A VogelBomb and a VogelDub Lead Cubs to Victory

Dan Vogelbach blasted a 415-foot+ two-run home run over the right-centerfield fence in the bottom of the 4th and an RBI double off the LF fence in the bottom of the 6th (he also stole a base), and Lendy Castillo and four relievers combined to throw a two-hitter, as the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Padres 4-2 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was delayed due to weather (lightning in area) for about 30 minutes with two outs in bottom of the 4th.

box score

RHP Lendy Castillo got the start for the AZL Cubs, making his first game appearance since being placed on the Cubs MLB 15-day Disabled List with a groin injury on May 16th (retroactive to May 12th).

He looked very good tonight (in fact it's hard to believe he even had an injury...), throwing a 94 MPH fastball and a plus-slider while allowing two baserunners (a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch in the top of the 1st, and a bloop single that fell in front of RF Garrett Schlecht in the 2nd) but no runs in two innings of work (34 pitches - 24 strikes). He struck out one with a 4/1 GO/FO.

Because he is a Rule 5 player (he was selected in Major League Phase of the December 2011 Rule 5 Draft), Castillo must spend the entire 2012 season on the Cubs Active List (25-man roster) and/or MLB 15-day or 60-day Disabled List, with at least 90 days spent on the Active List. If he does not spend at least 90 days on the Cubs Active List this season, he remains a Rule 5 player going into the 2013 season (until he accrues the 90 days he needs).

If the Cubs wish to send Castillo to the minors before the Rule 5 restrictions are removed, Outright Assignment Waivers (which are irrevocable) must be secured AND the Philadelphia Phillies (the organization from which he was drafted) must decline to re-claim him.

It appears that the Cubs do not wish to take that chance.

By placing Castillo on the 15-day DL on May 16th (retro to May 12th), the Cubs are now in a position to fairly easily satisfy Castillo's Rule 5 requirements by the end of the 2012 season.

Castillo accrued 38 days on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster (Active List) prior to May 12th, so he needs to spend 52 more days on the 25-man roster to reach the required 90 days.

The Cubs have sent Castillo to the minors on a 30-day rehab assignment (pitchers get a maximum of 30 days, position players only get 20), meaning the rehab assignment started today (Wednesday 7/11) and will conclude no later than Thursday August 9th. (NOTE: Castillo does NOT have to be reactivated when he completes his rehab assignment).

During the 30 day rehab assignment, Castillo can be assigned to any of the Cubs minor league affiliates, so although he began his rehab in Mesa with the AZL Cubs, he will likely spend most of what remains of the 30 days at Hi-A Daytona and/or AA Tennessee. In fact, he can be moved from affiliate-to-affiliate (as the Cubs see fit).

Once he completes his minor league rehab assignment (and I would think the Cubs will want him to take the full 30 days, to give him as much minor league work as possible), the Cubs will probably activate him from the DL, and as long as they do so no later than August 13th, and as long as he remains on the 25-man roster (Active List) through to the conclusion of the 2012 MLB regular season, he will accrue the required 90 days.

Two Cubs 2012 draft picks made their pro debut tonight, both of them pitchers.

20-year old RHP Trey Lang (6th round pick out of Gateway CC in Phoenix) threw a 14-pitch 1-2-3 3rd inning, and he is quite a presence on the mound (6'3 225+).

Lang was a star outfielder at Skyline HS in Mesa and set various HR and slugging records there, before enrolling as a two-way player (OF/RHP) at Northern Illinois University as a Freshman in 2010. He only lasted one year at NIU (as his weight ballooned to 250+) before transferring back home to GCC, where he was the Geckos' RF and closer this past season.

The Cubs drafted him as a pitcher (he would have transferred to the U. of New Mexico if he hadn't signed with the Cubs), and you can see the potential he has as a late-inning reliever. He throws unmitigated gas. He just needs to keep the weight off.    

18-year old RHP Corbin Hoffner (14th round pick out of St. Petersburg JC) also made his pro debut tonight, and he also threw a 1-2-3 inning (the top of the 4th), striking out two of the three men he faced. Hoffner is bigger than Lang (6'5 235) and has plus-velocity on his fastball, too, although he doesn't throw quite as hard as Lang.

The best outing of the night, however, was turned-in by RHP David Henrie, who threw four perfect innings (12 up/12 down) in frames 5-6-7-8. 

The 6'5 Henrie was signed by the Cubs as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) last summer, but unlike most NDFA, Henrie was NOT a college senior signed right after the draft for maybe an $800 bonus to provide experience and organizational depth at Mesa or Boise.  

