Travis Wood is fun to watch right now

Yeah, I know.
Is Travis Wood a mirage?
Can he keep this up for his whole career?
How about I don't care.
This guy has been nothin' but fun to watch pretty much all year, and after yesterday... well, some day he'll be able to say to his grand kids he hit a homer off Tim Lincecum.
During the Great Rebuild, there have been pockets of baseball action and some new players that allow me to not think about the how-long-til-the-Cubs-can-contend thing and just enjoy.
And at the very bottom of it all, that's what summer is for.
Okay, and maybe a frosty cold one.
The Cubs sweep the Giants with back to back to back one-run wins.
Doesn't really mean anything, but man was that fun.


Tigers get Jose Veras for low Single A (Midwest league) OF Danry Vasquez and PTBNL a little insight into the value of Kevin Gregg?

Veras with a club option for 2014 and better peripherals, guessing Cubs will get considerably less.

Simoniz or infield rake...probably not both.

Tim, your shit is getting whacked and retro! Very cool. Homage to Lichtenstein/Warhol? "Lich" is probably a Yankees fan. Wonder what he thinks of A-Rod? This year is wearing on you some, I see ;) Keep up the caffeine intake, man.

I kinda feel like the rock bottom's been hit long ago. It'll be nice to be doing a majority of happy illustrations as time goes on.
Agree with everything you say in your next comment, too!

if it was Warhol then he would have made a rough sketch painting on screenprint and an unpaid intern would have done the actual work for him...lulz.

On TheoJed - Overall, and I think many of you would agree, this current mgmt team seems to actually be moving in the right direction and have perhaps learned from their collective mistakes. Well, excepting Edwin Jackson this year. I am impressed with their trades and scrap-heap signings, as well as buying low and selling high. Jim Hendry never figured that shit out. Finally, it would appear that their decision to strike quickly in both the Intl. deals, as well as Deadline Deals has looked like GM Master Class material. How fun it would be to go to Cubs games that mattered again?

Jackson has had a 2.05 ERA and .835 WHIP past month, so he's improving too

Yes, he's completely turned it around. I remember actually making one of my rare successful semi-predictions in a comment when I noted during his slump that his velocity was not only still there but getting better, and that at least he wasn't damaged goods. I have no idea what was going on early, unless it was that typical signing a big contract thing and trying to live up to it, which seems a little overblown to me but I guess it must happen some.

I don't have the numbers handy but Jackson's advanced metrics basically indicated that he was just really unlucky the first few months of the year.

That's what she said.

Going to game tonite, el not an option. Any parking suggestions?

Remote park at DeVry (Addison just east of California) and take the CTA shuttle bus. $6 parks your car and gets everyone in your car a round-trip bus pass. Return buses lineup on Clark around the 7-8th inning and lot is regular parking.

I usually park on Halsted, Sheffield, Racine, etc., but south of Belmont by a couple blocks - no gamenight parking restrictions in the commercial areas. AKA free parking in safe neighborhood if you don't mind walking 0.8-1.1 mile north to stadium. Same thing works on Addison west of Damon, but that walk always seems a little longer to me.

Late on this, but for future reference, I usually park on Damen just south of Addison and then take the 151 bus. It is a long walk but also an option for those opposed to taking the bus.

JACOS: Or you could take a cab.

Speaking of which, I pushed a hack for Checker back in the 1970's, and I remember one time I was parked at the cab stand on the east side of Wrigley Field (west side of Sheffield north of Addison), and some guy gets in the cab and I say, "So how did the Cubs do?"

And he says, "They lost 22-0."

And so I sez, "No seriously, what was the score?"   

And he says, "It was 22-zip, and Rennie Stennett went 6 for 6." 

"Oh. OK. Where to?"  

"I pushed a hack for Checker back in the 1970's" There should be an AZ Phil movie, I would be first in line to see it.

AZ Phil and Nate Silver in a boxing ring.

"Rennie Stennett". Ha! What an odd blast from the past. I always liked him 'cause he sent me an autographed picture during my campaign to collect favorite player autographs. And, addressed the envelope himself. I theorized that since he wasn't well-known in my eyes, he'd be more apt to reply to an autograph request. Did the same with Manny Sanguillen. For whatever reason - it worked.

