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Cubs Use Araujo to Acquire ISBP Space

The Baltimore Orioles secured Outright Assignment Waivers on RHP Pedro Araujo (who was Designated for Assignment by the Orioles on Wednesday) this afternoon, then he was re-claimed by the Cubs for $50,000 (half the Rule 5 Draft price) and was outrighted back to AAA Iowa (the minor league club from which he was selected by Baltimore in the Major League Phase of the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft), and then the Cubs traded Araujo back to the Orioles for $750K in 2018-19 International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) space.

So the Orioles get $50,000 and they get to keep Araujo (but don't need to keep him on their MLB 40-man roster -- he was assigned to AAA Norfolk), and the Cubs get to spend $750K more ISBP money (if they so choose). 

However, it's very unlikely that the Cubs would have paid the Orioles $50,000 to re-claim Araujo and then traded him back to Baltimore just for ISBP space (in other words, the right to spend $750K more money on international free-agents) unless there is a particular international player (like maybe Cuban SS Yolbert Sanchez?) or possibly multiple players (like perhaps two or three of the Mexican IFAs recently declared eligible to sign by MLB, like RHP Jaime Melendez, RHP Jose Angel Valenzuela, and/or C Fernando Villalobos) the Cubs wish to sign prior to the 2018-19 ISP signing deadline on June 15th, and the $750K in ISBP space acquired from the Orioles in the Araujo deal (added to whatever remains from their 2018-19 ISBP space) is the only way they can get it done. 

Clifton & Albertos in Shut-Down Mode at Riverview

Caleb Knight drilled an RBI single and a two-run HR, Luis Vazquez belted a two-run HR, Fernando Kelli doubled twice, stole a base, and scored a run, Edmond Americaan singled, walked twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, Brennen Davis collected three hits, and Trevor Clifton and Jose Albertos each hurled three innngs of shutout ball (Clifton allowing just a single and Albertos allowing just a walk), in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ. 

Although he will eventually join the Iowa starting rotation, Clifton has been assigned to the Eugene roster from AAA iowa while he gets stretched-out as a SP at Minor League Camp and (starting next week) Extended Spring Training. (Clifton was moved to the Iowa bullpen when Minor League Camp opened last month). 

Besides Clifton, other players who were assigned to the Eugene roster today are RHRP Brad Markey and C Erick Castillo (from Iowa), RHRP Ryan Williams and 3B Jesse Hodges (from Tennessee), RHP Garrett Kelly, C-INF Cam Balego, and OF Zach Davis (from Myrtle Beach), and RHRP Dalton Geekie and C-1B Gustavo Polanco (from South Bend). However, only Clifton and Hodges are actually at Minor League Camp. The others are physically remaining with their previously-assigned club and can be "called-up" to the club's active roster at literally a moment's notice if needed (the players "assigned" to Eugene won't have to wait the seven days they would have had to wait if they had been placed on the 7-day Injured List on Opening Day).  

Also, a number of Cubs minor league players were placed on the 7-day and 60-day injured lists today (minor league players cannot be placed onto an injured list until minor league Opening Day):

IOWA: RHSP Adbert Alzolay, LHRP Alberto Baldonado, RHSP Alec Mills, RHRP Junichi Tazawa, RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng, OF Wynton Bernard, and OF Jacob Hannemann were placed on the Iowa 7-day Injured List, and RHRP Casey Bloomquist, LHRP Luke Hagerty, LHRP Danny Hultzen, and LHRP Jerry Vasto were placed on the I-Cubs 60-day Injured List.   

TENNESSEE: RHRP Zach Hedges, RHSP Erick Leal, LHRP Conor Lillis-White, RHRP Tommy Nance, RHRP Jake Stinnett, RHRP Alexander Vargas, INF Gioskar Amaya, and OF Jose Cardona have been placed onto the Tennessee 7-day Injured List, and RHRP Corey Black, C Will Remillard, 1B-OF Yasiel Balaguert, and OF Chris Pieters were placed onto the Smokies 60-day Injured List (however, Remillard, Balaguert, and Pieters will actually be serving as coaches in 2019, Remillard with Tennessee, Balaguert with AZL Cubs #1, and Pieters with AZL Cubs #2). 

