The Cubs Trade Machine Rolls On

Lets see what a post on my iPhone looks like...apologies in advance.

So the Cubs have moved Scott Hairston and his 2-year deal and a player to be named later for RHP Ivan Pineyero and a player to be named later. Pineyero was good enough to be named to the South Atlantic All-Star team this year. Beyond that check out the comments in the earlier post or the wonderful powers of Google if you care to learn more. Suffice to say that since this involves Hairston, the players involved aren't going to be huge difference makers. The Cubs will pay some of Hairston's 2013 deal, but Nationals will take on his 2014 commitment.


I have mentioned here before (most recently when he was on a rehab assignment at Extended Spring Training) that I believe Junior Lake's future is as a RH platoon OF, and that he would (eventually) take Scott Hairston's slot on the 25-man roster.

While Donnie Murphy will probably (initially) take Hairston's spot on the 25-man roster. and while I do believe Lake needs more reps at Iowa, the Hairston trade (and his own performance at Iowa since returning from the DL) should accelerate Lake's ETA to the big leagues to September 1st at the latest.

Pineyro is a ranked prospect in a deep farm system (the Nationals' No. 27 entering the season, according to Baseball America) and he has pitched very well in his first year of full-season ball. Pineyro was a South Atlantic League All-Star before being promoted to high-A and has compiled a 3.24 ERA and 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings between those two stops.

The Pineyro capsule in Baseball America's Prospect Handbook points out how he bounced back from suffering a broken jaw on a line drive in extended spring training a year ago, saying the Nationals "rave about Pineyro's maturity and professionalism, and his quick arm is intriguing. His fastball velocity jumped to 90-94 last year. He has also a good feel for a changeup that projects as an average to plus pitch.''

From the Phil Rogers tweet in the sidebar...

Matt Loosen threw a no-hitter for Daytona today.


Loosen struggled to start the season at AA and was moved down to Daytona. Looking at his last 4 starts, it might be time to move him back to Tennessee: 27 IP, 9 H, 1 R/ER, 5 BB, 31 K

Link is in the sidebar, but 3 Cubs in BA's midseadon top 50.

10Javier BaezssCubs

Earlier this year became second Florida State Leaguer to hit four home runs in one game.

16Albert AlmoraofCubs

Missed first month with hamate injury, but has made up for lost time since returning.


18Jorge SolerofCubsWill miss two months with stress fracture in leg, but talent is too good to ignore.

Baseball America chat: Jack (Toronto): Where would Kris Bryant have ranked had he been eligible for the top 50 prospects list? Jim Callis: Personally, I'd take him over any of the Cubs prospects.

That's nice. Since he hasn't played pro ball yet, we haven't discovered the holes in his game. If he ends up a K-prone RF instead of a 3B, it would be hard to justify ranking him above Baez. I'm actually most confused by the adoration for Almora, who has been ranked by some ahead of Soler. I'm curious what they're seeing that I'm not. Seems to me Almora has a lot left to prove as a hitter, and he doesn't have any off-the-charts tools (like Baez does, for example) to justify the rankings.

Aren't his overall defensive skills exceptional?

I keep hearing that his instincts are great and allow him to make up for unexceptional speed. That doesn't exactly blow me away. I'll wait to jump on the band wagon until I see some more numbers from the minors in which he either hits for power consistently or takes some walks. Should admit here that I haven't seen him play, and that I've only seen Baez and Soler in the WGN spring training games.

I've seen him play (Almora) at Kane County. He has crazy-good contact skills, great balance at the plate and is a line-drive machine -- handles both hard stuff and breaking stuff well. He was one of the youngest guys on the field and looked like a man playing among boys. He also flashed a good glove and arm in the field (threw out a runner tagging up from third after a long run to grab a fly in right-center field) and showed great enthusiasm for playing. I'm sold on the guy after seeing him.

Sounds like actually seeing him play counts for a lot. Thanks, JoeP.

Just one thing to add about Almora's contact skills -- I saw him play in a double-header. 8 plate appearances, reached base 7 times and only swung and missed at ONE pitch out of all his plate appearances. On everything else he was able to either foul it off or drive it hard, mostly to left-center and right-center. He maintained good balance at the plate at all times -- and put the ball back up the middle on fastballs and off-speed stuff. Didn't get too far out in front or behind, no matter what the speed of the pitch. Faced four different pitchers, too.

