Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus two players are on the 60-DAY IL

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, plus eight players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors and six players are on the 15-DAY IL

Last updated 5-25-2024

* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 13
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge 
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Tyson Miller
Hector Neris
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Hayden Wesneski

CATCHERS: 2
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 7
* Michael Busch
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 4
* Cody Bellinger
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman

OPTIONED: 8
Kevin Alcantara, OF
Michael Arias, P
Alexander Canario, OF
* Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF
Jose Cuas, P 
Brennen Davis, OF
* Miles Mastrobuoni, INF
* Matt Mervis, 1B

15-DAY IL: 6
Yency Almonte, P
Albert Alzolay, P
Colten Brewer, P
Daniel Palencia, P
Keegan Thompson, P
* Jordan Wicks, P

60-DAY IL: 2
Caleb Kilian, P
Julian Merryweather, P


Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

2010 Winter Meetings Day Three

10:30 PM CST (Rob G.): A previous Levine post said Cubs are interested in acquiring Jason Frasor after missing out on him last season. Medical reports on Brandon Webb are in the Cubs doctors hands and Chris Davis for Robinson Chirinos is still on the table, but the Cubs want Darren O'Day included in a deal.

10:17 PM CST (Rob G.): Levine says the Rays and Cubs met for a second time since the meetings began, presumably to discuss Garza and that the Cubs "package" was the most attractive. (7th grade chuckle). Brewers and Rangers are also in the mix.

5:18 PM CST (Rob G.): Joel Sherman says the Rays are thus far unsinspired by offers for Garza and will likely wait until July to see if value goes up.

1:56 PM CST (Rob G.): Well at least the Cubs called to ask about Zack Greinke.

1:44 PM CST (Rob G.): There were some multi-year offers out there for Pena with Nats, Orioles, Mariners, Blue Jays and Braves showing interest. (O's seem to be at least one team that made a multi-year offer and the biggest competition according to Pena).

12:46 PM CST (Rob G.): There it is, $5M to Pena is deferred until January 2012.

12:26 PM CST (Rob G.): Pena press conference updates culled from Twitter.

- Grew up watching the Cubs, cites watching George Bell (~shrug~).

- "To play for the was my preference...I love the city, my family loves the city, and we have a good chance at winning."

- Boras cited Rudy as one of the reasons they liked the Cubs and confidence that he can help him improve on last season.

- Here's a pic

- Rumor that Yankees could be going after Mark Prior along with rumors that they'll try and bring back Kerry Wood once the Cliff Lee sweepstakes are over. Yes, Rothschild, Prior and Wood back together again is a looming possibility.

- Trib story says Cubs targets were Pena and Berkman and talk about LaRoche and Loney were overstated. Nats, Blue Jays, Mariners and Orioles made offers or were at least interested. No mention of deferred money from them, although Levine has already put it out there. Also says they're working on trades and still talking to Brandon Webb.

12:20 PM CST (Rob G.): Bruce Levine chat excerpts:

- Says Cubs like Garza and have young talent Rays are seeking, although Archer and B. Jackson seem safe from being moved.

- Chris Davis is still in the mix even with the Pena signing.

- Mentions deferred money in Pena deal again, but no specifics.

- Cubs still high on Vitters (as they should be).

 


To the rumor cave...

- With Pena about to be signed, look for the Cubs to intensify trying to move Fukudome and giving Colvin the everyday job.

- Speaking of Pena, radio report that there is deferred money in the deal as I suspected last night. Also, he suffered through plantar fasciitis most of last year.

- Same report from Levine suggests the Cubs are making a push for Matt Garza. (Claps hands like a cymbal playing monkey). Here's a more proper link to the story.

Comments

I would definitely applaud adding Garza to the SP mix. It would be nice to avoid having to use 3 #5 starters in the rotation. I would think Garza would be AT LEAST a #3/#4...

