Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/09/11

It’s been an exciting week in “The Bushes”. There were excellent pitching performances by Cameron Greathouse, Brett Wallach, Ramon Ortiz, Doug Davis, Nick Struck, Robert Coello and Su-Min Jung.

Nelson Perez, Junior Lake and Jae-Hoon Ha are getting their taters in Daytona. Daytona became the first club in the organization to reach 20 wins, and at 22-8 are sporting the best record in professional baseball. Tennessee had a dramatic ninth inning rally, and Peoria turned a rare trick. Plus, the Cubs cut ties with a former top prospect.

All of that, and more, in this week’s Down on the Farm Report …

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (16 -14)
Starting the week with a two game losing streak, the Chiefs needed a boost. They got it from Cameron Greathouse, and a rare fielding gem. The big, 20-year old lefty had struggled to begin the season, but put it all together Wednesday in Peoria’s 3-0 victory over Clinton. Greathouse (1-2, 4.32) pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking three.

In his last inning of work, Greathouse was assisted by the Chiefs turning their first triple play in over four years. Yohan Gonzalez went scoreless for the final two innings to earn his second save.

Matt Szczur (2-for-4, stolen base) now seems to be out of his early season slump, and led the attack for Peoria. Elliot Soto, Smaily Borges, and D.J. Fitzgerald drove in runs for the Chiefs.

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Peoria made it two in a row Thursday, beating the LumberKings 4-1. Hayden Simpson continues to show progress, blanking Clinton for 4.2 innings. However, lefty Eric Jokisch is proving to be a find. Jokisch finished up the remaining 4.1 innings by striking out five while walking only one to earn his fourth victory.

A turn at the leadoff spot was able to kick start Pierre LePage, who had been 2-for-13 over the three previous games. LePage went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Richard Jones, hitting .360 over the last five games, clubbed two doubles. Rubi “The Expensive Cuban” Silva drove in three runs.

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Peoria opened a series with Kane County Saturday. Coming off of a Friday night loss, the Chiefs used a three-run first inning to cruise to a 6-1 victory. In a true team effort, seven Peoria players provided their eight hits. The lone multi-hit night went to the still hot hitting Richard Jones.

Robinson Lopez gave a workman-like effort, allowing one earned run, striking out and walking one, in six innings for his second victory. Casey Harman and Yohan Gonzalez went the rest of the way for the Chiefs.

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The Chiefs closed out the week with another great pitching performance. Su-Min Jung, recently added from extended spring training, allowed only one earned run in 6.1 innings, issuing no walks and striking out two. Jeffry Antigua and Marcus Hatley finished out the game, blanking Kane County as Peoria won 4-1. Pierre LePage (2-for-4, RBI, stolen base) continued to stay hot while Matt Szczur stole his ninth base.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (22-8)
Daytona thrilled the home fans before many got comfortable in their seats Monday. Three of the first four batters reached base, then Nelson Perez (2-for-4) delivered a grand slam. Junior Lake also had a big night, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. The D-Cubs pounded out eleven hits, as they outlasted Dunedin 7-5.

Jeffrey Lorick took the mound and allowed three runs (one earned) in 4.1 innings. Recently promoted Juan Serrano tossed another 2.1 innings to earn his first victory. Jeffrey Beliveau picked up a hold, while Frank Bautista earned his sixth save.

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On Tuesday, Brett Wallach delivered a performance that will surely have the organization looking closely. Wallach pitched six innings, allowing only one earned run. He struck out nine while walking two as Daytona cruised to an 8-3 victory over the Tampa Yankees. Wallach (2-1) has pitched well over his last three starts, posting a 1.13 ERA for those games.

For the second night in a row, Nelson Perez went deep. His solo shot was one of twenty hits by the D-Cubs for the game. Evan Crawford continues to sizzle, going 4-for-5 to raise his season average to .371. Matt Cerda and Justin Bour had three hits each, while Junior Lake, David Macias, Perez, and Michael Brenly had two hits apiece.

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Daytona faced a pitcher familiar to Cubs’ fans, as Carlos Silva took the mound for the Tampa Yankees. Silva was greeted by a Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4, HR, four RBI) two-run blast, and would only last three innings. Tampa pitching would keep the D-Cubs quiet over the next five innings, but they exploded for five in the seventh, as Daytona beat Tampa 7-5.

Zachary Rosscup pitched 5.2 innings and allowed five runs (three earned). Rosscup gave up seven hits, striking out five while walking one. Jordan Latham and Frank Bautista put away the Yankees, Latham earning his second victory, with Bautista picking up his seventh save.

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Major league veteran Doug Davis took the hill for the D-Cubs on Thursday. Davis overmatched Single-A talent, and threw 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball, defeating Tampa 5-0. Davis ended up striking out seven and walking two.

