Matt Carasiti Headed for Japan

The Cubs have released RHRP so that he can sign with the Yakult Swallows (NPB). Since Carasiti was under MLB club control, the Cubs will likely receive a substantial release fee (perhaps as much as $1M) as part of the deal.

So the Cubs MLB reserve list (40-man roster) now stands at 36 (four slots are open), with the 2018 MLB Contract Tender deadline 8 PM (Eastern) tonight (Friday 12/1).

The 26-year old Carasiti was acquired from the Colorado Rockies last June for LHRP Zac Rosscup and was the closer for AAA Iowa the last half of the PCL season. He was named to the PCL All-Star team in July, and was added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster last month after the conclusion of the World Series. He had been expected to compete for a slot in the Cubs MLB bullpen in 2018. 


Surprised? I though he had a shot at the bullpen for 2018?

BILLYBUCKS: Given the substantial release-fee the Cubs will likely get from the Swallows, I am not surprised that the Cubs agreed to the deal.


Just as a point of information about how this process works, Outright Release Waivers must be secured - BEFORE - Carasiti can get his release and sign with the Swallows, and the waiver-ride takes two business days this time of year. So the earliest Carasiti can sign with the Swallows will be next week (probably Tuesday). But the deal is done. Also, if another MLB club were to claim Carasiti off Release Waivers ($1 waiver price), Carasiti can refuse the assignment and the waiver claim is voided (This is true for all players who are placed on Release Waivers). Normally a player refusing a claim off Release Waivers forfeits termination pay (that is, the balance of his remaining salary), but that isn't relevant here since Carsiti is under club control but unsigned. The exception to this rule is if a player with "no trade" rights is claimed off Release Waivers, he can refuse the assignment and still get 100% of his remaining salary (and the salary liability stays with the player's former club).

One million or so sure beats not adding him to the roster.

welly returns to catch for chicago...the wsox...2/15m and a 8m club option for 2020. at least someone finally turned on the hot stove even if it's not very warm yet.

Welly had himself a year last year -- league-leading 49% CS and 20 HR. Strong arm and power bat. Beef!

Hector Rondon non-tendered by Cubs, will be a free agent.

shocking/not-shocking. that said, now they have even more loot free'd up. go use it on something.

Not sure why they're wasting money on Grimm. Dude is awful. I get that they feel obligated to give J Wilson another chance--given what they gave up for him--and he's even more expensive. But at least he has a recent record of being pretty decent. Grimm OTOH has never been more than a journeyman 4A guy. Sure seems like $2MM-ish money to Grimm could have been put to better use elsewhere, e.g. bringing back Duensing.

i would feel a lot better about grimm if his bad 2017 was the result of a bad stretch or some bad luck rather than a nearly year-long consistent suck-fest. hell, if it wasn't for his 1 great month (june, 12.1ip 2h 3bb his numbers would look shocking, not just bad.

So what will the bullpen look like next year?

addison reed and jake mcgee would both look good in cubbie blue... juan nicasio wouldn't look too bad, himself.

With six slots now open on their MLB 40-man roster, I would expect the Cubs to sign as many as five or possibly even six free-agents, including at least one or maybe two SP (depending on whether or not the Cubs are able to acquire a second starter via trade), three established MLB relievers (including one closer and one lefty), and a veteran back-up catcher (possibly either Alex Avila or Rene Rivera).

Even after projected arbitration raises, the Cubs now have about $60M in available 2018 payroll to spend on additions to the club (if they are so inclined).

Also remember that although Shohei Ohtani will get a relatively small signing bonus, the MLB club that signs Ohtani has to pay a - $20M - posting fee to the Nippon Ham Fighters. So while Ohtani himself might not cost that much, the posting process does. (BTW, a posting fee paid to an NPB or KBO club does - NOT - count against a club's payroll when calculating the club's luxury tax liability).

Rivera seems like a smarter choice than Avila. He's MUCH better defensively, will be MUCH cheaper in $$, and he's not an embarassment with the bat. We're talking backup catcher, if Willson's healthy that's 30 starts max. And there's always Caratini in reserve if necessary. As always, use the $$ savings where they can be put to better marginal use; i.e., free agent pitching as you note above.

Hope Grimm isn’t part of it

Assuming health and effectiveness in both the rotation and bullpen, it's fair to assume the bullpen locks are Edwards, Grimm, Montgomery, Strop, and Wilson. Then there's a mix of guys on the 40-man who have a shot, and they're obviously going to sign a few guys, too.

Don’t know if I’d call Grimm a lock honestly. I’d put him and Butler (both out of options) on the same level: perform in spring training, make the opening day roster. Pitch like Grimm did last year, get outrighted.

Hopefully, they tendered Grimm because Hickey said he saw something he could fix. Otherwise, I really don't get it. Rondon, I get because of the money, the injuries and the inconsistency. I'll always love you for striking out the side in 2015 with the bases loaded against the Giants, Hector -- one of the many exciting finishes of the KB era -- and I will always respect how you handled the trade for Chapman, but it's time for us to part ways. Good luck and all the best.

