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Last updated 2-23-2024
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Yency Almonte
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Minor League Rosters
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Aaron Miles and Jake Fox Traded To A's

Few details at the moment but Aaron Miles and Jake Fox plus a $1M are going to the Oakland Athletics for RHP Jeff Gray and two more prospects. Refresh for updates...

UPDATE #1: The other two prospects look to be 21 year old RHP Ronny Morla and 23 year old OF/1B Matt Spencer.


that is such bullshit. we give away mike weurtz to the A's cuz lou won't play him and now we give away jake fox in order to lure the A's to take a couple million of our payroll. just cuz the manager won't play the guys doesn't mean we gotta give them away...yeesh.

So let me see if I have this straight. To free up $1.7MM in payroll that he utterly wasted on Miles last winter, Hendry has to give Oakland a player better than the three "prospects" combined that he's getting in return? Nice gig if you can get it, huh? Remind me again how this fat fuck keeps his job. Prediction: Jake Fox has 11 big league homers. I predict that these three prospects will never combine for as much as 11 big league innings played.

Aaron Miles follows Macias and Ne!f! and the rest down the path of Hendry MI Shame. Fox has the better minor league track record and is slightly younger, but Hendry did in fact acquire the player who had the higher MLB value in 2009 according to FanGraphs. Yes, stats can lie, but so can your eyes. Maybe we'll get lucky for once.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

It's Hendry's continued testing to see just what level of headcase player his $4 million manager can actually manage.

Jake Fox is viewed as a hitter without a position. In truth, he can play several positions, but none of them very well. Hitting is his strength and he probably is better suited for the AL. Trading Miles was a good move on Hendry's part. I didn't think anyone would take him, so getting anything for him is good. The problem I have with the trade is that it uses up two trade chips that could better be used in a more important trade (i.e. for a player the Cubs actually need).

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

The first thing that jumps at me as to why Gray probably had much greater MLB success in 09 than AAA/MLB success in 07 and 08 is because of the drop in BB/9. Of course, the K/9 comes down too, but at least at first glance it seemed to work for him last year (116 ERA+). So just stop him from walking guys somehow and then settle for less K's. Disclaimer: I've never seen this guy pitch, and I don't suppose to know what I'm talking about.

[ ]

In reply to by John Beasley

see comment above. he's also extremely athletic with a great work ethic. i don't like how he throws, myself. he keeps in great shape at least. also, don't fool yourself looking at numbers...he's still hittable. when he's "on" he can control his high velocity FB low in the zone making it look like it's got some sink. he still throws a lot of stuff straight even at the higher velocity even though it added more movement than he used to have.

[ ]

In reply to by Sweet Lou

Welcome to Jim Hendry's way of thinking, Sweet Lou. Hendry makes another bad signing with Miles and we lose Fox and a million bucks for the privilege of getting 3 fringe players. Nice move, Jimbo. If Piniella can't see the value of Fox, despite his mediocre glove, being a cheap, team controlled player for 4 more seasons who can fill in when Soriano and Aramis get their yearly injuries, we're just screwed. It just smacks of being hypocritical. We have crappy fielders at almost every position and Lou rants about Fox. Typical Cubbery.

[ ]

In reply to by Sweet Lou

The answer Sweet Lou is because Miles was completely miserable last year. 1,000,000 dollars out of the 140 million we are going to spend is not much. The result is that we no longer have a 5'2" worthless "utility" player taking up a roster spot...well worth the money. The bad move was signing Miles in the first place, not trading him for prospects. In my opinion, the odds of Jeff Gray being productive are about as high as the odds of Aaron Miles being you save 1.7 million off of his terrible, terrible contract. For those angry about Fox...clearly we weren't getting better offers for Fox. I think all the Jake Fox lovers actually love him more than they should simply because when he played, he was NOT Soriano and NOT Bradley. Let's remember who Fox is...a nice guy but a guy that can't play the field and can't hit a breaking ball.

