Cubs Re-Sign Davis

3/2 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed 28-year old RHSP to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. Whether he will receive an NRI to Spring Training at this late date is TBD.

Webster was the 2008 18th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Dalton L. McMichael HS in Mayodan, NC, and was at one time rated by Baseball America as one of the Dodgers Top Ten prospects (2009-12) and one of the Top 100 Prospects in baseball 2013-14. He also was rated as having one of the best change-ups and one of the best sliders in the minors at that time. But he was unable to establish himself in MLB 2013-15 after being traded to the Boston Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez deal in 2012 and then with the Arizona Diamondbacks after being traded to the D'backs as part of a trade for Wade Miley in December 2014, and he was released post-2015 to pursue an opportunity to continue his career in South Korea.

Webster pitched for the Samsung Lions in the KBO in 2016, before returning to the U. S. and signing a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers a year ago last November. He spent the 2017 season at AAA Round Rock, where he struggled to a 6.79 ERA - 1.66 WHIP - .329 OppBA with 14 HR allowed and 20/44 BB/K in 58.1 IP (12 G - 11 GS).

Webster is out of minor league options should he be added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) at some point in 2018, but he does not have Article XX-D status and so he would not have the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then subsequently is outrighted back to the minors.

Meanwhile he will be competing for a spot on the Iowa Cubs pitching staff, probably in a RP/SP "swingman" role.    

2/26 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed 28-year old LHP to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. Whether he will get an NRI to Spring Training or just report to Minor League Camp is still TBD. 

Hultzen was the 2011 1st round draft pick (2nd overall pick in the draft) of the Seattle Mariners out of the U. of Virginia. He signed right at the August 15th deadline (the signing deadline was moved up a month beginning with the 2012 draft) and received a five-year major league contract worth $8.5M that included a $6.35M signing bonus (beginning in 2012, players selected in the MLB Rule 4 Draft could not be signed to a major league contract). 

At the time he was drafted, Hultzen featured a 91-93 MPH fastball that touched 96, a plus-CH, a solid-SL, and excellent control. He was also an excellent hitter at UVA, serving as a DH on days he wasn't pitching. In his college career, Hultzen hit 314/400/431 with four HR & 83 RBI, 28 doubles, and 18 SB in 124 games (465 PA).   

Because Hultzen was Signed for Future Service (he signed a 2012 contract), he made his pro debut with the Peoria Javelinas in the post-season Arizona Fall League (AFL) and was one of the best pitchers in the AFL that year (he was rated the #3 prospect in the AFL by Baseball America), leading some observers to predict that he would begin the 2012 season in the Mariners' MLB starting rotation. 

Hultzen had a good Spring Training with the M's in 2012, but was optioned to AA Jackson. He dominated the Southern League (1.19 ERA - 0.93 WHIP - .151 OppBA in 13 GS and 75.1 IP) and was promoted to AAA Tacoma (PCL) in June, where for the first time in his life, he struggled and appeared to lose confidence in his stuff (5.92 ERA - 1.89 WHIP, with 43 walks in just 48.2 IP). At this point he reportedly tinkered with his mechanics and ended up tearing the labrum in his left shoulder in the process. He underwent shoulder surgery to repair the tear in 2013, but the surgery was not particularly successful, so he underwent shoulder surgery again three years later before retiring from baseball and returning to UVA to finish his degree.  

No question Hultzen was at one time one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but he has thrown only 45.2 innings since 2012. Cubs AA Tennessee pitching coach Terry Clark was the Mariners Minor League Pitching Coordinator back when Hultzen was in the Seattle organization, so Clark may have had some influence in Hultzen's decision to return to baseball and/or to sign with the Cubs.  

Hultzen is out of minor league options should he be added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) at some point in 2018. However, he does not have Article XX-D status and so he would not have the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then subsequently is outrighted back to the minors.


2/16 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed RHRP  to a major league contract (- NOT - a minor league contract as was first reported two days ago -- see 2/14 UPDATE below) and it has been filed with the MLB office. It's possible that he received a major league contract rather than a minor league deal so that a performance bonus could be included -- TBD. (Performance bonuses are not permitted in minor league contracts).

Simmons will reportedly be paid a $750K base salary if he is on the MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB DL and a $120K minor league "split" salary if he is on optional assignment to the minors or if he is sent outright to the minors.

So Simmons has been added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), and LHSP (July 2017 TJS) has been placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL to make room for Simmons on the 40.   

Simmons has used only one minor league option through the 2017 season so he can be optioned to the minors in 2018 without restriction. He will even be eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2020 should that become an issue down the road. However, Simmons is an Article XX-D player and so he has the right to elect free-agency if he were to be sent outright to the minors. He could elect free-agency immediately upon being outrighted, or he could accept the outright assignment and defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (presuming he isn't added back to the MLB 40-man roster in the meantime).  


2/14 UPDATE


The Cubs have reportedly signed 27-year old RHRP to a 2018 minor league contract (pending a physical). He will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training and then compete for the closer job at Iowa.  

Simmons was selected by the Atlanta Braves out of Southeast Missouri State in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft. He was rated a Braves Top 15 prospect by Baseball America in 2014, as he rocketed through the Atlanta system to MLB in less than two years (he went directly from AA to MLB). He was an outstanding minor league closer, racking up 38 saves over the course of 1-1/2 seasons 2013-14 (including 149 K in just 102 IP). He missed part of the 2014 season with shoulder and elbow problems and then missed the entire next season after undergoing elbow UCL reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery) in February 2015. He featured a 95-97 MPH FB (T-100), a hard slider, and slow curve pre-TJS, but it has been a slow boat to recovery.  

The 5'11 170 Simmons was traded by the Braves to the Seattle Mariners just over a year ago, but he spent most of the 2017 season on the Mariners 60-day DL with a right forearm strain before finally returning to MLB action in September (7.04 ERA in nine games).   

Because he spent so much time on MLB Disabled Lists 2014-17, Simmons already has accrued 3+111 MLB Service Time and became eligible for salary arbitration post-2017. But the Mariners opted to non-tender him on 12/1, making him a free-agent. He is the second pitcher non-tendered by the Mariners post-2017 to sign with the Cubs (LHSP Drew Smyly is the other one, but Smyly signed a major league contract).  

Simmons has minor league options left should he be added to the Cubs 40-man roster at some point in the 2018 season, and he would have the right to elect free-agency if he were to be added to the 40 and then subsequently be sent outright to the minors. He also is eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 second-contract free-agent post-2018 if he is not added to an MLB 40-man roster in the meantime (just like Matt Carasiti was post-2017). 


2/1 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed veteran OF to a 2018 minor league contract. He has been assigned to AAA Iowa and will receive an NRI to Spring Training. 

As a post-2017 Article XX-B MLB free-agent, Bourjos will receive an automatic $100,000 retention bonus if he is not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB 40-man roster (or MLB 60-day DL) by 12 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day, and he can unilaterally "opt-out" of the minor league contract if he is not called-up from the minors by June 1st.

Other than several minor league rehab assignments (a fractured wrist & a hamstring strain in 2013, a shoulder strain in 2016, and right elbow inflammation in 2017), Bourjos has not spent any time in the minors since 2010, so it's unlikely he will be at Iowa on Opening Day. This type of contract is more like what used to be called a "make good" contract back in the day, where a veteran player signs a minor league contract and gets an NRI to Spring Training but it's understood he probably will get released or traded if he doesn't make the club's MLB Opening Day 25-man roster.

For example, Bourjos signed a minor league contract with the White Sox exactly one year ago today and got an NRI to Spring Training, and after it became clear that he wasn't going to make the Sox MLB Opening Day 25-man roster, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for a PTBNL (or cash) near the end of Spring Training, and then the Rays assumed the Article XX-B obligations and added him to their MLB 25-man roster on Opening Day. Something like that could happen again in 2018 if Bourjos doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster. 

A native of Park Ridge, IL, Bourjos is the son of ex-SF OF Chris Bourjos and was the 10th round draft pick of the Angels out of Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, AZ in 2005 (he was a teammate of ex-Cubs minor league catcher Michael Brenly at Notre Dame Prep). He is the third one-time Los Angeles Angels draft pick to sign with the Cubs in the last week (see 1/25 and 1/29 UPDATES below).

