Two-Out 9th Inning Magic Saves the Day for I-Cubs at Fitch
Jason Vosler hammered an opposite-field game-tying two-run double off the LF fence with two out in the top of the 9th and Ian Rice followed with a two-run home run over the left-centerfield fence to give the Cubs a two-run lead, and then Ryan McNeil converted the save (albeit allowing a run and stranding the potential game-tying run on base in the bottom of the 9th), as the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) rallied to edge the Nashville Sounds (AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) 6-5 on Field #4, and Jesse Hodges belted a two-run HR over the LF fence onto Center Street to give the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) a 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd, but Skye Bolt belted an RBI triple and scored, singled, and walked, as the Midland RockHounds (A's AA affiliate) plated four runs over the next seven innings en route to a 4-2 victory on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Monday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fiitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
As usual, several players were moved-up from lower-levels for the day to replace Iowa and Tennessee players assigned to the Cubs MLB game roster at Goodyear.
It was a "bullpen day" for the Smokies, as five relievers vying for pen jobs at Tennessee got work. There were no stand-out eve-opening performances among the five (Pugliese, Skulina, Thorpe, Minch, and Norwood).
Meanwhile, RHSP Jordan Pries (acquired from the Seattle Mariners along with LHP Mike Montgomery for 1B Dan Vogelbach and RHSP Paul Blackburn last June) got the start for the I-Cubs, in what might be his final opportinity to win a job at AAA. It will be tough for Pries to crack the Iowa starting rotation in 2017, and his 87-88 MPH fastball and OK (but not great) off-speed stuff probably don't have a whole lot of value out of the bullpen. However, he might find a job as a SP/RP "swing-man" at Iowa if he can beat-out Casey Kelly, Seth Frankoff, Williams Perez, and/or Dallas Beeler for a AAA "utility pitcher" slot.
Veteran minor league RHRP Frank Batista saw his first game action since undergoing an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) last April, and retired the side 1-2-3 (5-3, K, F-9). The 27-year old (soon to be 28) diminutive (5'10) Batista has been around a while (he signed with the Cubs as an IFA out of the Dominican Republic in January 2009), but you could see he was stoked about his outing.
Here are the abridged box scores from the games (Cubs players only):
1a. Charcer Burks, LF-DH: 1-4 (5-3, 5-3, 1B, P-6)
1b. Richard Nunez, PH: 0-1 (F-9)
2a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (E-6, 1B, 4-3, SB, CS)
2b. Adonis Paula, 3B: 0-1 (K+WP)
3. Eddy Julio Martinez, RF: 1-3 (F-8, BB, 1B, K, CS)
4. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 1-4 (1B, K, K, P-6, R)
5a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-2 (HR, F-8, BB, R, 2 RBI)
5b. Rafael Narea, SS: 0-1 (P-6)
6. Brandon Cummins, DH-LF: 0-4 (K, K, 4-3, 4-3)
7. Tolly Filotei, CF: 0-3 (K, 4-3, K, BB)
8a. Erick Castillo, C: 1-3 (P-4, 1B, 5-3)
8b. Tyler Pearson, C: 1-1 (1B)
9. Andrew Ely, 2B: 1-4 (K, 4-6-3 DP, 1B, F-9)
1. James Pugliese: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 3/1 GO/AO, 33 pitches (20 strikes)
2. Tyler Skulina: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/AO, 31 pitches (22 strikes)
3. Tommy Thorpe: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GO/AO, 36 pitches (23 strikes)
4. Jordan Minch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/AO, 22 pitches (13 strikes)
5. James Norwood: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 27 pitches (14 strikes)
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 1
3B Jesse Hodges: E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Erick Castillo: 0-2 CS
1. Robert Garcia, RF: 1-4 (1B, 4-3, F-8, 4-6 FC, 2 R, SB)
2a. Zack Short, SS: 0-2 (K, K)
2b. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 0-1 (K, BB, R)
3. Jason Vosler, 1B: 1-2 (F-9 SF, BB, K, 2B, R, 3 RBI)
4a. Cael Brockmeyer, DH #1: 0-2 (K, 6-4 FC)
4b. Ian Rice, C: 1-2 (P-4, HR, R, 2 RBI)
5. Ali Solis, C-DH: 0-4 (6-3, K, P-3, 5-3)
6a. Mark Zagunis, DH #2: 0-3 (F-9, 5-3, K)
6b. Jose Gonzalez, CF: 0-1 (4-3)
7a. Trent Giambrone, 2B: 0-2 (F-8, P-2)
7b. Jhonny Bethencourt, 2B: 1-1 (2B)
8. Stephen Bruno, 3B: 1-3 (F-8, 1B, F-9, R)
9. Daniel Spingola, LF: 2-3 (1B, 1B, K, CS)
10. Trey Martin, CF-DH: 0-1 (K, F-7 SF, BB, RBI)
1. Jordan Pries: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 3/3 GO/AO, 53 pitches (31 strikes)
2. Miguel Mejia: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 0/4 GO/AO, 37 pitches (21 strikes)
3. Frank Batista: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Zac Rosscup: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
5. Andury Acevedo: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 22 pitches (11 strikes)
6. Ryan McNeil: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
IOWA ERRORS: 1
3B Stephen Bruno: E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
IOWA CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Ian Rice: 0-2 CS
WEATHER: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the 80's
waveland 8 hours 30 min ago (view)
really appreciate the years and years of your updates
Arizona Phil 10 hours 25 min ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS.
bradsbeard 11 hours 9 min ago (view)
Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 44 min ago (view)
Alfonso Rivas reminds me a bit of Rafael Palmeiro when Palmeiro first came up to the big leagues and was a "doubles machine" (before he started hitting home runs).
