Cubs Sign Cuban Catcher

6/15 UPDATE

On the last day of the 2017-18 International Signing Period (ISP), the Cubs have signed their 46th IFA: 

RHP Luis Marte  

NOTE: See updated list in original post below. 

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6/13 UPDATE

With just two days left in the 2017-18 International Signing Period, the Cubs have signed their 45th IFA: 

RHP Alberto Sojo  

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6/5 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed two more IFA (the 43rd & 44th they have signed so far in the 2017-18 ISP): 

INF Augusto Acevedo 
C Efren Aular

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5/14 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed two more International Free-Agents:

INF Christhian Espinal 
INF Pedro Martinez

So the Cubs have signed 42 IFA so far in the 2017-18 International Signing Period (ISP), including 19 from the Dominican Republic, nine from Mexico, nine from Venezuela, three from Cuba, one from Colombia, and one from Panama. 

Seven of the 42 (R. Garcia, Guerra, Mora, K. Moreno, Orta, Pertuz, and Verdugo) are presently at Cubs Extended Spring Training in Mesa (Pertuz and Verdugo also attended post-2017 AZ Instructs in Mesa), while the other 35 are attending Spring Training at the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica this month before making their pro debut in the DSL on June 2nd. (The seven 2017-18 IFA at Cubs EXST in Mesa are competing for jobs at Eugene or with one of the two AZL Cubs teams, but it's just as possible that one or more of the seven could be sent to the DSL if the Cubs believe the player is not yet ready for more-advanced competition in the U. S.).  

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5/4 UPDATE
:

The Cubs have signed three more International Free-Agents:

C Pablo Aliendo
OF Rafael Herrera
C Malcom Quintero


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4/26 UPDATE
:

The Cubs have signed 18-year old Dominican INF Flemin Bautista.   

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3/24 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed three more International Free-Agents (IFA):  

LHP Jesus Gomez
RHP Andy Hernandez
INF Juan Mora

All three are 18 years old.   

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2/16 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed three more International Free-Agents (IFA), and all three have been assigned to the AZL Cubs (see updated list in original post below). 

Among the signings is 21-year old (turns 22 next month) RHSP . He reportedly received a $10,000 signing bonus.

A veteran of Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league), Orta defected from Cuba two years ago and hasn't pitched competitively since, but he was rated by Francys Romero (oncuba.com) going into the 2015-16 season.  

This brings the total number of IFA signed by the Cubs in the 2017-18 International Signing Period (ISP) to 33. 

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2/15 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed 17-year old Cuban OF-3B to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to the AZL Cubs. Moreno says Kris Bryant is his favorite player, and the Cubs are his father's favorite MLB team. 

Moreno was not selected to play on the Federacion Cubana de Beisbol 16U or 18U Junior National teams and he has not played in Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league), either, so not much is known about him.

Unlike other Cubans signed by MLB clubs over the years, Moreno is - NOT - a defector. He will be coming to the U. S. on an H2B work visa (just like other international players who reside in foreign countries). But because the U. S. embassy in Havana stopped processing visas last summer, Cubans who wish to obtain a travel or work visa to the U. S. must apply in person at the U. S. embassy in Bogata, Colombia.  

So just like their foray into Mexico over the past three or four years has produced some of the best young talent in their system, once again it appears the Cubs are ahead of the curve as far as "working the system" by scouting and signing younger Cubans who are not defectors before they become well-known from playing in international tournaments or in Serie Nacional. (At 17 years and eight months of age, Moreno is the second-youngest Cuban player ever signed by an MLB organization -- LHP Adrian Morejon signed with the San Diego Padres in 2016 when he was 17 years and five months old).    

Moreno is the second Cuban player signed by the Cubs during the 2017-18 International Signing Period (see ORIGINAL POST below).

The Cubs have now signed 30 International Free-Agents (IFA) since the start of the 2017-18 ISP on July 2nd (see UPDATED LIST below).  

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12/15 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed another International Free-Agent (IFA), bringing the number of IFA signed by the Cubs since the start of the 2017-18 International Signing Period (ISP) to 29 (see updated list in original post below)... 

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12/11 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed three more International Free-Agents (IFA), bringing the number of IFA signed by the Cubs since the start of the 2017-18 Internationaal Signing Period (ISP) to 28 (see updated list in original post below)... 

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10/28 ORIGINAL POST 

The Cubs have signed 20-year old Cuban catcher to a minor league contract. He will report to Minor League Camp in Mesa in 2018, and he possibly could receive an NRI to Spring Training (TBD).

Guerra played for Granma in Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league) in 2015 and 2016 before defecting, hitting 267/375/465 with six HR in 33 games (123 PA) for los Alamandas in 2016.

Including Guerra, the Cubs have signed 25 International Free-Agents (IFA) so far since the start of the 2017-18 International Signing Period (ISP) on July 2nd (see list below): 

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INTERNATIONAL FREE-AGENTS SIGNED BY CUBS IN 2017-18 INTERNATIONAL SIGNING PERIOD 

LAST UPDATED 6-15-2018

* throws or bats left 
# bats both 

NOTE: Player's listed age is his age when he signed. 

PITCHERS: 19 
Willy Cabrera (age 17) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'3 210 - SIGNED JULY 2017 
* Alejandro Carrillo (age 17) - MEXICO - 5'10 168 - SIGNED JULY 2017
Luis Devers (age 17) - DOMINICAN REPBLIC - 6'3 178 - SIGNED JULY 2017
Moises Diaz (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'0 195 - SIGNED DECEMBER 2017
Manuel Espinoza (age 16) - MEXICO - 6'0 175 - SIGNED JULY 2017 
Kelvin Feliz (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'1 164 - SIGNED JULY 2017
Francisco Fermin (age 19) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'4 175 - SIGNED DECEMBER 2017
* Misael Garcia (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 196 - SIGNED JULY 2017
* Jesus Gomez (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 190 - SIGNED MARCH 2018
Andy Hernandez (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'1 178 - SIGNED MARCH 2018
* Johan Lopez (age 19) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'6 200 - SIGNED FEBRUARY 2018
Luis Marte, RHP (age 17) - NFI available - SIGNED JUNE 2018
Raidel Orta (age 21) - CUBA - 5'9 180 - SIGNED FEBRUARY 2018
Luis Ramos (age 19) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'5 205 - SIGNED DECEMBER 2017
Jorge Remon (age 16) - PANAMA - 6'2 160 - SIGNED JULY 2017
* Luis Rodriguez (age 17) - MEXICO - 6'1 190 - SIGNED JULY 2017
Florencio Serrano Jr (age 17) - MEXICO - 6'0 175 - SIGNED JULY 2017
Alberto Sojo, RHP (age 17) - NFI available - SIGNED JUNE 2018
* Saul Vazquez (age 17) - MEXICO - 6'1 178 - SIGNED JULY 2017

