Cubs Walk-Off with 7-6 Decision at Fitch
After Neftali Rosario was walked intentionally to load the bases and set-up a potential game-ending double play, Taylor Davis drilled a one-out two-run game-winning walk-off single on a 2-2 pitch past a a diving 3rd baseman into LF to score Marco Hernandez from 3rd base with the tying run and Gioskar Amaya from 2nd base with the winning run, as the AZL Cubs rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge the AZL Rangers 7-6 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
The Cubs led 5-1 through three innings, plating two runs in the bottom of the 2nd on a Marco Hernandez two-run triple into the RF corner following back-to-back two-out singles by Trey Martin and Kyung-Min Na, and then three more in the bottom of the 3rd on a Taylor Davis RBI GO, a Ryan Cuneo RBI double, and a Kyung-Min Na RBI single.
Two rehabbin' Iowa Cubs were in the AZL Cubs lineup today, as Marquez Smith (on the I-Cubs 7-day DL since 6/26 with a hand injury) played 2B and hit 3rd, and Welington Castillo (on the Iowa DL since 7/28 with a hamstring injury) was the catcher and hit clean-up. Both of the I-Cubs played seven innings, with mixed resuits.
W. Castillo doubled twice (one a near-HR slammed off the right-centerfield fence, and the other a near-HR crushed off the top of the LF fence), and looked fully mobile behind the plate. (And none of the Ranger baserunners dared to run against him, either). This will be Castillo's only rehab game action, as he will be rejoining the Iowa Cubs in Tacoma on Friday.
Marquez Smith looked fine right up until the very end (hitting the ball hard twice), before tweaking a groin or a quad while running out a pop-fly in the bottom of the 7th in what was supposed to be his final AB. Since he is at Fitch Park rehabbing a hand injury, and since a quad or groin strain is a completely different problem, Smith could very possibly be spending considerable more time on the DL while dealing with this new medical issue.
LHP Hunter Ackerman (Cubs 2010 4th round draft pick out of Louisburg JC) got the start for the AZL Cubs today, and threw four innings (61 pitches - 38 strikes), allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits, while walking two, and striking out two. The lefty got a ton of ground balls (10/0 GO/FO including two 6-4-3 DP) with his high-80's two-seamer, and a few swings & misses with his plus-curve, although he also bounced several in front of the plate.
Down 5-1, the Rangers rallied for five runs in the top of the 7th off Cubs RHP Felix Pena, who had breezed through his first two innings of relief (six-up & six-down on only 17 pitches). But Pena could only get one out in the 7th, allowing a two-run HR to Rangers DH Clark Murphy, and then three more runs on three hits and a HBP after that (with LHRP Andrew McKirahan allowing two inherited runners to score on a WP and an RBI single).
Up 6-5, the Rangers were in a good position to add some insurance in the top of the 9th, as Cubs reliever Santo Rodriguez surrendered a bunt single and a double with no outs. But (with the Cubs playing a drawn-in infield to cut down a potential score), Rodriguez induced a weak grounder to 1st (3-U) for the first out (with both runners holding their respective base), and then struck out the last two hitters of the inning (one looking and one swinging) to end the threat.
The Cubs could not have asked for a better set-up coming into the bottom of the 9th, trailing by only one run with hot-hitting Marco Hernandez and Gioskar Amaya due up 1-2. And the two young infielders did not disappoint, either, as Hernandez came back from 0-2 to work a ten-pitch walk, before Amaya (with the Ranger infield expecting a bunt) drilled a single through the 5.5 hole into LF to advance Hernandez to 2nd. Gregori Gonzalez then beat the wheel-play and laid down a picture-perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to 2nd and 3rd with one out.
Neftali Rosario was walked intentionally to load the bases and set-up a potential game-ending DP, but Taylor Davis (possibly the slowest runner in professional baseball) upset the Ranger plan, working the count to 2-2 before hammering the game-winning hit to the left of the third-baseman and into LF. Hernandez scored the tying run easily from 3rd, and with AZL Cub manager Juan Cabreja enthusiastically waiving him around third, Amaya scored the winning run from 2nd, sliding home just ahead of the left-fielder's throw in a cloud of dust as Hernandez directed Amaya (with hand signals) to slide to the outside of the plate and touch the plate with his left hand.
With a single and a two-run triple today, Hernandez extended his hitting streak to 16 games, and improved his "slash line" to 358/397/509. And with two walks and a single, Amaya improved his "slash line" to 366/408/483. Hernandez is now 10th in the AZL in BA, second in RBI, tied for 3rd in doubles, and tied for 6th in triples, and Amaya is 4th in the AZL in BA and is tied for 3rd in triples.
By rallying to edge the AZL West-leading Rangers, the AZL Cubs remain five games behind the AZL Giants in the AZL East, but two games ahead of the AZL Reds for the AZL Wild Card lead, with 15 games left to play. The three division winners and a Wild Card team (the second-place AZL team with best record) will qualify for the AZL playoffs.
And if you think winning doesn't matter in the minor leagues, you didn't see the AZL Cubs mob Taylor Davis after his game-winning hit.