Bourjos was ranked as the Angels' #2 prospect and a Top 100 Prospect as well as one of the fastest baserunners and best defensive outfielders in the minors by Baseball America going into the 2010 season, but the 30-year old (soon to be 31) has never reached his post-2009 projections, spending the last eight seasons bouncing around MLB (LAA, STL, PHI, and TB) as a "4th OF" while hitting a combined 241/298/382 in 813 MLB games. He has lost a step over the years so he is no longer an elite runner, but he does have considerable big league experience and the versatility and athleticism to play all three OF slots. Whether there will be a spot for him in Wrigley Field in 2018 remains to be seen, but as of right now it doesn't appear like there will be unless something bad happens to Albert Almora Jr during Spring Training.

Bourjos is probably more Spring Training insurance than he is AAA depth at this point.  


1/29 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed 31-year old 1B-OF to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. While Navarro was signed after the Cubs released their Spring Training NRI list, he almost certainly will get an invite to big league camp.

The left-handed hitting & throwing Navarro is the second one-time Los Angeles Angels draft-pick to sign a 2018 minor league contract with the Cubs in the last week (see 1/25 UPDATE below). He was the 50th round draft pick of the Angels out of UNLV in 2007, and he spent nine seasons in the Angels organization. He got some big league time (120 games total) with the Halos in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015, before moving on, subsequently spending time in AAA with the Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals plus a short-stay with the Tijuana Toros (Mexican League) in 2016 before signing a minor league contract with Detroit in 2017 and resurfacing in MLB with the Tigers last September (23 games). 

A California native, Navarro is an outstanding defensive 1st baseman ("Gold Glove" caliber) and a passable corner outfielder. He has played over 800 games at the AAA level 2011-17, hitting a solid 276/370/395 for AAA Toledo in 2017 before getting a September call-up to Detroit. Navarro has hit 243/306/334 in 153 MLB games (349 PA) in his career (1+103 MLB Service Time), with three HR and 16 doubles. He is the personification of a "4-A" player. 

While Navarro will ostensibly replace as the primary 1st baseman at AAA Iowa in 2018, there is no guarantee that he will be in the Iowa Opening Day lineup or that he will even be on the I-Cubs Opening Day roster. The Cubs might prefer to alternate Victor Caratini and Taylor Davis at 1st base on days they are not catching, plus Bijan Rademacher, Jason Vosler, and Ryan Court will probably need to get some reps at 1st base as well. 

One thing Navarro will do for sure is provide an illusion of competition for Anthony Rizzo at Cubs Spring Training. All players need to visualize a competitor (even if the competitor has absolutely no chance to actually win) to maintain drive and focus. Navarro will also be a late-inning "caddy" for Rizzo in Cactus League games.

And of course there is always a chance that Navarro has a really good year at AAA and then gets a call-up to MLB sometime late in the season (like maybe in September).    

If Navarro does get called-up to MLB in 2018, he does have one minor league option left (so he could easily and without restriction ride the "Des Moines - Chicago shuttle" if need be), and (because he has been outrighted previously in his career) he has the right to elect to be a free-agent if he were to be called-up to MLB and then subsequently be outrighted back to the minors. 


1/25 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed 27-year old LHP to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. The signing came a few hours after the Cubs released their Spring Training NRI list, so it's possible that Roth will get an NRI, too.

Roth was the 9th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels out of the U. of South Carolina in 2012, receiving a very much "underslot" $20,000 bonus as a 22-year old college senior after leading the Gamecocks to back-to-back College World Series Championships in 2010 (as a sophomore) and 2011 (as a junior).  

A polished "high floor/low ceiling" crafty lefty who features a mid-80's cutter, a plus-change, a slow curve, and a funky delivery with varying arm angles, Roth was rated the Angels #30 prospect by Baseball America after his 2012 pro debut. And he didn't need much time in the minors before making his MLB debut, either, reaching the big leagues a scant nine months after signing with the Halos. He has subsequently spent parts of three seasons in MLB (23 games - 36 IP - 0+099 MLB Service Time) with the Angels (2013-14) and the Texas Rangers (2016), working mostly out of the bullpen to an ugly 8.50 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, and .337 OppBA, while struggling (unsuccesfully, so far) to establish himself at the big league level. 

The 6'1 210 lefty "swingman" split the 2017 season between Sacramento (Giants AAA affiliate) and Durham (Rays AAA affiliate), going a combined 6-8 with a 4.84 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, a .301 OppBA, and 29/79 BB/K in 111.2 IP (25 games - 20 GS). His best year in the minors was at Round Rock (Rangers AAA affiliate) in 2015, when he posted an 11-5 record with an impressive 2.97 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .252 OppBA, and 42/94 BB/K in 145.1 IP (28 games - 23 GS).

Roth has spent considerable time in his six-year pro career on MLB 40-man rosters, and he is out of minor league options. He also has been outrighted previously in his career (three times to be exact), so he has the right to elect free-agency if he were to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster at some point in 2018 and then is subsequently sent outright to the minors. So he really isn't built for the "Des Moines - Chicago shuttle." Probably more like AAA depth with a possibility of a late-season call-up if he pitches "lights-out" at Iowa. 


1/22 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed veteran catcher to a 2018 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. He will almost certainly receive an NRI to Spring Training, and he also stands a good chance to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, since the Cubs would probably prefer that top catching prospect Victor Caratini gets more experience and more-regular playing time at AAA in 2018. 


The 35-year old Gimenez has spent all or parts of nine separate seasons as a back-up catcher in MLB (5+163 MLB Service Time), including three separate tours with the Cleveland Indians (he was a back-up catcher for the World Series-bound Tribe in 2016), plus one season with the Seattle Mariners, two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays (where he was one of Joe Maddon's back-up catchers), two seasons with the Texas Rangers (he was Yu Darvish's "personal" catcher in 2014), and finally last season with the Minnesota Twins.

The 6'2 230 backstop was the 19th round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2004 out of the University of Nevada, and he is a lifetime 218/309/345 hitter over the course of 361 MLB games (1,001 PA). He hit 220/350/382 with seven HR and nine doubles for the Twins in 74 games (225 PA) in 2017, maintaning his usual 27% CS % from behind the plate. However, he was third in the A. L. in passed balls.

In addition to being a catcher, Gimenez also plays 1B-3B-LF, so he can move around a bit more than your typical MLB catcher (Gimenez is somewhat like Willson Contreras in that respect).
  

1/17 UPDATE
:

The Cubs have signed 27-year old free-agent OF to a 2018 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. Whether he will receive an NRI to Spring Training is still TBD, although it's probably likely that he will.

Bernard is the second free-agent outfielder signed by the Cubs to a 2018 minor league contract in the last week (see 1/12 UPDATE below). 

Bernard was the 2012 35th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres as a senior out of Niagara University, the kind of guy clubs sign to provide depth at Extended Spring Training. He spent two very undistinguished seasons toiling with short-season affiliates in the Padres organization before being released.  

Not willing to give up his dream, Bernard signed a minor league contract with Detroit after  in Lakeland. FL (he was the only one of 120 players at the tryout to be offered a contract), and he proceeded to put up an all-star career-type year at Lo-A Western Michigan in 2014, raking to the tune of 323/394/442 with 30 doubles and 45 stolen bases and earning himself a promotion to the Tigers MLB 40-man roster. (Bernard was eligible to be a Rule 55 second-contract minor league free-agent post-2014 if he had not been added to the 40). 

The 6'2 speedy Southern Californian followed up his impressive 2014 season by skipping-over Hi-A and hitting 301/352/408 with 29 doubles and 43 stolen bases at AA Erie in 2015. He was ranked the Tigers #24 prospect by Baseball America going into the 2016 season, but he struggled at AAA Toledo and was demoted back to AA mid-season before being sent outright to the minors in June. Because he was a Rule 55 second-contract player, Bernard was declared a minor league free-agent after the 2016 season.

Bernard signed a 2017 minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants and spent this past season at AAA Sacramento, where he hit 254/303/347 in 82 PCL games as the River Cats 4th OF. He was once again declared a Rule 55 second-contract minor league free-agent this past November.

Bernard is a legit CF with plus-speed who can play all three outfield positions, and he will compete for the 4th OF gig at AAA Iowa in 2018. He has one minor league option left if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2018, and (because he has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career) he has the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then subsequently sent outright to the minors. 

It is not inconceivable that Bernard could get a September call-up and be used as a pinch-runner and a late-inning defensive replacement in the outfield.

The Cubs Mental Skills Department is going to LOVE this guy.


1/12 UPDATE:

The Cubs have re-signed 25-year old OF to a 2018 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. Whether he will receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club is TBD.