CATCHERS: 6
Efren Aular (age 18) - VENEZUELA - 6'1 199 - SIGNED JUNE 2018
Pablo Aliendo (age 16) - VENEZUELA - 6'0 155 - SIGNED MAY 2018
Alexander Guerra (age 20) - CUBA - 5'11 240 - SIGNED SEPTEMBER 2017
Miguel Fabrizio (age 16) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 178 - SIGNED AUGUST 2017
Brayan Mancilla (age 18) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 185 - SIGNED DECEMBER 2017
Malcom Quintero (age 17) - VENEZUELA - 6'0 165 - SIGNED MAY 2018

INFIELDERS: 11 
Augusto Acevedo (age 17) - NFI available - SIGNED JUNE 2018
# Flemin Bautista (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'10 170 - SIGNED APRIL 2018 
Christhian Espinal (age 17) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 180 - SIGNED MAY 2018
# Reivaj Garcia (age 16) - MEXICO - 5'11 175 - SIGNED AUGUST 2017
Nestor Heredia (age 16) - VENEZUELA - 6'1 179 - SIGNED OCTOBER 2017
Widimer Joaquin (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 180 - SIGNED JULY 2017 
# Pedro Martinez (age 17) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 165 - SIGNED MAY 2018
Juan Mora (age 18) - MEXICO - 5'9 176 - SIGNED MARCH 2018
Fabian Pertuz (age 16 ) - COLOMBIA - 6'0 156 - SIGNED AUGUST 2017
Luis Verdugo (age 16) - MEXICO - 6'0 172 - SIGNED JULY 2017
* Orlando Zapata (age 18) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 160 - SIGNED OCTOBER 2017

OUTFIELDERS: 10
# Josue Fernandez (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'3 180 - SIGNED FEBRUARY 2018 
Rafael Herrera (age 17) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 170 - SIGNED MAY 2018
Kelvin Hidalgo (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'3 190 - SIGNED SEPTEMBER 2017
* Kevin Miranda (age 17) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 168 - SIGNED AUGUST 2017
Kevin Moreno (age 17) - CUBA - 6'2 180- SIGNED FEBRUARY 2018
Carlos Morfa (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 190 - SIGNED AUGUST 2017
* Alexander Ovalles (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'0 190 - SIGNED JULY 2017
* Brailin Pena (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 160 - SIGNED JULY 2017
Jonathan Rodriguez (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 190 - SIGNED JULY 2017
* Marco Valenzuela (age 17) - MEXICO - 6'1 170 - SIGNED JULY 2017

All of the IFA were "Signed for Future Service" (meaning they signed 2018 contracts).


Pertuz and Verdugo attended AZ Instructs in Mesa post-2017. The others will be making their pro debut in 2018.
 

Comments

The Cubs have released pitchers Moises Ramirez, Juan Rengifo, Luis Severino, and Deibi Torres, and OF Moises Colasante. All had been on DSL Cubs reserve lists but none of them played in 2017.

Hmmm..AJ Hinch sticking with pitches who are pitching well. Hope that's a start of a trend.

I have only learned about four things in watching 50+ years of baseball. One of those is if you keep running different pitchers out there, sooner or later you will find the one who sucks today.

Anthony Rizzo wins the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award 

link 

Rizzo sometimes reminds me of Jim Thome. Thome hit over 600 home runs without, I don't recall, being accused of juicing. I looked the other day, and in homers, Rizzo is right where Thome was at the same age.

Great comp; to a certain degree, Rizzo even has a similar swing to Thome, with that "lean-back" approach and pull-first swing, yet with nice power to left-center field. Similar OBP skills, both are/were league-leading HBP guys with their crowding the plate stance, and both super-nice guys. Rizzo wins on defense and wheels, but Thome wins on raw power and is a certain 1st ballot HOF-er, so Anthony has his work cut out for him. Seems weird in hindsight to recall that Thome first arrived as a 3B! That didn't last long....

Given these 25 players have signed during the 2017/18 signing period, I’m unclear the impact of signing them to 2018 contracts. I assume, this means that these affected players all first report to the Cubs’ training facility sometime next year and that their “clocks” start next year as opposed to 2017, correct?

"According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Jerry Hairston Jr. seems to be in the mix to the Yankees' managerial vacancy." wut? dude's never even coached, much less managed...and this is the yanks we're talking about. a'ite.

kevin towers has cancer? aj hinch held up a sign for him during the mass-sign-holding "stand up for cancer" thing they do every year? maybe it's another kevin towers? *shrug*

"While it doesn't appear that Towers' battle with cancer has been made public, some close to baseball, including ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, seem to have known." damn. no word on what it is or the severity.

Congrats to Anthony Rizzo for winning the Roberto Clemente Award. Noone could be more deserving. I had forgotten that Rick Sulcliffe and also Sammy Sosa were past winners.

I live in Texas and had a friend with an extra ticket to Game 3 in Houston when the award was presented. Great video board piece about both Clemente and Rizzo. Very respectful response from Astros fans before they went back to their minor league gimics like shooting t-shirts from an air gun, having scantily clad girls throw things from on top the dug out, mascot shenigans, kiss cams, flex cams, dance cams, make some noise, everybody clap your hands and the such. Forgotten how much a game at Minute Maid, even a World Series game, is like going to a really big minor league event. Regardless, a well deserved honor, congrats to Rizzo.

Davey Martinez new Nats manager, 3 yr deal. I wonder if Butterfield becomes new bench coach and they get another for the baselines

it's stupid for WAS to sign a 3 year deal with any manager when they're gonna fire him after 2 years. whatever...their money.

Brandon Hyde moves from 1st base coach to bench coach (replacing Dave Martinez).

No word yet on who the new 1st base coach will be, but if the Cubs go in-house, it could be Minor League Outfield, Baserunning & Bunting Coordinator Doug Dascenzo.

Before Joe Maddon was hired post-2014, Hyde was Rick Renteria's Bench Coach and Dascenzo was hired to be the new 1st base coach, but Martinez came with Maddon as Bench Coach, Hyde was moved from Bench Coach to 1st base coach, and Dascenzo got the Minor League Coordinator gig.

