2014 Cubs Arizona Instructional League

The Arizona Instructional League (AZIL) is well under way, with all 15 MLB clubs that have Spring Training in Arizona plus two Korean (KBO) clubs (SK Wyverns and NC Dinos) fielding squads. 

Each MLB organization operates its AZIL squad as it sees fit. Some organizations (like SD and MIL) start their season early and end early, others (like KC and SF) start their season later and end later, while others (like the Colorado Rockies) have a very short AZIL season (just two weeks). Some clubs play 18-20 "league games" (just about every day), while others play only five or six league games with one or sometimes two Camp Days (instruction only or maybe morning instruction followed by a controlled "sim" game in the afternoon) on the days in between to work on issues or problems noted in the AZIL games.
The Cubs are taking a unique approach this year, cutting its  AZIL "season" back to three weeks (9/22 through 10/12) and starting later in September than most of the other AZIL clubs. Also, the Cubs have not scheduled any games against other MLB organizations or against the two KBO teams (first time I've ever seen that), opting instead to have Camp Days (Instruction only) for three hours every morning (sometimes followed by a "sim" game) over the first two weeks, and then a "Cubs World Series" (best 4 out of 7 mega-intrasquad match) the last week.

There are (or will be by next week) 74 Cubs minor leaguers (including 40 pitchers) at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa (which is about 20 more players than had been the norm for Cubs "instructs" rosters in previous seasons). The ten Kane County players who are participating will report a week late because their season ran a bit long (they won the Midwest League Championship on September 13th), and the eight Cubs players who have been assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox (Arizona Fall League) will participate only during the first two weeks (AFL Opening Day is on Tuesday October 7th), and then only as preparation for the AFL season. 

Six Latin players (three from the DSL Cubs and three from the VSL Cubs) are making their U. S. debut at "instructs," another (SS Frandy de la Rosa) is returning to the U. S. after spending the 2014 season with the DSL Cubs, and still another (RHP Jose Zapata) is active and will be making his U. S. "field debut" after spending the 2014 season on the AZL Cubs 60-day DL after suffering multiple injuries in an off-season car crash in the Dominican Republic last December. Also, OF Kevin Encarnacion (who suffered third-degree burns and a shoulder injury in the same car crash) is finally back on the field and is fully participating in all baseball-related activities.


* bats or throws left
# bats both

74 players 

Corey Black
Paul Blackburn (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)
Zach Cates (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only) 
* Gerardo Concepcion (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only) 
Trevor Clifton
Josh Conway
Oscar de la Cruz (DSL Cubs in 2014 - making U. S. debut)
C. J. Edwards (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only)
James Farris
Scott Frazier 
David Garner (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)
* Yapson Gomez (VSL Cubs in 2014 - making U. S. debut)
Tanner Griggs
Trey Hedges
Michael Jensen  
Pierce Johnson
John Michael Knighton
Erick Leal
Daniel Lewis
Dillon Maples
Jonathan Martinez
Ryan McNeal
Jeferson Mejia
* Jordan Minch
James Norwood  
Jeremy Null
Juan Carlos Paniagua
Ivan Pineyro (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only)
Santiago Rodriguez (DSL Cubs in 2014 - making U. S. debut)
* Carson Sands
Tyler Skulina
* Justin Steele
Jake Stinnett
* Tommy Thorpe
Duane Underwood (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)  
Ben Wells (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)
Ryan Williams
Austyn Willis
Jose Zapata (AZL Cubs 60-day DL in 2014 - making U. S. "field" debut)
* Rob Zastryzny

Tyler Alamo
Gioskar Amaya (ex-2B)
# Victor Caratini
* Jordan Hankins (ex-3B)
Mark Malave
Johan Matos (DSL Cubs in 2014 - making U. S. debut)
Jhonny Pereda (VSL Cubs in 2014 - making U. S. debut)
Will Remillard
* Kyle Schwarber
Mark Zagunis (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)

# Jeimer Candelario (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)
# Frandy de la Rosa (DSL Cubs in 2014 - participated in EXST and AZ Instructs in 2013)
* Andrew Ely
Wladimir Galindo (VSL Cubs in 2014 - making U. S. debut)
* Danny Lockhart (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)
Carlos Penalver (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)
Addison Russell (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only)
Ho-Young Son
Gleyber Torres
* Dan Vogelbach (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only)
Christian Villanueva
* Jason Vosler
Chesny Young (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)

John Andreoli
Jeffrey Baez (will report late - weeks 2 & 3 only)
Charcer Burks
* Rashad Crawford
# Kevin Encarnacion
* Jake Hannemann (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only)   
Eloy Jimenez
* Billy McKinney
Kevonte Mitchell
* Bijan Rademacher (AFL prep - weeks 1 & 2 only)
* Charlie White

