Cubs Invite 18 Minor Leaguers to Big League Camp
The Cubs announced today that 18 minor leaguers have been invited to Big League Camp, including ten pitchers, two catchers, three infielders, and three outfielders.
CUBS SPRING TRAINING NON-ROSTER INVITEES (1-29-2016)
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* Luis Cruz
* Jack Leathersich
Duane Underwood Jr
NOTES: Cruz, Fife, Pena, Pettibone, and Rucinski project as starting pitchers and will likely eventually compete for SP jobs with AAA Iowa... Underwood is the Cubs #1 pitching prospect and projects as a SP at AA Tennessee... Underwood was the Cubs 2nd round pck in 2012, and he will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time post-2016, so he will likely be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster by 11/20 (if not sooner)... Gomes, Machi, and Rivero will provide bullpen depth at Iowa if they don't make the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster... Gomes and Machi have extensive MLB experience (Gomes with TB and Machi with SF and BOS), and Rivero was a closer for Industriales in Serie Nacional in Cuba before signing with the Cubs ($3M bonus) in 2013... Rivero will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft post-2016, so he could get called up anytime... Fife pitched in the big leagues with LAD in 2012-14 (he was a Red Sox draftee when Theo, Jed, and McLeod were in Boston), and Pettibone was a starting pitcher for the Phillies in 2013.... Both are attempting to come back from arm injuries (Fife had TJS in 2014 to repair a torn elbow ligament and Pettibone had two surgeries--one in 2014 and another in 2015--to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder)... Fife made a comeback as a SP in Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional (the Venezuelan Winter League) post-2015 and appears to be 100% going into the 2016 season, but Pettibone may not be ready at the start of the season... Rucinski pitched in the big leagues from time-to-time for the Angels over the past couple of seasons (he was their Dallas Beeler) and was a member of the Angels/Cubs Advanced Instructional League co-op team this past October, so the Cubs know him better than most NRI from other organizations... Leathersich underwent TJS in August 2015, and probably won't be ready to pitch until mid-season. He was claimed by the Cubs off waivers from the Mets in November, and then was non-tendered by the Cubs before signing a 2016 minor league contract with the Cubs last month,... By non-tendeing Leathersich on 12/2 and then waiting until after the Rule 5 Draft to re-sign him to a minor league contract, the Cubs were able to assign him to the minors without exposing him to waivers or to the Rule 5 Draft.
CATCHERS: 2 :
NOTES: Both Davis and Federowicz project as back-up catchers at AAA Iowa... Davis is a bat-first backstop with the versatlity to play C-1B-3B, while Federowicz (another former Red Sox draftee, who was traded to LAD in the same deal that sent Stephen Fife to the Dodgers in July 2011) is a defensive-first receiver with MLB experience, and he will likely take over the role filled by Taylor Teagarden in 2015.
* Munenori Kawasaki (SS-2B-3B)
Kristopher Negron (SS-2B-3B-1B-LF-CF-RF)
NOTES: Guzman, Kawasaki, and Negron have MLB expereince (Negron with CIN, Guzman with SF, SD, and HOU, as well as one season with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, and Kawasaki with SEA and TOR after spending nine seasons with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan where he was an eight-time NPB All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner, stolen base champion, and a member of Team Japan in the WBC in 2005 and 2009)... The trio will presumably provide infield depth/insurance at AAA Iowa... Also note that as a vested NPB player, Kawasaki has Article XX-B status, and thus he will automatically receive a $100K retention bonus and a June 1st opt-out if he either isn't released at least five days prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB 25-man roster by Opening Day, so just for that reason he probably has a better chance of making the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster than any of the other NRI.
Albert Almora Jr
Juan Carlos Perez (CF-LF-RF-3B-2B)
NOTES: Both Andreoli and Perez have experience playing CF (and Perez has MLB expereince with SF), although Andreoli is a below-average defender in CF while Perez is a plus defender... Both will compete with Matt Szczur for the 5th OF job... Otherwise they will provide depth/insurance at AAA Iowa... Almora is one of the Cubs Top 5 prospects (he was the Cubs 1st round draft pick in 2012), is projected as the Cubs CF of the future, and will likely be the starting CF at Iowa in 2016... Like Underwood and Rivero, Almora is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time post-2016... Almora is a Gold Glove quality CF, a contact-type hitter with occasional HR power at the plate, and is an excellent baserunner even though he has just average speed... He was named Athlete of the Year for Team USA in 2011 and has served as team captain while playing for several USA national teams over the past several years (most recently in the 2015 Pan American Games)... He has a tremendous make-up & leadership skills... Almora is a "high floor" player (meaning he is not likely to be a bust), and as far as projecting his "ceiling," I would comp him to somebody like Curt Flood...
