Looking at the Cubs MLB 40-Man Roster into the Near Future

When looking ahead at the Cubs likely post-2014 MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), whether a player presently on the 40-man roster is eligible to be an MLB Article XX-B free-agent or will be eligible for Salary Arbitration, or whether a player presently on a Cubs minor league roster is eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2014 or is eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft, will be determining factors. 

Presuming they continue to remain out of contention, the Cubs will probably try to trade several of their post-2014 free-agents as well as one or more of the players who will be eligible for salary arbitration post-2014 over the next couple of months for younger players with more years of club control. The players the Cubs may target in a trade do not necessarily have to be minor leaguers, they could be young MLB players (like when the Cubs acquired RHSP Jake Arrieta, RHRP Pedro Strop, and an Internantional Signing Bonus Pool SBV from BAL for RHSP Scott Feldman and C-1B Steve Clevenger last July).

The Cubs could also trade one or more of their 2014-15 International Signing Bonus Pool SBVs beginning on July 2nd. Such a move could be part of a larger trade (the Cubs SBV being a "sweetener"), or the SBV could be used just to acquire a player from another club (like when the Cubs traded 2B Ronald Torreyes to Houston last year for one of the Astros SBV).

Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #1: $2,288,700
Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #2: $458,000
Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #3: $309,300
Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #4: $206,700

NOTE: Cubs 2014-15 ISBP SBV #1 (the one worth $2,288,700) can ONLY be traded to HOU or MIA if the entire SBV is to be used, because for all other clubs a $2,288,700 SBV would exceed their pre-assigned 2014-15 ISBP by more than 50%, and a club cannot acquire an SBV that is more than 50% of the club's orginally-assigned ISBP for that International Signing Period. However, a club other than HOU or MIA could acquire Cubs SBV #1 and then subtract as much of it as is necessary so that the final total of Cubs SBV #1 is no more than 50% of the new club's originally-assigned 2014-15 ISBP (and then the balance of Cubs SBV #1 would just be forfeited).

All clubs receive an additional $700,000 in their ISBP that cannot be traded, so the Cubs 2014-15 ISBP is just under $4M.

Because they went WAY over their assigned International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) in 2013-14, the Cubs will not be able to sign any first-year international player for more than a $250,000 bonus during the 2014-15 International Signing Period (7-2-2014 through 6-15-2015), so having a $3.9M+ 2014-15 ISBP won't do them much good. They will almost certainly try and trade one or two of their higher SBV (probably as soon as they can, like on July 2nd) to one of the major players in signing international players (like maybe Toronto or Texas). So the Cubs would have to wait until at least July 2nd to make a deal where a Cub 2014-15 ISBP SBV is an integral part of the trade.

As far as making trades are concerned, the two in-season deadlines of relevance right now are the July 31st "non-waiver" deadline (players can be traded after July 31st only after Trade Assignment Waivers have been secured), and the August 31st post-season roster deadline (players acquired after August 31st are not eligible to play in the post-season).     

Without knowing which players will or willnot be be traded, let's just look at a projected Cubs post-2014 40-man roster without considering trades. 

There are five players eligible to be Article XX-B MLB free-agents post-2014, and it is probable that at least four (and quite possibly all five) will not be on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster during the 2014-15 off season. 

CUBS ARTICLE XX-B MLB FREE-AGENTS POST-2014 (last updated 6-10-2014):
Emilio Bonifacio, IF-OF
Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP (club option)
Jason Hammel, RHP
Nate Schierholtz, OF 
Carlos Villanueva, RHP

Any one or even all of them could get traded in the coming weeks, but even if they don't get traded (and we are not considering trades here), four of the five (Bonifacio, Fujikawa, Schierholtz, and Villanueva) do not figure in the Cubs plans going forth and can fairly easily be replaced. The one exception is RHP Jason Hammel, who conceivably could score a multi-year contract if the Cubs believe he can continue to pitch at the high level he has so far in 2014. If he isn't traded, the Cubs might even consider extending an Article XX-B Qualifying Offer to Hammel after the World Series, which would mean offering him a guaranteed one-year contract worth the average salary of the 125 highest MLB salaries in 2014 (probably about $15M). If Hammel accepts, he's back in 2015 on a one-year contract (and he does NOT get an automatic "no trade" right). If he declines the QO, he can still re-sign with the Cubs during the off-season, but if he signs with another MLB club prior to the 2015 June Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft), the Cubs would receive a compensation draft pick between the 1st and 2nd round of the 2015 draft (around #30). 

Besides the five players eligible to be an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2014, there are an additional 14 Cubs players who will be eligible for salary arbitration post-2014 (plus two more who could be eligible - TBD). 

Jake Arrieta, RHP 
John Baker, C
Darwin Barney, INF
Welington Castillo, C
Chris Coghlan, OF
Ryan Kalish, OF (will qualify if at least 139 days of MLB Service Time are accrued in 2014, or could qualify as a "Super Two" with at least 86 days of MLB Service Time accrued in 2014)
James McDonald, RHP
Justin Ruggiano, OF
James Russell, LHP
Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Pedro Strop, RHP 
Luis Valbuena, INF
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP (would very likely qualify as a “Super Two” with at least 86 days of MLB Service Time in 2014)
Eli Whiteside, C
Travis Wood, LHP
Wesley Wright, LHP

Before a player gets anywhere close to requesting Salary Arbitration, the player must be tendered a 2015 contract on December 2nd. Then if the player and the club cannot come to an agreement, the player can request salary arbitration in January. (The player is NOT offered salary abitration by the club on December 2nd... he is merely tendered a contract on that date, and then it is up to the player to request salary arbitration in January if the club and the player have not agreed on a contract by that time).  

If a player on an MLB 40-man roster is not tendered a contract on December 2nd, the player is said to be "non-tendered" and he immediately becomes an unrestricted free-agernt, free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club (including the player's former club). A club will sometimes non-tender a player on December 2nd and then almost immediately re-sign the player to a pre-arranged minor league contract or to a major league contract for a salary below what the club would have been required to offer if the player had been tendered a contract for the following season. (An unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster who is tendered a contract must be offered a salary that is at least 80% of what the player received the previous season, and at least 70% of what the player received two seasons back). 

Unless one or more of them are traded, it is likely that the Cubs will tender contracts to seven of their post-2014 aribtration-eligibles (Arrieta, Castillo, Samardzija, Strop, Valbuena, Vizcaino, and Wood), and four of the other nine (Baker, Coghlan, McDonald, and Whiteside) will probably be released or outrighted long before 2015 contracts are tendered,

That leaves Barney, Kalish, Ruggiano, Russell, and Wright, and at this point it would seem likely that four of the five will be non-tendered (Kalish probably only if he is arbitration-eligible). That doesn't mean that Barney, Ruggiano, Russell, and Wright could not return to the Cubs in 2015, just that they probably won't be tendered a contract on December 2nd. In the case of Kalish, the Cubs would probably non-tender him and then offer him a 2015 minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training. Kalish will be out of minor league options in 2015, so even if he isn't arbitration-eligible post-2014 (if he remains in the minors until September 1st, he will NOT be eligible for salary arbitration post-2014), having him in big league camp on a minor league contract would allow the Cubs to send him to Iowa out of Spring Training without having to place him on waivers. BTW, that would also apply to Josh Vitters, who will (like Kalish) be out of minor league options in 2015.

Like the five players eligible to be Article XX-B MLB free-agents post-2014, Barney, Ruggiano, Russell, and Wright could very well get traded sometime prior to the August 31st post-season roster deadline. But if not, all four will probably be non-tendered on December 2nd, and while the Cubs might try to re-sign any or all of them to minor league contracts (with an NRI to Spring Training), it is unlikely that any of the four would accept. It's possible that the Cubs might offer either Russell or Wright (but probably not both) a 2015 non-guaranteed major league contract, however.  

So right now the Cubs MLB Reserve List is full (40 players), plus two more players (Kyuji Fujikawa and James McDonald) are on the MLB 60-day DL (players on the 60-day DL do not count against the 40-man roster limit, but they must be reinstated no later than 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day folllowing the conclusion of the World Series).  