Martin was the Cubs 13th round draft pick in 2011 out of Brookwood HS in Snellville,GA, and after spending seven seasons in the Cubs system, he was declared a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA on November 6th.

Although Martin has been assigned to the Iowa reserve list and will be given a chance to win a job with the I-Cubs in Spring Training, he projects as the #1 CF at AA Tennessee in 2018 (he is blocked by Albert Almora Jr in Chicago and by Jacob Hannemann at Iowa).

Martin is probably the best defensive CF in the Cubs organization (MLB or minor league), but he has struggled at the plate throughout his career. However, he did show some signs odf life at AA Tennessee in 2017, and hopefully he can build on that going forward.



1/10 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed 25-year old free-agent LHSP to a 2018 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. Whether he will receive an NRI to Spring Training is still TBD, but most players signed as minor league free-agents do get an NRI as part of the deal. 

Camarena was a two-way player (LHP/OF) at Cathedral Catholic HS in San Diego and was the Yankees' 20th round draft pick in 2011, receiving a $335K over-slot signing bonus (equivalent to "3rd round money") to give up a chance to both pitch and play outfield at the University of San Diego (where he would have been a teammate of Kris Bryant). He signed at the deadline (back when the signing deadline was 8/15) and was assigned to the GCL Yankees although he did not pitch in any GCL games in 2011 (he made his pro debut at post-2011 Instructs). But by signing a 2011 contract instead of a 2012 future services contract, Camarena became eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league 6YFA post-2017 instead of post-2018 (he must have had a sharp agent!).     

The 6'1 210 lefty missed the 2015 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow, but recovered well enough to throw 260 innings over the past two seasons.  

Camarena is a somewhat unusual minor league 6YFA in that he has no MLB experience and not a lot of AAA time, either (212.1 IP at AA and 41.2 at AAA in 2016-17), but he is a decent prospect with some upside (he could even be one of the Cubs Top 30 prospects going into 2018). He features a 90-92 MPH FB (touches 93), a plus CH, and two breaking balls (CV and SL), with a 3.67 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .250 OppBA, 48 HR allowed, and 116/402 BB/K in 532.2 career minor league IP (107 G - 94 GS).  

1/5 UPDATE

The Cubs have released recently-signed RHSP Tyler Wilson (see 1/2 UPDATE below) so that he can . The Cubs could receive a cash payment from the LG Twins in return for releasing Wilson (the typical NPB or KBO release fee for a player on an MLB 40-man roster is $1M, but it is usually more in the $250K - $500K range for a player on a minor league reserve list), although because he has been in the Cubs organization only a few days, did not receive a signing bonus, and has not yet been paid any salary, it's also possible that the Cubs just did him a solid and released him without compenstion.  

Wilson signed a 2018 minor league contract with the Cubs over the Christmas holidays (contract was submitted to MLB and approved this past Tuesday), so the opportunity to pitch in Korea must have been presented to Wilson only within the last few days. As was the case with RHRP , the Cubs were more than willing to give a player under their control a chance to better himself both professionally and financially, with the (possible) additional perk to the Cubs of a cash release fee payment from the foreign club.


1/2 UPDATE


The Cubs have signed RHP (ex-BAL) and LHP (ex-DET) to 2018 minor league contracts and they have been assigned to AAA Iowa. Both will presumably receive an NRI to Spring Training. 

Now 28, Wilson spent parts of three seasons (1+064 MLB Service Time - 42 games - 19 GS - 145.1 IP - 8-10 - 5.02 ERA - 1.44 WHIP - .294 OppBA - 39/77 BB/K) at the big league level with the Orioles as a SP/RP "swingman" 2015-17. He was Baltimore's 10th round pick (U. of Virginia) in the 2011 draft (he was a teammate of LAD OF-IF Chris Taylor, SF OF Jarrett Parker, and Cubs minor league INF Stephen Bruno at UVA), and was the Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2014. Known as a "control artist" throughout his minor league career, Wilson features a 90-92 MPH FB, a SL, and a CH. He was ranked Baltimore's #12 prospect post-2014 and #19 prospect post-2015 by Baseball America

The 26-year old Ryan spent parts of four different seasons with the Tigers (1+139 MLB Service Time - 86 MLB games total 2014-17, including 56 games with a 4-2 record and a 3.07 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 2016), working mostly as a reliever (and exclusively as a relief pitcher beginning with the 2016 season). He was Detroit's 12th round pick out of Auburndale HS - Auburndale, FL in the 2010 draft (receiving a $100K bonus to dissuade him from attending the U. of South Florida). Ryan pitched for the Gold Medal winning Team USA 18U squad in the Pan American Games in Venezuela in 2009, where he was a teammate of future major leaguers Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Robbie Ray, Jameson Taillon, and Kevin Gausman. He credits one-time Tiger teammate (and current Cubs LHRP) Justin Wilson with helping him make the conversion to full-time reliever. Ryan features an 89-91 MPH FB that he can cut or sink and a CH.

Just like Anthony Bass (see 12/19 UPDATE below), Tyler Wilson is out of minor league options if he were to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2018. However, Kyle Ryan has one minor league option available if he is added to the 40, so it would be a bit easier to move Ryan back & forth between Des Moines and Chicago (if it were to become necessary) than would be the case with Bass and T. Wilson. Also, since T. Wilson and Ryan (and Bass, too) have been outrighted to the minors previously in their careers, they can elect free-agency if added to the 40 and then subsequently sent outright to the minors. 


12/19 UPDATE 


The Cubs have signed RHP to a 2018 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. He will presumably receive an NRI to Spring Training.

The 30-year old Bass has accrued 3+159 MLB Service Time over the course of six separate seasons and a combined 131 games and 284 IP with SD (2011-13), HOU (2014), and TEX (2015 and 2017). He also spent one season in Japan with the 2016 NPB Pacific League champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, where he was a teammate of RHP-DH Shohei Ohtani. 

Bass was a 5th round pick by the San Diego Padres out of Wayne State U. in 2008, and he has worked as a SP/RP "swing-man" both in the minors and in MLB. He made his MLB debut with San Diego in June 2011, four days after Anthony Rizzo made his debut with the Padres (that was back when Jed Hoyer was SD GM), and he was traded to the Houston Astros for LHP Patrick Schuster in December 2013. He elected free-agency after being outrighted to the minors by the Astros post-2014, and signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. He returned to MLB with Texas in 2015, and was traded to the Seattle Mariners in a five-player trade (along with OF Leonys Martin) in November 2015. (Bass was subsequently released by the Mariners so that he could sign with Nippon Ham). He re-signed with the Rangers (minor league contract) last February after returning from Japan, and was called up to MLB (briefly) in April-May. He elected free-agency after being sent outright to the minors in September (an Article XX-D player, Bass deferred his right to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season).   

If Bass is added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2018, sending him back & forth between Des Moines and Chicago could be a problem because he is out of minor league options - AND - he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors. However, Bass did not elect to be a free-agent after being outrighted to the minors by Texas during the 2017 MLB regular season, so sending him outright to the minors after adding him to the MLB 40-man roster in 2018 might not be that much of a problem (presuming he isn't claimed off waivers).      


12/20 ORIGINAL POST


The Cubs have signed catcher to a 2018 minor league contract. He will presumably receive an NRI to Spring Training. 

Davis was signed as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) out of Morehead State by the Cubs in 2011. He is a bat-first C-1B-3B, and hit a combined 284/350/416 over 461 minor league games 2011-17.

Davis was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA after the World Series if he hadn't been added to the MLB 40-man roster, so after seven seasons in the Cubs minor league system he was called up to Chicago on September 5th and hit .231 in limited action (eight MLB games).

His most notable achievment was an RBI double in the top of the 11th inning on September 28th, a hit that proved to be the game winning safety in a that officially eliminated the Redbirds from N. L. Wild Card contention, probably one of the most-satisfying meaningless (at least for the Cubs) wins in Cub history. (That was the game in which rookie right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng hurled three innings of shutout ball in relief and Leonys Martin made a game-saving leaping catch over the top of the CF fence for the final out).  

Davis was not tendered a major league contract by the Cubs on December 1st, thus becoming an unrestricted free-agent. But by non-tendering him on 12/1 and then re-signing him two weeks later the Cubs were able to both remove Davis from the MLB 40-man roster without exposing him to waivers - AND - sign him to a 2018 minor league contract without exposing him to possible selection in last week's Rule 5 Draft.  

While Davis will likely start the 2018 season at AAA Iowa, he could see Wrigley Field at some point during the season. 

