Cubs Pitchers Now Know How Custer Felt

Nick Swisher singled twice, homered, and drove-in four runs, Lonnie Chisenhall singled, doubled, and homered, and collected three RBI, Drew Stubbs singled and tripled and drove-in three runs, and Mark Reynolds homered and doubled and knocked-in two runs, leading a 20-hit attack as the Cleveland Indians scalped the Cubs 13-5 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Meaa, AZ.

box score

RHP Alberto Cabrera got the start for the Cubs and was battered to the tune of five runs (all earned) on seven hits (three singles, two doubles, and two home runs) and a walk in 2.2 IP (52 pitches - 29 strikes).

Because he has a three-pitch arsenal (mid-90's fastball, hard slider, and change), the Cubs would like to move Cabrera back to the starting rotation in 2013 (he was converted to a reliever after the 2011 season), but he has struggled to throw strikes in both the Dominican Winter League post-2012 and at Spring Training 2013. And today when he did throw the ball over the plate, he was consistently and relentlessly hammered by Tribe hitters. Cabrera is a lot like Carlos Marmol, in that he has electric stuff but has a tendency to always be pitching from behind in the count. Today he seemed intent on not walking the world (as he has in the recent past), so when he got behind, he tried to pitch to contact, and it just didn't work. Cabrera is a strikeout pitcher, and to try and be something else is probably not a good strategy. 

LHP Brooks Raley followed Cabrera to the mound and he fared poorly, too. Once again Raley had a long inning (a 28-pitch 4th inning), and he also surrendered five runs (four earned) on six hits (a triple, a double, and four singles) and a walk in 2.1 IP. Raley has labored in every outing so far this Spring (one intrasquad game and two Cactus League outings), and has been unable to get through an appearance without at least one high-pitch inning.

RHP Ty'Relle Harris was called up from Minor League Camp for the second time in a week, and he had a lugubrious 34-pitch (only 13 strikes) 6th inning where he allowed three runs on three hits and three walks. Harris was one of the players acquired from Atlanta in the Derrek Lee trade in 2010, and he suffered near-career ending injuries when struck by a hit & run driver outside a Knoxville nightclub in 2011. It's been a long road back and it's a miracle that he's even pitching again, but Harris will have to do a lot better in Minor League Camp than he did today at HoHoKam Park to avoid getting released. 

Casey Coleman threw two scoreless innings, and RHP Marcus Hatley (brought up for the day from Minor League Camp) worked a scoreless 9th, although he did allow a hit and a walk.

A converted JC outfielder who was one of the last "Draft & Follow" signings by the Cubs before DNF was eliminated per the 2006 CBA, Hatley was ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs #29 prospect going into the 2013 season, and while he does have some upside as a hard-throwing reliever, he has yet to establish himself at the AAA level, and he will be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (Six-Year Minor League free-agent) post-2013 if he is not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 5th day following the conclusion of the 2013 World Series. So the Cubs will have to watch him carefully this season so that they can make an informed decision by the deadline.  

Today's Cub offensive output might have been enough to win most days, but not when the opposition scores 13 runs. 

Alfonso Soriano led-off the bottom of the 2nd with a HR over the LF fence off Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, and after Steve Clevenger drew a walk, Brad Nelson drove him home from 1st base with an RBI double. Soriano (who doubled in his second AB) appears to be in great shape, and I would not be surprised if he matches or even exceeds his 2012 numbers this season. 

Down 13-2, the Cubs scored two runs off Indians #1 pitching prospect Trevor Bauer (acquired from Arizona during the off-season) in the bottom of the 7th. Jorge Soler drew a one-out walk and scored on a Logan Watkins double, and then after advancing to 3rd base on an error, Watkins scored on a Javier Baez 5-3 GO RBI (Baez's fourth RBI in two days).

Johermyn Chavez slugged a solo HR off Bauer in the bottom of the 8th for the Cubs fifth and final run of the game.  

It was another small crowd at HoHoKam Park today (5,465),



whats going on with Bjax?

JACOS: Brett Jackson is not getting as much Cactus League game action as I would have expected, but that probably just means he's spending more time in the batting cage.

I think the Cubs will probably handle B-Jax like they did Anthony Rizzo last season, and that is, they will send him to AAA Iowa to get playing time and work on replicating his new batting style, and then recall him only when they feel he has mastered the new stroke.

As I have mentioned here before, if the Cubs option Jackson to Iowa out of Spring Training and then wait to recall him until at least June 11th (that is, no earlier than June 11th), they buy an extra year of MLB Service Time before he can become a free-agent. (The Cubs did the same thing with Anthony Rizzo last season). Naturally they won't come right out and say that's what they're doing, but I think it's likely that they will keep him at Iowa until at least mid-June, no matter how well he's hitting. 