If we subtract the five players eligible to be Article XX-B MLB free-agents (Bonifacio, Fujikawa, Hammel, Schierholtz, and Villanueva) and the four players eligible for salary arbitration who are likely to be outrighted or released after the season if not sooner (Baker, Coghlan, McDonald, and Whiteside) from 42, that would leave 33 players on the 40-man roster by the end of the World Series, with seven slots open (or eight if Brett Jackson is outrighted, which is a distinct possibility).

Any minor league player eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft who is not added to an MLB 40-man roster by November 20th is eligible for selection.

Also, a minor league player eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent (player was eligible to elect to be a free-agent when outrighted, but accepted the outright assignment and deferred election of free-agency until the conclusion of the MLB regular season) can file anytime starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th (unless the player is added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, in which case the player is not eligible to be a free-agent), and a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (either a "six-year minor league free-agent" or a "second-contract minor league free-agent") post-2014 automatically becomes a free-agent at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the 2014 World Series if the player is not added to an MLB 40-man roster or signed to a 2015 minor league successor contract prior to that deadline.  

Listed below are Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft, as well as Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be Article XX-D and MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (6YFA and second-contract FA) post-2014

So with seven slots open after the conclusion of the World Series (or eight if Brett Jackson gets outrighted), the following are (as things stand right now) the Cubs minor leaguers most-likely to be added to the MLB 40-man roster post-2014 (with additional 40-man roster slots becoming available for free-agents, Rule 5 Draft picks, and/or off-season waiver claims on December 2nd when at least four players could be non-tendered): 

Kyle Hendricks, RHSP (at Iowa) - Age 24
C. J. Edwards, RHSP (on DL at Tennessee) - Age 22

Hunter Cervenka, LHRP (at Tennessee) - Age 24
Marcus Hatley, RHRP (at Iowa - minor league FA post-2014) - Age 26
Rafael Lopez, C (at Iowa) - Age 26

Eric Jokisch, LHSP (at Iowa) - Age 24
Carlos Pimentel, RHRP (at Iowa - minor league FA post-2014) - Age 24
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHSP (at Tennessee - minor league FA post-2014) - Age 25 

OUTSIDE SHOT (actually much more likely to be selected in Rule 5 Draft than to be added to Cubs 40-man roster):
Gioskar Amaya, 2B (at Daytona) - Age 21
Jose Arias, RHRP (at Kane County) - Age 23
Zach Cates, RHRP (at Tennessee) - Age 24
Marco Hernandez, SS (at Daytona) - Age 21 
Hendricks (acquired from TEX in the Ryan Dempster deal in 2012) could get called up during the 2014 season if and when Samardzija and/or Hammel get traded, while Edwards (acquired from TEX in the Matt Garza trade last season) won't get added to the 40 until the 11/20 deadline;  

Cervenka (acquired along with RHRP Michael Bowden from BOS for OF Marlon Byrd in 2012) would slot in behind Zac Rosscup as a potential MLB lefty reliever down the line, and Lopez projects as an "offense-first" LH-hitting MLB back-up C-1B-3B (he might get called up on September 1st). Both Cervenka and Lopez would likely get selected in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft if left unprotected. Both are also good candidates to get assigned to the Arizona Fall League (AFL) post-2014;

Hatley has developed into a power-reliever at AAA and I can't see the Cubs letting him walk as a minor league FA (he could even get a September call-up). Last year the Cubs signed Hatley to a minor league successor contract with an NRI to Spring Training before he hit free-agency, keeping him in the organization for another year, but also exposing him in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft... but he'll almost certainly get selected in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft if the Cubs try that again this year;   

Jokisch is a reliable soft-tossing lefty rotation starter at Iowa, and although he doesn't project as anything more than a #5 starter at the MLB level, that could possibly be enough to get him a slot on the 40 post-2014.

Pimentel (ex-TEX) was signed as a six-year minor league FA by the Cubs last off-season and was impressive at both MLB Camp and Minor League Camp, eventually winning a job in the AAA Iowa Cubs starting rotation (although he has since been moved to the I-Cubs bullpen). It's not often you find a young upside arm like Pimentel's among minor league 6YFA;

Rhee was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2013, but signed a 2014 minor league successor contract prior to hitting free-agency... it's unlikely that he'll do that again this year unless he gets "40-man roster money" and an NRI to MLB Spring Training;

Cates (acquired from SD in the Rizzo-Cashner trade) pitched well out of the bullpen at Daytona and just got promoted to AA Tennessee last week, and while he could attract the attention of a club looking to score a young hard-throwing bullpen arm in the Rule 5 Draft, the Cubs probably would not roster him just to keep that from happening;

Arias has been a mainstay in the KC bullpen this season (although he went on the DL a couple of days ago) and could possibly get selected in the Rule 5 Draft by a club wanting to take a chance on a young bullpen arm, but the Cubs almost certainly won't add him to the 40 just to avoid that somewhat remote possibility from occurring; 

Amaya and Hernandez have MLB-upside but are still probably too far down the pipeline for the Cubs to protect them from selection in the Rule 5 Draft (plus they might run out of options before they are MLB-ready if they are added to the 40-man roster too early), so the Cubs will very likely take the chance that even if one or both were to be selected, that they would probably get them back; 

Also, Jeffrey Baez is a 20-year old "five-tool" outfielder eligible for selection, but he will be at Boise in 2014, and so it is not likely that a club would take him in the Rule 5 Draft... and even if that possibility was an issue, the Cubs still won't protect him because he is too far away from MLB and he would very likely run of minor league options before he is ready for The Show if he is rostered too soon.   

Gilberto Abreu, RHP
Gioskar Amaya, INF
John Andreoli, OF
Delbis Arcila, OF
Jose Arias, RHP
Jeffrey Baez, OF
Frank Batista, RHP
Zach Cates, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Willson Contreras, C
Wes Darvill, INF
Taylor Davis, C
Zeke DeVoss, OF
Alberto Diaz, LHP
C. J. Edwards, RHP
Kevin Encarnacion, OF
P. J. Francescon, RHP
Victor Garcia, LHP
Dustin Geiger, INF
Anthony Giansanti, OF
Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Marco Hernandez, INF
Michael Jensen, RHP
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Austin Kirk, LHP
Matt Loosen, RHP
Rafael Lopez, C
Jeff Lorick, LHP
Barret Loux, RHP
Dillon Maples, RHP
Andrew McKirahan, LHP
Trey McNutt, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if drafted & then later re-claimed by Cubs)
Alberto Mineo, C
Yoanner Negrin, RHP
Carlos Penalver, INF
Felix Pena, RHP
Ivan Pineyro, RHP
Austin Reed, RHP
Victor Salazar, RHP
Tayler Scott, RHP
Rock Shoulders, 1B
Rubi Silva, OF
Brian Smith, LHP
Elliot Soto, INF
Antonio Valerio, C
Yao-Lin Wang, RHP
Ben Wells, RHP
Oliver Zapata, OF
Tony Zych, RHP

Additionally, any minor league player eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent, or any minor league player eligible to be a Rule 55 Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) post-2014 who signs a 2015 minor league contract or agrees to a 2015 minor league successor contract prior to the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft, will be eligible for selection.

Also, any player eligible to be a Rule 55 Second Contract Minor League Free-Agent who signs a 2015 minor league contract prior to the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract, or the player was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 4th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract.  

Marcos Mateo, RHP


Lars Anderson, 1B
Jeffry Antigua, LHP 
Alberto Cabrera, RHP
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP (see NOTE)
Charlie Cutler, C
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Luis Flores, C
Edgar Gonzalez, INF
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF
Starling Peralta, RHP
Carlos Pimentel, RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Jose Rosario, RHP
Jonathan Sanchez, LHP
Jeudy Valdez, INF
Chris Valaika, INF
Casper Wells, OF
NOTE: Hunter Cervenka will be eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA post-2014 if he signed a 2008 contract when he signed his "first contract" with the Boston Red Sox on 8-15-2008. However, if he was “Signed for Future Service“ (first contract was a 2009 contract), he will not be eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA until post-2015.