Daytona backed him with thirteen hits, three of which came off the bat of Junior Lake. The D-Cubs’ leadoff hitter smacked a triple, a home run, and recorded three RBI. David Macias, a resurgent Justin Bour, Michael Brenly, and Jake Opitz also contributed multi-hit games.

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Daytona pitcher Nick Struck gave an eye-opening performance on Friday, as the D-Cubs outlasted Brevard County 5-4. Struck tossed six scoreless innings, striking out seven while walking three. However, after pitching 2.1 scoreless innings, Dae-Eun Rhee was done in by an error by Logan Watkins. The error led to three unearned runs; as Jeffrey Beliveau and Frank Bautista came on to record the final two outs. Beliveau earned his fifth hold while Bautista got his eighth save, as Nelson Perez gunned down the tying runner at home. Perez (2-for-4) was also the offensive star of the game, doubling and driving in two Daytona runs.

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The D-Cubs flexed their muscles Saturday, defeating Brevard County 15-5 in a good, old-fashioned laugher. An eight-run second inning was highlighted by a Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-6, 5 RBI) grand slam. Justin Bour (2-for 5, triple, 2 RBI) then went back-to-back with Ha to complete the scoring for the inning. Daytona’s two hottest hitters, Nelson Perez and Evan Crawford, also had big nights. Perez was 3-for 6 with an RBI, and Crawford was 3-for-5 while driving in four runs.

Surprise starter Jeffrey Lorick was sailing until the fifth inning, when he allowed two of his three earned runs. Aaron Kurcz followed and struck out four Manatees in 1.2 innings for his second victory. Juan Serrano, Eduardo Figueroa, and Ryan Searle finished out the game, with Serrano yielding Brevard County’s final two runs.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (18-12)
In his second outing for the Smokies on Monday, Robert Whitenack picked up his first win, thanks to the domination of Tennessee’s hitting and bullpen. The big right-hander gave up four earned runs in five innings, striking out four while walking two. Hung-Wen Chen, Marco Carrillo, and Blake Parker then stonewalled Carolina over the next four innings, and brought home a 9-4 victory.

Whatever Whitenack gave up, the Tennessee hitters were able to respond. Josh Vitters and Marwin Gonzalez were the hitting stars. Vitters, previously in a slump, went 2-for-4 with his fourth home run, a double, and two RBI. Gonzalez was 3-for-4 and also had two RBI. D.J. LeMahieu, Matt Spencer, and Rebel Ridling each also recorded multi-hit games.

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Trying to avert a three game losing streak on Thursday, the Smokies were down 6-4 to Mobile. Tennessee had gotten in a jam after lefties Chris Rusin and Ryan Buchter allowed six earned runs in 5.1innings. Kyle Smit then let the air out of the BayBears, shutting out Mobile for 2.2 innings.

Tennessee had clawed their way back into the game thanks to D.J. LeMahieu and Matt Spencer. After LeMahieu doubled in the first, Spencer popped his fifth home run. LeMahieu added a solo shot in the third. In the eighth inning, Brett Jackson was brought home on a fielder’s choice after doubling earlier.

That set up a dramatic ninth inning rally. With one out, Steve Clevenger walked and Blake Lalli singled. After a force out put runners on first and third, Josh Vitters‘ dribbler loaded the bases. Brett Jackson then walked to bring in a run. Down to his last strike, D.J. LeMahieu’s single brought in two runs to give the Smokies a 7-6 lead. On Cinco de Mayo, Mexican national Marco Carrillo slammed the door to pick up his second save.

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After a Friday night loss, Tennessee exploded for six runs in the fifth innings, as the Smokies defeated the Mobile BayBears 8-1 Saturday. Robert Whitenack continued to be impressive, allowing one earned run in six innings of work. Whitenack gave up only one hit, while walking three and striking out three. He even drove in Tennessee’s first run in the fifth inning.

James Adduci (4-for-4, two doubles) doubled to start the inning. After a ground out moved him to third, Adduci came home on Whitenack’s fielder’s choice. Brett Jackson (1-for-4) singled and Nate Samson (2-for 5) doubled to score Whitenack. D.J. LeMahieu (2-for-4, three RBI) singled home Jackson and Samson. Rebel Ridling (1-for-5) then launched his sixth homer, plating LeMahieu. Tennessee went on the score two more in the seventh inning, as Ty’Relle Harris and Blake Parker mopped up.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (14-16)
It was truly a trying week for Iowa Cubs’ fans. The I-Cubs dropped five out of seven this week, and were outscored 45-23 in those losses.

