Phil’s got a glove in the trunk of the car. it’ll be all good.
It will take a bunch of catchers to allow pitchers to get their throwing in.
HAGSAG: The Cubs typically have 36 pitchers, six catchers, twelve infielders, and ten outfielders (64 players total) in MLB camp, which means about 24 NRI. I have listed 29 NRI (which would mean there would be 39 pitchers and eight catchers in MLB Camp), but the Cubs signed an inordinate number of "4-A" (MLB/AAA borderline) guys this off-season, and so I could see a larger contingent of NRI than is typical.
Thanks for the expert scouting report.
Wow, that is a full roster of non-roster invites and a few extra.
HAGSAG: Well, first of all, the pitchers haven't thrown any "live" BP so I can't tell you much about them from PFPs, long-toss, and bullpen sessions I can only see from a side-view.
As far as the position players are concerned, I would say the top dozen at Instructs have been:
1. Miguel Amaya, C - outstanding all-around catching prospect with emerging plus HR power
2. Nico Hoerner, 2B-SS - plus bat-speed with a power-type swing-path, uses the entire field foul line-to-foul line, has above-average speed and is a savvy baserunner, is a solid middle-infielder but isn't throwing overhand at Instructs (has been tossing the ball underhanded only)
3 Cole Roederer, CF-LF - really good hitter with HR power and is OK in CF but is best in LF
4. Brennen Davis, CF - raw five-tool OF needs reps (and must stay healthy) but he put on muscle during off-season
5. Aramis Ademan, SS - has plus bat speed and is a solid all-around defensive SS but was overmatched at Hi-A in 2018
6. Jared Young, 1B-LF - best pure hitter at Instructs but is limited to 1B-LF
7. Nelson Velazquez, CF - has mechanical issues with stride & swing but has big-time HR power and can play all three OF slots
8. Christopher Morel, SS-3B - high-energy player with plus bat speed & plus arm but he has problems maintaining arm slot (tends to drop to sidearm)
9. Jimmy Herron, CF - rumored to need TJS last June but didn't and no problems with arm are evident now and he shows improved strength & HR pop
10. Andy Weber, 2B - lanky infielder with soft hands and a good hitter, he has worked-out a bit at SS but 2B is his best position
11. Jonathan Soto, C - clearly the next-best catching prospect behind M. Amaya
12. Carlos Morfa, RF - EXTREMELY raw but combines speed, arm, and plus HR power
Delvin Zinn and Levi Jordan project as utility infielders, but both work hard and are fundamentally sound in all phases of the game.
Alexander Guerra has plus HR power and is a solid receiver and should be the #1 catcher at South Bend in 2019
Edmond Americaan is a toolsy CF with a solid line-drive stroke and above-average arm and speed, and right now he is probably ahead of D. J. Wilson, Kelli, Artis, and Singleton but behind B. Davis, Roederer, Velazquez, and Herron as far as Cubs CF prospects are concerned
Yonathan Perlaza makes hard contact from both sides of the plate but struggles defensively (big-time) at both 2B and 3B, so probably should move to LF
Tyler Durna has one of those really pretty LH swings and he is a better hitter than what he showed at Eugene, although he is strictly a 1B defensively
Jhonny Bethencourt is a bat-first utility infielder but he can rake (albeit without much HR power)
Fernando Kelli is VERY fast but he has really struggled with his hitting at Instructs and defense in CF needs work as well
Most likely Cubs ST NRI:
PITCHERS: Christian Bergman, Matt Carasiti, Ian Clarkin, George Kontos, Dakota Mekkes, Carlos Ramirez, Colin Rea, Rob Scahill, Junichi Tazawa, Jerry Vasto, Allen Webster, Mike Zagurski, and Rob Zastryzny
CATCHERS: Miguel Amaya, Francisco Arcia, P. J. Higgins, Jhonny Pereda, and Ian Rice
INFIELDERS: Cristhian Adames, Jim Adduci, Ryan Court, Trent Giambrone, Nico Hoerner, and Philip Evans
OUTFIELDERS: Zach Borenstein, Jose Cardona, Johnny Field, Jacob Hannemann, and Evan Marzilli
didnt hear about this rumor...nonetheless...
"Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports that contrary to previous rumors the Cubs did not meet with Bryce Harper on Friday.
Mooney goes on to reiterate that the Cubs have been clear that they will not be signing Harper or any other high-dollar free agent this winter."
BRADSBEARD: The delay in the Cubs filing the Brach contract with MLB is most-likely a matter of the physical being delayed by the weather or Brach could have had a bad case of the flu or something like that, but it is also conceivable that he has taken the physical, some pre-existing issue was discovered, and so now the Cubs are attempting to rework the deal. That does happen sometimes. It's not official until the contract is filed with MLB.
Also, keep in mind that a club has twenty days to file a signed contract with the MLB office, so the Cubs could have signed Brach a week ago but have not yet filed the contract with MLB in order to keep a slot open on the 40 for a waiver claim or maybe a two-for-one trade. So they really don't have to wait until 2/12 to place Graveman on the 60-day DL to keep a slot open on the 40, because they can wait up to twenty days to actually file the Brach contract with MLB. Clubs usually don't wait that long, but it is an option, if necessary, especially when it gets close to the Spring Training reporting date for pitchers & catchers (when the 60-day DL will come into play).
The thing is, the Cubs didn't wait twenty days to file Barnette's contract with MLB (and outright Clarkin), so I kind of doubt that the Cubs are trying to keep Brach's slot open until they can place Graveman on the 60-day DL on the off-chance they might want to make a waiver claim sometime in the next ten days. It's more likely that Brach's physical was simply delayed, probably because of the weather or an illness.
Sounds like the polar vortex held up Hagerty’s physical, so it might be holding up Brach’s as well? I also wonder if they are waiting until the last moment to add Brach, so if they have to make another addition they can delay adding that player until 2/12 when they can put Graveman on the DL.
Phil, who has impressed you in the Instructs?
I would think the Cubs would announce their minor league invitees to ST soon.
RHRP Brad Brach signing still not official, even though it was reported in the media eight or nine days ago.
Sometimes there is a delay in completing the physical, either because of a player's illness or weather or travel issues, but there is clearly a slot left open on the 40 for Brach.
So I would think the contract will probably be be filed with MLB early next week (presuming the physical and medicals are clean).
Nico Hoerner still not throwing at Instructs (underhand tosses only), although if there is a physical issue it certainly isn't affecting his hitting. He's been raking every day in BP with hard contact foul-line to foul-line.
SS Aramis Ademan was on "limited activity" Friday, helping out the coaches but not participating in any drills.
SS Miguel Pabon was struck on the nose by a chopper that took a bad hop during infield practice on Field #4 at Instructs Friday morning. He remained in a sitting position in the outfield grass for about five minutes, and while there was a lot of blood, he eventually left the field under his own power.
Further on Kendall Graveman:
Even though he did not spend any time in a foreign major league, Graveman supposedly has a special contractual clause where he can request his release (or be non-tendered) post-2019 if the Cubs decline their $3M club option for 2020. It is unclear if that contractual clause would apply if Graveman's 2020 club option is exercised and the contract expires after the 2020 season. (Ordinarily he would be eligible for salary arbitration post-2019 if the 2020 club option is declined or post-2020 if the club option is exercised, and he would be eligible to be an MLB Article XX-B free-agent for the first time no earlier than post-2021).
In either case (2020 club option is declined or 2020 club option is exercised and contract expires post-2020), he would be short of the six seasons of MLB Service Time necessary to qualify for free-agency as an Article XX-B player both post-2019 and post-2020, so the right to request his release and become a free-agent post-2019 (or post-2020?) would have to be a special provision of the contract.
BTW, Graveman's 2019 salary is $575K (the MLB minimum salary), but it jumps to $2M if he spends at least one day on the MLB Active Roster in 2019. Graveman had TJS in July 2018, so it's possible that he could complete his rehab and be reinstated from the DL in September.
Note that players who are rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery (but - ONLY - from TJS) can have their minor league rehab assignment extended by as much as 30 days (in the form of three ten-day extensions), so Graveman conceivably could spend as much as 60 days on a minor league rehab in 2019.
