Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

59 players are at MLB Spring Training 

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full) 
19 players are MLB Spring Training NON-ROSTER INVITEES (NRI) 

Last updated 2-6-2024
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 22
Yency Almonte
Adbert Alzolay 
Michael Arias
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Jose Cuas
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge
* Bailey Horn
* Shota Imanaga
Caleb Kilian
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Julian Merryweather
Hector Neris 
Daniel Palencia
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski 
* Jordan Wicks

NRI PITCHERS: 11 
Colten Brewer 
Chris Clarke 
Carl Edwards Jr 
* Edwin Escobar 
* Richard Lovelady 
Sam McWilliams 
* Thomas Pannone 
Ethan Roberts 
Cam Sanders 
Riley Thompson 
* Brad Wieck 

CATCHERS: 2
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

NRI CATCHERS: 4  
Jorge Alfaro 
Pablo Aliendo
Joe Hudson 
* Bryce Windham

INFIELDERS: 9
* Michael Busch 
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Matt Mervis
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

NRI INFIELDERS: 3 
David Bote 
Matt Shaw 
Chase Strumpf 

OUTFIELDERS: 7
Kevin Alcantara
Alexander Canario
* Pete Crow-Armstrong
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman 

NRI OUTFIELDERS: 1 
* Owen Caissie  
 



Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Eight Cubs Eligible for 2014 Salary Arbitration

An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration. Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group.

If a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration cannot agree on a contract, the player can request the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to file for salary arbitration.

The MLBPA is responsible for delivering all requests for salary arbitration to the MLB Labor Relations Department (MLB LRD) on the Tuesday immediately prior to the third Friday in January. Once salary arbitration has been requested, the player submits his desired salary to the MLBPA and the club submits its salary offer to the MLB LRD, and the MLBPA and MLB LRD exchange the two figures on the third Friday in January. The MLBPA and MLB LRD then schedule a hearing with a three-person arbitration panel. Hearings are held on various dates during the first three weeks of February.

The club's offer must be at least the MLB minimum salary and, in most cases, must be at least 80% of the player's previous year's salary and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back. However, if the player received a raise in excess of 50% by a salary arbitration panel the previous season, a 20% maximum salary reduction from the previous season and a 30% maximum salary reduction from two seasons back does not apply, and the club only has to offer at least the MLB minimum salary.

After arbitration has been requested, the player and the club can continue to negotiate back & forth, and the player can withdraw from the process any time up until the hearing. And in fact this frequently happens, as the player and the club will often agree to just "split the difference" (something the panel cannot do). If the matter does go to a hearing, the arbitration panel must choose either the club's offer or the player's figure.

Win or lose, the player is awarded a standard one-year MLB contract with no "minor league split" salary or incentive/performance bonuses. Also, the contract is not guaranteed, so if the player is released during Spring Training, the club would only owe the player 30 days or 45 days salary as termination pay, depending on when the player is released. (A player on an MLB 40-man roster receives 100% of what remains of his salary if he is released during the regular season).

NOTE: The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is very sensitive about salary arbitration, so if a player who was awarded a contract through the salary arbitration process is released during Spring Training, the MLBPA will almost always file a grievance on behalf of the player, claiming the player was released for economic reasons only (which is not permitted), and asking that the released player receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. In that situation, a club would have to show (by submitting official Spring Training game stats) that the released player was out-performed in Spring Training games by another player (or players) competing for that roster spot.

CUBS ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION
Darwin Barney
, INF (1st time eligible - $562K 2013 salary) 
Justin Ruggiano, OF (1st time eligible - $494,500 2013 salary)
James Russell, LHP (2nd time eligible - agreed to $1.075M 2013 salary pre-arbitration hearing)
Jeff Samardzija, RHP (2nd time eligible - agreed to $2.625M 2013 salary pre-arbitration hearing)
Nate Schierholtz, OF (3rd time eligible - $2.75M 2013 salary including $500K performance bonus - signed as non-tendereed FA post-2012)
Pedro Strop, RHP (1st time eligible - is a "Super Two" - $502,500 2013 salary) 
Luis Valbuena, INF (2nd time eligible - agreed to $930K 2013 salary pre-arbitration hearing)
Travis Wood, LHP (1st time eligible - $527,500 2013 salary) 


