From the Wire … Cubs Sign Two Cuban Prospects

According to a report from Baseball America, the Cubs signed two former top players from the Cuban junior national teamRubi Silva and Yaniel Cabeza.

Rubi Silva is a 21-year old left handed outfielder. Silva is 5’11”, 180 pounds and has played both center and right field. According to Baseball America, Silva has above-average speed, a strong arm and is an aggressive line-drive hitter with gap power. Silva has the versatility to possibly move to the infield.

Silva signed for a $1 million bonus.

Yaniel Cabeza is a 21-year old catcher that is better known for his defense than his offense. According to Baseball America, Cabeza has a solid bat and is a good situational hitter.

Cabeza signed for $500,000.

Click here for report from Baseball America

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  • Searse

    Replenish replenish replenish

  • paul catanese

    It looks like there’s one huge tryout camp scheduled for spring training camp.Not unusual, bring in a bunch, use them for opposition for a number of different issues and maybe get one hot bat or glove to join the regular roster. Pretty expensive,but I think I read these are not guranteed contracts. What exactly does that mean? The two Cuban players are guranteed their bonus for signing. I cannot comment on either because I haven’t seen them play at all.

    • jw

      That’s quite a bit of dough if it is guaranteed

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Both players received the money I reported in the article. That is guaranteed. $1 million for Silva and $500,000 for Caberza

        • jw

          Thanks for the clarification Neil. The Cubs must really like these players. I like the fact they are exploring different avenues than in the past. Do you know how much they have committed to unknown players that will probably not play with the big club this year? As I have been following the site there have been a couple of these non-splashy cash outputs. (Szczur 1.5mm for example) A million and and a half here and there and some contracts for arbitration eligible players will add up pretty fast. I personally am concerned there will not be enough money to add the Jumbotron so Ramirez can admire one of his 35 towering home run blasts this season.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            You’re welcome. I have a lot of the salaries/bonuses paid out on the CCO’s 40-man roster. You can click there or on this link. I have three players to add to the bonus section.

            https://docs.google.com/View?id=dfmzmn9w_3k8spwfc4

          • Gary J

            I’ve seen this stuff around (cot’s and other spots) but never all in one place – did you pull this together Neil? Because it’s outstanding!

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Gary, yes I did and thank you.

            This is the CCO’s 40-man roster. The Google doc is the easiest way I could figure out how to compile a list like this so it could be updated as quickly as possible

          • paulcatanese

            Neil,two points I am confused on. But first,very good on the link.Now is Wellemeyer guranteed that $800,000 and then if he makes the roster another $400,000 in incentives,or if he dosen’t make it,he gets nothing? And on Miles, are the Cubs now not liable for any more money? I read it as 1mil for 2010 and no more money owed. Interesting link,I will read it again and again. I’m learning something each time.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

            Keep in mind that right now Cuban prospects are all Free Agents and are hot hot hot. The money Cubs paid are no where near what it cost for Adonis Chapman last year or the kid the White Sox have at 3rd base. So I would like to see them play before I automatically call Hendry an idiot………..again.

          • jw

            I do not believe Hendry is the man who can rebuild the Cubs into a strong baseball operation but my post was not meant to say he is an idiot on this move (Which at many times he has acted like) In fact I like the fact they are looking at Cuban players and other avenues and spending money here instead of on meddling free agents at high dollars. Whether he overspent is a legitimate question based on the numbers cited by Aaron below and I have no idea but my post is about noticing how the Cubs are spending a lot of money outside of big free agents. I enjoyed your perspective and just want to clarify mine

  • Aaron

    wow!!! The Cubs apparently LOVE wasting money on crappy players, whether it be free agency or these guys. My goodness. That Silva dude got $1 million for hitting .276/.305/.428 in 283 at-bats with 10 triples, four home runs, 12 walks and 44 strikeouts.

    That’s a PHENOMENAL line, right? Well worth first round draft type of money, right?

    Do you realize this joker just got more money than Brett Jackson signed for (which I believe was around $950k). WOW!!

    And $500k for a defensive catcher?!?! Who hit .195 with four walks and 14 strikeouts in 82 at-bats in 2008-09. Yes, I realize that’s a limited amount of ABs, but that is a horrible line nevertheless.