After being routed by Round Rock two days in a row, Ramon Ortiz stopped the bleeding as the I-Cubs defeated the Express 3-1. Ortiz had his best outing for the organization Wednesday, going seven innings and allowing one earned run on four hits. Ortiz struck out five while walking only one batter. John Gaub and Scott Maine shutout Round Rock the rest of the way, Gaub earning his fourth hold while Maine picked up his fifth save. Bryan LaHair, Chris Robinson, and Matt Camp had multi-hit games, as Iowa could only muster eight hits against Round Rock pitching.

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Struggling starter Robert Coello took the mound Saturday after another two losses by Iowa. Coello gave his best performance since coming to the organization, shutting out New Orleans 1-0. His eight scoreless innings included seven strikeouts and no walks, lowering his ERA to 6.75. Pinch-hitter Brad Snyder delivered a solo blast in the tenth inning, providing Iowa with the game’s only run. Scott Maine pitched the final two innings to pick up his second victory.

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News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs released LHP Polin Trinidad and C Max Ramirez. Right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer was assigned to Iowa. Iowa activated IF Jonathan Mota from the 7-Day disabled list. Tennessee placed RHP Kyle Smit on the 7-Day disabled list. Left-handed pitcher Doug Davis was assigned to Daytona. Daytona sent RHP Jordan Latham to the Boise Hawks. Peoria placed RHP Dallas Beeler and LHP Graham Hicks on the 7-Day disabled list. Right Handed pitchers Su-Min Jung and Justin Bristow were assigned to Peoria.

Former Cub minor leaguer Brandon Guyer hit a home run in his first major league at bat for the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. The Rays then sent Guyer back to Triple-A on Sunday.

Right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer retired.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) – .210, .275 OBP, .735 OPS, 7 Doubles, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 3 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-0, 3.94 ERA, 16.0 IP, 7 ER, 16 K, 11 BB, Hold, Save 1.63 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .367, .472 OBP, .939 OPS, 3 Doubles, HR, 7 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) is in extended Spring Training
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .331, .359 OBP, .921 OPS, 8 Doubles, Triple, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 5 Stolen Bases, 5 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) – .303, .426 OBP, .962 OPS, 7 Doubles, 2 Triples, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 11 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .318, .353 OBP, .821 OPS, 10 Doubles, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 3 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-2, 2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP, 5 ER, 14 K, 5 BB, 1.36 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 0-1, 4.15 ERA, 26.0 IP, 12 ER, 21 K, 8 BB 1.58 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .309, .389 OBP, .751 OPS, 5 Doubles, 7 RBI, 9 Stolen Bases, Outfield Assist (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.242, .294 OBP, .736 OPS, 7 Doubles, 4 HR, 18 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver
  • Vivid_Reality

    Nice to see Robert Whitenack having a nice continuation at AA. K/9 is a bit down but otherwise promising performances.

  • BillyFinT

    FYI: Kila Ka’aihue (1b) was demoted to room for Hosmer (1b). In an interesting development of a change, the Royals might contend.

    I’m smelling a trade. Tom U, I’ve watched a few games of Kila, and found his “moving parts” a little too much for a Major Leaguer swing. That said, his success in the minor league cannot be denied.

    Do you think he’ll fare better for the Cubs at first base than Tyler Colvin?

    • Tom U

      Dorasaga, I’m not a big trade speculator but I’m interested in deals, as long as they are equitable. Trading Ka’aihue for some spare parts, such as Marquez Smith and Austin Bibens-Dirx, in my mind would be equitable. As it stands, I feel Rebel Ridling may have more potential, especially playing in Wrigley, than Ka’aihue.

      Before the Cubs trade anyone, they’ll probably release some players. Since 1B Bryan LaHair is doing well, release candidates would be OF Fernando Perez, IF Scott Moore, IF Bobby Scales, or IF Matt Camp.

      As far as Colvin goes, I still feel he has a future if given an opportunity (imagine if Colvin were playing for Atlanta or Tampa!). Sometimes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

      • Keith Moreland

        Dorasaga, do we really need to trade for a 27-year old “Prospect”, carrying a career .683 OPS in 326 ML ABs….who also is a terrible first baseman, and can’t play another defensive position? And was just demoted by a club that hasn’t exactly hit the cover off the ball for oh, 20 years? Anyone? Why is he better than LaHair?

        Kila defines a AAAA player, who can post a good AAA line a ‘la Jason Dubois or Jake Fox or Julio Zuleta for you older Cub fans, but isn’t a major-league player. He should go to Japan, IMO.

        Sorry, just don’t see it at all.

        • BillyFinT

          Thanks for the input, yet, Zuleta did not walk as much as he struck out, and he was not a good first baseman, as opposed to… see bottom my first reply.

      • Keith Moreland

        Now, TYLER COLVIN, that is a different problem.

        He could use a trip to AAA, though to do that, the Cubs need to make a 40-man move, and find an OF’er to send up. Fernando Perez is on the 40, but batting .179 at Iowa shouldn’t earn you a promotion. The best candidate is probably (believe it or not) Luis Montanez, who has some ML experience and is producing at AAA. He is not a long-term solution though.

