Mr. Rogers Not So Friendly at Fitch Park

On an injury rehab assignment in the Arizona League, veteran AAA 3B Ed Rogers doubled twice and drove-in two runs, leading the AZL Diamondbacks to a 7-1 victory over the AZL Cubs at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

Beefy Cubs 2011 2nd round draft pick Dan Vogelbach (Bishop Verot HS - Ft. Myers, FL) made his pro debut in the game, serving as the DH and batting clean-up. 

box score

Famous for winning the 2010 International Power Showcase at Chase Field in Phoenix with a towering 508-ft HR, the 18-year old lefty swinging Vogelbach--who gave up a chance to play college ball at the University of Florida when he signed with the Cubs last week--flied out to the warning track in right-centerfield in his first pro AB, struck out swinging (and looked bad doing it) his second time up, popped out to left in his 3rd AB, and grounded an opposite-field single through the 5.5 hole in his final AB in the bottom of the 9th. He reminds me a bit of ex-KC Royals 1B Bob Hamelin.  

Both Cubs 2011 25th round pick Rock Shoulders ($294K signing bonus = "4th round money") and Vogelbach ($1.6M signing bonus) were in the lineup (Shoulders played 1B), hitting 3-4. Like Vogelbach, Shoulders also went 1-4, ripping a single down the LF line in the 7th. Shoulders is bottom-heavy and can barely run, stopping at 1st base on what should have been an easy double. The switch-hitting Shoulders led Florida JUCO in HR this season, and clearly has plus-power from both sides of the plate (his rope-single down the LF line today was hit RH). 

While Vogelbach and Shoulders will probably be competing with each other for playing time at 1B as they work their way up through the Cubs system in coming years, it is conceivable that Shoulders could (if he can get into better physical shape) eventually end-up at another position (he was a catcher in HS, and has the arm to play 3B). He has the body-type normally associated with a catcher.  

LHP Brian Smith (Cubs 2010 40th round draft pick - Canadian Junior National Team) got the start for the Cubs and threw three shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 3.40 (8th best in the AZL). While Smith did not surrender a run, he did allow two hits (a double and a single), three walks, a WP, and a balk, and was fortunate to escape unscathed (the D'backs stranded six runners over the course Smith's three innings of work). The 18-year old southpaw labored throughout his outing, throwing 59 pitches (only 33 strikes), including a 26-pitch 2nd inning. He did strike out four (three swinging), however.

While the Cubs offense was mostly quiet today, Gioskar Amaya had two more hits. The 18-year old Venezuelan is 6-12 over his last three games, and is now hitting a robust 359/401/495. He is 3rd in the AZL in triples, and 5th in the league in both AVG & RBI. 

Comments

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In reply to by The Real Neal

Submitted by The Real Neal on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 5:49pm. Sounds like relatively exciting stuff, despite the lack of hitting today. Any word on Baez joining them prior to instructs ======================== TRN: I haven't heard anything about Javier Baez joining the AZL Cubs prior to the end of the AZL season on Sunday, but he probably will be at Fitch Park getting ready for Instructs. Somebody was getting his picture taken by Bill Mitchell of Baseball America over on Field #2 during the game, and it might have been Baez.

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In reply to by George Altman

dumpster seems to love the cubs/chicago/etc...but this offseason FA pitching market is pure ass. if he picks up his 14m option it'd be a love/hate thing for me...a few million overpaid, but with just garza as a dependable guy on the staff it's one of those few million you can look past a bit. i could see a dumpster extension/new-contract in the works...something giving him 3+ years and freeing up a little loot for 2012. amazingly horrid FA SP market...unfortunately, a horrid 3rd market, too...and aram's bat is red hot with no end in sight. i can't imagine the club picking up his 16m option, though...even with a 2m buyout attached.

Eerie, earie...Sullivan tweets: @PWSullivan: Theriot? RT @JoeStrauss A large moth buried itself in Holliday's right ear, had to be extracted by trainers. Still alive when yanked.

