major league seasons, but I doubt the Cubs have lost a key cog in the machine they're attempting to build. Carpenter will go off the Cubs 40-man leaving room for the Cubs to add LHP Gerardo Concepcion.

The Cubs claimed infielder Adrian Cardenas off waivers today from the Oakland A's, where he was outrighted to make room for Johnny Gomes. To make room on the 40-man, the Cubs DFA'd Blake DeWitt. Before we get to Cardenas, if I'm reading this correctly, the Cubs most likely cost themselves up to $1.1M? I believe they're on the hook for DeWitt's salary, when they could have just non-tendered him back in December, but of course they didn't know Cardenas was available back then. If DeWitt signs with another team, I believe the Cubs are just on the hook for the dfference in salary, which will likely be the mininum, so a little over $600K. Now a team may also put a claim in or work out a trade and the Cubs will be completely off the hook, but those scenarios seem less likely. Not a big deal overall, as the Cubs have plenty of wiggle room to their payroll, but an odd move nonetheless. Now was it worth it for Cardenas?

The infielder was a supplemental first round pick of the Philies in 2006 (37th overall) out of high school in Florida. He was on the Philles top 10 list in 2008, ranked 2nd behind Carlos Carrasco and ahead of guys like Kyle Drabek and Domonic Brown and #76 among the top 100 overall prospects. In July of that year he was traded along with now-a-Cub Matt Spencer and Josh Outman for Joe Blanton. He was ranked #5 in the A's top 10 list for 2009 and #74 overall. He dropped to #9 in 2010 and out of the top 10 by 2011. I don't have the BA 2012 handbook, but apparently he was ranked #12 although that was before the Gio Gonzalez trade.

The Cubs did sign an acclaimed player out of Cuba, but it's not Yoenis Cespedes or Jorge Soler. Rather 18-year old LHP Gerardo Concepcion. A player Kevin Goldstein called polished for his age, but with the ceiling of a #4/#5 starter and whom Goldstein would put at #6 on his Top 11 Cubs prospect list.  Standing at 6'2", he throws in the upper 80's to 90mph with a curve and a change-up (what's up Ted Lilly?). Considering his age and alleged polish, he should start in Peoria rather than hang back in Arizona and then join Boise or the Arizona Rookie League in June. Enrique Rojas says the deal is for a total of $7M and a major league deal, which means a 40-man roster move would be necessary. ESPN Chicago adds that incentives can take the deal up to around the $8M mark. All this makes the Jeff Samardzija draft deal look good.

The Cubs have also signed Ryan-Rowland Smith to a minor league deal. The 29-year old Aussie pitched in the Astros minor leagues after spending parts of 4 seasons in the majors with the Mariners, but I'll always remember him from this commercial. I presume he'll be added to the non-roster invite list for spring training.

Also, with Edwin Jackson signing with the Nationals, the Cubs at the moment own the #6, #43, #55 and #65 picks in the 2012 draft. Derek Lee and Raul Ibanez are the last two Type B free agents out there and there's no guarantee they'll sign, but if they do, they both rank higher than Carlos Pena in the Elias Rankings, so those last two picks I mentioned could drop to as low as #57 and #67 if I did my math correctly. BA put out an early top 100 prospect list for the 2012 draft for some early obsessing.

The Cubs inked soon-to-be 39 year old Trever Miler to a minor league deal. He'll earn 800K if he makes the team. He'll get a non-roster invite to spring training and I'm sure we'll get the full list of those invitees by the end of the week. It being a minor league deal, hard to get to worked up over it, but Miller has done absolutely nothing other than see his K rate get cut in half over the last two seasons, while still maintaining the ability to walk the stadium.

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP WP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 36 STL 4 1 .800 2.06 70 9 0 43.2 31 11 10 5 11 1 46 2 1 199 0.962 6.4 1.0 2.3 9.5 4.18
2010 37 STL 0 1 .000 4.00 57 3 0 36.0 30 17 16 2 16 0 22 2 4 98 1.278 7.5 0.5 4.0 5.5 1.38
2011 38 BOS-min 0 0   2.70 3 1 0 3.1 2 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0   0.600 5.4 0.0 0.0 5.4   PAW · IL
2011 38 TOT 0 1 .000 3.80 48 5 1 21.1 25 9 9 2 12 2 12 2 2 106 1.734 10.5 0.8 5.1 5.1 1.00
13 Seasons 18 17 .514 4.18 694 133 11 523.1 521 264 243 54 237 28 434 43 22 106 1.448 9.0 0.9 4.1 7.5 1.83
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2012.

Spring training roster filler at its finest.

Cubs have traded RHP Andrew Cashner and OF Kyung-Min Na to the San Diego Padres for 1B Anthony Rizzo and RHP Zach Cates. That should deflect from the Castro sexual allegations rumors just fine...the PR department will be thrilled.

As for the baseball move, generally a good idea to trade a young pitcher for a young position player and even better if you think that young pitcher won't stick in the rotation. So I like the deal. If Cashner becomes a top of the rotation arm though and Rizzo Hee-Seop Choi's it, I won't like it so much.

Have it in the comments on the other 2 guys that I know nothing about.

Well the big bad Zambrano has finally been traded away from the Cubs. Paul Sullivan and far too many Cubs fans may bust a hip at the grave dancing party. While I understand the move from the Cubs perspective, it's unfortunate that a player with such a great Cubs career had to end his Cubbie days like this. He may have been off his mental rocker, but he was damn good on the pitching mound and at the plate over 11 seasons to a tune of 125-81, an ERA+ of 122 and 3 Silver Slugger awards. The more recent down years, injury hiccups and temper tantrums may burn the brightest in our memories, but Z was doing the heavy lifting all those years the Cubs were waiting for Prior and Wood to get healthy. Could he have been better these last few years? Maybe, but I'm not gonna preach from the safety of my Internet connection on how an adult should behave himself so that it satiates my moral compass. He was what he was and part of what infuriated us, may be the same parts that helped him be so good on a baseball field. I for one will greatly miss watching him play, because it was clear he was having a lot of fun out there.

But his time with the Cubs has passed, if for no other reason that JedStein wants to start fresh and it did seem that his last episode not only pissed off the fans, but even his teammates. His days of a 200 innings a season have faded with the memories of 2007 along with the velocity on his fastball. I certainly could see him still putting up some decent seasons, but a fresh start with a new club and a new manager is probably the best setting for a career rejuvenation at the moment.

So enough about the old Cubbie, meet the new Cubbie - Chris Volstad.

Pending physicals and the commish offices approval, the Cubs will send Carlos Zambrano and $15M to the Marlins for RHP Chris Volstad.

More to come later tonight when I get a moment.

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