That is some pretty cool scouting. Sounds like really good composure and instincts for this game.

per mlbtr...JH Tseng
18-year-old Taiwanese righty JenHo Tseng, ranked #29 on Jesse Sanchez's top 30 international prospect list for, is "known for his upright, quick delivery and a fastball that has reached 95 mph." The Cubs have emerged as the favorite for Tseng, tweets Sanchez, and he's expected to command at least $1.5MM. Assuming Eloy Jimenez's $2.8MM deal with the Cubs is finalized, and the Cubs add Tseng at around $1.5MM, they appear a lock to exceed their bonus pool by more than 10% even if they max it out by acquiring more pool space.

Well I guess if you're going to go max over the cap, you don't stop signing guys.

Given the trades to pick up signing space, that seems like it couldn't have been the original plan. Is there anything to stop the Cubs from trading away all of their international signing bonus slot money now that they know they are going to receive the max penalty anyway?

Probably the case, still no idea why they gave the Dodgers any. Saving $500k of major league payroll probably wasn't a priority, nor acquiring Guerrier.

I think the priority was just getting Marmol off the roster and seeing if they could get anything at all for him. I think he was becoming a morale killer.

CHARLIE: The Cubs can trade SBV slots, but if they do and they reach an overage that triggers a 75% or 100% tax on 2013-14 ISP bonus amounts that exceeded their adjusted ISBP, the tax could be fairly significant (several million dollars). 

So even if they go over their adjusted 2013-14 ISBP and trigger a tax and restrictions on bonuses in the 2014-15 ISP, they can at least minimize their eventual 2013-14 ISP tax-penalty by maintaining a high ISBP. 

I guess it would ultimately depend on what kind of deal the Cubs are offered for an SBV. They can't sell the SBV outright, but they could recoup some of the potential ISBP overage tax-loss by trading the SBV along with a player where the other club pays more of the player's salary than might be otherwise expected, or acquiring a player for an SBV where the other club pays most or all of the player's salary.  

Labyrinthine is the word I think I would use to describe the recent changes to the CBA and the international signing money. Thanks for the info, AZ.

And if they blow past the 2013-14 ISBP limit and can't sign top international players in the next ISP, that should make the Cubs SBV sellers rather than buyers starting next July.

It won't do any good to have a $4-5M ISBP if you can't spend it. 

Heyman tweets that Cubs trying to sign Garza long term. Sounds like posturing and something they've already certainly tried.

Agreed, this seems more like a signal to the trade market.

Cubs beat guy Jesse Rogers is saying the same thing as Heyman. While it's still likely Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza will be moved before the July 31 trade deadline, a source familiar with the situation said the team and Garza have discussed some contract options that would keep him in Chicago.

The take away quote IMO: "The source claims the sides haven't had serious discussions about a long-term deal but still haven't ruled it out."

Damn it, make up your mind, I just ordered a Garza shirsey after Cubs said they were going to keep him. /had to shelve Feldman one last week

I'm OK with either decision--as long as the Cubs come out of it with a major league ready player (either Garza or at least one of the prospects they get in return for him, hopefully a 3B, SP, or 2B). I'm not sure which would put them closer to competing, even though the common sense answer is that keeping Garza would.

I'm sure they'd be happy to sign Garza at a price they feel is reasonable but not top dollar. If they're just going to have to pay top dollar, trade him now and pay top dollar this offseason.

/had to shelve Feldman one last week --- ever since Feldmania went away, JD hasn't had much to say on TV.

IFA signing bonus correction: @JesseSanchezMLB Moreno originally reported as $800,000. Not accurate?”~I had orig agreement at $800k. Done deal at $650K.

