Cubs Add Three More Minor League Free-Agents to the Fold

SAT 1/10 UPDATE: Matt Eddy at BA is now reporting that the Cubs have also signed 27-year old RHRP Jorge DeLeon to a minor league contract. DeLeon was signed by the Houston Astros as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and was converted to RHP post-2009. He was added to the Astros 40-man roster post-2010 and made his big league debut in August 2013. He was claimed off waivers by Oakland in October 2014 and then was released last month. DeLeon will almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training, and then be bullpen depth at AAA Iowa.   


Baseball America reports the Cubs have signed three more minor league free-agents over the past few days, including veteran MLB catcher Taylor Teagarden, INF Chris Valaika, and RHP Andres Santiago. The trio join RHRP Anthony Carter, RHRP Fernando Cruz, OF Adron Chambers, and INF Jonathan Herrera, who were signed to minor league contracts earlier. All seven will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training.  

The 31-year old right-handed hitting Teagarden has accumulated 4+ years of MLB Service Time as a back-up catcher over the course of seven seasons with TEX, BAL, and NYM. He has plus-HR power and an above-average arm, hitting 202/262/382 with 21 HR and 26 doubles with 31% CS in 172 MLB games. He was the 3rd round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2005 out of the University of Texas, and has hit 265/376/493 with 74 HR in 399 career minor league games. While he will certainly receive a Spring Training invite (NRI) with the big club, he will probably end up sharing the Iowa catcher job with Rafael Lopez, and be available to be called up if anything happens to one of the catchers on the big league roster. 

Valaika has a career 238/282/351 slash-line in 99 MLB games (mostly with Cincinnati) 2010-14. The 29-year old was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs this time last year, and spent Spring Training with the Cubs before being assigned to Iowa, where he hit 278/344/423 in 102 AAA games. He was called up in August after Emilio Bonifacio was traded to the Braves, and spent the last two months of the 2014 season with the Cubs, hitting 231/282/339 in 44 games and playing all over the infield (1B-2B-3B-SS), before being outrighted back to AAA in October. Valaika will compete in Spring Training with Jonathan Herrera and recently-outrighted Logan Watkins for one or maybe two MLB utility infield slots. 

Santiago had a fairly pedestrian eight-year minor league career with the Dodgers after being selected in the 16th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, but he threw a nine-inning no-hitter with 12 strikeouts against the Tennessee Smokies (the Cubs AA affiliate) in his last AA start last August. After turning 25 in October, Santiago pitched for Caguas in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (the Puerto Rican Winter League) and put up a 0.96 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with a 4/12 BB/K and no HR allowed in 16 games (18.2 IP) as los Criollos primary set-up man. As such, he will probably be in the mix for a bullpen job at AAA Iowa in 2015.

Now 28, Anthony Carter was drafted out of a Georgia JC by the White Sox in 2005 and was signed as a "Draft & Follow" in 2006. He was converted to closer at AA in 2010, and pitched in 129 AAA games 2011-14. He was on the White Sox 40-man roster for two seasons but never got called up. He spent most of the 2014 season working as a middle reliever for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan (NPB), before returning to the U. S. and signing with the Cubs. He will provide bullpen depth at AAA Iowa in 2015, and could conceivably get a call-up at some point during the season.

Adron Chambers hit 216/289/295 (257/333/357 vs RHP) for the St. Louis Cardinals in 84 MLB games 2011-13, with a 277/364/394 slash-line in 740 minor league games (315/392/444 vs RHP at AAA in 2014). The 28-year old left-handed hitter can play al three outfield positions, and is probably destined to be at Iowa in 2015, although he could get the call if something happens to Chris Coghlan or Ryan Sweeney. Chambers mashes RHP, but his futility against LHP (even in the minors) would probably relegate him to platoon duty.   

Fernando Cruz was drafted as an infielder by the Kansas City Royals out of Puerto Rico in 2007. He was converted from a 3B to RHP in 2011, after a previous conversion to catcher failed. Cruz did not pitch in either 2013 or 2014 (he spent the entire 2013 season on the 60-day DL), and was released. But the 24-year old Cruz was one of the best relievers in the Puerto Rican Winter League post-2014, where he was a teammate of Javy Baez at Santurce. Cruz probably will be competing for a bullpen job at AA Tennessee.  