Rather, Henrie was a JUCO player (Trinidad State JC) who was "bird-dogged" by the Cubs for two months last summer while he pitched for the Arvada Colts in the Rocky Mountain Baseball League (a collegiate "wood bat" league), and then he signed at the August 15th deadline, receiving a substantial bonus (rare for a NDFA).  

Henrie made his pro debut with the Cubs in the AZ Instructional League last September, and then he spent two months at Extended Spring Training (EXST) prior to the start of the AZL. He was not impressive at either Instructs or EXST (7.89 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 21.2 IP combined between the two), but he has shown occasional flashes of brilliance in the AZL, and could be in-line for a promotion to Boise.

Shawon Dunston Jr was sent down to the AZL Cubs from Boise during the All-Star Break, and he played CF and went 0-4 (two ground outs, a fly out, and a strike out-swinging) tonight. He looked a little bit frustrated after the strikeout. Dunston was hitting just 185/254/323 in 19 NWL games at Boise prior to the demotion. 

Meanwhile, Dan Vogelbach broke a 3-24 slump with his HR and double tonight. It was his 4th HR and 8th double in just 15 AZL games, and he is now tied for third in the AZL in doubles, and tied for fourth in the league in HR.

Apparently feeling a bit frisky after his RBI double, Vogelbach stole a base (a daring theft of 3rd!) with two outs in the bottom of the 6th. 

2B Danny Lockhart reached base all four times he batted, on two singles, a double, and a walk, and he also stole a base (3rd base with two outs, just like Vogelbach). 


Love to hear news on this year's draft picks! Sounds like Lang has the potential to move a little quicker than the average pitching prospect if he's viewed clearly as a reliever. Thanks for the reports - can't wait to hear one on Soler and Almora

Sorry if 3/44 Kerry Wood felt pain in elbow on last pitch of 20k game http://www.csnchicago.com/baseball-chicago-cu...

Baez hit his 7th homer last night in a 1-0 Chiefs win. Hoilman is 2 for 34 in his last ten games but is clinging to the cleanup slot, sandwiched by Geiger hitting third and Baez fifth.

Baez upon arrival: "I'm gonna get me the hell out of Peoria, stat!"

Newspaper pieces about two Daytona Cubs, Alcantara and Andreoli.

AZ Phil, someone (Goldstein?) described Vogelbach as a "20" runner the other day. I was under the impression that he moved okay for a big man. What's your impresssion thus far?

I think PHIL would like to handicap a race between Vogelbach and Fielder.

ah...youth. it wears off so quickly.

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 12:21pm — QuietMan AZ Phil, someone (Goldstein?) described Vogelbach as a "20" runner the other day. I was under the impression that he moved okay for a big man. What's your impresssion thus far? ============================= Q-MAN: The way I have described Dan Vogelbach in the past (and I'm sticking to it) is that he runs like a "pulling guard," whereas guys like Rock Shoulders, Ben Carhart, et al, run like left tackles. If a "20" runner is the bottom, then Vogelbach is a 25 or a 30 (especially once he gets up a head of steam). I also think it is possible that Vogelbach could be moved to LF at some point. While he is fairly athletic for a big guy, he has stone hands and an iron glove, so he is going to be a defensive liability no matter where he plays. He probably would do less damage defensively in LF than he would at 1B.

If a "20" runner is the bottom, then I'm a 10 or a 15.

You can run fast backwards?

I can't run fast anywards.

Thanks Phil.

I think PHIL would like to handicap a race between Vogelbach and Fielder. --- AZ Phil: who is faster on the base paths, Welington Castillo or Dan Vogelbach? (tongue in cheek)

Robinson Chirinos probably out for year due to concussion https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Rays/status/22352...

z.rosscup mega-fail on his 1st game as a starter .1ip 3h 2bb 0k 3er (4r) 36 pitches. ...and c.volstad tries to out-do it in AAA tonight. 2ip 6h 2bb 1k 5er (7r) doug "why is doug davis still pitching" davis did almost as bad for omaha.