[ ]

In reply to by Dr. aaron b

I doubt they need Gorzelanny. They might have interest in Hak-ju Lee, as sort of a fallback plan to Reid Brignac, giving Brignac a year or two. I could see them perhaps wanting a power arm to help fill the pen, perhaps a guy like Jay Jackson. Maybe another smaller asset, but probably not much more than that. The other issue is how do the Cubs pay for it. Considering all the tight budget talks, along with the fact that Garza could get 6 or 7 mil in arb, the Cubs either have more money to play with, or they might have to sign Garza down for 3 years or so to lessen the blow for 2011 if they still plan on adding pen help and more. That said, it's certainly doable.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

ding ding. He's not this crap pitcher that Cubs fans want to seem to think he is. He was inconsistent, but geesh, on a staff that didn't chew through a ton of innings, Wells gave us innings and solid performance. I've said this elsewhere, I think he's a very good number 5, a solid number 4, and for some staffs, statistically, he's a decent/capable 3. Leave aside the cost issue as it relates to value. He's given the Cubs 3+ WAR the last two season. His K rate increased last year without a significant BB rate increase. He's simply not this horrible, let's replace him right away, pitcher that some want to think.

[ ]

In reply to by toonsterwu

Wells gave us innings and solid performance Was this on the days he was not giving up 12 runs by the 2nd inning? He is a very inconsistent pitcher that simply cannot be counted on to win two starts in a row. He cannot make a nasty pitch when he needs to. B/c his location has to be perfect, when he gets behind in the count, Randy is dead meat. However, Ol' Randy had a terrific April 2010, going 4-1, but his losses in May and June were like Roller Coaster Randy: May 6, Lost 11-1, gone right away. Booed. To the Pirates. May 11, 3-2, FLA May 28, 7-1 Stl May 31, 2-1 Pitt. Again. How does someone from the Cubs lose to the Pirates, twice, in the same month. Must be some kind of Tribune-era record. He won a couple in May: both nail-biters. June? He loses four of five, including a 10-5 Sox shellacking, 6-3 HOU loss, an 8-1 drubbing by the M's(!), and, on cue, ANOTHER loss to the Bucs, this time 2-1. July, Randy loses 3 of 5, BUT throws a NICE shutout against the Cards. Not a minor feat at all. This is what I mean about Roller Coaster Randy! August? Now you may be thinking that, "Hey, maybe the converted-late-in-his-career-catcher MAY have figured it out after shutting out the Cards (prior to his 8-1 pasting again by the 'Stros the outing after the Cards SHO)?" - sigh - Nope. 'Ol Randy loses 5 of 6 starts, including another pasting - worst of the year BY ANY CUBS PITCHER - 18-1 to the Brewers, 16-5 loss against the Braves, 3 more one-run losses, and FINALLY wins a game at the end of the month, 3-2. And, finally, in September, with absolutely no pressure, he has a nice month as the car is on the top of the roller coaster, and wins 3 of 5 with a better ERA+. To me, and most baseball folks, this is the CLASSIC #5/#6 starter. Just below .500. Can pitch some innings (hopefully). Mercilessly inconsistent, and - while not horrible not trustworthy or "better than servicible" in any way. To say someone of this ilk would be a #3 starter on some teams?! I would like to know which ones and which GM's would saddle this guy against other teams legitimate #3's. Because, he is: Roller Coaster Randy

[ ]

In reply to by The E-Man

Classic 5/6 (so essentially, he should be in the minors half the time)? Again, numbers are bit a snapshot, but they do tell you critical information. Top 50 in FIP, xFIP and WAR over the past 2 seasons. For a roller coaster pitcher, that's remarkably ... consistent, and the numbers suggest that he's given solid, useful performance. Mind you, I haven't argued that he's a good, elite arm. Numbers can be deceiving in some respects, and I've acknowledged his inconsistencies. But to suggest that a pitcher who has performed remarkably ... solid ... the last two years shouldn't be in the majors at some points over the last two years (after all ... 6th starters are often in the minors or pen), I just don't see it. All that said, I do recognize that Cubs fans are largely disappointed at Wells. That said, on the free agent market, as Rob G suggested (and I concur), he'd likely pull in a 6-8 million dollar AAV deal for a couple seasons.