Also, Graveman can be placed on the MLB 60-day DL as early as February 12th (the date Cubs pitchers & catchers report to Spring Training), should his slot on the 40 be needed for another player.
Further on Tony Barnette:
Because he spent six seasons in a foreign major league (NPB), Barnette may have a "no trade" clause (full or partial) and/or "no minor league assignment" clause (optional and/or outright assignment) in his contract (TBD). He also could have a contractual right to elect free-agency when his contract expires even though he will have less than six years of MLB Service Time when the contract expires (again, TBD).
None of these rights would be automatic. They would have to be specified in the contract.
Hopefully the exact details of the contract will be revealed in the coming days.
ERIC S: I haven't seen Hagerty yet.
Thanks Arizona Phil for the link - have you seen Hagerty work out this off season?
Former cub Jason Hammel to Rangers on minor league deal. There is a Des Moines shuttle and a DFW express.
Unlike many of the veteran relief pitchers on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster, Tony Barnette has minor league options left (all three) - AND - he has accrued only 3+000 MLB Service Time, so he cannot decline an Optional Assignment to the minors should there be a roster crunch at the end of Spring Training.
He also cannot decline an Outright Assignment, although he would be able to elect free-agency if he were to be outrighted.
So look for Barnette to be optioned to the minors (and - NOT - outrighted) if he does not make the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster.
Otherwise, Morrow, Strop, Cishek, Brach, Kintzler, and Duensing cannot be sent to the minors without their consent.
BTW, Barnette missed the last three months of the 2018 season with a lat strain, but he threw the ball very well in a private tryout with the Cubs in the Sloan Park bullpen in Mesa on Monday, and was subsequently offered a two-year contract by the Cubs (club option for 2020).
And a genuine truely out of nowhere signing as well: 37 year old, former 2002 Cubs first round pick Luke Hagerty back with the Cubs and reportesly dialing it up to 99 mph in bullpen sessions. Jeff Passan ESPN article link here
Never heard of new Cubs reliever Tony Barnette until this afternoon. Rangers-Cubs pipeline still in business.
Moustakas opting out was the strange move.
2 weeks before ST...
harper, machado, keuchel, kimbrel, moosetacos, m.gonzalez still FAs.
i still don't understand why kimbrel turned down his QO...time will tell...
glad this comment section is now open. i also enjoyed it.
one of my time wasting hobbies is reading old newspapers (especially late 1800s early 1900s US papers) and occasionally i'll run across a story about a sports figure i'm not familiar with or some other interesting personality. on more than a few occasions a web search has led to me to a story similar to the piece written about hollis.
it's really great to find closure out in the wild.
I enjoyed the Register piece. On BR I see Red was a teammate of Chuck Connors on the 1952 PCL Los Angeles Angels!
So Phil, who has impressed you on the Instructional group?
*laughs in hawaiian*
...at least for another week, anyway.
Speaking of cooling down, stay safe out there, Midwesterners.
it would be nice to at least have a "general discussion" thread outside of the locked threads.
having to go down 2-4-6+ posts to find the open discussion thread is a bit weird.
Sounds like they are checking out Drew Storen also. He used to be good. (from Gonzo in the Trib)
"The Cubs are expected to watch right-hander Zack Jones throw on Tuesday in Arizona, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune."
he was in the twins AA program before being released last year. he's 28.
i'm currently cooling down a 6pack on the cubs hot stove.
I dont know about posting, but I am unable to see any new comments without going to the "recent comments" section at the bottom of the page and clcking "view"
not sure why.... government shutdown?
Why is it so difficult to post on this site?
1/28 INSTRUCTS UPDATE: Nico Hoerner is participating in BP, baserunning drills, and infield practice, but he is (apparently) unable to throw overhand (he's tossing the ball underhand only). Also, he's been working out at 2B (not SS) the last few days.
The only infielders working out at SS at Instructs today were Aramis Ademan, Levi Jordan, Christopher Morel, Luis Vazquez, and Luis Verdugo. (Jordan has also worked-out at 3B and 2B previously, but the other four have played only SS).