I have seen Doug Dascenzo in action as an Outfield, Baserunning, and Bunting Coach with Cubs minor leaguers over the past three seasons, and I can tell you that he is knowledgeable, he is a hard worker, and he's a good communicator. 

a smart hard worker with good communication skills is nice and all, but the biggest role of being a good 1st base coach is proper congratulatory ass slapping skills. i'm gonna need to watch some tape.

Is he new school or old school regarding the launch angle of said congratulatory ass slapping skills? Also need to review how well he can shout "back".

this dude is asking the important questions over here.

If Doug Dascenzo were to become the new Cubs 1st base coach, I would think his actual primary duties would be outfield coach (where he would work with the younger guys on becoming better outfielders in terms of reading line drives off the bat and tracking fly balls, more-efficient route running, how best to get set-up to throw, and knowing the baserunning tendencies of the opposition and going over video of opponents pre-game with the outfielders), baserunning from 1st base (identifying the mechanics of the opposing pitchers by use of pre-game video work as far as each pitchers move to 1st base is concerned, and analyzing "pop" times and throwing tendencies of the opponent's catcher including propensity to try and pick-off runners at 1st), and bunting (mainly with the pitchers, but also with position players to help them take better advantage of extreme infield defense shifts).

So ass-slapping, hooting & hollering, collecting body armor when players get on base, and throwing baseballs to kids sitting behind the 1st base dugout would be a bit further down the list, although obviously that stuff is VERY important. 

How congratulatory can you be after a guy gets a walk or a single? Remind them to hustle on the home-run trot; and never, ever fail to warn the baserunner when the first baseman is hiding the ball.

Trubisky -- like the feet, not so much the arm. Lots of inaccurate and underthrown balls. I realize he doesn't have much to work with at receiver, but he misfired on a lot of throws today. FG -- Since the Bears cut Robbie Gould, he has made 26 of 27 FGs. However, he is only 29/33 in PATs.

Hmmm...Idk - you saw the Zach Miller throw? You think Giraffe-Man makes that? He has NO RECEIVERS. Except little Cohen. That's it. I am not defending him - but he is a true rookie that didn't even play much college ball. Kyle Fuller cost the team 4 points that also made a difference, as well as crap ass Red Zone coaching decisions. He and the two running backs are the only things worth watching - and Akeem Hicks, maybe.

Definitely some nice throws, but some very poor ones as well. The swing pass to Howard should have been a walk-in TD, but he threw it behind him. He seemed to underthrow most of the downfield passes. He is clearly the better alternative, and has little to work with (other than an excellent ground game), and I get the rookie thing, but I have been underwhelmed so far. Would rather they picked Deshaun Watson and kept the picks. But, whatever -- it's the NFL -- it's all about the injuries.

Yeah I get it. I don't know why they didn't pick DeShaun Watson either actually. So mobile and a very good arm. The ego that goes with the "GM" title in all sports makes them do odd things. The talent eval on Glennon, and choosing to pay the placeholder QB $18FUCKING MILLION, is a total head scratcher. So, with that as a basis, the Trubisky pick gives me little confidence now.

He should be judged on the fact he was the 2nd overall pick that we traded multiple picks just to get just like Floyd should be judged on the fact he was the 9th overall pick and both are lacking in that comparison to me. Yes he's better than Glennon but that's damning with faint praise and Glennon was always a terrible fit for this team (statue and slow judgement playing behind bad pass blocking). He has some talent and the ability to scramble is nice but this team has so many holes and I'm sure Fox's position isn't super solid so I still don't think the 2nd overall pick for a player who is going to take quite a while to get NFL ready was ever a good idea.

...and Watson just set the record for most TD passes in the first 7 career games.

Vascular surgeons trying to save Zach Miller's left leg link

man...this world series has been hype so far. lots of ups/downs.

MY GAWD. altuve is f'n awesome.

He hit about 4 rockets in a row. The first few went foul. He simply would not be denied. That was fantastic. Keuchel and Kershaw start... and it's 7-7 after 5. Baseball, man.

this game in particular is shaping up to be an "all time" WS great game no matter who wins. big leads gained and lost. small leads gained and lost. wow.

totally one of the all-time great post-season games...no doubt.

Something is definitely up with the baseballs -- nobody has any command of a slider.

...and the Kershaw playoff narrative rears its head and says "Hi Guys! Remember Me?"

Mistake by Roberts to go to Maeda. He threw 42 pitches 2 days ago and had no command of his pitches tonight.

gabe "he's in the weight room" kapler to be named next phillies manager. neat.

Cubs' bullpen please take one -- Kenley Jansen throws strikes. Lots of 'em. And he's, like, really good.

Last day as World Champs. We will be back. Go Cubs.

Where was this version of Darvish when we needed him?

Big Game Kershaw going strong tonight.

Bullpenning with starters. Oh game 7s. This can still get interesting.

Through 5: Dodgers 0-9 w/RISP and have left 8 men on. Feels vaguely familiar...

Yeah, I kept waiting for Houston to run out of effective bullpen arms but they managed to squeak through without having to go to the guys with World Series ERAs over 10.00.

...and that's that. nice for HOU to snag this one. game 5 was a masterpiece. is it march yet?

Game 2 wasn't too shabby either.

Putting logs into the potbelly stove... Welcome to the offseason

*throws some "jason heyward working on a new batting approach" logs on the fire* toasty.

Man this lineup sucks.

The World Series Champion Houston Astros will be re-configuring their Scouting Department in 2018.

In most areas of the country, pro scouting will be combined with amateur scouting, with the same scout doing both, and with the Astros relying more-heavily on video and Statcast-type measurable analytics for the pro scouting side. This should allow the Astros to cut costs in their Scouting Department, both in terms of the actual number of scouts employed, but also in scouting support costs (lodging, meals, gas, et al).

The scouting standard throughout MLB just about forever has been to divide an organization's scouting department into three divisions: Pro Scouting (MLB, minor league, and unaffiliated independent leagues), Amateur Scouting (ollege and HS), and International Scouting (Latin America, Pacific Rim, and Europe). The Cubs (for example) just about doubled their pro scouting staff after Epstein-Hoyer-McLeod took over 2011, in an attempt to compile a current up-to-date "book" on every player in pro ball (the Hendry regime had relied more-heavily on Special Assignment scouts who would be dispatched to watch a particular player or players, and on first-hand observations from their own minor league managers and coaches).

