Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 03/21/11

Five Players to Watch: Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa

This is the last in a series of articles highlighting some of the players not noted on off-season prospect lists. The players are as they are presently listed on rosters, and do not necessarily reflect where each player will begin the season.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx – RHP
If you are asking the question “who is the next great pitching prospect for the Cubs?” several players come to mind. However, if you are asking “who will be the next Randy Wells or Casey Coleman?” the answer may be Austin Bibens-Dirkx.

The Seattle Mariners originally drafted the Salem, Oregon native in the 16th round in 2006 out of the University of Portland. Bibens-Dirkx was released by the Mariners organization in 2009 following surgery to remove bone spurs. He pitched for the Victoria Seals in the independent Golden Baseball League before his contract was sold to the Cubs organization.

After being placed at Class-A Peoria in 2009, he quickly advanced to Double-A Tennessee. This past season, while pitching for the Smokies, he posted a 5-3 record in 16 starts with a 3.27 ERA. He had 68 strikeouts compared to 27 walks, and a WHIP of 1.00. He was promoted to Triple-A Iowa, where he was 5-4 with a 4.61 ERA in 13 appearances (eight starts). He also had 34 strikeouts, against 21 walks.

Bibens-Dirkx then followed that up with a blistering performance in the Venezuelan Winter League. He went 2-2 in seven starts with a 1.60 ERA and a just over 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio (19 strikeouts to nine walks).

The 6’2″, 190 lbs. Bibens-Dirkx is a good, old-fashioned strikeout pitcher. He uses his low-90’s fastball to set up his well above average slider. Like many strikeout pitchers, he struggles with his command. On days he is spotting his pitches well, he can be practically unhittable, as the .192 batting average against at Double-A suggests. When he is brought up and how he is used will determine his success. If the parent club pitches him on another team’s “get away day”, or a day game after a night game, he may turn in a Ryan O’Malley type of performance.

If he never makes it in the big leagues, you may still hear his name in the future. The Christian-Rock Artist has already produced two CD’s.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Steve Clevenger – C
For those who like to speculate, determining the career path of 24-year old Steve Clevenger would be a real puzzle. Can he be a starting catcher? Will he emulate someone like Craig Biggio and start out as a catcher, and then move to another position? Is he just a platoon player, or, maybe, just a well-rounded backup?

Originally drafted as a second baseman out of Chipola (Fla.) Junior College in 2006, the Baltimore, MD native was switched to catcher in 2007 after a brief try-out at first base.

An offensive player, the 6’0″, 195 lbs., left-handed hitting Clevenger has posted batting averages of .310, .317, .311, and .265 from Low Class-A Boise through Triple-A Iowa. Invited to the Arizona Fall League in 2008, he hit .302 in 17 games for the Mesa Solar Sox. However, power is not his game.

Clevenger hit just five home runs last season, a career high. A contact-hitter, Clevenger has struck out 157 times while walking 137 times, demonstrating good pitch selection. Last season, at Double-A Tennessee, he hit .317 with five home runs and 47 RBI in 88 games.

Clevenger was demoted to Double-A in 2010 after appearing in 68 games at Triple-A Iowa in 2009. The demotion was more due to the progress of fellow prospect Welington Castillo. Clevenger has an excellent fielding percentage of .990 and a 29% caught stealing rate. His well-rounded game will be a plus for any major league roster. How much of a plus remains to be seen.

Steve Clevenger’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Marwin Gonzalez – IF
Signed in 2005 at the tender age of 16, switch-hitting infielder Marwin Gonzalez has enjoyed a steady climb through the system.

Gonzalez started his career in 2006, playing in the Dominican Summer League. He then played rookie ball in 2007, seeing time at all four infield positions and batting .288.
He spent the majority of the 2008 season with Short-Season Class-A Boise, playing second, short and third while batting .279, with 43 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 65 games. He finished the season at Low Class-A Peoria, batting .224 in 33 games while playing second and shortstop.

In 2009, Gonzalez spent the entire season at High Class-A Daytona. The pitching dominant Florida State League proved to be a challenge for Gonzalez. He posted only a .241 average in 120 games. However, Gonzalez added to his versatility, playing 10 games in centerfield and 28 in left field while splitting equal time at third, short and second.

Gonzalez returned to Daytona in 2010, seeing time at five different positions and batting .271 in 23 games. When Starlin Castro was promoted to the big leagues, Gonzalez bypassed prospects such as Ryan Flaherty, Junior Lake, and D.J. LeMahieu and was promoted to Double-A Tennessee. He was platooned with Nate Samson at shortstop, batting .246 with 41 RBI in 86 games.

