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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  • QuietMan 10 hours 29 min ago (view)

    I'm thinking players should demand that this be added to their list.  "Sorry Honey, can't do it."

    Thanks Phil.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 30 min ago (view)

    or washing the dishes turns out to be popping wheelies on a motorcycle riding around scottsdale...

    jeff kent deserves to be in the HOF...lou whitaker needs to get in first...

     

  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 6 min ago (view)

    jdrnym: Once the MLB regular season starts, the "Practice Squad" will be a sub-group of the Club Player Pool, as will be the MLB Active List roster and the various MLB injured lists. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 11 min ago (view)

    Q-MAN: Yes, unless "washing the dishes" is listed as a forbidden off-field activity in his contract 

     

  • crunch 13 hours 40 min ago (view)

    oh boy...chatwood and a.mills in the rotation...because the minor league system sure as hell don't have much to offer for competition.

     

  • QuietMan 14 hours 28 min ago (view)

    Non Baseball related injury.  Does he still get paid?

     

  • Ryno 14 hours 42 min ago (view)

    A digital nerve sounds like something that would be repaired with a copper wire and solder.

     

  • Cubster 15 hours 16 min ago (view)

    Per Sun-Times: Jose Quintana out two weeks after cutting a digital nerve in his pitching  left thumb and requiring microsurgery to repair the nerve, from a kitchen dishwashing accident last week. Hard to say what impact that might have on his repertoire. The sensation can take 2-3 months to return if the repair is successful.

     

  • jdrnym 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    All makes sense, but I think there is one important point of clarification in there -- are you using "practice squad" and "Club Player Pool" interchangeably? If so, I understood the first sentence of your third-to-last paragraph above to mean that Mills/Sadler/Underwood could be outrighted and still be in the Pool, therefore retaining their eligibility to re-selected to the major league active roster later in the season.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Zack Short is still on Optional Assignment to the minors (as are Alzolay, M. Amaya, R. Garcia, Maples, T. Miller, Norwood, Rea, M. Rodriguez, and Steele), but he can be recalled at any time without restriction (no "ten-day rule") because he was optioned to the minors prior to the transaction freeze in March. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    the toles update is worse than his troubled past.  toles has been diagnosed bipolar + schizophrenia and has been in/out of institutions over the past couple years.  he can't seem to stick to any program long enough to get good treatment.

    hope he turns whatever corner he needs to in order to get enough treatment to decide what kind of future he'd like to have.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Those two are definitely on more precarious ground once the roster is trimmed to 26, I would say.

     

  • jdrnym 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Right, just went through the roster quick. Underwood, Sadler, same deal.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    Can't answer the Short thing. But I'd agree with your assessment of Mills if he weren't basically a lock to make the roster.

     

  • jdrnym 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    Is Zack Short's official designation still "on optional assignment" even though he's not on the Pool? If so, he can't just be recalled even though he's on the 40-man roster, right?

    And someone like Alec Mills who's on the Pool and out of options... he's virtually locked onto the active roster because he can't get taken off (via an outright) and remain eligible to be re-added. Seems like the kind of player you'd prefer to leave off the initial Pool.

     

  • crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    though he went to the hospital for treatment he was never admitted, so he's yet another person who got dragged hard by Covid, but who's case isn't showing up in the hospital admission, ICU bed, or death numbers most of us are looking at.

    there's a whole slew of people who have had to shut down their lives for 2-4-6-etc weeks to get over this that are falling outside of the numbers we're tracking most closely.