James Russell

To Be a Free-Agent, or Not to Be (at least not right away...)

Beginning tomorrow (Monday 10/5) and extending through Thursday 10/15, four Cubs minor leaguers with ARTICLE XX-D or ARTICLE XIX-A status will be able to elect free-agency, as long as the player is not added back to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to making the election. 

Each of the four players spent time on the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) during the 2015 season. 

Anthony Varvaro Waiver Claim Voided

The Cubs waiver claim of RHP Anthony Varvaro has been voided by the MLB Commissioner and he has been returned to the Boston Red Sox, where he will be placed on the BoSox MLB 60-day DL. Varvaro will undergo surgery to repair a torn elbow flexor tendon later this week.

Bard, Russell, and Denorfia Get Pre-Game Reps at Extended Spring Training

Adonis Paula singled twice, stole a base, and drove-in a run, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and scored a run, and Carlos Sepulveda smacked a solo home run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #5 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings with the score tied 2-2. (All three Extended Spring Training intrasquad games played this week have ended in a tie)

RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave finally made his game debut as a pitcher, throwing a shutout inning (4-3, 3-1, BB, 4-6 FC). I didn't see anthing special with his stuff, although he throws both a two-seam fastball and a curve (and the curve might be his best pitch). Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus when he was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old switch-hitting catcher out of Venezuela in July 2011, the highest bonus ever given by the Cubs to an international amateur free-agent up to that point in time. He was moved almost immediately to 3rd base, and then he was moved back to catcher again (and gave up switch-hitting to hit only RH) after the 2013 season. He struggled offensively throughout his pro career as a postion player (248/347/305 in 141 career minor league games and 560 career minor league PA), and then was converted to a pitcher at Minor League Camp last month.       

In Cubs minor league roster news, RHP Daniel Bard (signed to a minor league contract during the off-season with an NRI to Spring Training, then couldn't throw strikes) and ex-Cubs LHP James Russell (signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs this morning after being released by the Atlanta Braves last week) have been assigned to Extended Spring Training. Both pitchers threw morning bullpen side-sessions but did not pitch in the game. Rehabbers RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery), and RHP Austin Reed (2014 TJS) also threw bullpen side-sessions this morning.  

Chicago Cubs OF Chris Denorfia (15-day DL - hamstring) took BP on Field #6 prior to the game.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Eight Cubs Eligible for 2014 Salary Arbitration

An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration. Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group.

If a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration cannot agree on a contract, the player can request the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to file for salary arbitration.

Z will be in, Cashner will be up, plus Cardinals vs. Cubs

The long-awaited announcements have been announced:

Carlos Zambrano will make his return to the starting rotation on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and Tom Gorzelanny be moved from the rotation to the bullpen, where he will joined by a new teammate...

Andrew Casher, who will be summoned from Iowa on Monday, according to Carrie Muskat. Cashner has given up four hits and a run in two innings pitched since the I-Cubs moved him into the pen. Overall, his numbers at Triple-A this year have been stunning. 0.86 ERA and 17/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 IP.

Buck Stops Here

Travis Buck homered to key a three-run 9th, as an Oakland A's split squad defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & breezy Mesa, Arizona, this afternoon.


Carlos Silva: Identity Theft Victim?

Five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, Jeff Baker smashed a solo home run, and Xavier Nady doubled twice and knocked-in two runs, leading the Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers in Cactus League action before a capacity crowd of 13,157 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa this afternoon.


All's Wells at HoHoKam Park

Joe Inglett clubbed a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the 9th, as the Milwaukee Brewers overcame an early 3-0 deficit and defeated the Cubs 5-3 in Cactus League action at cold and rainy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.

The start of the game was delayed almost an hour as a noon-time downpour flooded HoHoKam Park. But the rain did stop, and the dark clouds gradually broke apart, even allowing the sun to shine through by mid-game.

Sun Sets on 2009 Solar Sox

Mike Leake (CIN) threw four innings of shutout ball and Lance Zawadzki (SD) had three hits, including a solo home run and a two-run double, leading the Peoria Saguaros to an 8-1 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox at HoHoKam Park this afternoon.

box score

Final Cashner AFL Start Simply Indefensible

Nick Evans (NYM), Mike Moustakas (KC), and Colin Curtis (NYY) each crushed two-run homers, and Ian Kennedy (NYY) threw five innings of one-run ball, leading the Surprise Rafters to a 9-2 drubbing of the Mesa Solar Sox in Arizona Fall League action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon, in what was Andrew Cashner's final AFL start.

box score


Recent comments

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  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:


    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).