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In reply to by toonsterwu

I was very pleasantly surprised his first year, and was waiting for improvement his second. It didn't happen. Should I be pleased with that? I guess, the glass is a bit cloudy for me b/c as a STH, I picked the games when I am just sitting down with my first beer, the game is over - seemingly for the times Wells was pitching. He's not horrible. Not great. Just a #5 to me.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Gee ROB G. So, a 12-10 record, with a 3.05 in 2009, there is nothing between this and Cy Young to you? What the fuck are you talking about? If a few more wins, and closing out games in 2010 means Cy Young to you, then sure, I wanted him to win the Cy Young. Are you happy now? Let's see if he is a bust or champ at the end of the year ROB G. Maybe you'll get real lucky and take your whole family to a Dodgers/Cubs game he is pitching when he gets knocked out in the 3rd inning, and you can tell me what a great ERA+ he has (on his good days).

[ ]

In reply to by The E-Man

so you were spurned by Wells on a day you spent some cash and hence the vitriol? I can't imagine why anyone that's been around this site as long as you would still use W/L records to judge a pitcher. But yeah, about the only improvement on a 3.05 ERA, 146 ERA+ season and 160 IP in 2009 that could be reasonably expected, would be to do it over 200 innings and get himself in the Cy Young race.

[ ]

In reply to by The E-Man

I have to admit, I don't know what usage of STH is being referenced here. I'd make the argument that Wells was better in 2010 than he was in 2009. Not much, but enough, as it relates to performance he can control. His K rate was noticeably higher, while his BB rate, HR rate, and GB rates weren't that different. For a GB pitcher, your defense needs to be sharp. When you have occasional bouts of inconsistencies like Wells had, and a weak defense behind, that leads to problems.

[ ]

In reply to by The E-Man

July Wells' Starts: July 3 (CIN) 7 2/3IP, 1 ER, 5K,1BB, W July 8 (LAD) 7IP, 3ER, 7K, 1BB, L July 17 (PHI) 7IP, 0ER, 5K, 2BB. No decision July 23 (STL) 7IP, 0ER, 7K, 3BB, W July 28 (HOU) 5 2/3IP, 3ER, 4K, 5BB, L So a no decision, and a loss in a pretty solidly pitched game (7innings, 3 ER)..but yes, focus on losing 3 of 5... Wells is a solid 5..maybe a 4. And if this is the biggest ? in the rotation...the Cubs would be just fine. Lack of a #1 is still the issue.

Levine chat: Does the ten million dollar signing mean the Cubs will only be able to add to the rotation and bullpen by trade ? Bruce Levine: No because part of the contract is deferred. That type of creativity by Hendry will allow him to add another major league contract to make the trade. Bruce, tell me names like Archer and Jackson aren't being named in a possible trade for Garza. Bruce Levine: They are not.

THANKS ROB G, for all your coverage. I think you may consider also doing election results sometime. And yes, I can strike out Chris Davis.

Hendry is apparently doing his due diligence on Zach Greinke. Adding Greinke would get me a whole lot more excited than adding Garza. He (Greinke)could be the long term ace for the Cubs that Z never was. Of course, Heyman's tweet goes on to say that the addition of a mid-rotation guy is more likely than the addition of Greinke. http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/statuses/12586974749655040 If the Cubs were to get serious about Greinke, I wonder what it would cost them.

[ ]

In reply to by Sweet Lou

they wanted Travis Snider and Drabek from the Blue Jays allegedly. Cashner is probably the closest to Drabek but don't think he's thought of to have that high of a ceiling. I guess Colvin would be the closest to Snider, but once again, I think Snider's got a higher ceiling. B. Jackson and Archer would start the talks I'm guessing or B. Jackson and Cashner.