Back in the days of Eeyore... (per ye ol' rotoworld):
Aramis Ramirez (knee) is not in the Brewers' starting lineup on Monday night against the Reds. Ramirez hasn't appeared in a game since aggravating his balky left knee on Saturday. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters Sunday that he doesn't expect the third baseman to need a 15-day disabled list stint. Juan Francisco (cubster notes: he of the two errors that blew the game this weekend) will start at the hot corner again.
I heard some funny commentary over the weekend about ARam and his diminishing diving for grounder skills. The radio hosts were describing the play that led to the his coming out of the game. Apparently ARam fell (not dove) for the ball and injured his knee again. and then there was this incident on July 4th... ARam signed a 3/36 contract, with a mutual option for year 4, in Dec 2011 with Milwaukee.

"Bryant deal in holding pattern near deadline" No deal yet, but it looks like a deal will get done.

castro batting leadoff tonight...because why the hell not okay sure whatever.

Dusty approves. Starlin Perez.

After a lengthy delay, Cubs righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua has received his visa and is in Arizona.

Paniagua was in Boise at the end of last season, is he expected to land in Kane County soon or back to Idaho? He shouldn't need much Arizona time since he's been pitching in the DR league. or as O&B might say...bring him up!

That's right! Let AZ have a quick peek at him, then bring him up!!

Great news! Does he have any issues with MLB left - or is this it with acquiring his visa?

Only issues with US government. Hopefully this ends it. But they may give him trouble next spring too. Or if he ever needs to go to Canada. AZ Phil has pointed out that there may be an issue with him possibly being rule 5 draft eligible this offseason.

per Roto...Brooks Raley called up. Another lefty in the pen. Replaces Hairston's roster spot.

welly has da flu...valbuena in the DH slot.

Can't watch Garza's last start because MLB.TV tells me there are no games today.

Castro cut his hair. Barney has a little soul patch. And Dave Sappelt looks really really short. Now you're all caught up.

And it's back. Garza looking good - just stay healthy. Potential for ultimate cubbery.

I hope Garza continues pitching well (Phegley solo HR notwithstanding) but, more importantly, pray he doesn't get hurt.

The MLB phone app was acting strangely earlier. It wasn't loading the scores, telling me it couldn't load the data. Everything else was loading fine, like the news and so on. Then I went back to the scores and all it gave me was the minor league scores for the Boston Red Sox affiliates.

wtf dale?

wut he do?

whatever that play was called on that double steal.

Totally agree. You can't get duped twice in a week on double steels. They looked perplexed . . . and overmatched. Next time they better have a frickin' plan cause teams are gonna keep doing it until the Cubs get some composure in that situation.

Cubs are advertising for Ronny Cedeno school of baseball tonight.

Never mind, Cubs, carry on.

Wow, could SOMEONE come out of the woodwork with some kind of offer for Soriano? He's back in the 10/10 club after 2 SBs tonight!! And can we survive long-term if both of our middle IFs put up an OPS under .600? Stinky!!

Who gets traded first, Soriano or Navarro?

James Russell. Sveum's gonna kill his arm.

Good start for Garza, 7 IP, 2 R (1 ER). Let's stop pushing our luck and trade this guy.

Yes, please. Also no home improvement projects or Guitar Hero in the meantime.

Or sneezing.

Or carrying venison carcass up a flight of stairs. Or pinching his testicle between his cup and thigh. Baseball's had some weird injuries all right.

Other than an injury, the worst thing that could happen to Matt Garza (from his POV) is for the Cubs to not trade him and then make him a Qualifying Offer after the World Series.

If he accepts it, he gets a one-year guaranteed contract (without a "no trade") worth about $14M, and then goes through the same thing next year that he's going through right now.

If he declines the Qualifying Offer, he goes into the post-2013 free-agent market with other teams knowing that signing him will cost them a 1st or 2nd round draft pick, thus depressing and restricting his value on the open market.

So the Cubs might indeed be able to sign Garza for a below market-value contract now, something another team would not be able to do because the Qualifying Offer is off the table once he gets traded.  

So deep down I would think that Garza would hope to get traded (if for no other reason than to remove the specter of the Qualifying Offer), while meanwhile the Cubs would constantly be reminding him (and his agent) that if he doesn't take their offer now that maybe they will just not trade him, and make him a Qualifying Offer post-World Series. 

The Cubs definitely have some leverage here.

And for god's sake no Q-Tips or other ear cleaning devices.

since t.wood is looking like he's going to have to sacrifice his AS slot in order for the cubs to go on their quest to not lose 100 games (seriously cubbies, just let someone else start and let the kid go to the game) will t.wood's slot need to be filled with another cub because wood is the only cubbie representative?