Of the seven free-agents signed by the Cubs to minor league contracts post-2014, 30-year old Jonathan Herrera probably has the best chance to claim a big league job in Spring Training. A switch-hitter who can play 2B-SS-3B, Herrera (like Taylor Teagarden) has 4+ years of MLB Service Time, hitting .263 in 417 career MLB games (mostly with the Colorado Rockies). Because of his age and MLB experience, Herrera might have an opt-out clause in his contract that will allow him to ask for and receive his release if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster.   



I imagine that we will see a couple of Loogy candidates signed before spring training.

speaking of dealing Welington, D'Backs had some talks with Cubs

weird it didn't get done with Montero deal, but Cubs probably holding out for more and DBacks probably don't want to pay as much.

"Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics are close to acquiring Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Rays." i was wondering what their plan for their middle IF was. they did a "sell off" this off-season, but they never did take care of 2nd/SS unless you're a marcus semien fan as a 2015 starter. daniel robertson most likely needs more time until he slots in. if this is legit, the A's might be out of the hector olivera (cuban) chase.

John Jaso, Robertson, and Boog Powell is what they're saying now. Without Jaso they have Vogt and Phegley for C. And they seem to like moving Vogt around the field. So perhaps Castillo could interest them.

giving up robertson would be weirdly interesting for 1-year of the key part of the trade and 2-3 seasons of y.escobar at market price. i don't know much about him except what's written and his stats, but both seem glowing. and yeah, any trade by another team that opens up a C position would be cool for the cubs. it's not so cool TOR is also trying to shop d.navarro right now, though. the market isn't exactly saturated, but there's not many left looking starter-quality C.

Pretty remarkable that Beane can trade a 73 year old firstbaseman that he doesn't even hold the rights to.


When Oakland traded Addison Russell to the Cubs in the Samardzija deal, one of the reasons mentioned as to why Billy Beane would be willing to do that is that the A;s had fellow SS prospect Daniel Robertson coming up behind Russell.

Russell was the A's 1st round draft pick (#11 overall) in 2012 and received a $2.625M bonus, and Robertson was selected by the A's in the Supplemental 1st round (#34 overall) of the 2012 draft (compensation pick for losing Article XX-B FA OF Josh Willingham) and got a $1.5M bonus. They immediately became the A's #1 and #1-A hotshot shortstop prospects (I remember watching them in Instructs post-2012), and it's odd that just over two years later not just one but both have been traded.

BTW, both Russell and Robertson played SS for the Mesa Solar Sox post-2014. 

now it's time for the zorbist to TOR rumors to start (especially since they have d.navarro to spare)

Bears in hot pursuit of Ravens OC Gary Kubiak (former Texans coach of course). Also Seahawks DC Dan Quinn.

"YES Network's Jack Curry reports that the Yankees will hire Jeff Pentland as hitting coach and Alan Cockrell as assistant hitting coach." that's a blast from the past. i didn't even know pentland was still around the game. also, t.colvin signed a minor league deal with MIA.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that prior to Ben Zobrist being traded to the Athletics, the Rays, Mets and Nationals had discussed a blockbuster three-team trade.

In the proposed deal, Zobrist and Yunel Escobar would have gone to the Nationals, Ian Desmond would've gone to the Mets and the Mets would've sent top prospects to the Rays. The Mets ultimately felt the price of two top prospects was too steep to pay for Desmond, causing the deal to fall through. While nothing came of it, it shows that the Mets are still in the market for an upgrade at shortstop.

in reply to the twitter box item on Gary Kubiak: Brad Biggs/Tribune says Ravens announce OC Gary Kubiak is staying in Baltimore. Move on, nothing to see here...

bit of a bummer, think he's a good OC and solid coach, pretty good with QB's

something better awaits.

Rex Ryan to Bills because who the hell needs a quarterback...(Rodgers, Luck, Brady and Wilson waive hi).

