Cubs MLB Roster

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40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus one player is on the 60-DAY IL 

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, nine players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors, three players are on the 15-DAY IL, and two players are on the 10-DAY IL

Last updated 4-15-2024
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 13
Yency Almonte
Adbert Alzolay 
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Kyle Hendricks
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Hector Neris 
Daniel Palencia
* Drew Smyly
Keegan Thompson
* Jordan Wicks

CATCHERS: 2
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 7
* Michael Busch 
Garrett Cooper
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson

OUTFIELDERS: 4
* Cody Bellinger 
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman 

OPTIONED: 9 
Kevin Alcantara, OF 
Michael Arias, P 
Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF 
Jose Cuas, P 
Brennen Davis, OF 
Porter Hodge, P 
* Matt Mervis, 1B 
Luis Vazquez, INF 
Hayden Wesneski, P 

10-DAY IL: 2 
Seiya Suzuki, OF
Patrick Wisdom, INF 

15-DAY IL: 3
Julian Merryweather, P
* Justin Steele, P  
Jameson Taillon, P 

60-DAY IL: 1 
Caleb Kilian, P 
 





Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Our Long National Nightmare is Almost Over

I try not to use that headline too often, but it seems fitting here. The verdict has been reached and the Boston Red Sox will get RHP Chris Carpenter from the Cubs. Cue the feigned outrage!!!!

The 26-year old righty can hit 100 mph and occassionally the broad side of a barn; 6.4 BB/9 in 45.1 IP in AAA. The overall minor league numbers are 1.384 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9 , 3.62 ERA and a history of arm problems. He's probably a good bet to have a few good major league seasons, but I doubt the Cubs have lost a key cog in the machine they're attempting to build. Carpenter will go off the Cubs 40-man leaving room for the Cubs to add LHP Gerardo Concepcion.

Oh but wait, this fiasco still isn't fucking settled.

Apparently to drag this out even longer, both teams will swap a player to be named later at some ambiguous future date because this shit wasn't complicated enough. So I'd like to say the deal seems fair, but we don't really know until we know the other two players.

Kill me now.

Comments

"I am relieved that this process is over and particularly pleased that the teams were able to reach agreement on their own without intervention from MLB," Epstein said in a statement. "I truly hope and believe that this resolution will benefit both clubs, as well as Chris, who is an extremely talented reliever joining a great organization at a time when there's some opportunity in the major league bullpen."

Apparently to drag this out even longer, both teams will swap a player to be named later at some future date because this shit wasn't complicated enough. WTF? So giving the Red Sox their closer of the future is not enough compensation?

To make room on the roster for Carpenter, the Red Sox placed reliever Bobby Jenks on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from back surgery.
One major change about the new cub regime doesn't seem to have a candidate to fill the Chad Fox, Angel Guzman 60 day roster DL slot this year. Ricketts initiative to save money on duct tape?

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospec… B. Jackson #32, Rizzo #47, Baez #61, Szczur #64, Steadily moving up the charts (38th on last year's Top 100) like a Foo Fighters song. No prospect made as good a ballpark move as Rizzo's in going from Petco to Wrigley. Bat speed, Florida high school shortstop background . . . let the Gary Sheffield comparisons begin Exciting high-risk, high-reward talent who should take off with football in his rearview mirror.

It probably took a little bit of time because of the lack of precedent. But it certainly wasn't because of any animosity. "We were actually looking at the people involved on the emails last night and we're all really good friends. This process clearly didn't change that. There was no animosity. It was just a process that took a long time in part because we had a lot of things going on."
Even though the above quote is from Levine's blog. On the radio with Waddle/Silvy, BL implied that the reason it took so long was because Larry Lucchino was being bitter and vengeful and was hell bent on making Theo pay as much as he could extract for leaving the sinking ship based on last season's conclusion in Boston. I recently read the book, 'Feeding the Monster' (http://sethmnookin.com/feeding-the-monster), which is the Redsox history leading to the Henry/Werner, (Lucchino) purchase through about the 2005 season. The relationship between Lucchino and Theo has been continually strained because Lucchino tends to be paranoid when the Boston press portrays any of his 'team' (Theo) making subtle comments which he continually interpreted as throwing him under the proverbial bus. Of course that was a two way street open to interpretation when Theo felt he didn't deserve flak.

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In reply to by navigator

That was my first thought. I was wondering about it last season but wasn't ever sure. usually, you get one of two things out of his slider. Either it moves a foot or is a cement mixer. As much as he struggled with his release point at times, I wasn't sure if he wasn't just releasing a little early and/or not getting the correct finger pressure on it. Must have been a cutter. That seems like a dumb thing to add when you have a slider like he does, but whatever. If I were him, I'd try to add a splitter instead, but I'm not him. Maybe he has tried and can't throw one for shit.

Maury Brown... As far as the PTBNL on each side in the deal… it’s a technicality. Whenever a player is traded (and, in this odd instance, you are not counting Epstein as he’s not a player), another has to be involved. With Carpenter going to the Red Sox, another player had to be in the deal. The Cubs and Red Sox will likely swap inconsequential players in the deal just to satisfy conditions of the “trade”. I was going to say I don't think that's true, but apparently the Marlins did get a player from the White Sox in the Guillen trade. I don't recall the Cubs getting a player for McPhail or the Rays when they traded Winn for Piniella. http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5…

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In reply to by WISCGRAD

Following up, I am guessing the issue is because it's a 40-man roster trade. The MLBPA wouldn't want a player on the 40-man to have to be dropped for a player coming in that was traded for a non-player. My guess is with Hector Trinidad that he was not on the 40-man, so it was just like trading a non-40-man minor leaguer to another organization for cash, with MacPhail=cash, and so no player had to go to the Cubs in exchange. What this might mean, if I am right, is that the Red Sox will send someone to the Cubs who is on their 40-man, while the Cubs could send someone back as their PTBNL who either is or is not.

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In reply to by Rob G.

The Cubs could have just sold Carpenter's contract to the Red Sox for $1 if it was a matter of satisfying a "trade." Trading a player for a PTBNL where the PTBNL turns out to be cash happens all the time, and the cash option is negotiable (and decided prior to the completion of the trade) between the two teams. I think the most-likely reason for the dual-PTBNL in the Epstein-Carpenter deal is that the Red Sox want to have the option of returning Carpenter to the Cubs at the end of Spring Training and getting somebody else instead (like maybe Jeff Beliveau), especially if Carpenter has elbow or shoulder issues (as he had earlier in his career) or comes down with Steve Blass Disease. So it would be almost like a Rule 5 draft pick, where the Sox get to look at Carpenter up close during Spring Training so they can better decide if he's the one they want. Then if they return him, the deal is a PTBNL (Chris Carpenter) to the Cubs for a PTBNL (a different player). If the Sox decide to keep Carpenter, then the second part of the trade can be the pre-arranged cash exchange between the two clubs in lieu of the two PTBNL. BTW, the only restrictions on a deal involving a PTBNL are that the PTBNL cannot be on an MLB Active List (25-man roster) from the time the trade is consummated up until the PTBNL is named, and the trade must be completed within six months. Cash may be substituted in lieu of a PTBNL.