Following the 2010 season, Gonzalez participated in the Venezuelan Winter League. There, he opened some eyes, hitting .324 with 12 doubles, two home runs, and 38 RBI. He followed that up by hitting .295 with five doubles, two triples, seven runs scored, and 11 RBI in the playoffs.

Now, just recently turned 22 years old, Gonzalez’s 2011 season may resemble the child’s game of “Where’s Waldo”. We may not know where Marwin Gonzalez will be next, but it looks as though he is ready blossom.

Marwin Gonzalez’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Luke Sommer – LHP
At 6’3″, 190 lbs., Luke Sommer made a name for himself as a power-hitting outfielder when the Cubs drafted him in the 30th round in 2007 out of the University of San Francisco. Sommer hit .237 with 31 RBI in 49 games of rookie ball. With an abundance of outfield prospects, the organization asked the left-hander if he would like to try pitching, something he hadn’t done since graduating in 2004 from Canby High School in Oregon.

Sommer returned to rookie ball in 2008 and posted a 1-0 record with a 1.08 ERA and eight strikeouts in six relief appearances. He was quickly promoted to Short-Season Low Class-A Boise, where he was 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 14 games. He had an outstanding 22 to 2 strikeout to walk ratio and a WHIP of 1.03.

In 2009, Sommer spent the entire season with High Class-A Daytona. He compiled a 2-4 record with a 2.12 ERA in 51 relief appearances. Once again he had an outstanding strikeout to walk ratio of 67 to11 and recorded three saves.

He returned to Daytona in 2010 and assumed the closer’s role. He finished his time in Daytona with a 1-1 record with a 2.52 ERA and six saves in 21 games. Promoted to Double-A Tennessee, Sommer duplicated his 1-1 record with a 2.02 ERA and eight saves in 30 games for the Smokies. Sommer then saw seven games of action at Triple-A Iowa, posting a 1-0 record with a 4.05 ERA. His totals for 2010 were a 2.41 ERA, 14 saves and a 42 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio.

At 25 years old, the late-blooming Sommer projects at least to a situational left-hander role. He has three pitches, sporting a fastball, slider, and change-up he can throw for strikes. However, he will have to work on his velocity, topping out only in the low 90’s. If the organization is patient, Sommer can possibly develop into a late inning weapon.

Luke Sommer’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Polin Trinidad – LHP
Signed by the Cubs on Christmas Eve this past year, Polin Trinidad was originally signed by the Houston Astros in 2002. He spent some time in the Dominican Academy, and began rookie ball in 2005.

Trinidad progressed slowly though the Astros’ system, usually appearing at several levels each season. However, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason with Trinidad’s statistics.

For example, in 2007 he was 6-8 with a 4.18 ERA and 120 strikeouts to 35 walks in 23 starts at Class-A Lexington. Promoted to High Class-A Salem, he went 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.

In 2008, Trinidad started a pattern of mastering a lower level of competition, being promoted, then struggling a bit. He started with a 4-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 0.92 WHIP at Salem. Promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi, he was 6-5 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 18 starts.

Returning to Corpus Christi in 2009, he was 7-5 with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 13 starts. Once again, he was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock and went 6-5 and a 4.53 and 1.31 WHIP, again in 13 starts.

For 2010, Trinidad broke the trend and posted a 3-8 record with a 5.02 ERA at Round Rock. The Astros placed him back at Corpus Christi, where he was 1-3 with a 4.02 ERA. The Astros then left Trinidad off of their 40-man roster, where he was signed by the Cubs.

Baseball America described Trinidad as a pitcher who “sits in the high 80’s with a nice change-up”. His “funky arm angles” make it hard for the batter to pick the ball up, as his over 4:1 career strikeout to walk would indicate. However, it also causes him to struggle with his location, as opposing batters hit .290 against him at Triple-A. Trinidad’s experience with both stating and relieving might make him a player the parent club calls on if he can improve his pitch location.

Polin Trinidad’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Attention CCO Readers!
Please continue to post the names of the minor league players you would like the Down on the Farm Report to follow next season. I will track the progress of ten players throughout the entire season. I would like a representative sample of positions and levels of play, and I’d prefer to track at least one player acquired by the Cubs in the off-season. You can name as many players as you like, but remember, only ten will be chosen.

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein
  • Agustin_Rexach

    Beautiful report! Ty

  • Richard Hood

    Thanks Tom U and we still need to figure out a way to Get Neil to pay us to go watch winter ball next year. I am thinking I will take the Dominican League and you can have Venzuela.