Vitters 2/4 with a single, a double, and a BB. (Both hits off of Doug Davis.) Jackson 1/2 with three BBs and a K. The only two interesting guys left in AAA. (I'm rapidly losing interest in W. Castillo.) Also, shouldn't Rebel Ridling or Justin Bour get a promotion to AAA to take Rizzo's place? Not that either one of them has done much to show they belong in AAA, but neither one is young and there isn't a whole lot to lose by promoting them.

i like welly, but i see him as more of a guy who can come up to pull a few cheap years...and then the team can see where they wanna go from there. theriot-style for a position in need... he seems to be a guy that's as likely to hit .260/.330 as he is .280/.350...but can provide a good amount of doubles and 10-20 homers to go with it. boring on the surface, but interesting given that he's a catcher. he has his D quirks, but his arm is above average + he's not a defensive klutz. but yeah, even at his best he seems to be a role player at a "rare" position rather than a difference maker in the lineup. his time is running out to be a "surprise breakout" guy destined for a starting job. it'd probably help if he could stay healthy for a full season, too...

BJ's K streak to 17 games...

He also walked 3 times, scored 2 runs, had 1 RBI, and stole his 21st base.

Yeah, I hate all the BJax strikeout shit. Yes, he's striking out too much, but he's acknowledged that it's a problem and he's working on fixing it. Helluva game.

he can acknowledge it all he wants...but like a manager who "takes responsibility" for every little thing, it may sound good to the fans but it doesn't neccesarily fix things on the field. i like the guy...CF'r with pop and speed...but K'ing 1/3rd of your ABs is scary to scale up from AAA to the bigs...even if he's only 23 (in a few weeks, 24). the power is arc'ing up, but the K rate is, too. i wonder how much is just his swing and how much is him pushing for more power at the expense of his swing...i have no idea if any of this is his issue, though.

He's going to be a guy that K's a lot, I think he's proven that. But this patch he went through is worse than anything he went through last year (not looking anything up). He said he was doing too much (acknowledgement mentioned earlier), so hopefully we'll see it at least stabilize.

with 30 double + 20 HR power + a bit of speed, you don't "throw away" a CF'r even if he may K 200 times...especially at minimum wage for a few years. i find him useful...but potentially frustrating.

i'll cut them some slack because they have to live in idaho. at least it's not north dakota.

Keith Law's newest top 50 prospects, includes this years draft picks. Cubs get 3 on the list including Baez, Almora and Soler. H-J Lee is #33 (down from #12, preseason). http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/815... 35. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (age 19) Current level: Low Class A (Peoria) Preseason ranking: 95 The lack of patience (30 strikeouts and seven walks in 129 at-bats) is a concern -- he was a bit of a hacker in high school but could hit almost everything close to the plate then -- but the bat speed and power are still strong. He has even shown some unexpected ability to steal bases in a small sample. Like several shortstop prospects on this list, he is more likely to end up as a third baseman in the majors. 47. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs (age 18) Current level: TBD Preseason ranking: N/A Projects as a plus defender in center who hits for high averages. He agreed to terms Wednesday and probably won't appear in a game until next week. 50. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs (age 20) Current level: TBD Preseason ranking: N/A The toolsy outfielder should make his pro debut next week, at which point we'll start to see how polished he is, or isn't, as a hitter.

I won't consider TheoCorp a success until the Cubs have all 50 on the list. There. I said it.

why stop at 50. We must have 100 of the top 50 on that list.

"Despite wrist surgery during the All-Star break, the Chicago Cubs still aren't saying that third baseman Ian Stewart is officially done for the season." http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/816...

4 days of no baseball, game delayed. sigh.

2pm. Mucho thunder near Wrigley. Actively raining. Bleachers and box seats empty but the concourse is wall to wall beer.

Global climate change or ESPN is stupid http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/07/13/espn-b...

why not both??

So is that the new urinal trough then? -haven't been to Wrigley in awhile.

Tarp coming off --- @BruceMiles2112: Things lighten up, but we got plenty of water. #Cubs http://t.co/SaZ7Mx69

@BruceMiles2112: Tarp off, water draining. #Cubs http://t.co/adxXJWZ2

They cleared the rain from the tarp and put it back on. @ESPNChiCubs: Being told that more rain is coming in about 20 minutes. The delay continues.

Per mlbtr...The Yankees signed Kosuke Fukudome to a minor league contract. The outfielder is expected to report to New York's Triple-A affiliate.

At this point, why not go back and dominate Japanese baseball?

At this point, why not go back and dominate Japanese baseball? --- Koske just re-signed his japanese-english translator to a 3/.044 deal.

3/44M Yen

i cant believe they're this devoted to playing this game...i guess they have all evening to waste, though.