Is this something we really need to hear from 2003? "We now have learned that after the disastrous sixth game of the National League Championship Series in 2003 -- the ''Bartman Game,'' if you will -- Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, along with teammate Moises Alou, booked a flight home to the Dominican Republic for the day after Game 7. All the Cubs had to do was win Game 7, and they would have been in the World Series for the first time 58 years." ...from Telander in the Sun Times today... Sheesh

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In reply to by The Real Neal

it's mentioned in the BP contracts as a mutual option and as a club option. and this is from Cot's 5 years/$75M (2007-11), plus 2012 club option re-signed by Cubs as a free agent 11/06 $5M signing bonus 07:$8M, 08:$14M, 09:$15.65M, 10:$15.75M, 11:$14.6M player option, 12:$16M club option ($2M buyout) full no-trade clause 2007-10, $1M assignment bonus if traded Ramirez has right to void contract after 2010 & become a free agent if club exercises 2012 option, Ramirez may void and forfeit option that don't seem right

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In reply to by Jumbo

Submitted by Jumbo on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 4:22pm. It seems ridiculous to me to even consider not opting to keep ARAM. I think during the trade deadline time I read that he wanted to get assurances that his option would not be picked up by an acquiring team so he could test FA. If they opt to keep him and ARam declines, offer him Arb and get a pick or two. Ditto for Dempster should he opt out. ===================================================== JUMBO: And I think that is one thing the new Cubs GM absolutely needs to do. Don't buy-out Ramirez, and then if he opts for free-agency, offer him arbitration. If A-Ram is rated a Type "A" post-2011 it will make him less valuable to other clubs (which might motivate him to accept the arbitration offer) because the club that signs him loses a 1st or a 2nd round draft pick. That's something Jim Hendry never seemed to value or understand. BTW, if Andrew Friedman is the new GM, he has a history of offering arbitration to his MLB Type "A" and Type "B" free-agents. Tampa Bay had a ton of compensation picks this year. Fact is, the vast majority of free-agents who are offered arbitration do not accept.

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In reply to by Paul Noce

Ultimately I think both guys are going to look for 4 year deals. Dempster will be the 3rd best starting pitcher on the market. I'm starting to doubt he exercises a 1/14 option when he thinks he can get 4/52 on the open market. Especially since at 34 looking at his age 35 season. It's probably his last chance at a huge payday. Aramis is kind of in the same boat. I'm fine with exercising the option and keeping him in 2012. However if the Cubs want to go in a new direction. They should at least offer arbitration. No chance he accepts. He's the biggest bat on the Free Agent market.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

I think I wasn't clear enough when I said "buy out". I did not mean to imply that the Cubs could play him less. While this would be nice, I believe TRN is correct that the MLBPA would not sign off on this. I merely meant to state that instead of signing a big name free agent in 2012, the Cubs could use a large chunk of their 2012 payroll to amass a pile of money which would be used to pay the rest of Soriano's contract. Then the could just cut him or trade him for whatever they can get.

Maybe I missed it, but nobody has mentioned Jokisch's 3-hit, 2-walk, 10-strikeout performance over six innings last night. Jokisch was not only promoted last week, but he skipped over Daytona. I think the Cubs are in a hurry to get a lefty starter somewhere near the majors. Rusin has been good but not great this year, and Raley has disappointed. I didn't think Ridling was going to get there, but with four homers in his last five games he made it to twenty last night. So the Cubs got 20-HR seasons from first basemen at five levels this year (including Pena). Ridling has struggled a bit this year but is finishing strong. His RBIs (71) are off, especially considering all the activity on the bases for Tenn this year.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Bruce Miles blog has some Rusin talk from Oneri Fleita: I had a chance to ask Oneri the other day about lefty Chris Rusin, promoted in-season from Tennessee. Rusin, a product of the University of Kentucky and a fourth-rounder in 2009, is a combined 6-4 with a 3.62 ERA. His groundout/flyball out ratio is 1.93. His WHIP at Iowa is 1.18. "He got off to a little bit of a slow start," Oneri said. "He had some blisters, kind of like Trey McNutt. I thought it was something with the baseballs, honestly (laughing). It turned out it wasn't. He's put that behind him. He's an older guy, 24 years old, a college kid. He knows how to pitch. He's not afraid of contact. He pitches to contact and gets groundballs. He's one of those crafty lefties, and you've got to give him a chance. I think he's a tough kid. He's a guy who can always pitch above his stuff. He's got really good command, and he'll have to have good command. There's no reason not to challenge him." http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/6179

Ridling's career numbers are .287/.339/.470. This season he's at .302/.366/.514. Eh...probably will never get to the Cubs, since we like 30 yr old+ guys who are more expensive. He's not a star player no...but he's better than the usual cast of characters. Also...wasn't his playing time limited a bit earlier in the year with him, Vitters, Le Mahieu, and Flaherty all playing 1B-3B-LF?

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14850 Zeke DeVoss, OF, Cubs (Short-season Boise): 4-for-6, 2B, R, RBI, K, SB, CS. Third-rounder is plus-plus runner with excellent approach; .293/.463/.359 in 27 games. Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R RBI, K, SB. Hitting .313/.390/.576 in 37 games, but also has whiffed 20 times in his last 10; .440 BABIP might be a concern. Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 3-for-3, R, 2B. Hitting .338 in 20 August games and .287/.323/.446 overall.

someone put a claim in on Wandy Rodriguez, certainly a candidate to just let him go

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In reply to by jacos

I thought they both were. on a related note, Ringolsby goes at Kenney today, but says Ricketts never even talked to Gillick http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Chicago-Cubs-Crane-Kenney-ryne-sandb… You've got to love Ricketts saying Kenney is absolved of all blame for what transpires on the field because Kenney is confined to business matters. Yeah, business matters like overruling Hendry on more than one occasion because Kenney felt outside pressure to reel in high-priced veterans. Veterans like Alfonso Soriano, who Hendry had declared would not get more than a five-year guarantee only to have Kenney's business sense overrule him and provide an eight-year sentence to the organization with its obligation to Soriano. a bit of a twitter fight now between Ringolsby and Al and some others about the Soriano deal and other "factual errors". Ringolsby says he "trusted his sources" but does acknowledge that McDonough had much to do with Soriano's deal as well.

Brett Jackson not in the lineup for Iowa Cubs this afternoon. Injured? or maybe on his way to Chicago? anybody hear anything. BTW Iowa Cubs up 11 to 1. LaHair 3 rbi's now at 98 for the season.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Submitted by VirginiaPhil on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 3:14pm. Montanez led off against a lefty starter. Day game after night game, etc. Everybody needs a mental day off once in a while. LaHair ended up with four doubles and five RBI, getting him to 100. =========================== VA PHIL: He didn't pitch today, but Robert Coello has been lights-out since being moved to the I-Cubs bullpen. I expect both Coello and Bryan LaHair to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster and brought up to Chicago in September. And then I would think Scott Maine (if his ankle is OK), John Gaub, Welington Castillo, D. J. LeMahieu, and Lou Montanez will get recalled. Of the players likely to be added to the 40-man roster prior to the 11/20 deadline (Beliveau, Clevenger, Flaherty, M. Gonzalez, J. Jackson, Szczur, and Vitters, and possibly Antigua), Flaherty and Clevenger are probably the only two who might get a September call-up.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 5:10pm. No chance he sticks on a MLB roster next year. Might as well save the option year and roll the dice. Hopefully the next GM understands the procedural game MUCH better than the last one did. =============================== DR AARON B: Although the Cubs don't have to add Matt Szczur to the 40-man roster after this season, it is very likely that they will. I can't tell you why, but I have a reason to believe that as part of the agreement the Cubs reached this past March with Szczur (where Szczur agreed to give up football), Szczur was promised that he would get added to the Cubs 40-man roster after this season, as long as he finished the season on a minor league active roster. And if the Cubs did not add him to their 40-man roster because Szczur finished the season on the DL, there would at least be a possibility that he could get selected in the Rule 5 Draft. When they restructured Jeff Samarzdija's contract in January 2007, the Cubs signed him to a major league contract and had to immediately place him on their 40-man roster, and then he used up option years in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 (he got a 4th minor league option year). They learned their lesson to the extent that they at least bought an extra year with Szczur. BTW, this is not all that unusual. The Cubs also supposedly promised 2010 7th round draft pick RHP Ben Wells that he would be placed on the Cubs 40-man roster by 2013 (he is otherwise not eligible for selection for the Rule 5 Draft until December 2014), or else he can request & receive his Outright Release.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 5:36pm. The Samjay situation is exactly why I hate to see them go down that road. They burnt up service time and options on a kid they needed to leave alone. Now he has negligible value because there is nowhere for him to go. He isn't good enough to justify the cost of his contract in 2012. Just as likely the Cubs developed him to the point of someone else bargain hunting him off the Non-Tender rack. ================================= DR AARON B: I don't think the Cubs are going to non-tender Jeff Samardzija post-2011, but I do think they will decline the 2012 $3M club option, making him an "auto-renewal" player for 2012 (and also removing his "no trade" rights). And then the Cubs can unilaterally cut The Shark 20% for 2012, taking his salary down to $2.4M, and then if they don't want him, they could release him prior to 2012 Opening Day and pay him a $600K severance. (Samardzija won't be eligible for salary arbitration until post-2012).

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In reply to by big_lowitzki

"What has Samardzija done, etc." In 72 innings, he has given up 51 hits while striking out 72. That's 6.4 hits per 9 innings--better than Marmol (7.1) this year, and better than Brian Wilson (7.5) last year when he led the league in saves. Samardzija has learned how to get hitters out. Walks are still a bit of a problem. I can't give you impressive numbers as a starter because he hasn't started any games this year. Those numbers are in the future. When he did start, he wasn't the pitcher he is now. He's certainly learning how to pitch, and he has a better arm than Coleman or Wells, so he should be ahead of them.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Do you think that pitching out of the bullpen and pitching as a starter are the same thing? Do you also think that Carlos Marmol would be a successful starter? As for the comparison to Marmol, the h/9 for Marmol is the worst of his career, and by far the best for Samardzija. Samardzija walks are not a "bit" of a problem. They are a major problem. And Marmol strikes out more people, even in this down year, so he has more ability to deal with walks/hits. There is a reason that mediocre starters can be good relief pitchers. Its easier.

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In reply to by big_lowitzki

No, they're not the same thing, but they're not as different as you think. Marmol lives on the hairy edge of almost blowing every save. When they gave him the ball with a 4-run lead the other day, were you surprised when the Astros loaded the bases? Only the grand slam was unusual. If a reliever tends to have easy innings, I don't see why he couldn't string five or six of them together. Dempster is a better starter than closer.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Marmol lives on the hairy edge of almost blowing every save. Sure... but you didn't answer the question. And Samardzija and Marmol basically have allowed the same number of baserunners per inning this year, and Marmol has a better K rate. Dempster is a better starter than closer. It does appear that Dempster has pitched better since moving to the rotation. I'll give you that one. But you still haven't demonstrated what Samardizja has done to show that he can be an effective starter. How many successful starters walk more than 5 per 9 innings?

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In reply to by The Real Neal

Submitted by The Real Neal on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 5:00pm. How come Szczur has to be added so soon, is that something in his contract? ================================ TRN: When the Cubs restructured Szczur's contract during Spring Training 2011, he was technically released from his previous minor league contract (the one he signed after he was drafted, where he received a $100K bonus with an additional $500K if he gave up football), and then signed a new contract where he got a $1.5M bonus. The other option would have been to sign him to a major league contract and immediately add him to the 40-man roster (like they did with Jeff Samardzija in January 2007). Because Szczur was released from his first contract and then was signed to a different one, he became eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, because a player who has been released previously in his career is eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 Drafts. Although Szczur is likely to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2011, he will (like Rafael Dolis and D. J. LeMahieu) get a 4th minor league option year, because he has completed only one "full season" through the 2011 season, and a player gets a 4th minor league option if he has not completed five "full seasons" by the time he has used his first three option years. A player accrues a "full season" when he spends at least 90 days on the Active Roster of an MLB and/or full-season minor league team(s), or at least 60 days on an Active Roster of an MLB and/or full-season minor league team(s) followed by time spent on the DL where the total is at least 90 days.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

"lose another McGehee" Russ Canzler? As Brandon Guyer's teammate at Durham this year, Canzler's slash line is .314/.398/.544/.943, with 18 HRs and 77 RBI (that's 54 more than Marlon Byrd). The Cubs released Canzler last year after a big year at Tennessee because he didn't project as a major-league third baseman; but the Rays have him in right field. So that's another righty-hitting outfielder that the Cubs just pissed away, leaving them with Montanez and Ty Wright after they get rid of Soriano and Byrd. Plus Ha, Szczur and Crawford, who are a couple of years away. Disclaimer: I have no idea if Canzler can really play right field.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Submitted by VirginiaPhil on Wed, 08/24/2011 - 9:58am. "lose another McGehee" Russ Canzler? As Brandon Guyer's teammate at Durham this year, Canzler's slash line is .314/.398/.544/.943, with 18 HRs and 77 RBI (that's 54 more than Marlon Byrd). The Cubs released Canzler last year after a big year at Tennessee because he didn't project as a major-league third baseman; but the Rays have him in right field. So that's another righty-hitting outfielder that the Cubs just pissed away, leaving them with Montanez and Ty Wright after they get rid of Soriano and Byrd ==================================================== VA PHIL: What happened with Russ Canzler is different from what happened with Casey McGehee in that Canzler left voluntarily as a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (6YFA) after spending seven seasons in the Cubs organization where he never got above AA, while McGehee was the everyday 3B at Iowa before being added to the Cubs 40-man roster in September 2008, and then the Cubs lost him off Outright Waivers six weeks later when they tried to outright him to the minors to open up a roster spot for a player the Cubs intended on taking in the December 2008 Rule 5 Draft (David Patton). Canzler was NOT released by the Cubs. Like about 400 players every year, Canzler took advantage of minor league free-agency to try his luck with another organization where he hoped to get an NRI to Spring Training and (finally) a chance to play in AAA, and the only way the Cubs could have stopped him from doing that would have been to add him to the 40-man roster post-2010. Canzler was a SS in HS, was moved to 3B by the Cubs after he was signed, then was moved to 1B (he had defensive shortcomings at 3B), and eventualy morphed into an offense-first corner IF-OF (1B-3B-LF-RF), sort of like Greg Rohan is now. But Canzler moved very slowly through the Cubs system, spending two years at AZL Cubs, then a year at Boise (and he was at EXST two years in a row, too), then a year at Peoria, then a year at Daytona, then back to Daytona again (he had a bad minor league camp in 2009 and almost got released), before eventually getting a shot at AA (Tennessee) mid-2009, and finally a full season at AA in 2010. If he had not chosen to be a minor league FA post-2010, he almost certainly would have been back at Tennessee again this season. That said, Canzler could very well be a 4-A "late bloomer" who will make it to the big leagues after being a six-year minor league FA. As I have mentioned here many times before, just because a player might seem to be a career minor league player doesn't mean he is. Some players just need an opportunity, and once they get it, they need to be ready to prove themselves immediately, because the chance might not come again. Canzler could be that player. Bryan LaHair could be that player.

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