Tim Cossins 

Pedro Gonzalez  
Mark Johnson

Oscar Bernard (Hitting Instructor)
Tom Beyers (Hitting Instructor)
Franklin Blanco (Hitting Instructor)
Jesus Feliciano (Hitting & Outfield Instructor)
Jose Flores (Infield Coordinator)
Jimmy Gonzalez (Hitting Instructor)
Chris Gutierrez (Infield Instructor)
Anthony Iapoce (Hitting Coordinator)
Derek Johnson (Pitching Coordinator) 
Brian Lawrence (Pitching Coach)
Nate Maldonado (Catching Instructor)
Carmelo Martinez (Hitting Instructor)
Guillermo Martinez (Infield Instructor) 
Ricardo Medina (Hitting Instructor) 
Osmin Melindes (Infield Instructor)
Leo Perez (Catching Instructor)
Mike Roberts (Baserunning Instructor)
David Rosario (Pitching Coach)
Mike Mason (Pitching Coach)
Eduardo Villacis (Pitching Coach) 



The Cubs played their first instructs "sim" game this afternoon on Field #6. None of the pitchers are ready to throw in games yet, so "Iron Mike" got the call. 

With the machine throwing only fastballs at a constant speed, it's no wonder many of the Cubs hitters had a "field day."   

Billy McKinney went 3-3 with two singles and a home run and three RBI, Kyle Schwarber blasted a 450+ ft two-run HR over the CF batter's eye that may have landed on the Red Mountain Freeway, Charlie White ripped a triple and an RBI single, Eloy Jimenez hammered a line-drive RBI double off the left-centerfield fence (near HR), Gioskar Amaya tripled and scored, and Kevonte Mitchell, Kevin Encarnacion, and Will Remillard laced doubles.

The defensive highlight were a diving catch in left-center by CF Rashad Crawford and an over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory down the RF line by 1B Mark Malave, who then turned around and made a pin-point throw to 2nd base to double off the base-runner. Malave also struck out (which is hard to do hitting against a pitching machine).

On the negative side, 17-year old catcher Johan Matos dropped a pop fly in foul territory for an E-2, 17-year old 3B Wladimir Galindo make an atrocious throw to 1st base on an easy one-hopper resulting in a two-base throwing error and then dropped a pop fly in short LF for another E-5, and RF Billy McKinney lost a fly ball in the afternoon sun.  

Gioskar Amaya (ex-2B) looked very good behind the plate. He got a rash of shit from some of his teammates whenever he made a nice throw or blocked a ball in the dirt. They kept calling him "Yadier."

Jordan Hankins has been working at catcher each morning, but he was back at 3B in the "sim" game. Some of you may remember that Hankins went through the catcher conversion program (with Ben Carhart) at instructs last year and then was a catcher at Minor League Camp this year, before moving back to 3B during the minor league regular season. So I suspect Hankins is learning to catch mainly to increase his defensive versatlity, since he probably projects as a minor league back-up guy going forward (he can already play 1B-2B-3B), but the Amaya conversion looks pretty serious.   

Here are the two lineups from the "sim" game:

1. Rashad Crawford, CF
2. Kevonte Mitchell, LF
3. Kyle Schwarber, DH #1
4. Johan Matos, C
5. Wladimir Galindo, 3B
6. Kevin Encarnacion, RF
7. Frandy de la Rosa, SS
8. Tyler Alamo, 1B
9. Will Remillard, DH #2
10. Andrew Ely, 2B

1. Gioskar Amaya, C
2. Charcer Burks, LF
3. Billy McKinney, RF
4. Jordan Hankins, 3B
5. Mark Malave, 1B
6. Jhonny Pereda, DH #1  
7. Eloy Jimenez, DH #2
8. Ho-Young Son, 2B
9, Jason Vosler, SS
10. Charlie White, CF

Thanks for the list Phil. Matos had some impressive stats in the DSL this summer. Does he look like a prospect Phil? I know he is only 17.

HAGSAG: Johan Matos is VERY raw, especially defensively. He drives the ball occasionally in BP, however, so his bat is definitely ahead of his glove right now. I expect to see Matos get a lot of work behind the plate at Extended Spring Training next year, and then (hopefully) he will make the AZL Cubs Opening Day roster once the short-seasons start play in June. 

The four Cubs AFL position players (Addison Russell, Dan Vogelbach, Jake Hannemann, and Bijan Rademacher) took BP on Field #4 today at the same time that the "sim" game was being played on Field #5.

