Cubs Sign Pedro Strop to Contract Extension

Mark Gonzales at the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs have signed RHRP Pedro Strop to a contract extension that will keep the right-hander under club control through the 2019 season. 

The 31-year old Strop gets $5.85M in 2018, and the Cubs hold a $6.25M club option for 2019 ($500K buy-out if Cubs decline the club option). 

Strop was the one post-2016 salary arbitration-eligible Cub who did not agree to a 2017 contract when arbitration figures were exchanged on January 13th, eventually signing a contract on February 11th. Strop had requested $6M and the Cubs offered $4.6M when the two sides exchanged figures in January, before Strop accepted a $5.5M offer ($200K above the mid-point) prior to the scheduled hearing.

So combining his 2017 $5.5M salary with the contract extension, Strop gets $11.85M guaranteed through 2018 ($5.925M AAV), with the possibility of earning as much as $17.6M over the three-year period 2017-19 ($5.867M AAV).  

The Cubs 2017 payroll is presently in the $175M range (counting actual salaries, signing bonuses, and legacy payments to be paid in 2017, not AAV of contracts), but guaranteed contracts only amount to $72.85M in payroll (so far) for 2018 (less than half of the Cubs projected 2017 payroll). This should allow the Cubs to sign (or re-sign) two or three significant free-agents (including perhaps Jake Arrieta?) and/or acquire via trade a couple of established players (most-likely pitchers) post-2017, or perhaps sign Kyle Hendricks, Kris Bryant, Addison Russsell, Kyle Schwarber, and/or Javier Baez to contract extensions (presuming the player  - and his agent - are willing). NOTE: Hendricks, Bryant, and Russell will be first-time salary arbitration eligible post-2017 (with Bryant and Russell eligible for arbitration as "Super Two" players), but Schwarber and Baez will not be arbitration-eligible until post-2018.   

The bottom line is, while the Cubs 2017 payroll is fairly tight (not a lot of wriggle room), things will loosen-up considerably in 2018. However, the Cubs 2017 payroll (in particular) matters because if the Cubs go over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold again in 2017, they will get a pick between the 4th & 5th rounds of the 2018 June draft instead of between the 2nd & 3rd rounds should Jake Arrieta in fact become an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2017, receive a Qualifying Offer from the Cubs, decline the QO, and then sign with another MLB club. (Arrieta is the one Cub eligible to be a free-agent post-2017 who is a virtual lock to receive a Qualifying Offer, although there is a chance that Wade Davis could receive a QO as well). 

Brett Anderson (not eligible to receive a Qualifying Offer)
Jake Arrieta 
Wade Davis
Brian Duensing
Jonn Jay
John Lackey (not eligible to receive a Qualifying Offer)
Miguel Montero
Koji Uehara


Jon Lester
($22.5M in 2018-19 & $15M in 2020, plus $2.5M signing bonus each post-2018-19 & $10M post-2020, & $25M vesting option for 2021 if 200 IP in 2020 or 400 IP in 2019-20 or $25M club option for 2021 or $10M buy-out)

Jason Heyward ($21.5M in 2018, $20M in 2019, $21M each in 2020-21, and $22M each in 2022-23, and player may opt-out of contract post-2018 or post-2019 if 550 PA in 2019, plus $20M signing bonus deferred with $5M paid each April 1st 2024-27, or starting April 1st of the next season following opt-out)

Ben Zobrist ($16M in 2018 and $12M in 2019)

Anthony Rizzo ($7M in 2018, $11M in 2019, $14.5M each in 2020-21 with $2M club option buy-out each season 2020-21, 2019-21 salaries increase by $1M if one MVP or two Top 5 MVP 2013-19, and player may void 2021 club option with Top 2 finish in MVP 2013-19 and/or subsequent trade)  

Pedro Strop ($5.85M in 2018 and $6.25M in 2019 or $500K buy-out) 

2018 SUB-TOTAL: $72.85M   

Kris Bryant
(“Super Two”)
Justin Grimm
Kyle Hendricks
Tommy LaStella
Hector Rondon
Addison Russell (“Super Two”)
Matt Szczur (possible “Super Two” – borderline at this point - TBD)

Albert Almora Jr
Javy Baez
Aaron Brooks
Jake Buchanan
Eddie Butler
Jeimer Candelario
Victor Caratini
Willson Contreras
Carl Edwards Jr
Jacob Hannemann
Pierce Johnson
Jack Leathersich 
Mike Montgomery
Felix Pena
Jose Rosario
Kyle Schwarber
Caleb Smith
Matt Szczur (if not “Super Two”) 
Duane Underwood Jr
Rob Zastryzny 




Thanks for the great summary! There certainly "appears" to be a bit of money available in 2018, but after accounting for arbitration and considering the big holes in the pitching staff, it's probably not as much as one might hope.

JOHN B: Just to go a bit further into it, the Cubs 2018 payroll would include the $72M+ in existant contracts, probably no more than $25M in aggregate salaries for the arbitration-eligible players (Rondon, Hendricks, Bryant, Russell, et al), and another $10M (max) in aggregate salaries for auto-renewal players on the MLB 40-man roster. 

So (for example) if all eight of the Article XX-B MLB free-agents were to walk away post-2017 and be replaced in-house, the Cubs 2018 payroll would be only $105M - $110M. So that would leave at least $50M in 2018 payroll (presuming a $160M payroll) available to be spent on 2018 salaries for players added via trade or free-agency post-2017 and/or on contract extensions (and presumably signing bonuses) for Hendricks, Bryant, Russell, et al, or even more than $50M would be available if one or more arbitration-eligible players (like maybe Rondon, Grimm, and LaStella) are non-tendered. 