According to comments in this blog, Moria only has one more year before the Rule 5 and he was in A ball in 2009. Sounds like a waste of a body for the organization.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

that would be nice. he can play CF, though he never got the chance to too much in PIT. decent ball tracking skills up the middle (it's hard for some to track the ball initially off the bat playing center-straight facing the batter).…
Cubs' GM Jim Hendry called Gray a "power arm who can come in and compete in the bullpen" when the team reports to spring training. "He's got the stuff to be able to pitch in any area of the bullpen if he would harness it better," Hendry said.
As for Miles, he was on the outs with manager Lou Piniella going back to spring training. He is owed $2.7 million for 2010, so moving his salary helps the Cubs trim some of their payroll and eliminate a player who would have seen little playing time.
at this point if you actually speak to Lou during the 162-game season, he doesn't like you...

I'm fine with the deal. Fox really didn't have a role here, and considering his age, along with the probability that we may have to take Pat Burrell, plus the 1.7 million savings (which might really be the key, considering how tight things are financially), we got a usable pen arm in Jeff Gray (I don't buy him as a late inning type), an upper level positional piece (granted, I don't think Spencer is more than a Quad-A type, although there is some pop that if he improves on things, maybe his bat develops into Jake Fox-ish), and Ronny Morla. Morla's the intriguing one to me. Big, lanky guy who likely will physically mature some more. Low 90's fastball, throws strikes, and a decent change so far. There's a lot to like. Considering what we gave up, and where things stand for the organization now and in the near future, I'm fine with this deal.

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

you are asking questions that need to be asked in two months. clearly they are rebuilding the bench. no more miles, no more fox, no arbitration for Johnson...let's pump the brakes a little bit.

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

not that I remotely agree with any of this, but I imagine the plan would be move Baker to third and then Fontenot or his replacement plays 2b, could call up Castro and move Theriot to 2b, Blanco as well could play middle infield... basically what they did with DeRosa, he shifted to third and Fontenot played 2b...

I was trying to come up with a Jake Fox comp, best I could was Chris Shelton, but that's pretty tenous... BP has names like Matt LecRoy, Jason LaRue and Ryan Garko guess they still count him as a catcher...

It does free up a little money for Rob's snowball chance in hell (aka Figgins) or Hudson or a 4th starter. I like the deal. Even organization soldiers, which is the worst that Morla and Spencer are going to be have some value, and Hendry frees up $1.7 million to spend in a market that looks like it will yield better values than last year's did.

"Let's remember who Fox is...a nice guy but a guy that can't play the field and can't hit a breaking ball." Jake Fox is Matt Stairs but younger, and he cannot hit a breaking ball as he did not "adjust back" to the league. As we said all last year, Jim Hendry is just out of it. Half of me wants the team to fail miserably in 2010 (which they look like they are working on already), so that Ricketts just has to let the knucklehead go. Jake had no position on the team, is an AL DH (where he should get some AB's) and Miles, like Bradley were TOTAL fuck-ups by the aforementioned GM. Its the usual "our crap for yours". Jake was a cut above crap, but the NL does not have a DH.

As for the trade, I dont really know what value Fox had. He is a horrible defensive player who cant layoff sliders so I think it a fool's errand to say he was a good trade chip. I think Gray and the 1.5 mil we save on payroll by dumping Miles is a decent return.

[ ]

In reply to by Chifan

he's just got nice power, a nice effortless swing, and doubles/HR power. i doubt he's the next big thing, but honestly, i'd like to see fox on the bench in 2010 finding 250-350 ab's. i think they could use that more than another pen option like gray in 2010.

This off season will be about clearing $$$$ so big Jim can eat more of bradleys salary i guess he just ate about 2 million more. This sounds like last two years lets focus on one move publicize it so all teams know what we need to do. Somehow i think some rather good teams are more gaurded in press statements.

Submitted by Rob G. on Thu, 12/03/2009 - 5:53pm.
don't have time to do dossiers on these guys at the moment, but Gray's one of those great stuff, can't control it guys. Can never have enough bullpen arms and I assume he has some option years left.

the other 2 from their numbers look like a 22-yr old kid that K's a lot of hitters and a corner outfielder/1b type with a lot of power and not much else but from the left side...Jake Fox's mirror image in other words.


ROB G: Jeff Gray has one minor league option left.

Submitted by John Beasley on Thu, 12/03/2009 - 6:33pm.
According to comments in this blog, Moria only has one more year before the Rule 5 and he was in A ball in 2009. Sounds like a waste of a body for the organization.


JOHN B: Ronny Morla and Matt Spencer will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time post-2010.