I remember when he first came up he REALLY lit the place on fire. I'm too lazy to check his stats but I think his rookie year he didn't get enough at bats but he really went nuts - maybe a late callup. I hope Junior Lake doesn't go all Rennie Stennett on us, but baseball being what it is, there's a good chance of it. Actually, baseball being what it is, Junior will be fortunate to have Rennie Stennett's career, since he was in the league awhile. That's not a bash on Junior. It's just acknowledgement of how hard the game is.

btw, Braves get Scott Downs, one less suitor for James Russell.

nice move by Brewers...

Giving fans $10 voucher for food and drinks if they show up with a ticket for an August game, cost them around the same that they'll save on the Braun suspension.

Cub All-Stars Flipping through my son's latest edition of Vine Line, and there was a list of Cub All Stars over the past 10 years. I had forgotten all about the "other" Cub All Star from last year -- Starlin Castro annnndddd.....Bryan LaHair. Possibly the quickest career descent of all time?

I posted almost this exact same comment a couple weeks ago. Crazy.

Barry Rozner‏@BarryRozner Former Cub Frank Castillo dead at age 44. Drowned in Bartlett Lake in Arizona near his home. One of the really good guys. RIP.

Former Cub Frank Castillo dead after drowning in lake in AZ. He was 44. I was at his 8 2/3 no hit game against Cards in 1995. R.I.P.

Extreme bummer

Frank Castillo was the pitching coach for the EXST Cubs and AZL Cubs last season, and I had a chance to talk to him a few times. A really nice guy.

Haven't heard about Villanueva in a while. "They are talking to teams about outfielders Nate Schierholtz (though they have him for another year) and David DeJesus, catcher Dioner Navarro and pitchers Kevin Gregg and Carlos Villanueva."

Junior 'Bobby Mercer' Lake with the delayed steal. Except he always gets thrown out.

I've been calling him 'The Pond'.

the n.cotts return keeps rolling on in TEX (last seen in the majors in 2009 with the cubs)... 32.2ip 19h 11bb 38k, 0.92era/0.83whip

and the strop scoreless stretch ends after 10.2ip MIL takes a 1 run lead in the top 9th, men on 1st/2nd, 0 outs.

...tack on another 2 runs, men on 2nd/3rd, 1 out...and b.parker in.

...tack on another 2 runs...this game went to shit real fast. strop's ERA goes from 0.00 to 4.09 in 0.1ip...5er

I guess our old pal Evan Brunell is okay with swearing now

RIP MVN...wait, who cares... good for him on the non-profit work, though. From 6/29 Ask BA... "...where would you rank third baseman Mike Olt and righthander C.J. Edwards on the Cubs top prospects list?" --- "...fifth overall (M.Olt) among Chicago farmhands. I’d put third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Javier Baez and outfielders Albert Almora and Jorge Soler ahead of Olt." "...there’s no question that he (CJ Edwards) and Pierce Johnson are the Cubs’ best pitching prospects. Edwards would rank with Johnson, first baseman Dan Vogelbach and infielder Arismendy Alcantara in the 6-10 range on Chicago’s prospect list."

BJax sighting w Smokies as DH, 1-4. Alcantara 3-4 and 3 rbis. Baez 0-4 and a WALK. milb summary includes Venezuela Cubs...

Who is Jose Rosario and how did he manage to give up 13 ER in 4.2 IP!! And then I see that he is 0-7 with a 6.71 ERA for Kane County so perhaps it should be that surprising.

Apropos of nothing, I took in a Scranton-Louisville AAA game on Friday and Corey Patterson is on the Scranton roster. He even made a great catch to save two runs. Interesting to watch Billy's basically a given he's going to try to steal when he gets on. Scranton made two errors, one by a pitcher, one by the catcher, trying to pick him off. The first time, he made it to third. The next time, he made it to second and then stole third on the next pitch. Then he struck out with runners on to end the game. Looks like he may have some problems getting on base, but when he does...exciting stuff.

news of roster moves between Boise-Kane County: RHP Tyler Skulina, OF Jose Dore promoted to Kane County,RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua, OF Kevin Encarnacion to Boise Paniagua's 2013 numbers are somewhat disappointing. Hope he gets it together back in Boise where he had a short stay during the playoffs last year.

John Arguello/Cubs Den with some nice commentary on the cubs minor leaguers based on yesterday and this am info:
Javier Baez went 0 for 4 but walked for the 7th time in 93 PAs. That's a 7.5% walk rate... He has exactly doubled the amount of walks he had last season with 28 between Daytona and Tennessee.

