Cubs Sign Five More Players to 2017 Minor League Contracts
1/6 UPDATE #2: Baseball America is reporting that the Cubs have signed 32-year old switch-hitting catcher Carlos Corporan to a 2017 minor league contract. He will almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training.
Corporan has considerable MLB experience (232 games and 780 PA over the course of six seasons with MIL, HOU, and TEX), and he will battle Ali Solis (signed by the Cubs to a 2017 minor league contract last month) for the veteran catcher slot at AAA Iowa and for the Chicago Cubs unofficial #3 catcher gig (would be called up to Chicago if anything happens to Willson Contreras or Miguel Montero). Corporan has hit 218/280/342 over the course of his MLB career (4+019 MLB Service Time).
A native of Puerto Rico, Corporan was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Lake City CC in the 12th round of the 2003 draft. He is a solid defensive catcher, but he struggled mightily at the plate in 2016 (hitting just 197/246/323 in 57 AAA games), first at Durham (TB) and then at New Orleans (MIA), getting released both times. However, Corporan is currently hitting a robust 321/379/425 for Carolina in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (the Puerto Rican winter league), and is 3rd in the PWL in hitting, 5th in OBP, and 6th in doubles.
1/6 UPDATE #1: Baseball America is reporting that the Cubs have signed 3B-1B Chris Dominguez to a 2017 minor league contract. I would think that he will probably get an NRI to Spring Training, and then will provide depth at AAA Iowa.
Now 30 years old, Dominguez was selected by the San Francisco in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft out of the U. of Louisville. He hit 21 HR and drove in 101 runs in his first full season (Lo-A Augusta) in 2010 and was ranked one of the Giants Top 10 prospects by Baseball America and was rated as having the organization's top infield arm going into the 2011 season, but he never reached his potential, spending the past five seasons in AAA with San Franicisco (2012-14), Cincinnati (2015), and Boston (2016).
Dominguez hit 241/275/439 at Pawtucket in 2016 with 13 HR in 77 games (298 PA), missing considerable time with an oblique strain. He has hit just .175 with two HR in two "cups of coffee" in the big leagues (eight games with the Giants in 2014, and 14 games with the Reds in 2015).
ORIGINAL POST (12/24): Baseball America is reporting that the Cubs have signed five more free-agents to 2017 minor league contracts.
All five will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.
One of the players is a former Cubs minor leaguer, and the other four have varying degrees of big league experience with other MLB clubs.
1. Daniel Moskos, LHRP
2. Fernando Rodriguez, RHRP
3. Ali Solis, C
4. Elliot Soto, INF
5. Jemile Weeks, IF-OF
Passing on Matt Wieters, Madison Bumgarner, and Jason Heyward, the Pittsburgh Pirates made Clemson LHSP Daniel Moskos their 1st round draft pick (4th overall pick) in the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft). Now 30, the well-traveled Moskos had an above-average fastball and a plus-slider as a college pitcher, and in fact his slider was rated by Baseball America as best in the Pirates system two years running after signing. However, Moskos never developed into the elite starting pitcher the Bucs hoped he would be, and after making his big league debut with the Pirates in 2011 (his only MLB Service Time), he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in 2012 and was outrighted to the minors after that season, then was released in 2013, before pitching in Taiwan and in Mexico. He spent the last couple of seasons as a AAA lefty reliever with the Dodgers and (most-recently) the Padres, and was declared an MLB Rule 55 minor league 6YFA after the 2016 season. He was suspended by the MLB Commissioner for 50 games in June 2015 after testing positive for a "Drug of Abuse." He will likely serve as a lefty bullpen arm at Iowa in 2017.
A dependable MLB middle-reliever, 32-year old Fernando Rodriguez has (by far) the most big league experience of the quintet (5+032 MLB Service Time through the 2016 season), appearing in 216 MLB games over the course of six seasons with the Angels, the Astros, and the A's. He had his best years with Houston in 2011 and with Oakland in 2015, and he went 2-0 with a 4.20 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 17/37 BB/K and a .210 OppBA in 40.2 IP (34 games) with the A's in 2016, before missing the last half of the season with a torn lat that required surgery. (He is expected to begin throwing in January). He elected to be an Article XIX-A free-agent after being outrighted to AAA by Oakland in October. Rodriguez was drafted by the Angels in the 18th round of the 2003 MLB Rule 4 Draft out of El Paso CC, and made his big league debut (one game) in 2009 after spending seven seasons in the minors. He was signed as a minor league free-agent by the Astros after the 2010 season, and was part of the five-player trade that sent SS Jed Lowrie to Oakland and 1B Chris Carter to Houston in February 2013. While there might not be room for him in the Cubs bullpen coming out of Spring Trainiing, he could log some big league time in Chicago later in the season if and when he proves his lat is 100%.