How quickly it goes....Cards trade 2016 All-Star Aledmys Diaz to Toronto for the Jay's #28 prospect. He will backup Tulo at SS in Canada.

Oh Noooooooo Brant Brown is now the assistant hitting coach for the Dodgers.

Regarding the Ohtani mania....I've seen some scouting reports referenced that he has what we might call a "Kyle Farnsworth" fastball--all heat, no sizzle. As we saw with Kyle, MLB hitters have no problem squaring up 98mph heat if it's clothesline-straight. I'm interested to see what the kid can do, but I think the hype is juuuuust a bit over the top here.

last i checked, squaring up vs farnsworth was a bad idea.

Good coaching can help a young player understand that 96 with movement is far more devastating than 102 straight.

"FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman cited a source who said he "didn't see any way" Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton would accept a trade to the Cardinals." neat-o.

"'s Jon Morosi reports that the Marlins "have agreed to general framework" of Giancarlo Stanton trades with both the Cardinals and Giants." "Morosi adds that the deals are "on hold" while the Marlins wait for Stanton to inform them whether he'd accept a trade to either team." supposedly the dodgers (who stanton strongly prefers) and the rsox are out of the running...which means he'll probably be traded to one of them tomorrow...or the twins...or some team in korea...because offseason fun times.

I must say I enjoyed Robbie Gould kicking 5 FGs to beat the Bears today. Hilarious. After a few weeks with a new team, Garappolo looked like what the Bears thought they were getting in Trubisky -- quick read, quick release, accurate arm. Bears had 147 yards of total offense against a terrible defense. Jordon Howard is a power back who can run through tackles, but has limited speed and elusiveness -- and the Bears tried to run him outside all day. Maddon makes some strange moves, but, other than Lackey in Game 2 of the NLCS, few are as outright stupid as the Bears'. Time for yet another reboot at Halas Hall. Amazing incompetence all around.

BB, I'm curious why you think it's better for the Bears to win these meaningless games, since a team's draft position is based on losses. To paraphrase Jed Hoyer: why try to win 75 games?

I don't think it matters how the Bears finish until they prioritize scouting and development. But, I'm a baseball guy.

VA Phil -- To me, losses during a rebuild are fine, perhaps even good, if there are some positive signs emerging. Or a sign that coaches/management have a direction. The Bears have played 12 games. What positives are there to build on? What direction are they trying to go? Fox has the worst record of any head coach in Bears' history, and this year is the worst of his three. He said he "felt good about going for the block" on a 24-yeard FG. I mean, my God. Who's the coach next year? The only real positive from yesterday was Cohen's broken-play punt return. They have no talent at WR, their OL stinks, the coaching staff has no concept of how to use the little offensive talent it has, Trubisky hasn't shown much, etc. Rebuilds are supposed to build some hope -- the 49ers have some now that they have seen Garappolo play. Getting dominated by a 1-10 team at home? Getting only 8 first downs? Yeeesh.

I have an advantage here, in terms of optimism, because I don't get the games where I live. But I assume Trubisky has the QB toolset that I see on the highlights, a set of tools that I have never seen in a Bear quarterback with the lone exception of McMahon, who was, tools aside, a malingerer and a punk. Given that Trubisky has zero receivers, they're probably just trying to get him to the offseason in one piece. That should be their priority, and that seems to be what they're doing--why they keep calling running plays. When he's finally given a couple of receivers, he'll get the ball to them. It takes a while to assemble a team with a couple dozen good players, but Pace has had a couple of pretty good drafts now. The Cubs spent three seasons under Theo losing as many games as possible. That was well done, actually. Not that the Bears have a Theo, but they don't have a Tom Ricketts, either.

My take on Trubisky is that he has some skills but, like many rookies, the game seems too "fast" for him right now -- NFL defenders are freakishly fast and athletic, D coordinators disguise coverages and blitz freakishly big and fast linebackers at you, and your reads and throws need to be quick and decisive. This is what I saw in Garappolo, who has practiced with and learned from the best for several years. A lot of rookie QBs struggle their first year, then adjust when they have time to prepare for the speed of the NFL game. Way back in the day, I was friends with the QB for Dartmouth, who then played several seasons in the NFL. I saw him at a wedding, and asked him what was the biggest difference he noticed playing in the NFL. "In college, I would drop back and look to my left. If that guy was covered, I would look to my right. I would then take another look to the left before deciding where to throw. In the NFL, I drop back and look to my left. By the time I look to my right, the receiver is so far downfield I can't throw it that far, so I dump the ball off to the running back." Sorry for all the football stuff -- I am in desperate need of baseball news!

George Halas must be rolling in his grave. Just a freakin sad performance. I am starting to question the pick of Trubisky. Happy for Robbie Gould.

My son just texted me a great stat: it's December 3rd, and both the Bears and the Bulls have 3 wins.