Arizona Phil 4 hours 3 min ago (view)
jdrnym: That's correct.
Under the new rules, the 38-man AAA reserve list is now only used beginning on the date reserve lists are filed in November and extending up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. Then after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, everybody goes back into the off-season 190-man Domestic Reserve List hopper.
jdrnym 7 hours 11 min ago (view)
Phil, can you settle a Twitter discussion? A team can only select players in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft until its 38-man Triple-A reserve list is full, correct? Don't believe this changed with the latest Major League Rules that introduced the Domestic Reserve List and eliminated individual level reserve lists during the offseason.
crunch 11 hours 23 min ago (view)
"Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston reports that Carlos Correa's agent has been contacted by the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Braves.
It's not clear when the contact took place or what level of interest each club has."
...with the yanks and dodgers both with piles of cash and a bit of need, i wouldn't get too stoked...but at least there seems to be some interest in what his market is.
Arizona Phil 15 hours 43 min ago (view)
Stroman's salary escalators apply to 2024, so if Stroman reaches 160 IP in either 2022 or 2023 (but not both) it adds $2M to his 2024 salary, and if he reaches 160 IP in both 2022 and 2023 it would add $4M to his to 2024 salary.
So he gets $25M in both 2022 and 2023 (that's locked-in), and then either $21M, $23M , or $25M in 2024, depending upon whether he reaches his salary escalators in 2022 and/or 2023.
Arizona Phil 15 hours 49 min ago (view)
W-RAT: I should also mention that the Cubs cannot outright David Bote while he is injured or rehabbing from an injury, except during a window starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until the day that off-season reserve lists must be filed (normaly 11/20, but it was 11/19 in 2021 because 11/20 fell on a Saturday, and it will be 11/18 in 2022 because 11/20 will fall on a Sunday).
Arizona Phil 16 hours 4 min ago (view)
W-RAT: The Cubs can outright David Bote (if he is not claimed off waivers) once the transaction freeze is lifted. That's not a problem.
If he is outrighted and then elects free-agency, he would forfeit what remains of his contract - AS LONG AS - the contract is not fully guaranteed.
If the contract is fully guaranteed he would likely elect free-agency and the Cubs would be on the hook for what remains of his salary, offset by the MLB minimum salary if he were to sign an MLB deal with another club.
crunch 20 hours 21 min ago (view)
kristin call has been named GM of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. she's been the assistant/associate GM for a few years and was formally a marketing director for the team.
she's been involved in baseball for a living for 16+ years.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Hey Phil - Could David Bote be outrighted at any point before the start of the season (obviously not now while players are being locked out). I wonder because if someone claimed him, oh well. If he elected free agency, wouldn't that void his contract? These are the thoughts going through my head as I look to open up another 40-man spot, and Bote will be out until at least May.
I've read your 40-man tag for him, but I'm not quite smart enough to figure this out! :) Thanks!
crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Marcus Stroman signed a three-year, $71 million contract with the Chicago Cubs that includes an opt out after the second season, sources tell ESPN. He’ll make $25 million in 2022, $25 million in 2023 and $21 million in 2024. It includes $2M escalators for 160 IP in ‘22 and ‘23.
Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have re-signed RHRP Jonathan Holder and C-INF P.J. Higgins to 2022 minor league contracts, presumably with an NRI to MLB Spring Training.
They will be Rule 5 Draft-eligible, if and when there is a Rule 5 Draft.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Owners' stooge Bobby Manfred coming out swinging at the players with his statement about the owners instituting a lockout.
Arizona Phil 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
The Cubs re-signed OF Michael Hermosillo to a 2022 Major League contract just prior to the midnight Wednesday MLB transaction freeze.
Hermosillo was non-tendered on Tuesday because he was a Rule 5 Draft-Excluded Player, and if he had remained on the 40 the Cubs would not have been able to outright him to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB opening Day.
crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
we shouldn't, especially with how much payroll room for 2024+ this top-costing-for-fans team with a heavily monitized ballpark in a major media market has.
backloaded contracts aren't exactly groundbreaking new things...neither are cheap-ass owners. i don't expect them to compete every year, but i expect them to try after a punt season where they traded away the core. NYY, NYM, LAD, LAA, BOS, etc. don't seem to have trouble doing this even if it means throwing a bit of money around...
Sonicwind75 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
Stroman, a pleasant surprise. Good to know we aren't completely punting until 2025.
Arizona Phil 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
CRUNCH: Clint Frazier's 2022 base salary is only $1.5M and he has a minor league option available, so I think it's more likely than not that he opens 2022 at AAA.
On the other hand, Harold Ramirez is out of minor league options, and it is unknown at this point what he will get in 2022 as a "super two."
crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
until clint fraizer came on board i wouldn't have counted bryant out.
OF is kinda crowded right now, though there's no stars in the mix. fraizer - happ - ortega - heyward - h.ramirez leading the group... even if he split time between OF/3rd with wisdom that just makes it more crowded, plus the team allegedly wants hoerner to prepare to be used as a super-utility guy.