Cubs Pitchers Stretch Out at Fitch Park
Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Andy Sonnanstine, Trey McNutt, Lendy Castillo, Marcos Mateo, Trever Miller, and Rodrigo Lopez threw "live" BP at cool & blustery Fitch Park today, before a sparse crowd under partly cloudy skies.
Wells, T. Wood, Sonnanstine, McNutt, and Lopez threw 45 pitches each, while L. Castillo, Mateo, and Miller threw 30 pitches a piece.
This is somewhat of a change from past years, as the pitchers who are prepping as starters are throwing more pitches per outing earlier than before. I can't remember the last time I saw any pitcher throw 45 pitches in a pre-Cactus League "live" BP session at Fitch.
Lopez has (apparently) been tabbed to start the Cactus League opener versus the Oakland A's at HoHoKam Park on Sunday, and it appears he has a reasonable shot to win the 12th man slot (long reliever/spot starter/garbage man) on the pitching staff. Lopez isn't Cy Young, but he does have the proverbial "rubber" arm and doesn't really need a lot of extra side-work to stay stretched out enough to be able to give his team four passably-decent innings (five tops) when needed.
Best performance at the plate today in "live" BP was by Junior Lake, who hit a couple of balls off the outfield fence, and Josh Vitters peppered Rule 5 draft pick Lendy Castillo's offerings with line-drives back through the box. Otherwise, there were no dingers, as the pitchers appeared to be mostly ahead of the hitters.
1B Anthony Rizzo (acquired from the Padres during the off-season) took some extra ground balls at 1st base after BP. He is a hard worker and the coaches really seem to like him a lot.
Steve Clevenger, battling Welington Castillo and Jason Jaramillo for the back-up catcher job, had an extensive work-out at 3B with the "B" team on Field #2 prior to the "live" BP session. Clevenger played SS in college and was moved to 2B after signing with the Cubs in 2006, before being converted to catcher at Instructs post-2006. Clevenger still has work to do to make himself a major league backstop, but he has the knowledge and aptitude to play anywhere in the infield in a pinch. He's gotten a bit bottom-heavy over the years and he has little range, but having a left-hand hitting back-up catcher who can play other positions in an emergency is a definite plus.
Clevenger has a short stroke that allows him to hit "cold" off the bench without needing a lot of regular playing time to stay ready, and he also is an excellent bunter. He might not have been an Academic All-American (he transferred to Chipola JC after being declared academically ineligible at the U. of Texas), but he has a high "Baseball IQ" and probably will be a manager someday. He understands the fundamentals of the game very well. (The Cubs minor league coaches LOVE Clevenger).
With Geovany Soto unable to do much while rehabbing a groin injury, the Cubs have brought 2010 3rd round draft pick Micah Gibbs (LSU) down to Fitch Park from Minor League Mini-Camp at HoHoKam as a 6th catcher. (See kids? It pays to report early!). Gibbs is probably the best receiver in the organization (albeit with just an average arm), but he has struggled offensively over his first two seasons in pro ball. However, the switch-hitting Gibbs showed tremendous improvement (and an outstanding eye) at the plate at Instructs post-2011, and should be the #1 catcher at Daytona in 2012.
The new regime has demonstrated little patience with mistakes and poor play so far at Fitch Park. Several coaches have stopped work-outs mid-stream to provide a "teaching moment" when a player's performance is not up to par. The players all seem to be enthusiastic and loose, but there is zero tolerance for f*ck ups. And that's kind of refreshing.
tim815 16 hours 33 min ago (view)
The decision on the amount comes later.
bradsbeard 19 hours 28 min ago (view)
At the point when the team makes the initial contract tender, do they have to offer a specific salary, and if so is that the same number the team takes into arbitration? Or does the specific number the teams files at for arbitration happen at a later date?
Arizona Phil 22 hours 16 min ago (view)
jdrnym: A player who is signed to a contract that does not include a minor league split salary is paid his full MLB salary while optioned or after being outrighted to a minor league club.
So if a player goes to arbitration and is awarded (let's say) a $2.5M salary by the arb panel, the contract will not include a minor league split salary or performance bonuses, and if the player is sent to the minors he is paid the full $2.5M while in the minors.
Hagsag 23 hours 27 min ago (view)
Maybe Trump can give them a loan.
crunch 23 hours 29 min ago (view)
it's not exactly looking good when the cubs brass is complaining about "losing 100m in revenue" when a huge chunk of that seems to include Hotel Zachary. it looks like the entire "entertainment complex" is the cubs as far as the Ricketts are concerned...and the team might have to suffer a bit because they couldn't fully realize profits last year. they've publically stated that the big incoming tax credits from the city they're going to realize for stadium work won't help the cubs payroll.
jdrnym 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
If a player doesn't have a split salary in his contract, how much is he making when in the minors (or how is that salary determined)?
crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
we want kyle schwarber to not be mark trumbo so badly...
either way, the NL having or not having the DH needs to be figured out pretty quickly for a lot of off-season sanity.
crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
minor league hitting coordinator chris valaika moves up assistant hitting instructor for the big league team.
looks like a.iapoce's job is safe.
Cubster 2 days 21 hours ago (view)
Jed Hoyer gets a new 5 yr contract that runs through 2025 season.
Cubster 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
BA's list of 19 prospects who impressed at Instructs. One Cub:
Chase Strumpf, 2B, Cubs
Jackstraw 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
Waiting for Ryan Pace to be available. He should be a week from tomorrow.
crunch 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
i haven't even heard a rumor...which is interesting since "virtual" winter meetings start in a couple weeks.
surprised dan kantrovitz hasn't been named "interim GM" or something...which makes me wonder how wide of a net they're casting to fill the position. he was snagged from the A's and was an assistant GM there (and director of scouting for STL).
Cubster 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
As Jed is promoted to President of Baseball Ops, then when will be expect a formal announcement of who the "official" GM is?
crunch 3 days 19 hours ago (view)
there are currently 0 signed...so it's an untapped market ripe for picking the best of the best.
well, bill 'spaceman' lee is probably out there pitching for a low-level Cuban team being paid in weed or something similar.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 2 hours ago (view)
1970s pitchers are a market inefficiency
Arizona Phil 4 days 12 hours ago (view)
The "Big Three" Cubs first-time Rule 5 Draft-eligibles post-2021 will be RHSP Riley Thompson, 1B-LF Alfonso Rivas, and LHSP Jack Patterson (at least as far as things stand right now), so they will need to be scrutinized as much as possible during the course of the 2021 season (including at MLB Spring Training); That's why those three (in particular) need to get an NRI.