AZL Cubs Check Out Small Ball Book at Sloan Park

Varonex Cuevas reached base four times (three singles and a walk), stole two bases, and scored a run, leading the AZL Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the AZL Angels in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The Cubs did most of their damage in the bottom of the 6th inning, using "small ball" to plate three runs and take a 4-1 lead.

Jose Paniagua led-off the inning by drawing a rare (for him) walk, and advanced to 2nd base on a Varonex Cuevas bunt single. Roberto Caro laid down the first of what would be eventually two sacrifice bunts for him in the game to advance the runners to 2nd & 3rd,  and then 18-year old AZL Cubs shortstop Andruw Monasterio looped a single into short right to score Paniagua and move Cuevas up to 3rd. Monasterio and Cuevas then pulled-off a picture-perfect double steal, with Monasterio breaking for 2nd base to draw a throw (he was safe at 2nd), while Cuevas waited to break for home until he saw the throw go through to 2nd. Monasterio took off for 3rd base on the very next pitch (and he would have had 3rd base stolen easily, too), but Tyler Payne rocketed a line drive just past Monasteriio's ear into LF, as Monasterio continued around 3rd base to score the third run of the inning. Payne was then picked-off 1st base by the Angels pitcher (Payne was frozen like a deer-in-headlights two steps from 1st base, and so he took off for 2nd, but the slow-footed catcher was out by a mile).   

LHP Manny Rondon got the start for the Cubs, facing his former AZL Angels teammates for the first time. (Rondon was acquired from the Angels in a trade for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month). And not too surprisingly he came out firing from the gitgo, working his fastball consistently at 94 MPH (he hadn't thrown harder than 91-93 in previous ouitings) and mixing it with a hard-breaking curve. Being a bit hyped-up, Rondon did have some command problems, issuing three walks and hitting a batter, but he also struck out four while allowing only one run on four hits (all singles) in 5.0 IP. Rondon threw 85 pitches (52 strikes) over his five innings of work, the most pitches I have ever seen a non-rehabbing pitcher throw in an AZL game. 

To the best of my knowledge, Rondon is only the second pitcher acquired in a trade by the Cubs who went directly from one AZL team to the AZL Cubs during the AZL season. The last one (and the only other one I can recall) was 19-year old fireballing 6'3 280+ RHP Jose Ceda, acquired from San Diego for veteran INF Todd Walker on July 31, 2006. Ceda moved from the AZL Padres to the AZL Cubs after the trade.

Here is the abridged box score from Thursday night's game (AZL Cubs players only): 

1. Robert Garcia, RF: 1-3 (P-6, K, BB, 1B)
2. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-1 (HBP, 2B, BB, 3-U SH, R, SB)
3. P. J. Higgins, 3B: 1-4 (2B, 6-3, 6-4 FC, 5-3, RBI)
4. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 0-3 (K, F-9, BB, K, R) 
5. Varonex Cuevas, DH: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 1B, R, 2 SB)
6. Roberto Caro, CF: 1-2 (4-6 FC, 1B, 1-4 SH, 1-3 SH) 
7. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 1-4 (K, P-4, 1B, 6-3, RBI), SB)
8, Tyler Payne, C: 1-3 (6-3, 5-3, 1B, BB, RBI, PO)
9. Donnie Cimino, LF: 0-4 (L-7, K, 6-3, F-9) 

1. Manny Rondon: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/6 GO/FO, 85 pitches (52 strikes) 
2. Trey McNutt: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 16 pitches (11 strikes) 
3. John Williamson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 19 pitches (11 strikes) 
4. Luis Hernandez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/1 GO/FO, 32 pitches (22 strikes) 


Tyler Payne: 1-2 CS 

1. Carlos Sepulveda was thrown out 7-6-5 attempting to stretch double into triple in the 3rd inning
2. Varonex Cuevas was thrown out 9-2 attempting to score from 2nd base on single to RF in the 4th inning
3. Tyler Payne was picked-off 1st base in the 6th inning


Yaz? Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 13s13 seconds ago There is some speculation within the industry about a possible BOS/Cubs/Padres three-way blockbuster taking shape. Lots of pieces that fit. 0 retweets 0 favorites

Not a lot of time to finished a 3-team trade with lots of pieces, but John from the Cubs Den noted that the Red Sox have scouted Baez.

cubs getting dan harren from the marlins because...i dunno. he has a pulse.

