Garcia and Los Tres Amigos Deliver the Message
Ramon Garcia tossed five shutout innings and Los Tres Amigos combined to reach base nine times, score three runs, and knock-in two more, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
With 18-year old Dominican OF Oliver Zapata, 18-year old Dominican INF Marco Hernandez, and 18-year old Venezuelan INF Gioskar Amaya hitting 1-2-3 in the order most everyday, Los Tres Amigos set the standard for the AZL Cubs on a daily basis, and today was no exception. Zapata (who leads the AZL in walks and is 4th in SB) walked three more times today, singled, stole a base, scored two runs, and knocked in another, Hernandez (who is 4th in the league in RBI and 6th in doubles) singled, walked, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, and Amaya (who is 6th in the AZL in hitting) singled twice and collected an RBI.
In addition to the Big Day from the Big Three, DH Brian Inoa (a Man in Search of a Position) doubled twice, scored twice, and drove-in one run, and super-sub Gregori Gonzalez (who played 3B today) singled three times with two RBI.
19-year old Venezuelan RHP Ramon Garcia got the start for the Cubs and was masterful, throwing five shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four. He did all that on just 57 pitches (41 strikes), including throwing his first 16 pitches for strikes, something rarely seen in the AZL. Garcia probably could have continued well past the 5th inning, but AZL pitchers are limited to throwing five innings or 75 pitches (whichever comes first). Garcia is now 5-0 in AZL league play, and is tied for the league-lead in victories.
Cubs 2010 #1 draft pick RHP Hayden Simpson followed Garcia to the mound, entering the game at the start of the 6th inning. Throwing nothing but fastballs (as was also the case in his previous outing), Simpson had an easy nine-pitch 6th (striking out the lead-off hitter looking), before allowing a lead-off single and a one-out Miguel Marte RBI double high off the CF "Green Monster" (Batter's Eye), just two pitches after Marte slugged a near-HR down the LF line (hooked foul at the last second before clearing the fence). Simpson was then removed from the game, after having thrown 26 pitches (17 strikes).
While he throws only fastballs in games, Simpson does throw a breaking ball and a change-up when warming-up. But he apparently is so messed up right now, the Cubs feel he needs to go back to square one and just try and command his fastball (which he was able to do today, and with perhaps a bit more velocity than he has shown previously), before adding anything else to his in-game regimen.
You can tell somebody of concern is in the game when the Fitch Park Sports Psychologist is sitting on the bench, and a Special Assignment Scout is running the radar gun from the tower (hiding the readings from the players).
Cubs 2011 21st round draft pick LHRP Andrew McKirahan (U. of Texas) had another impressive outing, throwing 1.2 IP of shutout relief, getting four of his five outs on grounders and the fifth on a strikeout (swinging), while allowing just an infield single (swinging bunt). McKirahan is a polished, tested lefty reliever from a first-class D-1 program (he pitched in the College World Series last month), and so I would not be surprised to see him maybe get a "jump promotion" to Peoria in relatively short order.
crunch 4 hours 51 min ago (view)
gil hodges, jim kaat, minnie minoso, tony oliva, buck oneil, and bud fowler new HOF members.
dick allen fell 1 vote short.
Hagsag 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
Phil, is the 3 weeks camp going on now?
Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have signed free-agent LHP Stephen Gonsalves to a 2022 minor league contract.
If he were to be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2022, he has no minor league options left and he has Article XX-D rights (he can elect free-agency if outrighted).
So 78 Cubs minor leaguers are now eligible for selection in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.
Also, the Cubs off-season minor league Domestic Reserve List now stands at 173 (17 slots are open).
Arizona Phil 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
jdrnym: That's correct.
Under the new rules, the 38-man AAA reserve list is now only used beginning on the date reserve lists are filed in November and extending up through the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. Then after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, everybody goes back into the off-season 190-man Domestic Reserve List hopper.
jdrnym 2 days 4 hours ago (view)
Phil, can you settle a Twitter discussion? A team can only select players in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft until its 38-man Triple-A reserve list is full, correct? Don't believe this changed with the latest Major League Rules that introduced the Domestic Reserve List and eliminated individual level reserve lists during the offseason.
crunch 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
"Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston reports that Carlos Correa's agent has been contacted by the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Braves.