The Stanton and Ohtani dramas are starting to give off that "Jason Schmidt 3/44" vibe. Meanwhile, no chatter at all on Darvish and Arrieta, that's probably a good thing for the Cubs? Because I'm not sold at all on Cobb. Also, speaking as Yoda I am today, why, the Bears and bourbon it could be.

as much as i wish the cubs were involved in either, i get the feeling they won't be seriously involved in ohtani and probably not at all involved with stanton. it's nice to feel like the cubs will do well without the addition of either, though.

It appears the Cubs may be one of the finalists for Ohtani. Various reports today say the finalists will be the Cubs, Giants, Padres, Mariners, Angels, and Rangers. It's a somewhat odd list of teams. It's hard to say why those five were selected. But what I do know is that, from that list, the Cubs alone can point to the most sustained success over the last 3 years. The rest of the teams carry inconsistent or bad performance over those years. (Not sure if the Dodgers are definitely in or out).

+dodgers in the mix according to jim bowden

I am not getting my hopes up too high, but it sure would make for a fun winter thinking about how he would be used.

What's the fun of not getting your hopes up? I'm hoping to find Ohtani and Darvish under the Cubs' tree for a top 5 of Darvish, Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, Ohtani. Monty gets to be the swing man again and the Cubs try to figure out another 2 arms for the bullpen while pretty much standing pat elsewhere and being perfectly fine with that.

None of those other teams on his list can show Ohtani a history of using a 6-man rotation, the use of swapping pitchers between LF and the mound, and leaving a relief pitcher in the game to bat during a tight playoff game (and being rewarded with a HR). So Joe Maddon really gives the Cubs an upper hand in not just blowing smoke and talking the talk, but they've already walked the walk, so to speak. And then there's that 3 straight trips to the league championship series and 1 World Series title to go along with it, and that young core that he'd get to play with for up to 6 years... I think we have a better shot than any other team remaining, but I'm still not gonna get my hopes up.

Does Cubdom know how unbelievably lucky we were to get TheoJed? He wins two titles in Boston, his hometown and dream job. But, he burns out there. Any team in baseball would have hired him. And, he picks the Cubs. A team with a worse history than the Red Sox. That just doesn't happen. The Bears and Bulls just won't be that lucky. It took pure luck to get the guy needed to fix the Cubs. Luck won't hit Chitown again for the Bears and Bulls. Ownership and Management matter. The Cubs were truly fortunate.

Don’t follow the NFL so I can’t comment on the Bears, but ownership played a big role too. Cubs have owners who care. Blackhawks owner wants to win. Bulls owner wants money and to funnel some of those profits to the White Sox. Seriously, Reinsdorf as Bulls owner is about as bad as you can get across all sports. Cubs from ownership to front office to on field staff to minor league staff is a class organization from top to bottom. Bulls have a staff of like 10 people, none of whom are held accountable for anything. And their coaching staff is a joke.

Agreed. Theo only took job knowing the Ricketts and how they would give him the green light and the check book to redo everything with the infrastructure of the org. McCaskey's are cheap.

Regardless of Darvish, I don’t think I have seen anyone mention the involvement Theo/Jed had in bringing Dice-K to Boston which helped them win.

Most boring offseason evah. #hottake

Arizona Phil (AZP): You have been around the coaches and scouts since before Whitey Lockman was the Cubs manager. What is your opinion of the Cubs current guys who are evaluating the pitching talent? Specifically, on a team that is starved for MLB arms, they couldn't recognize Zach Godfrey's strengths, and Chris Rusin - who soiled himself as a starter for the Cubs, was "re-born" as an effective reliever in Denver of all places. Let's not even go to the place where Jim Hendry's team chose to hang on to Trey McNutt over Chris Archer (oh wait, I just did). Who makes these calls? And, now with the current changes in the FO, who makes them, and what is their eval process?

AZ Phil goes back to Cubs pitching coaches Freddie Martin and Joe Becker and probably a few earlier ones. Whitey Lockman was manager in the early 70’s post Durocher and before that was the College of Coaches carousel.

You realize the Cubs got value for Godley, right? Just because the FO trades a player doesn’t mean they didn’t identify his strengths or realize his potential. They drafted him after all! As for Rusin, I’m not sure why people are all of a sudden worked up by the fact that he turned himself into a credible lefty reliever. Not that he wouldn’t be useful, but it’s not like the Cubs couldn’t get Brian Duensing to fill that role last year for really cheap. It happens. Teams have different evaluations of guys, and sometimes different teams have a willingness to give different guys a shot when other teams don’t see it. The Cubs got value out of Luis Valbuena and Chris Coghlan as minor league FAs nobody else wanted. They identified Kyle Hendricks as a pitcher to obtain when nobody had him on their radar. They got Victor Caratini for James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio! Brian Duensing was a thing last year. And that’s without even mentioning the big franchise altering trades for Rizzo, Arrieta, Strop, Fowler.