In case some of you missed it, the Cubs assigned Rademacher to the Mesa Solar Sox Taxi Squad (thus he can play on Wednesdays & Saturdays only), and moved Hannemann (who had initially been assigned to the Mesa Taxi Squad) up to the MSS Active Roster.  

lot of rain in NY for jeter's farewell spooge-fest...tarp on the field and still raining 1h before game time.

tarp off the field...more rain likely

The Ryne Sandberg effect

More so than any other spot in the batting order, there is a direct correlation between production from the No. 2 hitter to a team’s success. Five of the top nine clubs in OPS are playoff bound, and San Francisco ranks eighth.


and yeah, that's a bit of a short-sighted example, although many studies do show that the #2 spot is where to put your best hitter (ie not Neifi)

Nor Baez of course, but I really believe them when they say they were trying to get at bats. Another reason to look forward to next year - the 2 spot will hopefully be filled by an actual hitter. Even if Baez comes around he's not a 2 hitter. On a side note, the advertising service delivering TCR ads needs to amp up their tracking analytics. I had this ad served to me: http://ds.serving-sys.com/BurstingRes//Site-7... The Pistons. Really?

I'm just hoping TheJedi are letting the managers feel like they have their own say on lineups until the games matter.

An actual good hitting lineup will do wonders though to the lineup construction.


Holy crap -- Phil Hughes in his first season with the Twins -- 186K, 16 BB. K/BB ratio = 11.6.

Cubs missed out on that buy low one apparently.

Hughes missed a $500K innings pitched bonus by one out because of rain delay, team offered to let him pitch out of bullpen this weekend but he declined. Of course, team could just give it to him and not risk the injury.


Yanks up 5-2 in 9th, O's tie it on 2 HR's, Jeter ends game on walk-off single.



Which one is Jeter again??

Just kidding. That's pretty awesome!

yeah jeets. yeah jeets


Team.PCTGBD'Backs.396--Rockies.4153.0Rangers.4153.0Twins.4285.0Astros.4346.0Red Sox.4407.0Cubs.4478.0White Sox.4569.0Phillies.4569.0Reds.46511.0

3 games left

Best case scenario: 3 Cubs losses along with 3 Astros wins, 3 Twins win and Red Sox winning at least 1 would get Cubs 5th pick. Cubs have tiebreaker over Twins and Red Sox, Astros have tiebreaker over Cubs.

Worst case: Combination of Cubs winning and Phils and White Sox losing and drop back to the 9th worst record (10th pick). Cubs have tiebreaker over Phillies, White Sox have tiebreaker over Cubs.


By no means do I want to direct people away from this blog, but if interested, I did an interview with Len for Cubs Insider. Part 1 is up: http://www.cubsinsider.com/qa-len-kasper-part...

Good stuff Tito, thanks for sharing.

Thanks. Part 2 is up, if you're interested in what Len thinks about Cubs prospects: http://www.cubsinsider.com/qa-len-kasper-part...

Yeah, nice blog. See ya', TCR!

THANK YOU FOR THIS INFORMATION!!!!! I've been trying to learn ANYTHING about the Instructional League and no one seemed to be able to tell me anything. Glad you were able to help out. Now, if I can only find a way (and time) to make that 7 hr drive.........

As much as I enjoy all aspects of Phil's AZ reporting, my favorite part is the attendance figures for the games.

Kane County Bars and representatives of Illinois law enforcement celebrate http://www.kcchronicle.com/2014/09/25/cougars...

Slow day Change flowers with Mike Olt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55FZnYhCM-Y

who is mike olt?

who started the tyler flowers for mike olt rumors, (jacos did?)

AZ Tiger Free Gibby and Tram fired by DBags

k.gibson and tram fired...even though tram is going to manage the team for the weekend in a temporarily reassigned role. countdown until dave martinez is the new AZ manager (speculation).

Rooting for McGwire.

Oqendo the rumor

Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 2m Theo talked to media pregame. Mike Olt to work at all 4 corner positions moving forward.

Makes sense as there are four corners in the clubhouse.

*golf clap*

Bench bat?

k.hendricks scrapped from the last start of the year due to workload concerns...whatever.

(draft pick standing concerns)

d.straily being brought into a game with a 3 run lead...let's see how well that works out.

Cubs win, White Sox loss and Cubs have dropped back a spot to the 9th pick. Need a loss or Phillies win in next 2 games to keep from dropping to the 10th spot

Need 2 Red Sox wins and 2 losses and a White Sox win in there to get 7th pick

Forgive my ignorance, but which is the last protected pick?

cubs are safe. The top 11 picks i.e. 10 worst records because of the Astros extra pick are protected. The Reds pick should be the cutoff.

Thanks Rob. Well, then, GO CUBS! I'm finding this team a lot easier to say that with.

