Cubs Roster Moves

Who the hell makes trades on July 4th? Iphone posts are my favorites...

So the A's are the lucky winners for Jeff Samardzija AND Jason Hammel. In return, the Cubs get their top prospect Addison Russell, also Billy McKinney (2013 1st round pick), Dan Straily and a PTBNL. No idea where Russell is gonna play but good bet someone is moving to centerfield between Castro, Baez, Alcantara and Russell or someone is getting traded. 

More later, but the days of a poor offense aren't going to last much longer.

In the move that anyone could have predicted once the Cubs missed out on Tanaka, they have come to terms on a deal with RHP Jason Hammel.  The 31-year old hasn't had much of a career to-date between Tampa, Colorado and Baltimore (94 ERA+), but his stuff has always been heralded and he did have a very nice 2012 for the Orioles(123 ERA+).  It'll be another hopeful reclamation project for the Cubs and they did quite well with Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman, so here's hoping the streak stays alive.

It appears they'll head into 2014 with a rotation of Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Hammel and most likey Jake Arrieta with Carlos Villanueva, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Grimm, Brett Marshall, Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley all in the mix as well, along with I'm sure a few other surprise guests.

The Cubs finalized some deals that certainly were discussed over Winter Meetings and made a number of roster moves today.

First, they claimed 25-year old RHP Liam Hendriks off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins. He was a roster casualty with the Phil Hughes signing. While he has done nothing remotely good in 156 innings at the major league level, he's put up at the very least an outstanding 2.99 ERA in the minors over 580.1 IP.  Those numbers were good enough to get him on the BA's Twins Top 10 list for 2011(#6) and 2012(#7).His strikeout rates are trending the wrong way and I don't know if that's an arm issue or just more of the Twins pitch-to-contact approach, but certainly seems worth the risk as a possible back-end starter/in-season depth.

The Cubs also signed non-tendered OF Ryan Kalish, formerly of the Boston Red Sox. A 9th round pick in the 2006 draft, Kalish was the 98th rated prospect in baseball before the 2008 season and usually in the middle of the pack of the top 10 Boston prospects lists back then. Injuries though have curtailed his career and he got a minor league deal with a spring training invite from the Cubs. Again, he'll be playing his age 25 season next year so certainly worth a flyer.

I don't know what's going on with the comments and sometimes it just ends up fixing itself. The site is due for a minor software upgrade that I'll try to complete tonight and I'm hoping that fixes the problem. If not, the twitter sidebar still seems to be updating as does the abilithy to write stories, so hopefully you won't be missing too much until I can fix it.

In the meantime, Daniel Bard will be non-tendered according to multiple Cubs sources. That one was a no-brainer of course. We still await the decision on the rest of the group and I'll update as the news trickles out.

UPDATE #1: Kottaras signs a $1.075M deal with incentives according to Jon Heyman.

UPDATE #2: AZ Phil's crystal ball is still working, Cubs will non-tender Mat Gamel.

UPDATE #3: The Nats trade Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray and Ian Krol for Doug Fister. Fister's a year older than Samardzija but has the same amount of club control left. Samardzija may have a little more upside because of his K's, but Fister's been a lot better pitcher the last 2 years. Every situation is different of course, but imagine this will hinder Cubs trading Samardzija this offseason. That's probably not a terrible thing considering what they were still able to get for Matt Garza.

UPDATE #4: I believe the commenting issues have been fixed. In Cubs news, Donnie Murphy gets a 1/$825K contract and P Chang-yong Lim was non-tendered although he wasn't arbitration eligible. I believe he had a non-guaranteed contract for 2014, but now he's off the 40-man and free to sign with anyone while the Cubs are off the hook for his contract. Samardzija, Schierholtz, Strop, Wood, Russell, Valbuena and Barney were all tendered contracts and I'm sure most will sign before any arbitration hearings.

There were a total of 43 non-tenders according to MLB Trade Rumors and the list of interesting names is too numerous, but a few that may strike your fancy include RHP John Axford, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Ronald Belisario, RHP MItchell Boggs, OF Ryan Kailish, SP Daniel Hudson and RP Ryan Webb.