    • Tom U

      Maybe as a tie in with Univision or Telemundo?

      • Richard Hood

        I could do that. May have to work on my spanish. It is a little (nonexistant) rusty.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    RT @CarrieMuskat #Cubs vs #Angels Monday: RF Fukudome, SS Castro, CF Byrd, 3B Ramirez, 1B Pena, LF Soriano, C Soto, 2B Barney, P Cashner 18 minutes ago

    That looks like a possible opening day line-up. I would prefer Colvin in RF though.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Clevenger isn’t a power hitter but he hasn’t ever started as a catcher either and has always put up solid numbers in a backup role. If your back-up catcher can hit for average and play defense that is a major plus, Power is just an added bonus.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Good Job! Tom!!!!!

  • cubtex

    Not to beat a dead horse…..but on MLB radio this morning the Garza trade was brought up between Dibble and Memelo. They both thought Tampa should have insisted on Cashner in the trade. They both said that Tampa will regret this trade especially since they didn’t get Cashner to address the bullpen. The only player who the Rays got that could help out the major league team is Chirinos(as a backup catcher)
    Looking at how Wellington Castillo has been hitting and with him being an upgrade over Chrirnos defesively….Chirinos was expendable.
    So the Cubs traded a backup catcher, a minor league outfielder in Guyer, a light hitting shortstop prospect in Lee and the big crapshot in the deal is Archer. Will he be a dominant major league pitcher????? Will he ever top of the order starter? Time will tell.

    So again, My point of trading prospects for a proven commodity usually will work out in the end. I am NOT saying that this trade can be evaluated yet so don’t put words in my mouth, but evaluating this trade again……I will take my chances on this working out for the Cubs!

    Having a descent payroll…….this is by far the best and quickest way to build a ballclub….See NY Yankees, Red Sox,Phillies,etc.

    The arguement has been brought up that the Cubs will not win this year so why do you need Garza now? First of all, Garza is locked up for 2 more years after this and I am not ready to crown the Reds,Brewers,Cards as champions of the central just yet. Wainwright is out…..Marcum is having shoulder issues,Greinke is out for a month, so a lot has already happened. Did anyone predict the Padres would do as well last year? How many had the Reds winning the Central? How many had the Giants winning the world series?

    I am not drinking Cub Kool Aid here and I am not saying that they are the favorites to win the division, but with the injuries to other teams and IF Z performs like he did in the 2nd half, Dempster and Garza win 14 and 15 games like last year and Wells bounces back this year…..they definately will be competitive in the division.

    • Ripsnorter1

      For this trade to work, Garza needs to win 15 games per year. If he is just an 8-14 or 7-15 starter, then the Cubs will have been robbed if any one of those prospects become a ML starter. Both Lee and Archer promise to be better than average MLB players. So the potential is there for the Cubs to really regret this trade.

      But like I said, if Garza wins 15 per year, then its all okay. But that appears to be a big “IF” right now.

      • cubtex

        Agreed Rip. I expect Garza to win 15 per year and give them 200 innings. The Cubs expect that as well. Those concerned after watching spring training really need to relax.

        Lee is only in A ball and remember being Korean…..He has 2 years of military obligation like Choo had. Choo had his obligation waived. Chances that happens will Lee are very slim!

        • Tony

          You expect him to win 15 per year. Based on one year where he one 15 games on a team that won over 90, with 4 of those wins, when he had a over 6 era.

          That’s also a lot of IF’s.

          • cubtex

            Tony, I know you are a stat guy but you should also consider other factors.
            1. Age of the player
            2. What is the players make-up! Is he competitive! Does he work hard! Does he want to win!
            3. His stuff
            4. Going from the AL East to the NL Central(you can’t argue this fact)

            These are a few factors to consider. Look at David Price..He had one good year…last year. Do the Rays consider him an ace? Do you think they pencil him in for 15 games won or better? Why do they do that based on one year? See 1 thru 3 above

          • Tony

            You know, you have only been posting for a short while, so I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

            I am not a stat guy.

            I use stats, secondary. Aaron is a stat guy, there are many others that are stat guys. I do not dig deep into stats. I use my eyes and stats to back it up. Example Stats say Castro is a average to below average defender, my eyes tell me that he makes plays that Theriot could only dream of, but still botches the routine. The routine can be fixed, the amazing can’t be taught. I’ll take Castro. That is why I asked you if your EYES tell you something isn’t right with Garza…mine do, Paul’s do, etc.