I think the manager just picks a replacement pitcher. Wood will still be there, he just won't pitch.

A lot of people are gonna disagree, but I think if I was TheoCorp I'd can Sveum at the all star break. These kids - Castro and Rizzo, are supposed to form the core of this team in the future. Last night, as an example of the growth of these two, they left a total of approximately 297 men on base last night. Sveum doesn't seem like a terrible manager. He does a few wacky things but they all do. But in the area that matters most to the immediate future of this team, the development of its core young players, the needle is moving the wrong way.

In addition to being a season-long disaster at the plate, Castro has 15 errors - the next highest NL SS has 10 (must be something about Chicago -- Alexi Ramirez leads the AL in errors with 14). Castro may be the worst full-time player in the NL this year. Rizzo played his 86h game last night; he played 87 last year. Last year was .285/.342/.463 (15 HR), this year .239/.324/.437 (12 HR). I assume Sveum was hired to develop the young hitters -- ugh.

Do you really think that Sveum is the reason Castro and Rizzo aren't hitting?

He can't be the only reason, but he's not helping. He's been trying to convert Castro into becoming a more patient hitter. All that has accomplished is that he now doesn't hit anything, whereas when he took the Vlad Guerrero approach to hitting, he was hitting stuff all over the place (and, yeah, looking bad when he wasn't). Castro is up there guessing half the time, and guessing wrong, looking completely out of his element. The team needs to tell him to forget the "be more selective" experiment and go back to what he was doing before, or have the guts to send him down to the minors for awhile. As for Rizzo, who knows? I don't sit in on conversations between Sveum and Rizzo, but he's not getting good advice, obviously. One of the reasons Sveum was hired was because he was supposed to be a decent hitting coach. I don't see the results, and these guys are in their formative years. There's a chance I'm wrong and he has had no impact at all on them. I don't care. Time to try someone else in there before their careers turn into 4A careers.

Agreed that he is not helping, but I don't think one coach is much different than another. As for changing Castro’s approach, I believe that was the organization’s decision (read Theo) not Sveum's alone. In the end, like coashes, I don't think who the manager is matters much so fire him if you like, just expect that that alone will change Castro or Rizzo's trajectory. It is up to the players to adjust to the league and improve.

It may not even be coaching mechanics or approach -- it seems to me that Sveum has called out Castro a few times in the media, mostly due to his (understandable) frustration. Maybe Castro (and Rizzo?) needs somebody who understands that you can read a kid the riot act in your office, but you don't knock him in the media.

Leave Rizzo alone. It's not really his fault. His BABIP is freakishly low for a guy who hits it as hard as he does. In fact, I just did the math, and if his BABIP was .300 this year, his average would also be .300 on the money. My only complaint is that his k% is slightly elevated this season, which I blame on not protecting well enough with two strikes. He's doing fine, dude. As for the other one - you want to fire a manager because one guy is playing like shit?

I've said a lot here that I'm nowhere near as worried about Rizzo. As long as they don't fuck him up, his break out year should be pretty amazing. As for firing the manager because one guy is playing like shit, no, if the record overall was better, I'd probably not say it. But with one of the league's worst RISP averages and the team consistently losing close games it's something they have to think about. Castro is NOT neifi perez. He has tons more hitting talent and, before this year, the track record to prove it. With the way the starting pitching pitched during the first half, this team should have been .500. I'm probably being a lot harsher in my judgement of Sveum than Theo and Company will be, so relax. He's not going anywhere just because some old crank on a forum is being bitchy.

Yes, the Cubs certainly underachieved in one-run games and should be a lot closer to .500. You can be harsh on Sveum if you want, but let's at least be accurate. This team should have been closer to .500, but little of that goes to the manager I think. His pinch-hitting and bullpen decisions were not excessively more questionable than those of other managers, IMO. As for Castro, there's nothing left to say. He is what he is - a lazy-looking baseball player with a fat contract, little short-term opportunity to develop the habit of winning, and little trade value. The ironic part is that after the Andrus contract, the Castro contract looked like an absolute heist, and in typical Cubbery, pretty much everything has gone to shit since.