Jake Arrieta accrues one day of MLB Service Time today while serving as the Cubs "26th man" for the doubleheader.

Arrieta needs to accrue at least 58 more days of MLB Service Time in 2013 (but there are only 62 days left in the MLB regular season) to be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2013 (a "Super Two" must accrue at least 86 days of MLB Service Time in the season immediately preceding to receive "Super Two" status), so the Cubs will probably want to send him back to Iowa for at least another five days no matter how he pitches today.   

Remember that a player recalled as a "26th man" for a doubleheader that is scheduled at least 48 hours in advance is not bound by the "ten-day rule" (where a player cannot be recalled for least ten days after being optioned to the minors, unless the player is recalled to replace a player on the MLB 25-man roster who is placed on the DL or other MLB inactive list), so the Cubs would not have to wait ten days to recall Arrieta if he is optioned back to Iowa tomorrow. 

Phil when does Barney become arbitration eligable? To put another way, when will he be released because he becomes too expensive for what he adds.

PHIL: You called it: Brooks Raley (who started last Wednesday) and Jake Arrieta (who started last Thursday) would be the two Iowa Cubs starters on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster who would be in-line to get added to the Cubs 25-man roster as the "26th man" and start one of the games in the day/night DH on Tuesday vs Brewers. I'm thinking they want to see Arrieta "deal" at the MLB level at Wrigley. Bosio is familiar with Brooks Raley already.

BOB: Darwin Barney is eligible for salary arbitration (first time) after this season, so he could be traded at any time or possibly could be non-tendered in December.

Jake Arrieta, RHP (could qualify as a "Super Two" - TBD)
Darwin Barney, INF
Julio Borbon, OF (will qualify as a "Super Two" unless he is outrighted or released)
Cody Ransom, INF
James Russell, LHP
Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Nate Schierholtz, OF
Pedro Strop, RHP (will qualify as a "Super Two" unless he is outrighted or released)
Luis Valbuena, INF
Travis Wood, LHP

Cubs continue to fail with RISP (0-3 through 3 innings). Have now scored 7 runs in last 5+ games. Bring up some hitters, or play Travis Wood every day.

IS this any better or worse than last year? EDIT: Is James Rowson going to get replaced after the season?

Olney banging the Schierholtz likely to be traded drum.

Gallardo must be screaming in the clubhouse -- comes out (leg injury?) with bases loaded, 2 outs and 2 stikes on Barney - then watches Axford allow all 3 inherited runners to score.

"Yovani Gallardo left Tuesday's game against the Cubs because of tightness in his left hamstring."

James Russell punches his ticket to...stay in Chicago?

ugh... more letting borbon pinch hit with men on...please...never again... also, welly has returned to the .270 mark with his 3-4 (so far) day...17 doubles, 269ab (only 3hr)...ob% around .340...66Ks

Here's a poor allocation of resources: Borbon used as a pinch hitter, Travis Wood used as a pinch runner. :(

b.wilson signs with the dodgers...lulz. $1m base + incentives

Olney says Cubs may have interest in Ian Kennedy whom DBacks are shopping, as do Angels.

i can understand them shopping kennedy...but not now. they kinda need 2 of their 3 DL'd pitchers back before that would make much sense (cahill, mccarthy, hudson)...they barely have a 5th starter capable guy as it is, currently. hudson isn't coming back this year...and probably not for most of next season.

Kennedy not free agent eligible until after 2015 season, making $4.26M this year...age 28 season.

If DBacks just looking for salary relief, decent enough gamble I suppose. Numbers have gone way south over last 2 years, but seems to stay healthy...good bounceback candidate, although certainly not to 2011 levels. Gregg for Kennedy? Maybe Cubs throw in a "C" prospect.

The story in Chicago is Dbags want Peavey but need to shed salary to get him

Two ugly losses, but what can one really expect against the Braun-less Brewers, who were 17-32 on the road at the start of the series, and are so horrible that management has agreed to pay for their fans to eat and drink at the ballpark? So much Cubbery.....

from the cubs management side, it would have been nice to not bring in j.russell with 2 on to face a righty after removing Mr. Carlos Manuel (Paulino) Villanueva. that seems to have been a b.parker situation...especially with fellow righty r.weeks due up next.