        I wasn’t convinced last year that Colvin was the real deal. He struck out too much in the minors, and continued that last year. I think the league has adjusted, and Colvin hasn’t; it’s not just the amount of playing time he is getting or not getting.

        Jury is still out I suppose, but I think Colvin is not the long-term answer

        • John_CC

          Fernando Perez seems like a pretty obvious cut from the 40 man. But what do I know?

          • Keith Moreland

            At this point the most obvious cut is Brian Schlitter, who is not a ML pitcher. He is only on there because our RH relief collapsed last year, and we were desperate.

            Too early to give up on Perez, but if he doesn’t pick it up he is a DFA candidate……

        • Richard Hood

          A lot of people last year where critical of Colvin and his hot start. He can not make enough adjustments to be an every day player. He needs some time to figure out where he belongs I guess but that has been said about a lot of players over the years. I don’t have an answer for what he is or isn’t but even on a bad team he would not be playing at the major league level.

          On a good team he would be waiting in AAA and working with his eyes and the mental aspects of being a major leaguer. So that when injuries happen he will be ready to not only step in but also succeed at what ever role he comes back to.

          • cubtex

            Couldn’t agree more. For some reason…some on here think that other teams are much more patient with young players than the Cubs are. The Braves were mentioned….The Braves will not stick with Freddie Freeman all year if he continues to struggle. He was in a 6-40 slump and was taken out of the lineup for Eric Hinske last Thursday. No team,,,,Braves,Rays whoever would stick with a player who is hitting .125 like Colvin is.

        • cubtex

          I said this yesterday. Since Perez is still on the 40 man roster…my opinion is that he would be more valuable to the Cubs bench(at this time) than Colvin. Speed alone. He could be used as a late inning pinch runner to steal a base and help tie or win a game. Again, I am not saying Perez is a better player than Colvin, just that he would be more useful for their bench right now and give Colvin a chance to play everyday at AAA.

          • The Maven

            Sorry cubtex, as John Candy said in the movie JFK, “you have the right ho-ho but the wrong ta-ta”. Tony Campana, not Fernando Perez should be brought up for his speed off the bench.

            To use another quote (Mike Ditka), Fernando Perez needs to “get on with his life’s work”.

          • cubtex

            anyone who can steal a base is fine with me. Put Tyson Gay or Usain Bolt in a uniform and I am fine with it. With the Cubs lack of speed and difference makers they need somebody who can run!

          • paulcatanese

            Tony Campana,sounds good to me,total hustle with this guy, and I agree with Cubtex, the Cubs need speed,and that kid’s got it. He could bunt .300. like to see that happen.

      • BillyFinT

        Btw, I wonder if EITHER Perez, Moore, Scales, or Camp is good enough a bait to trade for a good AAA hitter. I don’t think the Royals see Kila a spare part ready to be dumped. They see him as a backup, amongst a real deep farm system, if their real “biggie” injures.

  • Keith Moreland

    Question: Why isn’t Jae Hoon Ha a more highly regarded prospect?

    Ha made very few preseason Top-10 lists, despite posting a nice .317/.334/.468 slash line as a 19-year old at Peoria. He is tearing up A+, which is not considered a hitters league, at the age of 20. On most lists he is on the “radar”, but not considered a top prospect.

    His walk rate is a problem, though his strikeouts are not super-high (45Ks in 290 Abs last year; not great, but not alarming). He rates as a plus defender with a plus-plus arm.

    Maybe he will be re-evaluated with this start, but there must be a reason that scouts and writers see that prevents him from being a top-10, because I don’t see what that reason is in the stats.

    • GrantJones7

      He has walked more as of late. He was on my Top Ten list that we published here on the CCO. I liked him a lot. He should be a solid MLer

  • Guy

    It just made my day to see you using my Nickname “The Expensive Cuban” for Rubi Silva. Another Great Down on the Farm Report

  • John_CC

    Could DJ LeMahieu be an MLB 2Bman? Better questions, does he have the defensive tools and what are the odds of him progressing into a solid 2Bman? I like his size and the way he handles the bat. Something about that kid, I really like his game.

    • Keith Moreland

      From what I have read, he is a legit 2B prospect, though not a guaranteed one. He hasn’t shown the power yet that his size would suggest, but some scouts think he’ll grow into it. He’s 22 years old at AA, so this is an important development year for him. So far, he’s doing fine, but still no signs of power.

      Defensively, he projects to be a decent 2B. He’s played SS, but doesn’t have the range for it long-term.