The problem will be signing (or re-signing) or acquiring the right guys for the projected $50M in available 2018 payroll. 

awesome extension. he's a closer on many teams, and like many "closer on many teams" relievers before him he's getting locked up at non-closer money. it's not cheap, but it's still a great deal+gamble based on his 3+ years as a cub.

Stropey has come a long way from the seemingly devastating 2-out, 2-strike, 2-run game-losing HR he gave up to the Cards' Peralta in July 2015 (a game I attended that obviously left a scar). That was one of those "we're never going to beat the Cardinals" moments that now seem part of a distant past. In addition to being a good guy to have in the 'pen, he seems to be a good "chemistry" guy -- his goose-stepping trot next to KB on Bryant's walk-off HR is a really happy memory. Alas, with the new bullpens, he won't be able to do that any more. In fact, none of the bullpen guys will be able to greet walk-off HR hitters at home plate now.

cubs vs a's this afternoon...wgn. it begins.

"Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Saturday that Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson could share the fifth starter's role, rather than either winning it outright this spring." also, lastella is experiencing left hamstring tightness and is out for a lil while.


Aaaaaaaaaaah. What a beautiful thing.

wsox are retiring m.buehrle's number. that's unexpected. he must have been a hell of a teammate because the numbers are good, not great.

Dont forget they retired Baines number while he was still playing

Did that mean he couldn't wear it?

They traded him to Texas for.....Sammy Sosa.

the exterior shots of phoenix look great. timely rainfall in DEC along with a couple JAN events (and last week's rainfall) has the desert looking rather nice. it's not expected to be one the area's epic wildflower/early-spring seasons, but it's still looking great for late FEB. AZ is an awesome place to visit this time of year. i loved mid-late MAR visits to tucson when they did spring training there, especially during a great wildflower season.

5th inning is strong with "who the hell is this guy" players...still a fun game. woo spring. jason vosler just singled for the cubs. elliot soto trying to cash him in.

You can always count on early spring training to give way to AA players and minor league invites rather quickly.

fun game...cubs won vs the A's in the televised game. j.leathersich looked great, especially this early. good movement. no gun on anyone at the game.

CRUNCH: Jack Leathersich's fastball velocity yesterday was 89-91 MPH (the exact same velocity he displayed at Extended Spring Training last season while rehabbing from July 2015 TJS). Leathersich has a very high career K/9 rate (15.0), but it's not because he throws particulary hard. Rather, it's because he has a plus-curve and a deceptive delivery that makes his fastball appear faster than it really is (a lot like ex-Cub LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, who is the best comp for Leathersich IMO).

Otherwise, Felix Pena was the only Cubs pitcher whose fastball hit 94 yesterday (Jose Rosario was at 92-93). 

Steve Perakslis, David Berg, and Miguel Mejia were called-up from Minor League mini-camp, and submariner Berg's "fastball" (if you want to call it that) was rolling along at 82-83.

Also, A's RHP Bobby Wahl's FB was hummin', topping out at 96-97.

Yes, it is still VERY early, but here are the top take-aways (for me) from today's (Sunday's) Cubs Cactus League game at Sloan Park:

1. Jemile Weeks kicked-on the after-burners, stretching a single into a double, and showing no ill-effects from his 2016 torn hamstring that landed him on the Padres 60-day DL. - IF - (big IF) Weeks can stay healthy throughout Spring Training, he could beat-out Matt Szczur and Tommy LaStella for the last spot on the bench. Weeks is an above-average defensive 2nd baseman, decent in CF, and passable at SS, filling the "defensive triangle" (2B-SS-CF-PR-PH) slot that has value on an MLB four-man bench and has been missing on the Cubs roster in recent years.

2. LHRP Zac Rosscup (March 2015 shoulder surgery) was throwing his fastball 91-93 MPH (only slighly down from his pre-surgery normal 92-94) and flashed a mid-80's slider and a change-up, looking like he is back close to 100% from last year's lost season. 

3. After starting his fastball at 91-93 MPH, NRI RHP and former Reds top pitching prospect Daniel Corcino was popping his FB consistently at 94-95 by the end of his inning. While he might have a bit of a command issue from time-to-time, Corcino has the proverbial "live" arm and athlecticism that scouts look for in a pitcher, and he could turn-out to be a real find for the Cubs. If there isn't room for him initially at AAA Iowa (the projected I-Cubs bullpen is REALLY crowded), the Cubs could stash Corcino at AA Tennessee for a while to get him work as an 8th inning guy or closer and then move him up to AAA later in the season.

4. LHRP David "U-Haul" Rolllns was mediocre at best, displaying a 88-90 MPH fastball and a pedestrian breaking ball with shaky command, and was out-pitched by both Rosscup and Gerardo Concepcion today and Jack Leathersich yesterday. Rollins will have difficulty winning a bullpen job at AAA Iowa in 2017, not to mention in Chicago.

5. Javier Baez plays with the same passion and energy in a meaningless Spring Training Cactus League game as he did in Game 7 of the World Series.

6. RHP Casey Kelly struggled to hit 90 MPH with his fastball. He is just a shell of what he was when he was the Red Sox top pitching prospect a few years ago. I don't know if he's got much to offer.