Jackson's main problem is that he sucks. Lets get this straight right now....he doesn't need a little "Anthony Rizzo" seasoning to figure out lefties and breaking pitches to make the leap. Jackson has no friggin clue what he is doing in the batters box, Rizzo does. They are like night and day. Jackson can change his batting style all he wants, but he is still gonna hit for a low average and strikeout a lot. You do realize he struck out 59 times in 120 AB's right? Expand that out over a full season and he punches out damn near 300 times. We aren't talking about a simple stance change were talking about a fundamentally flawed bad player with little hope of changing what he is. You don't take that kind of SO rate and reign it under control. To slash it by 1/3rd would be a miracle and he would still suck. o-swing%z-swing%swing%o-contact%z-contac%contact% Jackson 26% 65% 41% 49% 74% 64% Dunn 24% 64% 41% 50% 80% 70% Basically Jackson is a poorer version of Adam Dunn without the menacing power stroke. Who the hell wants a Mark Grace type power hitter who punches out 250+ times and might hit .240 in a good year? Jackson is a Hendry player.....looks good on paper across the board. Has some power, has some speed, a great combination of talents but not a baseball player. A typically Hendry wet dream player he loves to draft that is a jack of all trades but a master of none.

So you think he'll get better?

Ah Spring is in the air...the crack of the bat...the fresh cut grass... and MikeC gloom and doom. Awesome. You might be right, he might turn out to be nothing, but I will hope that his new stance will help him make better, more consistent contact. If he can even hit .250, he should get on base enough and play solid defense.

Lugubrious... I love Arizona Phil.

Lugubrious... Kinda "nutty" thought but Is that the root from where the Lansing team's nickname came from?

I had to look it up, and I consider myself reasonably literate. lugubrious |ləˈg(y)o͞obrēəs| adjective looking or sounding sad and dismal. DERIVATIVES ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from Latin lugubris (from lugere ‘mourn’) + -ous.

"Coming, your most lugubriousness." -- Pain, speaking to Hades in Disney's Hercules. I always remembered that line and was delighted to see AZ Phil cop the word for one of his reports.

For a rather under the radar NRI, Johermyn Chavez has done a seemingly solid job of acquitting himself. Any thoughts on if he can rebuild his value? IIRC, he was once a highly thought of Mariner prospect.

The Cubs have officially signed the 21 pre-arbitration players on their MLB 40-man roster to 2013 major league contracts.

A player on the MLB 40-man roster who is not yet eligible for salary arbitration is at the mercy of the club as far as salary is concerned. The player's salary is determined by the club, as long as it meets the minimum salary as set forth in the CBA.  

While a club could pay all of it's pre-arbitration players the MLB minimum salary up until the player becomes eligible for salary arbitration, in practice that does not happen. Clubs pay players who perform above minumum expectation a higher salary. It's not a lot more money, but it could be as much as $50K or even $100K over the MLB minumum salary, depending upon how many years of MLB Service Time the player has accrued and how well the player has performed at the MLB level during that time. (In other words, although they both could be paid the same salary, fact is Darwin Barney will get a higher 2013 salary than Hector Rondon). 

A player not yet eligible for salary arbitration is signed to what is called a "split" contract, meaning the player is paid at the "major league rate" for whatever number of days the player spends on the MLB 25-man Active List or MLB 15-day or 60-day DL during the regular season, and is paid at the "minor league rate" (or "minor league split" salary) for any days spent on optional assignment to a minor league affiliate. 

The 2013 minimum salary for any player on the 25-man roster or 15-day or 60-day DL during the regular season is $490K (it was $480K in 2012, and increases to $500K next season), and the player's major league salary must be at least 80% of the player's salary from the previous season, and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back. 

The salary is pro-rated per day (the MLB regular season runs 183-days), so if a player making the MLB minumum salary spends ten days on the MLB 25-man roster in 2013, he would get paid $2,678 per day, or $26,678 over that ten-day period. The rest of the days he would get paid at the minor league "split" rate.

The minor league split minimum varies, depending on whether the player has accrued any MLB Service Time and whether the player is signing his first "major league" contract. 

For players who are signing their first major league contract, the minor league split minimum is $39,950 in 2013. Players in this class would include Trey McNutt, Christian Villanueva, Logan Watkins, and Rob Whitenack. As long as they remain on Optional Assignment and do not accrue any MLB Service Time in 2013, they each will receive a $39,950 annual salary.  

Players who have not accrued any MLB Service Time who are not signing their first MLB contract have a $79,900 minimum minor league split 2013 salary while they are on Optional Assignment. This would include players like Junior Lake and Matt Szczur.

Then there is everybody else. 

A player's minor league split salary must be at least 60% of what the player was actually paid in salary the previous season. So (for example) in the case of Steve Clevenger (who spent the entire 2012 season on the Cubs 25-man roster or 15-day DL), his 2013 minor league split salary must be at least $288K (60% of his 2012 salary). So if Clevenger is optioned to Iowa and spends the entire season there, he gets paid $288K. And then if he is still on the 40-man roster in 2014, his minor league split salary must be at least $173K (at least 60% of what he was paid in 2013). That's why players sometimes get non-tendered, because non-tendering a player removes minimum salary requirements. 