Yes, "it happens", and what you say is reasonable. The team did get Montero for Godley. But you mention mostly position players. In making comparisons, I have no idea who these coaches/scouts are that miss badly and allow Chris Archer to get traded instead of Trey McNutt - not developing Rusin to his strengths - and why the Dodgers are always able to develop arm, after arm, after arm, while the Cubs have been lacking for the most part, since the Wood/Prior years (Kyle Hendricks aside). I am referring specifically to internal draftees (Hayden Simpson), however Dylan Cease is one out of 20 guys - surrounded by guys like Carson Sands, Justin Steele, Jimmy Norwood, Tommy Thorpe, Ryan Williams, David Berg, Preston Morrison, Ryan Kellogg, Tyler Peitzmeier... Take a look at the prospect rankings and see how many of these guys are in them.

I’d say one of the big strengths of the current FO has been in identifying pitching at the major league level. They’ve gotten good return on investment in the likes of Travis Wood, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm, Trevor Cahill, Jason Hammell. Also recall that it was after Theo took over that Jeff Samardzija was moved back to the rotation and really took off as a starter. Then you have guys like Duensing, even Clayton Richard was useful for a little while. Again, not mentioning Arrieta. Certainly have had their share of misses as well (Jackson, Brett Anderson, Adam Warren, maybe Justin Wilson). So much of the failure of the minor league system to produce starting pitching is a combination of 1) not targeting pitching early in the draft, and 2) it just being really hard to develop pitching in general. It’s not a uniquely Cubs problem. Everyone is looking for legitimate starting pitching and it is just hard to ever find enough of it. The Cubs seem better at identifying it once it has sort of established itself in the majors, and to an extent they seem to have purposefully made a choice to draft hitters and pay for established pitchers. But you also have had now the last 2 drafts which were more pitcher heavy, and we’ll see if that starts to produce a few more arms who can reach the majors. As it is, you’ve got a few who could be breaking through this year (Tseng, Alzolay, possibly someone like Hatch could move faster this season). I think though when you look at some of the names you mentioned, Williams got injured, Sands had been pitching injured and finally had surgery, Steele had a breakout but is now injured. That’s a big factor with pitchers in general and one of the reasons the Cubs have made more of their draft investments in hitters.

E-MAN: When the current Cubs regime took over post-2011, the Cubs hired long-time Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson to be their new Minor League Pitching Coordinator. Johnson was something of a pitching "guru," having developed his own unique pitching philosophy/ideology. He wrote at least one book (maybe more) on the subject of pitching, but it was a sort of "my way or the highway" type of approach. 

So each pitcher in the system had his own unique "Player Development Plan" detailing his goals and objectives and how to get there. Minor league pitching coaches were no longer allowed to veer off the reservation and go rogue and impart their own personal ideas, as had often been the case previously. 

Back in the day it wasn't unusual for a pitcher to receive conflicting information and instruction from different pitching coaches as the pitcher progressed up the ladder through the system or as pitching coaches received new assignments within the organization. It also wasn't unusual for pitchers who had been very successful in college or high school to be told to change what it was that got them to pro ball and try something else, sometimes for no apparent reason
. .
For example, Cubs 1997 1st round draft pick RHP Jon Garland was completely messed up by the Cubs within a year after he signed. Even though he was successful in his pro debut in the Summer of '97, the Cubs changed his arm slot and release point at Instructs post-1997 (with terrible results). He was traded to the White Sox for RHRP Matt Karchner in 1998, and the Sox immediately showed him video they had recorded of him when he was in high schoo (the White Sox had hoped to draft Garland with their 1st round pick, but the Cubs picked ahead of them), and told him to forget everything the Cubs had told him to do and go back to pitching the way he had pitched in HS. Within two years he was in the White Sox MLB starting rotation and he had a successful MLB career. There are other examples I know about that did not end happliy-ever-after for the pitcher (including other Cubs high draft picks), but I'm not going to go into them here. 

So the hiring of Derek Johnson and the implementation of a Player Development Plan for each pitcher was supposed to avoid the missteps and bad decisions of years past. 

The problem is that despite the change in philosophy and new instruction methods (to more of a college-type approach), the Cubs saw a couple or three of their pitching prospects either stall or flame-out in their system and then develop into effective big league pitchers in another organzation. It was especially troubling with regard to RHRP Tony Zych (who had been the 4th round draft pick of the Cubs in 2011),.because within a few months after he was traded to Seattle (in lieu of being released), he was in the Mariners MLB bullpen.  

So after the 2015 season, Derek Johnson was hired by the Milwaukee Brewers as their new MLB Pitching Coach, and the Cubs hired Kansas City Royals AA Northwest  Arkansas Pitching Coach Jim Brower to be their new Minor League Pitching Coordinator (BTW, Brower's influence in the Cubs organization in 2016-17 was one of the factors that led to the Cubs acquiring ex-KC pitchers Mike Montgomery and Alec Mills in trades), and Seattle Mariners Minor League Pitching Coordinator Terry Clark (who was credited with "fixing" Tony Zych) to be the new Pitching Coach at AA Tennessee.