BA/Jim Callis tweets Pirates did not sign Mark Appel And Keith Law says Nats have signed Lucas Gioloto

appel is making a hell of a gamble for 2-3 extra million (with $4m-ish already on the line). it helps a lot that k.gausman agreed with BAL...he's a guy who could challenge appel for the #1 slot next year right out the box. btw, BAL's last 1st round pick out of LSU = m.fontenot

No rain last 30 minutes but tarp still on 4:12 cst --- Crew out, tarp coming off again 4:16 cst --- Announced game start 5pm

TV coverage (Comcast) on the air prepping for the game. also, the playing surface is in decent shape according to the announce crew (except the warning track, muddy). it'll be interesting to see how the OF grass responds...and soriano on it.

@ESPNChiCubs: The 5 p.m. start time was announced and the crowd booed. #outofbeermoney

Pirates GM Huntington: "Our final offer exceeded the available bonus pool money and was essentially up to the last dollar we could offer prior to falling into the second tier penalty which would have resulted in the loss of a first round draft selection," Huntington said. "While, as we have shown in past years, we are willing to be aggressive with our financial offer, we simply did not feel it was in the best interest of the organization to forfeit our first round selection in the 2013 amateur draft."

I understand the thinking, but didn't they just forfeit their first round in the 2012 draft? AZ Phil I think posted some stuff on what they get as "compensation" for not signing him, but i'm too lazy to l look it up. Meanwhile, Appel being a pitcher, he is taking a pretty big gamble like crunch says. He could easily get hurt and it is bye bye moolah. All for not that much more, really, than he would have gotten.

They'll get the 9th overall pick next season for failure to sign the 8th overall pick this season. Pittsburgh is also going to get one of the competitive balance draft picks in the supplemental 1st or 2nd round next season.

The Pirates will now get an extra selection in next year’s draft, but it’s the Cubs who could end up with the well-regarded right-hander depending on how things work out the remainder of this season. http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

No one wants to pay Appel $7m.

He won't get $7M next year with no leverage. Not sure why he thinks he'll get more than the $6M offered from Houston before the draft

He can try and pull a Hochevar and as a college senior he wont have a deadline which Boras likes. Regardless, if Cubs are picking in the top 3, I still don't think they'd be willing to spend that much on him.

sori smashes one to waveland (not wind aided)...cubs lead by 1, bottom 4. perfect fastball down the middle...might as well have been BP.

a 3 run homer is a nice followup for sori's next ab....wind still blowing in, too.

Soriano is done, time to trade him for a bag of something

Just as the beginning of the season slump was way too small a sample size to judge Soriano on, this is too small a sample size to judge him back, but his OPS+ right now is=to his career average. He's still getting payed too much for too many years for this team, but Cubs fans really need to learn a lesson about small sample sizes and judging players negatively (or positively). Soriano is better than the negative reaction he gets.

While I don't think he'll ever be 'back', he's been pretty decent all year. That's not a small sample.

Rizzo is handsome.

mark grace singing the 7th (from the cubs booth)... ...root root root for *hangs mic over crowd*, fwiw. "I love you Chicago."

lulz...mark is w/ len in the cubs booth and bob is in the AZ booth.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i... Meanwhile the Tigers are looking at Garza and Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney in what could end up being a 5-to-7 player swap. Detroit has solid, young starters and position players who are -- or are close to being -- solid major league contributors. Money appears to be little issue for Tigers owner Mike Illitch, who wants to win now in the very competitive American League Central.

Castellanos please? We can even throw in the zombie Maholm.

I think we need pitching more than a 3b prospect...Vitters is having a good year for a 22 year old at AAA and two of our better hitting prospects (Baez and Candelario) are 3b. Meanwhile, we don't have a #1 in our system (particularly as McNutt came out of the bullpen last night).

As stated below, it looks like a deal is more likely to involve Casey Crosby, though I don't think I'd call him a #1. I presume Jacob Turner is off the table.

Part of BA comment on Turner from yesterday's prospect hot sheet: The Tigers' top prospect recovered this week from a shaky start on July 2 by throwing his first compete game of the season, a shutout at Louisville, to improve his record to 5-4. He has maintained a nearly 2-to-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio as well. While he doesn't have the stuff of an ace, Turner's command is strong enough that he could make a career as a mid-rotation starter in the big leagues. http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect... Baez is on it too. Alcantera gets a mention in the team photo. Some Cubs questions in the chat too: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

Once the Cubs trade Dempster, etc...assuming we don't get a major league ready starter, I can't see Volstad and/or Wells earning another start right away. The best two starters at Iowa are Rusin and Raley. Both are left-handed. Rusin is two years older, so I'm guessing he would get the first opportunity. Would you love to hear what you guys think.

