A's Walk Past Cubs at Fitch Park

Christopher Quintin clubbed a two-run HR in the bottom of the 2nd, Alonzo Medina drilled a two-run double to cap a four-run 6th, and Osvaldo Berrios and Rafael Kelly each hurled three innings of shutout ball, leading the Athletics to a 7-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Coimplex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

Jonathan Soto belted an RBI triple and scored and also singled twice for the Cubs in a losing cause. The starting batting order featured seven of the Cubs Extended Spring Training "Top 10" position-player prospects hitting 1-7 (Valazquez-L. Diaz-Soto-A. Rodriguez-Morel-Verdugo-Henderson Perez), so the lack of offense (outside of Soto) was both surprising and disappointing.  

Cubs pitchers allowed only four hits, but they also issued eleven walks (including four each by Stephen Ridings and Eduarniel Nunez, and E. Nunez was unable to record an out in his second inning of work).   

The Cubs scored their only two runs off ex-Cub RHP Jeferson Mejia, who was one of the pitchers traded by the Cubs to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Miguel Montero in December 2014 (Zack Godley was the other one). The A's acquired Mejia from the D'backs at the trade deadline last July in exchange for veteran utility INF Adam Rosales. 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

1. Nelson Velazquez, CF: 0-4 (K, K, 6-3, 6-3)
2. Luis Diaz, 2B: 0-3 (F-8, L-7, K, BB, R)
3. Jonathan Soto, C: 3-4 (1B, 3-1, 1B, 3B, R, RBI)
4a. Abraham Rodriguez, 1B: 1-2 (1B, E-3)
4b. Orian Nunez, 3B: 0-0 (BB, L-8 SF, RBI)
5. Christopher Morel, SS: 0-2 (K, K, BB, BB)
6a. Luis Verdugo, 3B: 1-2 (1B, F-9, CS)
6b. Rafael Mejia, 1B: 0-2 (K, 5-4 FC) 
7. Henderson Perez, DH #1: 0-3 (5-3, F-7, K)
8. Kwangmin Kwon, RF: 0-1 (K, BB, BB)
9a. Chris Carrier, LF: 0-2 (K, K)
9b. Jose Gutierrez, LF: 0-1 (4-3)
10. Ramsey Romano, DH #2: 0-2 (BB, L-8, 6-3)

1. Jesus Tejada: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 3/2 GO/AO, 38 pitches (21 strikes) 
2. Stephen Ridings: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 2/2 GO/AO, 39 pitches (19 strikes) 
3. Eduarniel Nunez: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 1 K, 1 BALK, 1/1 GO/AO, 46 pitches (21 strikes) 
4. Emilio Ferrebus: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 0/5 GO/AO, 32 pitches (18 strikes) 
5. Ivan Medina: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/AO, 11 pitches (8 strikes) 

1. 3B Luis Verdugo: E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) 
2. RF Kwangmin Kwon: E-9 (dropped pop fly in foul territory extending batter's AB)
3. 3B Orian Nunez: E-5 (errant throw attempting 5-4 FC allowed runner to reach 2nd base safely)


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 


"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen" 


Phil, I am a long time colleague, and I have a question concerning contract rules.

What avenues, if any, do the Cubs have to get out from under Jason Heyward’s contract, aside from trading him?

Thank you for your knowledge and assistance.

TOM: Aside from trading him (and good luck with that), there is nothing the Cubs can do (legally) to get out from under Jason Heyward's contract, other than hope he opts out after the season, which he is not going to do (and if he were to consider it, his agent and his family and friends would probably do an intervention to prevent it).

So then, the only legal thing the Cubs can do is tell Heyward and his agent that he is being benched for the remainder of his contract, in the hope that looking at becoming the most expensive fifth outfielder in baseball and essentially ending his playing career will be enough for him to opt out.