Jesus Arias, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Humberto Garcia, INF (previously released by CHW)
Joe Gardner, RHP (previously released by COL)
Yeiker Lovera, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Nate Maldonado, C (previously released by CHC)
Yomar Pacheco, RHP (previously released by PIT)
Manny Ramirez, OF (previously released by TEX)
Brohiglyn Rivero, RHP (previously released by TB)
Julio Rodriguez, RHP (previously released by BAL)
Julio Sanchez, RHP (previously released by COL)
Roberto Vahlis, C (previously released by TOR)
Tsuyoshi Wada, LHP (previously released by CHC)




K. Bryant article


Cubs will stay with Tennessee as a AA affiliate through 2018

Is it reasonable to assume that Bryant will get called up to AAA after the AA All-Star game next week?

let's hope...

Baez, Bryant and Alcantara all in the same linup, that could be 37.5% of next year's starting lineup

yeah, don't ask me where they'll all play at this point

Hoyer said they'd spend some this offseason, everyone's betting on pitching with Scherzer, Lester and Shields being the big 3 although I don't think Lester will make FA. And let's say I have doubts about them signing 33-year old Shields or outspending everyone for Scherzer. Tier B would be guys like Beckett or Masterson. Maybe by spending he meant try and trade for David Price but that also seems doubtful.

That pretty much leaves catching and outfield for FA possibilities and I don't see much on the catching front. Outfield I could maybe see plays for Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Nick Markakis or Colby Rasmus although 3 of those 4 may have what one would call "character" issues.

Can Villanueva move to 2B? This would allow Alcantara to move to center, Baez stays at SS, Bryant plays 3B, and Olt goes to WTenn. Otherwise I guess Bryant moves to right, or we do what AzPhil recommends below.

I would guess Villanueva demoted to AA, Olt to AAA and getting AB's at 3B, 1B and DH with Bryant getting more AB's at 3B and an occasional outfield spot start. If Olt is demoted that is...

*edit* and/or what Phil said

BOB R: It's certanly possible. Bryant can work on his defense at 3B (which does need work) just as easily at Iowa as he can in AA, and he doesn't appear to be challenged much by AA pitching. Exchanging Bryant for Villanueva would probably make sense for both players at this point.

BTW, not about Bryant but somewhat related... 

The Cubs could very easily send Mike Olt to Iowa and have him play 1B there. They know he can play 3rd base, but the main thing would be to get him regular playing time and lots of AAA AB. Chris Valaika has played well at Iowa, and he could be brought up to fill an infield utility role (like Donnie Murphy did last season). Or Logan Watkins could be recalled to play 2B and Valbuena could play 3B every day until Bryant is deemed ready, with Darwin Barney the utility infielder until he is either traded or non-tendered on 12/2.  

Also. I would add Iowa Cubs LHSP Tsuyoshi Wada to the list of trade candidates (Samardzija, Hammel, Bonifacio, Schierholtz, Russell or Wright, et al). He has pitched well enough at Iowa to fetch a second-level prospect. 

Hi-A Daytona is the affiliation that has to change because of all of the rainouts, and that PDA expires after this season, too. A move either to the Carolina League or California League would make a lot of sense.

BTW, when Theo was GM in Boston the Red Sox took the rather unusual approach of actually purchasing a team in the Carolina League. (Most minor league affiliates other than GCL, AZL, DSL, and VSL are not owned by MLB clubs). Maybe the Cubs will do the same thing. (Anything to get out of the Florida State League).

Wainwright headed for MRI

teams are gonna need to go 15-deep with SP depth at this rate

word be that Wainwright probably just has tennis elbow (Zambrano had it once upon a time, blamed on too much porn, eh, internet surfing)

hah, White Sox figured out how to deal with Boras

they signed their Round 2-10 picks already (don't know exact figures yet), so they pretty much have a take it or leave it offer for Rodon.

ROB G: The Cubs did the same thing with Kris Bryant (another Boras client) last year. Signed everybody else first, then gave Bryant what was left up to the point where they had to pay a tax but didn't lose a draft pick. 

maybe it's the same, but TheJedi don't seem to have much issue dealing with Boras and they took enough time getting it all done that it appeared to be more of we have an idea of what Bryant is going to take, let's see what we can get signed, but we'll have the money you want.

The notable thing here (allegedly) is that the White Sox don't like dealing with Boras, although I think that was more Kenny Williams/Reinsdorf than Rick Hahn.

Well if they don't sign him for some reason it's gonna be a real can of corn.

Schwarber already in Boise btw


season starts Friday

Damn, I thought for sure he would at least get to see Mesa for a few days. Go get em, Kyle.

Meanwhile, I don't know if anybody noticed, but the Southern League found a way to stop Kris Bryant last night.

find the replay of the McCutchen HR, Coghlan almost made a crazy catch, was there, popped off his glove, about 2 rows deep in LF

Good thing he's not Olt. He'd be benched for missing it.

Ike Davis and Mike Olt ought to run a batting clinic together.

Actually Valbuena and McCutchen really SHOULD do a clinic. They're like the two hottest hitters in the NL!

Yeah, can't blame Capt Happy now for having V in there over Olt. Gotta ride the hot hand although he should have kept riding it when Olt was hot, and played Valbuena at second. But I do love Valbuena for increasing his trade value. Actually, if the Cubs would just think like contenders for once next year, he'd be a good guy to keep around. You don't get a lot in the prospect world for guys like that.

He was my favorite player last year. I just think (as you know) that the best lineup would have had him at 2nd base. I think they should keep him too but not if he's our regular 3rd baseman. His HR/RBI are abysmal for a corner infielder. Especially batting 5/6 all year. He's a great 2 hitting 2nd baseman at this point. It's clear they weren't trying to win games this year ... Best lineup was not on the field typically. Olt almost put one out to center yesterday. His development was apparently not a priority which still pisses me off but oh well. I just think that Olt Castro Valbuena Rizzo infield would have been a lot of fun to watch too!

It's a shame that everyone but Captain Happy knows that switching Lake and Valbuena in the order would be a good idea.

If anyone is ever going to trade something for Valbuena, it will be this year. But if he sticks around, he's got 2B for the rest of the year and is a utility player and alternative 2B in case one of Baez/Alcantara are not ready to take over that position. Valbuena has been a pleasant surprise. On the other hand, Bonifacio can go away now. Alcantara got the start in CF last night. Who do we see in the majors first--Arismendy, Javier, or Kris? I'd like to see Alcantara BB like he did last year, but he is collecting the extra-base hits like nobody's business.

Luis Valbuena is under club control through the 2016 season, so I don't think the Cubs need to trade him just yet. Emilio Bonifacio is a FA post-2014 so he is obviously available, but Valbuena could have some value to the Cubs, since he can play both 2B and 3B, he is a decent LH bat off the bench, and most of the Cub prospects who will be arriving over the next year or so are RH hitters.

Arismendy Alcantara would seem to project as a younger version of Emilio Bonifacio, which is to say he is an athletic offense-first switch-hitting supersub who can play multiple positions but none of them particulary well, or at least none of them well enough to be an everyday guy at that position. As with Bonifacio, Alcantara's "best" position will probably eventually be CF, but he needs to get some experience there at AAA before he is ready to fill the Bonifacio slot in the big leagues (which possibly could be as soon as sometime next season).  

Logan Watkins is another potential IF-OF supersub, although he is a much better infield defender than Alcantara. 

I thought Alcantara was supposed to be a pretty good 2B...

CHARLIE: Alcantara is better at 2B than he was at SS, but he is a below-average defensive 2B. 

Also I had the impression he has a little more pop/power than Boni?

CARLITO: He does, So Alcantara would probably be a better version of Bonifacio than the current Bonifacio, at least as far as slugging is concerned.

BTW, I wasn't dissing Alcantara by labeling him a "supersub." A supersub can get regular AB, he just doesn't play the same position every day.

It's hard to find a player versatile & athletic enough to play six or seven different positions who is a good all-around defensive player at any one position. "A plus-bat with pop and a passable defender at multiple positions" is probably the job description of a supersub, and I believe that will be Arismendy Alcantara's future. 