I have seen quite a bit of Morla out here over the past three years (he was at Extended Spring Training 2007-09), because the Cubs play mostly the A's, Giants, and Angels in Minor League Spring Training, EXST, and Instructs. He is somewhat comparable to Robert Hernandez, a bit raw but with some upside.

And I saw Spencer play quite a bit in his college days at Arizona State and then a little bit in Minor League Camp (ST), and I would compare him to Micah Hoffpauir (1B-LF-RF). While Hoffpauir is the better defender at 1B, Spencer has a stronger arm and is a better corner OF, although he can play 1B, too.

The Cubs had to throw in Jake Fox just to unload Aaron Miles. Real smooth, Hendry. I'm not all for Jake Fox or anything... I like him, but he's not an impact player (nor future impact player for that matter), so whatever. My biggest problem is how shitty Hendry was at his job last off season and how it is still affecting the team, even in December '09. The silver lining to all this: Aaron Miles is gone. Fuck him. Kind of wish he was stuck in Kansas City, Canada, or Minnesota or somewhere besides warm, sunny Oakland, but oh well... he's someone else's problem now.

Now that Fox and Miles are off the roster, I've been thinking about what the cubs should do with the rest of the lineup this offseason. 1. Offer Orlando Hudson a 1 year deal in the 3 to 3.5 range. Make the offer with a must sign date of 12/12 because he will effect the next chain of events. 2. Assuming Hudson agrees, Non-Tender Fontenot. The 1.7 from the Miles/Fox Deal plus Fontenot's likely 1 million will be almost enough money to pay Hudson. 3. Get Lou,Milton Bradley and Hendry in a room together to see if the relationship can be salvaged. The more I hear, the more I don't see a way to improve from Milton's production in 2010. Better to keep him and hope he builds value at this point. 4. Target Rocco Baldelli as a 4th Outfielder, 3 outfield postion defensive, Kfuk platoon mate. Figure 1 Million plus some small incentives would be enough. He should be in line for 250-400 At bats with a Soriano-Bradley-Fukudome Outfield. 5. Target a AAAA corner OF slugger to stash in Iowa. (Mike Restovich?). Cubs organizational Outfield depth is thin. 6. Offer Koyie Hill his old job back for 750K max. If he doesn't agree then replace him. Surely he would accept. Looking at a Lineup of Cf Kfuk 2b Hudson 3b Rammy 1b DLee LF Soriano Rf Bradley C Soto SS Theriot Bench of Koyie Hill: Backup catcher Blanco: SS backup, late inning defensive wiz Hoffpauir: 1b, corner OF backup. Primary LH Pinch Hitter Baker: 2b,3b primary backup Baldelli: All 3 OF position backup, Fukudome platoon mate

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

Dick I got the info from Cots. The Espn the mag this month speculated that he would have to take a paycut from the 3.38 he made last year. Neither mentioned the incentives.

I would have liked to have seen what Rudy Jaramillo could do with Fox and Hoffpauir. Now, I guess that's just Hoffpauir. I'm not particularly angry by the trade, just confused that the Cubs don't want to put any more organizational effort behind Jake Fox when it seems he's been game to try anything to add value to the team.

via Rotoworld and Olney
Rival executives have informed's Buster Olney that the Tigers will listen to offers but are not actively shopping Curtis Granderson. "I think they might be reconsidering their position on that," said one official. "Maybe they reacted to the response they got (in Detroit) to the news that Granderson might be moved. I think they would have to be overwhelmed."

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Levine has updated his blog to indicate that Hendry is looking to involve an additional team or two into the Bradley-Burrell-Castillo swap. Hendry has shown an ability to pull off these more complicated multi-team deals, and one has to wonder if teams like the Angels (Matthews, Jr.) will bring their bad contracts to this white elephant sale. By involving more teams, the Cubs may be able to spread around some of Bradley's 2011 contract and actually save some money.

