From the Wire … Cubs Ink Looper and Ojeda to Minor League Deals and Announce Non-Roster Invitations to Spring Training

According to a report from, the Cubs signed Braden Looper and Augie Ojeda to minor league contracts on Thursday.

The Cubs also released the list of the 21 players that will be participating in big league camp this spring on non-roster invitations. Trey McNutt, Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Marquez Smith, Jay Jackson and Chris Carpenter are among the Cubs minor leaguers to receive invites.

2011 Cubs Non-Roster Invites to Spring Training

Chris Carpenter
Angel Guzman
Jay Jackson
Braden Looper
Trey McNutt
Scott Rice
Todd Wellemeyer

Steve Clevenger
Chris Robinson

Matt Camp
Bryan LaHair
Scott Moore
Augie Ojeda
Bobby Scales
Marquez Smith
Josh Vitters

James Adduci
Brett Jackson
Reed Johnson
Luis Montanez
Brad Snyder

The Cubs showed a lot of interest last spring in Braden Looper but did not sign him. Looper did not pitch in the majors in 2010 and last pitched in a Brewers uniform in 2009.

Braden Looper’s Page on

This will be the second tour of duty for Augie Ojeda in a Cubs’ uniform. Ojeda played with the Cubs from 2000 – 2003.

Augie Ojeda’s Page on

Pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park on February 13, just 17 days away. The first on field workout is scheduled for February 14. Position players report on February 18 with the first full squad workout on February 19.

The first pitch of the Cubs’ 2011 Cactus League schedule is February 27 at HoHoKam Park against the Oakland A’s.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon
  • Agustin_Rexach

    Ofcourse dead weight is always valuable

  • Wickitkevin

    Can’t wait Going to be there for the first week in March and catch 4 GAMES!

  • paulcatanese

    I’m not complaining,and I know why these guys are being signed. But,it reminds me of an old Tarzan movie where they are showing all the old Elephants headed to their burial ground for the last time.

  • Richard Hood

    Dead weight is important in baseball terms. You have to have these type of guys to push the young guys. I would much rather have Marquez Smith on the bench than Augie Ojeda but….. This way Darwin Barney and Cashner have to fight for there spots. Plus you never know they may catch hold of that infamous fountain of youth.

    • Gary J

      Every year someone somewhere puts forth a one-year return to glory – but most of the time they had to have had glory to begin with.

      Wellemyer had one decent year as a starter a couple of years back… but that’s about it. Looper on the other hand was a solid bullpen guy through 2006… when he converted to starter and was without a team three years later. Given that I doubt he’s being brought in for the 5th starter competition. We’ll see.

      The hitters we signed… meh. Never been an Augie fan.

      All in all I don’t figure these guys are anything more than split squad fodder for the spring.

      • paulcatanese

        I was never an Augie fan either and doubly so when he faced the Cubs.He always managed to get a hit here and there to hurt us. And what I meant by posting one big tryout camp in the spring,you answered it,for split squad use. These are the guys that you named above that I was asking about the money being spent on them. It’s a lot for intra-squad games. Then again it’s not my money. Just one little addition Gary,why is it when players put on the Yankee pin stripes they go balistic and when they put on the Cubs pin stripes they go the other way? Not all but most.

  • Aaron

    this is why I dislike Hendry soooooooooooo much. Why does he always have to go with aging veterans on these NRI’s. Why can’t he sign guys like Aybar, Milledge, etc….you know, guys that ACTUALLY are young enough to make a difference, and could then be flipped in the middle of the season if they’re any good, or just hang onto them and build around. But you can’t build around Wellemeyer, Ojeda, and Looper. It’s ridiculous.

    I know the players have a choice, and can sign with whomever they choose for however much they can get, so a lot goes on behind the scenes, I realize that. But when you see it year after year from Hendry, you can’t help but think the guy really doesn’t even think that way, and try to go young. He’s dead set on veterans come hell or high water..

    What an idiot…I can’t stand Hendry, I don’t care if these guys aren’t expected to make the team…YOu just have this feeling that Ojeda, Wellemeyer, Looper, and the always fragile Reed Johnson will break camp with us…..I mean, seriously, doesn’t anyone else get that feeling?

    • diehardcubfan

      Remember Aaron that JH lives in fantasy land. Did you not forget that after he made his 3 or 4 moves that we are now back in contention? I agree with you that this is getting a little silly. We already have enough veterans so we need to get the young guys in there. We already have dead weight.

      • Aaron

        What makes matters worse is that Justin Maxwell, a former top OF prospect of the Nationals just got released today. If you look at his minor league stats, they’re not terrible…they’re not good, but he’s still just 27 years old, and would’ve been a better option than Reed Johnson, but whatever

  • The Maven

    Have the Cubs’ management offices lost their phone book? Where are the invites to Mick Kelleher, Adolpho Phillips, and Hal and Danny Breeden?

    • Thebearsays

      Hey, I remember those guys…Liked Kelleher, he always played hard with the talent he had.

  • Tom U

    It is a disappointment that DJ LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, and Polin Trinidad didn’t get invites to the big league camp.

    • Gary J

      They’ll be along in a couple of years – not quite time for them to get a look from the big club. We’ll hopefully get a glimpse in the late innings of split games here and there, but they’re the future – not the present.

      LeMahieu (21 and A+ ball), Flaherty (23 and struggled when bumped up to AA last year), Gonzoloez (21, AA)… still need a little time in the oven.

      Bibens-Dirkx – interesting – hadn’t even heard of him somehow. Pretty good stats the last two years and 25. Even so though, I am looking forward to seeing the arms that did get the invite – especially McNutt.

      Trinidad though – he’s struggled the last couple years in the minors after being a pretty decent prospect in 2008 with Houston. I expect the coaches want to really see what they have before deciding what to do with him.

      I gotta admit it though… I’m with you on the hitters you mentioned. I wouldn’t mind getting a glimpse even if it’s too soon to see them in Wrigley :-)

      • Tom U

        I included Polin Trinidad because he had a good season in the winter leagues, especially the playoffs, His team relied on him heavily, and he showed the ability to start or relieve. Being left handed helps.

        Bibens-Dirkx is a younger version of Thomas Diamond, who’s on the 40 man roster.

        Like I said, I was disappointed, but I’m not furious.

    • Tony

      We have the spots, if you eliminate some of the aging vets, signed to minor league contracts, that are being given a spot as a favor, so they can “showcase” their talents, to other teams.

  • Mgripken

    If Augie Nieto makes this team over Darwin Barney, Cubs fans should be outraged!!!!!!!

    AUGIE OJEDA is Awful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Corn Cob Dress

    I would rather have Steve Macko than Augie Ojeda.

  • Drlefty

    Can anyone tell me why Braden Looper didn’t pitch at all last year?

    • Tony

      Nobody wanted him.

      He went 14-7 with a 5.22 ERA 1.49 WHIP for the Brewers. Batting average against Looper…….289