TOM: The problem with not playing Heyward and hoping he will opt-out is that agents and their clients would probably view the Cubs in a bad light for doing it and it could affect the ability of the Cubs to sign free-agents and re-sign their own players to contract extensions going forward, and then what if Heyward still doesn't opt-out? Since Heyward is almost certainly not going to opt-out no matter what the Cubs do, the best bet for the Cubs is either keep him and live with the bad contract through 2023, or else trade him sometime during the window they can trade him (post-2018 through end of the the 2020 season) for another bad contract (probably somebody making even more than Heyward) and hope whoever they get back in the deal will benefit from a change-of-scenery, or "eat" a large chunk of his salary (probably at least 75% of it) and trade him for pennies on the dollar (while also probably including at least one high-value prospect in the deal to get the other club to bite). None of the options are particularly attractive, not to mention likely to happen. I think the most-likely scenario is that Heyward will be kept around as a VERY high-priced LH platoon RF-CF and/or late-inning defensive replacement in RF, and the Cubs will just accept that Heyward's salary will preclude them from doing other things they would prefer to do with the money. Heyward won't like that role, but I doubt very much it would be sufficient to motivate him to opt-out.

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 52 min ago (view)

    Lame. He was intriguing 


  • crunch 6 hours 2 min ago (view)

    cubs release matt dermody...he's heading to japan.


  • Cubster 12 hours 27 min ago (view)

    The Jared Porter story gets worse and does involve the Cubs...

    "The Jared Porter situation is equally a Cubs and a Mets problem. The Mets need a new GM. The Cubs need to reevaluate themselves as an organization.


  • Cubster 15 hours 16 min ago (view)

    and they are including amusement tax, healthcare costs (Doc Adams doesn't come cheap!), social security and political donations to the City and the Governor of Nebraska. 


  • bradsbeard 15 hours 41 min ago (view)

    It all depends what you count as "payroll." If you include the $11M in Lester and Descalso's buyouts plus the $3M sent in the Darvish trade you get to somewhere like $145M. If you include the $15M in estimated share of player benefits, you get to $160M. I think that last year, including player benefits, they were slated to be up around $205M for MLB payroll before the pandemic. 


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    not sure, but i think it's around 130-135m right now even with bryant/baez/contreras still on board...including the 3m to set darvish free and other random $$ expenses on the roster.

    tack on another 3-4m for happ when that gets settled....plus other odds/ends that have a chance to make the roster (s.miller, a.morgan, j.holder, etc) and other pre-arbitration guys...

    cubs still need someone to back up contreras (if he sticks around, which i wouldn't be surprised to see him stick around)...not sure if taylor gushue is gonna be that guy and m.amaya is too young.


  • George Altman 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Seriously, what's the 2021 payroll number? Currently at approximately $165M and after they trade Bryant, Baez, & Contreras  - $130M. Is that it, $135-140M.


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Q to the angels...supposedly 1/8m


  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    pete ricketts (the governor of Nebraska ricketts) is a key part of an anti-gambling Nebraska group called "Gambling With The Good Life" that actively lobbied their open legislature...including a speech by pete...to keep gambling illegal in Nebraska.

    he last spoke for the group to the state government in-session 3 months ago.

    ...it's also worth mentioning all of this is separate from the Draft Kings/Wrigley Field deal that flew under the radar toward the end of the season that will put a sportsbook directly in wrigley field, itself.


  • Charlie 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Of all the things, why does this most make me want to punch


  • Cubster 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    I thought the Cubs had lost a rising star in Porter, seems the just got lucky with him leaving the organization. 


  • crunch 2 days 50 min ago (view)

    jared porter...damn dude...mets gm, ex cubs director of scouting...


  • crunch 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    cubs freeing up that chatwood + lester loot sure did help...wait...sigh.


  • Cubster 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Plus Chatwood signing w Bluejays is done.


  • crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    ...and done.  1 year deal with a mutual option.


  • Cubster 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Dolorous in discussions with the Washington Schwarbs.