Again, if the salary dispute gets to an arbitration panel, the panel must choose either the player's salary request or the club's salary offer, so it is important for the player & his agent to request a salary figure at what they estimate would be the top end salary-range of what a comparable player (based on statistics) in what is now the player's class (based on MLB Service Time) received the previous season and/or comparable to what a player in the same class as the player is being paid in 2014 if the other player signed a multi-year contract and is thus not eligible for salary arbitration. Meanwhile, the club must make sure to offer a salary at what it estimates to be the low-end of the salary range of what a player in that class received in 2013 or the salary of what a player in the player's same class will be receiving in 2014 for players signed to multi-year contracts (like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, for example).   

The player or his agent present his statistics (offense & defense for position players, and pitching stats for pitchers) in the best-light possible, and the club's representative presents the player's stats in as bad a light as possible. The player and/or the club can attempt to offer advanced metrics if it wants to go that route, but remember, Bill James and Tom Tango are not arbitrators. And then the arbitration panel makes a determination based upon the evidence presented by both sides. 

LIKELY PROJECTED 2014 SALARY ARBITRATION NUMBERS (PLAYER REQUEST v. CLUB OFFER)
Samardzija - $6M requested v. $4.5M offered
Schierholtz - $5M requested v. $4M offered
Wood - $4M requested v. $2.75M offered
Barney - $2.75M requested v. $2M offered
Russell - $2.25M requested v. $1.5M offered
Valbuena - $2M requested v. $1.25M offered
Ruggiano - $2M requested v. $1.25M offered
Strop - $1.5M requested v. $1M offered

 

Comments

the yearly p.sandoval weight drop report...before he "somehow" packs it all back on and then some by may or june... "Pablo Sandoval told Rafael Rojas of LasMayores.com Tuesday that he's lost 42 pounds this offseason."

Tribune's Mark Gonzales discusses plan B options if the Cubs don't sign Tanaka and says Cubs might be looking at Paul Maholm again and "groom" Carlos Villaneueva for a starter role. Next...Can Jose Guzman, Jose Guzman please come out of retirement to save the 2014 Cubs?

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

FA pitchers still available

Tanaka, Santana, Ubaldo, Garza, Burnett (probably retiring), Arroyo

Maholm, Hammel, J. Williams, Marcum, Karstens, Roberto Hernandez aka Fausto Carmona, Harang, Marquis, Westbrook, Baker, Johan Santana

PS - How is Grady Sizemore not a Cub yet? Maybe he's holding out for guaranteed money again, but seems there's room for him and possesses the preferred skillset.

[ ]

In reply to by QuietMan

P. Johnson ahead of CJ Edwards?

bold move Cotton

(granted, #6 over #7)

also weary of someone's list that is worried about Alcantara being behind Castro and Baez at shortstop since he played 64 games at 2b in AA last year and will be at 2b in Iowa to start season

Chris Coghlan signs minor league deal with Cubs with spring training invite. $800K if he makes team plus $250K in PA bonuses, can opt out by 6/15 if not in the majors.

McLeod says Bryant will likely start season in AA, Baez at SS in Iowa, Soler and Almora TBD.

/grain of salt alert

Jeff Passan on Chicago radio saying that talking to others "in baseball", that Cubs front office is saying they're not getting the money they expected from ownership, not just for players but other areas as well (research, scouting, player development). Says Ricketts stand is that even when TV deals and renovations are complete, money won't come for players until team starts winning.

If true, TheJedi will certainly leave when contracts are up in 3 years or work themselves into another job before then.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

I have guessed this over the last year - and have also intimated this in email corresp. with ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell (also a STH). Neither of us felt that TheoJed realized, a. how fucked up the organization was in terms of talent, and, b. that the money just wasn't gonna be there for them. In short, Theo did not know this was gonna be the deal when he signed up for the job. Further, I happen to think he is goddamned tired of having to apologize constantly for what the fans are paying to see. He is an egoist, and hates to lose as much or more than we do. I would not be surprised in the least if he resigns or just splits after the contract is up if things do not materially change. The Passan "story" is nothing more than what I have been suspecting for some time. Like all things Cubs, I "hope I'm wrong".