MYRTLE BEACH: RHRP Enrique de los Rios, RHRP Chad Hockin, and RHSP Erich Uelmen have been placed onto the Pelicans 7-day Injured List. 

SOUTH BEND: LHSP Andres Bonalde, LHSP Brendon Little, C Marcus Mastrobuoni, and OF Jose Gutierrez have been placed onto the South Bend 7-day Injured List  

Today is Minor League Opening Day, and it also marks the official conclusion of Minor League Camp. Extended Spring Training starts next week. 

However, a number of players who did not attend Minor League Camp but who have been invited to attend Extended Spring Training have already arrived in Mesa, including RHSP Willy Cabrera (pitched in DSL in 2018), LHSP Riger Fernandez (pitched in AZL in 2018), RHSP Emilio Ferrebus (pitched in AZL in 2018), RHSP Richard Gallardo (2018-19 IFA making his pro debut in 2019), RHRP Julio Guante (pitched in DSL in 2019 - DSL eligibility has expired), RHRP Elias Herrera (pitched in AZL in 2018), RHSP Chi-Feng Lee (pitched in AZL in 2018), RHSP Luis Ramos (pitched in DSL in 2018), LHRP (ex-OF) Ruben Reyes (played OF and pitched in AZL in 2018), RHSP Benjamin Rodriguez (attended EXST last year and then pitched in the DSL), LHSP Luis Rodriguez (pitched in DSL in 2018), LHRP Luis Silva (pitched in AZL in 2018), RHRP Jesus Tejada (pitched in AZL in 2018), LHSP Didier Vargas (pitched in AZL in 2018), RHRP Omar Ventura (pitched in DSL in 2018 - DSL eligibility has expired), C Daniel Diaz (played in DSL in 2018 - DSL eligibility has expired), 2B Revaj Garcia (played in AZL in 2018), INF Ignacio Otano (played in DSL in 2018 - DSL eligibility has expired), SS Luis Verdugo (played in AZL in 2018), and OF Carlos Morfa (played in DSL in 2018 and was the only DSL Cubs player to get invited to AZ Instructs in January). 

About a dozen more players are expected to arrive from the Cubs Dominican Academy later today.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

R. Mejia Triple Provides the Spark at Riverview

Rafael Mejia belted an RBI triple and scored on a Caleb Knight RBI single and Luis Vazquez singled, walked and scored, and collected an RBI on a GO, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Wednesday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as a six-inning contest. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

Russell & Tseng in Action but Morel & Soto Go Deep at Riverview

Christopher Morel and Jonathan Soto stroked two-run home runs in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Tuesday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ.  

Addison Russell (who is serving a 40-game suspension for violation of the MLB-MLBPA joint DV policy) played SS for three innings and went 2-3 with two singles and a strikeout (swinging). 

Jen-Ho Tseng started the game for SQUAD "B" but was removed from the game in the 3rd inning. Colin Rea (who had started the game and pitched the first two innings for "SQUAD "A") relieved Tseng and pitched the 3rd inning for SQUAD "B." Tseng had been left behind in Mesa when his Iowa teammates left town so that he could stay in his rotation slot and get his scheduled work (he was not projected to make his first start for Iowa until next Sunday or Monday), but based upon his performance today (three runs on five hits  -- three singles and two doubles, three walks, a HBP, and a WP, and only 50% strikes, in just two innings of work), that might now be in doubt.    