Rivas played D-1 baseball at the University of Arizona, so (just like Nico Hoerner, who also played in the PAC-12) I don't think he needs a lot of additional time at AAA before he's ready for MLB. He's a very advanced hitter, as long as you are OK with lots of doubles & lots of walks but not many HR.
Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 46 min ago (view)
I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option
bradsbeard 12 hours 51 min ago (view)
I really hope Rivas has a chance at the LF job. Would ease some of the sting of Schwarber being cut loose.
Arizona Phil 12 hours 52 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: I got the impression that Ross had seen enough of Schwarber in LF, so implementing the universal DH may be necessary before Schwarber returns to the Cubs in 2021. I think the Cubs would be fine with Schwarber as their main DH going forward.
BTW, I strongly suspect that the universal DH will be included in the next CBA, but whether there will be a DH in the National League in 2021 is still TBA (which is really stupid, since clubs need to know right now for sure one way or the other whether or not there will be a DH in the N. L. in 2021).
Arizona Phil 13 hours 3 min ago (view)
Besides the guys on the 40, Cubs 2021 NRI relievers with a legit chance to win a bullpen slot in Spring Training include LHRPs Josh Osich and Rex Brothers, and RHRPs Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and Joe Wieland (presuming they are not taken in the Rule 5 Draft).
Brothers and Wieland are out of minor league options, however, so if added to the 40 they could not ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" like the others could.
crunch 13 hours 9 min ago (view)
i am rooting for the cubs to retain schwarber.
even though he's average on the best of days in LF (except his above average arm), i would like to see him and his work ethic remain in the cubs system...the homers from the left side of the plate are nice, too.
Arizona Phil 13 hours 31 min ago (view)
At least as things stand right now, Kris Bryant is your Cubs de facto 2021 Opening Day LF! (Of course we know he will be traded before then...).
Otherwise, minor league NRI outfielders Ian Miller, Michael Hermosillo, and Rafael Ortega will be competing for Opening Day OF slots, with a legit shot to win a job.
Even Alfonso Rivas (who was hitting rockets from foul line to foul line at AZ Instructs) and/or Eddy Julio Martinez (who has had a very good winter in the Mexican Pacific League) might have a shot.
Arizona Phil 13 hours 34 min ago (view)
I would think that both Colin Rea and Kyle Ryan must have signed contracts with minor league split salaries, otherwise I doubt very much that they would have been tendered.
Arizona Phil 13 hours 45 min ago (view)
With Tepera non-tendered and Winkler, Ryan, and Rea signed, the Cubs 2021 Opening Day bullpen (right now) would appear to be Kimbrel (clearly not tradeable), Wick (virtual lock), Winkler (can't be optioned without his consent), Underwood (out of minor league options), and Maples (out of minor league options), and then three from amongst Adam, Norwood, Rea, Ryan, Stock, and Wieck (each of whom can be optioned back & forth to AAA as needed).
Arizona Phil 14 hours 4 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed RHSP Colin Rea, LHRP Kyle Ryan, and RHRP Dan Winkler to 2021 MLB contracts (terms TBD) and tendered 2021 MLB contracts to all other unsigned players on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) except OF Albert Almora, OF-1B Jose Martinez, OF Kyle Schwarber, and RHRP Ryan Tepera.
So Almora, J. Martinez, Schwarber, and Tepera are now unrestricted free-agents, free to sign an MLB or minor league contract with any club (including the Cubs) without any salary restrictions.
The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 34 (six slots are open).
Arizona Phil 14 hours 26 min ago (view)
Keep in mind that as things stand right now the Cubs projected 2021 MLB payroll is almost $50M under the 2021 CBT threshold (which will be $210M), so they don't have to worry about contract AAV if they can sign a player to a multi-year deal with a low 2021 base salary and then substantially higher salaries post-2021 (when they should be able to generate their normal attendance-based revenues --.presuming CoViD-19 is no longer a problem by that time).
Arizona Phil 15 hours 7 min ago (view)
TIME OUT: As I mentioned in the post, the Cubs cannot cut Schwarber's base salary more than 20% without first non-tendering him, so if he is agreeable the Cubs could sign him for a relatively low base 2021 salary (something like $5M) combined with performance bonuses based upon actual PA (not pro-rated PA) maybe totaling $5M (which would cover the Cubs if the 2021 season is truncated), and then maybe an additional year or two (2022-23) for something like $10M per year plus performance bonuses (again, based on PA). Schwarber could get a player opt-out as well post-2021.
crunch 17 hours 40 min ago (view)
it's not surprising, but i also don't see the downside of giving him the $8m-ish he'd be owed.
if you can hit 30+ homers that's usually money you can easily go get.
i seriously wonder about this offseason and the amount of investment the cubs are going to make in the team. i mean, it's fine if they go cheap yet somehow field a great team via off-season trades or other forms of black magic...i just don't trust how this off-season is unfolding so far.