The Cubs have also signed IF-OF  to a minor league contract. He spent last season with AAA Pawtucket in the Red Sox organization, playing 1B-2B-3B-SS-LF (mostly SS) for the PawSox. He will compete with Mike Freeman for the "supersub" gig at Iowa in 2018. Like Taylor Davis, Court will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.   

Comments

CUBS RE-SIGN taylor DAVIS

Orioles closer Zach Britton suffers ruptured achilles in off-season work-out per Ken Rosenthal (the Athletic).

The O's bungling of their opportunity to rebuild is almost complete; I'm thinking the finale will be holding Machado until the deadline and getting 2 or 3 solid A-ball pitchers for him

e.longoria to the giants. neat.

"Cubs re-sign Davis"--here I thought we had our closer back.

Oh, AZ Phil -- now you are seriously messing with us. Well done!

That was a buzzfeed worthy click bait headline. Well done.

Wow. Enjoy that Christmas stocking full of coal, AZ Phil.

All these comments are probably hurting ole Taylor's feelings. :P

So, playing this out in my boredom-addled brain -- signing Taylor means Caratini will be the Cubs backup C because Theo knows he's going to get Darvish and another reliever and won't have any money for an expensive backup C. Right? Right???

Rene Rivera makes as much sense now as ever.

Wow PHIL. I THOUGHT it was a Christmas present. That was mean.

Anthony Bass signed to a minor league contract.(RHP)

Wonder if many deals get done Christmas Eve?

evidently there was a darvish-to-cubs rumor hot enough for kaplan+levine to say "naw" and darvish to tweet #fakenews given the use of #fakenews by the person who likes to use that phrase, it might be actually true though...hahaha...hahaha...sigh. anyway, darvish-to-cubs is a thing that's not a thing.

Blame trump.

As usual, the MLB office is closed for business over the holidays. This year that's ten days (12/23 - 1/1).  

As a result, contracts cannot be filed & reviewed, trades cannot be certified, and the 47-hour waiver-claiming period for players placed on waivers at 2 PM (Eastern) on Thursday 12/21 or Friday 12/22 won't end until 1 PM (Eastern) on Tuesday 1/3 and Wednesday 1/4 respectively. Players who were not placed on waivers on Thursday 12/21 or Friday 12/22 cannot be placed on waivers until 2 PM (Eastern) on Tuesday 1/2. This also means that the seven-day DFA period-limit is extended for players who were Designated for Assignment 12/21 - 12/28. NOTE: The DFA period is now seven days (it used to be ten days), but the seven day limit is not seven days - INCLUSIVE- . Rather, the DFA limit is seven days - FROM - the date the player was Designated for Assignment. So (for example) if a player is Designated for Assignment on Friday 7/6, he must be assigned by the end of the day on Friday 7/13.

Also, although the MLB office is closed for business, this does not mean that players cannot be signed to contracts. It's just that the contracts cannot be officially reviewed by the MLBPA and reviewed and approved by the MLB Commissioner (or his designate).

Keep in mind that The MLB office is closed for business on weekends and National Holidays beginning on the first weekend after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until the start of Spring Training. And then the MLB office is open for business on weekends and National Holidays Spring Training through the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

However, although the MLB Office is open throughout Spring Training, waivers cannot be requested on the last Saturday and Sunday of Spring Training.

Good info, thanks Phil.

The Cubs have signed RHP Tyler Wilson (ex-BAL) and LHP Kyle Ryan (ex-DET) to 2018 minor league contracts and they have been assigned to AAA Iowa. Both will presumably receive an NRI to Spring Training.

AZ PHIL: When do teams formally announce what non-roster players have been invited to Spring Training? Do they normally wait until camps open or do they sometimes make an announcement before the start of camp?

ALEXANDER: Some clubs announce an NRI when they sign a player, while other clubs wait until sometime closer to the start of Spring Training and announce the entire list at one time. The Cubs usually take the the latter approach.

AZ PHIL: Excellent! Thank you, sir!

So the Cubs have signed eight free-agents to 2018 minor league contracts (so far):

INF Mike Freeman (re-signed)
RHSP Williams Perez (re-signed)
LHRP Alberto Baldonado
C-!B Taylor Davis (re-signed)
IF-OF Ryan Court
RHSP Anthony Bass
RHSP Tyler Wilson
LHRP Kyle Ryan

I would expect all of them to get an NRI to Spring Training.

In addition, other possible "in-house" NRI candidates for Spring Training with the big club would include catchers Ali Solis, Ian Rice, and P. J. Higgins (and possibly Alexander Guerra and/or Miguel Amaya), IF-OF Chesny Young, OF Jacob Hannemann, OF Bijan Rademacher. RHRP Jose Rosario, RHRP Jake Stinnett, and RHRP Justin Hancock.

Heard anything about the Cubs signing Ryan Weber?

source and overly-glowing report here... http://www.bleachernation.com/2018/01/03/cubs...

More of a weak contact/ground ball specialist, he doesn’t walk many or give up HRs. Maybe can strike out enough guys to keep batters honest. His numbers in AAA are at least impressive. 2.16 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 0.5 HR/9, 1.5 BB/9, 5.1 K/9 in 167 IP. Seems like a credible 26th man to start a double header or eat a few innings if a starter lands on the 10 day DL. Except for the fact he appears to be coming off a significant arm injury. Kind of a Paul Blackburn/Zach Hedges type.

BRADSBEARD: Clubs have up to 20 days to file a signed contract with the MLB Commissioner. However, the filing of a contract is not usually delayed unless the MLB office is closed (as was the case for 10 days over the holidays) or if the club has a roster jam issue (which the Cubs do not have with either their MLB or AAA reserve lists). So if Ryan Weber has signed with the Cubs, it should be officially reported very soon.

Casey Kelly is available I am pretty sure. Maybe they can sign him again for his great pedigree?

in other "useless ex-BOS player the cubs signed only to fail badly" news...daniel "Ball 4" bard has announced his retirement.

from a recent Ken Rosenthal article...
The Padres balked at the Cubs’ asking price for infielder Javier Baez at the winter meetings, moving on to other pursuits, sources say. The Cubs likely would have wanted a controllable starter such as Luis Perdomo or Dinelson Lamet for Baez, who would have solved the Padres’ need for a long-term shortstop (though a top prospect such as Luis Urias or Fernando Tatis Jr. might prove the answer).

This is saying Tyler Wilson just signed with a Korean team. Odd. https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/01/oriole...

Hi Phil, I lost your email address. Can you send it to me at [email protected]. Already excited about getting down there again the end of March. Hope all is well. Bob

"David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago said on the network's Cubs Talk Podcast on Thursday that Alex Cobb rejected a three-year, $42 million offer from the Cubs this offseason." yeah, that was totally gonna happen. add another 10-15m on top of that and the phone might not slam down as hard. cobb was supposedly interested, but his agent was all "dude, naw." the fact he would be interested in such a low-ball offer probably means he would want to hook up with this team, though.

I mean of the better #2 starters left, he is Plan C or D as a 3. Still recently off TJS, and he would be a #4 in the rotation currently.

as long as the team fills out the rotation with someone expected to be dependable, whatever. chatwood is enough of an iffy gamble without throwing montgomery in behind him and very little backing that up.

Cobb should just fire his agent and take the money the Cubs offered, and keep the 10% ($4.2M) or whatever goes to his useless agent.

agreed...seriously, though...even the best agents are lucky to pull 4-5% on a contract and a greater slew pull closer to 3%. boras pulls 4.5-5% on average, fwiw. aside from negotiating the player contract, an agent really makes their loot hunting down endorsements and high-paying promotional events for their talent. this is where they can pull better loot...10-20%+.

Boras gets 20+% of Bryzzo Corp profits?

*ding* THAT'S ANOTHER SALE!

oooooooh

"Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Cubs are "now in the picture" for free agent reliever Greg Holland." i mean, he'd be neat and all, but i imagine he's gonna snag 12-13m a year for 3-4 years from someone. i'd rather see a chunk of that loot (if not all) go somewhere else.

Psst. Greg Holland's not very good. He hasn't been since before he blew out his arm. 2012 to mid-15 Holland, sure, but his sell-by date is past. Of course, the "source" is that Cafardo tool, a total Boston zero. The only reason he occasionally throws out manufactured Cub rumors is because he's an unrepentant Theo fan boy. Whatevs.

i'm more than comfortable with b.morrow closing. he took the flash of "woah" he had in 2015/16 and turned it into "damn!" in 2017. his cutter was a valuable tool to compliment his increased-velocity (high 90s) fastball and slider...all while maintaining excellent command/control. his cutter nearly neutralizes lefties when they have a high-90s fastball coming out of the same arm slot to guess along with it. i wouldn't be surprised at all to see morrow out-perform holland no matter where holland ends up.