    I just don’t see the point in throwing money like that around, and again, it goes back to the whole PR thing, as I believe this is nothing more than a stunt by ownership where they can say they’ve invested in the future. I know that’s a super negative and conspiratorial view to take on such a seemingly trivial matter as this….but the fact is, we just spent $1.5 million on 2 prospects that will never see the light of day in MLB. You then have to ask yourself….Is it worth it to spend on those types of players, or is it better to just go with what you have, or sign an available young player like a Milledge for a similar amount. I mean, I just don’t understand it.

    .276/.305 LOL…how pathetic is that? And in Cuba nonetheless.

    I just was curious, for comparison sake, on what some other prominent Cuban players batted over there. Here’s a few:
    Alexei Ramirez-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Ram%C3%ADrez
    *.338 average in Cuba
    Dayan Viciedo-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dayan_Viciedo
    *at age 15…FIFTEEN, he struggled, hitting .243, but age 16, he hit .337 over there
    Leslie Anderson-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Anderson
    *hit .363 over there
    Jose Iglesias-http://www.nesn.com/2009/09/red-sox-sign-19yearold-shortstop-jose-iglesias.html
    *hit .322 over there
    Adeiny Hechavarria-http://bleacherreport.com/articles/383916-adenis-hechavarria-signing-official-taking-a-look-at-2013-roster
    *this is the only stats I could find, but it says .262 avg on their national team

    Those are just a few of the recent Cuban signings I could find for position players. If you read about the signing bonuses they received, it’s pretty ridiculous, even for their great stats (save for Hechevarria)

    Sorry, but Iglesias and Hechevarria were even younger than Silva, so you can’t blame it on age. Silva’s not worth $1 million. If a guy like him can get that kind of money, then I think a group of us needs to get in a bathtub and paddle over to the island of Cuba, and join their national team, because I can tell you this much…I’m pretty damn sure there’s at least one person on this site that can hit at least .270 in their league, and I guaran-damn-tee that there’s quite a few on here that could at least hit .195 like that other kid.

    So….let’s all change our last names to Sanchez, Ramirez, etc., and head over there….what do you say?

    What a joke this franchise is. You really don’t see other teams doing that. If they spend big money, they’ll go big and get the Viciedo’s and Ramirez type of players, NOT Silva or this other Cabeza guy.

    And I’m not trying to exaggerate to make this into a bigger deal, because the fact is, when you dish out $1 million signing bonus to any kid, he absolutely must be 1st round talent, or you have no business dishing out that much. Sometimes, it just blows my mind when I see teams (and this isn’t just a Cubs issue), but I see them spending huge money on marginal Latin American talent it seems just for the sake of justifying their facilities over there. I especially have these feelings after the draft when I look at the talent involved, where they were drafted, and the bonus money they received. A lot of times, you have guys drafted in the 20th round and after that get $50,000 and under signing bonuses , and are much better and complete hitters than Latin American guys that get $1 million+ to sign.

    Keep in mind, a lot of these Latin American players receiving $1 million or more are just 16 year olds. Teams are ONLY going off potential. Guess what? Depending on when they start school, a 16 year old is typically just a sophomore in high school. There’s absolutely no way to project what that player will do years from now. Will he stop growing? Will he become complacent? They’re so immature at that age, and they’re given an incredible sum of money before even stepping foot on a professional field.

    I guess I’m trying to do here is explain my comments so I don’t catch a lot of grief for slamming Hendry all the time. This is really a dumb move on so many levels. One, if he’s 21, he’s really probably 24 in Cuban years (we know this to be true from history), and if that holds true in this case, then you’re giving a below average hitting 24 year old $1 million when he hasn’t even faced advanced competition like he would in the United States.

    I was told by a scout that the Cuban national team compares to somewhere between low-A and high-A ball. The junior national team in Cuba compares to JUCO ball in the US. We got on this subject, because I was lamenting at the time that the Cubs couldn’t sign someone like Alexei Ramirez while the White Sox did.