      At 324/355/468 so far this year, the only thing lacking is some pop in that line. His lowest BA so far in the minors is .314, so he has put the bat on the ball at every level. He doesn’t walk much, but doesn’t strike out too much either. He is similar offensively to Barney, except that so far he has been better in the minors at a younger age.

      He looks like a ML player, whether as a backup or starter is TBD

      • John_CC

        He looks like it to me, too. Thanks for the reply.

    • Gary J

      Baseball America rated him the best hitting prospect in the organization – ahead of Guyer (still with us at the time) and Jackson and well… everybody else.

      He doesn’t have a lot of pop but scouts feel he can be a 15 HR guy given a little more bulk – his ability to square up the ball though is what impresses the scouts and that shows in his consistent batting average over the levels.

      Defensively though…. dunno. Reports say his speed and quickness are about average but he has soft hands. Another thing I saw said he would defensively project as a 3rd baseman as he has an adequate arm, but that he’s slotted at 2b because the corners are traditionally power positions and he has a lack of pop.

      • John_CC

        Thanks, Gary, didn’t know he was that highly regarded since he isn’t usually in the conversation with Jackson, Guyer, Lee, etc…

    • Tom U

      John, LeMahieu is a solid defender and a clutch hitter. As of right now, he has just two flaws.

      The first is that he is a gap hitter who may be able to sneak some into the stands, but never as many as you would expect out of a starting third baseman.

      The other is that at 6’4″, he will eventually become a liability at second base (remember Mark DeRosa?).

      I have been a big fan of his and feel he will be a solid major leaguer.
      Where he finally ends up on the diamond will depend on how some of the organization’s power prospects develop.

  • diehardcubfan

    Please be right Mr. Rosenthal. It would be great to see JH gone by the All Star break but doubt if it will happen.

    By the way, anyone seen ARAM? He does play on the team right?

    Not a trick question, but given his lack of productivity he has all but disappeared.

    Maybe we should start to look at trading him now before the end of the year.

    There might be a team with some interest by the trade deadline.

    • Richard Hood

      The team that he could be traded to would have to be very very desperate because his option vests if he

      2012 option becomes guaranteed if Ramirez:wins one MVP in 2007-11, orplaces 2nd or 3rd in MVP vote twice in 2007-11, orwins LCS MVP once in 2007-11, oris an All Star 3 times in 2007-11, oris traded & Ramirez exercises 2011 option
      courtesy of Cots Baseball contracts

      That all being said I do not see anyone picking up a 16 million dollar player for next year that is not driving in runs or hitting for power.

      • Keith Moreland

        You are absolutely right, and for that vesting reason, A-Ram is untradeable. Forget it. He will finish the year, and we will then probably decline his option, unless he catches fire somehow. But odds are against it.

        Soriano is also untradeable, unless we take back someone’s massively unproductive contract. Vernon Wells maybe? Even that won’t happen, as the Angels wont’ swallow their pride that early. All we can do is pray Soriano hits 40 HRs this year, fooling some team into thinking he can do that 2-3 more times, and taking on PART of his contract.

        I know folks will float A-Ram and Soriano trading scenarios all year, but forget it; they aren’t going anywhere.

      • paulcatanese

        Good information Richard. The question I would wonder about is Arams contract and the little known factors it may contain. I feel that it is in his contract that he play’s third base and any change in his position is his decision and his only. It also may call for additional monies to be paid if he does. And the same holds true with his position in the lineup and the same added money. I know that sounds far fetched but there have been stranger ones out there. And I really cannot see any other reason that he commands what is going on now. the impression I have is that Aram is an Emplyee and not an Independent Contractor as he reports to one place for work. So if he is just an emplyee then he must have something else that keeps him where he is. Only other option is the failure of Cub management to rectify the problem as it excists.

        • Richard Hood

          Every player contract contains language about this or the other from use of the company plane to luxury hotel suites on the road. So that being said there may actually be a clause that states that ARAM is to bat 4th or gets a bonus to play another position. I am more likely to believe though that he has been approached about batting 3rd and refused from stuff I had seen at the beginning of spring training.

          Did he ever get moved out of the clean up spot last year when he struggled ? I can’t remember but I do not think he did.

          • paulcatanese

            If I remember,he still batted fourth, behind Derek Lee and we all know what that terrible twosome did for the Cubs the first half of the season—0 and the Cubs were done for the year. And all the complaints were for not.,as they continued until Lee was traded. Thats why I had said in an earlier post that Byrd and Aram brought back memories from last year. When I played,there was a clause that said no swimming or getting sunburn,stupid,but it was there.Last year was kind of vauge for me,but thats what I remember.

  • cubtex

    Mariners designated Milton Bradley for assignment! Hopefully we have seen the last of that bum!

    • The Maven

      Finally, some closure on the whole sordid business.

  • Cloycub13

    Uncle Milty released by the M’s. Good luck dude, you’re gonna need it!!!!