If Theo and Jed want another Royals/ex-Royals reliever, rather than Holland, I'd like to see them turn their attention to Kelvin Herrera. Royals are in salary dump mode and Herrera has become expensive in arbitration. He was AWFUL last year (I live in KC so I see a lot of Royals games). Thing is, he appears to be another Latroy Hawkins case. Shutdown guy in a setup role prior to 2017. Choker in the closer role throughout 2017. But he's still got 99 mph heat and a mini-Marmol slider. So trade for him and plop him into the 8th inning job, might be a great move for the Cubs. Too bad they wasted Candelario on J Wilson last summer, a Candy-plus C prospect for Herrera trade would have been perfect for both teams.

Kelvin Herrera battled a forearm strain off & on the last six weeks of the 2017 season (beginning on 8/20):

15 G, 13.1 IP, 17 H, 10 (8 ER), 6 BB, 10 K, 1 HR, 0 SAVES (2 BS)

Herrera lost the closer job in September, as LHRP Mike Minor (signed as a FA by Texas post-2017) and LHRP Scott Alexander (traded to LAD last week) became the primary KC closers.   

Since "forearm strain" is sometimes a pre-cursor to TJS and since Herrera will be a FA post-2018, he shouldn't be worth anything more than a second-tier prospect in a trade.

Also, Herrera is eligible for salary arbitration and MLBTradeRumors projects he will get somewhere north of $8M, so the Cubs probably would have been better-off just keeping Hector Rondon.

"he's an unrepentant Theo fan boy" Who isn't?

Herrera is in Theo’s radar I hope.

WSux get Jose Rondon from Padres, can Hector be far behind? Collect em all!

Stupid duplicate...

Justin Wilson avoids arb, 1 yr/$4.25M

So about $250K per strike. Cool.

Saves still pay. Checked his stats because that number seemed high to me but he was actually really good before the trade. If he can find that again it will be like adding another offseason signing to the bullpen.

Cubs minor league RHP Wilfre Delgado has been suspended 72 games by the MLB Commissioner after testing positive for the PED Stanozolol. So the 22-year old Venezuelan has been placed on DSL Cubs #1 Restricted List, and because the DSL regular season is only 72 games in length, Delgado will miss the entire 2018 season.

Delgado is the second Cubs minor leaguer to test positive for the PED Stanozolol and receive a 72-game suspension in the last four months. DSL Cubs #2 RHP Anyel Beato was suspended by the MLB Commissioner and placed on the Restricted List on September 22nd, and (like Delgado) he will miss the entire 2018 DSL season.  

Addison Reed to Twins apparently. $17MM 2yrs. Cubs are gonna rue that unless Wilson returns to form and Edwards can overcome yips.

I am surprised the Cubs wouldn't match that -- unless they are confident they will get one of the 3 FA starters.

I’d guess they couldn’t have fit that contract in to the budget in addition to Darvish/Arrieta and a backup catcher.

and reed isnt even going to be the closer...in favor of f.rodney...wtf

Maybe he likes Minnesota!

BrokeHomieJared @Brokehomiejared *wears @ZRosscup jersey to @Rockies caravan* Tom Murphy: who is #60? Me: Rosscup! Mike Dunn: where did you get a Rosscup jersey? ? ---- Zac Rosscup‏ @ZRosscup Replying to @Brokehomiejared @Rockies I'm surprised too! I figured dunn was the only person interested in having one.

astros trade for g.cole

ho boy. Thank goodness they are in the AL now.

OF Jason Martin, RHP Joe Musgrove, 3B Colin Moran and RHP Michael Feliz interesting haul for PIT. musgrove isn't a sure-thing to remain a starter and feliz is a hard-throwing reliever with control + longball issues. i would have assumed they would have been looking a sure-thing starter for cole. looks like they went for a mixed bag of quantity with upside.

OT, but watching Brady get protection...WOW. THIS. FOR. MITCHELL.

Yep. Up 21 points in the 4th quarter and the Pats pass on almost every down. Brady makes the right decision and an accurate throw almost every time. Truly amazing. Nobody else like him. Tony Romo was doing the color commentary and was in awe of Brady's command: "No huddle, and you send a guy in motion? Who does that? I have no idea how to even do that!"

So, did Ryan Pace get the right guy? Nagy's play calling lost the game for the Chiefs. Contrasting with the Vikings Schermer looks pretty good right now.

Webster's just updated the definition of "worst play by a defensive back, ever". Look up, and use your arms to tackle a receiver who is in mid-air, and you win Simple. Instead, he ducks his head and somehow completely whiffs. One of the worst individual plays I have ever seen, in any sport. Truly amazing.

He didn't EVEN HAVE to TACKLE if he just knocks it down for fucks' sake! And, he takes his own guy out on the play. I have seen many "worst plays". But it is up there for last, game-winning/losing one, for sure... Our previously own Chris Conte will tell you he's got one of his own.

Conte's, although brutally painful, was a communication breakdown and a blown coverage. This was a clinic in how not to tackle a completely defenseless airborne receiver. He actually tucked his arms in, making it much less likely he would make contact with the receiver. Use your arms to tackle and look up, for Christ's sake. Just unbelievable. Historically bad and stupid play. Just very thankful I am not a Saints fan and even more thankful I did not bet the Saints. That must have been a wild scene in the Vegas sports books.

In a league where "it's all about the quarterback", two Hall of Famers and last year's MVP lose to Nick Foles, Blake Bortles and Case Keenum.

I'm not sure there's a right answer to how to defend in that complex, unusual situation. But I'm pretty sure the rookie defender veered off at the last second on purpose because he would have hit the receiver early, and the resulting flag would have stopped the clock and allowed that dead-eye kicker to step onto the field again.

Just glanced at the 2018 schedule -- Cubs play the White Sox Sept. 21-23, before finishing with the Pirates and Cards. Odd but interesting.

McCutchen on his way to SF. I'm sure these trades are in the franchise's best interest, but I also wonder how many wins are being added to the Cubs 2018 total in the process. The sales of Cole and McCutchen should be good for 1 or 2 at least.

...and STL is still doing very little. neat. something is coming for them, though.

NL West could be a rough group this year.

jan 16th...still a ton of quality pitchers and hitters left out there, both high end and support players. the only group that seems to be doing the "hot stove" properly is closer-quality relievers. i'm happy with the 2 arms the cubs picked up for this role. i also like the "2019 payoff" drew smyly signing. in a best-case scenario he shows up late 2018 giving some playoff-prep rest to some of the guys being counted on...in a most-bestest-case scenario, he's on the post-season roster.

Here's hoping all of 2018 is most-bestest-case.

the most bestestest ever! personally, my 2018 has involved getting a cold, twice, and being threatened by a fake intercontinental ballistic missile. so like...yeah.

Read Jeff Passan's article in Yahoo on the 'collusion' talk. Very interesting that owners may have finally gotten tired of paying for past performance.

https://sports.yahoo.com/heres-baseballs-econ... also of note, there are no russian owners of baseball teams. just saying...

Love the Cubs adding a guy with wheels.

After spending two seasons in independent ball, former Cubs minor league INF Wes Darvill is headed back to affiliated ball.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have purchased Darvill's contract from the Winnipeg GoldEyes (American Association) and he has been assigned to AAA Oklahoma City.

The Cubs 2009 5th round draft pick out of Langley, BC, Darvill became a minor league 6YFA post-2015 after hitting a combined 234/307/308 in 555 minor league games in the Cubs system. He is a versatile player with plus defensive skills no matter where he plays in the infield.

Darvill got the attention of the Cubs while starring for the Canadian 18U Junior National Team in 2009.

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are having active talks with free agent Yu Darvish, hoping to add the right-hander to their rotation as they try for a second championship in three seasons. A person with direct knowledge of the discussions confirmed the talks to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday night because there was no agreement in place. https://apnews.com/31edee87b78846cabf27f6c35b... neat.

Hope this isn't a CharlesThe Cat rumor!

Darvish will sign with the Cubs in the next few days, you guys. This is happening.

Hope you are right Beasley.

