Recent comments

  • I'm old enough to remember pitchers tossing 220 + innings per year in the minors, until their arms gave out. And nobody being any the wiser. And, sometimes, 100 innings in their draft season, on top of a college workload.

    You can value pitchers, which leads to 7 or 8 man bullpens.

    Or, you can use SPs at rates currently considered unsustainable. And fewer bench bats on a 25 man roster.

    Either/or. Not both.

    tim815 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • I understand that LaStella's lack of positional flexibility makes him a tricky fit on a roster. It's still too bad that the Cubs are losing a player with an important and rare skill for pretty much nothing. I blame the trend to 13-man pitching staffs; instead of being able to carry a player or two with a unique skill--pinch running, pinch hitting, outstanding defense-- we end up with guys who can do several things, none particularly well. I'm old enough to remember Smoky Burgess--606 career PH, 145 hits (!)--and LaStella could have been up there with ol" Smokehouse had he played in a different era. 

    fullykräusened 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • The Gore deal was a cash transaction and there was no PTBNL in the Chavez trade, but otherwise, when it's a PTBNL or cash, the default cash substitute in a deal involving a player on an MLB 40-man roster is $50,000, which also happens to be the MLB waiver price. So if a club takes the cash ($50,000) instead of a player, the club can bank the $50,000 and use it to make a waiver claim at a later time. 

    Arizona Phil 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • Or cash.

    tim815 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • These PTBNL are getting really annoying.  The Cubs do it in every trade.  They still have:  Gore, Murphy, B. Wilson, La Stella, Torreyes, Smyly x2 with cash considerations/PTBNL pending in their trades.  I'm surprised the Wick for Vosler was made with out a PTBNL.  Aside from the above mentioned others the Hamels and Chavez trade last year also had PTBNL.  I know they have 6 months to complete the trade but seriously.  

    cubbies.4ever 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • I'm not a huge fan of La Stella, but seriously he's worth more than cash or PTBNL.

    cubbies.4ever 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • TLS is TTFN for a PTBNL

    erich081 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • With LaStella having been traded, I suspect the Cubs will sign either 1B-2B-3B-LF Derek Dietrich (ex-MIA) or 2B-3B-LF Cory Spangenberg (ex-SD), both of whom were released earlier this week. Both are left-handed hitters and are better defenders with more positional versatility and have more power than LaStella does, but neither Dietrich nor Spangenberg have shown they can hit cold off the bench like LaStella can. 

    Arizona Phil 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • LaStella an Angel, looks like they Avoided non-tendering him.

    nada, zip, bagoballs in return

    Cubster 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • "dead and company" playing wrigley 2 nights in a row in june...with 2 days to get the field back in shape before the cubs start a 10-day homestand.

    that should be interesting field conditions.

    crunch 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • torreyes should be a nice bench option for a middle IF'r.  you know he's gonna make contact and put the ball in play.  he's going to swing early, often, and he's not going to K or walk.  it would be nice if he had a touch more power to go with it.

    though torreyes isn't a stater type, i would be a bit more uncomfortable if i were addison russel today...especially on a team with baez, zobrist, bote, and happ.

    crunch 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • For those of you who might think the Cubs will try and sneak Ronald Torreyes through waivers, he has the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted because he is a "Super Two" player, and a "Super Two" player who has not been previously outrighted in his career has (limited) Article XX-D rights in that the player does not have the option of accepting an Outright Assignment and deferring free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. Once outrighted, a "Super Two" player has three days to decide whether to accept or decline the assignment.   

    Arizona Phil 2 months 3 weeks ago
  • Jesse Chavez not retiring out of Cub uniform as he was quoted , gets 2/8 and re-signs w Rangers.

    look elsewhere for bullpen help young jedi...

    Cubster 2 months 4 weeks ago
  • Keep in mind that clubs do not offer salary arbitration to players. A club either does or does not tender a contract to an unsigned player, and then an unsigned player who is eligible for salary arbitration either accepts or rejects the contract offer. If the player declines the contract and he is eligible for salary arbitration, he can file for arbitration in January. But it's 100% up to the player to file for arbitration, and the player can file for arbitration only if he has been tendered a contract.

    That's why clubs sometimes make last-minute (right at the contract tender deadline) "take it or leave it" contract offers to unsigned players who are eligible for salary arbitration. Either the player signs prior to the tender deadline (to "avoid arbitration" is sometimes how it is referenced short-hand in the media), or he gets non-tendered because the club does not want to take the chance that the player might file for arbitration and then win in a hearing, costing the club more (sometimes considerably more) than what the club feels the player is worth.  