"a better version of Bonifacio" Phil, I don't think a guy with gap power is any version of Bonifacio. Alcantara had 36 doubles and 15 HRs at Tennessee last year, and he's slugging even better in Iowa because he has nine triples. I think he's got the package, to tell you the truth; and since they've turned over every stone for a lefty-hitting outfielder and only come up with Bonifacio, Sweeney and Coghlan, there's a place for Alcantara in the outfield right now.

"It's a shame that everyone but Captain Happy knows . . ." Not everyone. There is an idea that fast guys should hit ahead of run producers, for a lot of reasons including that a hitter who gets paid to drive in runs loves to see a rabbit on third. Just hit the ball anywhere and he'll score. Valbuena has five SBs (and 11 caught-stealings) in seven seasons. Lake is pretty good this year, 7 out of 8.

"There is an antiquated and disproven idea that fast guys should hit ahead of run producers,"


at least now that we've had the regime change we won't see that happen on the cubs anymore. wait...

"There is an antiquated and disproven idea that fast guys should hit ahead of run producers," ---- and once again, the Dusty translation: "I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps. But the guy who walks and can't run, most of the time they're clogging up the bases for somebody who can run."--former Cubs manager Dusty Baker and the BP analysis of this... http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...
baserunners are good, more baserunners are better. Baker's premise is wrong.
/brain freeze

Here's a clogging situation that I think I posed here several years ago. I don't recall anybody explaining to me why this wasn't clogging. You need one run to win. In which of the following situations would you be more likely to score that run? Situation A: Billy Hamilton on first with no out. Situation B: Hamilton on first, Adam Dunn on second with no out.

This misses the point. Sure having a fast runner on base is better than a slow runner, but having base runners is more important than their speed.

Situation A - the hitter at the plate hits a single. Runners now 1 & 3rd. Situation B - the hitter at the plate hits a single. Bases juiced. BETTER. Situation A - the hitter at the plate hits a double. Hamilton scores. One run in. Situation B - the hitter at the plate hits a double. Dunn and Hamilton both score. Two runs in. BETTER. Situation A - home run. 2 runs in. Situation B - home run. 3 runs in. BETTER. Edit: This assumes all situations but the walk-off win, which is the relatively rare situation in which multiple runs make no difference over a single run. That is, your example is contrived.

The answer is situation B. First, it's not clogging at all because Dunn is not preventing Hamilton from scoring. Hamilton's run is meaningless given your scenario. And it's not like Hamilton would score from first on a single but be blocked by Dunn who can only go to third, or Dunn couldn't score from second on a double and thus block Hamilton. So there is no clogging at all. Second, you, and others, would take situation A because Hamilton is "fast" and Dunn is "slow." But I take situation B every time and everyone should. Your team has a 20% greater chance of scoring (64% to 44%) with a runner on second than with a runner on first. Even if the 64 is slightly lower with Dunn and even if the 44 is slightly higher with Hamilton, the speed difference does not close that gap. You are more likely to score a run in Situation B. Also, you just pinch run for Adam Dunn with anyone with average speed on your bench, even a pitcher, and your odds will be 64% or higher (since the 64 is an average Run Expectancy based on slow and fast runners averaged).

"Dunn is not preventing Hamilton from scoring" Sure he is. Hamilton might steal second on the next pitch (and third on the following one). With Dunn out there, he's stuck on first. And if Hamilton has a higher percentage of caught-stealings than most people expected when the season started, then use another, better base stealer. I'm just proposing a clogging scenario that makes Baker's quote less of a dependable punch line. "you just pinch run for Adam Dunn" QED

Old fashioned baseball tactics are usually focused on a single run, and debatable at that. In any situation other than a tie in the bottom of the ninth, the goal should be to maximize runs, and any two men on base are better than any one. The fault in the example is that it is a possible exception that distortions thinking about the whole game.

the scenario really doesn't matter because it's a lot like dividing by zero, you just can't do it

Billy Hamilton is never on first base to have to worry about it.


So forget Hamilton. Altuve is 24 out of 27 steal attempts, with a .361 OBP. Ellsbury is 18 out of 20, .359.

The scenario I described would apply almost as well to a tie in the top of the ninth or in either half of the eighth, or being down a run in either inning. I did a quick search and the number I found for "percentage of games decided by one run" was 28 to 30. Small-ball may not be a good strategy over a season of games, but its value improves in late-and-close situations against quality setup men and closers. Good luck with long balls and "keeping the line moving" against those guys.

Fast is better. You're safe more.

Getting on base at .396 is much, much better than .273. Runners on base more often=more chances to drive them in.

Who's safe more, a Luis Valbuena who gets on base 39.6% of the time* or a Junior Lake who gets on base 27.3% of the time? *I'm as aware that Luis Valbuena's OBP will come down when he cools off as I am hopeful that Lake's OBP will come up if he gets hot/ makes some adjustments. But the point is the same even if the respective numbers are 36% vs. 32%. If they close to, say, 35% vs 34%, then we can start talking about speed.

I don't think anyone is opposed to the idea that all things being equal more speed>less speed. However, usually the problem is managers want more speed without other things being equal. If someone can't get on base or is a poor base runner speed doesn't overcome that according to actual #s. Poor baserunning seems to happen often too as players think simply being fast is an excuse not to pick your spots stealing or they try to test arms too often. Managers and fans excuse it because all they look at are gross base stealing #s without taking into account CS or base running mistakes or simply not getting on base enough.

well that was a fun trip back to 2005 Internet comments

Az Phil, just curious to know who is still in Arizona doing injury rehab and what not? Guys who probably would be at least as high as Boise, like Sam Wilson, etc. Also, I think there is a decent group of guys as potential 40 man adds under an "outside shot" category: Silva, Jensen, McKirahan, S Peralta, and Pineyro, if he can get back on track. What do you think of that group? And last question: still no idea about the whereabouts and status of Brian Smith and Mike Hamann? Much appreciated Az Phil!!

K BANSAW: It isn't that Silva, McKirahan, Jensen, and Pineyro don't have upside (they do), I just don't think the Cubs would worry about losing them in the Rule 5 draft post-2014. They might reconsider Pineyro if he comes back and pitches again in 2014, but otherwise probably not (he is shut-down right now). 

The only reason I have Rhee listed is because he can be a minor league 6YFA post-2014 and the Cubs might not want him to walk away just yet (and even then I would say it's only 50-50 he gets added to the 40, and that's only if he declines a 2015 minor league successor contract). 

The Cubs probably would like to sign Peralta to a 2015 minor league successor contract, too, to keep him from walking away as a minor league 6YFA after the season (as the Cubs did with Hatley, Rhee, and Searle after last season), but I don't think he would get a 40-man roster slot. He has yet to get past Daytona after seven seasons.

I have no info about Mike Hamann or Brian Smith. I haven't seen either of them.

EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING JUNE MINI-CAMP (41 players are at EXST - 31 players are ACTIVE)

* bats or throws left
# bats both

Adbert Alzolay
Marcelo Carreno (ACTIVE REHAB - 2013 shoulder surgery)
Jesus Castillo
* Frailyn Figueroa
Kyuji Fujikawa (ACTIVE REHAB - 2013 TJS)
Luis Hernandez
Pierce Johnson (ACTIVE REHAB - calf)
Carlos Llano
Dillon Maples (ACTIVE REHAB - rib)
James McDonald (ACTIVE REHAB - shoulder)
Jeferson Mejia
Yomar Morel 
* Jose Paulino
Hector Perez  
Victor Salazar
Alexander Santana

C. J. Edwards (shoulder)
Barret Loux (shoulder) 
Trey McNutt (shoulder)   
Ivan Pineyro (elbow)
* Anthony Prieto (2014 TJS)
Brad Renner (2014 TJS) 
* Sam Wilson (?)
Jose Zapata (injuries suffered in off-season car crash)

: 4
Tyler Alamo
# Erick Castillo
* Alberto Mineo  
Eufran Vargas

# Roney Alcala
* Bryant Flete
# Dalfis Ortiz
Adonis Paula  
Gleyber Torres

Charcer Burks
Arnaldo Calero  
# Kevin Encarnacion (LIMITED ACTIVITY - burns & other injuries suffered in off-season car crash)  
Eloy Jimenez
* Ricardo Marcano
Manny Ramirez
Jorge Soler (LIMITED ACTIVITY - hamstring) 
Shamil Ubiera

Jimmy Gonzalez

Ricardo Medina (HITTING COACH)
Osmin Melindes (ASSISTANT COACH)
Anderson Tavares (PITCHING COACH)

Thanks as always, Phil!