    • Keith Moreland

      As bad as Silva was including his tantrum on the way out of town, we clearly got the better of that deal.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for all of your comments.

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Tom U:

    Well done as always.

  • Neil

    Updates on the injury front at Double-A:

    Kyle Smit was placed on the DL with a shoulder strain

    David Cales will undergo shoulder surgery and will miss the remainder of the season

    • carmelo

      As much as I like what J. Baker is doing for us the last couple of seasons, including this year, check out the guy we traded for him. Now with the Tigers, Al Alburqueque is putting up some great numbers in relief. Good trade for us, and now a good pick-up for Detroit.

  • Neil

    Brett Jackson with a bases clearing triple in the bottom of the 8th Monday night. Smokies winning 10-2 in the bottom of the eight.

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,is Jackson that good,or is the pitching that bad? This guy sounds like a dream come true. Not trying to be a downer at all,I hope he is and is here very shortly.

      • Neil

        I like what I’ve seen from Jackson. Very quick in the field with nice speed on the bases. He is doing well in Double-A but he will be a work in progress once he’s promoted to the big leagues. Pitching in the Southern League is good and most of the teams keep their top talent in Double-A these days.

        He will not be labeled as an impact prospect but Jackson has the tools to be a solid big league player.

  • Aaron


    If you had a guess, and the Cubs blew up this roster of veterans, who in the system would you replace them with…which, basically, could happen at the end of the season without many moves, other than letting the following guys go via FA or non-tender:

    After 2012, they potentially lose the likes of:

    My replacements would be as follows:
    Beliveau or Lorick
    Cerda (yes, he’s young, and doesn’t have mind-blowing stats, but he knows how to get on base, and makes good contact, which makes him the perfect bench bat)
    B. Jackson
    Spencer (might as well try him, to get something out of him while waiting for Ha to be ready)

    Then, in 2012, call upon:
    Ha *unless you can trade Byrd prior to 2012, in which case, you’d likely bring up Campana, who obviously has less of a ceiling than Ha.

    What do you think?

    • Richard Hood

      hey aaron I just thought this is something you should see before you start remaking the roster.

      • John_CC

        That’s Rosenthal’s opinion, and quite weak on substance and heavy on filler, I might add.

        I do agree that team president is crucial if they let Hendry ride out his contract. And Wilken and Flieta would not necessarily leave just because Hendry got canned. They could easily be asked to stay.

        • carmelo

          Why would Flieta and Wilken stay? Flieta played for Hendry in college, and Wilken and Hendry went to high school together. Both have done a great job, but a new G.M.would want HIS guys in those positions. Lose Hendry, lose the other two,

          • The Maven

            Unless one of them was offered the GM position.

          • Richard Hood

            That is the solution I see as well Maven

          • paulcatanese

            Not dis- agreeing with you,but look at Ricketts,he kept JH, so there is a possibility that Wilken and Flieta cold be asked to stay. But then that was Ricketts first mistake,keeping JH.

          • John_CC

            Then fine, let em all go. Remember, the reason why Flieta and Wilken look so good right now is because they are being compared to the rest of the modern history of the Cubs farm system. Which was worse than terrible.

            If replacing Hendry means losing those two, so be it.

      • Aaron

        I NEVER put much stock into what Rosenthal says anymore. I used to, that is, until I saw what a kiss ass the guy was at the winter meetings in Las Vegas when I attended a few years ago. All I’m going to say is that the guy practically begs management guys at the bar for information. It was kind of embarrassing to watch.

        But that’s neither here nor there….just my personal opinion on that smurf (he is VERY smurf-like btw)

        Alright…back to his comments. The guy loses all credibility when he implies Hendry was a genius for getting the Cubs to the playoffs 3 times in his first 6 years.

        First of all, Hendry got vital cogs in the 2003 run from the Pirates, as they were practically giving away all their high-priced players, and that’s no exaggeration. He got Lofton as the centerpiece of the ARAM deal, because he needed a CF replacement for Patterson, who went down with an unfortunate knee injury when he was trying to leg out a base hit. ARAM was known as a malcontent with the Pirates, and since Hendry had to include a top prospect for Lofton in Bobby Hill (who was a PTBNL in the deal) plus Matt Bruback and Jose Hernandez, the Pirates basically threw in ARAM.

        Hendry was NOT a genius for that deal…Sorry, but I love it when the media (who are the most notorious for this not just in sports, but everyday life), have this sort of revisionist history like Rosenthal did. Look at Hendry’s “big deals” as a GM. These revisionist history people love to throw out names like:
        ARAM-referenced above

        Lee-traded for Choi on a straight up salary dump by the Marlins. Choi, btw, was cheaper, younger, and was a big time prospect at the time prior to his concussion. This is the one deal you could give credit to Hendry for in the long-run, but it by NO means was a slam dunk at the time, though now, as we’ve seen what’s happened with Mourneau, Koskie, and others post-concussion, we probably should have seen that one coming.