            As for you list.

            1) 27 year old players and 3rd year players are when things happen,

            2) Yes Garza is competitive, but he also has a new excuse, each time out this year, factor that in.

            3) His stuff is not overpowering

            4) Going from the AL east, where the better teams to the NL Central – of course, but would you please actually look at those stats. Look at Garza team by team and tell me that he will dominate the NL Central teams. You may be surprised at what you find.

            David Price is a stud!!!! Garza is not!!! Garza has history of NOT winning 10 games, when starting 32. Did I mention Price is a stud and Garza is the one they let go…because they would have to pay him $5M. He is already replaced in their rotation, with a guy with better STUFF.

            You love Garza, you think JH stole him from the Rays. Good for you, and I hope you are right!! But I think if was a bad deal, and TIME will prove it one way or another. You will not change my mind. I will not change yours. Agree to disagree!!!!! Garza will need to be in the runnig for the Cy Young or hoisting the World Series Trophy to change my mind.

      • Agustin

        I don’t see how Matt Garza is not the best starter we have on this team as of today. Ryan Dempster could duplicate his performance of the last 2 years and be a stud, Andrew Cashner has serious stuff and could surprise, Big Z could step up and be Big in a consistent way for the first time in his career and be an ace… but numbers say Garza is at least as good as our opening day guy. Nevertheless, It is a disproportionate assumption to rate this trade based on a stat such as Wins and losses whom are basically out of his control unlike strike outs, walks and era. Specially on a team that appears to be headed towards a season with a horrible fielding percentage and low run support. Just Ask Felix Hernandez,the current AL Cy Young winner about W and L’s.

        Matt Garza has an era average of 3.86 in the past 3 years, he is a work horse like Dempster and Z and He should benefit from moving out of Tampa’s division which is, by far , the most dangerous offensively speaking. I don’t like this team, but the trade was not bad and our starting rotation is probably our #1 asset.

        BTW Henry Blanco is batting .385 … just a little note there for JH you know! We might not have enough back up options internally. [sarcastic]

      • John_CC

        I think it’s a stretch, at this point in his very young career, to say that Archer promises to be a better than average MLB pitcher. He’s had one good minor league season preceded by a couple wild ones. And what is “better than average” MLB pitcher? Is Garza currently better than average and do you think he will be in the future?

        I am frankly tired of all the railing on Garza after a couple ST games and this trade. With all the players the Cubs traded still in the minors this trade cannot be factually assessed, yet far too many have already ruled it as a complete bust. Go figure, go Cubs…eeehhh…

        • Ripsnorter1

          A few facts to consider:

          1. Starters are more valuable than relievers. If a pitcher’s stuff is good enough, they make him a starter. If he lacks three good pitches, they move him to the pen.

          2. The minor league season is 107 games. Scan thru the minor leagues for 2010 and see how many pitchers won 15 games or better. It was quite an accomplishment. Here’s the top starters in all of minor league baseball for 2010:
          1. Keohler 16-2 2.61
          2. Archer 15-3 2.34 Cubs
          3. Villaneuva 14-4 2.26 Marlins
          4. Drabek 14-9 2.94 Blue Jays
          5. De Los Santos 14-5
          6. Hellickson 12-3 2.72 Rays
          7. Nova 12-3 2.86 Yanks
          8. Owen 12-6 2.46 Pirates
          9. Villeuava 14-4 2.26
          10. McNutt 10-1 2.48 Cubs

          So he was near the top winner in all of minor league baseball in 2010.
          That’s why I say he promises to better than the average ML pitcher.
          And I agree that he hasn’t won a single major league game as of yet.

          Will you be satisfied with this trade if Garza goes 7-15 or 8-14?

          If you said, “no,” then you agree with me, because all I said was that Garza needs to win 15 per year to make this a winning trade for the Cubs.

          • John_CC

            To answer your question, sort of: NO, I will not be happy with Garza if he is 7-15 with a bloated ERA and high WHIP. Again, I will not be happy with Garza. But if he tosses 200 innings with somewhere around 190Ks and an era in the mid 3’s I will be happy with Garza…and he could still be 7-12. And that does not mean that I agree with you because Wins and Losses don’t tell anything about a pitcher. And Lee and Archer will still be in A or AA ball. That’s all I am saying.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Okay, I get your point. I’d say Garza had a good year if his ERA is in the 3.69 or less, with 200 IP. The K’s–I don’t feel that they are so necessary as long as one is getting out. Sure, K’s mean a lot with runners on, but you know what I mean. The runs allowed is the rule for judging a pitcher.