    Arizona Phil 2 months 4 weeks ago
  • There has been some discussion at a couple of other Cubs blogs about the possible advantages of the Cubs acquiring OF Yasmany Tomas from Arizona in order to reduce the Cubs payroll AAV in 2019 and 2020, but I think the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) rules have been a bit misunderstood. 

    If a player signed to a major league contract was outrighted to the minors prior to December 1, 2016 (the date the current CBA went into effect), his contract AAV does - NOT - count against his club's current CBT (luxury tax) liability, but if a player signed to a major league contract was sent outright to the minors on or after December 1, 2016, his contract AAV - DOES - count toward his club's current CBT (luxury tax) liability even though the player is no longer on an MLB 40-man roster.  

    So (for example), OF Rusney Castillo's contract AAV ($10.35M) does - NOT - count against the Red Sox current CBT (luxury tax) liability and RHP Yaisel Sierra's contract AAV ($5M) and INF Erisbel Arruebarrena's contract AAV ($6.5M) do - NOT - count against the Dodgers current CBT (luxury tax) liability because all three were sent outright to the minors prior to December 1, 2016, but Yasmany Tomas's contract AAV ($11.41M) - DOES - count against the Diamondbacks' current CBT (luxury tax) liability because he was sent outright to the minors in April 2018. 

    However, if a player who was sent outright to the minors prior to 12-1-2016 is added back to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) anytime on or after 12-1-2016, the player's remaining contract AAV is subject to his club's CBT (luxury tax) liability. Which is why Castillo, Sierra, and Arruebarrena are buried in the minor leagues and will likely remain there until their contracts expire.  

    Bottom line is, if the Cubs were to acquire Yasmany Tomas (for example) from the Diamondbacks and take on Tomas's remaining salary ($32.5M combined in 2019-20), the AAV hit on the Cubs CBT (luxury tax) liability would be $11.41M (- NOT - $0) in both 2019 and 2020 (same as it is for the Diamondbacks right now) because Tomas was outrighted to the minors after December 1, 2016, and the actual salary to be paid over the two seasons would be $32.5M (which is about $9.5M more than the contract's AAV because his annual salary has gradually escalated over the length of the contract).

    So a Tyler Chatwood for Yasmany Tomas swap would only save the Cubs about $1.25M in AAV in 2019 and the same in 2020 (Tomas's contract AAV is $11.41M and Chatwood's contract AAV is $12.67M) while the Cubs would have to pay about $7M more in actual salary over the same two years 2019-20 (the difference between Tomas's and Chatwood's actual salaries 2019-20). Would the D'backs go for that? Of course they would. But the Cubs would be fools to make a trade like that (very minimal payroll AAV relief in 2019 and 2020 offset by $7M in additional salaries in 2019-20 paid to a player they don't need).

    Now, if the deal was Tomas for Chatwood and Brandon Kintzler, the aggregate salaries would just about exactly cancel each other out with slight benefit to the D'backs ($30.5M for Chatwood and Kintzler vs. $32.5M for Tomas 2019-20) and the Cubs would be able to subtract almost $6.25M in payroll AAV in 2019 ($11.41M for Tomas vs $17.67M combined for Chatwood and Kintzler) and $1.5M in 2020 (Tomas vs Chatwood only). This version would still be fairly appealing to the D'backs because they would save $2M and it would also be appealing to the Cubs because of the payroll AAV savings that could possibly help them get under the CBT threshold in 2019 and save them having to pay a luxury tax (but only if it's close and the payroll AAV saved by trading Chatwood and Kintzler for Tomas actually makes a difference between paying a CBT tax or not paying a CBT tax).

    And if the deal was Tomas for Chatwood, Kintzler, and Brian Duensing, the aggregate salaries would still just about exactly cancel each other out with slight benefit to the Cubs ($34M for Chatwood, Kintzler, and Duensing vs. $32.5M for Tomas 2019-20) and the Cubs would be able to subtract almost $9.75M in payroll AAV in 2019 ($11.41M for Tomas vs. $21.17M combined for Chatwood, Kintzler, and Duensing) and $1.5M in 2020 (Tomas vs. Chatwood only). This version is probably not as appealing to the D'backs because they have to add $1.5M in salaries combined 2019-20 instead of subtracting $2M, but it would be VERY appealing to the Cubs even if Tomas spends the next two seasons at AAA and never sees MLB, just because of the substantial payroll AAV savings. And it wouldn't cost the Cubs any additional salary to bring Tomas up to Chicago in September when rosters expand and then outright him back to the minors after the season. His contract is guaranteed and the payroll AAV hit is the same whether he's playing in AAA or in MLB. 