Dan Haren?

Haha. Well said guys. I agree btw. Ho hum. Literally just a veteran who might eat a couple innings.

Better Haren than Beeler/Richard.

haren supposedly for a minor league IF'r and RHP. also, there's mixed signals on the cubs/pads front about whether things are moving quickly or grinding to a halt. personal speculation...haren's here to make hendricks expendable in a trade because he's the only SP worth a damn (and a known commodity) anywhere close to 2016 MLB-ready now that cj edwards seems to be a pen guy.

I'd say it's rather that Hendricks stays and Haren is the fifth starter.

either way, the cubs are now the owners of a 86mph throwing dan haren. pray for the wind to be blowing in on every start.

CRUNCH: I agree with you. Acquiring Dan Haren and yet still being reportedly in pursuit of Tyson Ross or Carlos Carrasco must mean that Kyle Hendricks is one of the players being offered to SD and CLE. 

Very interesting. That would not have occurred to me crunch and AZPhil. I say they don't deal Hendricks and are just being conservative. But I kind of hope you guys are right because it's exciting.

Even on the road?

Fish getting Juan Pinyero (Ivan's brother?) and Elliot Soto. Seems like we traded them one Pinyero didn't work out well.

im not a haren fan because he's pretty much a mid-80s fastball and a low-80s cutter...and he's prone to giving up the longball even though he's actually inducing a good amount of ground balls. still, not much was lost in this trade worth caring about. pineyro has some decent upside with his pitch mix and youth, but he projects to be an end-rotation starter at best anyway. he's also rule5 eligable and it's a diceroll that the cubs would have him on the 40-man with all the talent to protect this offseason. soto's just a bench guy or "AAAA" fodder at best...practically no power, not much speed, decent D at SS/2nd.

Ivan=Juan=John I think there may also be a Jovan Pineyro, a Jean Pineyro, a Johannes Pineyro, a Giovanni Pineyro, an Ian Pineyro and an Evan Pineyro. The Marlins can have them all. He's changed his passport so many times now, he don't know what he looks like

ArizonaPhil. On another board, someone posted Rule 40 (a)(3), which he claims says that in order to be eligible for the post season roster, they must be on the 25 man roster on August 31. This seems to be contrary to your article, although I may well be misreading it. Are you familiar with the above rule?

DAVID P: The rule was changed last year.


Here are the current (2015) MLB post-season roster eligibility rules:

A club's Active List (25-man roster) must be submitted to the MLB Commissioner prior to the start of each post-season series (LDS, LCS, and World Series).

1. A player who received a Prohibited Substance Suspension prior to the start of Spring Training, during Spring Training, during the regular season, or during a post-season series (Wild Card, LDS, LCS, or World Series), is ineligible to play in any MLB or minor league post-season game(s) or series in that season, even if the player has completed serving the suspension.

2. All other players on a club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), MLB 60-day DL, and Restricted List (extended Bereavement, Family Medical Emergency, or Paternity Leave ONLY) prior to midnight (Eastern) on August 31st are eligible to be included on a post-season Active List (25-man roster), but a player on an MLB club's Disabled List (7-day, 15-day, or 60-day), Bereavement List, Medical Emergency List, or Paternity List is eligible to be included on a post-season Active List only after spending the minimum number of days required to be served by a player on that list.

3. Any player on the Disqualified List, Ineligible List, or Restricted List (for any reason other than extended Bereavement, Medical Emergency, or Paternity Leave) as of midnight August 31st is ineligible to be included on his club's post-season Active List.

4. A post-season eligible player who is placed on an MLB Disabled List, Bereavement List, Medical Emergency List, Paternity List, or Restricted List (extended Bereavement, Medical Emergency, or Paternity Leave ONLY) prior to the start of a post-season series can (with the approval of the MLB Commissioner) be replaced on his club's LDS, LCS, or World Series Active List by a player who was on a Reserve List or Disabled List, Bereavement List, Medical Emergency List, Paternity List, or Temporarily Inactive List of a minor league affiliate from that organization prior to midnight August 31st. However, the minor league player must be added to his club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) before he can be added to the club's post-season Active Roster.