"Jon Singleton has been suspended 100 games following a third positive test for a drug of abuse." damn. this is the same "bust" that signed a pre-MLB-debut extension with the astros years ago that was controversial as hell. fwiw, he had a very poor minor league showing last year and wasn't expected to factor into the 2018 astros plans.

If Jon Singleton had still been on an MLB 40-man roster (he was sent outright to the minors after the 2016 season), he wouldn't have been suspended. Only a minor league player (that is, a player on a minor league reserve list) can be suspended for testing positive for a "Drug of Abuse" (typically marijuana).

Players on MLB 40-man rosters (including players on optional assignment to the minors) are not tested for marijuana without cause (no random testing for marijuana for players on MLB 40-man rosters), and even if the player does test positive for marijuana after reasonable cause, he is not suspended (he is placed in a drug treatment program).

That's because minor league players -- even former major leaguers on a minor league reserve list -- don't have the protection of the MLBPA.

according to corey black's twitter feed he's throwing again full-force...pitches, that is...not just annoyingly ignorant opinions that only know the dark corners of his sheltered mind as the unquestionable gatekeeper of all things good and bad in the world.

Amen Crunch.

CUB KILLERS! Really interesting article at Cubs Den re the Top 20 Cub Killers since 1998. The top name will surprise you. http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2018/01/fa...

c.jones, vlad, thome, and t.hoffman make the HOF. e.martinez 70.4 mussina 63.5 clemens 57.3 bonds 56.4 k.wood got 2 votes, fwiw.

Love Kerry, but who thinks he should be in the HOF?

no one, but when you got 10 slots to vote it's not uncommon for a writer(s) to throw a "we appreciate ya" vote at a guy they covered or respect. zambrano got 0, btw...just saying...hell, he should have gotten at least 1 for that game vs PIT where he threw the ump out of the game then physically demonstrated his hatred of Gatorade.

RIP Gatorade cooler. Had to look that one up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsxMzYUIBfw

For those of you who have never been to the Hall of Fame, I HIGHLY recommend going there. I couldn't believe how small it is. The second floor museum artifact displays reminded me of an antique store or an old record shop where you have to walk sideways to get past stuff. But it's the Plaque Gallery on the 1st floor that is truly breathtaking.

PHIL- I Know the players aren't "required" to report for a couple weeks, but how many are there already?

CUBBIES.4EVER: There are minor league and MLB players at the UAPC, but I don't know how many. They are scattered all over the place. Very informal at this point.

Thanks, I didn't know if basically everybody was there early because you here he's working with this coach on his swing, him with that, him with him, etc.

we went all winter without a "heyward working on his swing" story...so far... maybe he'll show up, hit .300 with 30 homers and opt out. hahaha sigh. good luck chili...good luck heyward...

Schwarber losing weight and improving his defense is the new Heyward working on his swing.

i feel like an abused spouse at this point. he can change! i know we can change him!

good news fall out boy tickets for wrigley field go on sale this morning

while the cubs are looking for a 2018 world series victory, i've already found mine in that show.

Jan. 26. 141 remaining free agents for 30 teams. That's 4-5 per team. Not sure the math works.

some teams are gonna get some really good deals on "lower tier" guys that are still MLB-capable. i mean, what's a guy like melky cabrera gonna get when jon jay can't even get a job? mark reynolds would love to hit 25+ homers and K a ton for someone. there's enough middle-rotation guys out there to start their own san diego padres rotations a few times over.

Cubs reportedly signed 1B Efren Navarro to a minor league deal. Former Angels, Mariners, and most recently Tigers farm hand without much major league success. https://twitter.com/anthonyfenech/status/9577...

"According to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times, Yu Darvish "has made clear he would like to return to the Dodgers." McCullough says "part of the delay in his free agency is related to waiting to see if the [Dodgers] can move some of the money" that might allow them to re-sign Darvish and still remain under the luxury tax threshold for 2018." ...boo.

In today's landscape with the pseudo salary cap, I see know reason for any team to deal with the Dodgers or any of the super rich teams in giving them salary relief. To do that with the Yankees, Dodgers, and any teams trying to get under the luxury tax is just helping them get better at your own expense. I get that some crappy team might want to upgrade their current roster for the short term while also taking a fairly decent prospect for helping them out, but in no way will the team who's taking on the old and overpaid player (plus prospect) ever come out on top when the result for the rich seller is they get to add another top expensive player to their roster.

It helped Atlanta. In 2019, they're free and clear, and can invest in Machado or whoever.

Lots of teams would love to buy a good prospect (CHW, DET, KC, MIA) with plans to spend less on MLB payroll this season.

kevin towers has died. boo.

Alex Avila supposedly signing w DBacks. Terms not yet availability.

2-time 1st round pick (over-all #1 pick in 2013) mark appel is taking an "indefinite break" from baseball at age 26. what a bust. wow.

Hard to imagine the Cubs winning a World Series if they'd had the chance and chosen to draft Appel rather than KB. Whimsy of baseball fate.

Charlie, when the Cub brain trust doesn't use a top-ten pick on a pitcher, it's more policy than whimsy. I do have a faint recollection that they might have been tempted by Rodon (instead of Schwarber) if the Sox hadn't snatched him at #3.

My recollection, as well

"Heyman says the "prime target" for the Brewers is Yu Darvish, but they're prepared to pounce on one of the other top free agent starters should Darvish ultimately land a deal that reaches beyond Milwaukee's comfort zone." brewers have also been linked to a chris archer trade scenario. it looks like they're dead set on making a serious run at things.

It seems like there are more leaks from the Brewers this off-season than from any other club. Every time the Brewers even think about calling another club or contacting a free-agent it's reported in the media. The Cubs are the opposite. Almost everything they do is a surprise when it happens.

Miggy Montero signs a minor league contract w Nats. Could be Wieters backup.

"Cubs signed OF Peter Bourjos to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training." may he never see the major league club...this over-rated dude just keeps hanging on to the game.

players and agents are getting increasingly angsty about this slow off-season. spring training boycotts...strikes...etc. the posturing and language is escalating.

It's a 197 league. The players screwed up negotiating the CBA. Owners don't want to ruin their club finances, and lose draft picks and international spending, on a pricey free-agency coin-flip.

the draft pick compensation may disappear, amongst other things, if this kind of off-season repeats. also, miami doing what miami is doing isn't doing anyone any favors and is drawing huge ire from players/agents. that whole "purposely tanking" thing isn't gonna go over well if this becomes a regular thing. along with that the players and "union" aren't happy about the pace-of-game rules they keep piling on, especially this season.

A club that loses a Qualified Player receiving a compensation draft pick isn't the problem. It's the signing team losing a draft pick for signing a Qualified Player that suppresses the value of a free-agent. The two don't have to be connected. A club could still receive a compensation draft pick for losing a Qualified Player without the signing team losing one, especially since the team that loses the Qualified Player doesn't receive the signing team's pick.

And to take some of the motivation out of tanking, the draft could be reconfigured this way: The first 20 picks of the draft (#1-20) would be assigned to the non-playoff qualifying clubs (as they are now), but the club with the - BEST - record among non-playoff qualifiers would get the #1 overall pick, the club with the second best record would get the 2nd overall pick, and the club with the worst record in MLB would get the #20 overall pick. Then beginning with pick #21, the draft would proceed as if it was the start of the 1st round, with the club with the worst overall record getting pick #21 (so the club with the worst record gets picks #20 & #21, the club with the second-worst record gets picks #19 and #22, etc, and the club with the best record among non-playoff qualifiers would get picks #1 and #40). The ten playoff clubs would not get a selection until picks #41-50, and they would be slotted based on how they performed in the post-season, with the club that wins the World Series getting pick #50, the club that loses the World Series getting pick #49, the two LCS losers getting picks #47 and #48, the four LDS losers getting picks #43-46, and the two Wild Card losers getting picks #41-42). Clubs losing a Qualified Player would get a selection after the 1st round (beginning with pick #51), but clubs signing a Qualified Player would not lose a draft pick. Clubs eligible to receive revenue sharing would get a Competitive Balance draft pick ONLY if the club's payroll from the previous season was at least 60% of the luxury tax threshold (which would be about $120M in 2018), and any club with a payroll less than 60% of the the Luxury Tax threshold would not receive revenue sharing funds until the payroll reaches the "salary floor." A club exceeding the luxury tax threshold would just pay a $$$ tax only. Exceeding the Luxury Tax threshold would have no effect on the club's draft picks or ISBP. The tax would be distributed among the clubs that are eligible to receive revenue sharing funds (as long as the club had a payroll at least 60% of the Luxury Tax threshold).

yeah, i pretty much meant what you said, but you summed it up much clearer. gun shy clubs that don't want to blow 1/4 - 1/10th of their payroll on 1 player who may be tied up past their true value along with losing a draft pick seems to be self-defeating at times. it's not been a heavy point of discussion, but if you sum up a lot of the issues between players, teams, agents, and MLB itself...we might be facing a labor issue next bargaining agreement if things don't mellow out on their own. the players and "union" are looking rather weak right now and they're not happy.