Phil, has the experiment with Alcala catching ended? Thanks.

HAGSAG: Roney Alcala played only 1B & 3B (mostly 1B) in Cactus League EXST games, and he played LF a couple of times in intrasquad games. 

He was tried at catcher (briefly) last year in Latin Rookie ball, but I did not see him don the Tools of Ignorance even once this season.    

When he first arrived at Riverview Park I asked him if he was going to move to catcher, and he said "I am a third-baseman."

As I've mentioned before, Alcala is built like Rock Shoulders. He is a load.

Phil - is Encarnacion out of the hospital and actively rehabbing? Is there any chance he will get back into games this season?

DAVID P: Kevin Encarnacion has been at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park since April. He wears a pressure-sleeve the length of his right arm while recovering from the burns he received in the car crash. He also had a serious shoulder injury that supposedly would require surgery, but I don't know where that stands. I haven't seen him in a while, but the last time I saw him he was doing some physical activity, but no baseball activity.

Per his twitter account, the Cubs have signed Justin Steele.

it does?


I'm seeing other tweets about it, so maybe he deleted it, a quick social media lesson by Cubs not to tweet stuff until official or something.

http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/ Hopefully they are trustworthy.

like I said, it's not there anymore...I'm sure it was at one point and removed for whatever reason these things get removed. I doubt it's anything alarmingly.

week old news, but Kane County clinched the first half title in their division in the Midwest League

Iowa is a game back in their 4-team division in 3rd place but they play full seasons.

Smokies are 11 back in 2nd place in their 5-team division to the Milwaukee affiliate. (3 games under .500)

Daytona is 14 games under, 19.5 back and in 5th place in a 6-team division, Toronto affiliate clinched a 5th straight playoff birth.

Bonifacio hurt on first play of the game, some speculating oblique injury at the moment, others ankle.

Let's start the Arismendy Alcantara era. Thanks.

It'll be Ryan Sweeney that gets the call.

Of course it will. Because, you can't have enough journeymen players. That should be the tagline for the Cubs.

he's in the 1st year of a 2 year contract...get comfortable with him. he wasn't a bad deal...2/3.5 for a lefty CF/LF/RF who has doubles pop. i don't think anyone would miss him if he was traded tomorrow for a bucket of balls, though...not cuz he sucks, but because he's a lineup space filling fringe starter + solid bench guy.

You mean, a journeyman. Thanks for that clarification.

Sweeney has a career OPS of .715 and it was .708 over the last three seasons. He's pretty consistent. Barring injury, you know what you will get over extended at-bats. That OPS would place him about in the top half of NL outfielders. That would be great if he is the third or fourth-best outfielder on a team. The main problem is that all of the other Cubs outfielders are performing worse right now than Sweeney's career average. It's really been a crapfest this year. And with Barney continuing to suck and Castillo's injury creating a black hole for offense at catcher, the offense ends up being Rizzo, Castro, Valbuena, occasionally Lake, and then Wood/Samardzija on the days they pitch. It's been terrible to watch.

Free ManRam!

All that did was make my point. But thanks.

I would consider Sweeney a step up from "journeyman" like Kalish, Ruggiano, Coghlan, etc.

I feel like I get what you are saying about Kalish, but he hasn't been healthy long enough and in enough organizations to be a "journeyman" yet. My problem is that basically that there's 4 passable 4th outfielders (Sweeney, Lake, Ruggiano, Kalish) one guy with the upside of a 4th outfielder (Coghlan) and a platoon RF putting up absolutely awful numbers on the roster. Where's the legit starting player? We are in desperate need of Bryant, and Soler had better get himself healthy and hitting ASAP.

Maybe but my point - and I am not sure you disagree here, is that he shouldn't be the best outfielder we have. TheoCorp needs to step it up.

This is a hard team to watch at the plate when men are in scoring position when the batter isn't named Rizzo.

SureHolds and Barney BOTH batting over .200 now. We are gonna CLEANUP at the trade deadline! Actually Rizzo looked pretty bad his first AB with runner in scoring position. LOT of dudes on this team batting .200!!

That's one of the problems with not surrounding Rizzo with some better guys in the lineup - it's only a matter of time before he tries to do it all - I think he has done a great job of resisting that temptation overall but he's still young. Theocorp really, really needs to do everything it can to get a good, MLB ready outfield bat for Shark. It's time to start producing a lineup that doesn't suck so much.

SureOuts is such a better nickname than SureHolds


Thank you. It's my only contribution in all my years here.

/still waiting for Fukkakedome to come back

one of my favorites, although my inability to even get close to spelling it, limited my use of it.

It is a bit of a mouthful.

Ba dum.

[takes a bow]

A cincinati bow tie?

I just want to say that this brief The Joe emergence has been loads of fun.

Heh. I miss the days when I could internet while 'working'. Sadly, I can't send homoerotic Kirk-Spock photos to my coworkers or make TCR comments about donkey shows and Johann's mom while teaching. Sadness.

Hopefully you can still make time for your Silent Towel MikeC slash fiction.

There's always time for that, but I traded The Real Neal for a used infield rake and a can of simoniz*. * Still haven't a clue what that is.

Come on guys


kaz tadano?

That's not the kind I like to watch but whatever floats your boat!

TCR is back, bitches!

Some words of wisdom Don't click on a link with the words "cream pie" and " grand mom "

Google's default settings should make it so that doesn't matter. Who are you? Don Jon?

Ricketts next headache. Wrigleyville Hotel plans delayed...Bankruptcy, foreclosure and other messes. http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realestate/201...

I know it's not the popular thing, but if I was a business owner named Ricketts, I'd be getting the hell out of there. It really looks like getting Wrigley into playable shape in a way that returns real revenue is not feasible. With all this churn, it'll be 2020 before it all gets sorted out.

Unless I am missing something, this should have little to no impact of the Ricketts plans.

So everything is just moving along just fine?

Why would another building owner in the area going bankrupt impact the Cubs plans? Even if it does, the bankruptcy will only slow down the foreclosure process, which will be completed prior to when the Cubs will breakground. Kind of a non-issue.

None of the process is working for the Cubs, whether it is ancillary build up around the park, or a simple but costly renovation.

It is a building a block away from the park that will continued to be developed by the soon to be new owner (they bought the note from the bank). It has nothing to do with the Cubs or the renovation plans.

And you think that will go smoothly in that NIMBY neighborhood? Your stubborn refusal to acknowledge the difficulties the Ricketts are facing is amusing.

It has nothing to do with the Cubs. The building just happens to be near Wrigley Field. The Ricketts don't own it, and aren't involved in it in any way.

You're not making any sense. Any development like that has an ancillary relationship to the Cubs - it wouldn't be there without them, and the Cubs need projects to be successful in a timely way whether or not they own them. This particular project is emblematic of the whole situation in Wrigleyville. I don't know the details of this hotel but I don't need to read up on it to guess it has taken years to get permits and approvals. The same thing is happening to Wrigley itself. It will be ten years before anything happens because of the neighborhood. I say, if the folks there, who moved there knowing what they were getting into, don't like being in a major league sports residential zone, they should all move out. I doubt not one was there before Wrigley. Since that won't happen, if I'm Ricketts, I pack up and leave. Then they can have their dead neighborhood.

d.barney 4 starts in a row...and c.coghlan not only starting again, but leading off. at this point i'm more "wtf?" about seeing so much coghlan over 4 days in a row of d.barney. he had that good season back in 2009 and all...but...well...yeah. ...and why the hell is he leading off? in a post where we revisit that old "clogging bases" chestnut we have a present day game with c.coghlan leading off. how did coghlan get above ruggiano in the pecking order? also, both catchers suck ass.


castro with the super slow HR trot

And Sandberg and Hernandez ejected after hitting Castro in next AB

Whoah. Just watched the replay. Hard to say how intentional it was ... at first it hit him in the hands and I was like what. But the replay looks a hair more incriminating. Still - I think a warning would have been the standard call. It certainly was bad luck if he didn't mean to hit Castro ;)

Seriously? Nobody thought to change that poor kid's name from Bastardo?