The game was called in the middle of the 6th inning after all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw in the game got their work.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Carrera Fires Five Blanks at Riverview

SP Faustino Carrera tossed five shutout innings, Kevin Moreno belted a solo HR (his second round-tripper in two days), Dalton Hurd doubled twice, walked, scored two runs, and threw out a runner on the bases, and Orian Nunez smacked a two-run triple, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Monday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ.   

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning contest so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work.  

Faustino Carrera was left behind at Minor League Camp to make his scheduled start for Squad "B" while his teammates were en route to South Bend. (Carrera isn't scheduled to make his first regular season start for the SB-Cubs until next Sunday). 

Oscar de la Cruz made the start for Squad "A" and pitched four innings (45 pitches), allowing one run on two hits and no walks, with six strikeouts. The Cubs are keeping ODLC simmering slowly on the back-burner for the time being, but he will get his innings and pitch count ramped up to five innings and 70-80 pitches later this month as he gets closer to the end of his 80-game PED suspension. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

Kevin Moreno Carries the Day at Riverview

Kevin Moreno knocked in four runs with a two-run HR, an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly, stole a base, and scored two runs, Brennen Davis doubled twice, stole a base, and drove-in a run, Clayton Daniel tripled, walked, scored two runs, and collected an RBI with a sacrifice fly, Christopher Morel singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored two runs, and SP Javier Assad hurled 4.2 IP of one-run ball, leading the Eugene/Mesa Cubs (soon to be the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad) to 9-3 thrashing of the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Cubs) in Minor League Spring Training game action Sunday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Javier Assad was left behind when his Myrtle Beach teammates left town today so that he could get his scheduled work (he will likely start for the Pelicans next Saturday or Sunday). 

Kevin Moreno is from Cuba and is in the U. S. on a work visa (he is - NOT - a defector). The 18 year old's favorite MLB player is Kris Bryant and his father's favorite MLB team is the Cubs (and that was the case before Kevin signed with the Cubs a little over a year ago), and just by observing his batting stance, his mannerisms on the field, and the way he carries himself, it is clear that he has been studying KB very closely.      

Here is the box score from the game: 

Hudson Dominates South Bend at Riverview

SP Bryan Hudson hurled five innings of shutout ball with seven strikeouts and Josue Huma singled twice, doubled, scored a run, and drove-in another, as the Eugene/Mesa Cubs (soon to be the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad) blanked the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Cubs) 4-0 in Minor League Spring Training game action Saturday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was pre-planned as a seven-inning contest. 

The majority of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were excused from having to play in the game so that they could prepare for their trip Sunday to South Carolina (the Pelicans open their season Tuesday night in an exhibition game versus Charleston Southern University), but the three MB pitchers who were scheduled to throw on Saturday (Hudson, Peyton, and King) did pitch in the game, albeit with the youngsters from the Eugene/Mesa squad playing behind them (and it turned out to be a winning combination, too!). 

Meanwhile the South Bend Cubs continue to struggle at the plate, striking out nine more times for a total of 29 strikeouts and only one run scored in their last 18 innings over the past two days.  

In South Bend Cubs roster news, RHSP Yovanny Cruz has been moved-down to Eugene/Mesa from the South Bend squad.     

And so this is the South Bend Cubs provisional Opening Day roster (27 players - two players over the 25 man Opening Day roster limit):   

STARTING PITCHERS: Faustino Carrera, Derek Casey, Eury Ramos, Cam Sanders, and Riley Thompson   
PIGGY-BACK STARTER: Brailyn Marquez
BULLPEN: Dalton Geekie, Ryan Lawlor, Riley McCauley, Zach Mort, Eugenio Palma, Jeffrey Passantino, Peyton Remy, and Ethan Roberts 
CATCHERS: Eric Gonzalez, Rafelin Lorenzo, and Gustavo Polanco
INFIELDERS: Tyler Durna, Levi Jordan, Fidel Mejia, Rafael Narea, Andy Weber, and Delvin Zinn 
OUTFIELDERS: D. J. Artis, Cole Roederer, Jonathan Sierra, and Nelson Velazquez 