I think that the QO pick does affect things both ways. Take the Cubs for example, they're focusing on Darvish. Arrieta and Cobb's name have pretty much been tossed out of the picture. Maybe it's because the contract demands are unreasonable or is it Theo would like a pitcher that isn't going to cost him a pick (Cobb will), Arrieta lose the opportunity to get a 2nd rd, and sign Darvish (no strings attached) no matter what the contract wanted is. Also baseball should go back to where they gave out compensation picks based on some kind system stats/contract rating some kind (A, B, C)of the players like when they lost Carlos Pena and Ramirez. Essiently just adding picks between rounds depending on rounds. Or another route is to just do like NFL does and do a cancellation of picks gained by losing players vs gained players. So if the Cubs sign 3 players, but lose 4 they get 1 extra pick depending on the player.

Go to this website to see NFL's comp pick: https://overthecap.com/compensatory-draft-pic...

I'm sure that's a factor, but Darvish is also the best pitcher in the group. These are not three equal assets, so I'm not sure we can draw comparisons.

"Lawsuit Alleges Cardinals Pitcher Carlos Martinez Part off Group That Robbed, Beat Man." The late Oacar Taveras was also named in the suit. Supposedly happened in 2014. Bad things happen late at night outside strip clubs.

week and 1/2 til pitchers/catchers report... only 2 guys have signed contracts longer than 3 years (j.upton/l.cain 5y). only 2 guys have signed contracts with an average annual value of 20m+ (j.upton/c.santana). mike minor and tyler chatwood are the only starting pitchers with 3 year deals. rangers are expected to use minor as a starter, btw. not counting the injured drew smyly and michael pineda, who are expected to miss most/all of 2018...only 2 starting pitchers have 2 year deals, j.chacin and m.mikolas. crazy offseason.

Football season is over. Welcome to the 2018 MLB season! Hooray!!!

After that horrific display of extra-point kicking, football needs to go away for a while. What a travesty.

billybucks, that game was not a travesty in my opinion.

Oh, I agree -- fantastic game. I just thought it was funny that the 2 best teams couldn't make an XP or a chip shot field goal.

The Cubs ZIPs projections came out today. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2018-zips-pro... TL/DR: The Cubs are probably going to be very good (.550+ win%), and there is almost no chance that the Cubs have a bad offense in 2018. There's not a lot of shocking predictions here, except maybe for: *Mark Zagunis is capable of being an MLB-average hitter this season through a combination of a quality eye and decent power. He projects for a higher wrC+ than Zobrist, Russell, Baez, Heyward, or Almora; *Caratini might be the best backup catcher in baseball even when projected to have below-average defense; and *ZIPs thinks Justin Wilson is due for a massive bounce-back. As for the pitching, if Quintana, Lester, Hendricks, Chatwood, Montgomery, Strop, Cishek, Wilson, Edwards, and Morrow are all health and effective, the projection sees a high-end pitching staff. But depth is still thin.

jon jay is still a cub on that chart. neat.

Arrieta too. FG leaves free agents with their former teams until they sign elsewhere for some reason.

Down goes Frazier....for the relatively paltry sum of 2 years, $17 million. Way below most projections. Maybe players (agents?) are starting to realize that decent/good players in non-premium positions in their 30s aren't going to break the bank any more -- so they better grab the money before somebody else takes it.

he's capable of 30-ish homers and plays above average D at 3rd. getting that for 8.5m is nice.

I must still be in an old free-agent-market mindset, because at that price I'm wondering if the Cubs should have picked him up. Frazier to 3rd, Bryant to LF, Schwarber or Happ shipped off to try to get some pitching help.

Oh to the Rangers for 1/$3M. Wow, his stock fell in a hurry.

mlbpa head tony clark released a statement today... “Pitchers and catchers will report to camps in Florida and Arizona next week. A record number of talented free agents remain unemployed in an industry where revenues and franchise values are at record highs. Spring Training has always been associated with hope for a new season. This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game.”

Unemployed? Most "unemployed" folks don't have offers to play baseball for millions of dollars. Darvish and Martinez supposedly have offers for 5 years in excess of $100 million. They are "unemployed" by choice.

the big issue being raised in this statement are intentionally tanking teams choosing to not spend. there's record franchise values, record revenues, and multiple teams are going "theo style" into the realm of intentionally tanking (miami, especially) as a rebuilding technique. it works if done properly, but if the union didn't call it out they wouldn't be much good at representing the players they serve. if this practice get legitimatized on a large scale, pay for players will suffer. in the case of miami, the owners/MLB let a new ownership group buy into the league and the first thing they did was totally gut the team in order to set up a multi-season intentionally tanking of the team to rebuild their system. not only are they not spending, they traded a lot of talent away that further diluted the market away from possible buyers of FA's. that's not a good look from the player's point of view.

It’s not “tanking” that is slowing down the market. The Marlins and the Tigers are the only two teams who have really sold off with no view towards winning at all this season. Several other teams are in various stages of rebuilding, but there have always been teams at the bottom who were either too poor or too far out of it to justify major FA spending in any given year. The problem right now is that the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Nationals (plus the usually high spending Tigers) are all sitting out the FA market for the most part. The Giants and Mets are also acting like they are limited in their ability to spend. That leaves little competition to drive up prices for the high end guys. So while there appear to be some decent sized offers on the table for the top market guys, there isn’t really enough market pressure to push the offers up to what the players expected to be able to get.

Franchise values don't mean shit unless you're selling the team, right? It doesn't mean you're swimming in cash before then.

the players/agents/union just see high franchise valuation, extraordinary TV contracts, huge profits, and MLB/owners letting a new crew come in to MIA only to dilute the FA market trading players away and not signing much talent in an effort to tank to rebuild. they're gonna say something, especially when an off-season like this is going on. we haven't see anything like this since the collusion era, but i don't think anyone actually believes collusion is going on. they don't want this to be the new normal. i mean, we already have agents and players talking about striking (not a very serious threat right now) and the union is getting increasingly aggressive with their messaging. all-in-all, it seems to be a variety of things that's causing this current off-season weirdness...it's tanking/inactive teams, it's luxury tax ceiling clubs that can't go higher or want to work out of penalty areas, agents posturing for top dollar, etc.

*sarcasm* Tanking ain't easy, it takes some free agent skill and money. It would have been hard for the Cubs to suck so bad for so many seasons without the contribution of Edwin Jackson and his 4/$52mil contract.

"Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs have "barely engaged" in contract talks with free agent starting pitcher Jake Arrieta."

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan Been told the union is considering starting a camp as soon as Tuesday — the day pitchers and catchers report to some team sites. Some prominent players still have not been informed, and it’s unclear just how many would participate. One free agent told me he’d rather stay home. Ken [email protected]_Rosenthal Source confirms: A separate training camp for unsigned free agents “will happen.” Union not sure how many players will attend, but plan to make a facility available in Florida or Arizona.

it's happening. IMG Academy in FL...ex-cub player and ex-astros manager bo porter will run it. supposedly, some players that aren't even FAs are going to show up at the camp to show support and draw attention to the camp. also, boras clients are supposedly not going to participate because they have their own training facilities.

Jeff Passan predicted this off-season to a "T" last Thanksgiving:

link

grimm lost his arbitration case. he'll get 2.2m (wanted 2.475m).

RHP Williams Perez will probably not be reporting to Spring Training in Mesa with the other pitchers on Monday: link

Another example of the drily humorous commentary/reportage of Arizona Phil!

In what is their first "cut" of Spring Training, the Cubs have released RHSP Williams Perez in the aftermath of the shooting death of Perez's personal trainer in Venezuela a few days ago. Perez pitched at AAA Iowa last season and was re-signed to a minor league contract last November, receiving an NRI to Spring Training as part of the deal. He projected to compete for one of the starting pitcher slots at iowa in 2018, but there are at least a dozen other candidates for those slots besides Perez (Tseng, Zastryzny, Farrell, Mills, Bass, Roth, Camarena, Underwood, Alzolay, Clifton, Markey, and Hedges).

games start Feb 23rd (friday)...CHC/MIL 4:05 Eastern MLB Network is carrying this game.