7. I know a lot has been said and written about it, but I really don't see much difference in Jason Heyward's swing from 2016 versus right now. Having success in BP is one thing, doing it in a game against a pitcher who is trying to get you out is something else again.

Hayward didn't look much different, I agree. He doesn't follow through well. He still pulls up short.

Look, I am not a scout. But, when Casey Kelly got signed, I was the guy here who said he should pay the Cubs! He sucks ass, and while PHIL, and some others here talked about his outstanding "pedigree", I talked about how he couldn't get anyone out. So, now he can prove my theory out and get cut.

Agree with you about Heyward. Late, late, late on everything except breaking balls, which for some reason he can't square up either. His interview prattle is improving, though.

For anyone who cares, some info about Cubs pitchers who worked in the Cactus League game versus the White Sox at Sloan Park on Monday: 

Brett Anderson: Mixed a 90-92 MPH two-seamer with plus-sink and a solid curve. Worked quickly. Looked VERY good.  

Seth Frankoff: FB velo ranged (varied wildly) from 88-93 over his two innings of work (adding + subtracting velocity kept Sox hitters off-balance and produced weak contact). Breaking ball is clearly just a "show me" pitch to set up his "mystery" fastball(s).  

Pierce Johnson: Consistently 95-96 MPH fastball coupled with an 83 MPH breaking ball. Velo readings did not vary and were consistent from AB to AB. Worked fast. Threw strikes. Look GREAT. I think he has found a home in the pen. Possible 2017 "break-out" candidate. Could be another Carl Edwards Jr. 

Brad Markey: 90-92 FB and so-so breaking ball. Got rocked like a BP pitcher. Not much worth seeing. Very poor outing. Might not find a roster slot coming out of Minor League Camp (even at AA Tennessee) because the Cubs just have too many other pitchers with more to offer ahead of him right now.  

Johndaniel Medina: Outstanding command, getting swings & misses by mixing a 94-95 MPH fastball with life and a breaking ball he could throw for strikes. He will be pitching for Team Venezuela in the WBC. Definitely a pitcher to keep an eye on going forward.   

Dylan Floro: 91-93 MPH two-seamer and effective breaking ball. Worked fast. I was very impressed. Looks like a keeper (at Iowa anyway).

Daury Torrez: Threw a 90-91 MPH fastball and a mediocre breaking ball. Did not look good. Labored threw his inning. Minor league 6YFA post-2017, so he is a possible release candidate at Minor League Camp next month.  

Juan Carlos Paniagua: Was working at 90-92 MPH until the last pitch of the top of the 9th, when he muscled-up and threw a 96 MPH fastball for a called strike three. JCP appears to have switched his breaking ball from a wipe-out hard slider that he can't control to a slow curve, but he still can't command his fastball even when it's dialed-down to the low-90's (and obviously he can still hit 96 at-will). Worked slow and looked like he didn't want to throw pitches at times, instead making repeated pick-off attempts at 1st base when there was no chance to pick the runner off base. Very frustrating to watch. Could get released out of Minor League Camp. 

Great stuff AZP. Fun news on PJ!

Like the Edwards comparison for Pierce Johnson. Johnson was fairly dominant in the pen late last season, though walks were still a problem. He was mostly working multi-inning stints though and had a few outings where he fell apart in his second inning. I wonder if he won't really take off in one-inning stints. For fun, here are Johnson (as RP) and Edwards in AAA last year: Johnson: 38.5 K%, 14.3 BB%, 1.21 HR/9. .171 AVG (22.1 IP) Edwards: 31.8 K%, 15.5 BB%, 0.36 HR/9 .185 AVG (25.1 IP):

Obviously it's still very early, but the more I see Jon Jay the more I like him. Remember, Jay was leading the N. L. in doubles last season when he suffered a broken arm in late June, and other than a bad year in 2015, he has been consistently good throughout his MLB career (including virtually identical career splits hitting against LHP and RHP).

I now believe Jay could very well be the Cubs everyday CF in 2017, with Albert Almora Jr getting optioned to AAA Iowa to get regular playing time, and Matt Szczur (who is out of minor league options) remaining with the Cubs as the 4th OF and #1 RH PH (same as last season). Jay might also ultimately be the Cubs best option to hit in the lead-off spot in 2017 (TBD). 

NOTE: Optioning him to Iowa until at least June 26th would have the added effect of ensuring that Almora would remain under club control through the 2023 season instead of through the 2022 season, although (as will be the case with Kris Bryant and Addison Russell) it would NOT delay his opportunity to be elgible for salary arbitration (albeit as a "Super Two"). Of course the Cubs can't send Almora to the minors just to keep him under control for an extra year, but if it is a by-product of otherwise prudent roster moves (like keeping Szczur on the 25-man roster - at Almora's expense - because Szczur is out of options and the Cubs don't want to risk losing him off waivers), then so be it, and there is nothing Almora or his agent (Scott Boras) can do about it.  

So this would leave Tommy LaStella, Jemile Weeks, and Munenori Kawasaki competing for the one open bench spot, and if it were in fact to come down to that, I'm not sure at this point who would win that job. It could be any one of the three.  

Great stuff Phil. Sorry to hear about my Facebook buddy Daury Torrez.

Thanks PHIL! Keep it coming! Love it, man. What's the skinny on Seth Frankoff? This is one prospect that does not ring a bell at all. Juan "Bread and Water" seemingly has been toiling in the minors for what - 8 years? Wasn't this the same player with the age questions on his passport? I am looking forward to seeing PiercevJohnson becoming one of the young power bullpen arms te team desparately needs moving forward.