One pitcher and one position player will need to be taken off the roster prior to Opening Day.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

2019 Cubs Minor League Camp Rosters (Updated 3/30)

3/30 UPDATE

IOWA to TENNESSEE: OF Charcer Burks 

TENNESSEE to EUGENE/MESA: RHP Ryan Williams

SOUTH BEND to EUGENE/MESA: RHP Yovanny Cruz

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3/29 UPDATE


The Cubs released what was described as the Myrtle Beach Opening Day roster on Friday, but as you will note it's exactly the same as the current Myrtle Beach Minor League Camp roster below, and it is three players over the Opening Day roster limit.  

So three of the Cubs four full season affiliates are getting close to the Opening Day 25-man limit but none of them are quite there yet, and Iowa keeps adding players! 

SIGNED: INF Dixon Machado (assigned to IOWA)

GOING DOWN: 

TENNESSEE to MYRTLE BEACH: RHP Tyler Peyton 

MYRTLE BEACH to EUGENE/MESA: RHP Casey Bloomquist (going back to the Rehab Throwing Program) and OF Brandon Hughes (is being converted to LHP)   

SOUTH BEND to EUGENE/MESA: RHP Sean Barry and OF Jose Gutierrez 

GOING UP: 

SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: RHP Jesus Camargo (replaces Bloomquist) and OF Grant Fennell (replaces Hughes) 

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3/28 UPDATE


MLB CAMP to IOWA: LHP Brian Duensing 

RELEASED: C-1B Michael Cruz, 1B Tyler Alamo, INF Austin Upshaw, and OF Luis Ayala 

MOVING DOWN: 

IOWA to TENNESSEE: RHP Craig Brooks, RHP Tom Hatch, and RHP Michael Rucker

IOWA to MYRTLE BEACH: C Tyler Payne 

TENNESSEE to MYRTLE BEACH: RHP Alex Lange, LHP Luis Lugo, INF Jhonny Bethencourt, INF Yeiler Peguero, 2B Carlos Sepulveda, and OF D. J. Wilson

TENNESSEE to SOUTH BEND: C Rafelin Lorenzo 

MYRTLE BEACH to SOUTH BEND: LHP Eugenio Palma, RHP Jeffrey Passantino, LHP Ryan Lawlor, INF Levi Jordan, INF Rafael Narea, INF Andy Weber, OF Jose Gutierrez, and OF Nelson Velazquez    

MYRTLE BEACH to EUGENE/MESA: C Jonathan Soto 

SOUTH BEND to EUGENE/MESA: RHP Ivan Medina, LHP Jack Patterson, RHP Jake Reindl, RHP Carlos Vega, C Alexander Guerra, C Caleb Knight, INF Jake Slaughter, SS Luis Vazquez, and OF Dalton Hurd

MOVING UP: 

EUGENE/MESA to MYRTLE BEACH: C-INF Cam Balego (replaces M. Cruz as #3 catcher at MB) 


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3/27 UPDATE
:

IOWA to TENNESSEE:  C-1B Ian Rice and INF Vimael Machin

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3/26 UPDATE


The Cubs have optioned LHP Kyle Ryan to Iowa, signed RHP Junichi Tazawa (who was released by the Cubs on Saturday) to a new (different) 2019 minor league contract, and assigned Tazawa and MLB NRI RHP Allen Webster to Minor League Camp. 