[ ]

In reply to by springs

I tend to agree. I still think the Cubs are unlikely to do much this year--I think Hendry is working hard to make them a team that could play .500 ball, and that he has to work hard to do that isn't a good sign for the season. But if they are going to shell out $10 million for a 1 year deal, they must be trying to contend this year. I'm still not in favor of getting rid of all the minor league prospects to gamble on 2011--which is why I think Garza, and his lesser cost, would make more sense than Grienke. Rebuilding would make more sense.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

"The real issue behind these people who are gun grabbers, the truth is — based on fact — the reason why is, they want control. They want control of the people. That's what socialism is and communism." fear is awesome. i wonder if he was one of those people who caused a nearly 1/2 year glut in ammo supply because people were 110% sure obama was gonna take their guns and ammo. woo, buying frenzy...at least it's good for the economy...lulz. ah, talk radio...you so crazy.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Barry = Americanized Barrack Soetoro = his step father's last name. It is the named he used while attending private high school in Indonesia (his step father's native country). In the world of conspiracy, this is "proof" of the birther arguement. Regardless, glad that Pena is only a one year deal. Sad that this is our big splash. A real big market team would be looking to replace the Lee/Lilly contracts coming off the books with actual replacements (see Adrian, Red Sox) instead of pocketing the savings.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

I don't see the point of adding Michael Young to this squad, unless the Rangers pay the majority of the deal, or they take back Soriano. I don't see the latter happening, and there isn't really another contract to swap for Young that I would want to make (Z's deal is of similar length, and he, while inconsistent and moody, is harder to replace. Furthermore, there's a chance 2013 won't vest for Z). Young is an upgrade over Baker/DeWitt (at least, on paper), but not worth giving up much, in terms of prospects and salary, IMO.

I did a Google News search that turned up a Bruce Levine blog where he conjectures what the Cubs and Rangers might talk about. The blog post was dated November 17.
Texas has a need for catching and the Cubs have two solid young catchers in Welington Castillo and Robinson Chirinos. Texas has an abundance of good hitting in their organization and they have excess at first base, a position where the Cubs have a need. Left-handed hitting Chris Davis is a home-run hitter who turns 25 in March, etc., etc.
If I had known where and when this rumor started, I wouldn't have paid any attention to it this week, especially when the Rangers acquired Torrealba for two years on 11/29. I doubt that the Rangers are talking to the Cubs about Chirinos.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Horrible deal, imo, only because of the length. Players who's main skill is speed do not age well into their mid-30s. Hell, many of them lose their speed in their early 30's. Speed is Crawford's game, and he's going to a cold weather city (never good for legs), although playing in Fenway should increase his HR totals a bit, so maybe it's the best spot for him he could have landed.

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

Guys who lack power and depend on their speed almost never age well as well. Often times, what you are saying holds, that a guy who K's this much loses more bat speed. There are exceptions to the rule for both sides, but sure, let's revisit this a few years later and see how it turns out. I feel pretty comfortable in thinking that Crawford won't age well, but maybe he's an exception. I feel pretty comfortable in saying that, as of now, I think Crawford's contract is far worse and that Werth will age better.

[ ]

In reply to by toonsterwu

Don't get me wrong, I understand the argument the other way. Crawford's not only a "speed" guy, he's a good athlete, and overall, athletes age well. From a value perspective, though, if he loses his speed, you'd have to be fairly confident that his power will pick up a bit to balance it out. His defensive value will be muted a bit by being in Fenway. By no means do I think either contract is a good one. Werth, though, is a very good athlete. From a value perspective, the question for me is how late in his career his power can carry. I think he'll be a solid RF for most of the contract. I think it'll be alright, but only time will tell.

[ ]

In reply to by toonsterwu

I think everyone who does the serious type of analysis required to award a contract like that is confident that Crawford will continue to add power and patience for the next four years. Crawford had a 134 OPS+ last year, and he's heading into the years where a player typically hits for the most power. Werth had a 145 OPS+ season last year, and he's playing what's generally considered to be the final 'peak season' in 2011. Plus he's an asshole who just got his set for life contract. That deal has disaster written all over it. People will be talking about it for 20 years.