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In reply to by The E-Man

"a. how fucked up the organization was in terms of talent" So one of the brightest and analytical minds in baseball with unlimited access to reports and studies via internet, numerous mlb contacts did not know the Cubs were "fucked up" in talent when he signed? Then yes we are all fucked.

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In reply to by The E-Man

Some of us have been talking about Ricketts this off season with this general theme, and it's related to the short thread Joe Pepitone started in another post, about the whole Zell shenanigans. Things really started going south the moment Zell got the team as part of his disgustingly leveraged Tribune purchase, and in selling the team to the Ricketts clan he was able to get MLB to gloss over really crappy terms. MLB really screwed Cubs fans by letting Zell push them around the way he did. I don't quite understand why the Ricketts were okay with buying an MLB team under those conditions - I know ego obviously plays a big role but they let themselves get handcuffed financially, and they're going to take a lot of heat for not pouring money into the team in a way that other big market teams do. The thing about sports is that the owners aren't the only losers when the crowds start to look like Marlins crowds. There's a lot of Cubs fans out there in the world, many of whom have probably moved on already. And as for getting young kids, building that fan base of the future, it's not happening. Kids don't give a shit about mascots. They want their heroes, even when those heroes are juiced. So the story makes sense in light of the financials. I'm sure that Theo went through the motions on Tanaka, but I doubt his heart was in it. He knows that at the end of the day, the Ricketts will not pull the trigger on a deal that can come close to matching the Yankees and Dodgers. I'm not even sure that's a bad thing in this case. A 7 year $100 million+ contract (my guess) for a guy who has never pitched a game in the MLB seems idiotic no matter how good he was in Japan.

[ ]

In reply to by Old and Blue

I'm stunned by all of this Zell 5% interest leveraging talk. That said a.) is this irrefutable fact at this point? b.) more importantly has anyone calculated what a maximum salary number for the cubs might be under the Zell restrictions? If this is all true, it's majorly fucked.

"Pitcher C.J. Edwards would like to add at least 20 pounds to his 6-2, 155-pound frame. At Tuesday's Blackhawks' game, Edwards said he ate "an Italian sausage, cheese fries, Sprite, Coke and a hot dog with cheese on it."" diabetes vs coronary heart disease...awesome.

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In reply to by crunch

As a young guy with a high metabolism, I also struggled to put on bulk even when I was lifting weights intensely and eating like it was work. Junk food didn't really help anything. I finally managed to put on a little bit of weight when I learned to rest more between workouts and get more sleep, in addition to eating a lot of lean proteins. But some guys are just going to have a very hard time putting on weight. That said, Edwards weighs what I weigh when I'm in good condition, and I'm 5'9" if I stand up straight. Naps and yams, Edwards, and learn to love the standard squat.

replay approved

"HR, gr rule double, fan interference, boundary calls, force play (minus neighborhood), tag, fair/foul, trap, HBP, timing play, touching a base, passing runners, and record keeping"

"Nuts and bolts of replay: Mgr. gets one challenge. If he wins, gets a second. Max of two. Umpires can replay anything 7th inning or later."

I'm sure a decent article on it is forthcoming...

[ ]

In reply to by Carlito

don't think that'll be an issue...

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/mlb-approves-expanded-instant-repla…

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10305223/mlb-owners-ok-expanded-repla…

https://twitter.com/MLB_PR/status/423905980225572864/photo/1

In the ESPN article it says, if a manager has used up his challenges, umpires can initiate their own replay if they wish and it's before the 7th inning. On home runs, they can still request a review regardless of # of challenges left or inning (and what was it? like a dozen for the whole season last year).  Replays will be done NHL style at a central office at MLBAM headquarters in NY though, rather than having it in the stadium.

Also, stadiums can now show real-time replays up to two times on close plays (no slo-mos), which is nice for the fans.

Managers can have a line of communication with their own clubhouse as well to see if they should challenge.

There will be issues and they will get hammered out at the glacial pace that MLB works at. The only abuse I can see is a manager without challenges left, delaying the game in hopes that a stadium replay or clubhouse replay will get umpires to call for a review on their own.

