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.  

box score

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.  


Pretty sad when we have to go to AZL Short Season league to find anyone to get excited about.

what a boring, boring, boring game the cubs just was a visual sedative. ...of course they lost...0-2...

I didn't hear anything when we hit but this feels like bottom to me. Are we dead?

Z willing to leave if it helps Cubs... Z on rumors: I want to stay here. (But) if we want to win here, we nees to make some changes. If I have to go ... ... I have to go. But I'll still have the Cubs in my heart. If the change has to be me that's OK.

he walks the walk on his chi love...donates a lot of time and charity items.

The problem isn't really Z. The problem is we expect Z to be an ace. Let the guy be a 4th starter who takes the ball 200 innings and say goodbye when the contract is over. Nobody undercuts their own players values quite like this Cubbie regime.

they probably just want some payroll for other things, but it's not like the cubs have some mlb-ready 2012 starters worthy of pitching aside from garza/dumpster/z/wells. the #5 slot is already a "who knows?" interesting if 2 slots became that...especially since no one knows if the cubs can count on wells in 2012 yet.

Wells is Terrible. His biggest asset is his salary.

The Cubs are merely a microcosm of the entire United States. Cratered after 2008 and it just keeps getting worse, with no light at the end of the tunnel. /depressing thought of the day

The US has idiot owners just like the Cubs.

Fukadome to Indians ?

Buh-bye Fuku, another disappointing Japanese import for MLB. $13MM this year for 13 RBI, woot!! The good Japanese hitters have been Ichiro and Matsui, that's a mighty short list.

when fukodome finds his new homey & batman colvin is thrown into the breach in rf, he will return w/ the staggeringly lopsided ratio of 55k's against 5bb's...the bat still pops though when it runs into anything - half his hits go for extra b's...

So the top of the order should be Castro/Barney for awhile now.

Trib states players to be received for Fukudome are Carlton Smith (rhp AAA reliever) and Abner Abreu (rhh OF at high Class A). Abreu appears to be the better prospect, though that may not be saying much. Here are numbers ** Abreu - 21 years old, high A ball: .244/.294/.429 Avg/OPB/SLG 16 doubles, 5 triples and 12 homers, with 19/22 SB. He is a free swinger and will fit in well with the Cubs -- 102 K/33 BB in 336 ABs. His current average may not be great, but this comes off of a .352/.405/.851 July, where he was twice player of the week. Never seen him play, stats seem to indicate he is a roll of the dice player who could become a Sammy Sosa pre-juice type or could struggle and never get past AA. An Indians minor league report/fan site (i.e. crazed fans with rose-colored glasses for the Indians prospects, so I relate!) had this to say about Abreu's hot month: "If you've followed my ATF's throughout the week, you already know how I feel about Abner Abreu's performance. He really has a chance to be something special if he can figure it all out. He hasn't had a stretch like he's been on since the start of June since 2009, and has certainly given pause to Tribe management, who have to be salivating over what he could become. If he has simplified his swing, as reports have indicated (and stats would back-up), he could be ready to take this system by storm. He absolutely has #1 prospect written all over him. Don't forget, he's one of the better outfield defenders in the system, and has good baseball speed." ** Carlton Smith - 25 years old, AAA 2-3 4.50 45 hits in 46 IP, with 20 BB and 46 K. .259 avg against. Doesn't appear to be too exciting of a prospect. Here is scouting report when he made the Indians fan site top 100 prospect 2009 (so who knows how much is true, his numbers haven't been great. "Strengths & Opportunities: Smith pounds the zone and pitches to contact with his sinking fastball which hovers around 91-93 MPH and has topped out as high as 95 MPH. He complements the fastball with an above average slider, split-finger, and is still working on developing a changeup. He is quiet by nature and keeps to himself, and has an excellent work ethic that was instilled in him by his brother and father. Last year he showed signs of improvement with repeating his delivery, commanding the fastball, and throwing his secondary stuff consistently for strikes. He has gotten better mixing the speeds and eye level of his secondary stuff, which has set up his sinker well down in the zone."

So we save $775k and get some blah for the system? Good enough. Now I need a new jersey. Going with a retired guy this time around.

So actually it only cost $47,225,000 for four years of Fuke. It's like we bought him on sale.