5. A player on a post-season Active List (25-man roster) who is injured or leaves his club on Bereavement, Medical Emergency, or Paternity Leave during a post-season series can (with the approval of the MLB Commissioner) be replaced on his club's Active List prior to the conclusion of that series by another eligible player, or by a player who was on a Reserve List or Disabled List, Bereavement List, Medical Emergency List, Paternity List, or Temporarily Inactive List of a minor league affiliate from that organization prior to midnight August 31st. A minor league player must be added to his club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) before he can be added to the club's post-season Active Roster.

6. If a player is replaced during a post-season series, a pitcher must replace a pitcher and a position player must replace a position player.

7. If a pitcher or position player is replaced during a post-season series, the pitcher or position player is ineligible to be reinstated to his club's Active List (25-man roster) for the balance of that series and the next series (LCS or World Series).

as rumored for a potential deal (NOT rumored to be accepted at this point), it would suck to lose baez from an upside POV, but carrasco for 3/19m with 2 team option years at 9m and 9.5m....damn...that's a hell of bargain for 3-5 seasons. it would be easy for him to fetch more than twice as much if he was a FA at the end of the year.

race to the deadline! mets get y.cespedes (z.wheeler not part of deal) the trade deadline has passed...last 10 minutes only had 1 big "under the wire" announced trade. there's always trades that leak out past the deadline because the agreements haven't been announced/leaked, so there's still hope for the cubs getting something done.

Rosenthal says Cubs get Tommy Hunter

no more medina (i assume)...that's nice. also, what's wada's role now that he no longer has a roster spot to return to? i'd rather have wada over haren, but that doesn't seem likely.

Also no Cubs Padres deal per Rosenthal

Junior Lake for Hunter

Will Lake be out of options next year?

BOB R: Yes, Junior Lake will be out of minor league options next year. Same goes for Matt Szczur, Mike Olt, Christian Villanueva, Yoervis Medina, and Brian Schlitter.

Neil Ramirez, Hector Rondon, and Jacob Turner were already out of options (and I'm just listing the guys with less than five years of MLB Service Time who will be out of minor league options next year). 

A player on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster had to be either Designated for Assignment or transfered from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL at 1 PM (Eastern), which is when the trades had to be officially filed with the MLB office. (Junior Lake gets dropped to make room for Hunter, but the two players traded for Haren were not on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster). 

The Cubs 25-man roster does not need to be adjusted until Haren and Hunter actually report to the team, and they have 48 hours to do that. 

if lake could still play a passable CF (he's more of a corner guy now, LF mostly because of the average arm) i would be more concerned. as it is, 2+ (hopefully +) months of hunter for lake seems to be a decent risk considering what's already in AAA on lake's level. sczuzruraurzrzruczur can fill lake's most-likely-use as bench OF on the team and cover CF.

Lake having an average arm? I always thought AZ Phil mentioned Lake as having one of the strongest throwing arms in the Cubs' minor league system. He's played about 1/3 in Right Field, 2/3 in Left Field in Iowa this year, so he has been mostly used in the corners. AZ Phil always said he had great tools (arm, speed, power, etc.) but had a hard time putting it all together with consistency. He seems to have learned how to take a walk this year at AAA.

his arm used to grade extremely high, but it's not as strong or accurate (especially accurate) as it was back before 2014-ish. that said, yeah, "average" is too weak of a description even without the arm he once's not like it's declined severely.

Last trade for Oriole pitchers worked out well

I think I'll miss Lake's terrible OBP and high K rate the most. And his shirt always tucked out in the back.

i'll miss calling him pond when he sucks...which has been too much the past couple years.

Lake, Another "toolsy" Hendry era remnant sent away

The ship has sailed on the "little pond." One of my favorite names since Angel Pagan. Just hope he isn't late bloomer like Pagan.

aww...ben rowen DFA'd before we got a chance to see that circus. dude throws 80mph. his game is 100% submariner deception.

Dan Haren started last night (Thursday) for Miami, so the Cubs will still need to bring somebody else up to start on Sunday (presemably either Tsuyoshi Wada will be reinstated from the 15-day DL, or Clayton Richard will be recalled from Iowa).