But if it's anything like the NFL, there will be times you're wondering why managers are wasting a challenge and times when you'll be wondering why they aren't using one. Unlike football there's no timeouts to lose, so I imagine managers will use it on the first questionable call in a game, no reason to maybe keep them if there's little consequence beyond possibly not having one. Maybe in September and October they may get a little more frugal with them. All part of the fun I suppose...

@jaysonst

In non-replay news, amazing how many owners in Ariz. were convinced #Cubs are ready to blow away the field & sign Tanaka to a monster deal.

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In reply to by Carlito

I have a long standing bias against mega contracts for free agent pitchers but what the hell. We need some news, and it would sort of put to bed the idea that the Ricketts won't spend. At this point, I'd be all for it. Luckily, it's not my money. Based on all the wacky finances, I'm not sure whose money it is, but I do know it's not mine.

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In reply to by Carlito

Tanaka easily worth +20 wins I think :)

contract structure will be fascinating on this, agent is absolutely gonna demand some sort of opt-out after 4-5 years or ability to renegotiate with player being in control of terms. Cubs would ideally want to backload contract to take advantage of future potential revenue streams, but also understand that means it would be harder to move contract later.

I'm guessing average 5/120 deal, not including $20M posting fee...a #3 pitcher wrapped in ace clothing (maybe a #2).

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In reply to by Carlito

maybe, but if he's going good, every player/agent will opt out and go for the long term dollars on a new 4-6 year deal rather than take the 2 years left or so. If he's not going good, he'll get $25M+ for being a 10-15M pitcher (or worse).

Hard to know until you start seeing some specifics...

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In reply to by Rob G.

At this point I think I would be okay with 8/200 for Tanaka. Signing him to be the staff ace will result in the team paying up for a Samardzija extension. Going into 2015 the team would be: Rizzo/Baez/Castro/Bryant/Castillo ??/Sweeney/?? Tanaka/Samardzija/Wood/Jackson/Arrieta or Hendricks With Almora/Soler and whoever else knocking on the door Provided we can sign a strong LF and platoon mate for Ruggiano or other stop gap OF that team is in the thick of it next season. If we don't get Tanaka I think it puts the nail in the coffin on a Samardzija deadline trade, potentially moving any kind of relevancy to 2016 at earliest.

[ ]

In reply to by Jumbo

At this point I think I would be okay with 8/200 for Tanaka. Signing him to be the staff ace will result in the team paying up for a Samardzija extension.

I don't see what one has to do with the other. They'll continue to offer Samardzija what they think is fair and no more than 5 years. Doubt they'll go over 5 years on Tanaka either (okay maybe 6), that's always been their motto. Any longer will have to be a mutual or club option, although Tanka is going to want some sort of opt out anyway.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

To me, landing Tanaka would create a bit more urgency to fill out the rotation and, though I didn't say so before, make Samardzija give a little on his demands since he sees the commitment to win showing up now instead of years from now. You're probably right, though. Theo and Jed have likely set a value and will not vary from it. Though I think they'll eventually have to decide if they would pay "just money" for a Samardzija type in free agency and realize they can do so now.

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In reply to by Jumbo

i think all the talk of retaining ninja if tanaka comes on isn't going to happen, myself. i kinda think tanaka is where ninja's loot would be going if this deal with tanaka got done. it seems ninja/cubs can't get close to a deal. i don't expect to see him around after june/july (if not sooner) if tanaka signs. just speculation on my part...i got nothing pointing in any direction.

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In reply to by crunch

I tend to see the reasoning behind the if Tanaka then Samardija formula. If the Cubs are going to be a losing team in 2014, 2015, and maybe 2016, then they are definitely sellers when it comes to Samardzija. But if they might be in contention in 2015 and 2016, then selling on Samardzija to get players who won't even see the majors until 2016 or 2017 makes a whole lot less sense. Tanaka, should he prove a #1 or #2 pitcher, puts the Cubs a good bit closer to being a decent team. That still doesn't mean the Cubs would be willing to pay Samardzija ace money if that's what he's holding out for, but then I'm not sure anyone will.

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In reply to by Cubster

It was every April and I think VA Phil got the comps backwards, although it certainly played out more like he wrote them.