Lendy Castillo is making $288K in 2013 even though he is on a minor league roster, because he was paid $480K (the 2012 major league minimum salary) last season and he was tendered a 2013 major league contract prior to being outrighted.   

So a player's "minor league split" varies depending on how much money the player was actually paid in salary the previous season, and whether this is the player's first "major league" contract (the first time he is on an MLB 40-man roster).

Essentially, if a player earned no more than $130K in salary last season, his minor league split the next season will not exceed the $79,900 2013 minor league split minimum. If he earned anything above $130K, his minor league split will exceed the minor league split minimum accordingly. 

And for those of you wondering what the average salaries are for minor league players not on an MLB 40-man roster, it basically goes like this:

Players make about $800 per month the first season they sign after being drafted (not including the player's signing bonus). Players assigned to DSL or VSL rosters make about $300 per month. Then the player typically makes $8,000 for his first minor league full season (as the player's girlfriend or wife starts a second job), then $10,000 his second full season (this is usually when the player files for bankrupcy), then $13,000 (not including food stamps) when he hits AA, and up to about $17,000 when he reaches AAA. 

Once the player becomes a minor league free-agernt, he can make considerably more money even if he has never played in the big leagues. A career "4-A" AAA player who becomes a minor league free-agent usually can make at least $25,000, and a AAA player with some MLB experience can make as much as $50K or $100K per season, depending on how the player performed the previous season and how much demand there is for the player's services during the off-season.    

WBC has been fun so far. The small amount of people at tonight's AUS/NED matchup (in Taiwan) is so tiny you can hear birds occasionally chirping on the stadium mics. NED (ahead by 3 in the 8th) goes to round 2 with a win tonight. Last night's Cuba/China matchup (in Japan) literally had about 200-300 people, the Fukuoka Dome/Japan Dome. That was surreal emptiness in a country that loves baseball. I wonder how much has to do with the recent tensions between Japan and seems like the usual "family support crowd" was missing.

another nearly empty ballpark for BRA/CHN (@ Fukuoka Dome) tonight. Seems like there's a bit more Chinese in attendance tonight with noise-makers...maybe 400-500 people, tops. They didn't have noise-makers last night. The Chinese fans are cheering everything the team does and constantly making noise.

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat #Cubs lineup: Sappelt CF, Barney 2B, Castillo C, Hairston RF, Lake 3B, Bogusevic 1B, Maysonet SS, Szczur LF, Feldman P

Brooks Raley has the Yips. Larry David would recognize that every time Raley takes the mound with a chance to impress - to show he belongs in the Show - he pees on himself. Just starts freaking out. While he might have the "stuff", he has not shown he can overcome the Yips. We have several pitchers like this it seems, and have had a nice collection of them in the last ten years. Chris Rusin is another one. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there is much pitching quality chosen by the Hendry regime in the minors. They could use a team shrink to help these guys who have potential but are mentally incapacitated when they get on the mound. Maybe they have one? PHIL? The one pitcher that was a nice prospect got traded to the Rays.

The guy on the Rays has a slight case of the yips too.

I could see Rusin doing something good at the MLB level. 3 decent starts last year, and 3 crap ones. We'll see.

Four decent starts? 8/21, 9/9, 9/14, 9/30. And Raley had three decent starts out of five: 8/12, 8/18, 8/25. (Raley was shut down after 8/30.)

Ah...missed 1 of Rusin's..the August start. CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reports that the Tigers are "pushing hard" to trade for a closer. The Tigers were hoping that hard-throwing rookie Bruce Rondon would take control of the job, but it's already obvious that he could be overmatched, especially for a club that is built to win right now. It's not clear who the Tigers have spoken with, but Knobler notes that the Nationals aren't interested in moving any of their late-inning relievers (Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard). Meanwhile, the Tigers haven't contacted the Red Sox about the availability of Andrew Bailey. If the team can't find a fit outside the organization, they could rely on a closer-by-committee.

Marmol could be a fit, but I don't think they want another tightrope-walker, which is why they're not even trying to sign Valverde. If I'm the Tigers I feel better about some combination of Coke, Benoit, and Dotel.

Marmol for Porcello sounds like a fit.

And then flip Porcello to the Rangers for Olt. Sign me up.

if only...

Levine throws gasoline on the fire...says don't expect Marmol to be with team on Opening Day

says Marmol has limited NTC to 4 West Coast teams but would likely waive it to play for a contender.

I could see the Cubs trading Carlos Marmol to Detroit for Rick Porcello, as long as the Cubs pay the difference in the salaries ($4.7M), and as long as the Cubs include a young relief prospect (like maybe Tony Zych), since Marmol is a free-agent after the 2013 season.