The idea with assigning Clark to Tennessee is that AA is considered the make-or-break spot for legit pitching prospects (that's where the Cubs "lost" Zych), and so you want your best teacher at AA, in part to teach advanced pitching methods but also to fix problems and save the pitcher before things sprial out of copntrol..What happens before AA is important but it's just part of the process and AAA is a "finishing school," but AA is where the rubber meets te road, because (barring injury) talented pitchers almost always get to AA without a lot of difficuity.  

What will be the ultimate result of the change from The Derek Johnson Method to Brower/Clark has not yet been determined, but hopefully it will result in more "home grown" pitching talent reaching Wrigley Field and helping the Cubs. 

great read. thanks.

Thank you for the insight.

Speaking of the rubber meeting the road in AA, do you have any insights into Trevor Clifton second half collapse? John Sickels mentioned that reports he got indicated Clifton was still throwing 93-95 with a plus curve as of late May. Seems hard to imagine there wasn’t some injury or fatigue factor at play there.

BRADSBEARD: I don't know what happened to Clifton, but I haven't heard anything about an injury. He was doing fine for his first 60 innings (up until mid-June) and then he just seemed to hit a wall. 

I do know he left the Smokies in August and did not return, so he may have been dealing with some off-the-field issue.

Any word on a Brower replacement yet? He seems a huge loss.

Awesome PHIL. Zych certainly has turned into a productive guy for the Fishermen. Lots of ground balls, a low WHIP, and scant HR's off of him (man, the Cubs could have enjoyed that).

TIM: No word yet on who the new Minor League Pitching Coordinator will be, but the Cubs will probably announce their 2018 minor league staff sometime within the next ten days.

I don't know who the Cubs might be looking at outside the organization, but if they go in-house the three most likely candidates would be AA Tennessee Pitching Coach Terry Clark (who was the Seattle Mariners Minor League Pitching Coordinator prior to joining the Cubs), Mesa Rehab Pitching Coordinator Ron Villone, and Assistant Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mike Mason.

Clark was hired by the Cubs specifically to be the AA Tennessee pitching coach because the AA pitching coach job is so critical, so I don't know if the Cubs would want to move him to the coordinator slot.

Villone took over the Mesa Rehab Pitching Coordinator gig in 2016 after Rick Tronerud retired and has done a very good job there, but as with Clark, the Rehab Pitching Coordinator is a critical rate and the Cubs might not want to move him to another slot right now.

Mason is a very good pitching coach (he was the pitching coach on the Angels/Cubs Advanced Instructs co-op team post-2015 and post-2016) and while he could get promoted to Minor League Pitching Coordinator, he also might be the guy to replace Clark at AA Tennessee or Villone at Mesa Rehab if either of them become the new Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator.

Maitan to Anaheim. Del Rosario to KC. Both with 2018-9 funds.

"not targeting pitching early in the draft" That argument could be circular. Maybe they don't target pitchers early because McLeod can't identify the ones who deserve to go early. Don't get me wrong, I love his top-10 first-round picks. But the recent Cub record with pitchers is abysmal. Even Godley--whom they did draft, after all--was a reliever in the Cub minors. Relievers in the low minors are roster fodder. They've been written off. I love the Cub FO's boldness. It takes real guts to trade Gleyber Torres for half a season of Chapman. That gamble paid off. Then, on the other hand, we have six more seasons of Jason Heyward. It looks like it's always going to be a high-wire act. Sometimes the net catches you, sometimes not. But they do go all in, bless their hearts, like they're doing right now with Ohtani.

Abysmal? The problem with that is I don't think any of us have a baseline as far as what is "C- pitching development" or "B+ development". For instance, the Braves are rather good at getting a drafted pitcher to MLB. And then hurt.. That is largely what they draft. To what extent should Josh Conway/Trey Lang/Tyler Skulina have reached MLB? Nobody has any idea what a "reasonable expectation" should be, since that's never how the question is asked. Though it probably should be. Alex Lange, Adbert Alzolay, and Tom Hatch will go a way oward allowing or denying the Cubs to draft hitters early in June. If the prospect arms do well, the Cubs can resume drafting hitters.

You touched on something that is certainly the "X Factor": injuries. There still is scant definitive research of injury to pitching arms other than "become an outfielder instead". Rest-no rest? 5-man, 4-man, 6-man? Pitch a lot of innings, or only a few? Warm up and sit-down? Warm up too much? Surgery or rehab? Surgery AND rehab. And of course... Towel drills or no towel drills?

Correct me if I am not remembering accurately, but weren't some of those picks such as Sands or Steele available in lower rounds somewhat due to injury concerns? Shouldn't be that surprised that an injury risk gets injured.