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With less than a week remaining before the Cubs four full-season minor league affiliates (Iowa, Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend) leave Arizona in their rear-view mirrors, the rosters of the four full-season affiliates are becoming a bit more clear, although considerable adjustments and pruning are still needed (see updated 2019 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS below):    

Pelicans Pitchers Turn Up the Heat at Riverview Park

Kevonte Mitchell walloped a two-run HR (off Brailyn Marquez), D. J. Wilson singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and SP Paul Richan hurled six innings of shutout ball with nine stikeouts (also 6/2 GO/AO, all three hits he allowed were singles, he issued no walks, and he threw 80% strikes) and combined with five relievers to fan 20, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) cruise past the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Cubs) 6-1 in Minor League Camp Spring Training game action Friday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as an eleven inning contest so that all of the pitchers who needed to throw could get their work, and while the twenty strikeouts racked up by Myrtle Beach pitchers was certainly aided by playing two additional innings, Pelicans pitchers did punch-out 16 SB-Cubs hitters through nine innings.    

Also, three of the pitchers who threw for Myrtle Beach (Ian Clarkin, Jordan Minch, and Wyatt Short) were actually Tennessee relievers who needed work (the Minch FB was sitting 94-95 and touched 97, BTW), and another (LHP Ryan Lawlor) was recently moved-down to South Bend from Myrtle Beach but (like the Tennessee trio) he needed work and the South Bend bullpen dance card was full.   

As is typical this time of year, several players from the Eugene/Mesa squad (Vicens, K. Moreno, L. Diaz, O. Nunez, Hurd, Zardon, and Daniel) served as late-inning replacements for the MB and SB starters, and the ones who played for South Bend combined to go 1-7 with six strikeouts (which also contributed to the prodigious Pelicans pitchers' strikeout total).     

In Minor League Camp news, OF Brandon Hughes (Cubs 2017 16th round draft pick - Michigan State) is being converted to a LHP. Hughes is the second Cubs outfielder to be converted to pitcher this month (Jamie Galazin was the other one). Like Galazin, Hughes does have some prior experience as a pitcher in college (he appeared in seven games as a reliever in his freshman season at MSU). 

Here is the box score from the game:  

Cubs Are the Real Power at Riverview

Rafelin Lorenzo drilled an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, Fidel Mejia belted an RBI triple and a double and scored one run, Levi Jordan cracked an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, and six pitchers combined on a two-hitter, leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 6-1 victory over the West Virginia Power (Seattle Mariners Lo-A affiliate) in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Thursday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Although they were pitching for South Bend, it was actually a Eugene/Mesa "bullpen day" on Field #1, with six relievers from the Eugene/Mesa squad called upon to provide some "two-hit relief" for the SB-Cubs pen.  

Meanwhile, Thursday night's offensive heroes Rafelin Lorenzo and Fidel Mejia have been two of the pleasant surprises at Cubs Minor League Camp.

Lorenzo was selected by the Cubs in the AAA Phase of last December's Rule 5 Draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates in what appeared to be just an organizational depth transaction, but it turns out he is a really good receiver with a plus-arm and he has some XBH power at the plate as well. He showed enough at Minor League Camp that he beat-out Alexander Guerra, Jonathan Soto, and Henderson Perez for the #1 catching job at South Bend, and he actually probably could have been the #1 catcher at Myrtle Beach or maybe even at Tennessee if it wasn't for a guy named Miguel Amaya at Myrtle Beach and P. J. Higgins and Jhonny Pereda at Tennessee. Kudos to the Cubs Pro Scouting Dept. 

Fidel Mejia was leading (and may still be leading, I don't know) Cubs Minor League Camp in HR and XBH and (apparently) has won the starting 3B job at South Bend, even though he spent the last two seasons in the AZL and has yet to see Eugene. The 20-year old switch-hitter obviously put on some muscle during the off-season and now has pop from both sides of the plate (he hit a HR over the CF Batter's Eye on Riverview Field #5 last week), and he has worked hard to make himself into a decent-enough third-baseman that he should be able to stay at the hot corner as he advances through the Cubs system, although he can also play 1B and even a bit of 2B as well. 

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether Cole Roederer will open the 2019 season at South Bend or at Extended Spring Training. Sometimes he looks great, and other times (like in Thursday night's game) he doesn't. So he is squarely "on the bubble," and it could go either way. (I guess we'll find out shortly). 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

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