    Arizona Phil 2 months 4 weeks ago
  • At least Clarkin hasn't had to find a new house.  Just has to remember which side of town to drive to.

    cubbies.4ever 2 months 4 weeks ago
  • The Ian Clarkin era has ended for now.  Reclaimed on waivers by the White Sox.

    QuietMan 2 months 4 weeks ago
  • so far, all i can tell from off-season rumors is the yankees are going to sign everyone except m.machado unless they happen to sign m.machado.

    also, the cardinals are going to sign or trade for everyone, too.

    crunch 3 months 4 hours ago
  • I was less-surprised that the Cubs placed LHP Andres Bonalde on the AAA Iowa reserve list after missing two full seasons for medical reasons than I was the Cubs placing infielders Rafael Narea and Yeiler Peguero and outfielder Luis Ayala on the AAA roster instead of RHP Enrique de los Rios, LHP Riger Fernandez, and LHP Yapson Gomez. 

    While the Cubs (obviously) value Narea, Peguero, and Ayala more than they do de los Rios, Fernandez, and Gomez, the general rule-of-thumb when deciding which Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to place on the AAA roster and which to place on the AA roster is that (all things being more-or-less equal) pitchers trump position players, especially if it's a position player whose ceiling would appear to be AA utility infielder or AA 4th OF. 

    Arizona Phil 3 months 1 day ago
  • For those of you who follow the Cubs farm system, after AA Tennessee SS Carlos Penalver was released in May, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed the light-hitting defensive whiz with a plus-arm and converted him to a RHP, and they were favorably impressed enough with what they saw of him in the AZL to offer Penalver a 2019 minor league successor contract (which he signed). 

    Meanwhile the Cubs converted two of their AZL outfielders to pitcher during the summer (Ruben Reyes is now a LHP amd Jose Alejandro Gonzalez is now a RHP), and both are eligible for selection in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft.  

    Arizona Phil 3 months 1 day ago
  • Some of you may have noticed that LHP Andres Bonalde was placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on Tuesday, making him eligible for selection only in the Major League Phase. He is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft this year because he was signed (as a 16-year old J-2 IFA out of Venezuela) in July 2014.

    Now 20, the lanky 6'6 lefty missed the 2017 season after almost dying from complications from appendicitis suffered while at the Cubs Dominican Academy during Spring Training (he had to be flown to the U. S. after his condition worsened), and then he missed the 2018 season after undergoing left elbow surgery this past April (probably TJS, but I'm not sure). So he spent the entire 2018 season at the Cubs UAPC in Mesa but he was unable to participate in field drills. 

    Even though he missed two full seasons and has yet to pitch in the AZL, the Cubs still consider him to be a legit LHSP prospect. 

    BTW, if you are wondering how the Cubs themselves value certain minor leaguers in their own organization, just examine the AAA Iowa and AA Tennessee reserve lists and see which Rule 5 Draft-eligible pitchers and position players were placed on the Iowa roster (making them eligible for selection only in the Major League Phase - $100,000 draft price with the possibility the player could be re-claimed later) and which ones were placed on the Tennessee roster (making them eligible for selection in the AAA Phase - $24,000 draft price with no right to re-claim).

    Arizona Phil 3 months 1 day ago
  • CUBSTER: I've never met Tommy Hottovy. 

    Arizona Phil 3 months 2 days ago
  • I would expect the Cubs to try and sign 2B-3B-LF Cory Spangenberg to a minor league contract with an NRI to ST once he clears Release Waivers. If the Cubs sign him he would essentially replace Jason Vosler at Iowa, and he could get a call-up at some point in 2019 (he has one minor league option left if he were to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster).   

    Spangenberg was the 1st round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2011 (one slot below Javier Baez) back when Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were running the Padres, so there is that connection.  

    Arizona Phil 3 months 2 days ago
  • Cubster 3 months 3 days ago
  • Jacob Cruz has left the Cubbies as their minor league hitting coordinator to become the Pirates assistant hitting coach.

