Business Trips

Odd that both the C-Cubs & I-Cubs are idle today.

The locals have punched their playoff ticket and begin a best-of-five series in Round Rock tomorrow night, albeit with a carcass of a roster now that fire marshals have revised MLB dugout capacities upward. Game three and any others required are slated for Des Moines over the weekend.

Strange days indeed at the end of the PCL regular season; lots of comings and goings. Friday night, Robel Garcia was here grand slamming the Iowa magic number down to zero. By Monday, he was in Chicago flailing at big league breaking balls. Same itinerary for AA Jr. who was ripping doubles and his pants on Friday in Triple A and roaming the ivy league pasture he prefers less than 48 hours later. Monday afternoon, Willy Contreras bounced a foul ball right at me in the photo well at Sec Taylor Field. Tuesday night, he smoked a long ball deep into the bleachers at Wrigley Field. Sunday pregame, I saw Duane Underwood arriving at the ballpark by Uber, lugging his equipment into the clubhouse to say goodbyes before heading back to the bigs. He looked the way you’d expect a guy called up from Des Moines to Chicago to look. Monday midgame, I saw Mark Zagunis departing the ballpark by Uber, lugging his equipment and, having said his goodbyes, heading for the airport and DFA limbo. He looked resigned.

It’s a transient racket, baseball. Sometimes winners and losers are teammates that pass in the night.    

Comments

With Wilson Contreras back from the IL and fairly obviously 100% or close to it, the Cubs have optioned C-1B Taylor Davis to AAA Iowa. The Cubs would not have been able to do this if Iowa had not qualified for the PCL playoffs, because a player cannot be optioned to a minor league team whose season has ended. 

This move will save the Cubs about $2,500 per day (the difference between T. Davis's MLB and minor league "split" salary), which helps to offset what the Cubs are paying Mark Zagunis while he is Designated for Assignment (a player who is Designated for Assignment must be recalled from his Optional Assignment -- known as "Recalled - Not to Report" -- and then he accrues MLB Service Time and is paid at the MLB rate while he is a Designated Player). 

Optioning T. Davis to Iowa will also keep him in "game shape" (at least while Iowa is still alive) in the event that Contreras, Caratini, or Lucroy go down with an injury in the comng days or weeks. 

The only problem will be if the Cubs get into a 16 or 18 inning game and Kyle Hendricks or Cole Hamels has to PH in a game situation because the Cubs are out of position players, or if the Cubs somehow manage to run out of catchers in a game due to mismanagement and/or bad luck. Then the Cubs will have some 'splainin' to do. 

There's still The Schwarb out there for an emergency but the odds of him having been used and pulled already are pretty high at that point.  He has donned the Tools of Ignorance at least once this year.

When the Cubs are in the situation they are in right now, where it could come down to a key play in a single game, you should take advantage of every possible edge you can get. If they give you 40 roster slots, take them. Yes, some players and some pitchers may not get a lot of game action, but then you can play an occasional "sim" game prior to BP.

Every player called up from the minors in September costs about $75,000 more in salary than if he would have been left on optional assignment. It adds up. But, if adding as many MLB-ready players as possible to the active list in September can help you win just one game and one game is the difference between getting into the post-season or not getting into the post-season, then the extra salaries in September are well worth it. 

If the Cubs were the 2019 Dodgers (or the 2016 Cubs) where getting into the playoffs is not in doubt, then it wouldn't matter. But at this point anything can happen. 

What's the worst that could happen?  Joe could have a relief pitcher take an at bat, he hits a soft grounder and tries to leg it out and pulls a hammie, but what's the odds of that happening. 

It would definitely be a fluke, a Strop of bad luck even.

I'm more concerned about the lack of a third shortstop on the roster. We've seen how a game can go sideways quickly when middle infield defense is poor. 

Bote and Happ at short and second- Make it stop it’s burning my eyes!

It's stretch time. Who knows what will happen. Enjoy the ride. I can remember days when Sept. was a big nothing. Go Cubs!

If you assume the NLDS regulars are 18, 6, 17, 44, 9, 12, 40, 22 and Caratini,Happ are locks don't you have to keep 27 & 5 for SS/CF defense? And how does Bote not make that roster?

that's NumberWang!

round 2!

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  • crunch 1 min 52 sec ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 5 hours 46 min ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 8 hours 14 min ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 3 days 11 hours ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---

     

  • bradsbeard 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 6 hours ago (view)

    I think the most puzzling aspect to the Travis Lakins Caper is that the only plausible reason for the Cubs to have struck a pre-emptive trade with the Red Sox instead of waiting and hoping to win a waiver claim is that the Cubs believed that another club with a better waiver claim priority would almost certainly claim him. So to ensure that they would be able to acquire Lakins, the Cubs must have offered the Red Sox something more than the $50,000 waiver price, otherwise there would have been no point in the Red Sox agreeing to the deal. 

     

  • crunch 5 days 9 hours ago (view)

    RedSox acquire catcher Jhonny Pereda from the #Cubs, completing the January 21 trade for RHP Travis Lakins

    ...cubs lost lakins on waivers to BAL, btw

     

  • erich081 5 days 22 hours ago (view)

    I wore my Rick Wilkins #2 shirsey today and kept thinking real baseball was only a week away. And then I remembered this weird alternate reality we've seemed to have slipped into. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

     

  • Hagsag 6 days 2 hours ago (view)

    I am installing a padded room to sit in until this hell is over.

     

  • Charlie 6 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Watched it yesterday with my girlfriend and while Skyping my dad. It was fun to give her running commentary since she's only been a Cubs fan for the last five years.

     

  • crunch 6 days 23 hours ago (view)

    MLB is sidestepping this "to the surface" pushing issue by choosing to "finacially support" minor league players according to a press release from a couple days ago.  minor league pay has been a recent source of embarrassment for MLB...

    i have no idea how robust this assistant will be, but anything less than 100% for most players (no matter the source) would be a disservice to future of the game.