Man, what a pile of shit Cody Ransom is lately. Perfect fit I suppose. I thought he was gonna do his patented first swing and ground out, but he surprised me and actually popped it up. He is just brutal lately.

to be fair to Cody Ransom...he's Cody Ransom and has a career .219 batting average.

Schierholtz not in lineup for the nightcap vs. a righty...commence rumoring.

rumor floating of Taillon for Peavy/Ramirez and tons of cash (grain of salt and all).

David Littlefield must be back with the Pirates.

that one seems highly unbelievable...

I think the Pirates are holding out for Gregg.

My brain is not working, I'm not at my computer, and google is not helping. What's the name of the nifty Minor League stats website where you can assemble your own list of players to follow again. Thanks. :/

THANK YOU Rob. Brain cramp relieved.

Jonathan Villar with a straight steal of home against the O's.

PIT wins in the 11th...back in 1st place.

jake arrieta has marmol's jersey #

Numerous teams have called on the availability of left-handed reliever James Russell and outfielder Nate Schierholtz. Although neither are star players, each can be a difference-maker in his own way. Schierholtz has been scouted by the Pittsburgh Pirates for the past 30 days. Russell was almost traded to the Atlanta Braves last week.

"Yahoo! Sports reports that players who have already been suspended for PED use linked to Biogenesis, including Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal and Melky Cabrera, will likely avoid further suspension. Meanwhile, nine known players and more who haven't been reported are all but certain to take plea deals in the coming days or weeks."

"ESPN's Jim Bowden reports that the Angels and Cardinals have discussed a deal that would send Erick Aybar to St. Louis for either Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha plus Pete Kozma." the "under contract control" SS market is off the hook if recent rumors are true...pretty sure s.castro could get d.bundy + k.gausman if BAL needed a SS. ...also, if rumors are true, i have no idea how m.wacha + p.kozma aren't already in anaheim.

"ESPN's Jim Bowden reports that the Cardinals have "made it clear" to the Angels that they will not include Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha in a deal for Erick Aybar." ah...rumors. nice of him to clear up his own rumor, though.

AZ Phil, I am curious what you think about Wellington Castillo's development this year. I recall you thought he could be a guy who hit a fair number of home runs and had a high CS%. He's really struggling in both those areas right now. Any chance for great improvement?

Not Phil, obviously, and looking forward to reading his response, but one thing I think I've noticed is that Castillo produces top spin a lot of the time and doesn't seem to loft the ball much. As far as the CS%, I'm not sure how much of the blame we might be able to place on the pitchers and middle infielders.

i've always seen him as more of a "doubles machine" type hitter...though 3HR is a bit less than i'd expect out of him, currently. also, his SB amount as well as his SB/CS ratio is more out of whack than i thought it would be. he's got a great arm...too good to already have given up 49sb in 675 innings.

He's going to be the Ryan Theriot of catchers...only useful while he's cheap.

JOHN: I think Welington Castillo should be able to hit 10-15 HR a year and maintain a 35% CS once he gets more comfortable in the big leagues. He hit double-digit HR every season 2007-12 except one, and maintained a 35-40% CS for most of his career (up until 2011, then it went down to just under 30%).  

Castillo had a lot of rough edges to smooth out that mostly related to his receiving skills (lots of Catchers Interference errors and Passed Balls) and ability to make contact as a hitter (he typically struck out about once in every three PA throughout his minor league career and rarely took a walk), and he may have spent so much time working on those areas of his game that he allowed some of his other skills (like throwing and a power stroke at the plate) to drift a bit.

But I think Castillo is the Cubs long-term solution at catcher, if he can stay in shape and stay healthy. His minor league career is littered with DL stints related to ankle, knee, and hamstring/quad issues, and he has also had trouble with physical conditioning from time-to-time.

But he just turned 26, and it is not unusual for catchers to fully mature a bit later than other players, because they have so many specific skills to master.  


"Jackie Bradley Jr. and Anthony Ranaudo pulled from minor league games" 20 minutes ago... Red Sox trending on twitter #6 lulz...modern baseball rumor milling.

6ip 2h 3bb 2k, 1er 93 pitches so far...should get another inning, i'd imagine

...or not. bowden in.