I did see Chris Carpenter throw in the AFL last October-November, and he was the second-most dominating reliever there (second only to Brad Boxberger). Carp's fastball typically topped out at 100 MPH in the AFL, and he showed outstanding command (2/18 BB/K in 13.2 IP).

laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame. so f'n lame. we knew it would sting, though...well, those of us not drinking the kool aid. laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame. i was hoping it'd be junior lake or even wellington castillo...though i wouldn't be thrilled about losing welly, either. ...now onto the SD compensation.

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In reply to by jacos

carpenter has a 97+mph fastball and a sharp slider. if he can get it a bit more under control it's pretty hardcore stuff that's only fully emerged in-progress the past couple seasons. it's crazy that his slider is 88+mph lately...that pairs well with a high 90s fastball when control is there. it's not a minor loss, especially in exchange for a guy who isn't suiting up to contribute on the field. everyone pretty much knew it'd be someone worth a damn (not counting the crazy castro/garza/etc types)...i wouldn't have though carpenter would have been on the table, myself. he's sneaky valuable given his age, tools, and years til he makes real loot.

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In reply to by Rob G.

He was signed so young that he runs out of options, soon, doesn't he? Also, in this context I guess I meant "put it together" as merely "become marginally useful to a major league roster." Right now I don't know if he would have any value to a big league squad as a utility man. I see him having a long way to go to becoming useful as a starting player. That strikeout rate to go with that walk rate, along with his fairly low chances of staying at SS, are not promising at all for when he gets to a level where guys have more control over their breaking stuff.

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In reply to by Charlie

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 9:00am — Charlie He was signed so young that he runs out of options, soon, doesn't he? Also, in this context I guess I meant "put it together" as merely "become marginally useful to a major league roster." Right now I don't know if he would have any value to a big league squad as a utility man. I see him having a long way to go to becoming useful as a starting player. That strikeout rate to go with that walk rate, along with his fairly low chances of staying at SS, are not promising at all for when he gets to a level where guys have more control over their breaking stuff. =============================== CHARLIE: Junior Lake was just added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster last November, so he has three minor league options left. A scout at an AFL game last fall used Ben Francisco as a comp for Junior Lake. (He liked Lake). I don't know if Ben Francisco is the right comp, but I do believe Lake will end up in the OF (probably RF). Lake led the AFL in stolen bases last fall and showed plus power to go with his plus arm. He is still raw and might need all three of his minor league option years to smooth out the rough edges (he might not be ready until 2015), but I regard him as a definite MLB prospect. Just not as an infielder.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Four-for-one: Sveum said two lefty relievers would work for him in a perfect world. James Russell will be the situational lefty, and the other must be able to throw two innings and get right-handers out as well. throws out Beliveau, Gaub, Maine and Miller...think Russell as the situation lefty is just Sullivan guessing.

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In reply to by Rob G.

It's reading stuff like this: "The new regime, they seem like they mean business," Beliveau said. "They're trying to win, and I think they're going to put guys who perform on the field, which is the way it's supposed to be. I'm pretty excited. The Rickettses, they keep talking about how they want to build within the system and go younger, so it gives guys like us an opportunity." That makes me a) glad to be a Cub fan this year and b) wonder what the fuck was going on up until now.

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In reply to by Tito

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 10:08am — Tito New Re: Our Long National Nightmare is Almost Over It's a facile comparison. The Pirates never have any money, so they play cheap, young players and try to fill in with middling free agents. (How many times have they signed a big free-agent catch?) Until proven otherwise--because, you know, the Ricketts suck and are like Frank McCourt--I think we can assume the Cubs will have greater resources at their disposal. ========================== TITO: I certainly agree that the Cubs have greater resources to spend than do the Pirates and should be able to put the best team possible on the field every year. Which is why it is amazing that the Cubs are choosing to operate like the Pirates. Why isn't Ricketts willing to operate like a large market owner? Would Mark Cuban have settled for this approach? I don't think so. I think an owner like Cuban would recognize that the Cubs need to put the best-possible team on the field every year AND build a strong farm system AT THE SAME TIME.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Thanks AZ Phil! This is the exact point I was making in the last thread (Where were you when I was getting beat up?) No other large market team in recent memory has, in effect, sacrificed the big league team in an effort to build up the minor leagues. It hasn't been done because it isn't necessary. I've heard all of the arguments about the Cubs not being like other large market teams and how JedStein inherited such a piss poor organization, but none of those excuses explains why Ricketts and the front office brain trust is throwing away a season (or more) to accomplish what other teams have been able to do on the fly. I like and respect Epstein and Hoyer. This is not some personal vendetta I have against them. I just happen to believe that they are at best following an unproven strategy (it hasn't been done by any other large market teams) or at worst they are following the Pittsburgh Pirates blueprint.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

There's a lot of agreement on this board with what y'all are writing. I just don't think they are done. As much as we all would like to see Pujols, for example, at Wrigley all season long, now is the time to be wary of aged veterans and long term contracts. That's Hendry's way, and we are still suffering because of those. They are not done, but they don't know what they have yet - other than an error-prone infield and a plethora of middle (1-2 innings) relievers. It ain't opening day, the score is 0-0 and the Central Division is tied 0-0. They have added some intangibles that seem, on paper, to be stabs in the dark. Soto AND Soriano say they have changed their off-season approach. But I will offer you a reply, to tell us how you would have done things differently up to this point?

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In reply to by Stevens

The point isn’t who they could have/should have signed. JedStein entered the off-season with the expressed plan to NOT field the best team they could for the 2012 season. I agree with everyone else that Pujols and Fielder signed for too many years, but that doesn’t really matter. The Cubs were not going to sign them no matter how many years they signed for. The Cubs plan was to sacrifice the 2012 season (and maybe longer) in order to build up the minor league system. My only point in all of this is that it is a plan without precedent. It may work, but if it does, it will be the first time a large market team has done this.

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In reply to by DavidP

I think you may be mis-remembering what Dallas Green did when he became GM in 1981. While preparing for the 1982 season, Green signed a 39-year old Fergie Jenkins, traded for a 36-year old Larry Bowa, and during the season, he signed 36-year old Jay Johnstone to a FA contract. The next year he traded for a 35-year old Ron Cey. Not exactly a youth movement. The fact of the matter is that neither Dallas Green nor any other big market GM has given up on a season to build the minor league system. In fact, just the opposite was true of Green. From the time he took over the team, he began to build the big league club. The fact that he also added some younger talent (most notably Ryne Sandberg) doesn't change that fact.

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In reply to by Rob G.

The difference was that Dallas Green's moves were designed to win now, not at some point in the future. Again, all I'm doing is pointing out that what JedStein is doing now hasn't ever been done before. Large market teams do not throw away entire seasons without at least making an effort to win. The Cubs will have some warm bodies on the field in 2012, but what they have done to build this team is hardly their best effort. The plan might turn out to be brilliant, but if it does work, it will be the first time.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

you catch a big wave by getting on before anyone else, so saying it's unprecedented as if it's a negative is kind of lame. But if precedent is what you need, try the Red Sox teams under TheoCorp or the farm system the Padres built in 2 years under McLeod and Hoyer. I'm thinking they know a thing or two more about baseball than any of us. I'm sure anyone looking at the moves of the 1982 Cubs weren't particularly thrilled with their direction for that year or the front office effort.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

And Epstein signed 32 year old David DeJesus, resigned 37 year old Roderigo Lopez, signed 29 year old Paul Maholm, signed 38 year old Trever Miller and signed 33 year old Edgar Gonzalez And one of your signees is rather ingenious. Then brought in Bowa because they were trading their 28 year old shortstop for a 20 year old prospect, and needed a body to fill in for a while. None of the guys you mentioned were thought to be anything other than bodies to fill in for a while. Dallas Green had made the season a throw-away year, as anyone would in that situation. He didn't make meaningful additions to the big league club until two years later, when he brought in the package from the Phillies and then traded Carter for Sutcliffe.

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In reply to by QuietMan

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 12:10pm — QuietMan Re: Our Long National Nightmare is Almost Over I think JB was refering to the Cubs signing Maholm to a contract for 2012 with a club option for 2013. But if you follow AZ Phil's link at the top of the page you would see Maholm does have "options" remaining. But because of his service time Maholm would have to give his permission and clear optional assignment waivers to be sent down. (Assuming I read AZ Phil's info correctly.) ======================== Q-MAN: Yes. Exactly correct.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

Fergie Jenkins was coming off a 1981 season with the Rangers in which he went 5-8 with a 4.50 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, and a -1.0 WAR, essentially his worst season. His ERA+ was 77. In 82 he put up a good year with a 118 ERA+, then in 83, his last season, sported a 88 ERA+. Larry Bowa was coming off a 1981 season with the Phillies in which he hit 283/331/339/670 (176/176/235/412 in the playoffs). His OPS+ was 88. For the rest of his career he would not top a 650 OPS. Jay Johnstone was coming off a 1981 season with the Dodgers with a line of 205/267/349/616. His OPS+ was 76. In 82 with the Dodgers he had a line of 077/316/154/470 before joining the Cubs. Ron Cey was coming off a 1982 season with the Dodgers in which he hit 254/323/428/751. His OPS+ was 111. He went on to put up OPS+ of 118, 107, 94, 138 before leaving the Cubs. In summary, all the guys he picked up before 1982 season were either shitty or coming off a shitty season or both. After a year, he picked up a good FA signing, quite possibly after accumulating some other good young players. I’m not going to go research all that, but if this is your evidence that Green had a win now mentality in 1982, I’d say you’re making more of an argument for what Theo is doing than you think.

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In reply to by Jumbo

So you think Green signed and traded for relatively high priced players (including a future Hall of Famer) because he was just trying to trot warm bodies out onto the field ala Theo and Co.? I guess it's open to interpretation, but that interpretation seems pretty weak. It seems to me that a much more common sense interpretation was that Green added vets who had proven themselves previously in the hopes of winning quickly. It would be odd to sign a bunch of expensive veterans if all you are going to do is sacrifice the season. It makes it even more odd if to do it again the next year if all you are doing is trying to build up the minor league system. I don't believe that was the plan. If you don't want to look it up, that's fine, but a better argument would have been to show some actual proof for this youth movement you claim Green undertook. I went to the trouble of showing who the veteran players were that Green added when he took over as GM. Maybe you could do the same type of research before you claim I'm wrong.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

My point was the guys that he picked up came off of shitty 1981 seasons. No one could have signed them to win now - and if they did it was with a clear thought that they were buying low. That's what Theo is doing this offseason. If Theo signed the collective group you mentioned nobody would understand why. Everyone would say, "if he's going to sign a bunch of washed up losers I'd rather just go young." Keep in mind that I'm really just trying to address the exact player you mentioned, and that each of their 1981 seasons was awful.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Pardon the long answer, but you asked... That’s a good question. When we were discussing this the other day, you mentioned the Yankees, Braves and Phillies as examples of teams that built around a young group of players. So what did these teams do before their young prospects were ready to contribute at the MLB level? The Yankees started building through trades and free agency in the years leading up to 1995 when they started their run of 13 consecutive years making the playoffs. For instance, they signed Wade Boggs and Jimmy Keyes as FAs and traded for Paul O’Neil and Jim Abbott in 1992 (prior to the 1993 season). This was before Jeter, Rivera or Posada were ready for the big leagues. Bernie Williams was starting in CF, but the rest of the prospects were still toiling in the minors. The point is, they continued to field a competitive big league team (or at least they tried). They didn’t shut down the big league operation in order to build up their minor league system. They kept making trades and signing free agents. The Braves are a little different story. In 1990, they finished in 6th place in the NL West with a record of 65-97. They did so with home grown stars like Dale Murphy (who was traded during the season), Ron Gant, and David Justice in the field, and Tom Glavine and Steve Avery on the mound. They famously went from worst to first in 1991 when they added Sid Bream, Rafael Belliard and Terry Pendelton via FA, and Otis Nixon via trade with the Expos. The Braves made the post-season in 15 consecutive years beginning in 1991 as they began to promote prospects like Brian Hunter (first full season: 1991), Javy Lopez (first full season: 1994), Ryan Klesko (first full season: 1994), Chipper Jones (first full season: 1995), Jermaine Dye (first full season: 1996), and Andruw Jones (first full season 1997). They also added free agents like Deon Sanders, Greg Maddux, Andres Galarraga, Walt Weiss, and Brian Jordan, and they traded for Marquis Grissom, Fred McGriff, and Kenny Lofton. The Braves did not wait for their prospects to blossom. They took the team they had, added players via free agency and trades, and added prospects as they became ready. Finally, the Phillies have been in the post season every year since 2007. There’s no doubt they started with a core group of players like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, and Cole Hamels. But those players didn’t all come up together. Rollins started playing full time in 2001, Utley in 2005, Howard and Hamels in 2006 and Ruiz in 2007. But here’s the important point. The Phils were competitive before they became fixtures in the post-season and before many of their prospects hit the big -time. Five out of the six seasons before they started their post-season run, they had a record that was above .500. The Phillies teams that were competitive in the seasons prior to 2007 included home grown players like Pat Burrell and Scott Rolen, but they also included players that were obtained through free agency or trades like Bobby Abreu, Aaron Rowand, Jim Thome, Curt Schilling, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Cory Lidle, Billy Wagner, and Jose Mesa. The bottom line: None of these teams took off a season or more in order to build up their minor league system. To be sure, the minor league system for each of these teams was producing talent, but none of the teams sat back waiting for their prospects to burst onto the scene. The front office of each organization continued to field a competitive team via trades and FA signings, all the while developing players and plugging-in a prospect at the big league level when they were ready. By no means am I opposed to building up the minor league system and developing prospects for the big league. My argument all along has been that it is unnecessary and unprecedented for a large market team to sacrifice one or more seasons in order to improve the minor league system. If the three teams listed above are any indication, giving up on one or more seasons is completely unnecessary.

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In reply to by Tito

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 2:35pm — Tito What moves would you have made to make this team "competitive"? ========================== TITO: Competitive for 2012? I don't think the Cubs were as far away from being a contender as their 2011 record might have tended to indicate. The Cubs were short one bat in the middle-of-the-order in 2011 (somebody who should have played RF), but what really killed the Cubs last season (besides Marmol leading the league in Blown Saves) was no viable fall-back options when Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner went down in April. One of the biggest mistakes Jim Hendry made last off-season was trading Tom Gorzelanny after he acquired Matt Garza. I think most Cub fans (myself included) presumed the Cubs would sign either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder after last season. Whether Hendry stayed or was fired and replaced by somebody else, I definitely expected that to happen. Signing either Pujols or Fielder was practically a given. Once Epstein was hired and said he would not sacrifice the future for to put a contending team on the field in 2012, I expected him to still go after Fielder with a back-loaded deal, because Fielder is both a short-term and long-term solution at 1B. Fielder has not spent one day on the Disabled List in his MLB career, and he's only 28. Likewise, I expected Epstein to sign Yoenis Cespedes, even if it was a contract like the one he got from Oakland, because it wouldn't have cost the Cubs a player or a draft pick, and it would have provided the Cubs a 28-year old multi-tool RF whose contract expires when he's 32 (which is actually a good thing). I also would not have been unhappy if the Cubs had signed somebody like Josh Willingham, Carlos Beltran, or Michael Cuddyer to play RF, since all three could be had for two or three-year deals. The main thing the Cubs needed in RF was a middle-of-the-order run producer (which Kosuke Fukudome and David DeJesus are not). I also expected the Cubs to re-sign Aramis Ramirez if they were unable to acquire an established younger 3B like Chase Headley. A-Ram was the best FA 3B out there, and the contract he got from MIL (3/$36M with a $6M salary in 2012) would have fit into the Cubs 2012 payroll. I thought the Sean Marshall deal was OK given the new CBA compensation rules and the fact that the Cubs got a potential #5 starter (Travis Wood), a cost-effective 4th OF (Dave Sappelt), and 2B prospect with a "live" bat (Ronald Torreyes), and because the Cubs had other LHRP ready (or near-ready) for MLB (Gaub, Maine, and Beliveau) and other potential set-up guys (Samardzija, Cashner, Dolis, and Carpenter). Signing Paul Maholm and Andy Sonnanstine (but to a minor league contract not a Major League contract) in addition to acquiring Travis Wood in the Marshall trade added needed depth to the starting rotation, and I even don't have a problem with getting Chris Volstad back for Zambrano. Selecting Lendy Castillo in the Rule 5 Draft was a waste of a 40-man roster slot, because Castillo has yet to progress out of Low-A (equal to Peoria), and there is no way he makes the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster. (By comparison, David Patton had two years of Hi-A experience and had pitched in the AFL when the Cubs selected him in the Rule 5 Draft, and even he wasn't ready for Prime Time). I guess what I mainly expected out of any post-Hendry regime was a GM who could sign free-agents without bidding against himself (as Hendry often did), and one who would not automatically trash Cub prospects once he joined the organization just because they are Cub prospects. I just don't see how trading D. J. LeMahieu and Andrew Cashner, losing Ryan Flaherty in the Rule 5 Draft, and giving up Chris Carpenter as compensation for signing Theo, fits into a long-term Player Development plan. It seems counter-productive to me.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

One of the biggest mistakes Jim Hendry made last off-season was trading Tom Gorzelanny after he acquired Matt Garza. while I agree about the strategy, Gorzelanny threw 105 innings last year of 96 ERA+ ball. Don't think he would have kept the Cubs in the race. I think most Cub fans (myself included) presumed the Cubs would sign either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder after last season. Whether Hendry stayed or was fired and replaced by somebody else, I definitely expected that to happen. Signing either Pujols or Fielder was practically a given. mostly agreed, although not sure about a given, since a few teams would want those players. Besides 2007, the Cubs have never been able to sign the top free agent and that took McDonough and Kenney doing something really stupid, much like Moreno and Illitch had to do something really stupid to sign Pujols and Fielder. less stupid is generally a good long term strategy. Likewise, I expected Epstein to sign Yoenis Cespedes, even if it was a contract like the one he got from Oakland, because it wouldn't have cost the Cubs a player or a draft pick, and it would have provided the Cubs a 28-year old multi-tool RF whose contract expires when he's 32 (which is actually a good thing). Believe he's 26 and a CF'er for now, but obviously can move to RF. I certainly think he would have made some sense. I don't think it was money that kept the Cubs from signing him though. They probably wanted him for 6 years. At some point you have to agree as an organization what a player is worth and stick to it, especially if you're not on the doorstep of contending. The main thing the Cubs needed in RF was a middle-of-the-order run producer (which Kosuke Fukudome and David DeJesus are not). the Cubs needed a lot more than that to improve their offense and team. I just don't see how trading D. J. LeMahieu and Andrew Cashner, losing Ryan Flaherty in the Rule 5 Draft, and giving up Chris Carpenter as compensation for signing Theo, fits into a long-term Player Development plan. It seems counter-productive to me. I'm sure they believe Stewart, Weathers and Rizzo are better long-term bets than LeMahieu, Cashner and Flaherty. Carpenter is obviously its own thing. I doubt they wanted to give him up, but they had to give up something to satisfy the deal that was vaguely agreed upon when Kenney and the Cubs approached the Red Sox. We'll agree to disagree about the Cubs being just a middle of the order bat away from contending. A 3 year downward trend in their wins says otherwise. The team and organization were fundamentally flawed.

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In reply to by Rob G.

As I mentioned, Marmol leading the league in Blown Saves, not having viable 4th & 5th starting pitcher options when Cashner and Wells went down, AND not having a middle-of-the-order run producer playing RF, were the main reasons (in my opinion) the Cubs finished where they did in 2011. Since Gorzelanny did not go on the DL (elbow) until the end of May, he would have been a better 4th or 5th starter option than Casey Coleman or (especially) James Russell while Wells was on the DL: GORZELANNY (THRU 5/23/2011): 9 GS 53 IP 45 H 26 R (25 ER) 20 BB 48 K 4.25 ERA 1.23 WHIP The Cubs just gave game-after-game away in April and May by having to start Coleman and Russell (especially Russell). Gorzelanny would have been a viable SP option while Wells was out, except he was pitching for the Washington Nationals at the time. (Gorzelanny actually went on the DL the day Randy Wells was activated).

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

they had a winning record all of one month in 2011, don't think one or two wins in April or May would have saved their season. their offense was 8th in the league in runs scored at 654, league average was 668 and 7th place was the Phillies at 713. One guy wasn't going to boost them by 60-70 runs to make any kind of dent there. For 2013, throw in that Byrd, Soriano and Ramirez (if he resigned) would be a year older in the wrong direction. (IMO) they needed 2-3 impact bats, at least one other ace/top of the rotation starter and significantly improved defense to compete this year. And I don't think that was available on the free agent market for what the Cubs could reasonably spend . At least without handing out really stupid deals (such as Yu Darvish, Fielder or Pujols got).

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

Honestly I couldn't disagree more on almost all points. Most vehemently I disagree with 1.) bringing backy Aramis, and 2.) never for one second did I think the Cubs were gonna sign Fielder or Pujols. I can only speak for myself but I am shocked that anyone would want to watch those same players from 2011 (and before) run around MLB stadiums again this year. I've really appreciated Aramis but he symbolizes for me a certain era dying, a recent lack of effort, a 'cubbie' comfort that won't get the job done, and general sense of 'been there and done that and mission incomplete. I suppose I identify with the segment of cub fans who would have been disappointed and disheartened if Theo didn't change the culture and roster. Completely.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

"A-Ram was the best FA 3B out there, and the contract he got from MIL (3/$36M with a $6M salary in 2012) would have fit into the Cubs 2012 payroll." Ramirez doesn't play third base very well. Looking at a few guys the Cubs acquired who have excellent gloves (DeJesus, Sappelt, Jaramillo) and another who is supposed to be pretty good (Stewart), I would guess that Theo et al. didn't view the aging Ramirez as a viable 3B. In other words, it wasn't his bat and it wasn't the money. I guess it all depends on whether one considers 3B an important defensive position; but haven't you been saying that Vitters doesn't project as a 3B? When did Ramirez ever project as anything other than a DH?

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 10:57am — VirginiaPhilNew Re: Our Long National Nightmare is Almost Over "A-Ram was the best FA 3B out there, and the contract he got from MIL (3/$36M with a $6M salary in 2012) would have fit into the Cubs 2012 payroll." Ramirez doesn't play third base very well. Looking at a few guys the Cubs acquired who have excellent gloves (DeJesus, Sappelt, Jaramillo) and another who is supposed to be pretty good (Stewart), I would guess that Theo et al. didn't view the aging Ramirez as a viable 3B. In other words, it wasn't his bat and it wasn't the money. I guess it all depends on whether one considers 3B an important defensive position; but haven't you been saying that Vitters doesn't project as a 3B? When did Ramirez ever project as anything other than a DH? ======================== VA PHIL: Josh Vitters does not project as a 3B. He will likely end up at 1B or in LF. While Aramis Ramirez is a below-average defender at 3B, Vitters would have to improve a lot to be as good (bad) as Ramirez is at 3B, but if Vitters can be that good (bad), he could play 3B at the big league level.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

so you're calling trading for Stewart, Volstad, Wood, signing Kerry, DeJesus and Maholm, "Operation Shutdown"? I'm sure Jedstein disagree. The Cubs did everything that people are calling for last year and sucked terribly*. Why does anyone think it would be better this year if they followed the same plan? *(and many people were calling for a rebuild last season which I resisted, so kudos to you. I still don't mind the Garza trade because they have him for 3 years and besides Lee, I'm not high on the other guys). I think the Cubs made moves that made sense in the long term and the short term this offseason. They filled the holes they perceived without committing to any long term albatross contracts or deals that were obviously bad bets (Ramirez, Beltran, Fielder, etc). Is it a real gung-ho effort to win it all in 2012? Of course not, but they're deals that can help more in 2013 and beyond and certainly not hurt if they want to go another direction. The Yanks are their own entity, trying to emulate or compare to them is on par to people citing Greg Maddux whenever they want a pitcher to be good that doesn't strike out a ton of guys or comparing a hitter to Ichiro and one of the few guys that can maintain a BABIP over .350. The Yankees can absorb bad contracts like no other team and I might add it's one thing to try and compete every year when you're already around a .500 team or trending upward, another when you're trending down for 3 straight years. Read the tea leaves... As for the Phillies, they already had a core of Rolen, Abreu, Burrell and then Rollins. I don't see a big acquisition between 2000 and 2001. Once they started winning, they added and subtracted appropriately until they got the right mix. As for the Braves, they had sucked for 3 years by that point and had already had Smoltz, Glavine, Gant, Justice developing for a few years. I really don't think anyone thought the additions you mentioned were much different than the Cubs adding Maholm and DeJesus this year. Pendelton had a career year in 1991 that other career years look at and go, "we wish we were that good". If the Cubs went all in this year, I'm sure I'd be fine with it, but I'm gonna give the new guys the benefit of the doubt. It's certainly worth trying something new from the old regime. And it certainly makes sense with the deals still left on the books to not throw more stupid money at the problem. I know we all fancy ourselves at experts, but these guys get paid way more and spend way more time worrying about how to win than any of us. I always tried to see what Hendry was attempting to do, but after 9 years, obviously it wasn't working. I certainly believe Jedstein know how to build a winning team and if this is the course they're choosing, I'm happy to go along on the ride. In a couple years, we'll see where we're at.

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In reply to by Rob G.

I think the bigger story is in all this is that ownership seems to be resetting fans expectations of what ownership is expected to spend on payroll. Payroll was 145 million when the Ricketts bought the team. They have continually hinted that they wanted to stay closer to the 100 million dollar threshold. And low and behold...... Here we are. It will be interesting to see if this is where things stay going forward. Especially since a) The ability to outspend the competition is the franchises greatest competitive advantage b) Obviously the revenue is there to spend 150 million dollars on MLB payroll if ownership chooses to do so.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

we were talking up to this point though, right? they spent nearly $12M last year on the draft, I believe that's $7-$8 more than in the last few previous years. Pretty much makes up for the major league payroll disparity without even factoring in any international signings that I don't do a good job of keeping track of. If you want to talk about the future, slot recommendations are significantly higher now, I think it's close to a 50% jump. The Cubs bonus pool money for the first 10 rounds next year is nearly $8M, they only spent $6.5M in 2011 on the first 10 rounds. Add in the next 40 rounds (100K limit) and it should be more in the $10M range next year. http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/2012/02/2012-aggregate-bonus-… I can't find the link at the moment, but Cubs were near the bottom of draft bonuses before 2011 and I believe they were in the $4-5M range if not lower. international cap doesn't apply until mid-June I believe, plus all the other expenditures I mentioned and the ones no one knows about. It's still a $120M major league payroll at this point I believe.

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In reply to by Rob G.

The Yanks are their own entity, trying to emulate or compare to them is on par to people citing Greg Maddux whenever they want a pitcher to be good that doesn't strike out a ton of guys or comparing a hitter to Ichiro and one of the few guys that can maintain a BABIP over .350. The Yankees can absorb bad contracts like no other team and I might add it's one thing to try and compete every year when you're already around a .500 team or trending upward, another when you're trending down for 3 straight years. Read the tea leaves...
In all fairness, you brought up the Yankees as an example of a team doing what the Cubs are doing. I was simply refuting that notion.
As for the Phillies, they already had a core of Rolen, Abreu, Burrell and then Rollins. I don't see a big acquisition between 2000 and 2001. Once they started winning, they added and subtracted appropriately until they got the right mix.
I'm not sure what your point is. In the years leading up to 2001 (when the Phils started to win consistently), they still were in business, signing/trading for higher profile players like Bobby Abreu, Curt Schilling, and Gregg Jeffries. Again, you brought up the Phillies. I was just pointing out that they never punted a season while waiting for their prospects to be ready.
As for the Braves, they had sucked for 3 years by that point and had already had Smoltz, Glavine, Gant, Justice developing for a few years. I really don't think anyone thought the additions you mentioned were much different than the Cubs adding Maholm and DeJesus this year. Pendelton had a career year in 1991 that other career years look at and go, "we wish we were that good".
It's important to remember that Smoltz wasn't home grown. He was obtained from Detroit in a trade in 1987 and was pitching for Atlanta in the big leagues in 1988. But your point about Glavine, Gant, and Justice is a good one. They had a core group of young players that they eventually built around, adding vets via trade and free agency, as well as adding other prospects as they became ready. But I don't think at any point prior to 1991 when the Braves started winning did anyone in their front office come up with a plan to be crappy for a while until their prospects were ready. If that happened, I certainly never read about it anywhere. I think their suckiness had more to do with a crappy owner. Once Ted Turner turned the reigns over to baseball people in the late 1980's, the team turned around. I'd have to disagree with you about comparing Pendelton to DeJesus or Stewart (although Bream might be a good comparison). Pendelton had won a couple of gold gloves up to that point in his career and had a pretty good career going. The Braves signed him to a long-term deal for what at the time was pretty big money. I think it's fair to say he was one of the better third-basemen at the time. Nobody is making a similar claim about Stewart or DeJesus.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

I'm not sure what your point is. In the years leading up to 2001 (when the Phils started to win consistently), they still were in business, signing/trading for higher profile players like Bobby Abreu, Curt Schilling, and Gregg Jeffries. you're calling a trade for a 23-year old Abreu for Kevin Stocker, high profile? What's the difference between that and trading for Anthony Rizzo? I think the trade in 2000 to the Dbacks of Curt Schilling is the very definition of rebuilding. It's important to remember that Smoltz wasn't home grown. He was obtained from Detroit in a trade in 1987 and was pitching for Atlanta in the big leagues in 1988. That is important, like the Cubs trading for Volstad. I'd have to disagree with you about comparing Pendelton to DeJesus slightly higher profile, but I don't recall it being viewed with a whole lot of fanfare. But I don't think at any point prior to 1991 when the Braves started winning did anyone in their front office come up with a plan to be crappy for a while until their prospects were ready. I'm pretty sure if you ask Jedstein, that's not their plan either. but my point is, the Cubs are still doing business, just not the business of putting lipstick on a pig that people seem to demand. And certainly not in the business of handing out bad contracts that they'll regret.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

You're comparing Chris Volstad to John Smoltz? That's a bit of a stretch, don't you think? I'm tired of writing, so I won't argue anymore. The only point I have been trying to make all along is that a big market team should never have to sacrifice a season to build up their minor league system. You seem to think that is not what the Cubs are doing. I think the fact that the team as currently structured is projected to win 70 games is the very definition of sacrificing a season. We will have to agree to disagree (although I do always enjoy the conversation)

[ ]

In reply to by Sweet Lou

You're comparing Chris Volstad to John Smoltz? That's a bit of a stretch, don't you think? I'm comparing acquiring prospects or long term assets. Obviously I have no idea how good Volstad will be (although he was certainly expected to be good once upon a time). No on expected Smoltz to be that good. I don't think trading Doyle Alexander at the time was trying to compete, although it was a mid-season trade. I think the fact that the team as currently structured is projected to win 70 games is the very definition of sacrificing a season. so no big market team has ever been projected to win around 70 games? hmmm... I've got the Cubs projected for 70 wins last year by PECOTA, Angels for 76 wins in 2010, Astros for 66 wins and Mariners for 70 in 2009. Not sure what the definition of a high payroll is for you (I'm saying top 10). I'm sure I can find more examples if I could find more links. but maybe those teams tried to compete in your mind, just were obviously not good at it. I digress, the Cubs are obviously not making a huge effort to win this year. But they're not giving up either. They added pitching depth and possibly some better defense. They just weren't going to hand out dumb deals to get it done because they obviously weren't at that point of the success cycle where it made any sense to sacrifice any long term goals for short term gains. They aren't that close and overspending would just hurt them in the future. And there's no way they were going to compete this year without overspending.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Well last year the cubs tried to put the best possible team together and tore apart their farm system (a move I did support). I don't think they're as mutually exclusive as people want to believe. Anyone add up the major league payroll this year with draft expenditures, international signings, scout and executive pay from this year and compared to previous years? Probably not since we don't have all those numbers... There's also the DR academy and the spring training complex. Maybe we should check that before calling the Cubs cheap.

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In reply to by Rob G.

I agree completely with those points, Rob, especially about 'non-2012 25-man player payroll' expenditures. I get everyone on the 'You can rebuild AND put a competitive team in 2012' points. What I don't get is who should have Theo traded for/signed? I also don't see how you can say Theo purposely decided to not field a competitive team in 2012. I may be in the minority (not the first time) here, but I'm not convinced Theo isn't building something to compete here. There's more starting pitching depth, increased bullpen options, more bench/role players, and potentially a better defensive team than 2011. You're also playing in a division without Pujols & Fielder this year. By mid-season they might have Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, and Welington Castillo ready to contribute. I've watched what Z, Ramirez, DLee, Dempster, et al could do over the last 5 years, and color me not impressed. Again, I'm not ready to pull the yellow ejection seat ring just yet.

Question: Cub Carp was slotted as a favorite for the 7th inning RH pre-setup role in the bullpen, a job usually filled by Ninja last year. With Carp gone, and the Cubs talking up Ninja for a starting slot, who will be the 7th inning RH guy on this year's team? Corpas? Mateo? I'm not seeing a lot of possibilities here unless Ninja gets put back in the bullpen where he belongs. The LH pre-setup slot will almost surely be Russell, taking over for Sean Marshall. I'm guessing Gaub, Maine and Beliveau battle it out for the LOOGY job to replace Russell. Am I missing someone here?

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In reply to by Jim Hickmans Bat

Tue, 02/21/2012 - 11:54pm — Jim Hickmans Bat Question: Cub Carp was slotted as a favorite for the 7th inning RH pre-setup role in the bullpen, a job usually filled by Ninja last year. With Carp gone, and the Cubs talking up Ninja for a starting slot, who will be the 7th inning RH guy on this year's team? Corpas? Mateo? I'm not seeing a lot of possibilities here unless Ninja gets put back in the bullpen where he belongs. The LH pre-setup slot will almost surely be Russell, taking over for Sean Marshall. I'm guessing Gaub, Maine and Beliveau battle it out for the LOOGY job to replace Russell. Am I missing someone here? =============================== JIM H: Besides Corpas and Mateo, Rafael Dolis would be another candidate for the 7th inning role. Maybe Blake Parker, too. Besides Gaub, Believeau, and Maine, Trever Miller has a shot to be the #2 lefty.

Dolis is a similar pitcher to Carpenter. It may be that he moves into the 7th inning role. I would much prefer that there WERE no 7th inning role. Wasting three pitchers in three innings is a massive waste of resources. It is time that we start using relievers for at least 2 innings when appropriate.

Just noticed that the Red Sox added Rich Hill to their 40-man along with Carpenter yesterday.

Anyone read Cafardo's reaction to the Compensation? I have not looked. What a tool the guy is. I was hoping - just to spite the blowhard - that DeWitt was the guy sent over.

Keith Law's take on the Theo Compensation and Carpenter. I read somewhere that in someone's ranking scheme Carp is now ranked the #8 prospect in the Red Sox system. So if he was ranked around #13-14 in the Cubs system, that says something about where the Bosox stand. I think Law had the Cubs at #20, Red Sox at #18. Hmmm.
Carpenter -- this one, at least -- has a tremendous arm, working 96-100 mph in one-inning stints and still sitting mid-90s when he's stretched out to two innings. He'll show solid to above-average offspeed weapons, including a hard mid-80s slider, although his changeup can come out more like an average fastball that's just doing hitters a favor. He's already 26, and has a long history of injuries dating back to his freshman year at Kent State; he has never shown he could hold up under a starter's workload, while his command is consistently below-average, ruling out any kind of return to the rotation. In relief, however, he should miss plenty of bats, but whether he's a 9th inning guy or just a middle reliever depends on whether he can throw quality strikes. He's good inventory, but not an elite prospect. For the Cubs, this is probably a relief, no pun intended (OK, pun intended). They gave up a prospect outside of their top 10 in exchange for an executive who, with the front office team he's brought in, should add more wins to the Cubs over the next five years than Carpenter will likely produce in his whole career. The Red Sox can stash Carpenter in Class AAA and bring him up whenever they need a relief arm in the big leagues, with the hope that eventually he improves his command, or at least his control, enough to be trusted with high-leverage work.

Another Boston crabby-appleton, WEEI, Kirk Milhane http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2012/02/22/red…
Theo 1 Red Sox 0 That’s the score after the ridiculous, embarrassing, how the hell did it take this long compensation drama finally had its conclusion on Tuesday afternoon. It’s done, and from a Red Sox perspective this was bungled from the start. (insert long-ass whiney-crap with violins in the background) So the Cubs got exactly what they wanted when they wanted, and the price was an underwhelming prospect. For the Red Sox, it was an opportunity inexplicably wasted.

Believe he's 26 and a CF'er for now, but obviously can move to RF. I certainly think he would have made some sense. I don't think it was money that kept the Cubs from signing him though. They probably wanted him for 6 years. ---- Cespedes signed for 4/36. Bruce Levine said he heard the WSux offered 6/28 and the Cubs offer was also 6 yrs but even lower $$ (as they were more interested in Solar)

Gorzelanny would have been a viable SP option while Wells was out --- The mlb ready backup depth at the start of spring training should have been Gorz and Silva. Gorz was traded to save $2M (I guess there was a budget issue). Carlos Silva would have started for sure with any injury and they were paying him anyway. Of course, Silva was blocking Cashner from getting innings and he was pissed off at ARam in an inning Silva gave up 6 runs on 3 Cub errors and 2 Silva HR's...and that was one of Silva's better spring training outings.
Silva, who by several accounts started the scuffle by jawing about the errors behind him in the first inning — including a dropped pop-up by Ramirez
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/4103946-419/carlos-silva-aramis…

I read somewhere that in someone's ranking scheme Carp is now ranked the #8 prospect in the Red Sox system. So if he was ranked around #13-14 in the Cubs system, that says something about where the Bosox stand. --- http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/index.jsp?c_id=ch… Sorry I was thinking the Carpenter #8 was Keith Law but it turns out it was Jonathan Mayo at mlb.com. it turns out that Carpenter had been ranked as high as #5 in Mayo/mlb.com's Cub team prospect rankings. He's now ranked #8 in Boston's mlb.com ranking. (you can switch teams from the link above to see each team's list, Carpenter was just added to the updated list) here's the Mayo writeup with Carpenter in Boston:
After three years as a starter in the Cubs’ system, he opened eyes when he hit triple digits pitching in relief in the Arizona Fall League in 2010, and he stayed in that role in 2011, making his Major League debut last June. He was the top prospect sent from the Cubs to the Red Sox in February as compensation for Theo Epstein. The life on his fastball has long been a blessing and a curse, as he’s struggled with control and command, walking 84 batters over the past two seasons. He pitched better back in the AFL and he could be ready to make a full-time contribution to a big league bullpen this year.
and the updated Cub list without Carpenter is: Rizzo, Jackson, Baez, Szczur, Maples, McNutt, Dolis, Whitenack, Golden, Lake (10) Vitters, Torreyes, Wells, Vogelbach, Candelario, Amaya, Hernandez, Sappelt, Chen...and Zack Cates got added at #20.

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In reply to by Rob G.

it's getting into that "what a pitcher/coach/writer calls what he actually does" area. a sinker and a slider are 2 different/non-similar grips. some people's cutters are "sinkers", though. that pitch he's throwing in that video is very much a traditional slider grip with the 2 joined fingers to the left of the right seam. there would be distance in the grip if it was a sinker or cutter.

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In reply to by crunch

Note: I've edited this about 15 times... Not necessarily. Some guys throw the cutter with the fingers together. The 4 seam cutter is a little easier to sink because your fingertips aren't on the seam. The 2-seam cut breaks more horizontally because you're able to pull on the seams and make the ball spin. Again, not the same for everybody. While that video is pretty inconclusive to me, the bottom picture isn't a sinker grip. It's possible to get that sink, but it would be damn tough. Typically the grip goes with the entire index finger sitting on the inside seam. Some guys (like Z) throw a sinker with the middle finger parallel to the OUTSIDE seam, but it's still parallel. That grip in the Indians pic makes the seam grabs your fingertips and makes it really tough on you to get the ball to sink. It's far more likely to stay flat than sink with that grip. That picture of the Indian is more of a slurve grip than anything because his fingers aren't parallel to the seam. I guess he COULD throw a 2 seam fastball from there, but it would break weird. It would end up being slurvy anyway. Now we're arguing about what guys are calling pitches, which isn't ever going to get resolved. We're splitting hairs here. I suppose anything is possible, but if I were to guess, Dolis is getting a ton of sink out of a cutter grip.

Basebal Prospectus' Ben Lindberg's take on the Carpenter transaction (in his usual transaction analysis column):
Acquired RHP Chris Carpenter and a PTBNL from the Chicago Cubs for a PTBNL as compensation for allowing the Cubs to hire Theo Epstein. [2/21] After months of waiting and wondering—or in some cases, not particularly caring—we finally know what Boston’s compensation for Theo Epstein will be. Sorry, Sox fans, it’s not Starlin Castro, Matt Garza, or Brett Jackson. The good news is that it’s not a total nobody, either. It’s the NL Central’s lesser Chris Carpenter. And that is good news, since any hopes that the Sox would score a major-league regular or a top prospect were unrealistic from the start. Theo is paid very well by baseball executive standards, and his marginal value as a general manager probably can’t hold a candle to that of a player more promising than a bullpen prospect. What’s more, the Sox didn’t have a lot of leverage—once your GM gets a more attractive offer, you either let him go or risk making the man in charge of building your team mad, which might not be the best idea. Carpenter is a big, 26-year-old, right-handed reliever who throws really, really hard. He pitched only 9 2/3 innings for the Cubs last season, but in those innings, his fastball averaged 96.5 miles per hour, making it the 10th-fastest pitch in the majors. The list of pitchers with faster fastballs than Carpenter’s includes Jordan Walden, Daniel Bard, and Joel Hanrahan. It also includes Jeremy Jeffress and Mark Lowe. Throwing hard is a good thing, but not a guarantee. Carpenter used to be a starter, but his secondary pitches aren’t finished products, his velocity is even more impressive in shorter outings, and he hasn’t always been healthy—he had a couple elbow surgeries, including Tommy John, in college—so the Cubs made him a full-time reliever last season. That didn’t go especially well, as he walked nearly seven batters per nine innings in Iowa and Chicago. When a hard thrower is still getting his stuff under control, an excess of walks is often the price a team pays for strikeouts. In Carpenter’s case, though, the strikeouts weren’t there—he fanned just over seven per nine across two minor-league levels and added eight more punchouts in his Cubs cameo. That’s discouraging, but he was dealing with a strained oblique that may have impaired his control, and he recovered to strike out 18 batters against only two walks in the high-offense Arizona Fall League (which, to be fair, he may have been a little old for). According to my recently-arrived Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2012 (which ranked him 13th in the Cubs organization, compared to a 14th-place finish in Kevin Goldstein’s Top 11), Carpenter “had trouble adjusting to the routine of a reliever, and he started overthrowing and lost consistency with his mechanics.” By the end of the year, he’d reportedly settled into the relief life and tightened his slider, so he’s back on a developmental track that might lead to the late innings, assuming the Sox don’t see him as a starter. The dueling players to be named later were included in the deal because the unusual circumstances demanded that this be a player trade. Their identities will be determined by April 15th. The Cubs still owe the Padres a prospect for raiding their front office for Jed Hoyer, but that prospect won’t be as promising as Carpenter, possibly because Hoyer's hair can't compete with Theo's.Acquired RHP Chris Carpenter and a PTBNL from the Chicago Cubs for a PTBNL as compensation for allowing the Cubs to hire Theo Epstein. [2/21] After months of waiting and wondering—or in some cases, not particularly caring—we finally know what Boston’s compensation for Theo Epstein will be. Sorry, Sox fans, it’s not Starlin Castro, Matt Garza, or Brett Jackson. The good news is that it’s not a total nobody, either. It’s the NL Central’s lesser Chris Carpenter. And that is good news, since any hopes that the Sox would score a major-league regular or a top prospect were unrealistic from the start. Theo is paid very well by baseball executive standards, and his marginal value as a general manager probably can’t hold a candle to that of a player more promising than a bullpen prospect. What’s more, the Sox didn’t have a lot of leverage—once your GM gets a more attractive offer, you either let him go or risk making the man in charge of building your team mad, which might not be the best idea. Carpenter is a big, 26-year-old, right-handed reliever who throws really, really hard. He pitched only 9 2/3 innings for the Cubs last season, but in those innings, his fastball averaged 96.5 miles per hour, making it the 10th-fastest pitch in the majors. The list of pitchers with faster fastballs than Carpenter’s includes Jordan Walden, Daniel Bard, and Joel Hanrahan. It also includes Jeremy Jeffress and Mark Lowe. Throwing hard is a good thing, but not a guarantee. Carpenter used to be a starter, but his secondary pitches aren’t finished products, his velocity is even more impressive in shorter outings, and he hasn’t always been healthy—he had a couple elbow surgeries, including Tommy John, in college—so the Cubs made him a full-time reliever last season. That didn’t go especially well, as he walked nearly seven batters per nine innings in Iowa and Chicago. When a hard thrower is still getting his stuff under control, an excess of walks is often the price a team pays for strikeouts. In Carpenter’s case, though, the strikeouts weren’t there—he fanned just over seven per nine across two minor-league levels and added eight more punchouts in his Cubs cameo. That’s discouraging, but he was dealing with a strained oblique that may have impaired his control, and he recovered to strike out 18 batters against only two walks in the high-offense Arizona Fall League (which, to be fair, he may have been a little old for). According to my recently-arrived Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2012 (which ranked him 13th in the Cubs organization, compared to a 14th-place finish in Kevin Goldstein’s Top 11), Carpenter “had trouble adjusting to the routine of a reliever, and he started overthrowing and lost consistency with his mechanics.” By the end of the year, he’d reportedly settled into the relief life and tightened his slider, so he’s back on a developmental track that might lead to the late innings, assuming the Sox don’t see him as a starter. The dueling players to be named later were included in the deal because the unusual circumstances demanded that this be a player trade. Their identities will be determined by April 15th. The Cubs still owe the Padres a prospect for raiding their front office for Jed Hoyer, but that prospect won’t be as promising as Carpenter, possibly because Hoyer's hair can't compete with Theo's.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16093

Recent comments

  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    He works quickly too so all that happened in probably like 4 minutes 

  • crunch (view)

    as of now, zyhir hope is the dodgers #20 prospect on mlb.com (ferris #7).  he made 0 national "top 100" overall lists.  that may be a different story soon enough.

    if hope is not in the team top-10 by year's end i would be shocked.

    i don't know what happened between draft day and a couple months in arizona, but he got the attention of many organizations outside of the cubs when he showed up.

  • crunch (view)

    ...and he takes a comebacker off the knee on pitch 7.  out made, run scored.

    pitch 9 is a 3 run homer.  amazing.

  • crunch (view)

    wade miley (MIL) loads the bases on 5 pitches in the 1st.  that's a special kind of talent.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    While the Chapman trade helped to cement a championship I honestly think that trade was made in a different era. Nobody trades their best prospects for rentals anymore.

    The Quintana trade was a stinker from day one. It seemed to be a product of Theo’s unshakable faith in his 2016 “core” and the consistent and mistaken idea that they were always just one guy away from a return to WS glory. The mistake was repeated several times and I think that realization along with a general evolution in baseball thinking has helped to shape Jed and the way he operates today.

  • Bill (view)

    I had mixed emotions when I heard of the trade, as I have with most trades that involve high potential prospects.  But that is because I hate to trade a high potential prospect for a veteran with only a few years control, and with a much lower potential than the prospects give away.  I hated the trade of Cease and Jiminez for Quinta, because I viewed Quintana as a decent, but not top pitcher, being traded for two very high-potential prospects.  I disliked the trade for Chapman, because a high-potential prospect was traded for a rental, although in this case, the fact that the rental was a top player greatly softened the blow.  The trade of Ferris and Hope for Busch seemed even at the time, to be a good one, even though they gave up one of my favorite prospects.  The return was a high-potential prospect with 6 years of control, at a time when he could be a difference maker on the team.

    13 games hardly proves that it was a good trade, but at least it was a reasonable one, no matter how it turns out.  So far, so good.

  • crunch (view)

    i was strongly happy about the deal, but words can barely describe how quickly zyhir hope went from "interesting youngster" to "high end prospect" when he showed up in arizona post-draft.

    it may not have shown up in the team prospect numbered rankings, but the dodgers had their eyes on such a low level guy for a reason and the cubs knew what they gave up.

  • TarzanJoeWallis (view)

    I have to disagree. They got not just A triple A stud but THE AAA stud of the entire PCL for a position player who hadn’t played above the AZL level and a pitcher who was rather mediocre in his first taste of pro ball at low A. I’m not saying the guys they traded haven’t shown great promise but they have a very long way to go and a whole lot to prove before they make the bigs. Especially since Busch filled a defined need (whether it had been at third or first) I take this trade any day of the week and don’t bother looking back.

  • crunch (view)

    matt shaw (AA) has a .381/.552/.905 line through 7 games...3 homers and a triple.  6 games at 3rd, 1 game DH (5 PO, 7 A, 0 E).

    that's somewhat fun news.

  • crunch (view)

    i was blown away confused/pissed when it was announced the cubs were trading for y.almonte.

    i was thrilled when m.busch was announced as part of the trade.

    it's really weird to have the "you gotta take this payroll guy, too" (1.9m) part of the trade leak before the main piece.

    the cubs didn't get a deal given what they gave up, but i was very happy to have a guy like busch in the fold with so much club control.