So the Astros will be taking a different road than the other 29 clubs, relying less on the human factor (boots on the ground) for pro scouting and more on 21st century technology that can be reviewed by a much smaller number of scouts who could be physically located anywhere.

It will be interesting to see if any other clubs follow suit, especially those that have invested heavily in technology.

The Cardinals could just use the Astros technogy, password: World Series 17

Pretty amazing that in the era of The Bullpen, and the huge contracts given to closers, the Astros won the freaking World Series without one.

TB to offer cobb a QO. that's 17.4m this season. he's also allegedly TEX's #1 target this offseason...and on many other team's wish lists. this isn't gonna be easy...and probably not a bargain. he just turned 30 last month, fwiw. also, his career high in a season's IP (minors+majors) is 179.1ip last year. he's had a couple other 170+ IP seasons along with that one, but those last 30+ip seem to be hard to come by.

Hopefully he signs elsewhere. I’ve never been a fan of Cobb, personally. He’s fine, but not really four years 70 million dollars and loss of a draft pick quality.

I don't see many of the major names as being a much better than 30/70 shot of outperforming the contract they sign. Mikolas, on the other hand, might be.

I would put Chatwood potentially in that camp too

Have to see what he gets, first. At least you aren't arguing the premise.

Of course it’s a wait and see with him too. I very much think getting away from Coors is going to be an enormous benefit for him, given his splits home vs road

My first thought is that he signs that Q.O., but 1. maybe I'm significantly underestimating the demand for his services or 2. maybe he'll be lured elsewhere for less $ per year but more overall security.

if i was a dude that's never had a full/healthy season in the majors or minors and i was 30 years old...i would do that years/security route. this offseason he could pull in 16-20m a season multi-year and set his family for life.

TIM: The Cubs did have $930K left in their 2017-18 International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) through November, but that was before they signed M. Diaz, Fermin, L. Ramos, and Mancilla.

Unless the signing bonus received by the player was $10,000 or less, the Cubs ISBP has been reduced somewhat from what it was going into December. (For example, M. Diaz is 16 years old, so I doubt very much that he signed for $10,000 or less).

If I find out what the updated Cubs 2017-18 ISBP is I will post it here.

Odd that they're still getting international talent of their choice, not the guys from the Braves. Thanks to you and the club for keeping us apprised.

Hector Rondon signs w Astros 2/8.5 I’ll miss the walk in from the bullpen music but not the 3 run HRs

As the Cubs add pieces and line 'em up against last year, it's hard to try to compare to the 2017 team: first-half team played to a 80-win pace, the second-half team played at a 104 win pace. I think the big differences were: added Q, and better Schwarber, Jake and Hendricks. Also, the first half schedule was more difficult: Red Sox, NYY, plus both LAD and COL series -- Cubs went 4-14 in those games. Second half had Orioles, White Sox and both ATL series -- Cubs went 12-2 in those games.

The combination of those two things is roughly 92 wins. FanGraphs has the 2018 Cubs projected for 93 wins. That's tied for second in baseball with the Dodgers and Indians, and they're probably going to add another good starting pitcher, another catcher, and probably another relief pitcher. I think it's probably a push right now, but I'm a little more bullish on 2018.

"Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that the Braves have acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Charlie Culberson and cash considerations in exchange for outfielder Matt Kemp." braves plan to DFA agonz...dodgers plan to attempt to trade kemp. a few years ago this would have been a "woah!" trade. i wonder who the dodgers are trying to clear up payroll for.

They want to be below the luxury tax threshold in 2018 to reset their tax penalty. Basically sacrificed McCarthy to save a ton of tax money.

And Culbertson.

"Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago hears the Cubs are showing interest in free agent Yu Darvish."

Addy for Machado, where did this come from? Maybe it's just me--and admittedly, I'm discouraged with Russell's progress at the plate--but is Machado really THAT good? He's very young, I get it, but I'm only seeing 2 seasons with an OPS+ over 110.

That one smacks of clickbait speculation. Jesse Rogers is doing a way glitzier version of AZ Phil's suggestion earlier in the offseason that the Cubs could/should trade for Yelich (which I find way more plausible).

AZ Phil knows a hell of a lot more than Jesse Rogers.

Addy for Archer or Addy for Machado. ? No guarantee Machado resigns with CHC. Resign Machado. Sign Harper. That's a holy cow lineup. Schwarber Bryant Harper Machado Rizzo Contreras Happ/Heyward in CF Baez Dang Money buys Happiness!!!!

"Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Alex Cobb's asking price of "about $20 million per year" has "lowered the temperature" on the Cubs' interest." lester/hendricks/Q/chatwood/??? it would be nice if they could snag someone to move that ??? up higher than a 5-slot talent.

If Wade's' price comes down -- sign him, move Monty to the rotation, and hope for some Aug/Sep. innings out of Smyly or one of the Iowa guys. Cobb (or his agent) clearly understands basic economics -- there's Jake/Yu at $25K, then him/Lynn at the next level. I think that's basically it for SP. I always thought it was odd that people thought he wouldn't get $18M+, given the minimal supply and strong demand for starting pitching.

i was expecting 16-20m, myself. i like cobb, but since he's most likely going to get a lot of years and seems to have an issue getting beyond 170 innings a year (even when you include minors+majors full season workloads) it gives me pause. that said, they have the f'n money and if it's not invested in giving the team an expected advantage with a high(ish) end pickup they will hopefully extend someone worth keeping around.

For reasons described in the last Moshe W. post, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of conversations during spring training to try to make contracts with most of the following: Bryant, Russell, Hendricks, Baez, Schwarber, and Edwards. Maybe Happ and Contreras to boot. Maybe a few of those guys are willing to sell some free agent years, but young guys seem to be wiser about not doing those deals now. If the Cubs decide that Darvish is a better target than any of the other free agent pitchers this winter, free agent pitchers next winter, or pitchers they can trade for right now, they'll do it. And based on today's report, that might actually be happening.

Weekly Bears snark -- went out for dinner at a place showing the 49ers game. Garrapolo leads them on a last-minute game-winning drive, with good decisions and accurate throws, and Robbie Gould boots the game-winner from 45 yards in the last few seconds. He also was good from 48 and 50 earlier in Q4. Also, watched the Panthers-Packers game -- nice to see Julius Peppers and Greg Olsen still making big plays. If only the Bears could get players like that -- oh, wait. Meanwhile, the Bears clinched their 4th straight season with 10+ losses. What an absolute turd of a franchise.