Brewers sign Wade Miley, presumably just to set up a Smyly-Miley showdown in the future. Can't really see any other reason.

The Cubs have invited three minor league catchers (Cael Brockmeyer, Erick Castillo, and P. J. Higgins) to big league camp to help catch bullpens and "live" BP. The trio will be reassigned to Minor League Camp when it opens next month.

rizzo (who showed up early for camp, along with a huge chunk of the team) has left to go back to parkland, FL. he went to the highschool that was the scene of our latest national tragedy.

"second tier" pitchers are signing... a.cashner (BAL) 2/16m j.garcia (TOR) 1/10m also, t.lincecum threw today for scouts...had a 90-93mph fastball. cubs aren't expected to be in the mix.

Garcia is a steal at 10. I'm buying Garcia at 10 all day over Chatwood at 39 or whatever it was. Hindsight being what it is and all.

Hmmm... Dunno 'bout that. He's been pretty bleh the last 2 years: WHIP for 2016/2017 is about 1.40 (vs. 1.05 in 2014/2015), BB/9 about 3.50, ERA of about 4.50. Not terrible, but not what I would want the Cubs counting on next year.

i understand why they're going for t.chatwood, but i think they're betting rather heavily that his control can improve and he can stay healthy. the coors effect on his pitches play well elsewhere when it comes to productive contact, but his spotty control seems to have little to do with coors field. he seems to be a 5-6 inning guy before he's got 100+ pitches for the most part. he's got the stuff and pitch mix to be better than he's been. it would be nice if it works out.

Billybucks...so you’re saying he’s no Brett Anderson.

The Brett Anderson Experience. Yuck.

AZ Phil, is Schwarber doing any work behind the plate? Thanks.

HAGSAG: Not that I've seen.

“I think those days might be done,” said Schwarber, who is 22 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery and played almost exclusively in left field last season, catching only seven innings over four games. “I might wander my way back there and see what it looks like from a catcher’s point of view.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Nothin to lose here. Give the guy a chance.

MLBPA has filed grievance against TB, MIA, PIT, and OAK for being cheap bastards involving revenue sharing spending...money that's supposed to be used to "improve performance on the field"... MLB, itself, says there is no merit to the claim. this one seems to be a bit more troublesome for MLB than the 2010 claim against the marlins and they'll probably fight it to arbitration.

lester named opening day starter...not a huge surprise. i imagine it's lester/darvish/q/hendricks/chatwood

I dig it. I'm excited in the early going to see what Darvish, Q, and Chatwood can contribute. Also I'm building mystical wards against injuries to starting pitchers.

Wasn’t Allen Webster one of the prospect pitchers that the Cubs were looking at in a trade with LA , back on the day? Anyone remember the details? Circa 2012 trading deadline with Matt Garza but then Garza got hurt. 

CUBSTER: It took them a while to do it, but the Cubs finally got their man! link

Thanks so much AZ Phil. You nailed it. My memory banks have a few cobwebs but my recollection wasn't too off base.

If the Cubs had acquired Webster for Garza (and thus changed Dempster's exit), the net result would be the Cubs would not have acquired Kyle Hendricks, Justin Grimm or CJ Edwards. Altered timeline stuff. Cool!

no home or away TV feed today...because who wants to watch cubs play baseball on a weekend afternoon?  gross. 

tomorrow's game vs ARZ is being televised (ARZ feed).

looks like the cubs have found their lead-off man...mike freeman is hitting .588 with a couple stolen bases.  trade away addison russell and javy baez...we're 2018 ready!

mark grace and bob brenly in the booth.  also, jon lester still can't throw to a base.  nice to see he worked on that this off-season.  good work, guy.  have another million bucks.  way to turn an out into a man on 2nd with 0 outs.

grace showed up in the 2nd and he stuck around through the 7th.  nice to hear grace's corny ass on the mic again (worked booth for ARZ until he got fired...which he's already made a couple jokes about today).

Carrie Muskat‏@CarrieMuskat     

FYI, #Cubs Lester's Jordan-to-Pippen bounce pass to 1st base was on purpose. It's something he and Butterfield have been working on to help Lester throw to 1st

As someone who has some throwing problems, I have a hard time watching the replay of that. He looks so off-balance and uncomfortable. Mental errors are painful.

i hold out hope every offseason that he's going to show up having turned a corner with this issue.  i'm not shocked not much has changed, but working with a coach on bouncing a ball to 1st hoping the hops don't take the ball on a bad path seems like it's not much of a safe solution.  is it really safer or faster than an under-handed soft lob?  *shrug*

Glad to see our Ace AZ Phil has updated the minor league groups as their Spring Training camp opens.

PHIL: Thank you for not holding out until mid-season this year.

ETHS Wildkits play New Trier or Niles North in IHSA Sweet 16 Friday. Go ‘Kits!

Kyle Hendricks has a "new" curveball. 

“Oh yeah, I was definitely excited,” Hendricks said. “Feeling that come out of my hand – it’s been years, I’ve never felt a curveball come off my hand like that. And I’ve been throwing forever. So there’s an obvious level of excitement when you feel something like that.”

 

...The Athletic, (subscription required).

S. Sharma

https://theathletic.com/261590/2018/03/05/wit...

audio feed only (home and away) until the wednesday game.  friday and saturday games both have TV feeds (no sunday).

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  • crunch 10 hours 32 min ago (view)

    "MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."

    espada's had 2 interviews.  for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work.  SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.

     

  • JustSayin' 11 hours 57 min ago (view)

     That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter.  MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent.  They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players.  In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted.  For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col

     

  • Hagsag 12 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Thanks Mr. Phil.

     

  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 24 min ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll. 

     

  • crunch 13 hours 49 min ago (view)

    The discussions on this matter have been quite varried.  There seems to be a lot of pressure connected to this on minor league team owners who haven't upgraded their facilities/park in a while or who lag in quality compared to their competitors.

    It seems like this would not only cause some teams to fold, but some radical redistribution of existing teams/cities into new minor league levels rather than just pruning some teams over others.

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil, what are your thoughts on the discussion to eliminate 42 low minor league teams in 2021? What would this do to the Dominican League? Thanks.

     

  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    yanks/astros game 6 was a f'n classic.  wow.

    altuve continues to build his astros legend.

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    Thanks for this. I agree they’ll probably take their chances in the Rule 5 if he will resign, though I really wouldn’t mind adding him back to the 40 man. I feel like he has a good chance to be effective out of the bullpen. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    I hope Sagara doesn’t end up leaving because of the shakeup. The Athletic did report that his position might be eliminated but that he should be offered another role in the organization somewhere. All I know is Sagara’s name came up frequently in connection with the pitch lab, and he was credited for improvements with Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Maybe he’ll end up focusing more specifically in that role helping guys tweak things in the lab. 

     

  • JustSayin' 2 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Does anyone have insight into the new management hires and musical chairs the Cubs announced yesterday?  Craig Breslow might be the only guy out there with extensive MLB experience AND the grey matter to challenge any quant not making sense. His role intrigues me but are they going to give him real responsibility to clear out the deadwood (including the existing minor league coordinator who was never good enough to be the pitchers he's coaching?)  Or, is this a superficial change aimed at keeping ownership off Theo's back? 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 11 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: I think the Cubs want to retain Oscar de la Cruz post-2019, just not on the MLB 40-man roster.

     

  • Charlie 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Who are you all rooting for in the World Series? I'm rooting for the Nats to face and defeat Houston, I think, but with very mild interest. Let them get that championship out of the way and then maybe go the way of the post-2016 Cubs.

     

  • bradsbeard 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil, what do you think the Cubs will do with Oscar de la Cruz if they don’t add him back to the 40 man? Can they try to re-sign him but wait until after the Rule 5 to make it official? Do you think they will try to keep him in the organization in some fashion? 

     

  • bradsbeard 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Angels also make sense as a destination for Kris Bryant. 

     

  • azbobbop 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    I wonder if Maddon will take any of the coaches with him.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 9 hours ago (view)

    I doubt that Maddon would have taken the job if the Angels aren't fully prepared to sign one or maybe even two FA TOR SP (like Gerrit Cole and/or Stephen Strasburg if he opts out). 

    When you have the best player in MLB and now the highest-paid manager, not making the playoffs again in 2020 just can't be acceptable.