I just don’t agree that the draft history has been abysmal 2012: Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn have both pitched in the majors. Blackburn looks like a capable back end starter. Johnson still has a chance to be a competent reliever. Could argue they should have picked another pitcher instead of Almora, but there’s reason to still be happy with that pick. 2013: Zastryzny and Godley have pitched in the majors. Again, Z might be a back end starter, looks like a reliever but as Chris Russin illustrates, he’ll get chances to hang around in that role just by being LH. Godley maybe only earns the Cubs partial credit, but he’s a quality major league starter nonetheless. Jury is still out on HS draftee Trevor Clifton, and you really have to remember that it’s still too early to judge the HS pitchers drafted after 2012. If Clifton had gone to college he would have been in the 2016 class and probably pitched his first full year in pro ball last year. Can’t complain about the hitter taken in round 1 that year. 2014: This is a mix of still to early to judge, and got hit by injuries. Stinnett missed a lot of time last year but at least looks like he can be a MLB reliever. Sands and Steele are also being set back by injuries but as HS arms you wouldn’t expect them to be MLB ready yet anyway. Ryan Williams looked like he would make it before the shoulder injuries. Cease is coming along slowly but still on track to be an impact pitcher in the majors and has been cashed in for a TOR pitcher. Again, not many people would complain about choosing a bat in round 1 there. 2015: not even worth discussing yet, really. Bryan Hudson was the top arm taken by the Cubs in the 3rd round. HS guy, has shown some flashes, but is a work in progress. Still just 20. No one else from this draft seems special, but Hudson and Kellogg were only pitchers taken in first 5 rounds. Maybe there were some guys the Cubs overlooked in this draft? Not going to look too hard into it. Very happy with Happ in round 1. 2016 and 2017 feature the most pitcher heavy drafts. Obviously too soon to judge these drafts. Hatch turned in a very strong first full season, could be MLB ready soon. A few interesting guys like Bailey Clark, Michael Rucker, Duncan Robinson, Dakota Mekkes to still keep an eye on. From 2017, we’ll see what Lange and Little do, along with Cory Abbott, Keegan Thompson, Jeremy Estrada, Ricky Tyler Thomas. If I told you the Cubs would hit on one MLB bat and find an MLB back end starter and a MLB reliever in any given draft, that’s a pretty good outcome and a workable organizational strategy if you think you can find pitching in FA (not to mention IFA where the Cubs top 3 pitching prospects and Tseng were found).

"Johnson still has a chance to be a competent reliever." I still have a chance to break 85 this year if I don't 3-putt at all. Maybe. Johnson has been nothing but unfulfilled promises. So he has a "chance" like any other draft pick. I just don't agree with that. As was said, many of the picks were taken in later rounds due to the arm risks and in quite a few of those - the risks manifested in injuries. Look - Jed Hoyer, while not using the word "abysmal" admitted they themselves have not done a good job of drafting/developing pitchers. Take that year-by-year list you have posted and compare this to the Dodgers, Astros or Cardinals. Then you'll have a peer to compare to.

Not sure Astros with their 1:1 selections of Appel and Aiken are shining beacons of drafting and developing pitching recently.

Yeah, the Astros hit on McCullers in the comp round in 2012 (would probably trade Almora for him if offered though you have some injury questions there). That’s basically it from 2012-2015, with the notable first round flops of Appel and Aiken. Daniel Mengden is an up and down starter for the A’s. Not familiar enough with their system to be able to eyeball any guys who are still prospects with promise, but again, there is no overwhelming advantage to the Astros.

To be fair, they also hit on Keuchel (2009, 7th rd). That is the late round win Cubs are currently missing.

I’ll start with the Dodgers: 2012: Paco Rodriguez (MLB RP but out of majors since 2015, Ross Stripling (MLB RP/swing man), Jharel Cotton (MLB SP with some upside but middling results so far) 2013: Top 2 picks were pitchers Chris Anderson and Tom Windle. Anderson was pick #18, has 6.1 IP above AA, hasn’t reached the majors. Windle spent his third straight season in AA last year, hasn’t pitched above it. Don’t see anyone else from this draft who is in the majors or still a significant pitching prospect. 2014: Grant Holmes was the 22nd overall pick. HS arm, reached AA last year. Appears to still be a prospect but doesn’t have great numbers. Took John Richy (5.2 IP above AA, released by Phillies in July) in 3rd round, Jeff Brigham (almost 26, has not pitched above A+) in 4th round. 2015: Walker Buehler was pick 24, reached majors last year as an RP but is still a significant SP prospect. Cubs could have had him instead of Happ, but Happ helped them more last year than Buehler would have and not sure you’d trade Happ for Buehler now, would you? Took Kyle Funkhouser in second round but didn’t sign him. Not gonna dig too much further into later round picks, but I wouldn’t say the Dodgers are whipping the Cubs here. In fact I’d say the Cubs have done as well or better.