EXTENSIVE INFIELD PRACTICE TODAY ON FIELD #5 & FIELD #6:
1B: Tyler Durna, Luke Reynolds, Jake Slaughter, and Jared Young
2B: Luis Diaz, Reivaj Garcia, Nico Hoerner, Miguel Pabon, Andy Weber, and Delvin Zinn
3B: Jhonny Bethencourt, Josue Huma, Fidel Mejia, and Yonathan Perlaza
SS: Aramis Ademan, Levi Jordan, Christopher Morel, Luis Vazquez, and Luis Verdugo
O's will not hire a bench coach for b.hyde this upcoming season. interesting...
various other coaches will assume the role collectively.
HAGSAG: The ban is still in effect, but it only applies to players under contractual control of a Mexican League club.
In common practice, most all Mexican baseball players sign "development contracts" with their local Mexican League club when they are 15 years old, binding the player to the Mexican League club, and (up until last June) allowing the club to negotiate a contract with an MLB club and receive 75% of the signing bonus.
The MLB Commissioner banning MLB clubs from signing players out of Mexico last year was as the result of the signing bonus being paid directly to the Mexican League club and then the Mexican League club paying the player 25% of the bonus and keeping the rest.
Meanwhile, the MLB club signing the Mexican player only had the percentage of the signing bonus that was actually paid by the Mexican League club to the player (25%) applied to its International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) limit, but since the system was unregulated, sometimes (as was the case with RHP Florencio Serrano Jr, signed by the Cubs in July 2017) the bonus percentage paid by the Mexican League club to the player "under the table" was actually more than 25%, even though the MLB club was only dinged for 25% of the signing bonus toward its ISBP. (Although Serrano's contract was voided by the MLB Commissioner, there was no evidence that the Cubs knew about the arrangement between Serrano and los Toros de Tijuana).
So MLB and the MLBPA want the Mexican League and its clubs to agree to a standard "release fee" system similar to what MLB has with the NPB (Japan), the KBO (Korea), and the CPBL (Taiwan), and what MLB now has with the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB).
Last December, MLB, the MLBPA, and the FCB agreed to a system whereby any Cuban player age 25 or older with at least six years of professional experience who is under contract to a FCB club can be signed by an MLB club after the MLB club pays a "release fee" to the FCB club (the fee is pre-determined by the same formula used in calculating release fees paid to NPB, KBO, and CPBL clubs), and Cuban players under age 25 and/or with less than six years of pro experience who are under contract to a FCB club can be signed by an MLB club (with the FCB club receiving the standard release fee) only with consent of the FCB club.
So far, the Mexican League has not agreed to implement this type of system, and until it does, the ban will likely remain in effect.
The Mexian League is going to have to give-in eventually, however, because Mexican League clubs are not making any money from signing bonuses while the ban is in effect. A standard release fee would be a lot less than 75% of the bonus, but it would still be better than nothing.
BTW, while there is a ban on MLB clubs signing players who are under control of Mexican League clubs, there is no prohibition on signing a player from Mexico who is an unrestricted free-agent, and MLB clubs are still permitted to loan minor league players to Mexican League clubs during the regular season (as happened with Cubs minor leaguers RHRP Mario Meza and C Ali Solis last season).
MLB.com/MLB Network is doing their top-100 live show...
they're in the 20s now, but it looks rather strongly that the only cubs top-100s are going to be
94. Miguel Amaya, C, Cubs
100. Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs
if hoerner demonstrates even a bit more power this season he should shoot up everyone's lists next off-season as long as his quality contact holds up.
AZ Phil, has the ban on signing Mexican youngsters ever been resolved? Thanks.
"Cubs signed RHP George Kontos to a minor league contract."
unless some spring cuts happen the average age of iowa's team this year is gonna be around 28-30 years old (kidding/not kidding).
a.alzolay threw his first bullpen today and supposedly feels great.
3 weeks til pitchers/catchers...
if brach is so jaded, he shouldn't have signed the contract. i can't blame the cubs brass for this.
besides, all the rumors of excessive violins in chicago is vastly overblown and some people like them if that's his concern.
Emily Litella says Brach gets traded for Ernie Broglio before the trade deadline
What will that cost as far as prospects? I'd prefer to keep them both, and hope they are useful.
I like it. Now if they can unload Kintzler or Duensing maybe they can get someting else done.