I wasn't able to see last night's game. Did Baez really get 3 hits or is the Internets broken?

Yeah, he got three hits. Also struck out in his last AB, just to let us know he was still himself.

m.olt playing 3rd today and expected to move to LF or RF after the 6th inning. lol j/k...he's on the bench. #yolo #swag

Red Sox help us out and beat Yankees this afternoon.

lucroy sets a new C record for doubles in a single season...53rd

...and soler negates it by doubling him up after aram lines out to soler on a spectacular catch

great play

Chris Rusin claimed by Rockies, interesting non-match considering the ballpark.

As is often the case, players claimed off waivers are the first to get Designated for Assignment when 40-man roster slots are needed, so Rusin may not last long with the Rockies.

BTW, Chris Rusin does have one minor league option left, so he can be sent to AAA in 2015 without having to go back onto waivers. 

Players on the Cubs 40-man roster who will be out of minor league options for the first time in 2015 are: 

Hector Rondon (was eligible for 4th minor league option in 2014, but it wasn't used so now it's gone)
Neil Ramirez (used his 3rd minor league option in 2014)
Josh Vitters (used his 3rd minor league option in 2014) 
Ryan Kalish (used his 3rd minor league option in 2014) 

Matt Szczur and Jorge Soler have each used three minor league options through the 2014 season, but both will get a 4th minor league option in 2015. Szczur has to use it in 2015 or it goes away (as happened with Rondon in 2014), but Soler's can be spent in either 2015, 2016, or 2017 (but it can be used in only one of those seasons, not all three).


The timing of placing Chris Rusin on Outright Assignment Waivers was interesting.

The three Cubs players on the 60-day DL (James McDonald, Justin Ruggiano, and Ryan Sweeney) do not have to be reinstated to the 40-man roster until 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series, and 40-man rosters do not have to be filed with the MLB Commissioner until 11/20, so Rusin wasn't dropped to make room for C. J. Edwards, either.  

Also, unlike Josh Vitters (who would be an MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA if outrighted who has to be outrighted by the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Seies) or Ryan Kalish (an Article X0-D player with Draft-Excluded Status who has to be outrighted by 11/10), Chris Rusin does not have Draft-Excluded Status and he is not eligible to be an Article XX-D free-agent or a six-year minor league free-agent if outrighted, either, so he could have been outrighted at any time during the off-season. No rush, no deadline. (If outrighted, he would be under club control through the 2015 season). So it looks like the Cubs figured that now was the perfect time to try and sneak him through waivers, but it didn't work out.

It's possible that if the Rockies DFA Rusin later during the off-season to make room on their 40-man roster for a free-agent, a player acquired in a trade, or a different player claimed off waivers, that they then might try and outright him themselves, at which point the Cubs could just claim him again (presuming he isn't claimed by another club with a higher waiver claim priority), and then try and outright him again later.

"Waiver Claim Musical Chairs" actually happens fairly often during the off-season, where a player bounces from team-to-team on waiver claims, sometimes eventually ending up back where he started.  

Two thngs happen tomorrow (Monday):

1. Any player on an MLB 40-man roster who is on an Optional Assignment must be recalled. (RHP Dallas Beeler, 3B Christian Villanueva, and OF Josh Vitters are the three Cubs players still on Optional Assignment).

2. Any player eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent can file beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th. However, if the player's parent club selects the player's contract and adds the player to the club's MLB 40-man roster before the player files, the player cannot be a free-agent. Occasionally an Article XX-D minor league free-agent will score a major league contract and (with it) a spot on an MLB 40-man roster.

Unlike with Article XX-B major league free-agents (like Carlos Villanueva will be if isn't signed to a contract extension) who are now automatically declared free-agents the day after the conclusion of the World Series or MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agents (minor league 6YFA or second-contract FA) who are automatically declared free-agents at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series if the player is not added to an MLB 40-man roster prior to that deadline, a player eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league FA must actually file.  

An Article XX-B minor league free-agent is any player eligible to be a minor league free-agent if outrighted who was outrighted to the minors after signing a major league contract, but chose to accept the Outright Assignment and defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

The Cubs have two such players: RHRP Marcos Mateo and C Eli Whiteside.

Selected in the Major League Phase of last December's Rule 5 Draft, Mateo was automatically outrighted back to AAA Iowa when he was reclaimed by the Cubs during Spring Training. (Rule 5 Draft picks who are reclaimed MUST be outrighted back to the minor league reserve list from which they were drafted). Because he had been outrighted previously in his career, Mateo could have elected to be a free-agent at the time he was reclaimed by the Cubs and sent back to Iowa (in which case his contract would have been terminated and he would receive no termination pay), but he elected to accept the Outright Assignment (and his 2014 salary) and defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

Whiteside was called up briefly during the season when Welington Castillo was placed on the 15-day DL, but then he was outrighted back to Iowa when Castillo was reinstated. Whiteside is an Article XX-D player two different ways, one because he has been outrighted previously in his career, and also because he has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time. 