E-MAN: Seth Frankoff is 28 years old and has been pitching in pro ball for seven seasons. (He pitched at UNC - Wilmington in college). He tied for the league-lead in wins and was 4th in ERA (2.38) and 5th in WHIP (1.09) among qualified pitchers in Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional (LVBP) post-2016, with a .198 OppBA and a 1.60 GB rate.

Frankoff signed with the Cubs as an MLB Rule 55 FA (6YFA) in November (he was the first post-2016 6YFA the Cubs signed) after spending the previous three seasons bouncing back & forth between AA & AAA with OAK and LAD (he was released by the A's at the end of 2016 Spring Training, before signing with the Dodgers). He was a starter his first two seasons in pro ball with the A's before being moved to the bullpen in 2012, and he served as a minor league closer for the A's 2012-15. The Dodgers moved Frankoff back to the starting rotation at AA Tulsa last July.

I think he probably profiles as the classic SP/RP swing-man (kind of like Trevor Cahill) -- which is to say, enough stamina to start, the ability to bounce-back quickly between outings, and able to stay sufficiently stretched-out during the course of the season to be a two or three-inning reliever (as necessary) -- although it remains to be seen how his stuff would play in MLB. But Frankoff looked good yesterday -- much better than your man Casey Kelly did the day before, and I think Frankoff and Kelly are probably essentially competing for the same "swing-man" slot at AAA Iowa.

Juan Carlos Paniagua went by the name "Juan Callado" when he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks ($17,000 bonus) in 2008. Callado (Paniagua) spent two seasons with the DSL Diamondbacks playing on a "pending contract" (the contract could not be approved until Callado could provide the required identity documentation), and then once it was determined by MLB that Paniagua (Callado) signed his contract using a false name and DOB, the contract was voided, the Diamondbacks released him, and MLB suspended him for one year.

He was signed by the Yankees in 2011 ($1.1M bonus) after his suspension was lifted, with Callado now calling himself "Juan Carlos Paniagua" and using a different DOB (04-04-1990) than the one he used when he signed with the D'backs, but that contract was voided by MLB because MLB said that the birth certificate provided by Paniagua was not a legal document.

Paniagua was cleared by MLB in 2012 and subsequently signed with the Cubs ($1.5M bonus), even though he was still unable to provide a legitimate birth certificate. Clubs were warned by MLB that Paniagua's identity and age could not be verified (and probably never will be verified), so any team wishing to sign him could do so, but "buyer-beware".

Paniagua seems to have stalled at AA. He is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2018 (if he isn't released in the meantime), and while it's difficult for an organization to give-up on a "live" arm like JCP, he turns (at least) 27 in April, and at some point it's time to cut the cord and let that pitcher go.

I never realized JCP's story was that complex. It makes me wonder how much there is a deliberate effort to hide his age and how much he lacked the kind of documentation expected in the U.S. For some reason I had thought it was a more straightforward story--initial misrepresentation of age followed by use of real documents.

So Phil, would you say Floro, Medina, and Corcino all have potential to get to MLB? What type of role would you envision? Middle reliever, one and all?

DJL: I would say Floro, Medina, and Corcino would probably realistically project as MLB middle-relievers at this point, but it's possible that Corcino and/or Medina could have a higher ceiling than that. Floro is more of a classic middle-reliever type.

Thanks Phil. 3 potential middle relievers from a waiver claim and NRIs isn't too bad though!


Some info on Cubs pitchers who worked in the game at Sloan Park today:

Alec Mills: Looked very good. Gave up a couple of hits to start the game but worked out of it. Induced weak contact. Threw a lot of off-speed stuff in his first inning and then mostly fastballs in 2nd inning. He threw his off-speed stuff for strikes and his two-seam fastball was clocking at 91-93 MPH. Very nice debut outing for Mills.

Caleb Smith: Rule 5 Draft pick threw all fastballs (every one 94-95 MPH), except for one breaking ball. Gave a up a HR to C. J. Cron and another near HR (great catch by Almora). Angels made hard contact against Smith's best fastballs. He didn't fool anybody. Still, a young, raw LHP who can throw in the mid-90's is worth keeping - IF - the Cubs can find a way to do it, but it probably won't be on the MLB 25-man roster. Best case might be the Cubs get Smith through waivers and then work out a trade with the Yankees so that the Cubs can send him to the minors. That of course depends on the Yankees being willing to make such a deal.

Jim Henderson: Veteran MLB reliever (one-time Brewers closer) didn't show much today. Had difficulty throwing strikes and labored through his one inning of work, mixing a 91-93 MPH fastball and a low 80's slider. He had a poor outing in his first Cactus League game versus the Giants in Scottsdale last Saturday. He will be pitching for Team Canada in the WBC, but I don't see much here. He will have a tough time cracking the loaded Iowa bullpen, and he has a 3/29 player opt-out and right now I can't see the Cubs adding him to the 40-man roster and then optioning him to Iowa just to keep him from walking away.

Maikel Cleto: Jumbo Diaz clone who throws hard (featured a 94-96 MPH fastball and a mid-80's slider today), but he can't command either pitch. He was bouncing his slider and missing with his fastball throughout his one inning of work (although a dropped infield pop fly didn't help), and he got yanked before he could finish the inning. Command issues have dogged Cleto throughout his career, and it doesn't look like much has changed. While it's always tempting to keep a hard-throwing RHRP around and hope he can get his act together in AAA, there may not be room for Cleto at Iowa this year. So I would say he's on the I-Cubs bubble right now. 