It is very possible that additional Non-Roster Invitees (NRI) will be invited prior to the start of Spring Training, including one or two additional catchers. (Minor league catchers Tyler Alamo and Cael Brockmeyer were invited just prior to the date that pitchers & catchers were scheduled to report last year, and both remained at Big League Camp for about three weeks, even though neither was officially listed as an NRI).
There also were several players I expected to get an NRI who did not, including 2015 1st round draft pick 2B Ian Happ, top prospect SS Gleyber Torres, switch-hitting C-1B-3B Victor Caratini (Braves Top Ten prospect acquired in a deadline deal for James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio in July 2014), 2015 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year RHSP Ryan Williams, and hot-shot Cuban OF prospect Eddy Julio Martinez, plus IF-OF Logan Watkins (missed 2015 season after rupturing his achilles tendon) and RHRP Starling Peralta (both signed minor league successor contracts post-2015), and several players with MLB experience who signed minor league contracts with the Cubs during the off-season, including ex-CLE LHRP Scott Barnes, ex-STL LHRP Nick Greenwood, and ex-PHI OF-1B-LHPH Kelly Dugan.
bradsbeard 13 min 51 sec ago (view)
A healthy Bryant is the better player. Unfortunately, KB hasn't been healthy the past two years.
crunch 30 min 43 sec ago (view)
if bryant wasn't looking less and less like a 3rd baseman, it would probably be an even or less trade given the cost difference between the 2 guys. it's not been so slick the past couple years for bryant with the glove meanwhile arenado does nothing but win gold gloves.
bryant has 2 years of club control and arenado can opt out after 2021.
that said, i dunno if the cubs have the $$ space to take on a $35m/yr contract with or without the risk of him opting out.
Charlie 1 hour 50 min ago (view)
Shouldn't it take less than Bryant, given Arenado's opt out? I guess the Rockies could be asking for more, but it wouldn't make sense.
Eric S 3 hours 23 min ago (view)
Has he gone so far as calling the Rox front office namby-pambies yet? There's only so much a front office can take before it snaps.
crunch 4 hours 8 min ago (view)
n.arenado continues to go very hard on COL front office. he's careful not to turn on the fans, but he's burning the hell out of every other bridge to the point they may trade him just to not hear about it too much longer. he's not shy at all about airing it out for the media.
if the cubs want him, it will most likely take more than just k.bryant.
Arizona Phil 20 hours 28 min ago (view)
The Cubs have officially signed C-1B Alberto Mineo to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.
A native of Italy, Mineo was signed by the Cubs as a 16 year old J-2 IFA in November 2010. He was one of three players signed by the Cubs out of the MLB European Academy in Turin, Italy in the years 2008-10 (Italian RHP Alex Maestri and Dutch INF Dwayne Kemp were the other two).
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
No argument there. Plays an excellent violin though.
crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
tim815 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
He's better than Taylor Davis.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
He's at a career juncture where I think he is a toss up of he is who he is or there's a little more left for him to achieve. Playing this as his age 27 season he is either in or damn close to his peak. I personally think he doesn't need the everyday playing time, just based on the fact that he's not a top prospect, is older, and doesn't project to be a starter at any spot for a first division team.
Charlie 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
This is the take if you see him as a legit prospect. Which, maybe? I know little about him, and his numbers in limited AAA exposure last season were really nice. Maybe a lively ball helps his career.
bradsbeard 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
Sounds like a long shot to get a trade done then. Thanks for clarifying!
Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Before making a trade with the Rule 5 Draft pick's former club, the drafting club must first place the player on Outright Assignment Waivers and any of the other MLB clubs can claim the player for the $50,000 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 Draft obligations (actually it's Rule 6 Selected Player obligations, but you know what I mean).
bradsbeard 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
AZ Phil, the "work out a trade" part of Rule 5 is still a mystery to me. Do the Cubs have to put Megill through waivers and (if he clears) offer him back to SD before they can trade for him?
Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
For those of you who didn't see the game, here are the pitch-velo readings from Wednsdays Cubs - Royals game:
NOTES: An amazing pitcher... he's probably in mid-season form right now... just needs to gradually increase innings...
NOTES: A legit candidate to be the 5th starter
Craig A. 1 day 22 hours ago (view)