Regardless, he brought much needed OBP skills to those lineups and he always started off well. Didnt live up to the hype or contract, but better than Jacque or Bradley.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Jacque had a decent offensive first year with the Cubs, and turned out to be a serviceable defensive CF in his second year. I always remember him being way worse than he was. I think years 1 & 2 of both him and Fukudome give each other a pretty good run for their money. The problem with both is that they were vastly overpaid for what they actually produced. On Schierholtz deals, they'd have been acceptable. If we're going with better than Bradley, I mean, who doesn't come out smelling like roses?

for what little it's worth, Kosukue bWAR as a Cub starting in 2008

0.5, 2.1, 1.1, 1.2

Jacque's starting in 2006

1.2, 0.4

okay, both just really sucked

so beyond Kosuke's 2009, they both were barely useful and Kosuke was far more expensive

think Fangraphs estimates about $6M on the open market for a win (2013 prices, so even cheaper back then) so yeah, ugh...

Thank God for Bruce Levine- Cubs have "of money" with tons more "coming in future" Says Giants dark horse for Tanaka.

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In reply to by jacos

The funding for schools isn't the issue. The Cubs Booster's of Central IL raise money through the cravan every year, donating to local little leagues, and giving scholarships money for Bradley, and Illinoic Central College.

@GDubCub 2m

Four arb Cubs left: Smarj (filed $6.2m; club filed at $4.4m), Wood ($4.25m-$$3.5m), Barney ($2.8m-$1.8m), Ruggiano ($2.45m-$1.6m).

Schierholtz got $5M, Russell 1.775M, Strop 1.35M, Valbuena 1.71M

Sahadev Sharma‏@sahadevsharma Talked to Mike Olt for a while, said his eye issues are a thing of the past and 2013 was an aberration. "You don't just forget how to hit."

Levine saying Cubs have made offer to Tanaka and that Japanese population important factor to him and his wife..

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In reply to by Cubster

"According to Nikkan Sports in Japan, five teams made formal offers -- nearly all of them worth more than $100 million over six years -- to Masahiro Tanaka on January 16." damn. cubs, wsox, dodgers, yanks, arizona the expected front-runners...could be a "surprise" team in there...

Theo puts to bed any issues with the ownership (at least publicly)

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/while-waiting-tanaka-decision-theo-defen…

“This is the best thing about the Ricketts and their commitment to the Cubs: They know that they’re going to own this club for generations and generations,” Epstein said. “So they are willing to take the hit now and take some of the heat now and be on the back page of the Sun-Times. Because they know they’re doing the right things to lay the foundation, to get things right, to turn this into a franchise they can be proud of for generations and generations.

 “I am more proud of them for their willingness to take that heat and stick to their plan than if they panicked the first time their name was dragged through the mud publicly and said: ‘We can’t do this. We need to put lipstick on this. We need to find some quick fixes just to keep the fans and media at bay. They’re dragging the Ricketts name through the mud.’

“They’re in this for the long haul. And because of that, they’re allowing us to lay the foundation.”

~snip~

“The last couple years we’ve spent every single dollar available to us by this point in the offseason,” Epstein said. “We’ve kept a little bit of our powder dry. We’re always looking for opportunities to add impact players who are the right age. So you want to put yourself in a position to have a chance to do that.

“Our strategy this offseason has been, in part, to allow us to deliver an impact young player if he happens to be out there. And if not, maybe this is the year where we don’t spend all the money that we have and we look forward to spending it on the baseball team — on major league players — down the line when it makes sense.

“We’re not going to spend just to spend. But we want to put ourselves in a position to make the right decisions to help build this young core we have developed.”

Muskat has some interesting quotes too... http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2014/01/18/118-cubs-convention-notes/ Kenney stuff:
Kenney said he did not regret the way the contract was set up with the rooftop owners, in which they give a percentage of their earnings to the team. “You have to go back to the landmarking — that’s what I regret,” Kenney said. “This situation was created by the landmarking of the bleachers. We fought it to the end and we lost.” He said the landmark status meant they could not put any signs in the outfield ever. What changed this summer was that the landmarking was amended. Now, the landmark commission recognizes that the outfield is not a historic feature and the team can add signage. “That was the big win last summer, among many, and that’s what the rooftops would contest,” Kenney said. “Essentially their contest is, can you un-landmark a building. We think you can, and in fact, the city council did this summer. That’s what we want to make sure doesn’t delay the project.”