2 errors in a row, a wild pitch, and a double = cubs lead by 1 ...if that's what it takes, sure. ...and bowden is out to pitch a 2nd inning...haven't we learned a few times before that he's just a 1 inning guy?

A. Callapso from Angels to A's.

White Sox and Red Sox exchanging medical records on Jake Peavy deal, possibly J. Iglesias involved.

A's dont even need callapso...wonder if the A's are working overtime trying to get something done with the yanks...or just trying to keep the yanks from upgrading at 3rd. (2nd/3rd...SS in a pinch) supposedly the player going to ANA...not bad.

some sort of 3-way deal with Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox

Avisail Garcia, Jake Peavy, Jose Iglesias involved so far...

DET must be expecting a certain SS to get suspended sometime soon.

Garcia to White Sox, Peavy to Red Sox, Iglesias to Tigers

rumors of one other Red Sox player involved but unconfirmed, I guess taking Peavy's contract was enough cause Red Sox gave up little.

INF Cleulius Rondon and Ps Francelis Montas and Jeffery Wendelken all go to White Sox as well (RSox prospects) tally

White Sox: Rondon, Montas, Wendelken, Garcia

RSox: Peavy, B. Villereal

Tigers: Iglesias

Garcia was a nice get, but seems like Cubs did better with Garza

(checks M. Olt's line...2/26 after tonight with 9 K's and 2 BB)

well seemed better at the time.

I'd sure as hell rather have Garza than Peavy. Injury risk, temperament, age, playoff experience all in Garza's favor. (peavy 2 games in post season with Padres. 12.10 ERA, 0-2, 2.379 whip 9.2 IP. Small sample etc)

Peavy has the edge in temperament. I think Soto said Garza is almost as nuts as Z on game day. That's probably why he throws the ball into the stands instead of the 1b dude.

Well if so it ain't by much. I've seen Peavy scream at himself on the mound more times than I care to acknowledge. One meltdown against the Cubs was particularly bizarro. I think he has actually become more unhinged since joining the White Sox. And NOBODY is as whacked as Z. . . . Garza isn't even close. He may have some internal nerves etc but his external appearance (other than the glove wiggle and the throws to first) is composed for the most part.

callaspo to play 2b for A's.

-edit- as mentioned earlier,  for decent prospect in Grant Green, old school challenge it.

deleted post...already covered.

k.gregg continuing the cubs closer tradition of heart-attack-9th's... bases loaded, 2 drama. a can of simoniz is looking to be a fair return in trade value at this point.

2 run single? ...2 run single. brewers lead 3-2.

Jeff Bianchi - Cub Killer.

Anyone watching the game saw it was a frickin mess. A swinging bunt. A HORRENDOUS call by a trigger shy home plate ump (center of the plate at the knees) who couldn't raise his arm to end the game (pitch tracker said strike too). Really want to sit with the ump and discuss that replay. And of course Castro misplayed the soft liner which was ruled a single. Home plate ump can go fuck himself. How do your reward a guy for keeping the bat on his shoulder in that situation? Down the middle ...

soft liner? c'mon... sure, it clunked off the bottom of his glove, but that wasn't a gimmie. ...and yeah, the zone was screwed for gregg's entire inning.

Len and JD saying it shoulda been caught - he was fooled by it and dove when he didn't have to. Len says 'he makes that play in his sleep.'

Castro sucks.

in his sleep, but not when the game is on the line.

It also had been lightly drizzling for a couple innings ....

he wouldn't have gloved it without reaching/diving...but he overshot it. 40 second mark on the replay on Gameday video highlights.

Honestly I'm having a lot harder time with the ump watching that 3-2 pitch hit the center of the plate at the knees, than I am with Castro's play. My point was I actually think Gregg pitched really well.

it was a horribly called inning...he went 2-0 on 2 strikes in a low (low, in the zone) to start the inning...all downhill from there.

"he wouldn't have gloved it without reaching/diving . . ." Your words should be arranged differently: he dove when he should have reached. "This young man can really play short. He plays the game really easy. He slows it down, anticipates, very good instincts." Jason McLeod (quoted by C. Muskat in January) using words to describe Baez that, I think, create separation between the prospect and the Cubs' current SS.

And you could probably find an almost identical quote from 4-5 years ago when Castro was coming up... Sigh.

They're always better when they're prospects. That's why I love to say, "bring 'em up!". Baseball is a humbling sport.