11/20 UPDATE:  The Cubs have selected the contracts of INF Arismendy Alcantara and RHP Dallas Beeler from AA Tennessee and both have been added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. Alcantara was rated the Cubs #7 prospect by Baseball America last week, and Beeler likely earned his spot on the 40 with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League after missing much of the 2013 season with a finger injury.  

Because they were eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft and were added to an MLB 40-man roster after August 15th, both Alcantara and Beeler have Draft Excluded status and cannot be outrighted to the minors until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, even if the Cubs decide they need one of the two roster slots sometime later during the off-season. 

With the addition of Alcantara and Beeler, the Cubs MLB Reserve List now numbers 39 players (one slot is open).

Notable Cubs minor leaguers who will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft include OF Jae-Hoon Ha, RHP Matt Loosen, LHP Eric Jokisch, and 2B Gioskar Amaya.

The Cubs have traded outfielder David DeJesus to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later....hopefully one that can do as well as what the Cubs got for Scott Hairston. Since joining the Daytona Cubs, Ivan Pineyro has a 3.18 ERA in 6 starts over 34 IP, giving up just 1 HR, 4 BB's and striking out 27.

A bit of a surprise move, moreso that the Nationals are still trying this year. The Cubs are off the hook for the rest of what DeJesus was owed this season (about $1M) as well as the $1.5M buyout on his 2014 contract...so a guaranteed savings of at least $2.5M. Had they picked up the option, it was worth $6.5M

This should make for an interesting offseason and spring. Nate Schierholtz could be the only veteran still around, that is if he's not moved as well. Or they may go with three fresh faces. I don't by any means think Junior Lake is guaranteed anything, although I certainly think he'll be in competition for a spot. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Kris Bryant makes a run at a spot, although more likely a mid-season call-up.

As for what it means this year, well I think Brian Bogusevic should be close to returning, otherwise it means the quest for a better draft pick spot continues.

Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs have claimed 25-year old RH hitting LF-RF-1B Thomas Neal off waivers from the New York Yankees. Neal had been Designated for Assignment by the Yankees last Friday to make room on their 40-man roster for OF Curtis Granderson, who was reinstated from the 60-day DL.


It appears Alfonso Soriano is indeed headed to his original franchise...Dale Sveum was told before the game to pull Soriano from the lineup and has been telling the press that a deal is 99% certain with the Yankees. Sveum isn't too good with percentages lately, so let's temper our expectations a bit.

Olney says a lower tier pitching prospect will be coming back to the Cubs once Soriano gives his formal approval. He also claims Cubs will pay the bulk of the $25M owed Soriano through 2014. I will update as more information becomes available.

Rumors be the Cubs were just waiting to see if the news on Clay Bucholz turned for the worst in a hope to get the Red Sox heavily involved. That didn't happen and now Garza is headed to Texas, a team he had nearly joined two other times (before being initially traded to Cubs and last trade deadline).

This is what we know..the Cubs are getting 3b Mike Olt and SP C.J. Edwards. They are also getting a third player that will be a pitcher and if you believe Jeff Passan's tweet, a fourth "player-to-be named later" is also part of the deal. Jeff Wilson of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram name dropped reliever Joe Ortiz at one point, but that yet to be confirmed. As we've learned many times over the last few seasons, nothing is for certain until there's hugging in the dugout.

Olt was the #22 prospect in all of baseball heading into the season according to Baseball America (Sickels gave him an A- grade, the same as Baez), but had a rough go of it in 2013. Many of his troubles were said to be rooted in a vision problem and he has hit a little better since returning from a lengthy disabled list visit, but still not quite as well as expected or hoped. Obviously the Cubs are banking on him hitting again, but he's also a skilled defender at the hot corner. In a bit of serendipity, Olt was selected by the Rangers with the compensation pick they received when Jim Hendry signed Marlon Byrd.

Edwards was a 48th round pick of the Rangers in 2011 out of high school in South Carolina. He's struck out over 11 per 9 with a walk rate around 3 over the course of 3 shortened minor league seasons. He's now with their A affiliate in the South Atlantic League (Kane County equivalent) and is playing his age 21 season. He's starting right now and features a mid 90's fastball with a "plus curve".