[ ]

In reply to by toonsterwu

There are very few "speed" type guys I can remember who didn't lose their speed as they aged. Ricky Henderson is one, although he did lose speed, he was still just a great base-stealer that even a slower Ricky was a better base-stealer than most players, and let's not forget that Ricky was the rare speed/power guy. Davey Lopes could still steal bases at a high rate late in his career, although he had become a bench player. Those are the only two in the last 30 years that stand out. I like Crawford, but I think a 7 year deal is just insane for his type of player. Now maybe he adds a little power in that park to offset his declining speed and it's a less disastrous contract than if he played in another park. Still, most of these GM's should be hauled in front of firing squads. If they were running real businesses they would.

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

BP comps for Crawford. Coleman, Wilson, D. Hamilton, S. Podsednik, B. McBride, L. Polonia, P. Kelly, S. Finley, J. Pierre, M. Wilson BP comps for Werth Gibson, Canseco, Barfield, Rice, C. Davis, R. Monday, M. Bradley, B. Bonilla, D. Strawberry, J. Conine don't care much for BR comps, they just find guys that started around the same age with similar playing time through those years (and somewhat similar skills). that being said, both contracts are terrible, Werth was a platoon player two years ago and Crawford's a faster version of Fukudome with triples speed that pumps his SLG up.

i can't even image what the lineup is gonna look like at this point. fukudome/baker probable L/R #1 castro is probably #2 c.pena is probably #4 ...beyond that *shrug* byrd/soriano/soto/aram...who the hell is gonna hit 3rd? do you stack soriano/c.pena back to back?

I'm way behind, and haven't read the comments. I'm thrilled at one year, not thrilled with $10m (which they undoubtedly had to spend to get the one year done), and could go either way on Pena. I think he'll do great things at Wrigley and in the NL Central. That said, I don't really think he was the 'missing link' to any titles (including the division). But I'd be more than happy to be wrong, watch him hit 50 bombs and bat .250 with a .400 OBP.

I'd like to bring up something that Real Neal alluded to in a post on a previous thread. Wrigley is NOT terribly friendly to left-handed pull hitters. I've been listening (with irritation) to sports talk radio for the last couple of days and hearing commentators talk about how many HR's someone like Pena could hit at Wrigley (stating that it should increase his HR totals). NOT TRUE -- unless (like Edmonds) his power is largely to left and left-center field. Wrigley Dimensions: LF line: 355 L "Well": 346 L/Cf: 356 Cf: 395 R/Cf: 376 R "Well": 346 RF line: 353 Wrigley is NOT symmetrical, as it appears. The 400' dimension is to the right field side of straight away CF, leaving a deeper bulge to right and right-center than to left field. Ask anyone who remembers Bobby Mercer's time with the Cubs and all of the warning track fly balls he hit that would have been HRs in Yankee Stadium's short RF porch. Note: The dimensions on Wrigley's walls are probably accurate -- but next time you look, notice how much closer to straight away center the "left-center" 368' mark is than the "right-center" 368' mark (remembering that the 400' is not straight away). Wrigley was made for right-handed power hitters (with no wind or blowing out) -- not lefties.

[ ]

In reply to by JoePepitone

A couple of things I found on the subject: Steve Gardner, USA Today, citing Bill James Handbook 2010:
For left-handed power hitters, Wrigley Field in Chicago was the place to be -- with a 139 rating that was the highest in either league. Meanwhile, GAB in Cincy (118) was slightly ahead of Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park (114) for right-handed home run hitters.
Tristan Cockcroft, espn.com, in March 2010:
[Wrigley is] apparently tremendous for power-hitting lefties, with a 126 home run index from 2007 to '09, highest in the majors.
I don't know what the ratings are based on. (But they're not based on little Bobby Mercer hitting warning-track shots.) Williams is an exception to the rule that the Cubs traditionally don't "do" lefthanded power hitters (or lefthanded starting pitchers), probably because those are valuable commodities and the good teams get them. Trying to think of a lefthanded swinger who has hit 30 home runs for the Cubs in my lifetime, other than Williams I come up with Rick Wilkins and Fred McGriff, once each.

