Business Trips

Odd that both the C-Cubs & I-Cubs are idle today.

The locals have punched their playoff ticket and begin a best-of-five series in Round Rock tomorrow night, albeit with a carcass of a roster now that fire marshals have revised MLB dugout capacities upward. Game three and any others required are slated for Des Moines over the weekend.

Strange days indeed at the end of the PCL regular season; lots of comings and goings. Friday night, Robel Garcia was here grand slamming the Iowa magic number down to zero. By Monday, he was in Chicago flailing at big league breaking balls. Same itinerary for AA Jr. who was ripping doubles and his pants on Friday in Triple A and roaming the ivy league pasture he prefers less than 48 hours later. Monday afternoon, Willy Contreras bounced a foul ball right at me in the photo well at Sec Taylor Field. Tuesday night, he smoked a long ball deep into the bleachers at Wrigley Field. Sunday pregame, I saw Duane Underwood arriving at the ballpark by Uber, lugging his equipment into the clubhouse to say goodbyes before heading back to the bigs. He looked the way you’d expect a guy called up from Des Moines to Chicago to look. Monday midgame, I saw Mark Zagunis departing the ballpark by Uber, lugging his equipment and, having said his goodbyes, heading for the airport and DFA limbo. He looked resigned.

It’s a transient racket, baseball. Sometimes winners and losers are teammates that pass in the night.    

Comments

With Wilson Contreras back from the IL and fairly obviously 100% or close to it, the Cubs have optioned C-1B Taylor Davis to AAA Iowa. The Cubs would not have been able to do this if Iowa had not qualified for the PCL playoffs, because a player cannot be optioned to a minor league team whose season has ended. 

This move will save the Cubs about $2,500 per day (the difference between T. Davis's MLB and minor league "split" salary), which helps to offset what the Cubs are paying Mark Zagunis while he is Designated for Assignment (a player who is Designated for Assignment must be recalled from his Optional Assignment -- known as "Recalled - Not to Report" -- and then he accrues MLB Service Time and is paid at the MLB rate while he is a Designated Player). 

Optioning T. Davis to Iowa will also keep him in "game shape" (at least while Iowa is still alive) in the event that Contreras, Caratini, or Lucroy go down with an injury in the comng days or weeks. 

The only problem will be if the Cubs get into a 16 or 18 inning game and Kyle Hendricks or Cole Hamels has to PH in a game situation because the Cubs are out of position players, or if the Cubs somehow manage to run out of catchers in a game due to mismanagement and/or bad luck. Then the Cubs will have some 'splainin' to do. 

There's still The Schwarb out there for an emergency but the odds of him having been used and pulled already are pretty high at that point.  He has donned the Tools of Ignorance at least once this year.

When the Cubs are in the situation they are in right now, where it could come down to a key play in a single game, you should take advantage of every possible edge you can get. If they give you 40 roster slots, take them. Yes, some players and some pitchers may not get a lot of game action, but then you can play an occasional "sim" game prior to BP.

Every player called up from the minors in September costs about $75,000 more in salary than if he would have been left on optional assignment. It adds up. But, if adding as many MLB-ready players as possible to the active list in September can help you win just one game and one game is the difference between getting into the post-season or not getting into the post-season, then the extra salaries in September are well worth it. 

If the Cubs were the 2019 Dodgers (or the 2016 Cubs) where getting into the playoffs is not in doubt, then it wouldn't matter. But at this point anything can happen. 

What's the worst that could happen?  Joe could have a relief pitcher take an at bat, he hits a soft grounder and tries to leg it out and pulls a hammie, but what's the odds of that happening. 

It would definitely be a fluke, a Strop of bad luck even.

I'm more concerned about the lack of a third shortstop on the roster. We've seen how a game can go sideways quickly when middle infield defense is poor. 

Bote and Happ at short and second- Make it stop it’s burning my eyes!

It's stretch time. Who knows what will happen. Enjoy the ride. I can remember days when Sept. was a big nothing. Go Cubs!

If you assume the NLDS regulars are 18, 6, 17, 44, 9, 12, 40, 22 and Caratini,Happ are locks don't you have to keep 27 & 5 for SS/CF defense? And how does Bote not make that roster?

that's NumberWang!

round 2!

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 18 min ago (view)

    I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.

    That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.

     

  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    i wonder where the cubs will go with things.

    there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone.  as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team.  the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.

    bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!

     

  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    "According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."

    by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him.  i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information. 

     

  • Cubster 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Giants hire Scott Harris, from Cubs front office,  as GM

     

  • Charlie 3 days 11 hours ago (view)

    For anyone else who immediately wonders but is not invested enough to look it up, this is not Chris (Ryan) Young, former Padres starter and fisticuffs partner of Derrek Lee, but rather the two-years younger Chris Matthew Young.

     

  • crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    rev up those off-season rumor fryers...

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
    Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.

     

  • crunch 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    former padres manager andy green is gonna be ross's bench coach.

    green was c.rea's manager in SD, btw.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Last year the Cubs signed four free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft: LHP Alberto Baldonado, OF Wynton Bernard, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Jose Rosario. All four were members of the Cubs organization in 2018 but declined to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent, but then came back to the Cubs after briefly testing the free-agent waters. 

     

  • crunch 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    chris young to be named new bullpen coach (former phillies pitching coach)

    mixed messages on whether lester strode will have a new cubs role or leaving the cubs...

     

  • crunch 5 days 7 hours ago (view)

    t.clifton straight up falling off a cliff sucked to watch happen last year.

    i had a lot of faith in the guy to at least hold his own in AAA, even if he needed another season or 2 after to get ready for prime time.

    he ended up giving out homers like candy on halloween while retaining his high walk and injury rate.

    that said, his career is far from done.  most likely many other teams willing to give him a minor league deal.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Keep in mind that most free-agents who sign a 2020 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft are eligible for selection. (The only exception would be a free-agent who is not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, such as a player whose only previous pro experience was in a foreign major league or in an independent minor league, or a player who was released by another MLB organization but is still not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).  

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 12 hours ago (view)

    If you're wondering if players who sign minor league successor contracts ever get taken in the Rule 5 Draft, the answer is most definitely - YES -. 

    The Cubs selected RHP Hector Rondon in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft after the Indians signed him to a minor league successor contract, and the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Pedro Araujo in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft after the Cubs signed him to a minor league successor contract. 

     

  • Hagsag 5 days 13 hours ago (view)

    Got to get Taylor Davis back.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 13 hours ago (view)

    So the Cubs were ultimately able to retain five of their seven most-valuable post-2019 minor league free-agent eligibles (Rea, Pereda, de la Cruz, Lugo, and Burks), losing only Clifton and Leal (both of whom are probably looking for a fresh start in another organization after maybe feeling stalled in the Cubs system).