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In reply to by Cubster

and Muskat cites Theo...
Epstein said the team made a mistake in promoting Brett Jackson to the big leagues when the Cubs did. Jackson was called up because Dale Sveum wanted to prioritize his swing development, but Epstein said the outfielder may have been better served staying in the Minor Leagues. Epstein said they promoted Josh Vitters at the same time because they wanted to learn more about him as a player. Both will be in Spring Training camp.
I recall Theo did say Vitters is now a LF and will be in the spring camp to compete for a job. Looking at the 40man, he's got to make it as an extra right handed bat, so his main competition is Justin Ruggiano. Junior Lake should make it based on his 2013 performance. From the TCR sidebar, we probably should re-categorize Vitters from one of the ten infielders and put him with 7, now 8 OF's. Lake, Ruggiano, Schierholtz and Sweeney will make the club barring trades. Is there room for 5? Add the NRI's to that mix with small chances for lefty bats, Coghlan and Kalish and righty bats, McDonald and Wells leading that group.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

I'm sure this won't dictate the 25th man, but who are the potential backup 1B right now? Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena are both a bit small for that spot, at 5'10". Vitters could maybe do that, and if Olt makes the roster, he would make some sense to get a little time over there. Does anyone else fit that bill? As far as I can tell, Sweeney's never done it, but he's listed at 6'4", so if he goes into a backup role, I'd think they'd try him there. If they're trying to make Lake a full-time outfielder instead of a super utility player, it's probably not the best idea to have him try to learn 1B too.

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

CHARLIE: Agreed experience playing 1B won't dictate the 25th man, although being able to play 1B against a tough LHSP would be an advantage for players competing for the 25th slot in Spring Training. 

Among position players not named "Rizzo" who will likely be at Big League Camp in Mesa, Josh Vitters has the most experience playing 1B, and while he is a natural 3B, his best defensive position is 1B (which isn't saying much, because he is a below-average defender no matter where he plays). Vitters can probably play a passable LF (since LF is just a really deep 3B), but if he hits enough to be an MLB regular or at least an MLB RH platoon (and I think he will), 1B would be his best defensive fit long-term.

If he hits enough but is blocked in LF, I could see Vitters eventually getting traded and playing 1B (either every-day or in a platoon) with a club like maybe Miami, Oakland, or Pittsburgh. What value the Cubs could get back in such a trade is a good question.   

Vitters has only one minor league option left and he really needs to stay healthy and have a big year at the plate in AAA in 2014 (if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster), but with a good Spring Training at the plate he certainly could make the Opening Day MLB roster as a RH platoon LF who can give Rizzo an occasional day off at 1B against a tough LHSP, 

Mike Olt has the next-most experience at 1B behind Vitters, and if he proves in Spring Training that he can see and that he can hit, he could either win the starting 3B job outright or else platoon with Luis Valbuena, and he could also play some 1B when the Cubs want to give Rizzo a day off or if something happens to Rizzo.  

Welington Castillo has played a smattering of games at 1B in his career, and he could get some PT at 1B, too (but probably not much) 

But if Rizzo were to go on the DL for an extended period of time in 2014, I think Vitters would probably get an opportunity to play 1B most every-day until Rizzo returns (and it would be sink or swim for Vitters, because other than Olt, the Cubs won't have any other viable in-house options at 1B in 2014).

Again, Vitters will be out of minor league options in 2015 if he uses up his last one in 2014, so he is very likely in the autumn of his career as a prospect. BTW, I still rate Vitters as one of the Cubs Top 15 prospects. I believe IF he can stay healthy and IF he can get regular playing thime (both big "ifs"), that he has the potential to hit 280/330/470 with 15-20 HR and 30+ doubles in the big leagues, It's just that it ultimately probably won't be with the Cubs. 

 

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

Maybe they can unlandmark the center-field scoreboard, one of those things that probably "seemed like a good idea at the time," but whose ultimate result will be to gunk up the ballpark with two big scoreboards. A new electronic scoreboard in center field could have a default mode where it looks like--and acts like--the old scoreboard.