UPDATE #1: Passan says the third player is Justin Grimm and a 4th player will be added later. Grimm's no world beater, but he's 24 and with major league experience. A strikeout pitcher he is not, but Sickels had him at #5 on his top 20 preseason Rangers list.

Stuff has never been the issue: Grimm's fastball can hit 96 MPH and averages 92. Scouts also like his curveball, rating it a plus pitch, and his changeup, while still inconsistent, is much better than it used to be. He is very athletic, an attribute which should help him stay healthy, especially with his improved mechanics.

Grimm's three-pitch mix and ability to throw strikes could make him a nice number three starter. He could also thrive in a relief role if the Rangers choose to go that route. I had him as a Grade B- pre-season and that still seems reasonable, with some chance for a straight B.

UPDATE #2: Olt, Edwards, Grimm and a PTBNL for 2 months of Garza whom the Cubs could resign if they really wanted to next offseason. Hard not to like the deal. If you wish to extrapolate it even further, Cubs moved Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Sam Fuld, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos for just over 2 years worth of Garza starts, Fernando Perez, Zach Rosscup, Olt, Edwards, Grimm and a PTBNL. Hard to say if the Cubs are losing on the deal, they'd certainly like a pitcher with Archer's capabilities and service time around right now and Lee still could be a decent regular, but it does appear that it's close to a zero-sum movement at this point...other than the last 3 seasons, but they were lost anyway.

UPDATE #3: Wittenmyer tweeted that RHP Neil Ramirez is among the pool of players that the Cubs could choose as the player to be named later. The deal gets even better. I suppose Joe Ortiz may be one of those players as well, along with others.

UPDATE #4: it's actually 2 players to be named later coming the Cubs way.

Fantastic!

UPDATE #5: According to the Rangers GM, the numbers of PTBNL's headed to the Cubs depends on whom the Cubs choose...could be one, could be two.

UPDATE #6: Slight modification to the PTBNL deal according to Wittenmyer, Cubs either choose Neil Ramirez or they choose 2 pitchers from an agreed upon pool of players.

 

Lets see what a post on my iPhone looks like...apologies in advance.

So the Cubs have moved Scott Hairston and his 2-year deal and a player to be named later for RHP Ivan Pineyero and a player to be named later. Pineyero was good enough to be named to the South Atlantic All-Star team this year. Beyond that check out the comments in the earlier post or the wonderful powers of Google if you care to learn more. Suffice to say that since this involves Hairston, the players involved aren't going to be huge difference makers. The Cubs will pay some of Hairston's 2013 deal, but Nationals will take on his 2014 commitment.

Busy morning in Cubville...to the news ticker!

The Cubs have dealt RHP Scott Feldman and C/INF Steve Clevenger to the Baltimore Orioles for Brian Roberts.

I keed!!

It's for RHP Jake Arrieta and RHP Pedro Strop and some international pool money (more on that in a bit).

Here's the pertinent details...

TheJedi took away some of the Blackhawks thunder this morning by finally ridding the Cubs of long-time heart attack-in-waiting, Carlos Marmol. The Cubs will have 10 days to trade him or he'll be released, either way the Cubs are going to be on the hook for the bulk of the rest of what he's owed (around $5M). They also announced that the suspension of Ian Stewart was upheld and he's been released as well. There were earlier rumors that the two sides were discussing a settlement, so I'm unsure if he'll get all of the money still owed to him or just a portion. Brian Bogusevic is the next up on the Price is Right and will take Marmol's spot on the 40-man.

The Cubs have reinstated 3B Ian Stewart from the 15-day DL and have optioned him to AAA Iowa. (Stewart came into the 2013 season with one minor league option year left).

Stewart suffered a strained quad in an intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park in February, and missed the entire 2013 MLB Cactus League Spring Training schedule. He was placed on the Cubs MLB 15-day Disabled List on March 31st (retro to 3/22), and was left behind at Extended Spring Training when the Cubs left Arizona at the end of March.

Stewart hit 200/250/267 in 16 PA at Extended Spring Training, and then was moved up to AAA Iowa on a minor league "rehab" assignment on April 14th, where he has hit an ice-cold 091/255/114 in 58 PA. 