    Hagsag 3 months 3 days ago
  • "Danny Farquhar (head) has been medically cleared to return to baseball activities."

    nice.  scary stuff behind him...

    crunch 3 months 3 days ago
  •  Behind the scenes wheels are turning. Radio interview w Gordon Wittenmeyer speculated that it took a few weeks to negotiate a save face exit for Hickey.

    Anyone like Tommy Hottovy as a coaching staff addition? AZ Phil, have you interacted w Hot Tom? Theo/Boston regime roots, as he was drafted by Red Sox way back when (2004). Lefty pitcher.

    He been an advanced scout and currently the run prevention coordinator for the Cubs and been in the organization since 2014.

    Cubster 3 months 4 days ago
  • jdmym: I don't know why the Mets decided to release Mejia when they did. AlI I can tell you is that a club must place a player back on the MLB 40-man roster no more than 14 days after he is reinstated from the Restricted List if he is reinstated after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, and no more than 30 days after being reinstated from the Restricted List if he is reinstated prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season. So if I had to guess I would say that Mejia was probably reinstated from the Restricted List on 11/6, so that he would either have to be added back to the Mets MLB 40-man roster or released by 11/20. Or maybe it has nothing to do with some rule, and they're just tired of his act and want him gone ASAP and it just happened to be 11/20.  

    Arizona Phil 3 months 4 days ago
  • well then...damn.

    hope everyone in the hickey universe is healthy and this is just some burn-out or "want more personal time" thing.

    crunch 3 months 5 days ago
  • Cubs Pitching Coach Jim Hickey resigns for "personal reasons." 

    Arizona Phil 3 months 5 days ago
  • Cubs claim Ian Clarkin, presumably to run back through waivers. 

    bradsbeard 3 months 5 days ago
  • Hey Phil any insight on the Mets releasing Jenrry Mejia? Curious as to why they would get him off the restricted list now instead of waiting until the non tender date.

    jdrnym 3 months 5 days ago
  • adrian beltre announces his retirement.

    next stop, hall of fame.

    crunch 3 months 5 days ago
  • yanks pick up james paxton for the 1st big trade of the off-season.

    yanks and rsox are gonna beat the crap out of each other on the way to the playoffs next year.

    didn't come cheap...justus sheffield + more on the way to the M's.

    crunch 3 months 6 days ago
  • foot sprain, no break.  good for it put a shadow over his big moment.

    crunch 3 months 1 week ago
  • braves prospect braxton davidson hurt his foot jumping around on his way to home plate after a walkoff homer in the AFL championship game.  he had to be helped off the field, unable to put any weight on his foot.


    also, this year's AFL all-star game and championship game were A+ stuff.

    crunch 3 months 1 week ago
  • HAGSAG: Expanding from six to ten teams would mean that three (rather than five) MLB organizations would be affiliated with each of the AFL teams, with each club sending seven or eight pitchers and five or six position players to their AFL affiliate instead of four pitchers and three or four position players as is the case now. 

    If it's just a schedule expansion (which at this point is all that is likely to happen in 2019), AFL rosters will probably have to be expanded so that each of the five MLB clubs that contribute players to a particular AFL team would send five pitchers instead of four. Attrition of pitching would be the biggest problem if the schedule is expanded from six weeks to eight weeks and from 30 games to 40. 

    Arizona Phil 3 months 1 week ago
  • If there is an expansion of the league, will teams be able to have more players on their roster?

    Hagsag 3 months 1 week ago
  • BRADSBEARD:  A player cannot be assigned to the AFL on an Article XIX-C Minor League Injury Rehabilitation Assignment, but a player can be assigned to the AFL after he has been reinstated from the DL.

    So even with the AFL moving up the start of the season two weeks (which would be one week prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season), a player on an MLB DL will not be able to play in the AFL unless and until the player is reinstated from the DL. (Up until a couple or three years ago, a player was not eligible to play in the AFL if he was on an MLB or minor league DL as of August 1st or was placed on an MLB or minor league DL after August 1st, but that was one of several AFL eligiblity rules that have been relaxed or just plain eliminated).   