Maybe next time we should try Groupon.

So, Another fastball dependent bullpen arm and a toolsy kid with shit strike zone judgement? Hendry must be in heaven? Do either of these guys play football in the offseason?

Am I reading this correctly that now we're bitching about who we got for Fukudome? TCR, baby.

It be nice to get someone who can make some sort of impact. Not like the deadline was today or anything?

You realize it was for Fukudome, right?

you mean medium power corner OF'rs who only get to see playing time vs. righties won't get up a MLB ready guy? LAME.

Lol. Medium power.

fine...doubles power heh..

I think the issue is that we're still paying almost all of his remaining salary. Fukudome was one of our overpaid impending free agents. Isn't the point of trading those guys, to save money on their remaining salaries? If the Cubs really need that $775K we're saving on Fukudome, we really have some serious issues. Also, I see that Abreu has some potential, but why did we have to get 2 crappy minor leaguers? Couldn't we have traded Fukudome instead for one minor leaguer with twice the potential?

I'm witholding my criticism of this trade until after Abreu spends a couple seasons at A+ Daytona. Let's see what the Cubs system can do for him.

who cares about salary, though...look at the player. only plays vs. righties...doesn't have much power left...plays RF/LF...not very fast even if he makes 500K a year what would you expect to get for that?

even if he makes 500K a year what would you expect to get for that? Well, ideally someone who is going to contribute positively to the big league club at some point, otherwise, why bother? It's not our $775K we're saving.

I would rather the Cubs have an extra $775,000 and two mediocre minor league guys than 2 more months of Fukudome. And I am Fukudome fan. Fukudome isn't going to help the Cubs do anything decent this year or in the future. $775,000 and two minor league guys could.

$775,000 and two minor league guys could. Sure, if you accept the assumptions that the money will be put back into the product and that the minor leaguers will contribute. Based on the information we have, the minor leaguers that Hendry gets in these deals will not contribute, and we don't really know where the money will go, but there's a good chance it will go to the owner's, rather than to be squirrled away for 2012 payroll. I may be missing someone, or wrong, but I think on our 40 man roster, the guys we have gotten in this type of deal are Berg, Schlitter, Smit and Mateo.

Sure, if you accept the assumptions that the money will be put back into the product and that the minor leaguers will contribute. Wrong. I don't have to accept that assumption. I just have to accept the assumption that it COULD happen, which is exactly what I originally wrote. Fukudome is not going to help the Cubs win a playoff game this year. The extra $750,000 and two minor league players COULD help them win one in the future.

they obviously see something in the guys. it wouldn't surprise me if nothing became of them, but they're not worthless to someone in the office. chris archer worked out as an interesting piece with a hardcore flaw (115ip 84bb). his 4.29era in A ball (2008) was the high point of his short career at any stop.

Archer wasn't a deadline trade. In these straight salary dump moves, Hendry hasn't brought in anyone. Sure guys seem intriguing at the time, but at the end of the day, at some point we should be say "Really, that's how we got Dontrelle Willis?!?" occasionally.

..and the rules for making a point change...again.

You are comparing the haul we got for a year of DeRosa, coming off his best season, to 2 months of Fukudome. Archer was considered the best piece of that deal. It's about as valid a point as it would be complaining that he didn't get Zach Wheeler. Not sure what "rules" you're going with, but, in the 10 Years Hendry has been doing things he's brought in three minor leaguers worth a shit. At some point you should acknowledge the fact that these trades, are in general, useless.

im talking about talent that people chalk up as chris archer...who was simply "interesting" yet flawed. the whole "why bother" thing you brought up...the "someone sees some value in them" from me... no one was all "hell yeah! chris archer!"...he was a flawed, but toolsy guy. he sharpened up for the cubs long enough to hit the top of their prospect charts.

"he was a flawed, but toolsy guy"... that describes 80% of minor leaguers, and 95% of the guys Hendry trades for.

Maybe Ricketts, with the family's Ameritrade experience, should bring in some Wall Street hedge fund guy to be the GM. We just need someone who knows how to accumulate and flip assets for a profit. Whether it's munis, pork futures, or baseball players, the idea's the same.

Works for Tampa Bay...