Cubs Rumors from Around the Globe
- Alfonso Soriano had a "scheduled" off day on Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks despite some gaudy career numbers against Ian Kennedy (6-for-13, 3 HR's, 7 RBI's, 3 BB's). The Twitter-verse was having none of it and the conspiracies flowed that the Cubs were just awaiting his approval on a deal. Soriano showed up though for a pre-game chat with the reporters and spilled the beans that he would accept the a trade to the Yankees and apparently gave TheJedi a list of a few other teams he'd be willing to say yes to...so it's Soriano waiting on the Cubs and the rest of the league. As of now, a trade has not been made, but somehow Soriano didn't manage to even get an at-bat in a 12-inning affair last night that the Cubs eventually won 7-6.
- Speaking of Wednesday's game, the bullpen is pretty taxed, wonder if they'll try and get someone up to the club by gametime. Carlos Villanueva is starting Thursday which could going to the pen early and they'll certainly be without Gregg and Rondon as you can see below (and possibly Guerrier if they don't want to go a 4th day with him although his pitch counts have been low). That leaves Russell, Parker, Strop and Bowden for the most part.
- The other major rumor was that the Pirates and Braves seem keen on James Russell.
- Matt Garza pitched a gem in his first start for Texas: 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K with the only unearned run courtesy of his own throwing error. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Also, the Yanks had Lyle Overbay batting cleanup and Vernon Wells is a regular batting 5th...so don't get too excited yet Ranger fans.
- In the minors, Kris Bryant got his first hit with Boise with a double, ending up 1-for-4 on the night. Javier Baez doubled and hit his 6th home run in AA (23rd on the season). Dae-Eun Rhee pitched for the Smokies in that game and went a solid 5 innings giving up a run and racking up 6 K's against 3 BB's. Mike Olt made his debut for Iowa and went 1-for-5 with 3 K's. Speaking of the minors, check out MLBFarm.com...cool stuff.
Arizona Phil 2 min 16 sec ago (view)
DJL: I don't think Ildemaro Vargas being out of minor league options is much of a concern to the Cubs because as things stand right now he projects as the team's primary utility infielder in 2021. He can play all four INF positions (1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, plus corner OF, too), and he is switch hitter with some pop, especially from the right side (remember the 9th inning HR he hit off Josh Hader in September?).
Dolorous Jon Lester 45 min 21 sec ago (view)
I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point
waveland 9 hours 30 min ago (view)
really appreciate the years and years of your updates
Arizona Phil 11 hours 25 min ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS.
bradsbeard 12 hours 9 min ago (view)
Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH.
Arizona Phil 12 hours 44 min ago (view)
Alfonso Rivas reminds me a bit of Rafael Palmeiro when Palmeiro first came up to the big leagues and was a "doubles machine" (before he started hitting home runs).
Rivas played D-1 baseball at the University of Arizona, so (just like Nico Hoerner, who also played in the PAC-12) I don't think he needs a lot of additional time at AAA before he's ready for MLB. He's a very advanced hitter, as long as you are OK with lots of doubles & lots of walks but not many HR.
Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 46 min ago (view)
I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option
bradsbeard 13 hours 51 min ago (view)
I really hope Rivas has a chance at the LF job. Would ease some of the sting of Schwarber being cut loose.
Arizona Phil 13 hours 52 min ago (view)
CRUNCH: I got the impression that Ross had seen enough of Schwarber in LF, so implementing the universal DH may be necessary before Schwarber returns to the Cubs in 2021. I think the Cubs would be fine with Schwarber as their main DH going forward.
BTW, I strongly suspect that the universal DH will be included in the next CBA, but whether there will be a DH in the National League in 2021 is still TBA (which is really stupid, since clubs need to know right now for sure one way or the other whether or not there will be a DH in the N. L. in 2021).
Arizona Phil 14 hours 3 min ago (view)
Besides the guys on the 40, Cubs 2021 NRI relievers with a legit chance to win a bullpen slot in Spring Training include LHRPs Josh Osich and Rex Brothers, and RHRPs Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and Joe Wieland (presuming they are not taken in the Rule 5 Draft).
Brothers and Wieland are out of minor league options, however, so if added to the 40 they could not ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" like the others could.
crunch 14 hours 9 min ago (view)
i am rooting for the cubs to retain schwarber.
even though he's average on the best of days in LF (except his above average arm), i would like to see him and his work ethic remain in the cubs system...the homers from the left side of the plate are nice, too.
Arizona Phil 14 hours 31 min ago (view)
At least as things stand right now, Kris Bryant is your Cubs de facto 2021 Opening Day LF! (Of course we know he will be traded before then...).
Otherwise, minor league NRI outfielders Ian Miller, Michael Hermosillo, and Rafael Ortega will be competing for Opening Day OF slots, with a legit shot to win a job.
Even Alfonso Rivas (who was hitting rockets from foul line to foul line at AZ Instructs) and/or Eddy Julio Martinez (who has had a very good winter in the Mexican Pacific League) might have a shot.
Arizona Phil 14 hours 34 min ago (view)
I would think that both Colin Rea and Kyle Ryan must have signed contracts with minor league split salaries, otherwise I doubt very much that they would have been tendered.
Arizona Phil 14 hours 45 min ago (view)
With Tepera non-tendered and Winkler, Ryan, and Rea signed, the Cubs 2021 Opening Day bullpen (right now) would appear to be Kimbrel (clearly not tradeable), Wick (virtual lock), Winkler (can't be optioned without his consent), Underwood (out of minor league options), and Maples (out of minor league options), and then three from amongst Adam, Norwood, Rea, Ryan, Stock, and Wieck (each of whom can be optioned back & forth to AAA as needed).
Arizona Phil 15 hours 5 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed RHSP Colin Rea, LHRP Kyle Ryan, and RHRP Dan Winkler to 2021 MLB contracts (terms TBD) and tendered 2021 MLB contracts to all other unsigned players on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) except OF Albert Almora, OF-1B Jose Martinez, OF Kyle Schwarber, and RHRP Ryan Tepera.
So Almora, J. Martinez, Schwarber, and Tepera are now unrestricted free-agents, free to sign an MLB or minor league contract with any club (including the Cubs) without any salary restrictions.
The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 34 (six slots are open).
Arizona Phil 15 hours 27 min ago (view)
Keep in mind that as things stand right now the Cubs projected 2021 MLB payroll is almost $50M under the 2021 CBT threshold (which will be $210M), so they don't have to worry about contract AAV if they can sign a player to a multi-year deal with a low 2021 base salary and then substantially higher salaries post-2021 (when they should be able to generate their normal attendance-based revenues --.presuming CoViD-19 is no longer a problem by that time).