    Who knows, maybe Silva will develop into a good hitter…but remember, he’s likely 24, and even if he really was 21, he’d still be a 21 year old that’s playing younger players in JUCO ball, and that means something, considering he had below average stats.

    But anyways…..

    • jw

      I hope these aren’t mini Fukudome infatuations

    • Dorasaga

      Aaron, I agree on the age thing. Teams are not projecting. They are purely guessing. It’s not restricted to the Cubs, though. Some teams, like the Pirates, simply needs to spend on less-sure talents because, as we all knew from Cubs history: Doormats don’t win winners. Winners go to winners. (I love you, Greinke and Halladay).

      I think the problem is not really the negativity, but the choice of your adjectives. I wouldn’t want some-one to call me “dumb” or “an idiot” in public, no matter how passionate or true on the issue you described.

      Granted, this is blogosphere, but don’t you think Hendry deserves the least respect as a human being? It’s not just him, anyway. Drafts and signings are, as Bill James put it, a collective decision, a team effort.

      This is the CCO, and we, the passionate fans of ChicagoCubsOnline–who’ve been putting up with a lot of “Cubs sense” for ages*– are like a country club. We care for each other, and we care for Cubs baseball. I’m hoping your argument won’t be lost by a few derogated adjectives, because I like the positive interaction here, despite the negative light around our life.

      This is not the “Cubs Country Offended.”

      *Here’s a great line from former Tribune columnist, Lincicome:

      “There is sense, there is nonsense, and there is Cubs sense.”

      • Aaron

        I agree with you, and apologize for my strong language at times in reference to Hendry….He does make a lot of dumb moves though, and you’ll probably agree with that.

        I also have a mea culpa moment, as I might sound a little hypocritical with the Silva and Cabeza signings. I’ve lamented in the past how the Cubs seem to ignore the top notch 16 year olds in Latin America, like the Iglesias types, or Sano’s, etc. Instead, we often settle for the “easy signings”

        Also, just wanted to give you a good link about Archer vs McNutt, and who is better:
        http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/1/25/1952171/prospect-smackdown-chris-archer-vs-trey-mcnutt

        • Dorasaga

          Thanks for the link and kind reply. I hope I didn’t sound like stoning anything out of you, because I respect your opinion and your thorough research.

          You know what’s interesting? McNutt has a better command. I used to think that it’s easier to teach control, and its subsequent command as a whole, but look at Samardjzia. Maybe not.

          Archer, I don’t know… Pitchers who can’t keep their walk rate down need a lot more luck than the Cubs can give.

          But both of them just got promoted and only had a few innings at double-A last year. 70 innings for Archer and 15.2 for Trey McNutt. I like the underdog, and a 32nd rounder who will start in the second game of a World Series makes a much better story.

          Not that it matters now. The lineup still has holes, as you mentioned before, that need dire fix! and not an one-year Pena or Reed/Edmonds again. Those are Hendry’s Cubs-sense, not a competitive deal for baseball talents.

        • Gary J

          Thanks for that link Aaron – it was a good read that kind of shows what the rankings from the publications showed – they’re pretty darn even.

          I think like the Cubs I’d choose McNutt simply because the walk rate for Archer scares the heck out of me – but it’s a coin flip.

      • Gary J

        I think the choice of adjectives does irk me a bit as well – but I had my say the other day :-) Critical is one thing – I’m ok with critical. But I digress.

        As for the players – I’m thinking it’s a bit high as well – I wouldn’t go so far as to call it boneheaded or anything like that, but there have been better Cubans sign for around that much. But these guys are technically free agents so it is what it is I suppose. If it had been $750K instead of $1M I don’t think I would have blinked.

        Baseball America has good things to say about both of them and I saw a scouting thing somewhere earlier today (and of course can’t find it now darnit) that projected the catcher as a Jose Molina clone… which wouldn’t be too shabby if it panned out that way. Might be nice to have a guy behind the plate that could throw out a runner or two.

        And BA also mentioned that the OF is seen as enough of an athlete that he might move to the IF in the minors – apparently was blocked on the Cuban national team at 2nd and SS

        Who knows? Maybe this is just the start of “in roads” into the Latin american market and is part of a bigger strategy. Gotta start somewhere after all because there hasn’t exactly been a pipeline of signings coming from that direction. So it’s a positive move in that sense.

        GREAT point about the winners go to winners… and I would think that some of the latin american players also look to organizations that have a history of signing latin players – so maybe that’s part of the thinking. That’s just a guess though.

        Of course a check with six zeroes doesn’t hurt as an enticement either LOL

  • Tom U

    If Silva and Cabeza aren’t kept close to home and play in the Dominican League this summer, they will probably be assigned to the Arizona Rookie League. If either of them shows any promise, they may end up in Short Season A Boise.

  • jw

    Very nice reference page! I bookmarked the URL.

    I heard or read that a Yankee official last week say the Yankees are a 5 billion dollar corporation??! (400 million in ticket revenues)…if that is the case 200mil for salaries is chump change. The Ricketts could make a lot of money on the Cubs brand if they just imitate what the Yankees are doing and get more revenue on the product. Hendry says the clubs spends enough money right now…he is right! In terms of value per payroll dollar the Cubs ranked with Detroit as one of the lowest values in revenues to salary dollars spent at around 1.65 compared to the Yankees and Phils at 1.86 in 2009

    http://www.conversantlife.com/arts-and-media/are-the-yankees-really-the-most-expensive-team-in-baseball

    • studio179

      Good point. I believe it was the Forbes rankings that had the Cubs dead last for value on payroll spent per win the last couple of years. There are other reports that do the same. Needless to say, the Ricketts family has their work cut out in all areas. Unfortunately, that is going to take time. Like any other business, you have a good plan and keep at it.

  • joejoed

    Wow, looking at the 40 man reference page, a full no trade clause for The Shark? He’s not getting paid enough alone? If he can’t figure it out (looking unlikely), this’ll go down as a pretty big gaffe on the Hendry camp. I’m startin to wish he was on the Bears right now…

    • Tony_Hall

      For all the people who try to defend JH and “what he has accomplished” in comparison to past GM’s, this is just another example of bad decisions. Not that signing Samardzija was a bad decision, as he was worth a shot, but not for the dollars and a no-trade clause, that gives him the same rights as a 10&5 guy.

      • jw

        I agree that two of Hendry’s worse signings were Soriano and Samardzija. I wonder though if sometimes he was “taking orders” i.e., on the Soriano and Samardzija deals…after all it was Sam Zell’s (and Crane Kenney’s?) brainchild to spend recklessly to market the team for sale…Could Hendry have been told to get the biggest name available? As to Samardzija, that is a baffler. It is said that Hendry has a thing for Notre Dame players but he is definitely a southern guy and graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile…Crane Kenney graduated from Notre Dame. Could there by any connection (or meddling)?

        Now that I am thinking, it kind of ties nicely together with the holy water thing.

        • Tony_Hall

          I can go along with the idea that Zell and others have influence on the GM. I can also go along with that he was directed to go out and make a splash and throw some cash around.

          But the decisions of who and the decisons of how much, are all on JH. The no-trade clause is like his signature move. It shows how much the Cubs really want the player. What I don’t get, is we always here that the players want to play for the Cubs, even just for one season, yet we have to give these guys no-trade clauses to get them to sign. This is JH’s way of doing business, and there is absolutely no reason to throw no-trade clauses around like manhole covers (on another note, have you heard the commercial where Ditka says spoofs himself for the “Halas throws nickels around like manhole covers” ) It’s pretty funny.

          • jw

            You are right.going overboard is on Hendry’s account…maybe that makes him feel more powerful, maybe he sees phantom competition, maybe this is his way of getting buy-in from the player…in any case it is bad business and its his bad business.

            One more thing about Smaradzija…After he was drafted I sat next to a young lady on a plane who went to high school with him and I asked her what he was like…she said that he was stuck up arrogant and not a nice to others…she had no reason to not say something nice especially because he was from her town…ever since then, I couldn’t think positively about him.

        • Gary J

          Samardja was hailed at the time as an elite prospect – and not just by the Cubs but nationally. Part of the money and concessions given him were due to the fact that he had a very real opportunity to have a very lucrative career in the NFL. At the time he was projected to be a late first rounder. That’s some pretty nice moolah.

          The only reason he fell as low as he did in the MLB draft the previous year was the expectation that he’d actually go with football long term – otherwise he was projected much higher than the 5th round.

          Given a high 90s fastball and his performance at Boise and Peoria his first year before committing fully to baseball and spurning the NFL – it seemed like a good call at the time. He’s a remarkable athlete.

          This is another example of “prospects being suspects” at this point – minor league stats are indicators but not guarantees. But he’s such a physical specimen that I wouldn’t write it off as a waste just yet. Although I’ll agree that it’s not looking promising.

          Not saying I like he’s getting paid like this – I don’t. There are better places where it could be spent especially given his recent struggles.

          All I’m saying is that there were reasons for the size and conditions of the contract. He didn’t just go “hey I think I want to sign the kid from Notre Dame” :-)

          • jw

            Thanks for the counterpoint.

            The question is whether the Cubs overbid. While his contract was not guaranteed a 2.5mm signing bonus along with 1.5mm per year for three years to see if you have something is 7mm. Its a no-trade as well isn’t it?

            David Price taken number 1 overall by Tampa received a 5.6mm bonus but 8.5 total over 6 years so signing plus three years is about the same; 7mm. Hayden Simpson, a late first round pick, his signing bonus was just over 1mm.

            Samardzija’s contract could amount to 16.5mm and the Cubs are between a rock and a hard place with him now with no options left and big contract dollars (3mm+)in 2012 and 2013. That’s way too much for what admittedly were good but not compelling credentials at that time.

          • Gary J

            I’d think a physical specimen that would be a first round NFL draft pick and that throws in the high 90’s would be considered pretty compelling credentials :-)

            I’m with you (and Tony) on the fact that he’s overpaid – but I can kinda understand where the no-trade came in. High school in Indiana and college at Notre Dame – I can see where sticking in the northern midwest would be a compelling carrot to dangle to keep him from jumping to the NFL.

            As for no-trade clauses in general – go take a look at the Yankees major contracts – I skimmed over the listings for them on cots and it’s almost a universal thing.

            I’m just trying to bring balance to the conversation on this one though – I’m thinking one or the other (money or no trade) would have been enough… but it was a pretty unique situation – personally if I’d been him I think I would have taken the NFL payday… but I still have hopes for the kid.

          • Tony_Hall

            Since we compare so well to the Yankees, in terms of organization, chamionships, players, lets take a look at the players that have FULL NO TRADE CLAUSES, just like Jeff Samardzija.

            ARoid
            Mark Teixiera

            Thats it.

            Full trade protection (is not defined, but is not complete no trade, usually can have around 10 teams that can be traded to)
            CC SAbathia
            Jorge Posada

            Limited No-trade Clause (can block trades to 10 teams usually)
            AJ Burnett
            Nick Swisher

            Jeter and Rivera, probably have full no-trade clauses, but in Jeters case, his contract is a no-trade clause, and the Yankees would never trade either of these guys anyway.

            These names are very similar to our guys with no trade clauses – Samardzija, Zambrano, Soriano, DLee (had one), ARAM (07-10)
            Fukudome with no trade protection.

            You see the Yankees give out no trade clauses to the elite, no trade protection next, and limited no trades next. What is amazing is that ARam’s was only from 07-10, so JH does know how to make it go away, but with Samardzija, he didn’t. The point being that this little mistake, is what forces JH’s hand to put Samardzija on the 25 man roster this year or waive him for good. If he had not done this, he could have used irrevocable waivers, and made a team have to pay his contract, if they grabbed him, and if not, then he could have been sent to the minors for the year.

          • Tony_Hall

            I really don’t care how much they paid him, as they did have to “outbid” the NFL, but the no-trade is to much. Even if he had the no-trade for the first XX amount of years. For them to still be in a position, where they can’t do anything but release him (and still pay him) or keep him on the 25 man roster, is a mis-management of the contract and another mismanagement of the roster.

            You can’t keep making these type of mistakes and stay competitive…in case you hadn’t noticed.

  • jw

    Correction…Samardzija’s contract was guaranteed for 5 years 10mm and does include a no-trade clause