I would be shocked if we added starters other than Volstad, Wells or Coleman. First of all, there are 40 man roster concerns. Second, Rusin has not been pitching well, so I don't think he'd get promoted. Raley has pitched better, but we acquired Volstad and likely want to see how he is, while Wells has had success before and Coleman, if nothing else, has experience. If they chose someone else, I'd expect Rodrigo Lopez or, if they want to bring up someone for the bullpen, maybe Jay Jackson (as he has done quite well out of the pen). If we want to say the Cubs would promote the starter who has the best stats in upper minors this year, it would be Northwestern's Eric Jokisch (36 hits in 55.1 IP after getting moved up to Tennessee) or, at the next level, Nick Struck or Raley (adjusting Raley's stats for playing in Pacific Coast Level). None of these players are top prospects though, so I doubt we'd bring them up and start their clocks, as there is no guarantee they will be in the majors to stay any time soon.

shhhh...eet Peoria Chiefs pitcher Joe Zeller with 6 no hit innings (no walks, 4K's...only flaw was a hit batter in the 1st), relieved by Jeff Antigua in the 7th but gives up a hit (double) to the 2nd batter but keeps the shutout through 7. Chiefs ahead 7-0

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 7:53pm — Cubster shhhh...eet Peoria Chiefs pitcher Joe Zeller with 6 no hit innings (no walks, 4K's...only flaw was a hit batter in the 1st), relieved by Jeff Antigua in the 7th but gives up a hit (double) to the 2nd batter but keeps the shutout through 7. Chiefs ahead 7-0 =============================== CUBSTER: Joe Zeller is a little guy (just 5'10) and a one-time 28th round draft pick of the Cubs out of an NAIA school (The Master's College). He began his college career as a 2B at Loyola Marymount, but became a two-way player (INF/RHP) after he transferred to TMC. The Cubs drafted him as a 22-year old college senior and so he didn't get much of a signing bonus, but he did sign very quickly and made the Boise Opening Day roster in 2010. He probably was never seen by the Cubs as anything more than an organizational middle-reliever, but he developed a knuckleball last year and suddenly could be on the verge of a breakout.

http://tinyurl.com/7hs7bl6 13 pics from HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa (by Bill Mitchell) mostly of Jorge Soler but a couple of Albert Almora and Soler together

Albert looks so tiny next to Jorge!

With two doubles and a HR tonight, Dan Vogelbach is now hitting 365/415/770, is leading the AZL in doubles, and is 2nd in the AZL in HR & RBI. He also has better numbers across-the-board versus LHP than he does versus RHP.

If dh comes to nl in two years....

And, he has a sb, right?!

Stewart surgery info, per Toni Ginnetti/Sun-Times
After months of dealing with a painful left wrist, third baseman Ian Stewart had surgery Tuesday. It’s still unknown if he can return later this season. Stewart had two procedures, an arthroscopic exam and a procedure to remove a bone impingement and clean up debris. The wrist will be immobile for two weeks, then require four to six weeks of recovery.
http://www.thecubreporter.com/2012/07/12/voge... --- as best as I can tell the Dorsal Impingement usually involves the dorsal (top surface of the wrist/not the palm surface) scaphoid/navicular bone in the wrist that impinges on an adjacent tendon (the extensor carpi radials brevis) and when the impingement occurs it pinches the wrist joint capsule which causes the pain and swelling. Supposedly Stewart old injury affected the navicular in this area. The surgery removed a portion of that bone to eliminate the impingement. The arthroscopy of the wrist was mostly to make sure there were no additional problems and possibly to clean up any inflammation found elsewhere in the wrist. 2 weeks of rest followed by 6 weeks "of recovery" puts Stewart into early september for any resumption of baseball activities.

Why did they trade for a guy with an injured wrist? Didn't they see what happened with D Lee? Oh, wait. They weren't here for that.

From the Twitter sidebar: "georgeofman Cubs have at least 2 deals on table for Dempster. One from Tigers including young lefty and from Dodgers for two pitching prospects." I presume the Tigers' young left would be Casey Crosby. It's probably not Drew Smyly. It better not be Andrew Oliver. It seems like given where the market is that Dempster is worth more than Crosby heads-up, but I guess I wouldn't be totally disappointed in that trade. I do like the little I've seen of Crosby, not that I'm a big prospects expert. He also could be an injury risk.

Levine said this morning that the Pirates are interested in bringing Paul Maholm back.