Actually, you're right. I did find an almost identical quote.
"When I saw him play in the summer league, he played the game about as calm and under control as I've seen," said Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken, who hadn't seen Castro play before he was signed by scout Jose Serra. "This is one player who can slow up the game, as the saying goes."
Wilken also compared Castro to Tony Fernandez, who won four gold gloves, his first at the age of 24 (when his errors fell from 30 the year before to 13). But I think the real difference is intensity. Wilken again, this time on Baez:
"He's got this insatiable drive to be a winner and his competitiveness is top of the scale," said Wilken. "He'll fight you in dominoes ... he's extremely competitive."
Baez takes killer swings every at bat, where Castro is content to hit little floaters out toward right field. (Maybe one will drop in.) I think that intensity makes a difference in the field, too.

After his 1st round fuck-ups, and the thought that modern baseball may have passed him by, Wilken is starting to remind me of Clint Eastwood in Trouble With the Curve.

All his first-rounders except Simpson are still in the hunt, including Colvin and Flaherty and Jackson and especially Vitters, who I still think will be a major-league power hitter, though probably not on the Cubs' timetable. The surer bets of course are Donaldson, Cashner and Baez. Everything's relative. Of the nine first-rounders picked before Wilken's hiring, only Prior was a valid pick. Of the rest, only Montanez got a whiff of the majors.

Is it about time for the Cubs to consider moving Castro to 2B? It's amazing to me, that with his atletic ability, that he still makes so many dumb mistakes at SS. The whole "a grounder right at me I'll back up 2 steps" play is getting old. Either hold your ground...or charge it, but never back up on it like that...geez.

He's starting to double clutch a lot, too. Correct me if Im wrong, but I think he's added this to his repertoire this year.

I also have to say I'm a little worried about Junior Lake's superman complex. Those were three hero swings and I'm pretty sure the Brewers knew just what to do with him when they saw how hard he was chomping on that bit.

horrible swings...1 swung his helmet off his head. he needed to get on base and let rizzo/navarro do their work.

Exactly ... A lefty and a clutch dude who was 3/4 on the night. And he was hacking like a schoolboy. It was hard to watch...

Re: Junior Lake

Keith Law: "...his lack of instincts on both sides of the ball is scary."

EDIT: Another empty comment box. It doesn't get much better with the edit, sadly. Anyway, who's next in line for a callup? Some of those at bats by Junior were appalling. Doesn't anybody coach these guys? You know, you have this rookie with, shall we say, a tendency to want to do too much, coming up with men on base. Don't you lean into his ear and tell him to focus on moving the runners? Shit, the kid loves to bunt, how about a damn bunt?

Sadly baseball is hard, and teaching only does so much. This is why toolsy guys like Lake don't always make it. But at least we brought him up :)

That's for sure. We bring them up, and they fail. Almost always, at least at first. Once in awhile a guy really takes off as a rookie and sustains it, but it does seem pretty rare. BTW, did you see the catch by Caesar? Tweet box link. Bring him up!

Hopefully the new "Cubs' Way" will change this, and our players will actually learn how to play winning baseball in the minors.

Cardinals in on Navarro? Yadi Molina with some knee issues.

Lets do this!

Molina has been playing on bad knees for a little while. It's gutsy and all to do that, but it seems pretty dangerous for a catcher to try to play through that.

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  • waveland 8 hours 18 min ago (view)

    really appreciate the years and years of your updates


  • Arizona Phil 10 hours 13 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS. 


  • bradsbeard 10 hours 57 min ago (view)

    Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH. 


  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 32 min ago (view)

    Alfonso Rivas reminds me a bit of Rafael Palmeiro when Palmeiro first came up to the big leagues and was a "doubles machine" (before he started hitting home runs).   

    Rivas played D-1 baseball at the University of Arizona, so (just like Nico Hoerner, who also played in the PAC-12) I don't think he needs a lot of additional time at AAA before he's ready for MLB. He's a very advanced hitter, as long as you are OK with lots of doubles & lots of walks but not many HR.   


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 34 min ago (view)

    I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option


  • bradsbeard 12 hours 39 min ago (view)

    I really hope Rivas has a chance at the LF job. Would ease some of the sting of Schwarber being cut loose. 


  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 40 min ago (view)

    CRUNCH: I got the impression that Ross had seen enough of Schwarber in LF, so implementing the universal DH may be necessary before Schwarber returns to the Cubs in 2021. I think the Cubs would be fine with Schwarber as their main DH going forward. 