I'm guessing he was an orphan

I'm calling MLBPS and reporting the Cubs for prospect abuse. Olt is lost and the way for him to get found is not one fucking AB every few days. I don't care that he's not playing now but he should be in the minors. This is a rookie folks ... not a veteran journeyman that you throw out there to PH and ride the pine. If there is a baseball hell someone in the Cubs' org is gonna get a pitchfork or two in the ass. This kid would be rookie of the year material if he was not caught up in the Cubs' meat market (and you don't really get too many chances at ROY). Barney is a serious lost cause right now. What are they trying to salvage with him? Nobody is gonna want Darwin frickin Barney even if he gets up to .230! Olt needs reps. I'm sure the plan is that he gets to play somewhere after the deadline, but I feel like he's a tattered ragdoll zombie shadow of what he could have been.

I'm at the point where I have to think something else is going on here that we aren't hearing about. Theocorp keeps things very close to the vest. Maybe he mouthed off? If he mouthed off to Renteria about not playing, that shouldn't be considered an offense. No player likes to ride the pine. But maybe something else is going on. I really think it's reached the point where Olt has committed some offense. We can't know the whole story. Maybe he has curfew problems, who knows what. It's at the point where, like you say, it's not normal behavior. Any even half way decent management team would not do this, and I think TheoCorp has earned some credibility. But then again, Barney. So WTF do I know.

Also, I know it was the Phillies, but this Cubs' pitching staff is actually damn good. Makes you wonder about keeping them all and trying to sign a couple hitters next year to support Rizzo and Castro. I don't know if they have the money (probably not) but it's tempting.

From an offensive standpoint, there wasn't much more that Kyle Schwarber could have accomplished in his first professional baseball game. Playing for short-season Boise on Friday night, the Cubs' first-round pick in this month's Draft collected three hits, including a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning that came with two men on and sent the Hawks to a 4-2 victory over visiting Tri-City. http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2014...

Being him up /beat old and blue to it

but by borrowing my tag line, I, by extension, said it. Ha! :-)

Wittenmyer - Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel trade talks well underway http://www.suntimes.com/sports/28066162-419/j... Sources say the Cubs already have had trade talks with multiple teams regarding Samardzija and right-hander Jason Hammel. The Braves, Mariners and Blue Jays are among the most interested, with one source suggesting offers already have been made by at least two teams. And one major-league source said he expects Hammel to end up in Seattle.

That's good news, but I really do hope that TheoCorp gets this team in position sometime soon so that the season isn't a damn hot stove league. And I know everyone is clamoring for them to get pitching, but I'd like to see a young power bat in this lineup. Baez looks farther away than I thought, and this team needs somebody to back up Rizzo.

And one major-league source said he expects Hammel to end up in Seattle. --- source: Kyle Hendricks, Iowa

rosscup activated and optioned to AAA

valbuena at 2nd...olt at 3rd...lake + rugs in the OF...awesome. lake is leading off though...after coghlan leading off yesterday...which is really odd because the only manager who does that and the only GM who would allow that to happen are no longer in the cubs organization...odd stuff. seriously, though...valbuena playing 2nd needs to keep happening...2 years of club control + need. it would also be nice to see olt play regularly even if he's spotty-to-crappy. whether it's here or in AAA i'd like to know he's playing regularly.

hey look...mike olt HR #10. it's like he should be playing more or something because there's obviously some potential high value there.

Only Sureouts is allowed to play through slumps

lulz... 0-21 before that HR...i think that was over 3 weeks, though.

4-39 now

And Barney, whose slump is permanent.

Mike Oltimate Warrior # 10

Time for a three day rest!!!

By all means - dump Shark and Hamel, but make sure EJax gets the ball every five days. HOW many more years? This is a Hendry-esque contract. Was anyone else really going to give EJax these much money and this many years? Not to worry -- Theo will gets more young guys like CJ Edwards and Corey Black to fill in for Shark. Oh. Oops. Gawd.....

If I'm SureOutz I flat out feel guilty that they put me in the lineup every day. No other team ...

ExCubbery: Angel Pagan whiffed a catch on a one-hop, lets Brandon Barnes score a 2-RBI, come-from-behind 9th inning inside-the-park HR.

guessing this means Carson Sands has signed


Anybody want to do early odds on Olt not playing today? He did hit a home run, so I'm thinking he takes a couple days on the pine for accompanying that with a couple whiffs.

Good call. Olt riding the pine today - Barney in at 2B. Because, well, Fuck You Olt! Olt ChiC 10 HR -- Chris Davis Balt 10 HR edit: Davis homered last night to take an 11-10 HR lead over Olt. Davis 193 AB, Olt 145 AB

wow. it's mid-june and this lineup is featuring a #5-8 with .183/.211/.198/.067 average...the #9, the pitcher, is hitting .240. with a straight face you could make a legitimate argument for hitting t.wood 5th/6th in this lineup. ...and before anyone gets curious about avg/ob%...wood has a higher ob% than all of the other options.

Completely valid AND this blemish gets more glaring every time Wood starts ...

The lineups this team is fielding are insane. I'm going to assume AZ Phil is right, and that Renteria is more or less following the guidelines set by TheoCorp. For one thing, he should say up yours, Theo, I want to win, fire me if you don't like my lineups but I'm done playing Barney and CogtheBases (even though he doesn't clog the bases because he won't be on them much, I felt the earlier throwback thread deserved some cred). Earlier Rob G asked for lineups. Ok, I don't have a specific order in mind, but these are the guys who should play every day. Not in the order of appearance in the lineup, of course: 1B Rizzo 2B Valbuena SS Castro 3B Olt LF: Ruggs (creds to Cueball) CF: Lake RF: Sweeney (cuz Wiscgrad) C: Schwarber (well? What did you expect?) DH: Travis Wood (cuz that's how bad the lineup TheoCorp has constructed really is) Mix and match occasionally, but Valbuena has earned a spot at second, and this will give time for Alcantara to get a few more reps down in the minors and increase Valbuena's trade value (actually that has probably peaked). Then TheoCorp owes it to Cubs fans to go out and get a real outfielder for one of the two pitchers he is trading. A young, major league ready stud. Not doing so is baseball GM malpractice. After that he can get as many pitchers as he wants. I'm sick of these lineups. They're a joke and an insult to fans.

C: Schwarber (well? What did you expect?) --- C: Schwarber (cuz Old and Blue) /fixed

Chicken Shawarma?

from rotowurld... "FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mariners are interested in Jason Hammel, but "talks have yet to progress."" "FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that scouts from the Orioles, Blue Jays and Red Sox were in attendance at Jeff Samardzija's last start." link is a video without text/transcript... http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/video?vid=c654c7...

-deleted- misplaced reply.

mlbtr says per Bob nightingale that the Giants are interested in Shark. I don't know much about the SF system, so I'm putting out some info but would appreciate any comments about their system. and Jose Veras signs with Astros to a minor league deal --- a bit dated but here are the Giant's top 10 prospects (as of 12-6-13), per Baseball America: 1. Kyle Crick, rhp 2. Edwin Escobar, lhp 3. Chris Stratton, rhp 4. Adalberto Mejia, lhp 5. Mac Williamson, of 6. Christian Arroyo, ss 7. Heath Hembree, rhp 8. Ty Blach, lhp 9. Joe Panik, 2b 10. Clayton Blackburn, rhp and fangraphs with a little more info... http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2014-top-10-pr... and B/R with some info too... http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2011672-br... in Feb 2014, Baseball Prospectus ranked the Giants system #22 (Cubs were #2) http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...
State of the System: Crick leads a pitching-heavy farm, with a seemingly endless supply of future number four starters up and down the system.
Farm System Trajectory for 2015: Up. As the wave of solid-average pitching talent continues to climb towards the majors and the lower level bats like Arroyo and Jones take their cuts at the full-season level, the system as a whole should take several steps forward over the course of the next season.

new update from rotoword re: giants. from what you posted it doesn't look like much of a potential loss, though...assuming there's no way in hell they'd trade k.crick. "Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that "barring injury, the Giants have no plans to adjust their rotation." USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported earlier Sunday that the Giants are showing "strong interest" in Jeff Samardzija, but Schulman is hearing the "exact opposite.""