            I’m looking for Randy Wells to nail down 15 wins in 2011.

          • John_CC

            Rip, I think Garza will do just about what you say here: 3.65, 200 IP, and I think he’s good for a K rate of around 7/9 IP. Like I said, the wins are a crap-shoot on a team like this. Just look at Grienke’s numbers in 2010, on June 1 he was 2-9 with an ERA under 3.50 and 5:1 K/BB ratio.

            I sure hope you’re right about Randy. I like him and think he can be productive as well.

        • Tony

          John – You are correct, this trade (good or bad) will not be known until the Cubs win the World Series (that is the goal here) or the prospects fully develop and we can evaluate the difference.

    • Tom U
      • cubtex

        Tom. Thanks for the article. If I had a quarter for every positive report on an A ball player….who should one day be a star….I would be retired right now.

        Lee could be a good player….but he is in A ball and has ALOT to improve on offensively. No one is questioning his glove or arm…but his bat.

        Like many have said before…you can’t steal first base.

        • Tom U

          Unbridled optimism is what keeps us all fans.

      • Richard Hood

        Good article Tom I guess time will tell.

    • Richard Hood

      On this trade we have to be honest with our selves. We do not know. It is that simple. We could have gotten hosed if Archer ends up being a top of the rotation starter and Lee ever starts to really hit no matter how good Garza is that is a lot to make up for.
      If the Cubs use Garza well and he hits 200 innings the next 3 years and Archer doesn’t pan out then the Cubs are ahead on it no matter how much Garza wins.
      I have seen a number of different opinions on Archer from top of the rotation starter to big league set up man only time will tell. Lee is one of those Toolsy guys that scouts love so of he doesn’t pan out there always is the career back up role. The rest of what the Cubs traded were just moving parts.
      From what has been written about Texas’s offer I do not for the life of me understand why Garza is Cub. Is a shortstop prospect that more important than a closer and a starter that will be in the big leagues this year?
      Like I said only time will tell but most everyone will agree that atleast it helped get us interested in baseball this offseason instead of sitting on the sidelines.

    • Tom U

      As I wrote at the time of the trade, part of the reason the trade was made is that the Cubs feel really good about some of their players, including Starlin Castro, Marwin Gonzalez, Wellington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Micah Gibbs, and Trey McNutt to name a few.

      The problem with the trade is whether you believe that a #3 pitcher (what Garza was with the Rays and what he projects with the Cubs) is worth four of your top twenty prospects (3 of your top10)?

      My opinion was, and still is, no. In order for the trade to be equitable, either two of the prospects should have been substituted with players further down the list (you choose which ones), OR the Cubs should have received to better players than OF Fernando Perez and LHP Zachary Rosscup.

      The players I targeted were SS Tim Beckham and LHP Alexander Torres. Both players had a very good spring training. While neither will make the big league squad, they are close. If the Cubs had received them in the deal, fans would probably have been more satisfied.

      • cubtex

        Tom- The thing that I think too many people get wrapped up with is the ranking of prospects. Just because a prospect is ranked #3 or #6 doesn’t mean that he will turn out to be better than a prospect in your system who is under the radar at the moment. It is more for the fans than baseball execs.

        Example.. Trey McNutt was a 30 something draft pick who was not even thought of 2 years ago in the rankings and now he is their #1 pitching prospect who they like more than Archer. Archer was not in the top 20 2 years ago. Things change quite often from year to year.

        Felix Pie was a #1 as was Corey Patterson. Rich Hill was a top 5 and the list goes on and on.

        Again, time will tell and I feel pretty good that this trade will end up being a good one for the Cubs

        • Tom U

          Sorry Cubtex, I was having trouble with getting access to the site.

          Yes, you are correct that not all prospects end up developing. In a trade both sides assume risk. This is why fans love them so much. They can be equitable, or one side can come out ahead.

          In looking at a trade, one cannot forget context. Regardless of what the assumed market was for Garza, it was a fact the Rays were going to replace him with someone from their system, and they had at least 3 candidates. That should have brought the price down. There was no need to include the #1 pitching prospect in your system. However, if that was a deal breaker, then you either need to walk away, or get a better offer.

          If the Cubs did include Cashner, then the Rays would have to had included Zobrist at least, if not another infield prospect.

          In my opinion, Garza would have to be at an All-Star level for several years in order for the Cubs to say they made an equitable deal. That, or every player the Cubs traded never makes it to the majors.