The front office is clearly trying to get Castro to take a more patient approach. So far, he's taking more pitches than league average until he gets to 2 strikes. Then he swings more than league average to try to protect the plate. The result has been less contact and poorer contact. Castro isn't a shitty hitter all of a sudden - he hasn't lost the ability to barrel up the ball - he's in the middle of an approach change at the big league level and the rest of the league is taking advantage of it. Had he not been a MLB player at 20, he would have been forced to make this change in the minors, where the results are not as critical to the organization and without the current media scrutiny. He will be fine.

About a month ago, somebody on here linked to an article on the oddity that is Castro's pitch selection this year. Their stats showed a lot of what you are saying here--Castro swings a below average % of the time at pitches either inside or outside the zone early in the count, but once he's got two strikes at him he swings an extremely high percentage of the time at pitches both in and out of the zone (and gets lots of pitches way out of the zone as a result). The author's conclusion was that we should expect Castro to get better as he may just be developing/polishing a more disciplined approach. They took the numbers as evidence that he is in the early stages of becoming a less hacktastic hitter. There's at least one other possible conclusion, which is that Castro might be trying his best to be a more patient hitter but that while he has control over swinging at fewer pitches he may not be able to improve his strike zone control and pitch recognition. I hope that's not the case, but it seems like a legit possibility.

Could be. That is the article, by the way - can't find a link right now. I think he just sort of panics a bit and protects the plate a little too aggressively. Once he can let these pitches go for ball 3 or ball 4 it will make a huge difference. The league won't be able to get him out with two strikes, which is essentially what's been happening to him.

You guys have convinced me. I'm easily swayed by a good argument.

That said I am not sure I will be able to take Dour Dale for much longer. I honestly don't know if the tough knowing smirk of distaste is right for the franchise. I'm not gone yet but I'm heading down that road. I'm still a fan, and to be fair he has had a VERY difficult job.

Well, I've never run an MLB team but they had to know his personality type when they hired him. I assume they like that part of him - an I hate to lose attitude. On the other hand, if I was hiring a guy to help mold kids, I'd get more of a rah rah, on the edge of the dugout type of guy.

It's also possible that his personality has another side that we haven't seen since they have been losers and since he basically has been on the defensive the whole time. I know I would not be my usual self in that situation.

They only hired him because of the 'Give 'Em Hell' tattoo, and his job security is entirely based upon whom it is determined he is giving hell to.

For what benefit though? Personally I want them to can Sveum at the end of the year and hopefully get a new start with more youngsters coming up and hopefully a more vibrant and energetic (or energizing to fans through a downturn, like Ryno) manager. But firing him mid-year in a lost season doesn't provide aren't going to a get a good replacement right now.

I'd be very surpirised if Sveum is fired mid-season, but not post-season. When a manager gets fired it's usually not because he's the main reason for a team's failure. It usually has to do with not meeting expectations, and in Sveum's case that would not be tied to wins & losses, but it probably is tied to the development and performance of the younger players. 

But I believe the guy who will be first to go (and that could be at the All-Star Break) is Hitting Coach James Rowson, who was hired originally as minor league hitting coordinator before being moved up to MLB Hitting Coach. Assistant Hitting Coach Rob Deer also might get canned.

Hitting coaches have limited influence, but when players struggle to hit, the hitting coach (rightly or wrongly) gets blamed.  

The guy who helped Starlin Castro the most as a hitter coming up through the system was current Daytona manager Dave Keller, who was Minor League Hitting Coordinator when Castro made his big move through the pipeline 2008-10. And then Keller was Cubs MLB Assistant Hitting Coach (in charge of Game Prep & Batting Practice) in 2011 when Castro was developing into a big-time big league hitter. And I don't think it's any coincidence that Keller was named Daytona manager (his first-ever manager gig) the same year that Javier Baez and Jorge Soler were there. (Keller was also Hitting Coach at Iowa last season when Anthony Rizzo turned things around).

Sometimes changing hitting coaches only helps one guy, but if that guy is Starlin Castro, it probably might be worth considering.