Jordan Pries: The other pitcher the Cubs got from Seattle in the Vogelbach-Montgomery trade, Pries got out of Cleto's inning by pitching-to-contact with a couple or three 89 MPH fastballs. It will be difficult for Pries to make the Iowa pitching staff in 2017 because he profiles as a starting pitcher and there are about seven or eight guys ahead of him right now. Also, he is a minor league 6YFA post-2017, so he really has no value to the Cubs beyond this season. Could get released out of Minor League Camp.

Dallas Beeler: Threw nothing but fastballs today after missing most of last season with shoulder issues. Started the inning at 88 MPH but hit 93 by the end of the frame. Probably no room at the Iowa Inn for Beeler this year. Could get released out of Minor League Camp, unless the Cubs send him to Extended Spring Training to get stretched-out as a SP.  

Brian Duensing: Threw two shutout innings today (but gave-up three hits) and displayed his full arsenal, a 90-93 MPH fastball, a mid-80's change-up, an 81-83 MPH slider, and a 74-77 MPH slow curve. His role as a journeyman LHRP is well-defined, and there is no reason to believe anything will be different with the Cubs. He will do until something better comes along.

Tyler Skulina: Threw an 87-89 MPH fastball today but did touch 90-91-92 once each. Curve ball was pedestrian. A move to the bullpen at AA in 2017 is very likely (presuming he isn't released), but an inconsistent mediocre fastball and so-so curve combo won't intimidate any lineup. He has to show better stuff than that. Time is running out for the Cubs 2013 4th round draft pick. He could be another victim of over-stocked minor league pitching inventory. 

My Baseball America Prospects Handbook arrived in the mail today, but I'm enjoying Arizona Phil's scouting reports on our players so much more! Please keep 'em coming Phil! Thanks so much!!! :)

f'real. thanks again, phil. it's nice to get in on the ground floor of many players moving through the system and learning why they're most likely to move up the ladder or drop out of the game. the spring training reports are also nice, especially the access to the gun readings...which is missing from every TV broadcast i've seen so far.

Caleb Smith ought to be able to toss the 40-50 innings desired from the 8th reliever. I'm concerned what the Yankees would 'demand' in exchange.

Arrieta will practically be a slam dunk for a QO. He'd have to be Baltimore bad to not get one. I'm curious if it's more likely than not that Davis will get one as well, assuming health and performance.

17m-ish for w.davis would be a hell of a dice roll. that said, if he pitches like he has the last 3 years davis would probably test the FA market for a 3+ year deal even if he's getting paid a few million less for that single season. he turns 31 this season. i wouldn't be upset to see them offer davis a QO even if it'll sting a bit for him to stick around at such a high price should that happen. unless arrieta's arm falls off, he's gotta be a sure thing for a QO.

It's the same as what Chapman just got on a per-year basis. It's not much more than Melancon got. It's without the risk of a long-term commitment. And if he's healthy and effective, there's a pretty good chance he's declining it anyways and taking a guarantee over $50 million. So it's probably moot. Either he's not what the Cubs hope they traded for, and it's moot. Or he is, and he declines it, and it's moot aside from the draft pick. Or based on Phil's article, if he's worth the QO, then the Cubs can also use it as a tool to try to keep him if that's where they decide to spend the money.

JOHN B: Beginning with the 2018 June draft, Article XX-B Qualified Player Compensation draft picks will be slotted between the 2nd & 3rd rounds of the draft (immediately after Competitive Balance Round "B"), or between Rounds 1 & 2 (immediately prior to Competitive Balance Round "A") for any club receiving revenue sharing funds that loses a Qualified Player who signs a major league contract worth more than $50M, or between rounds 4 & 5 for Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) payors (club's payroll exceeds the so-called "Luxury Tax").

So as far as the Cubs are concerned, it doesn't matter if Wade Davis (or Jake Arrieta) signs a free-agent contract worth $50M+ after receiving (and declining) a QO from the Cubs post-2017, because the Cubs don't receive revenue sharing funds. The $50M+ contract threshold is only significant if a team receives revenue sharing funds, because those clubs get a draft pick between the 1st & 2nd rounds (instead of between the 2nd & 3rd rounds) if they lose a Qualified Player and the player signs a free-agent contract worth more than $50M.

The Cubs are the opposite of a revenue sharing team, in that the absolute best they can do is receive a 2018 comp draft pick between the 2nd & 3rd rounds (for the Cubs and other non-revenue sharing clubs, it doesn't matter if the Qualified Player signs a contract worth $50M+ or not), but the comp picks(s) could be moved down to between the 4th & 5th rounds - IF - the Cubs pay the Luxury Tax again in 2017.

The Cubs could have as many as two Qualified Players post-2017 (Arrieta and maybe Davis), and that's why the Cubs payroll in 2017 is significant. If the Cubs exceed the CBT threshold again in 2017, the 2018 comp draft picks they get if they lose Qualified Player(s) could drop two rounds.

Phil, thanks for clarifying. However, I was just throwing darts in the dark and saying Davis will get a contract over $50M (or over $51M) next winter as an example that Davis is going to get paid regardless of QO status if he is health and effective in 2017.

