Almora, Soler, and Baez Shine under Arizona Sun
Albert Almora and Jorge Soler smacked back-to-back RBI doubles in the 3rd, Bijan Rademacher and Lance Rymel collected two hits and two RBI a piece, and Marco Hernandez belted a solo home run, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Rockies in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale.
Then this afternoon, Cubs #1 prospect Javier Baez blasted a three-run home run (on a 3-0 pitch) over the LF wall and to the base of the fence adjacent to the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th, propelling the Mesa Solar Sox to an 8-3 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League (AFL) action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
In addition to his HR, Baez also flied out to deep RF in his first AB, was called out on strikes his second time up, and (after ripping his HR in his third PA), grounded out to SS in his fourth and final AB.
Baez played shortstop for the Solar Sox today and fielded a half-dozen chances, committing a throwing error on the first ball hit his way (a nice running short-hop stab and then an overthrow at 1st base allowing the batter to reach base safely). Baez also made a fine backhanded stop and long throw from the hole to retire a Desert Dog batter later in the game.
Rubi Silva played RF for Mesa and had two hits (a line-drive single to CF to lead of the bottom of the 1st, and an infield hit off the pitcher’s glove his third time up), and Nick Struck and Tony Zych both pitched an inning (Struck did allow a solo HR but struck out two, while Zych needed only ten pitches to retire the side in the 9th).
The Cubs Instructs squad has completed its 2012 season, and most of the players are returning home this afternoon and this evening.
Although the Cubs did play today, they canceled yesterday’s Instructs game versus the Athletics at Papago Park, and instead had a Camp Day at Fitch Park that featured skill tests in the style of the Olympic Games.
National flags representing the nationalities of the 44 players who are attending Cubs Instructs this year (USA, Canada, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, etc) were displayed on the outfield fence at Field #3, and the outfielders took turns trying to make the most accurate throw home from left field, catchers competed in trying to make the most accurate throw to 2nd base from home or to locate a wild pitch and make a throw home to the pitcher covering before the base runner could score from 3rd base, baserunners were timed running the bases, etc.
But the absolute highlight was a King Kong vs Godzilla “Home Run Derby” competition between Jorge Soler and Dan Vogelbach that completed the field activities (Soler won, with “We Are the Champions” blaring over the Fitch Park Field P. A. as he walked around the infield with arms raised in triumph). The team then adjourned to the clubhouse for a catered luncheon, followed by an “American Idol” competition between the more talented members of the team.
(Last Saturday afternoon the squad hiked “A” Mountain on the campus of Arizona State University, in what was yet another team-building effort by the new Cub Player Development staff headed by ex-Marlin coaches Brandon Hyde and Tim Cossins).
Here is the abridged box score from today’s Instructs game (Cubs players only)
1a. David Bote, SS: 0-3 (P-6, P-4, 4-3)
1b. Bijan Rademacher, PH-RF: 2-2 (2B, 1B, 2 RBI)
2a. Albert Almora, CF: 1-3 (5-3, 2B, E-3, 2 R, RBI)
2b. Shawon Dunston Jr, PH-CF: 0-2 (L-4, K)
3a. Jorge Soler, RF: 1-3 (K, 2B, P-3, RBI)
3b. Marco Hernandez, SS: 2-2 (1B, HR, 2 R, RBI)
4a. Dan Vogelbach, DH #1: 1-4 (2B, 4-3, K, K)
4b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 4th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
5a. Yasiel Balaguert, LF: 1-3 (K, 5-3, 2B, R)
5b. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 0-2 (F-9, F-7)
6a. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-3 (E-5, K, BB, 1B, 2 R)
6b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
7a. Chadd Krist, C: 0-2 (F-8, 4-3)
7b. Lance Rymel, PH-C: 2-2 (1B, 1B, 2 RBI, PO)
7c. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
8a. Stephen Bruno, 2B: 0-3 (5-4 FC, F-9, F-9 SF, F-9, RBI)
8b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 3rd TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
9a. Ben Carhart, DH #2: 0-3 (F-9, 5-3, F-9)
9b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 3rd TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-1 (BB, 2B, R)
10b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 3rd TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10c. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-1 (K)
1. Juan Carlos Paniagua: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 40 pitches (25 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Ben Wells: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 29 pitches (22 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
3. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 39 pitches (24 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
4. Corbin Hoffner: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 45 pitches (26 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Ryan McNeil: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (7 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)
2. C Lance Rymel- E-2 (throwing error allowed unearned run to score from 3rd base)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Chadd Krist: 1-2 CS, 1 PB
2. Lance Rymel: 0-1 CS, 1 PB, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
waveland 8 hours 40 min ago (view)
really appreciate the years and years of your updates
Arizona Phil 10 hours 34 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 11 hours 18 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 11 hours 53 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 12 hours 55 min ago (view)
I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option
bradsbeard 13 hours 59 sec 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 1 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 13 hours 13 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 13 hours 18 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 13 hours 41 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 13 hours 43 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 13 hours 55 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 14 hours 14 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 14 hours 36 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).
Arizona Phil 15 hours 16 min ago (view)
TIME OUT: As I mentioned in the post, the Cubs cannot cut Schwarber's base salary more than 20% without first non-tendering him, so if he is agreeable the Cubs could sign him for a relatively low base 2021 salary (something like $5M) combined with performance bonuses based upon actual PA (not pro-rated PA) maybe totaling $5M (which would cover the Cubs if the 2021 season is truncated), and then maybe an additional year or two (2022-23) for something like $10M per year plus performance bonuses (again, based on PA). Schwarber could get a player opt-out as well post-2021.
crunch 17 hours 50 min ago (view)
it's not surprising, but i also don't see the downside of giving him the $8m-ish he'd be owed.
if you can hit 30+ homers that's usually money you can easily go get.
i seriously wonder about this offseason and the amount of investment the cubs are going to make in the team. i mean, it's fine if they go cheap yet somehow field a great team via off-season trades or other forms of black magic...i just don't trust how this off-season is unfolding so far.