It is possible (though not likely) that the Cubs might add Mateo back to their 40-man roster before he can file for free-agency, but waiting for him to file and then offering him a 2015 minor league contract (albeit for "big league money") plus an NRI to Spring Training and maybe a player opt out would be much more likely (presuming the Cubs want to retain him). Then it would be entirely up to Mateo to decide if he wants to accept such an offer. 



Cubs lose, Red Sox win, White Sox winning...

A's still not assured of a playoff spot and even if they get in, just lost home field for the wild card game...Cubbery in action (Scott Baker vs Shark):
The A's could've taken matters into their own hands much sooner, though, and liked their chances to do so Saturday after tough lefty Derek Holland was scratched less than an hour before game time because of a migraine headache. But they managed just two runs off fill-in Scott Baker, and Jeff Samardzija, who had not allowed an earned run in his previous 23 innings, coughed up five in his first loss since Sept. 5.

in another Cubbery event, in Boston's win over the Yanks helps the Cubs jockey for a better draft position (as Rob pointed out above) Masahiro Tanaka's elbow might still be barking (or even worse for the Yankees if he's healthy but is just bad, as he just sucked on Saturday). He started and pitched 1.2 innings yesterday giving up 7 earned runs and 2 BB That was a injury poop bomb that the Cubs fortunately missed. It's not clear that he will ever be the same pitcher that started the season 11-1 (that one loss was to the Cubs)
"My goal coming in this season was to stay healthy and keep a spot in the rotation," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "So obviously I wasn't able to do that. I was only able to do half a job, so with that said, I think I'm a little bit disappointed how the season was."
"[My] body and the arm is feeling fine," Tanaka said. "Obviously I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be today, but arm and body is fine."
"He struggled with some command today a little bit and wasn't real sharp with his fastball for whatever reason," Girardi said. "We asked him, 'Do you feel good?' and he said, 'Yeah, I feel good.' He got in some bad counts and they hurt him."

Job posted:http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/mlb/help/jobs.jsp... Sales & Marketing: Game Operations/Presentation Wrigley Field Video Board Operations Manager - Chicago Cubs (Chicago, IL) ROLE This experienced leader will be responsible for the overall operation and delivery of video and animated graphics for new video boards and LED signage within Wrigley Field. A thorough understanding of the systems and technology behind in-stadium entertainment is required.

Is it Linux or MS-based? I'd like to know where the blame should lie when that big old video board freezes up.

ArizonaPhil What is the roster situation with Kalish? Can he be taken off the 40 man roster before the draft?

DAVID P: Because he has "Draft-Excluded Status" (he was eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft and he was added to the Cubs 40-man roster after August 15th), Ryan Kalish can be sent outright to the minors (presuming he is placed on Outright Assignment Waivers and isn't claimed) prior to the Rule 5 Draft only if waivers are requested no later than the 4th day after the conclusion of the World Series (and then he would have to be outrighted prior to the conclusion of the waiver period that ends on November 10th, because otherwise the waiver would expire). And if Kalish is outrighted prior to the Rule 5 Draft, he will have the right to elect to be a free-agent, because he is an Article XX-D player (he has been outrighted previously in his career).

Also, unsigned Article XX-D players who are sent outright to the minors after the conclusion of the MLB regular season almost always elect to be a free-agent, because unlike Article XX-D players outrighted to the minors during Spring Training or during the MLB regular season, Article XX-D players outrighted after the conclusion of the season and prior to being tendered a contract for the following season (on 12/2) have nothing to lose (financially) by opting for free-agency. If that were to happen (Kalish is outrighted and he elects to be a free-agent), the Cubs could re-sign him to a major league or minor league contract for 2015 (but that's presuming he isn't claimed off waivers, or that he doesn't get a better offer elsewhere if he were to get outrighted and elect to be a free-agent).   

If Kalish is not outrighted to the minors by November 10th, the Cubs will probably non-tender him on 12/2 and try to re-sign him to a 2015 minor league contract (probably for the same money he would have received if he had remained on the 40-man roster) plus an NRI to Spring Training, so as to clear a slot on the 40-man roster during the off-season. (A Draft-Excluded Player cannot be outrighted to the minors during the period of time beginning on November 11th up until 21 days prior to Opening Day, but the player can be traded or released at any time, or non-tendered on 12/2). 