Just imagine the rewards the Cubs will reap in that deal.

I can only assume McCutchen would have to be part of that deal.

Or perhaps Lloyd McClendon

George ofman‏@georgeofman Casey Crosby is one I've heard from Det. Withrow and Gould from Dodgers are possible

http://www.scoutingbook.com/players/p2472 Scouting report on Crosby, upper 90's lefty. So either he's Randy Johnson or Oliver Perez.

I saw him pitch against the Yankees about a month ago. He looked really good until NY figured out to just stop swinging and let him kill himself. After three straight walks, he threw a beach ball to Granderson who hit it about 1000 feet. It was his major league debut, but still. My overall impression was that his stuff is filthy but his control is lacking. He reminds me of every Cubs pitching prospect ever.

The Randy Johnson comparison isn't totally crazy is that he's really tall and gets a great angle for the deliveries on his fastball and curveball. Also, RJ at Crosby's age also couldn't hit the side of a barn.

Dempster with 6 shutout innings ties a Cub record with Ken Holtzman (1969) going 33 consecutive scoreless innings. Hit his pitch count of 90 and Russell throwing in the pen. Would be interesting if this is his last Cub start.

Maybe when his career is winding down, he can get a mid-season 1-day contract to try to break the record. Come out of the pen, face the pitcher, get the record, and walk off the field.

I bet he resigns this offseason

since the cubs are like...50-1 since rizzo came up it's time to be a buyer! sigh...

...and castro has 7 of his 13 walks since riz showed up. riz is more powerful than a catcher who can add 5mph to a pitcher's fastball. btw, cubs are 10-4 (after today's win) since the riz callup...and they're now only the 4th worst NL team. woo. sigh.

©The Cub Reporter 2012. The Cub Reporter is in no way affiliated with the Chicago National League Ballclub. Has this taken a more noticable spot in the last few days?

yes ©Crunch 2012. Crunch is in no way affiliated with The Cub Reporter.

Needed to add some ad tracking code in the footer and put that back up.

I would think that the Cubs would demand it say Chicago National League Ballclub is in no way affiliated with The Cub Reporter.

That would be awesome. I vote yes.

I was checking out Barney's defensive WAR numbers RF, etc. Esp. when compared to league averages at the position. He is leading the league in several categories incl. WAR. This position has been pretty much a suck-hole since Grudz in his prime, or Mark DeRosa (better 3B than 2B). We have been treated to De-Wittless, Baker, Theriot, Fontenot, Aaron Miles, and Free Bobby Scales. I had been an advocate for Barney here since I saw him in the CWS - in spite of folks like CRUNCH calling him "Theriot-Lite" (which to be fair, he realized that Theriot was actually Barney lite). I'm wondering, considering that HoyStein really puts a premium on Defense - and that finally the up-the-middle of the Cubs defense is starting to become pretty solid, just what the Cubs will want to get back if they trade Barney? IMO, unless we get something of equal or better value, I'd like to see the Castro-Barney Connection grow up together. The team could do a lot worse.

i don't bring D into the "theriot lite" comparison (i think barney's D is better at both positions)...i just think he's a do-nothing singles hitting bat who's been handed the position as a full time starter. he's a guy that i would be surprised to see 5+ homers and 30+ doubles out of him in a season. he's also going to put almost everything in play...shame he can't put it in the OF more often. i guess i should have called him "theriot redux" or "theriot part 2, electric boogaloo"...but yeah, given the choice between the 2 i'd rather have barney based almost solely on the D. also, i like his D...it's just the infield combo turning the DP i don't like...though it's been a lot better the past couple months...a lot better. castro and barney are both working better. though his time has been limited there, i really like barney's work at SS. if there is a premium on D for 2nd by the cubs there's not much out there to plug in if d.barney goes. also, how much is the guy truly worth? he's not only a guy who's lucky to sniff .700 OPS, he can't even pull his weight/worth with OB%. still, on the "open market" guys like this (2nd/SS, healthy, decent contact) can snag $1-1.5m contracts without people going WTF?