If we got Crick and some additional guy named Watson, then we could say they are becoming a part of the Cubs DNA /ducks

Vizcaino with another good inning for the Smokies, and I'm wondering when he sees AAA or the Chicago bullpen. There aren't any obvious candidates in the MLB pen to get sent down. So, after trades are made? Villanueva is the only pen arm not doing much.

If Arodys Vizcaino is recalled prior to July 6th and then remains on an MLB Active List and/or MLB DL through the conclusion of the 2014 MLB regular season, he will almost certainly be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2014. But if the Cubs do not recall Vizcaino prior to July 6th, he cannot be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2014. That's because a player needs to accrue at least 86 days of MLB Service Time in a given season to be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two," and a player optioned to the minors prior to 2014 Opening Day (as was the case with Vizcaino) who is recalled after July 5th would not be able to accrue 86 days of MLB Service Time in 2014 because there are only 85 days of the MLB regular season remaining on July 6th. 

Ryan Kalish is another player who might or might not be eligible for salary arbitration post-2014. If Kalish is recalled anytime prior to July 10th and then remains on an MLB Active List and/or MLB DL through the conclusion of the 2014 MLB regular season, he will accrue enough days of MLB Service Time to automatically qualify for salary arbitration post-2014. (He came into the season with 2+033 MLB Service Time and he accrued 57 days of Service Time prior to being optioned to Iowa on May 26th). If he is not recalled prior to July 10th he cannot automatically qualify for salary arbitration post-2014, but he still could qualify as a "Super Two." However, if Kalish is not recalled prior to September 1st, he cannot be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2014 because he will not be able to accrue 86 days of MLB Service Time in 2014. If he is recalled anytime prior to September 1st he will accrue at least 86 days of MLB Service Time in 2014 and he might be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" (depending on where the "Super Two" cut-off will be), but he for sure cannot be eligible for salary arbitration if the Cubs leave him at Iowa until September 1st.  

Vizcaino and Kalish are the only two players on the Cubs 40-man roster who are "on the bubble" regarding salary arbitration post-2014. 

Ah. Well, I guess we won't be seeing either for a month or so, then. Thanks!

I'm really digging the Baez and Schwarber combo in the Boise lineup so far. Is Jeffrey Baez more of a 4th outfielder type, or does he have a legit shot at being an MLB starter? How's his defense in the 3 OF spots?

CHARLIE: Jeffrey Baez is a five-tool OF. He received a $350K signing bonus out of Venezula as a 16-year old in July 2010 (which is why he is Rule 5 Draft eligible post-2014). He is a good defensive OF with a RF arm and the range to play CF, a high-percentage SB threat (led the AZL in SB in 2013), and a gap hitter with XBH power who tied for the team lead in HR at EXST in both 2013 and 2014. 

As I've mentioned before, Baez is built like an NFL LB with the speed you would have seen out of a young Brian Urlacher. I would rate Jeffrey Baez as one of the Cubs Top 10 position player prospects. He was MVP of both the 2013 & 2014 EXST Cubs, hitting 323/400/554 in 24 Cactus League EXST games (75 PA) in 2013 and 322/408/511 with a team leading four triples and 14 SB (0 CS) in 27 Cactus League EXST games (103 PA) in 2014.  

Jeffrey Baez bulked up so much during the post-2013 off-season that I didn't even recognize him when I first saw him at Minor League Camp. His old Cubs jersey with his name on the back no longer fit, so he wore a jersey with no name (just a nuimber) at EXST this year. 

The arcane rules of Rule 5s and the like are such that I don't spend much time trying to understand them, but won't this be a problem for other signeees down the road, too? For example, Eloy Jimenez? If he were to become Rule 5 eligible in a few years another team will surely snap him up. He won't be flying under any radars. I suspect Baez won't either, actually. How do the Cubs hold on to these guys?

O & B: It could be a problem.

The main thing is not to add a player to the MLB 40-man roster too early where the player will run out of minor league options before he is ready to stay in the big leagues, even if it means taking a chance that the player could get selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If the player is selected, you just have to hope that the claiming team is unable to allocate a slot on its MLB 25-man roster for an entire season to a player clearly not ready for MLB and you'll be able to re-claim the player.  

On the topic of running out of minor league options too early, because he received a major league contract (and a slot on the 40-man roster) when he signed with the Cubs in 2012, Jorge Soler will be out of minor league options in 2016 (and that's even with hm getting a 4th minor league option in 2015), so unless they want to try and sneak him through Outright Waivers (and good luck with that), the Cubs will have to keep Soler on the MLB 25-man roster in 2016 (and beyond) even though he might not be ready for The Show. (And that's exactly what happened with Wily Mo Pena back in the day).   

There has been talk about changing MLB Rule 5 so that a 16-year old International Free-Agent who is "Signed for Future Service" during the period July 2 - August 31 (as was the case with Jeffrey Baez in 2010 and with Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torrez in 2013) would get an extra year before he is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft. If it happens it would probably have to wait until the next CBA to be implemented (the current CBA expires at the end of 2016), which would mean that Jimenez and Torres would get an extra year before being Rule 5 eligible (they would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time post-2018 instead iof post-2017), but it obviously would not apply to Jeffrey Baez this year. Again, this rule change has been discussed but has not yet been implemented

Another change proposed (but not yet implemented) is to make the required amount of time a player must remain on the selecting club's 25-man MLB Active List 90 days (not the entire next season) before Rule 5 restrictions are removed and the player can be sent to the minors. That change is not that much different from the current rule where a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft has to spend the entire season after selection on either the selecting club's MLB 25-man roster and/or its MLB 15-day or 60-day DL with at least 90 days spent on the club's MLB Active List, or else be placed on Outright Waivers and ultimately offered back to the player's original club. (If the player does not spend at least 90 days on the selecting club's MLB Active List during the season following selection, the player remains under Rule 5 restrictions going into the next season until a total of 90 days on the selecting club's MLB Active List have been accrued).

The objective of this change would be to keep club's from placing Rule 5 draft picks on the Disabled List with a vague injury and/or leaving the player on the DL even after he is healthy enough to be reinstated (as the Cubs did with Lendy Castillo in 2012), So with this proposed change, the player would have to spend 90 days on the selecting club's MLB Active List, and then the player can be sent to the minors as soon as the 90 days have accrued (around July 1st), which would mean the drafted player loses only three months (not an entire season) of minor league player development time while wasting away on the selecting club's MLB 25-man roster and/or DL. (If this rule had been in place in 2012, the Cubs would have been able to option Lendy Castillo to the minors on or about July 1st instead of stashing him on the DL for half the season).     


Thanks for that, AZ. I appreciate the extra remedial training - it's all here in various forms by you in other posts but it all just escapes me when I want to remember something. I do remember that Baez is a guy you've been high on, so I think it would be outstanding to see two J Baez's in the lineup.

Thanks, Phil! If he's bulked up that much, then it sounds like he is giving himself a shot at being a starter even in an OF corner (since we're supposed to expect Almora to be the starting CF by the time Jeffrey Baez has any shot at making the club). With Bryant, Soler, and potentially Schwarber in front of him as potential corner outfielders, I wonder if Jeffrey Baez might be among the young players most likely traded for vet pickups sometime down the line. I've enjoyed reading about him and following him in your reports, though, and am rooting for him!

Charlie, I'm not sure we want to say "bulked up" and "giving himself a shot" in the same sentence...

Who is he, Kris Bryant?

R.I.P. Tony Gwynn. You were the best.

Yeah, that sucks. Puckett, Gary Carter, now Gwynn. Man...


always liked watching him hit and talking baseball RIP

One of my favorites ever. One of those guys you didn't mind seeing beat you, in a way. I would love to see how he would have adjusted to a shift in this day and age where the opposition would probably have clogged up the left side of the infield. Seemed like a lot of hits were through the hole between short and third but I bet he would have just found another hole. He was fun and seemed like a nice guy.