For anyone who watched yesterday how did Heyward look in his brief appearance? I saw several people say he's looking better with the bat in practice.

he got 3 PAs in today's televised game (1bb, 2K). he's rather far back in the box, but his stance is wide enough that he's not stashed back there. i dunno how he's gonna generate power from his swing. he's not loading up the bat very much for a big swing and his bat speed isn't exactly blazing. he was late on a majority of swings, though he did make foul contact of a few of them. it's early...for all i know he's more concerned with finding the right spot in the box or making contact than loading up a swing or trying to do more with it.

david rollins managed to pitch an inning for the cubs without being put on waivers. good for him. it wasn't a spectacular inning, but it's not even march so whatever.

Man, Addy's swing looks pretty when he connects. Quick, compact and powerful.

He hit that home run a long way. Arizona air helps.

Any advice for a first time visitor to Sloan for a spring training game? We're trying to get 3 tickets to the March 24 Indians game. Is outfield GA good? Bud Rooftop? Or should we shoot for actual sections/seats? StubHub prices seem awfully high ...

BOBBY D: I have had a season ticket for 40 years (going back to when the Cubs had Spring Training in Scottsdale) so I don't have to deal with individual game situations, but unless you want to spend big bucks (especially for a Spring Training game) on Stub Hub to sit in a reserved section, I would recommend buying lawn seat tickets and then if you don't want to sit on the berm, you can look for three empty seats in a reserved section and move if somebody shows up. I would not recommend the Bud Rooftops. 

Or you can spend part of the game on the berm (until you get tired of it) and then walk around to the covered section and stand at one of the metal dining tables (which are located right behind the reserved seats and provide an excellent view of the game if you don't mind standing up, although you can lean forward against the table and eat & drink there, too, and maybe keep an eye out for three empty seats that stay empty for more than a half-inning). I know people who buy lawn tickets and then take a spot at a dining table in the covered-reserve area and just stay there for the whole game EVERY day. You will not be asked to move once you get there, but obviously it's not "reserved," so if you walk away to get food or to go to the restroom, you will very likely lose your spot.

Or just walking around and changing locations during the course of the game isn't the worst thing.

The main thing is to spend as little as possible to get into the stadium, and then once you're in... IMPROVISE, my brother!

Thanks AZP! Invaluable as ever!! I figured that would be the way to go, but wanted to make sure I wasn't about to show up and get frozen out.

And ok final question probably: what's the best way to buy lawn tickets? In advance or just show up? Again, prices vary quite a bit on Stub Hub which I really don't understand.

BOBBY D: Because I have a season ticket I don't buy individual game tickets and so I can't really advise you on the best way to do that. I guess if the game isn't a sell-out you should be able to buy lawn seating directly from the ticket office?

rain arizona.

I am blaming TRUMP for that. Except he would say that it was Obama's fault as the rain was present before, last year.

when trump comes to take care of the weather in arizona, and believe me, he's going to take good care of the weather in arizona, he's going to bring the best weather...the sunniest weather...the coolest breezes...the...i can't do this anymore. this quit being funny many steve bannons ago.

Trump is a rain cloud everywhere.

almora is good at catching balls that are hit off bats toward center field. *nods*

taylor davis is rocking some glorious hair this spring.

ADDISON RUSSELL! he's gonna hit 150 HR this year.

Who had Feb. 28 in the "Jayson Heyward's first hit with his new swing" pool? Sorry, you lose.

...and whoever had March 2nd? Sorry.

Game replay on MLB network tonight I will be in AZ on Friday, I will be wearing the Cubs hat.

I'll be looking for you.

And, so, as we wrap up the February portion of the Cubs schedule, two things seem quite clear: - The lower-tier Cub pitchers are no good. - Zobrist better start taking some reps in RF. Dang -- my "be less snarky on TCR" resolution lasted all of 5 spring training games.

THIS JUST IN: RHRP Corey Black is out for the year (right elbow surgery). He was projected to compete for the closer gig at AAA Iowa in 2017.

INJURY REHAB RECAP: INF Tommy LaStella (hamstring strain) and INF Jemile Weeks (hyperextended left knee) are day-to-day, RHRP Conor Mullee underwent surgery to relieve ulnar nerve compression in his right arm in August 2016 and has yet to throw in a game, RHRP Fernando Rodriguez underwent surgery to repair a torn lat in September 2016 and has yet throw in a game, LHRP Manny Parra and RHRP Frank Batista are rehabbing from April 2016 TJS, and RHRP Andury Acevedo underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in knee in April 2016 and has yet to throw in a game.

LaStella is on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, and Weeks, Mullee, Parra, Rodriguez, and Acevedo are NRI to Spring Training.

Also, minor league LHSP Carson Sands (Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick) is out indefinitely after undergping surgery to remove bone spurs from left elbow last month.  

AZ PHIL: Tough break for Corey Black. As you had maintained, he had a lively arm and it apoeared as if his control was finally coming together. How old is he? Did you happen to watch the game today? How did Hanneman look? Is Vic Caratini improving his defense? I would think he will be the #2 catcher nxt year if he can get that part solid.

Rough breaks for both Black and Sands. Get well soon, gents.