    Here is how Kyle Schwarber was able to play (albeit very briefly) in the AFL in 2016:  

    1. OCTOBER 22: Schwarber is reinstated from the Cubs MLB 60-day DL, LHP Giovanni Soto is Designated for Assignment to make room on the 40 for Schwarber, and Schwarber is assigned to the AFL Mesa Solar Sox "Taxi Squad"; 
    2. OCTOBER 22 & 24: Schwarber serves as DH for the Mesa Solar Sox (two games); 
    3. OCTOBER 25: After serving as a DH in two AFL games, Schwarber is flown from Scottsdale Airport in Arizona to Cleveland via private jet just in time to be placed on the Cubs World Series Active List (25-man roster) prior to the start of Game #1.  

    In order for Schwarber to be eligible to play in the AFL and then in the World Series, he could not be replaced on the Cubs 2016 Post-Season Eligibility List by another player prior to the start of the NLDS or NLCS. Fortunately the Cubs kept their options open and did not replace Schwarber with another player, even though it was pretty much assumed that he was out for the year and would not be able to play in the post-season. 

    Arizona Phil 3 months 1 week ago
  • Would startinng the AFL in September provide any rehab opportunities for MLB players who are ready to come off the DL but miss the end of the minor league season, or would the rules prevent that (I know Schwarber was able to somehow)?

    bradsbeard 3 months 1 week ago
  • AFL comes to an end...good showings by some kiddo cubbies hitters...

    n.hoener - .337/.362/.506 (4 doubles, 4 triples, 1hr)

    t.giambrone - .327/.400/.490 (2 doubles, 2hr - part time player)

    impressive, but AFL tends to favor the hitters and neither showing stands out from the league.

    as far as the pitching goes, while there were some bright spots (including some decent streaks) none of the cubs AFL pitchers made a spectacular showing.

    crunch 3 months 1 week ago
  • c.yelich wins NL MVP with 29/30 votes (degrom with the other)

    baez finishes 2nd...arenado 3rd

    crunch 3 months 1 week ago
  • I just wouldn't presume to have any relationship to these players at all.

    They're all commodities to me, except Rizzo (for some reason).

    VirginiaPhil 3 months 1 week ago
  • HAGSAG: Just the same as I have listed in the post above. Justin Steele (and Trevor Clifton and Jason Vosler) are likely to be added to the MLB 40-man roster, and P. J. Higgins, Jhonny Pereda, and Erick Leal are still "on the bubble" (meaning could be added to the 40 depending on how many roster slots the Cubs allocate to Rule 5 Draft eligibles). Last year the Cubs added three Rule 5 Draft eligibles to the 40 prior to the 11/20 deadline (Adbert Alzolay, David Bote, and Oscar de la Cruz). 

    Steele solidified his spot with what he showed the Cubs in AFL games, and Leal improved his stock with his AFL work. However, Leal could end up like Pedro Araujo last year (who, like Leal, pitched well in the AFL despite never pitching above Hi-A), meaning he will be left off the 40 and then get selected in the Rule 5 Draft. 

    Arizona Phil 3 months 1 week ago
  • Big up congrats to John Beasley, who smoked the whole stinkin' lot of us with his 2018 predictions:

    Also, the deadline for the Free Agents Predictions is Monday. Hurry up before anyone else comes off the board!

    CTSteve 3 months 1 week ago
  • AZ Phil, after seeing the players in the AFL, who do you see the Cubs adding to the major league roster? Are there any sleepers that might be a surprize?

    Hagsag 3 months 1 week ago
  • Well the D-backs sure dodged a bullet with AJ turning down the QO. I can't imagine Pollock will get offered more than $50M on a 3 or 4 year contract to trigger compensation to AZ, but stranger things sure have happened in past offseasons. 

    Lester's rattle... 3 months 1 week ago
  • s.ohtani AL ROY

    r.acuna NL ROY

    crunch 3 months 1 week ago
  • aj pollock turns down his QO (17.9m)

    he hit .257/.316/.484 in his 3rd injury shortened season in a row (21 HR).

    he does play a legit good CF, but wow...that's a hell of a risk.  i mean, someone will give him a multi-season deal, but it seems he's looking to snag it at the expense of one hell of a single-season pay day.

    ...ryu accepted his QO.  d.keuchel, p.corbin, y.grandal, and b.harper turned theirs down (as expected).  c.kimbrel is gonna roll the dice after he rejected his offer.  kimbrel turned down one hell of a single-season payday in search of a multi-year deal, himself.

    crunch 3 months 1 week ago
  • n.arenado beats out baez for the NL "platinum glove" award.

    crunch 3 months 2 weeks ago