Archive - 2014

December 11th

2014 Rule 5 Draft

UPDATE: The Cubs selected 2B-SS off the AAA Albuquerque roster (Colorado Rockies) in the Major League Phase of the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, and OF-1B from the AA Corpus Christi roster (Houston Astros) in the AAA Phase... The Cubs subsequently dealt Featherston to the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations... The 6'4 225 Ovando was signed by Houston out of the Dominican Republic as a highly-regarded 16-year old left-handed hitting slugging RF in 2010, but he has been unable to hit anywhere over the last four seasons and has yet to get past Short-Season "A" ball... The Cubs are expected to convert Ovando to a LHP... 

The Miami Marlins selected LHRP off the AAA Iowa roster (Cubs) in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and the Texas Rangers selected 1B and the Houston Astros selected C off the AA Tennessee roster (Cubs) in the AAA Phase... A 2011 21st round selection by the Cubs out of the University of Texas, McKirahan underwent TJS in 2012 and spent most of the 2013 season rehabbing at Fitch Park, and so 2014 was his first full-season of minor league ball... He had a nice year combined between Daytona & Tennessee in 2014, but he fared better against RH hitters than he did versus LH hitters... A power-hitting LH hitter with below-average defensive skills at 1B, Shoulders was the Cubs 25th round draft pick out of a Florida JC in 2011. and he received an "overslot" bonus ($294,000, which is about equal to "4th round money"),.. Shoulders was blocked by Dan Vogelbach and Anthony Rizzo in the Cubs system, and the opportunity to rotate Vogelbach and Shoulders between 1B and DH every day (as has been the case the last three seasons) is not possible at AA (where the DH is used only sporadically)... A Houston-native, the 28-year old Flores was the Cubs 5th round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2008... He was eligible to be a minor league free-agent post-2014, but opted to sign a minor league successor contract wiith the Cubs in October... He received an NRI to Spring Training as an extra catcher each of the last two seasons... Flores has a really good eye at the plate and has solid defensive skills, and he has been a role model and mentor to some of the younger Cub minor leaguers... 

 

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The Rule 5 Selection Meeting (AKA "Rule 5 Draft") is the last order of business at the MLB Winter Meetings, and it is a mechanism that allows MLB clubs to select (draft) players off minor league reserve lists.

There is a "Major League Phase" where an MLB club can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs for $50,000, a "AAA Phase" where a club's AAA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of minor league clubs of a lower classification for $12,000, and finally a "AA Phase" where a club's AA minor league affiliate can select Rule 5 Draft eligible players off the reserve lists of Class "A" clubs for $4,000.

December 10th

2014 Winter Meetings Day 3

4:54: PM CST: Break out the salt shakers, but..."". So the tweet comes from Jason Goff, who seems to host an afternoon Sirius radio show and I think he's talking to enemy of the state, Will Carroll, who I believe is the one saying the above. It would't completely surprise me, but it would be surprising in a way. I would think that after being able to sign Lester and a high draft pick next year, Cubs would prefer to have one more big draft class opportunity, but I could be wrong.

2:35 PM CST: Well, I suppose

1:49 PM CST: says Cubs are looking for a LF power bat.


My final take on this Jon Lester business. Yes, of course, it's too much money for too many years (aka big ticket free agency) and the full no-trade clause puts a bit of a damper on the deal, but with that much competition on Lester, it was probably necessary. It seems there is a $30 million signing bonus involved, with $20 million being paid to Lester right now and the other $10 million being spread out over the life of the contract. If that is how it works out, that's $135M over 6 years, which would be $22.5M per year. Let's say I'm a big fan if that is the case, using the savings from the last few years to make the contract slightly more manageable in the future. There is a 7th year option worth $25M that automatically vests if Lester throws 200 innings in 2020 or 400 total innings between 2019 and 2020. I haven't seen if that's a club, player or mutual option, but I would guess player. I'm not sure if there's a buyout involved. I'm also not sure what numbers I'm missing because the report is that it would be a total of $170M over 7 years if the option vests, but I get $180M ($155+25M), so there's something not adding up, but I'm sure it'll get figured out soon enough.  Lester also gets 25 hours a year of private air travel paid for by the Cubs.

In the end, the Cubs got the guy they wanted...the guy with the ability and make-up that they craved, the guy with 2 rings to show off to the youngsters. And there is some success in left-handers in their mid to late 30's (Lilly and Pettite come to mind) that the Cubs will still get something out of Lester on the backend of the deal. In itself, it's not enough to put them in playoff contention next year, but it's enough to start them down the path. And well, you never know, maybe the youngsters all come out hitting like they did in the minors and next year the magic begins.

More rumoring after the break...

The Cubs Get Their Man

Yes, that man...Jon Lester. Joel Sherman and Ken Rosenthal have both tweeted that Lester has informed Red Sox he won't be signing with them.

More to come...


UPDATE #1: The

UPDATE #2: Red Sox offer was 6/135, Giants were willing to go 7/168 according to Jeff Passan.

December 9th

2014 Winter Meetings Day 2

8:51 PM CST: Gordo, unsurprisingly, couldn't have been more off as Lester has called the Giants and let them know he won't be signing there. All indications are as earlier, it's between the Red Sox and Cubs. MLB Network had a report that Lester's agents had a meeting scheduled with Lester again tonight. However... w

If Cubs lose out on Lester, Morosi is reporting that Boras is seeking $200M guaranteed contract.