    BTW, I strongly suspect that the universal DH will be included in the next CBA, but whether there will be a DH in the National League in 2021 is still TBA (which is really stupid, since clubs need to know right now for sure one way or the other whether or not there will be a DH in the N. L. in 2021). 


  • Arizona Phil 12 hours 51 min ago (view)

    Besides the guys on the 40, Cubs 2021 NRI relievers with a legit chance to win a bullpen slot in Spring Training include LHRPs Josh Osich and Rex Brothers, and RHRPs Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and Joe Wieland (presuming they are not taken in the Rule 5 Draft). 

    Brothers and Wieland are out of minor league options, however, so if added to the 40 they could not ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" like the others could. 


  • crunch 12 hours 57 min ago (view)

    i am rooting for the cubs to retain schwarber.

    even though he's average on the best of days in LF (except his above average arm), i would like to see him and his work ethic remain in the cubs system...the homers from the left side of the plate are nice, too.


  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 19 min ago (view)

    At least as things stand right now, Kris Bryant is your Cubs de facto 2021 Opening Day LF! (Of course we know he will be traded before then...). 

    Otherwise, minor league NRI outfielders Ian Miller, Michael Hermosillo, and Rafael Ortega will be competing for Opening Day OF slots, with a legit shot to win a job.

    Even Alfonso Rivas (who was hitting rockets from foul line to foul line at AZ Instructs) and/or Eddy Julio Martinez (who has had a very good winter in the Mexican Pacific League) might have a shot.  


  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 22 min ago (view)

    I would think that both Colin Rea and Kyle Ryan must have signed contracts with minor league split salaries, otherwise I doubt very much that they would have been tendered. 


  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 33 min ago (view)

    With Tepera non-tendered and Winkler, Ryan, and Rea signed, the Cubs 2021 Opening Day bullpen (right now) would appear to be Kimbrel (clearly not tradeable), Wick (virtual lock), Winkler (can't be optioned without his consent), Underwood (out of minor league options), and Maples (out of minor league options), and then three from amongst Adam, Norwood, Rea, Ryan, Stock, and Wieck (each of whom can be optioned back & forth to AAA as needed).


  • Arizona Phil 13 hours 53 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed RHSP Colin Rea, LHRP Kyle Ryan, and RHRP Dan Winkler to 2021 MLB contracts (terms TBD) and tendered 2021 MLB contracts to all other unsigned players on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) except OF Albert Almora, OF-1B Jose Martinez, OF Kyle Schwarber, and RHRP Ryan Tepera.

    So Almora, J. Martinez, Schwarber, and Tepera are now unrestricted free-agents, free to sign an MLB or minor league contract with any club (including the Cubs) without any salary restrictions.   

    The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 34 (six slots are open). 


  • Arizona Phil 14 hours 15 min ago (view)

    Keep in mind that as things stand right now the Cubs projected 2021 MLB payroll is almost $50M under the 2021 CBT threshold (which will be $210M), so they don't have to worry about contract AAV if they can sign a player to a multi-year deal with a low 2021 base salary and then substantially higher salaries post-2021 (when they should be able to generate their normal attendance-based revenues --.presuming CoViD-19 is no longer a problem by that time).     


  • Arizona Phil 14 hours 55 min ago (view)

    TIME OUT: As I mentioned in the post, the Cubs cannot cut Schwarber's base salary more than 20% without first non-tendering him, so if he is agreeable the Cubs could sign him for a relatively low base 2021 salary (something like $5M) combined with performance bonuses based upon actual PA (not pro-rated PA) maybe totaling $5M (which would cover the Cubs if the 2021 season is truncated), and then maybe an additional year or two (2022-23) for something like $10M per year plus performance bonuses (again, based on PA). Schwarber could get a player opt-out as well post-2021. 


  • crunch 17 hours 28 min ago (view)

    it's not surprising, but i also don't see the downside of giving him the $8m-ish he'd be owed.

    if you can hit 30+ homers that's usually money you can easily go get.

    i seriously wonder about this offseason and the amount of investment the cubs are going to make in the team.  i mean, it's fine if they go cheap yet somehow field a great team via off-season trades or other forms of black magic...i just don't trust how this off-season is unfolding so far.