I get it and certainly agree. I wish Barney was Ryno or Chase Utley. I've seen so much shitty play there the last few years with RF and errors, I am liking the recent DP combo and think that there is something to guys playing together for a while. FWIW, here is the most recent slashes for 2B in the NL: Aaron Hill ARI .352.498.851 Jose Altuve HOU .340.433.773 Neil Walker PIT .357.425.782 Daniel Murphy NYM .330.404.734 Brandon Phillips CIN .327.435.762 Omar Infante MIA .309.449.758 Marco Scutaro COL .324.367.691 Darwin Barney CHC .307.367.674 As I said, since Barney is ranked #1 in several important D categories, and currently right in the middle of the offensive pack, AND under control at a cheap salary for the time being - he has value to the rebuilding club.

i'm a bit taken back by how well barney/castro have "gotten their shi... together" with the DPs the past couple months. they had a lot of opportunities piled on them early in the season so it's not like they didn't have practice. =p they've put up a few "dude...really?" combos, but castro seems more effectively aggressive and barney's getting more fluid with turning the DP. barney seems to be throwing a lot more off-balance rather than going through these mechanically-sane, but time wasting set up motions...like planting his feet on plays that are going to be close before throwing. i would say it has something to do with the guys at 1st and not trusting them, but with c.pena there last year that don't work. he can "live" with throwing the ball away a few times if he can snag a few more outs, imo...he's not an inept thrower.

I never said, "...the past couple months." I meant recently, like within the last 30-45 days. That would include a couple Web Gems. And, Barney himself has made several plays recently that none of the previously-mentioned Cubs 2B players would have made, imo.

yeah, im just saying ive noticed more fluid play the past couple of months. my only knock on barney's D was how safe he played the DP combo...and with castro you sometimes need all the help/time you can get. both of them can be more aggressive and it seems they are...well, castro could charge the ball more, but that's another post.

"my only knock on barney's D was how safe he played the DP combo..." Indeed - It would be pretty cool if the Castro/Barney Connection could get a few years to at least develop, seeing the team is rebuilding anyway...

watching Brain Kenny's piece on D.Kile on MLB Network...another good one by Kenny. he's the guy who does the stats-based "Clubhouse Confidential" show in the off-season. imagine...jeff passan with less "emotional fluff" doing TV baseball pieces on the stuff he writes about. this is the kind of prepared interview/reporting packages b.kenny's been doing for MLB network recently. i think this is his first long-subject package he's done. so far, great stuff... he's becoming a really great personality at MLB network doing some really great labor-of-love work. man...this is hard to watch again. good stuff, but damn...

Must be a 10-year thing already, huh? Hard to believe.

kenny created/executed this extremely well. he's done some good "short subject" stuff crammed into other MLB Network programming. june 22nd is kile's death day, btw...2002.

I'll try to catch it online. Maybe next he'll do when Vince Coleman's brain died after he signed with the Mets.

Randy Wells line tonight: 1.2 IP 6H 7R 7ER 2HBP 1BB 0K 1 HR (Wil Myers) 7 run 2nd: GO, HBP, 1B, 1B, BB, 2B, 1B, HR, 2B, F9, HBP-->Coleman Relieved by Casey Coleman please, please just say no.

Javier Baez 2-3 with a triple, 3 run HR and 4 RBI in a slugfest at Peoria Chiefs ahead 7-6 in the 6th.

t.mcnutt (AA) put in 2ip out of the pen yesterday. seems he's out as a starter...time to crank the mph on the fastball and say "screw you" to saving something in the gas tank for late innings. 2ip 1h 0bb 2k, 0r

"The Cubs have started, in earnest, to look at minor league players at the lower levels of almost every farm system. The organization is looking for young pitching in return for its veteran players, but according to a baseball source who has inquired about trading with the Cubs, a well regarded third-base prospect is also very high on their wish list." Who else but Castellanos? Castellanos/Crosby would be a nice return for Dempster. Getting hopes up now.

mike olt... yeah, im still pushing that dumpster to TEX thing...heh.

Castellanos plz, oh yes.

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat No Big Z in ‪#Cubs‬ upcoming series vs ‪#Marlins‬. It'll be Wood vs Sanchez on Tue, Samardzija vs Johnson on Wed, Maholm vs Buehrle on Thu --- how stoopid is that?

Maybe he'll pinch hit. :)

Can we sign Michael Barrett to a one day contract?

Iowa Cubs have their own FREE iPhone app. Schedule, game day, tix, news There is also a milb app, covering all AAA leagues

fwiw, the best quality crack cocaine you can get in the united states is currently found in philly... ...where a hot rumor involves TEX giving up mike olt + j.profar for cole hammels (for some reason they've upgraded the ante from the olt/d.holland rumor earlier in the week). b.roberts will be a cub before that happens. fwiw, olt for dumpster most likely isn't enough to get anything done without the cubs throwing in a little more...and profar is probably more "untouchable" than olt at this point...which is saying a lot.

i know t.mcnutt isn't a MLB top-100 prospect (like before the 2011 season), but i can't find an article anywhere about his shift to the pen. anyone got anything? he has "closer stuff" when he doesn't hold back his velocity. it'll be interesting to know if it's effective.

woo...cubs 11-4 since rizz showed up. ...and marmol keeps making games "interesting"

Theo couldn't have asked for a better post-ASB break start, with Maholm pitching well and Dempster and Garza putting up zeros.

Break up the Cubs!! Oh.

Despite Marmol making my hair grey, I saw some really good defense today from the Cubs. Barney looks really good out there and Castro looks a 1000 times better.

Castro/Barney are becoming the best double play combo in the league.

they didnt turn one today, though... they've had a ton of chances, especially early...practice makes...something.

Javier Baez 3-4 so far, double, triple and some base path misadventures (PO, CS)

Sun, 07/15/2012 - 3:37pm — Cubster Javier Baez 3-4 so far, double, triple and some base path misadventures (PO, CS) ======================================= CUBSTER: In the milb box scores, when a player is picked-off a base and then is thrown out at the next base, it's scored as both a CS and a PO, so it can appear that more bad things happened than actually did. In the case of Javier Baez, he was charged with a PO and a CS on the same play in the bottom of the 4th.

ow ow ow... s.delabar (SEA) pitching, splits his hand open on a pitch (he probably ripped a blister/nail/fingertip) and finishes the inning in between bleeding all over himself, his uniform, and the ball. it wasn't a gushing torrent of blood, but it was odd to watch him pitch through it. -edit- he split the top of his thumb...which shouldn't effect his pitching too much and probably why he was allowed to finish the inning. then again, this is the team that keeps playing chone figgins solely because he draws a paycheck that SEA has to pay.

zoom. i just wanna see a 100+ sb guy again...one that can hit well enough to actually earn his 100 sb shot. it's not like i think the guy is r.henderson, but when i was a young kid in the early/mid 80s i took for granted that there were gonna be 100sb guys around playing every year. besides, it's fun to watch...except the 100000x greater number of throws over to 1st by the pitcher.

Yes. Repeated unsuccessful pickoff attempts are boring as hell.

When I can read the comments on MLBTR. Gems like this, for example, regarding Cole Hamels rumors re: the Dodgers: "idk i would love to have cole hamels as a dodger but idk how i would feel about giving up our farm, i wouldnt mind but than again...so mixed " Why? Why do I come here when I can gain insight like that elsewhere?

Olney says trade Dempster now so that it doesn't impact a closer to the deadline Garza deal (citing the Padres last year having both Mike Adams and Heath Bell and not getting what they thought was fair value offer for Bell because of overlapping interest in Adams...although he doesn't mention it was Hoyer in the GM seat for that one) Nice Dempster tidbit from the same Buster Olney blog post...
From the Elias Sports Bureau: Dempster is the fifth pitcher in the past 100 years to win five straight starts in a single season without allowing a run. The others are Don Drysdale (six straight starts in 1968), Bob Gibson (five in 1968), Orel Hershiser (five in 1988) and Brandon Webb (five in 2007).

It would probably take a perfect game on Friday night in St. Louis to raise his stock any higher. Might as well trade him in the next 2-3 days. As for Garza, I'm still not sure they will trade him, because maybe this team is close enough to compete next year.

Kevin Goldstein's current top 12 "fantasy prospects" for 2012. Meaning prospects most likely to get to the majors at some point in 2012 ("So not only do talent and recent performance play a role in the rankings, potential paths to the big leagues also factor in.") Vitters on the list at #9:
9. Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs (June 29 rank: 8) Last two weeks' stats (at Triple-A Iowa): 17-for-42 (.405), 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 SB Season totals: .304-13-49, 2 SB in 88 games Update: Vitters keeps hitting, and the Cubs need a solution at third base. Luis Valbuena is anything but a long-term answer, and it might take more than just a September call-up for the Cubs to give Vitters enough at-bats to decide just how seriously they should take him heading into next spring. What he can do: Having already reached a career high in walks, a more patient approach (though it's still poor) has been the key to Vitters' breakout, which gives us more confidence that it's real. He's suddenly looking like a solid, if unspectacular, third-base prospect, and there's still room for his stock to rise.
http://insider.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/f... 1-12: Myers, Marte, Gyorko, Harvey, Turner, Olt, Hultzen, Snider, Vitters, Lavarnway, Straily, Castellanos