Cubs Use Three-Run Third to Edge Angels at Diablo

Jonathan Soto drilled a triple and an RBI single and six pitchers combined to hurl a four-hitter, helping the Cubs edge the Angels 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field #3 at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.  

The Cubs scored all three of their runs in the top of the third inning against Angels RHSP Jose Soriano, loading the bases on three singles (Verdugo, J. Gutierrez, and L. Diaz) before eventually scoring all three of the runners on the Soto RBI single (bases remained loaded), a Morel sacrifice fly to the warning track in LF, and a Soriano wild pitch. 
 
Connor Fitzsimons belted a solo HR off RHP Jesus Tejada to give the Angels a brief 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.

In EXST Cubs roster news, C-1B-3B Cam Balego (Cubs 2017 30th round draft pick - Mercyhurst) has completed the "Catcher Conversion Program" and has been moved-up to South Bend. Balego began learning the catcher trade at AZ Instructs post-2017, and continued the process this year at Minor League Camp and then at Extended Spring Training. However, Balego is - NOT - becoming a full-time catcher, he is just adding "catcher" to his utility tool-box to increase his player-value going forward.   
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

CUBS LINEUP:
1. Luis Diaz, 2B: 1-4 (P-2, 1B, L-7, K, R)
2a. Jonathan Soto, C: 2-3 (F-8, 1B, 3B, RBI)
2b. Richard Nunez, C: 0-1 (K)
3. Christopher Morel, SS: 1-3 (K, F-7 SF, 6-2 FC, 1B, RBI, CS)
4. Abraham Rodriguez, LF: 1-4 (5-3, L-9, L-8, 1B)
5. Josue Huma, 3B: 0-2 (L-5, BB, 3-U, CS)
6. Henderson Perez, DH #1: 0-3 (E-6, K, F-9)
7. Kwangmin Kwon, RF: 0-3 (L-7, K, 6-3)
8. Luis Verdugo, DH #2: 1-2 (1B, F-9, BB, R, SB)
9. Rafael Mejia, 1B: 0-3 (F-9, K, P-3)
10. Jose Gutierrez, CF: 1-3 (1B, K, F-9, R)
 
CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Emilio Ferrebus: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/AO, 11 pitches (7 strikes)
2. Jesus Tejada: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 1/3 GO/AO, 27 pitches (16 strikes)
3. Jose M. Gonzalez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/3 GO/AO, 30 pitches (15 strikes)
4. Fernando Calderon: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GO/AO, 31 pitches (20 strikes)
5. Yan de la Cruz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/AO, 17 pitches (8 strikes)
6. Jake Steffens: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 12 pitches (8 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Chrisopher Morel: E-6 (dropped pop fly in short LF allowing batter to reach 2nd base safely)

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jonathan Soto: 1-3 CS, 1 PB

ATTENDANCE: 7

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70's

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 38 min 32 sec ago (view)

    I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point

     

  • waveland 9 hours 24 min ago (view)

    really appreciate the years and years of your updates

     

  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 18 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 12 hours 2 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 12 hours 37 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 13 hours 39 min ago (view)

    I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option

     

  • bradsbeard 13 hours 44 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 13 hours 45 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 56 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 14 hours 2 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 14 hours 24 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 14 hours 27 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 14 hours 38 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 58 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 15 hours 20 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 16 hours 24 sec 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.