Also, sometimes it's best to let a player be himself and not change anything, even though he isn't the perfect player as is. That might be true with Castro, and bringing in a new voice (especially somebody he already knows & respects) might at least help him get back to where he was offensively.

Alan Trammell helped Castro the most defensively (and he is doing a fantastic job working withn Diamondbacks rookie SS Didi Gregorius now), but he left the Cubs and became Kirk Gibson's bench coach & infield instructor with Athe D'backs when Sveum was hired as Cubs manager. (Trammell supposely was pissed when he wasn't considered for the Cubs manager job).   

I'm not sure making Castro (and Rizzo) a "Face of the Franchise" is a good idea, either. That only puts added pressxure on a young player, pressure he probably does not need at this stage of his career. But the Cubs Marketing Dept. was probably reluctant to promote more well-established guys like Soriano and Garza as a Face of the Frachise because they could get traded at any time. 

I also will repeat what I have said here many times. I saw Castro, Junior Lake, Marwin Gonzalez, and Gian Guzman play together every day at Minor League Camp, Extended Spring Training,  AZL, and Instructs in 2008, and because they all needed playing time they were moved around to different positions on a daily basis. And while Castro can play shortstop, his best position is 2nd base. And I think that's where he will end up, and playing a position where he makes fewer errors might help to clear his head and allow him to be the best hitter he can be. 

There is some merit to your discussion about Trammell helping Castro in the field. He certainly was starting to show progress in the field under the Hall of Famer's tutelege, whereas he has regressed to one of the worst two years after Trammell has gone. I am wondering if Theo just has completely miscalculated Castro's value, and now understands that he may never be the type of hitter he seeks for his teams, and therefore he could try to move him when he can come back to his previous bar once more.

Bryant-Baez-Castro-Rizzo sounds like a fine infield to me.

Did you keep your Season Tix Newp? Find a charatable concern to donate to?

Edit Tried to post poo pile emojicon

Yeah, I still have them(4). The wife said I might have to go down to 2 tickets next year. I have only recouped about 21% of the cost to date....she made a spreadsheet. We have yet to donate any, keep holding out for $$$$. The fact that stubhub cuts off sales 6 hours before game time has pretty much killed me. I'll gladly decrease to 2 tix if they keep the same stubhub policy. Anyone need tickets for tonight?

I thought Rowson was fairly involved in Rizzo's new stance (last year) and ultimately his transformation from spring training bummer, to AAA monster and Cubs' 2012 poster boy? Not saying they should keep him, but it probably complicates his situation if they want to fire him.

Nice finish to the conversation. I love hearing everyone's differing opinions on this kind of thing. As for Keller: Bring him up!! I really do think that the Cubs need to scour the big leagues for the very best talent out there for working with young players. I'm not convinced at all Sveum is among the top tier in that field. I have no idea who is, but I bet there are some out there with a track record. We could potentially be looking at a Bryant/Baez/Castro/Rizzo infield, along with Soler in the outfield, very soon. So this team needs to be sure that they have the best coaching talent they can find to help them move forward.

Am I the only one who did a quick BR search for Gian Guzman. I had no recollection of that guy.

I have been saying this since April, but I believe if he is not traded (and I agree his stock has plummeted), he will not be the shortstop when one of the other SS prospects make it to the Majors, imo.

Sveum was quoted in Muskat's game story last night saying Scott Baker is a few weeks away. Anyone heard anything else about that?

Suspension coming. Arod and Braun (et al)...I'm feeling a guilty bit of schadenfreude. Is that wrong?

Do you think the GMs already know who it'll be? I'm wondering if trades will wait until the dust has cleared...

Maybe GMs will just get the chance to undo any trades involving to-be suspended players? It definitely gets complicated.

100 Game Suspension for ARod? And possibly Braun? I've seen some reports saying not so fast, too, but this headline is more fun so I'm going with that.

TWood faced the minimum, allowed one hit thru 5. Not even a no-hitter, but it kind of feels like a perfecto (damn you Pujols). Also, slick glove work tonight at least once each by Borbon, Valbuena, Rizzo, Castro ... almost everyone so far.

BB/HR to Trout/Poohole to lead off the 7th, but thanks to the run support, just a minor bump in the road for him tonight.