7:35 PM CST: , Gordo has a source saying Lester is leaning towards Giants now. ~shrug~

6:30 PM CST: Theo and that Montero will be a good compliment to him. "We're not shopping (Castillo) at all. The second that the Montero news came out, we got calls from a number of teams about Wely." Of course, just cause they're not shopping him, doesn't mean they won't move him if one of those calls bears fruit.

5:00 PM CST: Oy vey!

4:15 PM CST: On that Ross note,

3:36 PM CST: will indeed look to move Welington Castillo. Well, 38-year old David Ross was pretty good against lefties last year as well (.809 OPS in 67 PA's, .770 for his career). Of course, if he's Lester's personal catcher, won't be able to take advantage of the offensive split.

3:06 PM CST: D'Backs get and That seems absurdly reasonable. Neat. The 20-year old Mejia can certainly end up being quite good, but you have to give up something to get something. And he wasn't anyone, nor was Godley that was anywhere near a top 20 prospect list at this point. The 25-year old Godley has a real nice K rate, but was a bit old for the Hi-A league last year (ages are what their baseball playing age will be next season using the July 1st cutoff).

2:52 PM CST: . Sounds like a reunion with the Red Sox, unless there's more to his relationship with Theo and Jed that we don't know about it. AZ Phil nailed it in the comments,

1:43 PM CST: The Cubs and a deal seems close.


The big rumor last night was that the Cubs were well along on a deal for Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero and Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the deal should be done by the end of the day. The Cubs would take on Montero's contract (3/40M) and DBacks would get 2 low level pitchers, presumably of good quality, but not CJ Edwards quality. The debate rages on if the Cubs should bother with Montero, afterall he's owed some money, he'll be playing his age 31 season next year and his OPS has been south of .700 the last 2 seasons. But we do know the Cubs want some vet leadership on the team and the catching position is where they want it, add in that Montero hits from the left side and has good on-base skills and you can see some of the interest. One other thing to note, his splits versus lefties and righties. He had a .719 OPS in 2013 .735 in 2014 versus righties, but just a .492 in 2013 and .563 in 2014 versus lefties. On the other side, Welington is a .684 vs. righties for his career and .845 versus lefties. Let's say I'd like that a platoon if it works out. Maybe the Cubs go with a Montero/Ross platoon if this all happens, but I don't know if they need 2 vet catchers.

Also of note, DBacks ownership already nixed a deal of Andre Ethier for Montero, although no reasons were given. Did they not want to trade Montero within the division, did they want to just shave payroll in a Montero deal or do they just not want to move him? I doubt it's the latter, otherwise their GM would stop shopping him in deals, but regardless, there's probably a final obstacle even if they do agree on a deal.

December 8th

2014 Winter Meetings Day 1

6:17 PM CST: Yanks allegedly making a late push for Lester. I think it went something like this.

Cashman checks his twitter account and reads, " "

Calls Lester's agent, "Cute Seth, you can just call me next time. Do I make the check out to you or Lester?"

5:18 PM CST: Rosenthal says Lester choosing between Giants and Cubs "barring late change." Then Lester's agent said that is "totally false...liar, liar, pants on fire. We'll totally take anyone's money still as long as it's the highest offer." (I might have paraphrased a little there).

2:20 PM CST: , as it's being reported that Lester and Co. are hoping to get someone to pony up 6/150M to get the deal done.

1:37 PM CST: , but must reach some very high performance-based thresholds to earn that right.

1:21 PM CST: , so 3/30M if the Cubs pick up option or 2/20M if they buy him out.


Once upon a time, I rocked the the updates during Winter Meetings, feverishly updating the site with every little bit of bullshit that was spewed. Those were different times of course, finding those sources, meant about 20 open browser tabs and constant reloading of rotoworld, NSBB forum, MLB trade rumors, the Chicago papers, etc, etc, etc. I felt like I was providing a service to you rumor-hungry readers.

Now everything is on twitter and I just favorite it, and it's up in the left sidebar for you two seconds later. I have as much use as a switchboard operator now...ah, how times have changed.

Regardless, since I have a bit of time this morning, here's a few tidbits.

December 7th

December 5th

Random Trade Ideas

The offseason has kind of been slow going for the Cubs on the player side...they're in hot pursuit of Jon Lester, but every team with big wallets is gonna make an offer before it's over, and many of them are in better positions to win next year than the Cubs. Thus my doubts that Lester will actually sign if the claims that it won't just be about the money are true. Yeah, the Cubs might be better set-up for a long run of playoff appearances, but I think they're 2-3 years away from that run myself. It's close, but not quite there yet. That being said, it's pretty hard to acquire all the crucial pieces for said playoff run in one offseason, so I'm all for the Cubs making a run at some pieces this offseason like Lester or Max Scherzer, although I think going all in is a bit premature.

On the other hand, every baseball fan likes a good trade...so here's a few that I wondered about.

A few rules here...

- Fans and organizations overvalue their own players....

- You have to give up something good to get something good.

- I'm not necessarily advocating these trades, just some ideas to get the discussion going.

- The basic premise here is what I think the Cubs need to give up to actually get these players, not some fanciful penny on the dollars type trades that will never happen.

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