Does anyone think that should Tanaka not work out, which I am expecting, they might sign Ervin Santana? He's talented and only 23. Gives up some HR's but... EDIT: Whoa. really off on age. He's 31 - Nevermind. Too old for TheoJed

From Boston's Nick Cafardo Sunday notes... Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, free agent — Yes, the Cubs are making their best push for Tanaka, but can what the Dodgers offer trump the Cubs? Then it becomes a question of where does Tanaka really want to play? Chicago is enticing — and Theo Epstein can be very convincing — and Tanaka could certainly be a building block, which could be important given Tanaka’s ego. We’re hearing the terms could get as high as six years, $120 million, and it could be decided ahead of the Jan. 24 deadline.

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

We have Levine on one side of the reporting optimism meter, and Wittenmeyer on the other. If the truth is somewhere in between, we're out of luck. Also, this bit infuriated me: "A source for this story said the Cubs will use every ethical strategy they can to get Tanaka to say yes to their offer." Why stop at ethical strategies?

My problem with 'the Cubs have no budget" theorists is that I can't see that Jed/Theo would have done a thing different if they had 200 million to spend. What they've done has fit their plan to a tee. It would upset me greatly if they had no money to spend when big contracts are needed. We'll see.

[ ]

In reply to by Carlito

If the Cubs are going as hard after Tanaka as most are saying they are, then the Ricketts have no money theorists (I'm kind of in that group depending on my mood) are wrong. If they sign him, they're even more wrong. One of the things I've been saying this winter is that there really hasn't been much on the free agent market to get excited about, and so it's been hard to criticize TheoCorp for not getting players. If they hadn't been so stacked with infield prospects, the argument for Cano could have been made, but I don't blame them at all for not gunning for him. The fact that TheoCorp hasn't gotten anything in trade for Samardzija just tells me they're being smart about that, too, and holding out for what they think they should get in return. If they get Tanaka, and he's as good as a lot of people think he is, that instantly turns the team into a considerably better team. I can think of worse rotations than Tanaka, Samardzija, Wood, and Jackson, who is probably bound to have a better year.

Twitterverse: sahadevsharma: I believe Cubs have offered a ton of $. Also believe Yanks are dead set on Tanaka & will offer whatever it takes. sahadevsharma: After hearing what other teams were willing to offer, if Yanks & Cubs really are finalists, I'm not surprised in the least. Take this article with a grain of salt... http://yanksgoyard.com/2014/01/20/yankees-officials-sold-tanaka/

[ ]

In reply to by Cubster

for a team that whiffed on Irabu and Igawa, you'd think they'd be a little more gunshy, but I imagine A-Rod's 2014 salary coming off the books leaves money burning in their pockets.

In the end, I think other clubs(Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, even Giants) will be more motivated  than the Cubs to take it the extra money mile to get Tanaka, but we'll soon find out. Four more days...

This is all setting up for us to be terribly disappointed by an erroneous Twitter report.

[ ]

In reply to by The Joe

This is what happens when an agent is doing a pretty good job of treating the whole thing professionally. Everything is close to the vest, nothing that matters really is getting leaked. So we're left with these dinosaur-age journalists grasping at straws.

Recent comments

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Most of you have probably seen the game, but for anyone who might have missed it here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Friday's Cubs - White Sox game at Sloan Park... 

    JORDAN WICKS
    FB: 91-93 
    CT: 88-90 
    SL: 80-81 
    CH: 78-83 
    COMMENT: Threw 1.2 IP (40 pitches - 23 strikes - six swing & miss) and mixed-up his pitches well... FB velo went down a tick in his second inning of work... looked a bit fatigued in second inning... allowed two hits and no walks and struck out one... gave up an oppo-field line drive solo HR to a AA RH hitter on a 92 MPH FB... should have easily finished off second inning but made careless error on weak tap in front of mound on his 24th pitch of the inning with catcher running and then made another error trying to grip the ball to make a throw to 1st (only one error was charged of course)... he just looked gassed as he walked off the field...  