E-MAN: Corey Black is 25. I was not at the game today (Wednesday). Victor Caratini is a good receiver but he can stand some polishing (he is a converted third-baseman). He had mechanical issues (footwork/arm-slot) with his throwing last season at AA Tennessee that was eventually corrected, but he made an off-balance throw the other day in a Cactus League game that might raise a yellow flag. Hopefully he will be able to serve as a switch-hitting MLB back-up C-1B by 2018, but I don't think the Cubs will rush him. Like a lot of the Cubs position player prospects (Happ, Candelario, Zagunis, et al), Caratini is a trade candidate.

sucks about least he'll have more time to be pissed about things on twitter...

That's likely the final straw on the Soriano contract being a bust.

So does that mean TJS for Black because the be #2 for him

Speaking of 2 TJS is Will Remillard back and catching yet, or is he preparing for TJS for the 3rd year in a row? Hope not, I think he was called the best defensive catcher in the system.

CUBBIES-4-EVER: Will Remillard is back on the field, but I don't know if he will begin the 2017 season with a full-season affiliate or at Extended Spring Training.

CUBBIES-4-EVER: I don't know if it was necessarily TJS, because it was described as a procedure to correct a long-term chronic problem. Black did have TJS several years ago, and I guess it could be something related to that, or it could be something different. He is supposedly out for the year, though. Cubster might have some ideas. Does a six-month rehab sound like maybe UCL nerve decompression?

David Price MRI this am for arm soreness Seeing Andrews also , yikes

I wonder if this will really take care of the Carter Capps thing: "An amendment to Rule 5.07 now formalizes the balk rule. Specifically, “A pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. If there is at least one runner on base, then such an action will be called as a balk under Rule 6.02(a). If the bases are unoccupied, then it will be considered an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b).” Think of this as the Carter Capps rule."

Looks like Capps and the Padres think he's ok.

I don't know why this makes me want to flip tables, but he is very clearly resetting the pivot foot and getting a second push. The rule clearly wants it to be legal to leap forward, but it also seems like it leaves umps plenty of room to call him for getting that second push. This fangraphs article has good gifs of the delivery: I think in his heart of hearts, Capps (and to a lesser extent the Cardinals Jordan Walden) knows he's cheating.

No, I think the rule was meant to clarify that this deliver is illegal. However, that delivery (from ST this year) is different from the one Capps has used before, and is I think why they clarified the rule. Previously he hopped once and kind of dragged his back foot. That's the delivery the Padres are saying is OK under the clarification. Here is another Fangraphs article today that talks about it some more: Basically, two hops is a definite no-no.

I promise to not flip any more tables after this, but I'd just like to point out that even in the old Marlins footage I see him dragging the back toe and then pushing with it a second time, which seems to me to be illegal under the new rule.

j.weeks sprained left knee ACL...doh expected to be out of action 4+ weeks.

from rotowurld: When asked if Kyle Schwarber would be a candidate to back up Anthony Rizzo at first base, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, "not really."

Not like he couldn't cut it there with some work. I think he just meant with Baez, Bryant, Zobrist, and Contreras, there aren't any innings there. If Anthony went down for a long time, I'm sure that's going to change.

yeah, the big takeaway for me is we're gonna see him in LF when he's not DH'ing. not everyone needs to be a defensive mega-multi-position guy, though. oh, and he's technically a catcher in the damn near loosest sense of the word. but, yeah...LF.

If the rare days that Rizz sits are against a tough LHP...not sure Schwarber would be my go-to 1B on those days.

Bold prediction Schwarber will be opening day 1b 2021

JHey swing Get to see Eloy live today, I'll be out on the berm.

Hey! I was there too. Three bases-loaded hit batsmen in one inning. Absolutely nuts. But Eloy came through with a little something.

Aaron Brooks' fastball was at 91-93 MPH and he was throwing his breaking ball for strikes in his first inning of work, but the velo was down to 89-90 and he completely lost the feel for his breaking ball in his second inning (when he loaded the bases and then hit two batters with pitches - both of which were breaking balls that didn't break). I don't know what happened to his stuff between innings, but he sure lost it.

A nice outing for Mike Montgomery today, although he threw too many pitches to go into a second inning. He gave up an unearned run (thanks to a two-base error by CF Albert Almora Jr, who tried to short-hop a line-drive only to see it bound past him to the wall).

Montgomery allowed two hits (the line drive 1B+E8 to CF and another soft liner over the second-baseman's head with the infield pulled-in), but he struck out the side and did a fine job mixing his pitches (an 89-93 MPH fastball, a mid-70's plus-curve, and a slider or cutter) and changing speeds on his FB. His stuff (especially his fastball) moved so much it was hard for him to command it at times, but he should have gotten out of the inning with no runs scoring. 

While Montgomery will be stretched out and will be the #6 starter throughout Spring Training (available to replace any of the Big Five in the rotation if one of them goes down with an injury prior to Opening Day), once the regular season starts I suspect Montgomery will be moved to the bullpen and one of the starters at Iowa will get the call-up if a Cubs starter goes on the 10-day DL and misses only one or two starts. Once he's moved back to the pen, I think the only way Montgomery goes back to the rotation (in 2017, anyway) is if one of the five starters goes down long-term.

Wooo-eeee, that looked like an ugly inning. Nice job by Eloy to break up the no-no. The "JHey first hit with the new swing watch" marches on.

The two Cubs home runs were both off Reds RHRP Jumbo Diaz, who was throwing his FB at 94-95 and his slider in the mid-80's. The Jimenez HR came on a hanging slider and the Balaguert three-run jack was on a 94 MPH heater that Balaguert absolutely crushed.

Yes, it's a month before Opening Day, but Diaz usually has way more gas than that.