Or I guess Travis Wood could get a "spot start" on Sunday, and then go back to bullpen once Haren goes into the rotation next Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Cubs released RHP Zach Cates (acquired from SD post-2011 in the Rizzo-Cashner deal) and catcher Justin Marra (Cubs 2011 15th round draft pick - Toronto, ON). 

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  • crunch 2 hours 8 min ago (view)

    it screws up stats.  i know you play for wins/losses, but real money is on the line for players and makes agent/player homework selling their client a bit harder.

    it also makes historical comparisons difficult.

    the amount of time i've seen a fresh inning starting out...bunt guy to 3rd for an out, IBB, IBB is too high.  what would amount to a leadoff single following that can easily turn into 2 runs (1 earned) with guys on the corner...which usually leads to another IBB.


  • Charlie 3 hours 13 min ago (view)

    Jay Jaffe has a timely argument against the runner on second rule over at fangraphs:

    I still don't know why we don't just have ties. Obviously, the Cubs could have dodged most of these situations by simply hitting a little bit during the regulation innings.


  • Arizona Phil 5 hours 58 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed free-agent RHSP Adrian Sampson to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa, and RHP Michael McAvene, LHP Jack Patterson, and OF Donnie Dewees have been placed on the 60-day IL to open up slots for Sampson, Trayce Thompson, and Kyle Ryan on the Cubs minor league 180-man Domestic Reserve List. 


  • crunch 6 hours 23 min ago (view)

    well that sucked.

    2-game sweep, 2 games under .500


  • crunch 6 hours 49 min ago (view)

    stumbled onto this today...clip from a 2019 ESPN broadcast game with boog, chipper jones, and david ross in the booth...

    boog used to call games for ATL, btw...


  • tim815 9 hours 18 min ago (view)

    Someone on social media was floating Yoelqui Cespedes to the Cubs in a Bryant trade.

    I was clueless if it was permitted. It is.


  • Wrigley Rat 20 hours 18 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have traded for outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was with the Diamondbacks at Triple-A, but is formerly of the big league White Sox, Dodgers, and A’s. The Diamondbacks are getting cash in the deal, which is a reflection of the reality that Thompson, 30, is a depth outfielder at this point in his career. Thompson is the younger brother of NBA star Klay Thompson.


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    i'd like to point out ross feels more comfortable with j.pederson and k.bryant in CF over j.heyward.

    watching heyward not just look human in the OF, but having a bit of a hard time is rough.  he's just not getting to stuff like he used to.


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    bryant out of the game for no apparent reason...that...doesn't seem good...

    he's "under the weather" according the clubhouse.  that's better than screwed up oblique or similar, at least.


  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    this shane bieber guy kinda sucks.  1 run in, bases loaded 0 outs.

    i hope 4-5 innings of alzolay and the 5 pen guys after him hold it down.

    ...hey wow, bases loaded 0 out turns into 0 runs...very cubs.


  • George Altman 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Baseball wants more offense, fans want more action -- limit pitching staffs to 12, ideally transition to 11 over a 3 year period. 

    Teams are asking RPs to throw only 45 pitches a week. Think about that.

    SPs who throw 175 IP/Yr will be museum pieces in 5 years.

    It's not shifts. Oh....and electronic Strike zones as soon as possible. 


  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    given that the starters are on pace to pitch around 150 innings this year they might need the zillion relievers.

    i'm under the impression that d.ross got a new Fitbit exercise tracker prior to the season and likes to have excuses to walk to the mound for higher step counts.  i'm going with this theory until proved otherwise.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    I get that 40 man rosters are complicated, but now we have 10 GD relievers and 3 bench guys, one of whom is an obviously injured Javy.

    I can't wait until they reinstate the 13 pitchers maximum rule.


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    baez (again) a late scratch because back ouchies.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    OF Jake Marisnick to 10-DAY IL, and Cubs recall LHRP Brad Wieck. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Prior to last season, Rule 4 Competitive Balance Draft picks could be traded in advance of the draft (the window beginning on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the start of the draft), although the pick could not be sold for cash, the pick itself could not be the PTBNL in a trade, and once traded the pick could not be flipped to a third team.

    However, there is presently a moratorium on trading Competitive Balance picks that extends through the conclusion of the 2021 draft, so right now no draft picks may be traded.