The problem with releasing a player after August 31st is that the released player cannot be added back to the MLB 40-man roster of the club that releaaed the player until May 15th, so players released after August 31st usually don't re-sign with their former club. However, a non-tender on 12/2 is not considered the same as an Outright Release, which is why clubs would much prefer to non-tender a player on 12/2 rather than release the player. That way, the non-tendered player can be re-signed to a major league or minor league contract and can be added back to the club's 40-man roster again at any time, rather than having to wait until May 15th. But a non-tender can only happen on one day (December 2nd), so club's have to wait until that date to non-tender players. If they need the player's 40-man roster slot before or after that date, a non-tender is not an option.

a lot of phantom penalties in the Bears-GB game

I think that in addition to having a little personality disorder problem among many players, the NFL is entering into murky territory by trying to eliminate good defensive play. Every time a player makes a good play it gets called a penalty. I'm seeing this a lot this year. The NFL wants to take defenses out of the game.

j.zimmermann going into the 9th with a no-hitter intact (1bb), 93 pitches

no hitter! awesome catch to save the no hitter for the last out of the game...104 pitches.

goodbye cubs 2014 season...it's been cruddy knowing you. 73-89

Less than 90 losses! Cool!

Cubs win, Red Sox loss and White Sox losing, barring a Pale Hose comeback Cubs will drop to 9th pick

I hope we get the next Jacob Turner!

I'm seeing rumours in twitterverse of Raul Alcantara coming to the Cubs from A's as PTBNL. He's out of options: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid... TJS survivor as well?

Alcantara was heavily rumored as part of the deal when it happened, so could have legs. Maybe Cubs wanted to be sure rehab was going well?

That's what this guy is surmising: https://twitter.com/Crewsett/status/516349086... https://twitter.com/Crewsett/status/516353242... But the more I read I think he is just following that early speculation. And it doesn't add any confidence that he is apparently wrong about his being out of options.

CARLITO: Raul Alcantara is not out of minor league options. 

He used his first minor league option in 2014, and not only does he have two "regular" minor league options left, as things stand right now he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2017. 

If the Cubs were to stash him on their MLB 60-day DL in 2015 while he rehabs from TJS at Riverview Park, the final three minor league options would be moved ahead even further (to 2016 and 2017, with the 4th minor league option available in 2018). 

That's cool. Who knows if they'll get him. I was parroting a tweet but seemed odd for someone that young to be out of options! Thanks!

A few pieces for '15, but still a long way to go: SP: Arietta & Hendricks RP: Grimm, Ramirez, Strop & Rondon (very nice) Lineup: Rizzo, Castro, Soler, Coughlan (?) Other than that, questions, questions and more questions....

I have been thinking precisely the same thing, and saying the Cubs will have a half decent team next year. They have half of a decent starting rotation (40% anyways)and half a decent starting 8 (my list had Castillo, not Coghlan). Half a very strong bullpen.

I'm even more optimistic on the bullpen; it seems we have more than half. Rondon, Strop, Ramirez, Grimm are excellent. Wright is a veteran lefty under club control and has been very consistent for the past few years. I see no reason he couldn't put up an ERA around 3.00 in 50 IP again. Then you just need a hot hand here and there to fill it out. Schlitter was great for part of the season and then faltered a bit, Vizcaino clearly has huge upside and is only 23, and there are a host of other arms that can potentially fill out the back-end depending on who is performing well in AAA. They may not even do anything with the bullpen in the off season. The only question I wonder about is if they will attempt to replace Villanueva with a veteran long-man of some sort, or just let the rotation sort itself out and move one of the starting candidates who doesn't make it to the pen (Turner, Strailey, Doubront, etc.) But the rotation is a big issue to me. Arrieta and Hendricks will probably regress a bit. Wood should improve, but to expect 2013 again is probably unrealistic. He has 700+ IP now and a career 4.11 ERA, which is basically right in the middle of his great 2013 campaign and his terrible 2014 campaign; so 175 innings and an ERA around 4.00? I guess that's fine for a cheap 4th or 5th starter. Maybe someone like Turner figures it out (he looked nice yesterday), but that's not something you can bank on. And if someone gets injured you are really in trouble. So I think they need a couple of guys there in the off season and some things to break their way.

Turner has nice stuff but eventually potential has to become something more than that. I can't imagine they'll be standing pat on the rotation. I wouldn't be shocked to see a move for Lester as much as I loathe the idea of free agent TOR contracts. It'll be interesting, also to see what they do with Jackson. I don't think they're quite ready to eat the contract. Reading between the lines, it sounds like they're going to see what he does in the off season to try to address his woes. I myself do not hold out any hope on that front, but I'm not the one whose wallet is getting emptied.