He might not know where it's going, but Strop has great stuff...consistent upper 90's heat with some nice movement.

Are they really going to let this Soriano guy walk after 2014? Extend him while you can...


"Cubs closing in on deal with prospect Tseng"

I need some stats in the twitter bar about the Cubs win-loss record when they hit 5 HR

Cubs now have a better record than last year's World Series winners. Thus completely blowing my fire Sveum thoughts out of the water. However, it's my right to be a fickle fan.

Its’ not merely your right, its’ your duty.

Run differential back to +1. #pennantfever

Honestly, I thought their record was a lot worse than it is. I've been watching more games this year than usual, yet clueless about the actual record. And of course, it's quite a bit better than it was 5 games ago.

I'm starting to get concerned about our draft pick. If they can't sign international free agents next year and don't have a top 5 draft pick, they may have to bump up the ETA of being competitors. I'd be OK with that at this point.

I'd be pretty shocked if he didn't sign. Quibbling over a few hundred K at that cash level seems preposterous given the injury risk. It's a Boras client so it'll go to the final hour.

No reason not to wait until the last minute at this point.

Sorry. I meant our 2014 1st round draft slot.

Ha, you made me waste valuable cyberspace on a moot comment?

Really, I apologize to everyone else on the web. There could have been boobs in those kb instead of another comment about Bryant. Olive leaf: (.)(.)

Giants 6.5 back from division though and still have Cain and Bumgarner. Cubs 9.5 back from wild card.

Big change from the Hendry era, and IMO the right way: [ ] Does manager Dale Sveum get involved in the negotiations? "It's always nice to have a guy like that around," Sveum said of Garza, "but unless I'm asked my opinion on it, that's Theo and Jed's territory, so I just leave that up to them and the ownership." That would be Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer. Have they asked Sveum for his opinion? "No," he said.

Were Lou or dusty involved in player negotiations?

Maybe it was my imagination, but I believe Lou was the primary reason the Cubs felt the need to be more left handed resulting in the trade of DeRosa and the signing of Bradly. Off the top of my head I can't remember a similar example for Dusty, but I believe Henry looked to his manager to let him know what they needed to win.

JH: Hey Lou, it's Jim. We just signed Milton Bradley. LP: Aw shit. (click)

After Welington Castillo came up sick before Monday’s game on the South Side, Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum inserted Luis Valbuena into the DH slot.

“I was battling where I was going to put him,” Sveum said. “Then I’m like, ‘Ah, I don’t want to deal with the paperwork. I’m just going to leave him in the sixth spot.’”

how much does Sveum get paid?

Am I the only person who thinks the Bryant negotiations are done except for the final $$ amount? It might very well be that the Cubs said to Bryant/Boras . . . Look you'll get your slot money, but give us til the deadline to sign as many people as we can and whatever is left over we'll give you as well. Could actually be that simple . . . building good will in the new system.

Jeff Samardzija On the Evolution of His Pitches

There are three cool Cubs articles at FG today: Tewksbury on pitching to the 92 Cubs, and pitching-centric focuses on Garza and Samardzija. FG does good work mostly.

Can anyone find or create gif of Navarro rounding third Minday night? Worth the laugh

AZ Phil: Assuming Bryant signs, do you think he's headed your way (AZL Cubs) or more likely to go straight to a higher level?

According to Peter Gammons tweet- "So Byrant got slot, and wasted a month" Guess he signed?

Close, but it looks like there are still some "T"s to cross.

Ex-Cub update: "He's a pig, but pitching quite well this year" From Authorities say Giants pitcher Chad Gaudin has been charged with lewdness after a woman told police he touched her breast at a Las Vegas hospital while she was on a gurney earlier this year. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports 30-year-old Chad Gaudin was arrested Jan. 27, although the case didn't attract attention at the time. Police say Gaudin was drunk when he approached a 23-year-old woman on a gurney in the emergency room lobby at Desert Springs Hospital, told her she was gorgeous and touched her face and breast. The newspaper reports a paramedic told Gaudin to leave the woman alone, but he refused, and security staff held him down until police arrived. Gaudin has pitched as a starter and in relief. He's 2-1 this year with a 2.44 ERA.

Probably thought he was at a strip club or theme casino.

sounds like E