Although it looks like 90% of Cubs fans like the trade, an awful lot of people are looking at it from a Chicago-centric point of view. Basically they see it as a hat-in-hand Hendry knocking on doors and begging GM's to take Aaron Miles off his hands and asking them what it would take to make that happen. "Jake Fox and a million bucks? You got it. He's yours! Thanks man." Which would have been pathetic if it had gone down that way. More likely though, it was a case of the A's approaching the Cubs because they wanted Jake Fox. They sure seem happy to have gotten him, as opposed to Miles who is getting second billing. With Fox as the centerpiece, the deal looks a lot better. Having fallen out of favor with Lou, Jake didn't have a role with the Cubs next year. But he helped us unload Aaron Miles, freed up a couple million bucks, opened some roster spots and restocked the farm (at least for one year) in preparation for some losses there when the inevitable Bradley trade goes down. The Bay Area media are looking at this trade the same way I am. John Shea of the S.F. Chronicle posted:
To help convince the Cubs to part with Fox, the A's agreed to take on most of Miles' 2010 salary, $1.7 million of $2.7 million.
Read more:… FWIW, Fangraphs says Miles has on average been worth $1.6 million per year.

Recent comments

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Childersb3: I can see right away that Cots did not set-aside the $4.25M in potential performance bonuses for Smyly, Gomes, and Imanaga. 

    While Cots doesn't count potential performance bonuses when determining available AAV, clubs do, because if they don't they could find themselves over the CBT threshold at the end of the year. The only time you might not count 100% of a player's potential performance bonus is if two bonuses would cancel each other out (like if two pitchers have a bonus based on Games Finished and the combined total of GF exceeds the number of games In the season so that there is no way both pitchers could max out their bonuses).

    So I subtract potential performance bonuses from available AAV (just like clubs do), even though the bonuses might not be reached. 

    Otherwise, I have $1.67M for the Pre-arb pool, an estimated $17M set-aside for Player Benefit Costs, "dead money" at $13.25M, the estimate collective aggregate minor league "split" salaries for players on the 40 who are on optional assignment to minors at $2M, pre-arb players on 26-man roster collectively at $6M, and season-long off & on aggregate salaries for players replacing players who are on MLB IL estimated at $5M.

    I'd have to look and see if there is a difference in AAV for contracted MLB players' salaries on my list, but if I remember correctly I have it at somewhere around $187M, because when I added the dead money I remember the total was just slightly over $200M.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    AZ Phil, the Cots Baseball Contracts 2024-28 Cubs Spreadsheet shows the following tax numbers for 2024:
    Contract salaries - 186.372mil
    Buyout dead salaries - 13.250mil
    Pre-Arb Players - 5.215mil
    0-3 yr Bonus Pool - 1.67mil
    Injured List - 5.215mil
    40man Players in MiLB - 2.25mil
    Estimated Player Benefits - 17mil

    Cots has the total CBT amount for the Cubs in 2024 at 230.969mil.
    CBT Threshold is 237mil, so 6mil is space.

    Where is Cot's estimations wrong to allow for this 6mil in space?

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    With the $26.67M AAV hit on Bellinger, the Cubs are almost exactly at the CBT threshold if you add the $5M needed to be set aside to pay salaries for players called up from the minors during the course of the season to replace players on the IL and $4.25M in potential performance bonuses (Smyly, Gomes, and Imanaga). 

    It's almost as if the Cubs went to their (self-imposed) absolute max in 2024 payroll AAV space by signing Bellinger to this contract, because going any higher on the Bellinger AAV would mean taking a risk that the team could potentially go over the CBT threshold.   

    So if the Cubs self-imposed 2024 payroll AAV limit is the CBT threshold ($237M AAV), the Cubs are right there right now, with no payroll AAV space available for additional free agent signings and/or players acquired in trades and/or roster additions at the Trade Deadline. That is, unless the Cubs trade Hendricks ($14.5M AAV) and/or Smyly ($10.25M AAV plus an additional $3M in potential performance bonuses). It would also help if the Cubs could somehow jettison Bote's contract ($3M AAV hit). 

    The Cubs could also pick up as much as $10M in AAV space by trading Almonte, Madrigal, Leiter, Wisdom, Merryweather, and Tauchman (or outrighting them and then hoping they elect free-agency and forfeit their contract and salary). 

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Tax issues? Roster Crunch? Securing bullpen (always an issue, no matter how good it is)? Cooper might be better than Wisdom vs LHers (less pop but better hitter). 

    It might be a small deal. Nothing significant.

  • Bill (view)

    What makes you think that a trade is on it's way?  Other than a minor "free up a 40 man slot" trade.


  • Childersb3 (view)

    Cubs sign Garrett Cooper to minor league deal and ST invite.

    Supposed platoon competition for Wisdom.