It's not clear when the contact took place or what level of interest each club has."
...with the yanks and dodgers both with piles of cash and a bit of need, i wouldn't get too stoked...but at least there seems to be some interest in what his market is.
Arizona Phil 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
Stroman's salary escalators apply to 2024, so if Stroman reaches 160 IP in either 2022 or 2023 (but not both) it adds $2M to his 2024 salary, and if he reaches 160 IP in both 2022 and 2023 it would add $4M to his to 2024 salary.
So he gets $25M in both 2022 and 2023 (that's locked-in), and then either $21M, $23M , or $25M in 2024, depending upon whether he reaches his salary escalators in 2022 and/or 2023.
Arizona Phil 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
W-RAT: I should also mention that the Cubs cannot outright David Bote while he is injured or rehabbing from an injury, except during a window starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until the day that off-season reserve lists must be filed (normaly 11/20, but it was 11/19 in 2021 because 11/20 fell on a Saturday, and it will be 11/18 in 2022 because 11/20 will fall on a Sunday).
Arizona Phil 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
W-RAT: The Cubs can outright David Bote (if he is not claimed off waivers) once the transaction freeze is lifted. That's not a problem.
If he is outrighted and then elects free-agency, he would forfeit what remains of his contract - AS LONG AS - the contract is not fully guaranteed.
If the contract is fully guaranteed he would likely elect free-agency and the Cubs would be on the hook for what remains of his salary, offset by the MLB minimum salary if he were to sign an MLB deal with another club.
crunch 2 days 17 hours ago (view)
kristin call has been named GM of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. she's been the assistant/associate GM for a few years and was formally a marketing director for the team.
she's been involved in baseball for a living for 16+ years.
Wrigley Rat 2 days 23 hours ago (view)
Hey Phil - Could David Bote be outrighted at any point before the start of the season (obviously not now while players are being locked out). I wonder because if someone claimed him, oh well. If he elected free agency, wouldn't that void his contract? These are the thoughts going through my head as I look to open up another 40-man spot, and Bote will be out until at least May.
I've read your 40-man tag for him, but I'm not quite smart enough to figure this out! :) Thanks!
crunch 3 days 4 hours ago (view)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Marcus Stroman signed a three-year, $71 million contract with the Chicago Cubs that includes an opt out after the second season, sources tell ESPN. He’ll make $25 million in 2022, $25 million in 2023 and $21 million in 2024. It includes $2M escalators for 160 IP in ‘22 and ‘23.
Arizona Phil 3 days 8 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have re-signed RHRP Jonathan Holder and C-INF P.J. Higgins to 2022 minor league contracts, presumably with an NRI to MLB Spring Training.
They will be Rule 5 Draft-eligible, if and when there is a Rule 5 Draft.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 17 hours ago (view)
Owners' stooge Bobby Manfred coming out swinging at the players with his statement about the owners instituting a lockout.
Arizona Phil 3 days 22 hours ago (view)
The Cubs re-signed OF Michael Hermosillo to a 2022 Major League contract just prior to the midnight Wednesday MLB transaction freeze.
Hermosillo was non-tendered on Tuesday because he was a Rule 5 Draft-Excluded Player, and if he had remained on the 40 the Cubs would not have been able to outright him to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB opening Day.
crunch 4 days 3 hours ago (view)
we shouldn't, especially with how much payroll room for 2024+ this top-costing-for-fans team with a heavily monitized ballpark in a major media market has.
backloaded contracts aren't exactly groundbreaking new things...neither are cheap-ass owners. i don't expect them to compete every year, but i expect them to try after a punt season where they traded away the core. NYY, NYM, LAD, LAA, BOS, etc. don't seem to have trouble doing this even if it means throwing a bit of money around...