        Garciaparra-This is the most hilarious one I’ve seen media and fans giving him props for, considering the ONLY reason the Cubs even made that trade, was they were approached by the Red Sox and Twins to facilitate the trade, bringing the Red Sox Mientkiewcz, and unloading a very unhappy Garciaparra on the Cubs. The Cubs ended up giving up the most players in that deal with Francis Beltran, Alex Gonzalez, and Brendan Harris going to the Expos for Orlando Cabrera and Justin Jones to the Twins for Mientkiewicz, who was in turn, dealt to the Bo Sox along with Cabrera for Nomar and Matt Murton. Epstein was unable to make the move without the Cubs, because they were able to absorb Nomar’s salary. Again, Hendry was the beneficiary of salary relief, as the Expos simply couldn’t take on Nomar’s salary.

        So, the 2003 playoff run was due mostly to Patterson’s untimely injury, which led the Cubs to Lofton (and taking on a malcontent “throw-in” in that deal with ARAM). The Cubs 2007 and 2008 playoff runs were due in LARGE part to the Tribune and Zell authorizing the outlandish free agent deals, and significantly increasing the payroll.

        What most people tend to forget are the outrageous “career year” contracts Hendry bestowed upon the following guys:
        Lee-30 yrs old, coming off his FIRST 100+RBI season in his whole career, and FIRST .300+average season, and gets a 5 yr, $62 million deal with no-trade rights

        Dempster-31 yrs old, coming off his FIRST season with an ERA below 3.66 as a starter, and his FIRST season in 4 previous years in which he was an actual starter, and gave him a 4 yr, $52 million deal with no-trade rights

        Bradley-31 yrs old, averaged around 85 games played throughout his career, coming off a career year of 22 hr, 77 RBI, the first time he had more than 19 hr, 67 RBI, multiple suspensions, multiple teams, etc., and he gave him a RIDICULOUS 3 yr, $30 million deal

        Grabow-31 yrs old, coming off just his 2nd sub-4.13 ERA in his 6 full seasons, and he gave him an outlandish 2 yrs, $7.5 million

        Soriano-31 yrs old (seeing a theme here?), coming off his first 40+hr season, and just his 3rd season out of 6 with more than 95 RBI, and he gave him an insane 8 yr, $136 million deal with no-trade rights

        Miles-31 yrs old, coming off his FIRST .300+avg campaign (which was his only real value to any team to begin with), and the Cubs were the ONLY team to offer him more than 1 season, as Hendry offered 2 yrs, $4.9 million

        ……and the list goes on

        Saying Hendry was a success for those 3 playoff runs is like saying ENRON was the most successful energy company ever. Both propped up their appearances with a false facade. The point of that is, you can hide a LOT of things with money, but in the end, it’ll all catch up to you if you didn’t have an end goal in mind, or plan for success. It ended up biting ENRON in the ass big time, as they couldn’t create enough LLC’s to hide losses. In the case of Hendry and the Cubs, they paid HUGE money to veterans until they had an aging roster full of untradeable assets. Year in and year out, Hendry has had a Top 5 payroll, and in some cases, a Top 2 payroll. Nobody gets less return on investment than the Cubs have under Hendry. The only team in professional sports that might have received a worse return on investment might be the New York Knicks in recent years.

        Give me….give any fan on this website about $140 million, and I nearly guarantee you we would have a few playoff appearances, and given the amount of knowledgeable fans on this site, I’m pretty sure they could create a dynasty with that type of money.

        Keeping Hendry around to save a sinking ship he was a HUGE accomplice in destroying would be like a hypothetical situation where ENRON retained Jeffrey Skilling to help turn them around (assuming the government hadn’t shut them down) when in fact, he was primarily responsible for the downfall of the company.

        That type of logic just doesn’t jive with me. The notion that guys like Fleita and Wilken would leave with Hendry is foolish, especially during this economy. I realize that both are paid handsomely, but there’s no guarantee they’d even get another job, given pretty much every team going with more youthful GM’s and scouting staffs.

        I’m actually positive Fleita and Wilken would land somewhere soon after if they chose to leave, but they might have to wait a year, and even then, there’d be a HUGE question if that team would present as great of an opportunity as the Cubs, especially under the Ricketts, who have claimed they will back up their talk by investing more money into scouting. You’d have to think the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies would all be set with scouting, and probably wouldn’t make changes. That would leave the White Sox, Dodgers, and Mets as other major market teams that could consider making changes in their scouting departments. But with the Dodgers being a complete mess organizationally with the McCourt’s situation and MLB seizing control, and the Mets’ ownership also in question with the lawsuits and pending litigation surrounding a ponzi scheme they were involved with, that’d put them in serious limbo….and finally, with the White Sox and Reinsdorf being a notorious penny pincher, it’d be hard to see them wanting to go with them.