You're forgetting how the Cubs rebuilt, BB. First they traded all the veterans. What's the point of having high-priced talent on a team that is mostly still in diapers? The Bulls are getting interesting. Would they be better with Butler and Wade and Rondo? There's only one ball.

Oh, I remember the Cubs model, and I remember watching the progress. They tanked and got Rizzo, Hendricks, Strop, Russell, KB, Schwarber, Almora, Happ, Maddon, etc. Harder to do in the NFL, because there aren't as many trades and there aren't many "prospects" and you need so much depth. The Bulls would clearly be more competitive with the 3 Alphas (they had the Celtics on the ropes last year before Rondo got hurt), but it's not like either that group or this one was on a path to contend for a title. You really believe Niko has suddenly become a great player? Sadly, the Bulls probably do. Bears have been terrible for 4 years in a row, and what do they have to show for it? They will fire yet another coach and reboot the whole process all over again, while top picks Kevin White (drafted with a steel rod in his leg) and Kyle Long (also drafted with an injury history) sit on the sidelines and the revolving-door kicker process continues. Given that most NFL games are decided by less than a touchdown, kickers matter. I don't think the Bears tanked on purpose and made bad draft picks and bad free agent signings in order to lose more games -- I just think they are lousy at talent evaluation. Even without any injuries, who was going to be their top WR this year? And, I agree the Bulls are getting more interesting, which is nice, but which player on this team is of championship caliber? Who of them would even get decent minutes on a good team? Sorry for the blah-blah-blah -- getting stale waiting for more pitchers to show up.

Cubs lost as part of a plan to become good enough to win the World Series. Bears lose as part of a plan to become good enough to fill Soldier Field. How I see it.

I feel like the Bears have a QB, God's in his heaven and all's right with the world. Seriously. Only good things can come of the Bears having a QB with arm, foot and head skills for the first time in my long career of Bear-watching. I've seen running backs, linebackers, a defensive lineman or two, back-to-back hall-of-fame draft picks, a thousand-yard-rushing lefty QB, Devin Hester, a big rangy free safety who thinks he was a hall-of-fame middle linebacker, and a great tight end turned special-teams coach turned improbable head coach--I've seen a lot of things with the Bears, but never a quarterback. (McMahon doesn't count.) Even when the Bears won a championship in 1963, the quarterback was a joke, and I was old enough to get it.

Because I'm still waiting for more pitching and cranky about it -- the Bears had zero players named to the Pro Bowl. Hicks will probably make it eventually, because the Pro Bowl is an absolute joke, where tons of players don't go because either their team is in the Super Bowl or they are injured or they don't feel like playing a meaningless game after a brutal, crippling, life-shortening season. - In 2016, 86 players were voted to the Pro Bowl -- and 47 of 'em didn't play. Last year, 37 didn't play. - Last year, of the 6 QBs named to the Pro Bowl, 5 didn't play. Said another way, 11 QBs were "Pro Bowlers" last year -- more than one-third of NFL teams had a "Pro Bowl" QB. 6 RBs were named -- 4 didn't play. Why do they bother to play the game? Just name the team and move on. Hey, what time and what channel?

Travis Wood DFA in San Diego. Are we interested? Think he make 8 mill.

not only was he DFA'd, but KC is picking up 100% of his 2018 salary so he's essentially "free" next season. that's a cold ass DFA. understandable, though...he was epic awful in KC and SD.

League minimum once he gets released.

If Travis Wood isn't traded or claimed off waivers before being released, I would think the Cubs would be very interested in bringing him back on a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training. And given Wood's success with the Cubs, I would think he would be excited to come back to Chicago if he is given the opportunity. As Tim mentioned, if Wood is released, the club that subsequently signs him would only be on the hook for the MLB minimum salary ($555K in 2018), and that's only if he's on the MLB 40-man roster.

"Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports that Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer are in Dallas on Monday and their "likely destination" is a meeting with Yu Darvish."

"Yu Darvish confirmed on Twitter that he met with the Cubs in Dallas on Monday. Darvish noted that he spoke English during the 3 1/2 hour meeting and didn't use an interpreter." it's worth noting that the market for darvish is red hot and darvish disclosing all of this detail could be an effort to boost his value in $$ and/or years rather than a sign he's close to being a cub.

Message to Cobb also. I felt that how publicly Cubs brass let it be known they were getting on a plane and meeting with Darvish to be a signal to Cobb that they were willing to walk away from the table. If Chicago was Cobb's preferred destination, it's a wake up call that maybe $20 mil per year was an overreach.

"I want to compete every year of my contract." Means...... "Show me the d****d money."

Are all three Cubans?

HAGSAG: As far as I know, the only three Cuban IFA signed by the Cubs in the 2017-18 ISP are Guerra, Moreno, and Orta. I'll let you know if I find out something different.

Marketing genius! Cubs host the Indians May 22, and the promotional give-away is a Cubs umbrella. Just in case there's......a rain delay.

they should give away sunscreen on the same promotion...

"Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that Shohei Ohtani will be available to both pinch-hit and pinch-run on the days that he isn't starting." neat. i still wish he was going to see more actual playing time to see how his bat is with regular use.

j.odorizzi traded to the twins. damn. arrietta/cobb/lynn lose a suitor.

The Jake show is really getting interesting. He could actually start the season unsigned.

e.hosmer finds a home in SD...for some reason. that seems like a stupid place for them to tie up serious loot. wil myers will get to go back to being a cruddy corner OF'r rather than being a cruddy 1st baseman.

Anyplace other than the Cardinals is fine by me. Thought Hoz would be a good fit there. Padres must value his leadership. Hosmer has been through the transition from rebuild to championship before.

jd martinez/BOS is done...5/110m front-loaded. 25m for the first 2 years, 22m the 3rd...player opt-out after years 2 and 3. this new normal is weird.

Opt-outs are the new no-trade clauses. Great for the player, not so much for the team.

it seems the trade-off is a decreased $$ burden on the team if the player ends up sucking worse than expected and sticks around for the full contract...at least with the darvish and jd martinez contracts. i'm really interested to see what arrietta/cobb/lynn will snag. ST games start this friday.