          By the way, don’t always trust former players when they talk about prospects. Most don’t do their homework, and rely on information from the prep staff.

          • cubtex

            Tom. I have to strongly disagree with one of your statements!

            The fact that the Rays have 3 candidates to replace Garza should have brought the price down?

            How should that factor in how another team values the player?

            If more than one team values a player and starts off offering a list of 2 major league pitchers and 2 top prospects(Rangers) that is what determines the market! Then the team needs to determine if they want to pay the price. It has nothing to do with the player replacing the player within the organization.


          • Tom U

            It’s just like our mother’s told us:

            Just because everyone else is jumping off a cliff doesn’t mean you have to!

          • cubtex

            Yes, but how should what another team has in their system mean that the player is worth less? That’s all I’m saying!

          • Tom U

            It’s going to sound like semantics, but there is a difference between worth and value.

            If you’ve ever seen the TV show Pawn Stars, it’s a good demonstration. People bring their junk to the pawn shop in order to get money. They find out what it’s worth, but the value they get is far below that. Then they have the decision of taking the value, or walking away.

            This is where the 3 prospects come in. Garza’s age and his stats may have established his worth. But because of the prospects, the Rays were in the position of HAVING to trade Garza. If they didn’t, they would risk having his worth decrease. Therefore, the value of Garza was much less than either the Rangers or Cubs were offering.

            They seemed to have a better deal with the Rangers, why didn’t they accept that one? Mainly it is because the Rays place a greater worth on prospects than established players. But knowing they probably couldn’t get a deal like that one anywhere else, the Cubs should have low-balled them on the offer, or walked away.

            Remember, the Rays aren’t the easiest team to deal with. The Cubs offered a very fair trade in which they would have received Milton Bradley and cash for Pat Burrell. The Rays walked away from that deal, rather releasing Burrell and receiving nothing. Because the Rays were in the position of having to deal, the Cubs should have offered lower prospects, received better players, or walked away.

          • cubtex

            Tom- The Rays didn’t HAVE to trade Garza. It’s not like a Michael Young situation. Just because they have a replacement doesn’t mean Garza’s value diminishes. They could have traded Wade Davis instead or another starter. The Rays allocated the 5m that was due to Garza with Damon and Ramirez so this was not a HAVE to trade.
            One last thing on this topic…..Prospects are prospects like I have been saying. They paid too much in who’s opinion??? Yours?? Other fans on this forum??? If none of these prospects pan out(which is a very real possiblity!) then the Rays are the ones who will bitch and whine and say they didn’t get anything for Garza!!!

          • Tom U

            Cubtex, you are a very passionate and informed fan, and I’ve enjoyed this dialog with you. I did state a couple of times that this was my opinion. Reporting on the minor leagues for CCO, I’ll almost always come in on the side of “my guys” (metaphorically).

            You obviously are a great fan of Garza, which is great. I hope it all works out in the Cubs’ favor. However, I am skeptical. I’ve seen how the Rays do business. They traded Scott Kazmer because they HAD to; and they’ll trade David Price because they HAVE to. That is how they have to do business with their market, and the division they compete in.

            If you reversed the markets, and the Rays played in Chicago, they would have never traded him. Instead, like you suggested, they would trade one of their prospects. But because of their business position, the Rays have to place a greater emphasis and belief in their system than other teams in order to survive.That’s why, right now, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellikson, and Jake McGee are more important to them than Matt Garza was.

            The Cubs actually did the Rays a favor by taking Garza off their hands. Somebody in the future will do the same with Price and some of their other players. Let’s see if they can make a better deal.

          • cubtex

            I enjoy reading your articles! Have a good day!

  • paulcatanese

    Good information Tom. What many people miss are the interest these guys put out there. I would give anything to watch Lee play. I a looking forward to watching and following Skuzar (????) play and glad he chose baseball.

  • Kyle Johansen

    love the fact that Sommer and Trinidad both excel at K/BB

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments. Remember, keep voting for the minor leaguers you would like to see followed this season.

    • Richard Hood

      I would like you to keep an eye on the 2 Cuban kids we signed this winter. Thanks

      • GrantJones7

        Their gonna bust the catcher flat out sucks, think Koyie Hill n the other isnt bad but not wrth what we gave him, at all

  • RyanC

    Nice work! Any chance we have consistent reports on Junior Lake this season?

  • Denny

    What’s going on with Matt Spencer? Hit 19 HR’s last season (17 at AA).

    • Tom U

      See next week’s article for more details