This is exactly why we won't see any blockbusters that cost us multiple top prospects for quite some time. None of these guys are guaranteed successes and the whole rebuild was about stocking the system and having layers and waves of promising talent. There's no way they undo any of that to acquire a Stanton or TOR pitcher. Free agency yes. But after basically tanking for 3 years you don't gamble on the health/talent of a single pitcher or outfielder if it thins out all the hard earned depth. Of course if they really think someone is a bust they can play coy, but I don't think that would be one of our top 4-7 prospects. Also I think our bullpen is pretty damn amazing, even accounting for lack of Lefty depth and regression of this year's pitchers.

Just for fun, now that the season is over, a NL All-Star team based on WAR, starter and back-up at each position, 5 starting pitchers and 3 relievers, and then 10 others to fill out the 34-man roster (ignoring the "team" rule): Starters C - Jonathan Lucroy (MIL), 6.8 1B - Anthony Rizzo (CHC), 5.1 2B - Chase Utley (PHI), 3.6 3B - Anthony Rendon (WAS), 6.4 SS - Jhonny Peralta (STL), 5.8 OF - Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), 6.5 OF - Andrew McCutchen (PIT), 6.4 OF - Jason Heyward (ATL), 6.4 Top Back-Up at Each Position C - Russel Martin (PIT), 5.5 1B - Paul Goldschmidt (ARI), 4.5 2B - Neil Walker (PIT), 3.6 3B - Todd Frazier (CIN), 5.3 SS - Troy Tulowitzki (COL), 5.5 OF - Juan Lagares (NYM), 5.5 OF - Yusiel Puig (LAD), 5.4 OF - Starling Marte (PIT), 5.1 Five Position Player Reserves 3B - Josh Harrison (PIT), 5.3 C - Buster Posey (SFG), 5.2 C - Devin Mesoraco (CIN), 4.8 OF - Carlos Gomez (MIL), 4.8 OF - Marcell Ozuna (MIA), 4.5 Starting Rotation SP - Clayton Kershaw (LAD), 7.5 SP - Cole Hamels (PHI), 6.6 SP - Johnny Cueto (CIN), 6.4 SP - Adam Wainwright (STL), 6.1 SP - Jake Arrieta (CHC), 5.3 Relievers RP - Jonathan Papelbon (PHI), 2.9 RP - Drew Storen (WSH), 2.6 RP - Tony Watson (PIT), 2.5 Bullpen SP - Tanner Roark (WSH), 5.2 SP - Jordan Zimmerman (WSH), 5.1 SP - Henderson Alvarez (MIA), 4.6 SP - Doug Fister (WSH), 4.6 SP - Zack Greinke (LAD), 4.3 Rizzo and Arrieta make the team, and lots of balance within the league (only San Diego doesn't have a player on the roster). Pittsburgh has 6 players, including FIVE position players, Washington has 5 players, including 3 starting pitchers.

Save this. I think it would be fun to see how accurate it is next July.

What do you mean by accurate?

I meant to say it would be fun to see how closely this roster matches the 2015 All Star roster. He's not making any predictions here, but we do use WAR as a predictive statistic, so you would think many of these names should be the same.

eh, WAR shouldn't really be used a predictive measure...not that it won't correlate well, but not in and of itself. It's mostly a good measure of how the season went.


Well, yeah, I didn't mean it as predictive, of course, but that article is odd in that it sets up a dichotomy between past performance and predictive measures. Predictive measures ARE based in part on past statistics. Each team focuses on a set of statistics they feel are most predictive of future success, and they have arrived at their model almost certainly by estimating a range of sophisticated models on the statistics of past players to see what stats in one stage in a career are most highly correlated with the stats they value in a later stage of a career. Once they have that in place, they just examine the past statistics of a current player (and control for variables like age, weight, position, etc.) to predict future performance. And WAR is of course based on some of those same statistics. So while WAR is almost certainly not in their models, something like wOBA might be in their predictive model and it is also a component of WAR's calculation.

Here's a chart of win percentage and attendance by season. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B337-tFMKBuw... Is the Cubs recession finally over?

Gardenhire fired by Twins...13 years at the job.

Scioscia still on top with 15 seasons with Angels.

Trivia time...Who now has the 2nd longest tenure?

At first I thought Bochy or Girardi, but I think it's Joe Maddon.

I guessed Bochy and Black at first, but it is Maddon.

Always could be worse, could be the Rockies...

“I mean, this is the major leagues, not the minors. It’s supposed to be about winning. We change a few players, but we never have enough talent. Things never change upstairs. Other teams make changes, but we never will.” —An anonymous Rockies player to Denver Post writer Patrick Saunders a few days before the end of Colorado’s fourth straight losing season and second season in the last three with 95 or more losses.

Major Free Agent Player in 2015?