Although, for cap purposes, I think (?) it's the average value of the contract over the life of the deal. But, yeah, from a cash flow perspective, the player is paid less for his older years than his younger ones, which makes economic sense.

the total contract $$ dollars for the bulk of the deals seem to be depressed on these deals vs trends of the past many years. darvish getting 6/128 with incentives only kicking in if he wins cy young awards and his opt out after the second season... jd martinez getting 2/50 or 3/72 before his opt outs with his last 2 seasons "only" being 19m each... hosmer signing an 8 year deal for 144m with 105m coming in the first 5 seasons before his opt-out (21m in his first 5 years vs 13m in the last 3 years)... as a fan, i'm loving it. even if darvish leaves town (which, if things work out as planned by darvish will happen after 2 years), the cubs picked up the best FA starter on the market for 2/45m. that's insane given the recent past of FA signings.

Here's a crazy one. Dyson goes to the DBacks for $7.5M total for two seasons. If the Cubs aren't 100% sure on Almora, they probably should have been in at that price (strong-side CF platoon split and an insurance policy on losing Schwarber or Heyward).

I think the Cubs are high on both Almora and Happ. Got to remember that Almora was Theo's first #1 pick. Even the most analytical FO person feels connections. And Happ -- switch-hitter with power and speed who had a good amount of MLB success last year despite coming up at age 22 and having just over 100 PA's at AAA and only a half-year at AA before that.

Phil, I know you've discussed this before, but I'm going to Sloan for my first ever ST game next week. I want to arrive early and catch some back field action. What would be a good time to arrive at the complex?

JOHN B: The Cactus League games start this Friday so the workout schedule for the MLB squad will change from what it is now. If it's a home game and you get there by 11:00 you can probably catch pre-game BP on Field #1 and sometimes Field #2. If the Cubs are playing a road game they will take BP at about 9:30 or 10:00 depending on whether the game is on the east-side or west-side of town. Workout times on the quad fields west of the clubhouse will vary starting this weekend. Some minor leaguers will be there, but minor league camp doesn't officially open for another couple of weeks. And everything is unofficial and subject to change.

Thanks for the tips! I'll be there Tuesday and am going to try to arrive early to watch some work on the quads.

"Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Wednesday that Javier Baez will have to show a better approach at the plate to earn more playing time." maddon wants to see him use more of the field when hitting and walk more (hahaha, good luck). at least he should start at 2nd/SS for pretty much every chatwood start...so he's got that going for him.

Yeah. Because who needs Gold Glove defense, 25-30 HR and an .800 OPS from your everyday second baseman. Baez had the second highest OPS of any 2B in then NL last year (behind Murphy). Let's get Zobrist in there! And so it begins....

hopefully it's just maddon motivating baez in a way he thinks baez will respond. i could do without 500+PA of zobrist unless he rediscovers a bit of his older quality play in the field and at the plate.

AZ PHIL: What can you tell us about Michael Roth, opening day pitcher? And, I’m guessing he’s no relation to David Lee Roth...

E-MAN: Michael Roth was the 9th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels out of the U. of South Carolina in 2012, receiving a very much "underslot" $20,000 bonus as a 22-year old college senior after leading the Gamecocks to back-to-back College World Series Championships in 2010 (as a sophomore) and 2011 (as a junior). A polished "high floor/low ceiling" crafty lefty who features a mid-80's cutter, a plus-change, a slow curve, and a funky delivery with varying arm angles, Roth was rated the Angels #30 prospect by Baseball America after his 2012 pro debut. And he didn't need much time in the minors before making his MLB debut, either, reaching the big leagues a scant nine months after signing with the Halos. He has subsequently spent parts of three seasons in MLB (23 games - 36 IP - 0+099 MLB Service Time) with the Angels (2013-14) and the Texas Rangers (2016), working mostly out of the bullpen to an ugly 8.50 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, and .337 OppBA, while struggling (unsuccesfully, so far) to establish himself at the big league level. The 6'1 210 lefty "swingman" split the 2017 season between Sacramento (Giants AAA affiliate) and Durham (Rays AAA affiliate), going a combined 6-8 with a 4.84 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, a .301 OppBA, and 29/79 BB/K in 111.2 IP (25 games - 20 GS). His best year in the minors was at Round Rock (Rangers AAA affiliate) in 2015, when he posted an 11-5 record with an impressive 2.97 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .252 OppBA, and 42/94 BB/K in 145.1 IP (28 games - 23 GS). Roth has spent considerable time in his six-year pro career on MLB 40-man rosters, and he is out of minor league options. He also has been outrighted previously in his career (three times to be exact), so he has the right to elect free-agency if he were to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster at some point in 2018 and then is subsequently sent outright to the minors. So he really isn't built for the "Des Moines - Chicago shuttle." Probably more like AAA depth with a possibility of a late-season call-up if he pitches "lights-out" at Iowa.

Thanks PHIL: With this being the situation, are the motivations to see if a miracle presents itself and he does pitch "lights out" in the long odds he makes the team (I keep thinking of Casey Kelly), or allowing Hickey to see if he can "fix him", or does the team owe a favor to his agent?

Might be an option for the last spot in the pen as a long man/swing starter. Back before they landed Darvish and there was a chance Montgomery was the 5th starter there was probably more interest in Roth as emergency rotation depth if someone went down in ST.

"Back before they landed Darvish and there was a chance Montgomery was the 5th starter" Those were dark days and I do not thank you for reminding me of them

we knew someone was coming to help...we just didn't know if it would be darvish, cobb, lynn, arrieta, or some mystery trade. at least i don't think too many thought the cubs wouldn't add another top pitcher. it took a while, but it still seemed inevitable. they ended up getting the (assumed) best FA. swank.

AZ PHIL, when do the minor leaguers report? Thanks.

HAGSAG: A number of minor leaguers are here now, but Minor League Camp doesn't officially open for a couple of weeks.

televised cubs game tomorrow vs brewers (MLB Network)...4pm EST, @MIL also, ohtani is pitching for ANA on saturday

AZ Phil - Spring training games begin tomorrow but I understand that a lot of the Cubs regulars will not see much game time until next week. Assuming you've seen their workouts, can you offer a sneak-peak or any observations from what you've seen so far, such as Schwarber's work in the outfield (any better?) or batting cage (power still self evident even with the weight loss). How about Addy Russell - he look about the same as last year or has he toned up a bit more? His arm looking strong? Any reps at 2B? Always look forward to seeing your spring training observations!

i think i speak for everyone when i say that we all look forward to seeing jason vosler, ryan court, and bijan rademacher rack up some ABs this spring. woo spring!

It's pretty bleak with respect to positional talent - at least at the upper levels of Cubs minor leaguers. When BA is discussing your system in the same breath as the Mariners ... there is work to be done. Can't sweat the details too much so long as the big league team is kicking ass.

ERIC S: This is my 41st Spring Training. My first one was in 1978, back when the Cubs were in Scottsdale. There are many Cubs fans who go back a lot further in Spring Training than I do, but It does make me feel old when I think about it. The main thing I've noticed so far is that Kyle Schwarber looks like a completely different human being. Other than his face, he doesn't look like the same guy. Whether that will have any impact on his hitting is unknown. You can't glean much from "live" BP because the hitters are still adjusting to facing pitchers and the pitchers aren't at their best. I really want to see Schwarber in Cactus League games hitting against MLB pitchers (especially as we get closer to Opening Day), running the bases, and playing defense in LF. Hitting is a separate issue altogether, but playing defense is to some extent a matter of effort and commitment, and Schwarber certainly has those attributes. So maybe being in top physical condition will end up helping him most with his defense. A lot of people think that Cactus League Spring Training games don't matter, but sometimes they do. There are basically five things that interest me in Spring Training games: 1. HEALTH - Is everybody healthy at the end of Spring Training? Are there any injuries? Somebody almost always gets hurt during the course of Spring Training (even if it's just a minor "tweak"), but staying clear of significant injuries is important to success once the regular season starts. It didn't happen in a game, but Ben Zobrist supposedly has a "back issue" right now and so he's not taking "live" BP. But otherwise everybody else appears to be OK (so far). 2. REHAB - For a player coming back from an injury, does he look like he's back to at least about where he was pre-injury? The Cubs really don't have anybody like that in big league camp. Drew Smyly is coming back from July 2017 TJS, but he's in the Rehab Program and he won't be doing anything noteworthy until Extended Spring Training. 3. ROSTER BATTLES - The only obvious position battle I can see right now is between Justin Grimm and Eddie Butler for the last spot on the pitching staff and - MAYBE - Tommy LaStella v. Peter Bourjos for the last bench spot. Grimm and Butler are out of minor league options, so that battle will be interesting to watch probably right up until the end of Spring Training. Of course there could be additional battles if there are significant injuries or trades, but right now it's probably just Grimm v. Butler and - MAYBE - Bourjos v. LaStella (depending on whether Maddon prefers a "4th OF" over a LH bat off the bench who can play 2B-3B). And if Zobrist isn't ready to start the season, both LaStella AND Bourjos could make the Cubs MLB Opening Day roster. 4. VETERAN MINOR LEAGUE NRI - This would be any veteran minor league free agent in camp who could get called up to Chicago later in the season. What does the player or pitcher have to offer in the event of an injury to a player on the 25? Does he fit anywhere? If so, where would he fit? For example, while Chris Gimenez is a virtual lock to be the back-up catcher, he still has to show he can play at a big league level. That's a question every year for veteran back-up guys. They need to prove in games that they can still play well enough to contribute. 5. YOUNG PLAYERS IN CAMP - These are mostly guys I've seen before in Minor League Camp or EXST or Instructs, but even though everybody knows the player has zero chance of making the Opening Day 25-man roster, it's always interesting to see how the player handles himself in Cactus League game action and also how he interacts with the coaches and veteran players in back-field workouts. Most young players mostly just try and stay ouf of the way in big league camp, but every now & then you might catch something interesting of note. I haven't seen anything real noteworthy so far, but I'm watching.

AZ PHIL: Isn't there a battle with Shae Simmons, Grimm, and Butler for the last spot? Have you seen Simmons much yet?

E-MAN: Unlike Justin Grimm and Eddie Butler, Shae Simmons has minor league options left, so I would think (barring an injury or a trade) Simmons will probably begin the season at AAA Iowa. Also, Simmons has thrown only 54 innings (combined) over the past three seasons, so he probably needs to go to AAA and prove he is able to handle the rigors of regular bullpen work before he gets called up to Chicago. I would expect Shae Simmons, Dillon Maples, and Dario Alvarez to probably be the "Big Three" late-inning relievers at Iowa at the start of the season.

Thanks, AZ Phil! Based on your list, hopefully there's no great upheaval this camp, particularly with respect to point #1 As always, very grateful for your being the eyes and ears of Cubs spring training for the TCR community!

Have to admit, this video of Schwarber taking a swing in bp looks encouraging https://twitter.com/cubs/status/9667776042869...

what was his off-season regimen? marlboro reds and meth? him and matt "not fat" adams must have the same personal trainer.

Looks like a video game version of Schwarbs. Dang.

I actually am in awe, plus have a tinge of envy. Then again, if he was sitting in front of a computer all day he would look different too...

Sheesh. That is a serious transformation. I'm not convinced it will change his game much--I especially hope he hasn't lost any power--but dude must have put in some serious work on his diet.

U.Minn vs MIN was awesome. great way to start the televised spring training game period. 1-1 game, early scoring, good pitching and D...bottom of the 9th walk-off wild pitch gives MIN the win. it shouldn't be this close vs a college team, but it was a good one to watch.

Happ CF Schwarber LF La Stella 3B Caratini C Navarro 1B Bote 2B Hannemann RF Zagunis DH Freeman SS aww yeah. baseball is back. also, holy fuuuuu...cubs spring training ticket prices. $20 to sit on the lawn in the OF...$28-$69 for the better seats. damn.

Remember: That money will go into signing Bryce Harper. Don't complain, 'bro.

is he willing to take a 7 year deal backloaded to 25 years of payout? also, would the marlins be willing to take on jason heyward in their quest to tank for rebuilding? this could work.

Yeah on the $$$ -- my son and I went to a game last spring at the new Astros/Red Sox complex in Florida. Got to see Sale pitch, which is something to see. Spectacular facility. The old guy (coming from me, that's saying something) in front of me in the ticket line was aghast at the prices and stormed off, ticketless. My guess was he had been going to spring games at the old facility and paid $10-$15 to watch spring training games in an old, somewhat run-down ballpark. I think baseball has figured out what the movie theaters have -- i.e. we're not going to get people who are concerned about price, so let's go high end and and charge for it.

i did spring training in Tucson, AZ in 2010...DBacks and Rockies home games...paid $7-$11 for tickets at a couple parks, good seats down the lines near the infield bases. i couldn't imagine paying $30+ for those same seats even if it's a hot-as-hell ticket. the really cruddy thing is the games have "dynamic pricing" depending on who they're playing and how popular sales have been. the same seat that's $30 one day can be $40 the next day. btw, this dynamic pricing thing could be the new normal. the dodgers are trying it out for regular season games this year and eyes are on them for how it goes and if there's any backlash. early ticket sales really shot up prices on high demand games such as vs SF and bobblehead promotion nights.

first day of "real" spring training games starting and arrieta, cobb, lynn, moosetacos, cargo, g.holland, l.morrison, j.jay, j.lucroy, a.lind, and s.smith are still FA's...just for a start.

4500 announced attendance. 4000+ of them seem to be cubs fans. crazy amount of empty seats considering the announced attendance, though. i wonder how many not-so-happy ticket resell brokers took a bath on this one.

cubs lose. blow up the team. trade everyone. screw this. lawyer up, delete facebook, and hit the gym.

I blame the loss on trump.

this is the only logical conclusion. cubs probably wont win for another 3 seasons. screw this, i'm gonna get into arena football.

Easy there, fellas. Remember it's a marathon, not a sprint. I'd suggest practicing some positive visualizations, make sure to get out in the sun and fresh air, maybe go half-cafs for a week or two, watch some cat videos.

matt "i'm matt f'n bush" bush will make his debut as a starter for TEX tomorrow...as he begins his attempt to transition from a successful reliever to a starter. what a weird career arc for the dude. also some dude named darvish will debut thursday for the cubs against the rockies.

For those of you who were not at today's game, here is some info on the Cubs pitchers: Eddie Butler: FB 92-93 T-94, couldn't command his CV, nibble, nibble, nibble, lots of 3-2 counts, looked like he was afraid to challenge hitters... Cory Mazzoni: FB 91-93 with sink, so-so off-speed stuff, supposedly is an extreme strike-thrower but he had difficulty throwing strikes... Luke Farrell: FB 89-90 and very mediocre... however CV was excellent and that's how he got his strikeouts.... Dillon Maples: FB 94-96 T-97... plus-SL... had some difficulty throwing strikes early in the count... Duane Underwood Jr: quick 8-pitch inning... threw strikes... worked fast... FB sat at 92... threw breaking ball for strikes... Alec Mills: FB: 89-90 T-91... so-so breaking ball... nibbled like Butler did (but not as much as Butler)... Oscar de la Cruz: FB 92-94... plus-slider... worked fast and got weak contact... got squeezed by home plate umpire on walk (started that AB 0-2 and then came back with sliders and breaking balls that fooled ump)...

quality stuff, thanks. guys are throwing hard, early. most of these guys have something to prove if they want to break with the team whether through sheer talent or injury replacement. please stay healthy de la cruz...

"For those of you who were not at today's game..." AZ Phil is in mid-season form with the subtle humor. Nice!

saturday...first cubs home ST game...radio-only, no TV. every day we stray further from god's light.

That felt so profound!

Spring training for the ump who might not be on the ump 25 man squad either

Watching Oscar de la Cruz pitch yesterday reminded me of what a stud he is when he's healthy. I would say no doubt Jose Albertos, Adbert Alzolay, and Oscar de la Cruz are the Cubs top three pitching prospects right now, and I'm not sure that de la Cruz isn't #1.

30 years old...hit 38 homers last season with a .353 ob%... lomo signs with the twins on a 1/6.5m contract with incentives that could make it a 2/16.5m deal. this is a weird off-season.

It's almost too bad the Cubs didn't have an outfield need this offseason. The Carlos Gomez deal was pretty cheap too. [On further review, LoMo's career numbers are way weaker than I remember. That outfield defense must be garbage.]

lomo is pretty much a 1st/DH and emergency corner OF at this point. still, lefty power hitter with a breakout season on a really short, low-$$ deal. awesome pickup for a small/mid-market team.

Wow -- he was predicted to get 3/$36M. Ouch.

this entire off-season hasn't been a market correction, it's been a market revolution. there's probably a lot of guys out there wishing they would have taken offered extensions from the past couple seasons after seeing what this off-season has become. tyler chatwood is probably happy he signed in early DEC rather than well into JAN/FEB. waiting very well could have cost him millions as the market slowed to a crawl.

I was thinking how much Cobb might be kicking himself over not taking an earlier Cub offer. Chatwood value signing turning out not to be such a value given the current market.

saturday and sunday without a televised game. yeah, it's very early in spring training, but wtf is this trash ass crap? c'mon...

a 3 hour and 58 minute february spring training game...a special kind of hell.

Think how AZ PHIL felt about that, too! If Butler and Grimm BOTH suck during ST, what then?! Do the Cubs simply pick the LEAST suck between them? Make deals before the season? Grimm would cost some money to let him walk, not so much with Butler...

could have been worse...could have been extra innings... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1Qu9-xS4Hg

Haha... had dinner plans, I guess?

mitch williams is...high strung. he no longer works for MLB network because he decided to go nuts at a little league game he was coaching. he sued MLB Network over the firing and won $1.5m over the firing, though.

cubs play 2 vs the rsox (in FL) monday/tuesday.  both games are televised, but the tuesday game is at 1pm eastern (boo).

day off wednesday for all teams...then it's opening day @FLA for the cubs on thursday (at 12:40 eastern...wtf...and boo).

It seems the Cubs have signed alot of IFA's this season.

HAGSAG: That's because of the second AZL Cubs team that will begin play in 2018. More players than is normally the case are getting promoted from the DSL to the AZL this year to fill the two AZL rosters, and so that means there will be a larger number of first-year Cubs players in the DSL this year than in years past (at least since the Cubs went to two DSL teams in 2008).

Bueno!

The Cubs have released 2017-18 IFA RHP Florencio Serrano Jr (Mexico). His contract may have been voided (I'm not sure of the circumstances). 

Phil, wasn’t Serrano a big money signing last Year?

AZBOBBOP: Baseball America rated SS Luis Verdugo and RHP Florencio Serrano Jr (both from Mexico) as the top two IFA prospects signed by the Cubs in the 2017-18 ISP.

Serrano's situation was unusual because he was born in the U. S. (Texas) but moved to Mexico to attend HS, which meant he was able to circumvent the MLB First-Year Player Draft and be eligible to sign as an IFA in July 2017 (a year before his U. S. HS class would have graduated).

Even though the MLB Commissioner's Office knew what Serrano did, there was no restriction placed on signing him as an IFA last July, but I don't know what might have transpired in the meantime that led to his being released.