Since the maximum number of days a position player can spend on a minor league rehab assignment is 20 (it's a maximum of 30 days for pitchers), May 3rd is the end of the assignment (time that was spent at Extended Spring Training prior to going to Iowa is not considered part of the minor league rehab assignment). However, a club does not have to reinstate a player to an active roster after the conclusion of a minor league rehab assignment if the player is not healthy enough to play (like if the original injury or illness reappears and/or was aggravated or if a different injury occurred during the course of the rehab assignment).   

Because Stewart made his debut on an MLB 25-man roster more than three years ago, Optional Assignment Waivers had to be secured before he could be optioned to the minors. Optional Assignment Waivers are revocable (meaning the request can be withdrawn if the player is claimed), and once secured they are good for the entire waiver period. So Stewart can be sent back & forth to the minors without any restrictions (that is, he can be recalled and then be optioned to the minors again anytime during the current waiver period without Optional Assignment Waivers needing to be requested & secured each time). The current waiver period just started this past Tuesday, and it doesn't end until 4 PM (EDT) on July 31st.

BTW, although Optional Assignment Waivers had to be secured before Stewart could be optioned to the minors, Stewart did NOT have to give his consent to the assignment. Only players who have accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time must give their consent before they can be optioned to the minors, and Stewart (if he had remained on the 15-day DL or if he had been reinstated to the 25-man roster instead of being optioned) would not have reached five years of MLB Service Time until July 31st. (And now that he's been optioned to the minors, Stewart reaching five years of MLB Service Time will be even further delayed).

The Cubs today will make some roster moves including the return of everyone's least favorite closer since Mel Rojas.

According to Twitter, the moves will be Darwin Barney being reinstated from the disabled list to begin his 2013 scrappy campaign. He'll be joined by 37-year-old Cody Ransom, which will give Barney a nice peak into his MLB future while also rescuing us fans from anymore Brent Lillibridge at-bats(he's been DFA'd). Throw in Steve Clevenger's move to the 60-day disabled list and there are your position player updates.

C: Castillo, Navarro

INF: Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Valbuena, Gonzalez, Ransom

OF: Soriano, DeJesus, Schierholtz, Hairston, Sappelt

On the pitching side, Kameron Loe and Kevin Gregg join the team, they'll take the roster spots of Hisanori Takahashi(DFA'd) and Rafael Dolis(optioned). At the going rate, Loe or Gregg will either be closing or on the disabled list by the end of the week.

SP: Samardzija, Jackson, Wood, Villanueva, Feldman

RP: Camp, Russell, Marmol, Loe, Gregg, Bowden, Rondon

Barney gets the start tonight versus lefty Derek Holland, with Travis Wood taking the mound for the Cubs. Sappelt 8/Castro 6/Rizzo 3/Soriano 7/Hairston 9/Castillo 2/Barney 4/Gonzalez 5/Wood 1 are your starting 9.

The Cubs claimed 29-year old RHP Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays today

Moscoso had a fine rookie season for the Oakland Athletics in 2011, going 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, allowing just 102 hits in 128 IP, with a 38/74 BB/K. He was then traded to the Colorado Rockies along with LHP Josh Outman for OF Seth Smith in January 2012.

Moscoso had a horrible year in 2012, however (6.12 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in 23 games and 50.0 IP for the Rockies, but with a very decent 2.70 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP away from Coors Field), and was demoted to AAA Colorado Springs, where he continued to struggle (6.13 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 18 games and 95.1 IP). 

He was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals last November, and then was claimed off waivers again (this time by Toronto) earlier this month. He was ineffective in five Spring Training outings for KC and TOR (12.86 ERA and 2.57 WHIP).

The Cubs probably noticed Moscoso while scouting eventual Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon, because Moscoso was Rondon's teammate on the Caracas club in the Venezuelan Winter League this past off-season, putting up a 3.10 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 29 IP (26 hits allowed and a 7/18 BB/K).  

Moscoso's 2012 troubles might be at least partly attributable to his being an extreme fly ball pitcher, probably not the best characteristic to have if you're playing half your games in the thin air of Denver or Colorado Springs. But even so, why would the Cubs claim Moscoso and waste a 40-man roster slot on a struggling 29-year old pitcher who is out of minor league options?

Well...

 

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