JACOS & BRICK: I don't know what you two thought about it, but Reds RHP Robert Stephenson was absolutely dominating in his two inning stint today at Sloan Park, featuring a 95-96 MPH fastball and a hard-breaking curve ball as a chase pitch. If the Cubs are looking to move Ian Happ for a young SP, Stephenson might be a possibility. His stock has slipped a bit in Cincinnati (although he is still a high-end prospect), and I would think the Reds would love to acquire a second-base bat like former U. of Cincinnati star Happ to eventually (probably in 2018) team-up with other stud position-player prospects like 3B Nick Senzel, LF Jesse Winker, SS Jose Peraza, and RF Scott Schebler.

AZ PHIL: Casey Kelly recorded an out??? Omg! This is fools gold I tell ya. I hope Boz doesn't fall for it.

E-MAN: Casey Kelly's fastball once again sat at 89-90 (no variation), but he was able to get a few outs with his curve ball, which was pretty good today. It was not an impressive outing, though.

it sounds like he's exactly where he was last year...89/90mph fastball and clutching on the curveball. at least he has a feel for the curve this early in spring. the guy who was throwing mid-90s in the minors with his fastball, a nice curve, and developing change for a 3rd pitch was a hell of a prospect. this guy, least he's not being paid big for his reclamation project.

Recent comments

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  • Eric S 6 hours 26 min ago (view)

     Cubs were Nootbaar'ed to the tune of 12-4 in Game 2


  • Cubster 7 hours 27 min ago (view)

    With a Doubleheader loss, the Cubs are back on track for a better draft choice. Right now at 67 wins they pick #7, just ahead of KC and Minnesota who have 68-69 wins. 


  • crunch 8 hours 56 min ago (view)

    the shit sandwich that is zach davies is a 6 foot party sub.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 8 hours 59 min ago (view)

    I am celebrating the day he signs with another team this offseason. I didn't know I could hate him more than I did when he was in Milwaukee but here we are!


  • crunch 9 hours 19 min ago (view)

    wisdom can hit some bombs when he does

    also davies still sucks.


  • tim815 9 hours 54 min ago (view)

    McAvene is struggling against hitters in Instructs. He's not ready for the AZ Fall League. I'd expect to see Juan Gamez otr Aneuris Rosario first. Vazquez, I agree with, entirely.


  • bradsbeard 11 hours 45 min ago (view)

    On the position player side, Amaya if he's healthy. Chase Strumpf makes a lot of sense (missed some time early and late, missed all of last year). Nelson Velazquez maybe as a Rule 5 guy if they're on the fence. Cam Balego and Andy Weber are two other candidates if healthy. Luis Vazquez could also use more upper level PAs and would make sense.

    Lots of potential pitchers. Ideally Marquez but not sure they'll let him pitch this year. McAvene is probably another one. Would be awesome if Kohl Franklin could participate. 


  • First.Pitch.120 13 hours 2 min ago (view)



  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 35 min ago (view)

    Cubs select contract of RHRP Jason Adam from AAA Iowa and he will be the "29th man" in today's DH with STL. Also,.C Robinson Chirinos to 10-day IL with oblique strain, and OF Greg Deichmann has been recalled from Iowa.  


  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 45 min ago (view)

    FP120: The Cubs have been working on pick-off plays, baserunning including rundown ("pickle") drills, amd bunt defense in pre-game and Camp Day instructional work, so it's kind of a "Point of Emphasis." Apparently it's still a work-in-progress for a lot of the guys.And it's not just pick-off plays, either. At least two or three guys have been picked-off in the first three games and there have been a couple of other baserunning gaffes as well. But that's what instructs is for, right?


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    So what's the deal with 5 pick off attempt errors in 3 games?


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Because the Cubs play only the Angels, A's, and Rockies in Instructs this year, I would not be surprised if the Cubs make a trade or two with one or more of those clubs, most especially the Angels, who might be interested in acquiring Kyle Hendricks (since they certainly can't do a rebuild with Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon on the roster). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    The pitching-starved Angels established an MLB (and probably Ripley's Believe It or Not) record by selecting - ONLY - pitchers in the 2021 draft. That's twenty pitchers. No position players. They signed 19 of the twenty, and five of them pitched in today's game (2021 15th round pick Glenn Albanese Jr started the game, followed by 18th round pick Nick Mondak, 7th round pick Ryan Costeiu, 8th round pick Nick Jones, and 16th round pick Nick Dufault). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Cubs 2020 4rh round draft pick 6'8 220+ LHSP Luke Little threw mainly a 93-97 FB with an occasional CV and CH mixed-in but pitched mostly from behind in the count, issuing two walks, hitting a batter, and throwing a WP (and surrendering a towering three-run HR) in 2.1 IP of work, LHP Angel Rodriguez was able to throw strikes with a 90-91 MPH FB, CH, and CV mix, but was pounded to the tune of five singles, a double, and a triple in just 2.2 IP, Cubs 2021 14th round draft pick RHRP Frankie Scalzo featured a 93-95 MPH FB but sometimes hung his SL and was hit hard and allowed a HR and five sing


  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    chris clarke could use the work.

    brennen davis...bryce ball and casey opitz, maybe.  *shrug*

    i'd like to see ethan roberts in the mix.


  • ggross 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    Phil (or anyone else),

    Who are your guesses for Cubs in the Fall League this year?  When will the announcements be made?  Thanks!