Maybe they will trade for Cutler :)

Wouldn't that be neat?

if there's some crazy alternate universe where Bears deal Cutler and Marshall and then use those picks to move up to get Mariotta, I want to live in it. 

Mariotta will not be a good Nfl qb

you meant to type Winston right?

I defer to wiser football minds, seems to be running a pro offense though with good decision making abilities and good arm strength. Good character guy allegedly.

there's nothing in that link that says Mariota lacks the arm strength...

plenty of articles out there that do so say he has more than enough for the NFL, yeah Winston may have more, but he's got other issues.

We've already got a strong-armed QB...I'll take one who reads defenses and makes good decisions. Please.

yes...I mean I don't want Kyle Orton noodle arm strength, but I haven't read anything that suggests Mariota can't make the sideline or deep throws. Most comps put him in Griffin/Kaepernick territory because of his legs. Reading defenses is one thing that is a concern, saying he doesn't go to his second, third options a lot, but they say he's gotten better and a lot has to do with their offense design where the first option is open a lot.

Also read that folks are worried he's a bit passive and almost too nice.

Befofe folks jump on the Griffin/Kaepernick comp, that's more about the physical tools (R. Wilson could be another) of which Griffin was a beast coming out of college and his first year until Shanahan sacrificed him on national television. They did say Mariota is real good at avoiding contact when running.

I have no clue and I highly doubt there's any situation where the Bears could get him. I could see Winston dropping, but I'd avoid that headache at all costs.

The FA class Locker, M. Vick, C. Ponder, M. Sanchez, R. Mallet, C. McCoy, J. Clausen and a whole slew of no names. Not sure who could be a salary cap hit.

I'm late to this conversation, but seeing Winston and Marshall on the same team together would almost be worth all the eventual losses that would result.

just my opinion on arm The article is how Winston may be best complete qb to come out since Luck.

Winston seems a bit lacking on the leadership/quality of character to put the faith of your franchise on.




+1 for not beating around the bush.

I'm not a rapist.

Re: Marshall's trade value Certainly the Bears could try to trade Marshall, but what they’ll find is a bare market not at all to their liking. Knowing what Marshall’s reign of narcissism has just done to Trestman and Emery, what NFL exec in his right mind is going to deal for him?

someone will always take a chance on talent if the price is low enough.

probably will be cut in March $ 3 million if cut $ 9 million if kept


they have Marshall at $9.5M if they keep him and $5.6M cap hit if they cut him for almost $4M in savings

John Fox and Broncos part way...churn up the rumor mill.



FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks are "in the mix" for James Shields.

Rosenthal thinks it's a "strong indication" Shields' market is not at $100 million, as the D'Backs are not willing to go that high for the righty. He also adds that Shields did indeed have a $110 million offer from someone, but the veteran didn't want to go to that team.

that seems unwise...

I thought the same thing until it came out who it likely was.

unwise that DBacks are pursuing him is what I meant...

turning down the Rockies money if you're a pitcher is never a bad idea.

if it's last big contract of my career I wouldn't care. But I'm a money grubbing bastard.

On Mike Olt: John at Cubs Den has an interesting analysis on Mike Olt. Kinda underlines my point exactly of several weeks ago. He's gonna have to really nail it in the Spring for him to have another shot with the big club (barring injury).

i keep imagining welly/olt packages being thrown around at GMs. it's going to be hard to have him do much more than play corner IF/OF and even then he's not expected to start regularly at any of those he has to compete with an already crowded OF bench pool for playing time.

That analysis is horse-cock. It actually illustrates part of my argument when it talked about how screwed up his mental approach became as captain happy chose positive matchups for him (ie had a quick hook and sat him a lot - got into his head which is rare bullshit to instill upon a rookie). I'm not gonna revisit months of argument other than to say wait until (arguably) another team has a little patience and he gets comfortable. He could very likely be a much better player than this analysis suggests.

Watching OSU manhandle the fancy-pants boys from Oregon once again proves the Mike Tyson adage: Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.

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