Cardinals have a win in Wacha in 2012, but Marco Gonzalez at pick 19 in 2013 shows you the risk with drafting pitchers in the first round. May still be something, but injuries have held him back quite a bit. They did well with Luke Weaver and Jack Flahery in 2014. Don’t see any other sure fire prospects in their system from those drafts, but they have guys who are like a lot of the Cubs’ arms. Will note they have that extra competitive balance draft pick every year to play with and pad their pool. I think if you wanted to criticize the Cubs for not drafting a pitcher in the first round in 2012 you wouldn’t be wrong. But I certainly wouldn’t complain about their other first round selections too strenuously.

BA Top 100 4. Alex Reyes rhp, Cardinals 15. Francis Martes rhp, Astros 26. Yadier Alvarez rhp, Dodgers 50. Luke Weaver rhp, Cardinals 51. David Paulino rhp, Astros 54. Franklin Perez rhp, Astros The Cubs got in this mid-season list with Cease at like, 97. The Dodgers, are not in that much of a hurry to get their kids to the majors when they have bona fide former starters in their bullpen. Cigrani, Morrow, Kaeda, etc. They always have pitching and Rick Honeycutt is a highly-desired guru. And, did you forget Julio César Urías Acosta - signed at 16 years old? And Trevor Oaks?

These are different peramiters. We’re talking about the draft aren’t we? All those guys are IFA signings except for Weaver. The Cubs will have at least one top 100 guy in Alzolay most likely on upcoming lists, and there is a good chance that either Albertos and/or de la Cruz could be on those lists with a full healthy season. Jen-Ho Tseng has positioned himself to be a back end starter in the majors. The Cubs have done fairly well internationally, but those guys take even more time than HS draftees usually.

Cashner for Rizzo. Who ya got?

Yeah, but who do they have now that would bring back Rizzo? And I mean that Rizzo, not the latest one.

The Cardinals and (especially) Dodgers are in the sweet spot regarding the draft. "Take the best available in every round, regardless the position or HS/college". That is where the Cubs want to get, but they can't yet. Because their pitching isn't good enough yet. Because of that, they overdraft pitchers, who are worse choices in general, and moreso under the Cubs, who haven't figured out to get pitchers from the draft board to Wrigley's mound yet. The Cubs have been less successful at drafting pitchers than the best teams. Agreed. However, to give a letter grade, or even close, are they better than the Phillies? Or the Diamondback? Or the Reds? Or the Mariners? Nobody knows. Because there's "Brilliant" and "Abysmal". If Lange and Alzolay are good through mid-May, the Cubs can greenlight drafting hitters again, methinks.

I guess my frame of reference would be the guys who preceded McLeod: Hendry and Wilken. Here's a list of pitchers they drafted and how many ML games they have appeared in. Prior (106), Nolasco (330), Mitre (143), Hill (246), Marshall (396), Blevins (500), Samardzija (318), Parker (162), Russell (394), Cashner (230), Coleman (58), Beliveau (77), Rusin (137), Zych (70), Maples (6). If I'm not mistaken, in 2005, the year before he moved to the Cubs, Wilken drafted Hellickson for Tampa Bay--so that's another 200 starts. I realize that it's fairly early days for the Cubs' current FO in terms of pitcher development, but someone's stocking the league with pitchers, and it sure ain't them. Have you considered the possibility that they don't have a clue, and that's why they prefer pitchers like Lester who have figured it out for themselves already? Pitching-wise, the Cub way is the Yankee way. Nobody ever said the Yankees were brilliant, just rich and daring.

Prior was a very early choice. The Cubs tend to draft hitters first. If the Cubs don't have a few pitchers in MLB in a few years far better than Casey Coleman or Sergio Mitre, you probably have a valid point.

A team trying to win should not worry about how many Colemans, Mitres, and Russells their system produces. A few Nolascos, Hills, and Marshalls would be nice, of course.

From what AZP says, Albertos has some plus stuff. I have seen Tseng pitch at Kane County - with Schwarbs, in fact. It does look like he has some promising abilities and is progressing through the system according to plan.

It could be a very big HOF class next year. With 25 public ballots known, Thome, Chipper, and Vlad (3 first-timers) all look like they're going in. You also have 5 returning guys (Bonds, Clemens, Hoffman, Edgar, and Mussina) right in the range between 69 and 80 percent where a guy either gets elected or looks inevitable for the future.

Chatwood, 3/40 should have just given him an extra $4m.

Chatwood splits: - 2017 Home: 6.01 ERA, 1.68 WHIP - 2017 Road: 3.49 ERA, 1.23 WHIP - 2016 Home: 6.12 ERA, 1.64 WHIP - 2016 Road: 1.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP Just don't let him pitch at Coors.

Don't let him pitch against the Cardinals either, as his career against them has been abysmal... small sample size and all.

I was gonna say, that is a Jason Schmidt deal if I've ever seen one. Sure hope the results are better.

i just noticed you posted this, newport. good to hear from you. been wondering if you were still around lurking or lingering somewhere in the background.