        So, like I said, to assume that Wilken and Fleita would just leave, would be absolutely foolish. Both could be promoted, then feel it might be best to stay on, or like I said, they might look around the league, and see they already have it pretty good with the Cubs and in their current positions.

        Hendry didn’t deserve the opportunity to continue with the Cubs in 2010. He certainly did NOT earn the right to continue with the Cubs in 2011. The fact that Rosenthal even suggests 2012 could be a possibility for a Hendry extension, and goes further to promote him for one, just goes to show you how little Rosenthal knows about the Cubs to begin with.

        I caught a lot of flak for saying I wished the Cubs would fail last year to commence the rebuilding project. But enough is enough. From blowing trades to blowing free agent deals, and perhaps even more indicting, blowing roster decisions (ie.-McGehee, and more recently the gaffe with Szczur’s contracting, forcing them to add him to the 40-man this coming offseason), I just cannot fathom a reason Hendry should remain with the team. He truly is the dumbest GM in the game dollar for dollar.

        • Richard Hood

          I have said for the last 2 years that Rickett needed to be more worried about the Team President position and getting a baseball guy in there. With any luck that will cause JH to quit which in the end might be the best thing for everyone involved.

    • Tom U

      Aaron, it is very hard to speculate without knowing for sure how ownership would want to deal with the contracts. However, for argument’s sake here are the players I would promote if given full authority:

      From Triple-A:
      OF Luis Montanez and LHP Scott Maine to the Cubs

      From Double-A
      OF Brett Jackson, 1B Rebel Ridling, and UT Ryan Flaherty to the Cubs

      IF DJ LeMahieu, OF Matt Spencer, C Steve Clevenger, SS Nate Samson, RHP Marco Carrillo, and RHP Blake Parker to Triple-A

      From High-A
      OF Jae-Hoon Ha, 3B Matt Cerda, RHP Nick Struck, and RHP Frank Bautista to Double-A

      From Single-A
      OF Matt Szczur, 2B Pierre LePage, SS Elliot Soto, C Micah Gibbs, LHP Austin Kirk, and LHP Eric Jokisch to High-A.

      • BillyFinT

        Tom, thanks for the reply on Kila. And I’m glad that
        Keith Moreland replied as well. I’m happy.

        I thought a lot about talent evaluations, but I’m not going to defend the Hawaiian’s fielding at first* or his amusing difficulty swinging against Major League pitching. What I want to point out here is not the obvious.

        *And he’s not bad. He’s not mediocre. He’s not the first base comp. of Colvin at right field. Check his numbers down there. This guy can field.

        First, if the most dedicated and observant fans can’t agree on what to do with Colvin, does anyone seriously believe that Hendry and management know the heck to do with him? First base? Plate discipline? Weren’t those “contents” known when he was playing with Iowa and the

        Secondly, the Cubs is not improving at this current rate: My biggest reason to bring up a possible trade of “spare parts” is that, hopefully, people start thinking if there’s no spare but rather necessary, either for a stopgap or a competitive mental–kind of reason to trade and alter the “Pena will hit .240 and 36 homeruns again” wish for Santas (the change in small steps).

        People are making fun of the Cardinals and the Brewers for their slow start, oh a month then, and not seeing their star powers. We don’t underestimate Braun, Fielder, Holliday, Pujols, then you throw in Carpenter, Greinke, Rasmus. We can write in the “Cubs killer” Wolf* and a healthy Marcum, a bunch with Lohse and other Duncan projects. You know, the Cards might trade in Heath Bell, and so on.

        *I think Wolf had his only two complete games, career-wise, thrown at Wrigley? Shame for “them.”

        Now, what that leaves us with the Cubs? The best hitter on this team, talent-wise, is a shortstop who shared the same name as the baseball-loving Cuban leader.

        So, the Cubs have Starlin Castro, and um, the shortstop as their best hitter. Then there’s… did I mention Castro? See the point?

        And Aaron, I don’t care if Wilken and Fleita leave. During their term, what? since 2005? Had the Cubs brought up a generation of great talents like the “New Nasty Boys” of the Braves? or the Indians of late? (God forbid them to last?)

        Do you know the 1990 Reds under Piniella had an average age-27 lineup for their World Series? and most of those hitters were 25-28? Is this happening with the Cubs?

        No. You can get lucky every three or five years, as Wilken had been with the Chicago National Ball Club, find that one Castro.

        That’s not enough for a division winning team, albeit a World Series–what we really want.

        Change is good. I won’t mind trade Hendry, Wilken, and Fleita for one Kila Ka’aihue this year.