[ ]

In reply to by The Real Neal

Drat! I was sitting in the dentist's chair thinking I should have checked Rodriguez and also Luis Gonzales. The fact that the Cubs have specialized in wrong-way lefty hitters in the last ten years--Jones, Bradley, Choi, Hollandsworth, Edmonds, Fukudome come to mind--does not necessarily tell you anything about the ball park. It could just mean that these guys were the dregs in terms of power bats. (My theory.) Colvin is a different kind of hitter, a pull hitter. Seven of his nine HRs in Wrigley last season were to right, to the right of the 368 sign.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Nobody used the word "wind" yet. The dimensions are a little off, but after mid-May when the wind starts blowing hard toward the lake, with major-league hitters, it probably feels more like 320' in a dome. Wrigley to me has always seemed like a "neutral" park because on any given day it can be so different than the day preceding, not to mention the other half of the season.

[ ]

In reply to by VirginiaPhil

VAPhil -- Interesting info on Wrigley's power ratings for lefty power hitters. I'd also like to know more about how those numbers are arrived at. Perhaps a combination of left-center power plus more doubles & triples to the right of center? Prevailing crosswind out to right field? Just guessing here. One thing for sure -- Wrigley's short dimensions are on the left field side, not the right field side. However, your sources have caused me to keep my mind open on the subject of Wrigley and left handed power hitters.

Recent comments

  • George Altman (view)

    I couldn't agree more with everything you've said here Phil. It's 40-man Roster malpractice by Jed since November. Hendricks, Madrigal, and Mastrobuoni shouldn't be on the 40-man, let alone the 26-man. Add Smyly to that group, too.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Those million dollar systems are hardly infallible. AI does not yet dictate how the prospects develop or how game is played. If it did what would be the use of playing? Team with the best projected stats would win every time. We all know better

    Brailyn Marquez and Jose Albertos both had tremendous arms and potentially major league pitches. So did Kris Jensen. Problem is none of them could harness it and, even if they could, MLB players can hit good fastballs. Estrada sure looked to be on that kind of trajectory. Very likely that by mid summer he will be again once the law of averages catches up with the May superstardom.

    Now let’s take a moment to focus on Madrigal. You know, the best team in the league at the moment, the Phillies, have Whit Merrifield. 105 PA and batting .181. Dodgers are second best and have Kiki Hernandez on the bench. 125 plate appearances and .193. The Braves spread the AB’s a little more but they see fit to keep former Cub farmhand Zack Short around. 47 PA’s and .158. Nobody complains much about those guys. I didn’t do the digging but I would venture to say that each have another light hitting utility guy taking up a 40 man roster spot as well. Two wasted 40 man roster spots each on these winning teams, not dissimilar to the Cubs. So while an awful lot of keystrokes on here are spent discussing Madrigal and Mastrobouni as they are - let’s just say, somewhat underwhelming, they are not at the core of what ails this team.

    The real problem is that the guys who are paid to hit aren’t hitting. The league has caught up with Busch, Suzuki, and Morel, and while I believe they will adjust at some point, it’s a process. Swanson, Happ and Hoerner seem to be in that multi year contract comfort zone that folks on here tell me don’t exist. The offense from their catching sucks and seems unlikely to improve much with current personnel. Tauchman has come down to Earth to be the true player he is. To his credit and counter to my expectations, the only guy who may be turning corner a bit seems to be Bellinger.

    None of them seem willing to play the small ball, hustle game that gets teams out of slumps. They show no plate discipline and, to add insult to injury, they have been quite unlucky at times. The lack of offense and less than stellar infield fielding has greatly magnified the issues with the bullpen, as well as their low performing utility guys.

    So let’s ease off the Madrigal/Mastribouni scapegoating. They are not stars and never will be, but they are not enigmas either. Utility players are what they are, and replacing them with other utility players, while possible, isn’t likely to solve very much - nor is the other approach of bringing up farmhands and letting them ride the pine - until the “stars” break out of their May malaise and start hitting and fielding better.

  • crunch (view)

    just to throw a bit of salt in the j.estrada wound...

    he has struck out 13 batters in a row over his last 3 outings.

  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    The short answer there is yes he gets credit for the wins but he also gets credit for the losses.

    Phil’s point about the crystal ball is spot on. If all of the machinery and data and systems they have don’t manifest into essentially a crystal ball, what use is all of that? Somebody messed up.

    As for who else could have gone, I agree with Phil that a pitcher like Estrada, as awful as he looked last year, had shown he had at least 1-2 legit MLB caliber pitches, it was just a matter of finding them again. He was pre arb young power arm. Whereas let’s say Madrigal was entering year 2 of 4 arb years. He’d proven to be a defense first backup infielder incapable of playing SS. You want to talk dime a dozen, THAT is dime a dozen. THAT is a NRI. I can squint and see the argument to not lose Wisdom’s power as a bench bat. Or even Boner as a utility guy who can play OF and handle an emergency SS run, who also hits left handed and has options. But choosing Madrigal over an arm like Estrada was a poor decision, even at the time.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Ok, so it’s the end of 2023 and going into the postseason. Cuas, Alzolay, Leiter, and Merriwether all had respectable seasons last year.

    So among Killian, Wesneski, Estrada, Palencia, Brown, Horn, Rodriguez, Little, Hughes, Wicks, all of whom had huge potential but huge questions heading into 2024, 1) How are you going to protect all of them? 2) If you can’t, who do you protect?

    How many times was the phrase “good problem to have” tossed around?

    If it had been Palencia going to another team and hitting a May hot streak, which could just as easily have happened, would we not be having the identical conversation?

    Brown just pitched seven no hit innings yesterday. Does Jed get any credit for keeping him around? Does he get credit for ditching Horn and getting something with very decent upside, Thompson, in return? How about picking up Miller, who has been stellar so far? Does he get the blame for Meriwether, and Killian, who burned up the spring, getting hurt? And is there a single organization out there that can’t say they wish they had a reliever or two they had recently back?

    There is very definitely a “lottery” aspect to relief pitching. In the last couple of years the Cubs largely won the lottery and spun much of that good fortune into prospect gold. This year others have won and the Cubs for the most part appear to be holding the short stick. So are we really going to have the neck of the GM who took this team from the utter doldrums to the brink of contention and a number three rated system over the course of a couple of years?

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Except Jed Hoyer does in fact have a crystal ball and it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The equipment and programs acquired by the Cubs are not just used in player development. They are also used in self-evaluation (self-scouting). With the information available these mistakes should not be happening. The mistakes also include the Cubs post-2023 November 40-man roster strategy that values guys like Madrigal, Mastrobuoni, and Hendricks over younger talent with more upside. 

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    Quick reminder that during much of the offseason the question marks were at third base, first base and centerfield. While the organization was stacked with outfield prospects, Mervis was coming off a solid season in AAA and was being considered a serious candidate for first base. There simply wasn’t room at the inn for everyone. There was clearly a place for Perlaza somewhere but he simply didn’t possess the complete toolset that some of the other Cub outfield prospects do. For myself, I’ve always had a soft spot for Darius Hill. Unfortunately, he’s another odd man out in a stacked system.

    And hindsight is always 20/20. For example, Estrada always had potential but was totally erratic in 2023. Cuas had a much lower ceiling but he was a steady presence in a relief corp with many question marks. Sure, it seems like a silly decision now, but Jed doesn’t have the benefit of a crystal ball. Everyone, probably Jed included, hated to see Estrada go, but it wasn’t such a crazy idea at the time. BTW, in terms of Estrada leaving via waivers, does anyone honestly think Jed didn’t try to shop him first? I have to assume no one was willing to to give up anything for him.

    Even given the way the season has gone, I think the only place where Jed solidly and clearly missed the mark that could/should have been foreseen was with Hendricks, as just about everybody on this board recognized at the time. Still, even Hendricks wasn’t a totally illogical move because they had exactly two locks for starting pitching at the time - Steele and Taillon.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    The roster mistakes I am talking about occur in November, when decisions are made regarding minor league free-agents, Rule 5 protection, exercising club options, and the tendering of contracts to players on the MLB 40-man roster. The idea should be to maximize long-term control of talented young players (including minor leaguers yet to establish themselves in MLB). 

    Roster slots that can be filled by Spring Training NRI should not be allocated in November to marginal non-prospects expected to fill non-critical positions on the 26-man roster (like back-up catcher, utility infielders, 4th outfielder, and middle relievers) or to older players likely to decline. 

    And as far as self-evaluation (self-scouting) is concerned, the Cubs have invested literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in proprietary player development and analytical technology and have doubled the player development staff, so they should not be making some of the piss-poor roster decisions in November as they have been making. 

    There are ex-Cub relievers on other MLB clubs who could be in the Cubs bullpen right now and would clearly be upgrades over what's there, but they are someplace else. No excuses. Clearly somebody screwed up.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    As long as there isn't a sore thumb / weak link in the group, a six-man rotation is preferable if a club wants to minimize innings for younger starting pitchers and keep veteran guys from wearing down in September. So Imanaga, Steele, Assad, Brown, Taillon, and Wicks would be the six, and that is actually probably one of the best group of starting pitchers in MLB (a lot of clubs couldn't run a decent six-man rotation even if they wanted to).  

    A six-man rotation does require a solid seven-man bullpen with no weak links and a lock-down closer, however, and unfortunately the Cubs bullpen as it is presently constituted (with Hendricks and Smyly in the pen) is one of the worst and least-reliable in MLB. 

    It would definitely help if the 2023 version of Julian Merryweather can come back 100% next month (TBD), but even that is not enough. 

    And Hendricks and Smyly absolutely cannot be in the pen if the Cubs want to compete for a post-season slot. If one or both can be moved as part of a salary offset in a trade (and keep in mind that Hendricks gets "10 / 5 no-trade" rights as of June 26th), that's fine, but otherwise the Cubs will just have to bite the bullet and release them and be prepared to eat some payroll.  

  • Childersb3 (view)

    You're only thinking about the 26man roster. Perlaza should've been added to the 40man roster. He then would have three option years.
    No GM is perfect. Theo wasn't. Jed has done some really good things. Pitching has improved wholeheartedly under Jed. 
    RPs like Hudson and Estrada are going to hit and miss. 
    Giving Hendricks 16.5mil can now be stated as a clear miss, and Kyle needs to be moved off the roster. They have to pay him. But the Bullpen spot needs to go to someone else. Kyle isn't a bullpen guy. But he's not a SP anymore either. 2016 Nostalgia doesn't win.
    Perlaza got more money in the KBO than he'd have gotten on the 40man, but Jed had the choice to give him a shot anyway. Mervis would probably do really well in the KBO also. But having watched Perlaza's bat speed for three years, I think he was better than Mervis.
    And Phil made a good point about giving Happ an extension (after having not traded him at the TDL in 2022 along with not trading Willy) when you're real prospect depth was in the OF. Happ is a really good 7th hitter on a good team. 17 HRs and 70 RBIs with good LF defense. That's Ben Zobrist like #'s. The issue is we have a lot of those kind of guys already. We needed a bomber some where in the lineup and LF, RF, 3B, 1B and DH usually provide those bombs.
    Seiya is good when healthy. He's gotten hurt every year, but he's a 20HR 80RBI guy when healthy. He just hasn't been healthy for a year to provide those #'s.
    Happ isn't a bomber.
    Morel is getting his chance to work out 3B. I'm glad Jed has kept him.
    1B? Hopefully Busch becomes 20HRs and 80 RBIs.
    DH? There's our biggest issue. We don't have a guy who can bop there. Just a real hitter. Mervis missed it. That's why Perlaza leaving without a 40man chance burns me.