Watch the Houston Astros

Have the #2 and #5 protected picks and #32 compensation pick, plus no state tax.

people are still trying to gauge how serious jim crane is about the astros and investing heavily in them. last year he sued the former owners for artificially inflating the team's value causing him to lose "100s of millions." the whole b.aiken thing this year didn't help things.

well lots of people are stupid, who the fuck cares what they think?

Rich people know how to stay rich, I'm sure Crane wants the money in his pocket instead of someone's else's, it's what rich people do. They got screwed over on a TV deal, I'm guessing that's the big sticking point and where the 100s of millions is coming from.

Astros had nearly the same plan as the Cubs and our year ahead, they're doing just fine.

The Aiken/Nix "fiasco" was unfortunate though, think they squabbled over $2M to try and prove a point about medicals and draftees that didn't need to be proven. That being said, having the #2 and #5 and #32 pick and all that bonus money might be just as valuable if not more. Maybe they don't get someone with as much upside as Aiken, but as HS pitcher, his major league impact was so far away that it's not gonna have much of an effect on the organization.

One thing the Cubs have in their favor is Theo. I have a hunch his reputation is pretty good among players. I can't say I have evidence to back it up, it's just a gut feeling. Another thing going for them is who wouldn't want to be part of the team that beats the curse. Naturally, there are guys who barely know much about it, but overall I gotta think that's pretty powerful stuff. Last I saw Houston was number 1 in minor league rankings, so they're doing something right, too. How both teams fare over the next few years will be interesting because we all know that prospects for the most part don't really work out like we hope they will. But who knows? Maybe they will on both teams. Cubs seem a little deeper in position players, Astros deeper in pitching, and in my mind, position trumps pitching every time at the prospect level this day and age. But, the Cubs aren't a LOT deeper in position players, so it's an interesting comp to watch over the next few years.

How FA's decide where to go...

1. Money

2. Money

3. Money

5-10: Everything else

Players so rarely turn down money unless we're talking just a couple of million, or if they really hate a city or state (or their wives do).

Astros: J. Castro, Singleton, Altuve, Correia, Moran, Springer, Marisnick, Fowler, Carter, D. Santana and then a bunch of pitching, although no real aces. There's more than that there, but it's a team of potential, much like the Cubs. Cubs have some more power hitting prospects and ultimately should have more resources. New TV deal though is a big sticking point for Cubs and chances are it won't be until 2020 until Cubs really can get that money. Hopefully cable networks are still around then.

Cut the cord myself in August and not missing it that much.

Shields v Lester is an awesome way to kick off the playoffs! Everyone knows that tonight's game is for rights to advance to the ALDS, but also know that the losing starter is going to have to wait until Day 2 of the Cubs' 2015 season to pitch, giving Opening Day rights to tonight's winner.

BP's Monday morning 10 pack, reviews ten prospects including Cubs...
Gleyber Torres, SS, Cubs (Short-season Boise) In 2013 the Cubs were aggressive in the international free agent market as they completely blew out their pool money to acquire their targets. Torres and Eloy Jimenez were the two headliners from that class, with Torres commanding a $1.7 million bonus. He is a shortstop at present but, at 17, he’s still a raw product at the position. I think he has the athleticism to remain there but he will need to take to further coaching and instruction to stick. Torres’ breakout potential is tied a bit to his defensive home, but his carrying tool will be his bat. He is short to the ball, with a quick and compact swing. He has a wide and open stance at the plate and he tends to get busy with his hands as he has an exaggerated bat wiggle. He maintains balance in his stance and follow through. He holds his hands high and the load is simple, as is the path his hands take through the swing. Torres will have to work on the little things afield and he’ll need to develop a plan at the plate, but the potential is there to break out in a significant way in 2015. He looks like a middle-of-the-diamond player on defense even if he doesn’t stick at short. –Mauricio Rubio

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 41 min ago (view)

    He played in the big leagues longer than he played any other level of organized baseball combined.


  • crunch 12 hours 44 min ago (view)

    al kaline has died at age 85.

    from highschool to the majors without touching the minors...22 seasons, all with DET...18x all-star...3000 hit club.


  • Charlie 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Currently at a near full-time job that just barely covers my monthly expenses if nothing emerges.

    I make more than that.


  • crunch 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    "Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball is considering opening the season in empty spring training parks -- with no fans and all players quarantined.

    The plan would have all teams stationed in one centralized location -- likely Arizona"


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 1 hour ago (view)

    In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).   


  • JustSayin' 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.

    That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.


  • Hagsag 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020. 


  • JustSayin' 6 days 13 hours ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.


  • crunch 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.


  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.


  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...


  • JustSayin' 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca


  • crunch 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...


  • bradsbeard 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement.