Shae Simmons

Little and Lange Dominate at Riverview

LLHP Brendon Little (Cubs 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-hit ball (a solo HR by Austin Beck with two outs in the 4th), retired fifteen of the sixteen men he faced (including six via strikeout), and threw 76% strikes, Jared Young belted a solo HR and an RBI double, and Jhonny Bethencourt knocked-in three runs with two RBI doubles, leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 10-3 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Oakland Athletics Lo-A affiliate) on Field #5, and RHSP Alex Lange (the Cubs other 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-run two-hit ball and retired the last eleven batters he faced, Chesny Young, Ryan Court, and Tyler Alamo clubbed back-to-back-to-back home runs to highlight a four-run 2nd inning, and Aramis Ademan capped the scoring with a solo HR in the 8th, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) drubbed the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) 9-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Wednesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.      

Brendon Little was absolutely mesmerizing, working very fast and throwing strikes, and effectively mixing his FB, CV, and CH to maximum degree (F-7, K, K, 5-3, 4-3, F-9, K, 5-3, F-7, F-7, K, HR, F-8, P-4, K, K).

Alex Lange was almost as good as Little over his five innings, flashing both his plus-CV and a CH in addition to his solid FB (BB, P-4, 3B, K, F-7, K, 1B, K, F-8, 6-3, K, 4-3, F-8, F-7, 4-3, 6-3, F-8, 3-U).

So it was a really good day for two of the Cubs top pitching prospects.

Not to be outdone, RHP Bailey Clark (Cubs 2016 5th round draft pick) "piggy-backed" with Little and brought 97 MPH FB gas and a hard slider to Field #5, racking up three innings of one-hit one-run ball. Clark retired the side easily 1-2-3 in his first two innings of work (K, 3-U, K, 4-3, 5-3, P-3), before losing his command a bit in his 3rd inning. The A's loaded the bases on a single and two walks with no outs, but then Clark induced a 4-6-3 DP on a 1-2 pitch and struck out the next hitter to get out of the jam. Clark opted to return to college (Duke) to get his degree after being drafted and signed by the Cubs in 2016, and he lost some valuable developmental time as a result, but the 6'4 220 righthander has all the earmarks of a stud power-pitcher.  

RHRP Shae Simmons got an inning of work, producing a 1-2-3 inning (K, K, 4-3). He was pounding the lower part of the strike zone with a 95 MPH FB mixed-with an occasional hard SL. (Simmons missed much of Spring Training with a sore shoulder, and was optioned to AAA Iowa just prior to the games at Riverview).

Just back from Fort  Myers, FL, where they traveled with the big club for a two-game pre-season set with the Red Sox, Iowa Cubs infielders Ryan Court and Chesny Young served as "roving designated hitters" in the two games, moving back & forth between the two fields in order to get maximum AB in as short a time as possible. Iowa C-1B Taylor Davis got somewhat less-intense DH work in with South Bend, taking all of his AB on Field #5.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only)
 

Feel the Chill

3/18 UPDATE:

The Kansas City Royals have signed recently-released RHRP Justin Grimm to a major league contract ($1.25M base salary with another $300K in potential performance bonuses).

But because Grimm was signed to a non-guaranteed contract and was released by the Cubs prior to MLB Opening Day, there is no salary offset for the Cubs. The $530K termination pay Grimm got from the Cubs is - NOT - offset by the $1.25M Grimm gets from the Royals. They are considered two unrelated deals, so Grimm ultimately could make upwards of $2M+ in 2018 (close to the $2.2M he was scheduled to make if he had not been released) if he reaches all of the performance bonuses (the $530K termination pay he got from the Cubs + the $1.25M base salary he gets from the Royals + the $300K in potential performance bonuses).

If Grimm had been released by the Cubs after MLB Opening Day, he would have received the entire $2.2M salary he got from the arbitration panel as termination pay, and then the Royals could have signed him for just the MLB minimum salary ($555K) and the Cubs would have been on the hook for the remaining $1.645M.

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3/15 UPDATE:

The Cubs have released veteran RHRP .

Because he was released 15 or fewer days prior to MLB Opening Day, Grimm will get 45 days salary as termination pay (which is about $530K of the $2.2M 2018 salary that he was awarded by an arbitration panel last month). Note that the Cubs would have saved themselves about $180K if they had released Grimm prior to yesterday (Wednesday), because players with non-guaranteed contracts receive only 30 days salary as termination pay if released more than 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

So the Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 39 (one slot is open), and 39 players are assigned to the Cubs Spring Training Active List (including ten NRI).

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3/11 ORIGINAL POST:

A player on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released more than 15 days prior to Opening Day receives 30 days salary as termination pay (paid at the "minor league rate" if the player is signed to a "split contract"), and a player on an MLB Reserve List signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released 15 or fewer days prior to Opening Day receives 45 days salary as termination pay (all players paid at the "Major League rate"). A player on an MLB Reserve List signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released during the MLB regular season receives 100% of his salary as termination pay (paid at the "minor league rate" for players on Optional Assignment to the minors). An unsigned player on an MLB Reserve List released during the off-season receives no termination pay.

So this coming Tuesday (3/13) is the last day a club can release a player on its MLB 40-man roster who is signed to a non-guaranteed contract and pay the player only 30 days salary (which is about 1/6 of the player's salary) as termination pay - AND - at the "minor league rate" if the player is signed to a split contract (meaning the player's salary varies depending on whether the player is on the club's MLB 25-man roster or is on Optional Assignment to the minors). 

Cubs Re-Sign Davis

3/2 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed 28-year old RHSP to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa. Whether he will receive an NRI to Spring Training at this late date is TBD.

Webster was the 2008 18th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Dalton L. McMichael HS in Mayodan, NC, and was at one time rated by Baseball America as one of the Dodgers Top Ten prospects (2009-12) and one of the Top 100 Prospects in baseball 2013-14. He also was rated as having one of the best change-ups and one of the best sliders in the minors at that time. But he was unable to establish himself in MLB 2013-15 after being traded to the Boston Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez deal in 2012 and then with the Arizona Diamondbacks after being traded to the D'backs as part of a trade for Wade Miley in December 2014, and he was released post-2015 to pursue an opportunity to continue his career in South Korea.

Webster pitched for the Samsung Lions in the KBO in 2016, before returning to the U. S. and signing a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers a year ago last November. He spent the 2017 season at AAA Round Rock, where he struggled to a 6.79 ERA - 1.66 WHIP - .329 OppBA with 14 HR allowed and 20/44 BB/K in 58.1 IP (12 G - 11 GS).

Webster is out of minor league options should he be added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) at some point in 2018, but he does not have Article XX-D status and so he would not have the right to elect free-agency if he is added to the 40 and then subsequently is outrighted back to the minors.

Meanwhile he will be competing for a spot on the Iowa Cubs pitching staff, probably in a RP/SP "swingman" role.    

2/26 UPDATE