I would just like to celebrate a non-Home Run Mike Olt line drive SINGLE!!!!

Time to release Valbuena he's striking out at a 60% clip over his last 5 atbats ...

Castro is a BADASS! Dang!

lololol... t.wood pinch hits with 2 outs in the 13th and a man (j.lake) on 1st. ...rbi double. cubs lead.

Can he play OF? Seriously ...

Kris Bryant wins home run derby: http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/crown-him-cubs... Of course he did.

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2014... 16 bombs in 3 rounds. 8 in the first round. Take the ball and run with it O&B...

This one's too obvious. Bring up Eloy!!! We need outfielders!!!

But even as the Cubs continue early trade talks with some teams about Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, they also have quietly reached out to Samardzija with a new offer on a contract that would keep him in Chicago as long as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, according to multiple sources.
One source suggested it would take something close to the $17.5 million annual value of Cincinnati pitcher Homer Bailey’s six-year contract signed during the spring to persuade Samardzija to commit to an extension, especially without a no-trade clause.

I'm so on the fence with that guy that his nickname should be The Fence.

I would think that it would be pretty long odds for him to sign with the Cubs. Unless...Jed/Theo promote the idea that they are going to spend money in FA for 2015. The lack of any offense during his starts, coupled with his desire to be on a winning club again - plus the chance to really get PAID suggests to me his time is done here. I wish we had a MLB ready T.O.R. arm today in the minors - but its gonna be a while unfortunately. CJ is the closest thing and he is still much a work in progress (plus healing).

Unless the Cubs bring in some free agent pitching and/or retain Shark, I see the current Kansas City Royals as the best example of the near future Cubs. Highly touted hitting prospects, some of which succeed at the majors, some of which that don't; mixed with mediocre pitching.

That actually seems pretty reasonable. Go away.

I will strive to be more unreasonable in the future. ummmmm, what I meant to say was that the Cubs should have done was sign Cano, trade for David Price, sign Tanaka, brought up Bryant yesterday, send Bryant back down tomorrow after he goes 0-3, sign a free agent closer, trade for another closer when said free agent closer flops, fire the manager, fire somebody else, bring back the ghost of Harry to do the 7th inning stretch, hire Neifi to be hitting coach and bring back The-Riot to be the new mascot of scrappiness.

What genius! What out of the box thinking! You have been studying with Al Yellon and it shows.

hire Neifi to be hitting coach *nightmares for weeks*

Another Plus comment about Renteria: This team, overall, plays much better fundamental baseball than last year's Sveum edition. Even when they try to do things that don't work, a lot of times it's a good thing to try. This is a team that could easily be at .500 if not for the abysmal early season record of close one and two run games. As infuriating as I find him sometimes, I am not a member of firerenteria.com. And, Renteria addressed the early season close game losing with his absolutist approach to late inning walks by pitchers.

Draft update, looks like Cubs have signed Sands and Steele, their 4th and 5th round picks, for $1.1 and $1.0 million--well over slot--so they used the savings from Schwarber and Zagunis effectively. http://ccdt.webs.com/ That site shows that the Cubs have already signed 17 guys: 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 25, 27, and 32, with another 7 marked as "likely" to sign. They signed 24 total last year from the 2013 draft, but 5 of them took all the way until July 12th to do so.

Theo scheduled to be on WSCR at noon central. McNeil is off today so it has a chance to be a good segment.

schwarm called up to kane county (from boise) 12/20, 4hr, 10rbi...

Schwarber promoted to Kane County.

They brought him up!!! Kind of.

Schlit the bed

Junior Lake needs a onesie.

John Baker in for Whiteside. Not a big deal I guess, but I'd have put in either Olt or Sweeney for Whiteside and then put in Baker to play defense. But when you've got this much scrap on the roster...

Exactly right. Eighth inning tying run at the plate ... PH with Baker batting .150 0HR and 4RBI ?

Alternately, could've pinch-hit Olt for Barney figuring that you've got to keep either Barney or Whiteside in the game with a short bench and both are basically nil at the plate.

Yeah. The bottom line is there was no reason to bat Baker. Olt as the tying run in the 8th was the right play. There was no reason to keep him on the bench because in the 9th you had the top of the order following whatever OB% PH you had bat for the pitcher. With Olt at least you had a roughly 7-10% chance of a tied game in the 8th versus Baker's 0.5%. Also Olt wasn't gonna face the closer in the 8th.

the dodgers/sportsnet are showing off their new camera system...19 cameras on the field that can track a play from start to finish. it's being used for some replays. angles+views are tweakable over quite a wide range for a nearly limitless amount of possible views depending on how one chooses to replay and manipulate the video "map." here's a video example...FreeD http://vimeo.com/93271074

Baseball America's Hitter of the Day...
HITTER OF THE DAY: Kyle Schwarber, c/lf — Short-season Boise (Cubs) Schwarber, the No. 4 overall pick less than two weeks ago, has already been promoted. The lefthanded swinger belted four homers in five games, including two Tuesday, and the Cubs decided he needed more of a challenge, sending him to low Class A Kane County. In five games, Schwarber is 12-for-20 with four homers, a double, a triple and 10 RBIs.

I thought you wrote Hitler of the day. WTF is that? Hitter, yeah that makes more sense.

Kris Bryant tweets that he's going up to Iowa...Cubs tweet he wasn't supposed to make that announcement.

I think Bryant has given himself a Javier Baez license to do "whatever the f*** I want to do" with his hitting as a pro.

Kris Bryant promoted to AAA!

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  • Hagsag 6 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Is AZ Phil okay?


  • crunch 9 hours 14 min ago (view)

    gene clines has died.

    he was with the organization on/off for a notable amount of time as both a player and coach.


  • crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    sammy sosa off the HOF ballot after 10 years.  he finishes up with a 18.5% vote, highest in any year.


  • crunch 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    cubs sign 31 year old eric yardley to a minor league deal.

    he's a 31 year old righty that throws sub-90mph junk.


  • Sonicwind75 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Thank you for sharing Mike.  Sounds like the former owner was a high character human being and should be celebrated.  Haven't had a chance to attend a game there since I moved away from Des Moines in 2007 but recall it being a great ballpark experience.  Has there been any word of the new owners making any major changes?


  • crunch 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    a 22 month old.

    a'ite.  i'm done with Earth.  going to Pluto.  don't bother visiting or calling.  later.


  • JoePepitone 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Ex-Cub Sergio Mitre convicted of rape and murder of a young child, per a news story from SI -- 



  • Cubster 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Jason Schmidt signs with Dodgers, 3/44.


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    20 year, 800m contract incoming...front loaded 150m over the first 2 years with a player opt out after that...


  • videographer 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Darth Vader to rescue Carlos Correa's bruised ego. 


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    carlos correa has hired scott boras...


  • bradsbeard 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    The IFA market isn't exactly an equal access thing. Not only do the Cubs have a slightly smaller bonus pool than some teams, players are often linked to teams through their trainers well before they are able to sign. It's not like when these kids are 14 that the teams know for sure that they have a top of the class player on their hands two years in the future.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    Cubbies.4ever - I read that the Cubs strategy with international free agents has been to spend most of their bonus money on young, position players and then take chances on cheaper, older pitching prospects who have been late bloomers (taller, stronger, more command of pitches, etc.). They are also grabbing guys at the end of the international signing period and signing them to future service contracts. They have six pitchers that were signed last year to future service contracts, and only one position player.


  • cubbies.4ever 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    Cubs IFA Signings are heavy on SS (given SS usually can play many positions as the develop), but only 1 pitcher.  Given it's still early.  Also disappointing that their best signing is #18.  Gone are the days of Soler, Eloy, Torres, Marquez, Amaya etc.  I believe Christian Hernandez last year was highly rated though.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    One more international free agent signing announced today: Daniel Benschop, OF, Aruba


  • bradsbeard 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    I hope all is well with AZ Phil. Hasn't posted in a few weeks and typically would expect him to have a post up tracking IFA signings. Maybe he's waiting for something official from the Cubs (who don't seem to have announced any of the signings officially)?