    HUNTER BIGGE
    FB: 95-98 
    CH: 87-88 
    SL: 81 
    COMMENT: Faced one batter (strikeout looking) to finish second inning... 8 pitches (5 strikes - no swing & miss)... showed high velo FB but couldn't command secondaries... has had shoulder issues off & on in minors... throws with infielder-type short-arm motion "out of his ear" (he was a two-way player -- 3B/RHP -- in college)...
       
    CALEB KILIAN:
    FB: 96-99
    CH: 84-86
    SL: 81-82 
    COMMENT: Threw two very efficient innings... dominant outing... needed only 24 pitches (16 strikes - six swing & miss)... 6 up / 6 down (K-swing on 98 FB, 4-3 GO on 98 FB, 5-3 GO on SL, 6-3 GO on 97 FB,  K-swing on 99 FB, and F-8 on SL)... held high FB velo in both innings (he was consistently sitting on 98 in both innings and he hit 99 once in each inning) and looked like he could have gone longer...  

    RICHARD LOVELADY
    FB: 89-92
    SL: 81-84 
    COMMENT: Your run of the mill generic FB/SL lefty reliever... had an easy 13-pitch (8 strikes) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both swinging) on low 90's FB and a weak pop fly to CF...  

    JOSE CUAS
    FB: 92-94 
    SL: 81-83 
    COMMENT: Threw a scoreless inning (20 pitches - 15 strikes - four swing & miss, two on FB and two on SL)... although he did strike out two -- both swinging -- and threw 75% strikes, he had some difficulty putting hitters away (eight foul balls among his 20 pitches)... allowed an infield single that probably would have been a 6-3 GO if an MLB player was playing SS (Jefferson Rojas did not play the ball aggressively and he was a half-step too late with his "casual" throw to 1st base)... 

    THOMAS PANNONE
    FB: 84-85 
    CH: 82 
    CV: 70-73 
    COMMENT: Soft-tossing lefty who throws a LOT of mid-80's cutters and a very slow CV... 13-pitch (10 strike) 1-2-3 inning with one K (looking) on a cutter... got three swing & miss, all on cutters...  

    BAILEY HORN
    FB: 92-95 
    SL: 85 
    CV: 78-79 
    COMMENT: Threw an 11-pitch (8 strikes - two swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both looking)... broke three bats and induced some weak contact foul balls and a pathetic "mushy" pop fly(?) infield out that wasn't exactly a line drive and wasn't exactly a pop up either...    

    PORTER HODGE
    FB: 94-95 
    CT: 90-92 
    SL: 82-85 
    COMMENT: Threw a 21-pitch scoreless inning to finish off the game... surrendered a walk and a single but also induced a game-ending 6-4-3 DP... one strikeout (swinging) and that was his only swing & miss... he looked a bit uncomfortable on the mound (he seemed kind of hyper while warming up in the pen, too) and had major command issues with FB (threw only 8 strikes out of his 17 FB and went to ball three count on three of the four hitters he faced)... he would appear to be nowhere near ready for MLB and maybe not ready for AAA (yet) either...  

  • crunch (view)

    "is there anything new on cody bellinger since we started the interview?" - boog

    "sorry, i think we're going into a (commercial) break." - carter hawkins

    ...and laughs

  • crunch (view)

    only 2 "pitchcom broke, yo" delays in the game so far...

  • crunch (view)

    kilian out here throwing 98mph in february.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    While we're all speaking about Morel's 3B defense being good enough, his swing has gotten better.

    You could see it a little last fall. He didn't drop his hands behind his body as much (barred arm). But in videos from his Winter ball and this Feb in AZ you can tell he's keeping his hands tighter to his body. He's just stronger and able to have a tighter swing now. He'll be even quicker to the ball this way.

    Fun times.  

  • Cubster (view)

    Cubs vs Sox.

    Dodgers hold my beer. 6 run first including Morel 2 run HR.

  • crunch (view)

    PCA has blue hair...with a buzz cut...odd combo.  he's 2 dozen face tattoos away from being a mumble rapper.

  • crunch (view)

    these uniforms are hot garbage.  everything Fanatics touches turns to...well, hot garbage.

  • crunch (view)

    ...and then a homer.

  • JoePepitone (view)

    And right away, the first ball put in play goes to Morel at 3rd, who fields the grounder to his left and pegs out the runner on a good throw to first.