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Cubs Offense Like a Machin at Riverview

Vimael Machin ripped an RBI double, singled, and stole a base, Jhonny Pereda singled twice and drove-in a run, and Keegan Thompson and three relievers combined to toss a two-hit shutout, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Monday afternoon on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ. 

It was a rare day off for the MLB squad (one of only two this spring), so there was no activity on the other side of the UAPC. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

Cubs Pitchers Spin Intrasquad Shutout at Riverview

James Norwood, Cory Abbott, Yovanny Cruz, and Scott Effross combined to toss a four-hit shutout, Kevin Zamudio drilled a two-run HR, a single, and a double, Nelson Velazquez singled, doubled, and walked, and Chris Carrier smacked a solo HR, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Sunday morning on John Arguello Way at the Rivervierw Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Donnie Dewees (acquired in a trade with KC Friday evening) played LF for four innings and collected a single and a SB. 

RHRP James Norwood came over from MLB Camp and threw an easy 1-2-3 1st inning for the winning squad. Taylor Davis also came over to Minor League Camp to serve as Norwood's "personal" catcher, and as is the case when a pitcher on an MLB 40-man roster pitches in a Minor League game, Norwood gets to use the higher-quality MLB baseball (manufactured in Costa Rica) instead of the cheaper minor league model (which is manufactured in China).  

RHSP Matt Swarmer left the game with a finger blister after warming up in the top of the 2nd (he had a 1-2-3 eleven-pitch 1st inning with two strikeouts). He was scheduled to work three innings or throw 45 pitches (whichever came first), but (as it turned out) that didn't happen.   

Here is the box score from the game: 

Cubs Newcomers Make Good First Impression at Riverview

Michael Cruz and Robel Garcia belted back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches, Brandon Vicens drilled a bases-loaded bases-clearing double, and Derek Casey fired three innings of no run/no hit ball with five strikeouts, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Friday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The 23 year old Vicens was signed recently by the Cubs as a non-drafted free-agent (NDFA) out of the University of Maine, where he played both baseball (CF) and football (FB) for the Black Bears. He grew up in Hialeah, FL, and played HS ball against Cubs CF Albert Almora Jr. He attended Miami-Dade CC prior to transferring to Maine in 2016. The son of a Puerto Rican father and a Cuban-American mother, Vicens was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 35th round of the 2014 draft out of HS but decided to attend college instead. Now that he can concentrate on baseball full-time, he might be able to unlock some of the potential he displayed as a HS All-American CF at American Heritage School in Plantation. (His HS won three state championships while he was there, one in football and two in baseball).  
 
Robel Garcia (not to be confused with Cubs minor league 2B Reivaj Garcia) was signed by the Cubs last October after he starred for Team Italy in the AZ Instructional League. (The Italian team spent parts of September & October with the Oakland A's squad at Fitch Park). Soon to be 26, the switch-hitting Dominican had previously played five seasons of affiliated ball in the Cleveland Indians organization, before being released in 2014.    

Casey was the Cubs 2018 9th round draft pick out of UVA, and the 6-2 190 23-year old righthander was really sharp today, mowing down hitter-after-hitter over the course of his three innings of work as he effectively mixed a FB, CV, SL, and CH to keep hitters off-balance. Cubs 2018 2nd round compensation pick Paul Richan also threw in the game, but Casey really stood out.      

Here is the box score frrom the game: 

Cubs 2019 Minor League Field Staff

2/22 UPDATE

Mark Johnson has been named Cubs Minor League Catching Coordinator (position was vacant since Tim Cossins took MLB coaching position with Baltimore Orioles in December), Jimmy Gonzalez replaces Johnson as AA Tennessee Manager, Steve Lerud replaces Gonzalez as Myrtle Beach Manager, Lance Rymel replaces Lerud as Eugene Manager, Ricardo Medina replaces Rymel as AZL Cubs #2 Manager, Ty Wright replaces Medina as Myrtle Beach Hitting Coach, Michael Carter replaces Wright as Eugene Hitting Coach, and the AZL Cubs #1 Hitting Coach slot (formerly occupied by Carter) is presently vacant (TBD).    

Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle Not Always a Smooth Ride

Although it is not yet official, the Cubs have reportedly signed veteran RHRP Junichi Tazawa to a minor league contract. Because he was a post-2018 Article XX-B MLB free-agent, the 32-year old Tazawa will get a $100,000 retention bonus if he is not released at least five days prior to 2019 MLB Opening Day and added to an MLB 40-man roster by Opening Day, and he gets an automatic opt-out if he is not added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster by June 1st.

2019 Cubs Winter Instructs (Updated 1/22)

2019 Cubs Winter Instructs is well underway on the backfields at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa.

Instructs actually began on January 7th, but the first ten days were spent on Cubs Way orientation & player conditioning and then rain on Tuesday postponed full-scale field activities for another couple of days. 

The MLB Salary Arbitration Process Begins Today

1/11 UPDATE

All seven of the Cubs who were eligible for salary arbitration signed 2019 contracts today:

Kris Bryant - $12.9M 
Kyle Hendricks - $7.405M 
Javier Baez - $5.2M  
Addison Russell - $3.4M plus $600K roster bonus (see NOTE below)
Kyle Schwarber - $3.39M 
Mike Montgomery - $2.44M 
Carl Edwards - $1.5M ("Super Two") 
NOTE: Addison Russell will forfeit salary (about $18,280 per day) for however many days of the 2019 MLB regular season he spends on the Cubs MLB Restricted List while serving the remaining 29 games of his 40-game MLB-MLBPA JDV suspension. If there are no rain-outs, Russell will be eligible to be reinstated to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and MLB Active List (25-man roster) on Thursday May 2nd (which is an off-day) and his first game back would be Friday May 3rd vs STL at Wrigley Field, meaning he would forfeit at least 35 days' pay (or about $640K). Prior to being reinstated, Russell can spend up to twelve days (unpaid - BUT - he will receive MLB meal money and other benefits) on a minor league conditioning assignment (probably at AAA Iowa beginning on 4/20), and he will be able to participate in Spring Training (but cannot play in MLB Cactus League games) and Extended Spring Training (without pay) prior to starting his minor league conditioning assignment. The $600K roster bonus will effectively allow Russell to make back most of the salary he will forfeit while suspended, and it is based upon days spent on the Cubs MLB Reserve List or 60-day DL ($100K if at least 30 days, another $100K if at least 60 days, another $100K if at least 90 days, another $100K if at least 120 days, and the remaining $200K if at least 150 days). Since the 2019 MLB regular season is 186 days in length and there is no way the Cubs can play their first 29 scheduled games in fewer than 35 days, Russell will have to be reinstated from the Restricted List as soon as he is eligible to be reinstated in order to earn the final $200K and get the entire $600K.  

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1/8 ORIGINAL POST

The MLB salary arbitration process begins today, with the MLBPA delivering requests for salary arbitration to the MLB Labor Relations Department, and then the MLB LRD forwards the requests received from the MLBPA to the individual clubs. The MLBPA (representing the players requesting salary arbitration) and the MLB LRD (representing the clubs who have received the requests) will exchange salary figures on Friday, and then the MLBPA and the MLB LRD will schedule arbitratiion hearings to be held during the first three weeks of February. 

First Cossins Once Removed

Patrick Mooney at The Athletic is reporting that Cubs Minor League Field Coordinator & Minor League Catching Coordinator (he did both jobs) Tim Cossins is joining Brandon Hyde's MLB coaching staff in Baltimore. So it will take two people to fill Cossins' shoes. 

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