    Peralta and Cooper are interesting vet guys. 

    Especially if a trade occurs here soon.

    Seems like things are headed that way.

  • crunch (view)

    appreciate these when you get the chance.  thanks.  good stuff, as always.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Here are the pitcher reports from Sunday's Padres - Cubs game at Sloan Park if anyone is interested: 

    FB: 91-94
    CT: 87-90
    SL: 79-81
    COMMENT: Allowed three runs (two ER), surrendered three hits (two doubles and a single), and walked two in 1.1 IP (39 pitches - 24 strikes)... recorded no strikeouts... four swing & miss (two on FB and two on CT)... too much hard contact... really labored (slogged) in his second inning of work especially and was relieved after a one-out two-run bases-loaded single... 

    FB: 91-93 
    SL: 83-85
    COMMENT: Relieved Assad with one out in top of the second and runners on 1st & 2nd and retired both of the batters he faced (L-7 and K-looking) on eight pitches... two swing & miss (both on SL)... has a mediocre FB so he relies heavily on the SL...  
    FB: 95-97 - T-99 
    CH: 89
    COMMENT: 1-2-3 nine-pitch inning (L-5, 4-3, 4-1) although he was behind on the count against every hitter he faced and threw only four strikes... threw eight FB (no swing & miss)... was helped by a spectacular diving catch by Christopher Morel at 3rd base on a frozen rope headed toward LF to retire the inning's lead-off hitter...  

    FB: 93-94 
    SL: 83-86 
    CH: 81 
    COMMENT: Surrendered a screaming line-drive HR pulled over LF fence to lead-off batter (RH-hitting Jose Azocar) on his third pitch of the inning (94 MPH FB), then retired the next two hitters (a 5-3 GO and a seven-pitch K-swinging on SL), then walked two and was relieved after throwing 24 pitches (only 11 strikes - two swing & miss)... FB has decent velo but it is very straight & hittable... the two batters that he walked were both LH-hitters... he obviously struggles to throw strikes and so he would probably have difficulty pitching out of an MLB pen...    

    FB: 93-94 
    CH: 81 
    COMMENT: Came into game with two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd and immediately threw a WP, and then retired the one batter he faced on a 6-3 GO on his fifth pitch after starting the AB by throwing three consecutive balls... no swing & miss... 

    FB: 97-98
    SL/CT: 88 
    CH: 83
    CV: 80 
    COMMENT: Mixed high-octane FB with three different secondaries... worked fast and retired the side 1-2-3 on nine pitches (K-swinging, 6-3, K-looking)... threw eight strikes and only one ball... If he can throw strikes while maintaining velo like he did today he could be a high-leverage MLB RP...

    FB: 91-93 
    SL: 82-84 
    CH: 81 
    COMMENT: Nibbled his way through the inning... needed 27 pitches (18 strikes) to retire the side... five foul balls and only one swing & miss... allowed two runs (both unearned thanks to a Moises Ballesteros boot at 1st base to start the inning) on three hits (all singles)... no walks & no strikeouts... he is a "pitch-to-contact" type and he fits the profile of a pitcher with the ceiling of a AAA 5th starter... can't see him being of any use working out of the pen... 

    FB: 95-96 
    SL/CT: 89 
    CH: 83
    CV: 78-81 
    COMMENT: Threw a shutout inning although he did allow a hard-hit two-out double... needed 21 pitches (13 strikes - only one swing & miss and six foul balls) to retire the side... has the pitch repertoire of a multi-inning "bulk" guy... 

    FB: 93-94
    SL: 81-84 
    COMMENT: Threw a shutout inning (13 pitches - only seven strikes - no swing & miss).. allowed a hard-hit two-out double... alternated FB/SL...  

    FB: 94-97 
    SL: 83-85 
    COMMENT: Worked one inning and allowed a run on back-to-back two-out doubles (one smoked into the CF-RF gap and the other looped into short RF)... threw 12 pitches (11 strikes - two swing & miss)...

  • crunch (view)

    busch and suzuki start monday.  busch had minor shoulder soreness early in camp.  no idea why suzuki was held back until game 3, maybe nothing.

  • Bill (view)

    PCA is almost certain to go to Iowa, so Tauchman has likely made the team.  They may be able to get something in trade for madrigal or Mastrobone, but not much.