A Chicago-area native (he attended Dundee-Crown HS), 27-year old Elliot Soto was selected by the Cubs in the 15th round of the 2010 draft out of Creighton University, and spent six seasons playing shortstop in the Cubs system before being traded along with RHSP Ivan Pineyro to Miami for RHSP Dan Haren at the trade deadline in July 2015. He spent the 2016 season at AAA New Orleans, and was declared a minor league 6YFA after the 2016 season. Known more for his plus-defense at SS than his bat, Soto has hit just 249/329/299 in 593 minor league games (2,202 PA). So while he isn't a particularly good hitter, has no HR power, and has (at best) average speed for a middle infielder, he can really pick-it at shortstop. In fact he is probably one of the top defensive shortstops in the minors, and he will very likely be the starting SS at Iowa in 2017 (which should make I-Cubs pitchers happy). Soto was suspended for 50 games in 2014 after testing positive for a "Drug of Abuse."
Signed as a 17-year old out of Mexicali, Mexico by the Padres in 2005, Ali Solis played (very briefly) for Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay in 2014, and he also saw service in the big leagues with San Diego in 2012 (he went a combined 0-10 with a sacrifice bunt in 13 MLB games between SD and TB). While Solis is a first-rate defensive catcher, he has hit just 219/266/326 in 561 minor league games (1,996 PA) in 11 seasons. He most-recently served as a back-up catcher in AAA with the Dodgers (2015) and with the Red Sox (2016), becoming a minor league 6YFA after the 2016 season. He will likely replace Tim Federowicz as the veteran catcher at AAA Iowa in 2017 (backing up Victor Caratini), and because of his experience and defensive expertise, Solis (not Caratini) would probably get first-call to Chicago if anything happens to Willson Contreras or Miguel Montero. Although he was signed by the previous regime, Solis was in the Padres organization when Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were running things in San Diego 2009-11, so it's not like he is a stranger to the Cubs braintrust. Solis is presently playing winter ball for Culiacan in Liga Mexicano del Pacifico (LMP), as he does every year.
Soon to be 30, switch-hitting speedy Jemile Weeks is the younger brother of long-time Milwaukee Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks Jr. Jemile was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 1st round (12th overall) of the 2008 MLB Rule 4 Draft out of the U. of Miami, and was rated by Baseball America as one of the A's Top 10 prospects his first three seasons in pro ball. He made his MLB debut in 2011 with the A's, hitting an impressive 303/340/421 with 26 doubles and 22 stolen bases in 97 games. However, he was unable to sustain his success in 2012, hitting just .221 and getting demoted back to AAA. He has spent most of the last five seasons in AAA with occasional call-ups to the big leagues with OAK, BAL, BOS, and (most-recently) SD, morphing into an athletic super-sub AAA utility guy (2B-3B-SS-CF-LF), and that will likely be his role at Iowa in 2017. Weeks spent most of the 2016 season on the Padres MLB 60-day DL with a hamstring injury, and he elected to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent after being sent outright to AAA El Paso in October.
crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
a lot of people were all-in on it being a 2022 thing, but given how MLB has held the DH over the player's heads like it's some kind of extremely valuable chip worth more than the players seem to think it's worth...who knows...
Cubster 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
any estimates on the chances of the DH in the NL anytime soon?
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
k.schwarber is hella good at post-season baseball.
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
e.castillo and t.payne off the 40man in 100% totally expected moves.
both are/were catcher organizational depth.
crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
for those keeping track of the heating-up Mets head of baseball operations search, theo has already ruled himself out.
mets want(ed) some heavy hitters (including b.beane and d.stearns), but none of them are on board...well, MIL took stearns off the board before he could chime in because he has a year left on his contract.
Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Something to keep in mind about clearing MLB 40-man roster slots for players eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft is that you can't non-tender players to create 40-man roster space for Rule 5 Draft eligibles. That's because players can only be non-tendered on 12/2, and the pre-Rule 5 Draft roster filing deadline is 11/19 (almost two weeks - PRIOR TO -the contract tender date). NOTE: Normally the roster filing deadline is 11/20, but it's moved up to 11/19 this year because 11/20 falls on a Saturday in 2021
Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Just one game, some BP, infield practice, and baserunning drills. So not much to glean from that so far.
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs). this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living. for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.
activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen. good work.
bradsbeard 2 days 9 hours ago (view)
Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in).
Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)
azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.
Hagsag 2 days 20 hours ago (view)
This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November.
azbobbop 3 days 3 hours ago (view)
Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.
tim815 3 days 6 hours ago (view)
Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.
Arizona Phil 3 days 9 hours ago (view)
TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF).
Arizona Phil 3 days 9 hours ago (view)
KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.
I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.
Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.