And it would also be conceivable that the Cubs could then flip Porcello to Texas for Mike Olt, although the Cubs would probably have to include a young third-baseman like Christian Villanueva or Jeimer Candelario to replace Olt in the Rangers system. (Adrian Beltre is signed throuigh 2015 with a voidable option for 2016, so Texas won't need a third-baseman until 2016 or 2017). The timing is bad for the Rangers with regard to Mike Olt, because Olt is MLB-ready right now, but the Rangers won't be needing a third-baseman anytime soon. 

And if the Cubs could acquire Olt before Opening Day, they could release Ian Stewart and save about $1.5M in salary that way, and that would help offset the $4.7M or so in cash they would probably have to send to Detroit to pay the difference between the 2013 salaries of Marmol and Porcello.

You're an evil genius, Phil. Just stop throwing around those 25 cents words. I would go for more pitching but would be happy with Olt.

Ian Stewart would probably break a tailbone as the door hits him on the way out.

The door would just swing and miss. Doors swing on one plane.

Athletics get Hohokam and Fitch for 20 years.

RE: Vlad Guerrero training video I just decided I want the Cubs to sign Vlad and play all of their 2013 home games on that field.

Jeez, he looks like he'd be just about right for a good softball team. I can't help but think that good major league pitching would eat him up now. 38 isn't an impossible age to play at, but he reminds me more of Randall Simon at the end of his career (saw him at age 35 with the Gary Railcats) than Henry Aaron.

Well I've got a slow-pitch softball team he'd be welcome on, too. I just hope they wouldn't want to give him my spot.

RE: Dyslexia Don't know who they were, but the red-shirted broadcasting team for that Angel-Cub game on Sunday was a little strange. I counted three times that the play-by-play man got his "inside corner" and "outside corner" mixed up. No big deal, it's early in the season, but I don't recall seeing that before. Reagan had an excuse back in his Iowa days on the radio: he wasn't actually at the game.

cubs not using the DH slot today...feldman batting for himself...and he gets the first cubs hit of the day in the 3rd. lulz. feldman's been in the AL a long time...he needs to see pitching.

...and he needs to do some better pitching... pitching change after 2 batters in the 3rd...0 out (that 1st batter should not have reached...or scored on the HR that followed...OF "non error, error" where the fielders froze and let the ball drop between them for a hit). 2ip 6h 4er 1bb 1k ...and travis "home run" wood is in.

wow...edwin maysonet inside the park homer off a misplayed ball and another OF'r slipping/falling. perfect storm...

4ip 3h 1er 0bb 2k for t.wood...not bad.

that's just odd. fwiw, COL agreed to let the cubs do that today (COL used their DH slot, cubs their P slot). there's no reason i know of not to grant permission...weird stuff. gibson quote... "They knew we were going to do it that way," Gibson said. "I had it happen that way with a team. They tried to put the DH in there. That's not the way it's done. I wanted to play a National League game. I notified them several times. They just wanted to do it their way. They couldn't do it. They didn't like that. We play by the rules here. If we were over there, we'd play by their rules. It's very simple. It was good locker room talk."'s spring. that reasoning is even weirder. checking the box score, gibby let a pitcher hit for himself once and used 3 PH subbing for pitchers in the game. that makes it even more weird...or pointless.

Why wouldn't umps just let them do both, who gives a shit? It's ST.

they do, but it's up to the home team's discretion to allow rule changes.

Rizzo is 1-3 with a solo HR. A's 4, Italy 1

KC 11-0 spring record...SEA 10-1... SPRING TRAINING! WOO!

the DET fan reaction to the "rumor" about DET interest in marmol seems to be a nearly across the board "oh, hell no." i guess they're not fans of bases loaded walks.

Their closer had a 5.01 xFIP last year, so yeah, they feel like they could use somebody who actually done the job efficiently. Not a $10 million lottery ticket.

KRod still needs a job...wonder what his hold up is besides his occasionally violent attitude.

it gets weirder... "Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday that using Rick Porcello at closer is not "necessarily a wild thought."" they must be shopping porcello hard at this point if that's even an option. i'm not a fan of porcello, but he's best used as a starter.

My gut feeling (if everyone stays healthy an no one gets traded) is that they'll use Porcello as the #5 and Smyly in the bullpen, but as things stand right now, whichever one ends up in the bullpen is likely to get save opportunities here or there. Closer by committee. Hitting Torii Hunter second; I think Jim Leyland finally got that long-overdue baseball strategy sim card update over the winter.

Bunch of big babies.

"Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Tigers and Cubs have yet to discuss a Carlos Marmol trade, and "at the moment it appears Detroit is focusing on other possibilities.""

Beck?-Dead Urbina?-Jail Gregg?- Really Bad Gagne?-Deported

urbina's a free released xmas eve. k.gregg's trying to win a bullpen job with the dodgers (4ip 1h 0bb 1k).

following up... "The Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer reports that there is "nothing to" reports of trade interest in Carlos Marmol, "especially with Detroit.""

listening to bob b. call the MEX/ARZ game...i miss bob already. ...and wow, home plate ump jim reynolds. it's spring training for him, too...his strike zone is so wide he's calling strikes vlad wouldn't even swing at.

mexico didn't get the scouting report on t.campanananana...they pull the infield in (with none on) trying to keep campy from bunting (as if he knows how to bunt). so of course he hits a weak single dribbling out of the infield.

I had the same reaction about Bob. I'm sure JD will be fine, but...


#tigers rookie closer bruce rondon "doesn't look ready" says rival gm (who is totally not Jed Hoyer). fastball 95-98 and straight, iffy control on curve

fwiw... "Brent Lillibridge is day-to-day with a strained groin." expects to be fine within a week.

j.chapman throws a scoreless inning and lowers his ERA by about 5 points. takahashi got 3ip (not good ones)...seems they might be stretching him out to be a starter at AAA. bowden threw 2 scoreless.

Extra innings: Hisanori Takahashi will get a start Wednesday against the Rangers to stretch out his arm. The left-hander has a good shot at being the Cubs' long reliever. …

lulz...mark tiexiexixeiera expected to miss 8-10 weeks with wrist injury...shut down completely for 4 weeks, then rehab. $200m can buy you talent...but can't guarantee they'll show up... soriano's available guys...nevermind that vernon wells dude.

Phil,are you going to give us the minor league rosters when they start practicing at Fitch Park? Thanks.

D-JAXX: Only the Pitchers & Catchers have officially reported to Fitch Park, and although a number of position players have reported to Minor League Camp, too (and some have even played in Cactus League games), there hasn't been a full squad work-out yet.

Here are the initial Pitcher & Catcher assignments from the Iowa & Tennessee squads:

* bats or throws left
# bats both


Frank Batista
Dallas Beeler
Jason Berken
Esmailin Caridad
David Cales
Lendy Castillo
Carlos Gutierrez
Ty'Relle Harris
Marcus Hatley
Jay Jackson
Pierce Johnson
* Casey Harman
Kyle Hendricks
* Austin Kirk
* Eric Jokisch
Chang-Yong Lim (Limited Activity Only - TJS Rehab)
Matt Loosen
Marcos Mateo (Limited Activity Only - TJS Rehab)
Yoannis Negrin (ABSENT - WBC)
Dae-Eun Rhee
Kevin Rhoderick
* Zac Rosscup
Brian Schlitter
Ryan Searle (ABSENT - WBC)
Casey Weathers
* Dontrelle Willis
Tony Zych

Taylor Davis
Jair Fernandez
# Micah Gibbs
Chad Noble


* Jeffry Antigua
* Kyler Burke
Marcelo Carreno (Limited Activity Only)
Yeiper Castillo
Zach Cates
* Hunter Cervenka (Limited Activity Only)
* Gerardo Concepcion
* Frank del Valle
Dayan Diaz (Limited Activity Only)
Eduardo Figueroa
P. J. Francescon
* Matt Iannazzo
Michael Jensen
Luis Liria
* Jeff Lorick
* Andrew McKirahan (Limited Activity Only)
A. J. Morris
Austin Reed
Armando Rivero
* Matt Spencer
Larry Suarez
Brett Wallach (Limited Activity Only)
Yao-Lin Wang (ABSENT - WBC)
Scott Weismann
Ben Wells
Joe Zeller

* Sergio Burruel
Wilson Contreras
Luis Flores
Chadd Krist

You may remember that Luis Flores retired last season to deal with some personal problems, but he worked-out with his HS coach during the off-season and got the appetite for baseball back.

RHP Armando Rivero (assigned to the Tennessee squad with fellow Cubans Gerardo Concepcion and Frank del Valle) ) is a Cuban defector the Cubs signed after he turned 23, so the international bonus limits do not apply. Rivero was the closer for Industriales de Habana in the Cuban major league (Serie Nacional) prior to defecting, and he also pitched for the Cuban National Team.  

Probably one of the most interesting initial assignments is RHP Pierce Johnson (one of the players selected with a compensation draft pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft) with the Iowa squad, although he will almost certainly will move downward as cuta are made froim big league camp.

Az Phil, thanks for the update. I cant wait to see the rest of the early assignments. I notice Dontrelle Willis is not listed. Is that experiment over?

HAGSAG: Dontrelle Willis is assigned to the Iowa squad and he is active. I have now added his name to the list.  

BTW, the catchers are:

DAYTONA: Yaniel Cabezas, Justin Marra, Neftali Rosario, and Lance Rymel

PEORIA: Erick Castillo, Wilfredo Petit, and Rony Rodriguez (ex-U. of Miami IF-OF signed out of Can-Am League),

Catcher Carlos Escobar is INACTIVE with an ankle or foot injury. I presume he would be assigned to the Peoria squad if healthy.

I know who the pitchers are on the Daytona and Peoria squads, but I need to see how they are divided.

Also, besides Erick Castillo, RHP Erick Leal (acquired from AZ in the Tony Campana deal) is the only 2012 DSL guy in camp (so far) who wasn't in the U. S. last season, although we both know many more are expected.

Last year most of the DSL guys arrived the first week of April, at the start of Extended Spring Training.

Once the Cubs start making cuts from Big League Camp, it will cause a cascade effect at Minor League Camp as players are moved downward to make room for the players arriving from HoHoKam Park. So several guys presently assigned to squads at Fitch Park will get moved down one or maybe even two levels, and some will even be released in the next few days (especially pitchers who were "on the bubble" to begin with).    

Next Monday is the first day Draft Excluded and Rule 5 players can be sent to the minors, so expect Trey McNutt, Christian Villanueva, Logan Watkins, and Rob Whitenack to be optioned to the minors (McNutt and Watkins to Iowa, and Villanueva and Whitenack to Tennessee) the first part of next week. Because they do not have Draft-Excluded status, Matt Szczur and Jorge Soler can be sent to the minors at any time, so one or both could get optioned (Szczur to Tennessee and Soler to Daytona) as soon as today or tomorrow. Remember, just because a player has been optioned to the minors does not mean he cannot play in MLB Cactus League games. 

BTW, Josh Vitters cannot be optioned to the minors until he is healthy, because the only injured players who can be sent to the minors (optioned or outrighted) are ones who did not accrue any MLB Service Time the previous season and were not selected in the previous Rule 5 Draft  NRI guys can be sent to Minor League Camp at any time, even if they are injured. (NRI RHP Dayan Diaz has already been sent down to Minor League Camp, although that's mainly because he was not ready to pitch in games).  

Also, next week would be the first time that the Cubs and Diamondbacks can work out a trade in case the D'backs want to keep Rule 5 pick Starling Peralta (presuming they can get him through waivers, which should be fairly routine). I would think if the Cubs do agree to trade the rights to Peralta to AZ, that they would want a similar-type prospect back in the deal, probably a pitcher who is a bit further down the pipeline and not Rule 5 eligible for a couple more years (perhaps RHP Jose Martinez?).


Me finding a mistake in an AZPhil post is like a kindergardener criticizing Einstein, but those of us in the Chicago area are very excited that there's no longer a Peoria team in the Cubs' minor league lineup. Go Cougars!


The Cubs have indeed moved their MWL affiliate from Peoria to Kane County in 2013. So how long before they change the nickname to the Kane County "Cubs"? 

BTW, the second Cubs DSL team (known for the last few seasons as "DSL Cubs #2") has been moved to the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL), so there will be a "DSL Cubs" and a "VSL Cubs" in 2013. 


Jim Callis‏@jimcallisBA Pierce Johnson could fly through system. @chistyle82: which low #cubs pitching prospect has a chance to real jump?

Ninja threw a minor league game today.

Jeff Samardzija said he had “no complaints at all” after throwing against Texas minor leaguers in a “B” game Wednesday

Samardzija allowed five runs on six hits over four innings, with one bad inning and three OK ones.

“It’s really hard to evaluate this,” he said after being rushed onto the field for a 10 a.m. start they thought was at 10:30. “Kind of just take it with a grain of salt. Just get your pitch count up, work on your fun and have a little fun out there, to tell you the truth.”

When I first started going to Cactus League games back in the 1970's, 10 AM "B" games were very common. It was a way for established pitchers to build their pitch counts systematicaly (throwing 15 pitches per inning, and then stopping the inning even if there weren't three outs, or extending the inning to 15 pitches even if the pitcher got three outs on five pitches), while also allowing the young players in camp to get more playing time. Back then, most teams started four or five of their front line players ("regulars") in every MLB Cactus League game and then the starters would play at least six innings, so it was difficult to get playing time for the young guys.

It is rare now for the Cubs to play a "B" game. What usually happens is that as it gets closer to Opening Day, established pitchers (like Samardzija) will occasionally throw in a game at Minor League Camp (but not until the minor league squads start playing games, which will be in about a week), but it's unusual for a pitcher like Samardzija to not pitch in an MLB "A" game so early in the Cactus League schedule, especially when both games were played at the same venue.

Given the high price of Spring Training game tickets, fans understandably feel ripped off when they don't get to see the best players in the "A" games.   

Brian Cashman sustained his ankle-dislocation on the landing during his 2nd jump. Here's the video of his first (uneventful) jump.

Phil- Do players in the MLB camp make MLB money? In other words, since players in the minors camp can play in MLB camp games, is there any compelling reason to reassign them other than to make room for the rest of the team?

DAVID: All players on the club's MLB 40-man roster and NRI guys who have accrued MLB Service Time at least equal to the cut-off for "Super Two" status receive MLB Spring Training pay (allowance, housing, and food) for as long as they are assigned to the club's MLB Spring Training roster, but non-roster (NRI) players who have accrued MLB Service Time below the cut-off for "Super Two" status only get paid at the Major League rate when they are in uniform for an MLB Cactus League game that day. Otherwise, the player is paid at the Minor League rate. Players at Minor League Camp who get an ad hoc call-up to play in an MLB Cactus League game get paid at the MLB Spring Training allowance rate for that game only.

The MLB Spring Training stipend (combining allowance, food, and housing) is about $1,200 per week per player over a six-week period, and the Minor League Spring Training allowance is about $250 per week per player over a four-week period (or as much as six weeks if the player received an NRI to Big League Camp prior to the start of Minor League Camp). The pay is accrued daily and paid weekly, so if a minor league player gets a chance to be in uniform for an MLB Cactus League game (even if it's just for one day and even if he doesn't play), he gets about an extra $150 in his pay check for the day he spent with the MLB squad.   

Players don't receive their salary until the start of the MLB regular season, and then they are paid twice a month over the course of the six months of the MLB regular season.

Players on teams who participate in post-season play are paid after each series. 

Armando Rivero? Anyone know much about the Cubs new "fireballer"? Is he better than Concepcion? Lets hope so.

From last summer: ...the 6-foot-3, 195-pound...Rivero, who has a body type similar to Texas reliever Mike Adams, starred for the Havana Industriales as a closer and was a teammate of Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes and Texas Minor Leaguer Leonys Martin at the World University Baseball Championships in Japan in 2010. The right-hander's fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s and his repertoire also features a two-seam fastball, slider and changeup.

The best-informed Cub fans are on TCR.

From Ben Badler at Baseball America last January: Rivero and Concepcion were teammates with the Industriales in Cuba in 2010-11, but while Concepcion was a starter, Rivero worked out of the bullpen. Rivero's power played well as a reliever, as he posted a 3.06 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 21 walks in 47 innings in his final season in Cuba. Rivero, 23, has a thin 6-foot-3 frame and pitches off of a plus fastball. He throws around 91-93 mph and has topped out at 96. His mechanics have some funkiness in the back with a slight hook, but some scouts say the ball comes comes out cleanly in the front from a low three-quarters arm slot. His best secondary pitch is a quality splitter with some late tumble. Some scouts have said Rivero throws both a curveball and a slider, while others think it's two different versions of the same pitch. His breaking stuff is behind his splitter, flashing solid-average every once in a while but it's often a 45 on the 20-80 scale with more side-to-side action because his low slot makes it hard to stay on top of the ball. Scouts don't want to limit Rivero to the bullpen just because he was used that way in Cuba, but many of them believe he best profiles as a middle reliever. Once he signs, he could start in Double-A.

now the cubs need to find a way to get jose abreu...if only...and wow, he would cost some loot.

Arizona Phil gets a major mention in John A's Cubs Den blog
I don't know the details but his name popped up in AZ Phil's piece on AAA and AA assignments (h/t @davidrelliot). He's apparently in the Cubs AA camp. Haven't been able to confirm it but it makes sense as the Cubs were pursuing him as early as last year. UPDATE: AZ Phil was able to confirm that the Cubs have signed Rivero, though he does not know terms or date he was signed yet.

Crazy Legs Campana left game with a hand injury after sliding into 2b...rotoworld blurb says he was in quite a bit of pain.

hand laceration, must have been spiked.

8 stitches.

Furcal done for season, Tommy John surgery.

Ronny Cedeno time!!! (probably Peter Kozma actually)

with 1 out, top 9th, down by 1...rizzo drives in 2 with a double for team ITA.

j.grilli has the bases loaded with 2 outs...bottom 9th... finally, some WBC drama. comes jorge cantu. ...and ITA wins.

Spaghetti with meatballs dinner for everyone

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol was unable to finish an inning, as he was pulled after giving up one hit, walking two and throwing a wild pitch in two-thirds of an inning...

so a typical outing?

and the WSux/Cub game ends with a "the kids are alright" moment...Solar walk, Chris Villaneuva HR, Baez double.

AZ PHIL: From most accounts, Barrett Loux is a bona fide prospect: 1st round draft choice of the DBacks. Solid A and AA performances... He has not looked good against MLB hitting. What are you seeing from him out there? Does he project as a starter in the Bigs? Heaven knows the Cubs need some actual pitchers. Thanks.

E-MAN: From what I have seen of Barret Loux, he has outstanding control, he throws strikes, and his stuff is VERY hittable (at least so far).

But then Loux did excel pitching in a hitter's league (Texas League) last season, so we'll have to wait and see how he performs in the PCL (another hitter's league) in 2013.

Hopefully his poor showing at Big League Camp is due to his lack of experience (he has only pitched professionally for two seasons, and he did get to AA in just his second season). 

I'd appreciate it if people could throw around some exciting, entirely made-up, from a 'reliable source' trade rumors. I'm bored. Entertain me before my fantasy draft.

I have it from a reliable source that the Cubs are looking to acquire all the pitchers.

Dude...all of them?!

Well, not Zambrano. But otherwise, yeah.

Sweet! Mark Prior reunion!

breaking news: all the pitchers the cubs just acquired have been flipped to the bluejays for their entire Dominican Summer League roster. AZ Phil...can we get scouting reports on all 39 BJays DSL players the cubs just snagged? CUBS 2021!

With progress stalled in the effort to seal a deal for the $300 million rehab of Wrigley Field, the alderman who represents the area is talking tough about his terms of agreement. Ald. Thomas Tunney, 44th, said Thursday that he would not sign off on a deal unless it included more parking, better police protection and “aesthetic” assurances sought by Wrigleyville residents and businesses — all issues that have yet to be settled.

"Aesthetic" assurances = no billboards inside Wrigley. Tunney is so in the pocket of the rooftop guys.

In this crazy, post-Citizens United world, it's nice to see when a local politician can still be bought and paid for by his neighborhood constituents rather than some billionaires.

the ringers masquerading as the Dutch are beating Cuba 5-1 in the top of the 6th of the WBC (2nd round)....double elimination I believe. Fun stuff.

Korea didn't make it out of the first round I see. Did well the past 2 tournaments (semifinals in 2006, lost in Finals in 2009).

hah, Mark Pawelek warming up for the not-really-Dutch team.

Where is this airing?

MLB Network exclusively has all the games.


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  • crunch 7 hours 15 min ago (view)

    69 (nice) pitches...goes 4.2ip and leaves with a man on 1st

    4.2ip 3h 1bb 5k, 3r/er (2hr)

    alzolay continues to have the HR screw him over.  12 given up in 62.1ip


  • crunch 7 hours 27 min ago (view)

    d.ross pulls baez for alcantara for what was either a mental mistake forgetting the outs or totally not hustling by baez in the bottom 4th running the bases.

    cubs are down by 1.

    hell of manager power play.  hope this plays out well...expect it will.


  • crunch 8 hours 8 min ago (view)

    nico expected back in early july...duffy had a "setback" and is in limbo...bote has started baseball activities, but nowhere near a return time.


  • crunch 8 hours 24 min ago (view)

    haha.  ump checked alzolay's hat and glove between innings and declared it all clear.

    stuff so nasty they wanna make sure you're not on that "sticky fingers" bandwagon.


  • crunch 8 hours 26 min ago (view)

    11 pitches, 2 Ks and a hard ground out to start things for alzolay.

    i wonder how many pitches he'll be allowed to throw if he can keep the game under control.  velocity and movement looks great.


  • Arizona Phil 9 hours 44 min ago (view)

    CRUNCH: The only way this makes sense is if the Cubs promised Ryan when they outrighted him in May that he would be added back to the MLB 40-man roster within a certain number of days or by a certain date (June 20th). Otherwise, it makes no sense.

    Ryan did have the right to elect free-agency when he was outrighted, but he accepted the assignment. 


  • crunch 10 hours 35 min ago (view)

    alzolay activated, k.ryan down.  ryan was brought up less than 24 hours ago and not used yesterday.  he was already earlier optioned to AAA and the cubs DFA'd r.stock to add ryan to the 40-man yesterday.  odd use of the roster, kinda...


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Exactly what I needed - thanks AZPhil!


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    I doubt that whatever changes are made in the new CBA regarding compensation draft picks for losing a Qualified Player will be implemented in the 2022 draft. They might, however, remove the penalty of losing a draft pick after signing a qualified player, and that could easily be implemented in the 2022 draft. That would seem to be a demand the MLBPA would make that the MLB owners could accept. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    W-RAT: Going over the CBT threshhold in 2020 but not in 2021 will not affect which draft pick a club receives if it loses a player who receives a Qualifying Offer post-2021 World Series and that player subsequently signs a major league contract with another MLB club prior to the 2022 MLB Rule 4 Draft (MLB First-Year Player Draft).


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    w.franco getting called up by TB.  he's amazing.  check him out.  agressive at the plate and on the bases (and gets away with it)...rather decent in the field.  javy baez meets ronald acuna type stuff...


  • tim815 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    With the CBA expiring in the off-season, nobody has any idea what will happen in 2022, if there's an MLB season in 2022.


  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    kinda crazy cubs even matter in 2021 this late in june...also, that the cards are barely playing .500 ball.

    cubs were supposed to be "competitive" going into the season, but we were hearing a lot more about who's going to be traded mid-season than how competitive they were/are expected to be.

    also, the dbacks are down by 8 runs on their way to their 17th loss in a row.  they've only won 20 games this year.  AZ games are my go-to late night (east coast over here) preferred viewing and it's been some terrible baseball to watch.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Sorry if this is explained somewhere and I missed it, but who knows the exact compensation the Cubs would get if they made qualifying offers to Rizzo, Bryant, and Baez after the season, all three turned them down and they each signed with different teams? I read that the Cubs exceeded the Luxury Tax in 2020, so apparently that changes the draft pick value. Thanks in advance!


  • Cubster 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Rockies tie game w 6-spot vs Brewers


  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    schwarber has 5HR in the last 2 days (3 games) and 9 homers in his last 10 games.


    also, t.chatwood picked up a spot save for TOR today.