2016 did weird things to my Cubs life. The team was so good, I had nothing to internet complain about. Add in Cubs oversaturation from like every media source and I changed the way I Cubs fan. I don't think I missed a single comment on TCR from the winter of Furcal until early 2016, then I just stopped. I lurked a little and popped into parrot chat a couple times in the playoffs....I was just happy to see you guys are still around.

Yay, the Cubs made a move! Looks like another Feldman or Hammel "we can make him better" case to me, fine with that for a #5 starter. He'll (likely) be better than Lackey at more than $3MM/year lower price. Sounds good enough. Now, Ohtani please.

I think we just stuck our hands on a hot stove.

Age 28 season coming up, these should be his peak years. Nice back of the rotation arm who has pitched like a middle of rotation guy away from Coors field. I'm a fan of making this a C+C Music Factory offseason with Chatwood and Cobb. Not expecting to end up with Ohtani but if so would that all but pack Schwarber's bags. Don't really need two "DH and maybe they can play outfield" type of players.

I like signings like this one and other starting pitchers without long contract commitments, like Lackey and Hamel, etc. Even if they pick up somebody who pushes him out of the rotation, he should be a decent bullpen arm and he has some experience there.

Love the C+C Music Factory ref. Let's hope they are not one-hit wonders like the band.

Hey, 1 hitters and pitchers aren't a bad thing.

at this point, if ohtani didn't end up with the rangers i'd be shocked. highly coveted, long term interest, and prepared to pounce on him is an understatement. the mariners and angels are also chasing him hard and assembling the the loot to get it done. Here is the reason they liked him. 4-1 Rockies win last year. 6 strong innings at Wrigley by TC

Just hope Chatty's transition from Denver to Chicago is better than Jay Cutler's. Or John Fox's. Or Ian Stewart's. I have to stop now.

i'd like to see him throw 200ip without walking 100 guys while doing it. he's like a poor man's robbie ray looking in from the outside.

Hehe....Stanton only wants to play for one of this year's final four: LAD, NYY, HOU and..........the Cubs. Bernie Micklasz hardest hit.

MLB TV network is reporting that Ohtani will sign with the Angels.

rangers (who scouted him in highschool and have been "saving" their international pool loot to blow on him) must be pissed. i'm happy he's finally gonna be in the MLB. i hope he gets to pitch and hit. also, TEX + SEA now have a lot of international loot to spend.

At least he's in the AL, so no collateral damage to the Cubs competitiveness. Frankly, I was worried he might sign with the Dodgers.

Agreed. Also, good for Mike Trout.

Recent comments

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  • azbobbop 1 hour 7 min ago (view)

    Phil, saw Ethan Hearn with a couple of hits today. How has he been trending?


  • tim815 16 hours 59 min ago (view)

    That Kevin Made is already representing offensively seems, on the 1 to 10 scale with 10 being fantastic news, in the 17 or 18 range.

    Nwogu in the 9 to 11 span.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    For those of you wondering about catcher Ronnier Quintero (the Cubs #1 IFA signing in the 2019-20 ISP), he participates fully in pre-game and Camp Day work-outs and he catches bullpens, and while he has been the bullpen catcher at every AZIL game he has not yet played in a game.

    As a catcher he has a lot to learn, and the Cubs would prefer that Quintero mainly concentrates on receiving and learning how to work with pitchers right now. He can learn about hitting and baserunning later. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    In adition to the 22 pitchers originally on the Cubs AZIL Active List roster plus RHP Manuel Rodriguez (right biceps strain last March) and LHP Brad Wieck (wearing a brace on his left knee) who are on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and are rehabbing at AZIL, the Cubs have added four additional pitchers to their AZIL Active List roster:  

    RHP Josh Burgmann 
    RHP Chris Clarke 
    LHP D. J. Herz
    RHP Michael McAvene 


  • Charlie 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    This is weird. He seemed well liked and shifting him to another role would've made just as much sense.


  • bradsbeard 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    I'd say the only guys who struggled all season were Baez and Bryant. Willson struggled for a lot of August but was one of the few who hit in September. Most of the team hit well in 2019 (including Baez and Bryant before injuries derailed them). I don't know if there's any reason to blame Ipoce in particular for the September slump. 


  • crunch 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    iapoce expected to stay.  i'm surprised.  i know it's a weird/short season, but it was a season-long slump for a lot of guys and answers weren't showing up.


  • crunch 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    i eagerly await the espn 10 part mini-series "Rafael Palmeiro, More Like Rafael Baseballmerio" covering those 28 legendary games.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    In fairness those 28 games he played at 1B were breathtaking that year


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Cubs fire asst. hitting coach Terrmel Sledge. I knew it was his fault!


  • crunch 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    shout out to 1999 1st base gold glove winner rafael palmeiro.  25 starts (28 games total) at 1st...128 starts at DH.


  • Charlie 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.


  • crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists


  • bradsbeard 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure. 


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 11 hours ago (view)

    There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games. 


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 12 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.

    He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls.