Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/30/11

Pitching took the spotlight this week. The organization said goodbye to Ryan Buchter, J.R. Mathis, and Robert Coello; said hello to a new face in Rodrigo Lopez, and welcomed an old face in Randy Wells back to the big league club. Larry Suarez, Marcus Hatley, Ryan Searle, Alberto Cabrera, and Marco Carrillo all received new assignments. And Justin Berg and Casey Coleman were on the Des Moines shuttle.

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

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (28-22)
Dallas Beeler and Bryce Shafer started the week with a startling revelation, they’re not perfect. Monday’s game against Clinton was Beeler’s first rough outing, with three earned runs in 4.1 innings. The previously untouchable Shafer didn’t fare any better, allowing an earned run in his 1.2 innings. However, Alvaro Sosa put an end to the LumberKings’ scoring, with two scoreless innings for his second victory. Marcus Hatley added a scoreless ninth.

The top four in the line-up came to play Monday, accounting for ten of Peoria’s fourteen hits. Matt Szczur and Elliot Soto were each 3-for-5, Szczur stole his twelfth base and Soto drove in two runs. Greg Rohan was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Ryan Cuneo was 2-for-5 and three RBI. Anthony Giansanti added a two run bomb while Kyung-Min Na stole his first base as the Chiefs won 9-4.

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Peoria doubled their pleasure on Thursday, completing a suspended game with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers with a 6-4 victory. Graham Hicks started and allowed an earned run in his three innings of work. Cameron Greathouse piggy-backed on Hicks and pitched two innings, allowing two earned runs and getting credit for the victory. Robinson Lopez, in his new role as closer, picked up his first save with one earned run in two innings of work.

Pierre LePage led the Chiefs’ offense. The plucky second baseman was 3-for-4 and cranked his second homer of the season. Anthony Giansanti was 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base.

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As Pete Vonachen’s friend Harry Caray would say “the big opossum walks late” as Peoria scored four in the bottom of the fifth to record a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin in Thursday’s regularly scheduled game. Anthony Giansanti started the fireworks with a two-run blast. Kyung-Min Na scored on Matt Szczur’s double, while Szczur scored as Pierre LePage reached on an error. The inning ended when LePage was thrown out at the plate on Greg Rohan’s double.

Hayden Simpson recoded his best outing to date and picked up his first professional win. Simpson went five innings and struck out seven, his only run allowed was unearned. Usually piggy-backing on Simpson, Eric Jokisch pitched two scoreless innings and picked up his first save.

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Coming off of two losses, Peoria scored five runs in the second inning and never looked back, as they sailed past the Cedar Rapids Kernels 8-1 on Sunday. Anthony Giansanti stole the show, as he was 2-for-5 with two home runs (including a grand slam) and six RBI. Matt Szczur added his first career homer, a solo blast. Pierre LePage, Ryan Cuneo, and Elliot Soto also joined in fun, each having a multi-hit game.

Once again, Graham Hicks turned in a fine performance. The lefty one-hit Cedar Rapids over five innings and struck out five. Unfortunately, the only hit he gave up was a solo home run, but still was credited with his first victory. Su-Min Jung piggy-backed on Hicks, and pitched four scoreless innings for his first save.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (39-12)
Daytona seemed to be on cruise control on Monday with Aaron Kurcz on the mound. Kurcz spotted St. Lucie a run in the first, and then shut down the Mets for the next three innings, striking out five while walking one. Eduardo Figueroa picked up the win, allowing two earned runs in his 2.2 innings. Ryan Searle finished out the game blanking the Mets over 2.1 innings.

The D-Cubs started their scoring with Michael Burgess (1-for-4, three RBI) blasting a three run homer in the first inning. Justin Bour (3-for-4, two RBI, stolen base) and Jake Opitz (1-for-4, RBI) also went deep for Daytona. Matt Cerda and Rubi Silva also recorded multi-hit games, as the D-Cubs beat the Mets 8-3.

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Daytona was up 4-0 on St. Lucie after four innings, but would have to rely on a Jake Opitz two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Mets 9-7 Tuesday. Starter Brett Wallach was in control though four, but allowed three earned runs in the next 1.1 innings. Jordan Latham didn’t fare much better, with four earned runs in 1.2 innings. Juan Serrano shut out St. Lucie for the final two innings to record his third victory.

In addition to Opitz, Junior Lake and Justin Bour also homered to help bring the D-Cubs back. Bour hit a solo shot in the seventh, while Lake drove in Logan Watkins with a two-run bomb in the eighth. Opitz then hit his second home run in as many nights, with Bour on base as part of the walk-off victory.

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On Wednesday, Nick Struck dazzled the St. Lucie Mets, striking out eight and walking none over six innings, as the D-Cubs won 5-0. Ryan Buchter and Frank Bautista mopped up, Buchter striking out three batters in a two hour, twenty-two minute game (or about two American League innings). Seven Daytona batters contributed to their eight hits. Rubi Silva went 2-for-3 and slugged his second home run.

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The number 13 was lucky for Daytona on Thursday, as the D-Cubs outlasted Bradenton 6-4 for their ninth straight win. Evan Crawford (2-for-3) was in the middle of Daytona’s scoring, doubling in their first run and stealing his thirteenth base. Crawford scored on Justin Bour’s (1-for- 4) thirteenth home run. Matt Cerda and Michael Brenly were also big contributors, each with two hits.

Dae-Eun Rhee continued the string of dominant performances by Daytona starters. Rhee went five innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out ten. Brent Ebinger followed and allowed two earned runs in the two innings he worked, being tagged with a blown save but getting the win. Eduardo Figueroa tidied up the mess with a scoreless two-thirds of an inning for his third hold. Frank Bautista went the rest of the way for his thirteenth save.

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For four innings on Friday, the Bradenton Marauders and the D-Cubs sized each other up. Then Bradenton exploded for five earned runs on Daytona starter Jeffrey Lorick. It was up to Daytona’s bats, and they responded. Leading the way was the awakening bat of Logan Watkins, who was 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored. Watkins scored on Junior Lake’s three-run jack in the sixth inning, which put Daytona ahead for good. Lake would end up 2-for-5, adding a triple to his homer and driving in five runs. Matt Cerda and Rubi Silva also had multi-hit games, as Daytona came back to win 9-5.

Coming in for Lorick in the fifth, Jordan Latham pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four for his third victory. New D-Cub Marcus Hatley went 1.1 innings to record his first Florida State League save.

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Daytona ran their win streak to eleven games on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Bradenton 4-3. The D-Cubs fell behind as Aaron Kurcz allowed three earned runs on two home runs in the top of the second inning. Juan Serrano, Eduardo Figueroa, and Brent Ebinger blanked the Marauders the rest of the way, Ebinger earning the victory.

Daytona started their comeback in the bottom of the second, as Jake Opitz came around on Dustin Harrington’s first hit as a member of the D-Cubs. In the seventh, a single by Matt Cerda (2-for-5) and double by Evan Crawford (3-for-4) put runners on second and third. A wild pitch brought in Cerda, then Justin Bour (1-for-4) doubled home Crawford to tie the score. In the bottom of the ninth, a throwing error not only allowed Cerda to reach, but also advance to third. Crawford then singled him home for the game winner.

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It looked as if Daytona would end up sweeping Bradenton on Sunday, but the Marauders made it close. The D-Cubs enjoyed a 4-2 lead thanks to the pitching of Brett Wallach. Wallach allowed only two runs (one earned) in his five innings pitched, striking out five batters. Oswaldo Martinez pitched a scoreless 1.2 innings for his first hold. However, Marcus Hatley would get dusted up for two earned runs in his inning to tie the score at 4-4.

A Daytona comeback started with a Michael Burgess walk with one out in the eighth. After advancing on a wild pitch, Burgess came home on Jake Opitz’s (3-for-4, two doubles, RBI) single. A wild pitch and groundout advanced Opitz to third, and then was driven in on Chad Noble’s (2-for-4, two RBI) single. Frank Bautista recorded the final three outs for a 6-4 victory … and the D-Cubs 12th win in a row.

Junior Lake, Evan Crawford, and Justin Bour also enjoyed multi-hit games.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (32-18)
Down 4-1 to Mobile in the fifth inning on Monday, Tennessee mounted a comeback to secure a 6-5 victory. Leading the charge was Luis Flores (2-for-2, two RBI), whose solo homer sparked the rally. Rebel Ridling also belted a two-run homer to tie the game. The final two runs came in on a ground out and wild pitch. Marwin Gonzalez and D.J. LeMahieu joined Flores in recording a multi-hit game.

Trey McNutt pitched his longest outing of the season, five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) while striking out four. Ty’Relle Harris followed with an earned run in 1.2 innings. Jeffrey Beliveau blanked the BayBears in 1.1scoreless innings, and got credit for the win. Chris Carpenter earned his first save in wild fashion. The tying run tried to score for second on a stolen base and wild pitch, only to be tagged out at home on a throw from Flores to Carpenter.

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Tennessee manager Brian Harper has been on the money with most decisions this season. However, he may have stuck with Alberto Cabrera for too long on Tuesday. Cabrera was in control of Mississippi, shutting them out through six innings. In the seventh, Cabrera allowed a three-run homer to spoil his evening. Kyle Smit came on and didn’t fare much better, allowing two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. The Smokies then turned to “Senor Todo” (Mister Everything) Marco Carrillo, who recorded the final four outs for his third save as Tennessee defeated the Braves 10-5.

Tennessee didn’t start the scoring until the fourth, but did so with style. Ryan Flaherty and Nelson Perez each had two-run home runs as part of a five run inning. Jae-Hoon Ha then started out the fifth by cranking a solo shot, as the Smokies scored another five runs. In all, Ha, Flaherty, Perez, Matt Spencer, and Blake Lalli each had multi-hit games as Tennessee pounded out thirteen hits.

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The Smokies extended their winning streak to nine games on Wednesday, as they defeated the Mississippi Braves 10-6. Luis Flores had a highlight-reel game, going 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBI. Rebel Ridling also had three hits, including a home run, a stolen base, and three RBI. D.J. LeMahieu and Josh Vitters also had multi-hit games.

Brooks Raley had another uneven outing, allowing three earned runs in his first three innings. Raley would straighten himself out to strike out four and walk two in 5.1 innings. Hung-Wen Chen came on and allowed three unearned runs in 1.2 innings after an error by Vitters. Chris Carpenter started an inning ending double play, as he pitched two scoreless innings to finish out the game.

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After dropping the opening game of a double-header to the Mississippi Braves, Tennessee brought out their bats to take the nightcap 7-2. Robert Whitenack started the game and sailed through the first two innings. With two outs in the third, Whitenack had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury (reports Sunday indicated Whitenack has a right elbow strain). Recently promoted Ryan Searle came in and allowed two earned runs in his first taste of Double-A action. Searle would get the win, as Ty’Relle Harris and Jeffrey Beliveau blanked the Braves for an inning apiece.

Luis Flores continues to be unstoppable in his Double-A debut, crushing his fifth home run, a three-run shot. Marwin Gonzalez joined Flores with a multi-hit game, as the Smokies pounded out ten hits in the seven innings affair.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (22-28)
After dropping their first two games this week, Iowa fans were treated to the Brad Snyder show on Wednesday. Snyder was 3-for-5 with an RBI, stolen base, and an outfield assist as the I-Cubs defeated Las Vegas 7-3. Bryan LaHair continued his quest for the PCL home run crown by blasting his twelfth of the season as part of a 2-for-3 night. Marquez Smith, Chris Robinson, and recently activated Ty Wright also had multi-hit games.

Ramon Ortiz is starting to show signs of life in his 38 year-old arm. Ortiz pitched seven innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out eight batters. Blake Parker and John Gaub each tossed a scoreless inning, with Parker earning a hold.

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After two more losses, Iowa found themselves in a familiar position on Saturday against Red Rock. The I-Cubs jumped out to a two run lead in the top of the second, as Jonathan Mota (3-for-4) singled in both runs. Iowa starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who was cruising through five innings, then allowed four earned runs on two home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Iowa has a recent history of folding in these situations, but not this game. Bobby Scales (2-for-4) led off the eighth with a solo home run. Mota drove in his third run of the game in the ninth to tie the score. Tyler Colvin then delivered a two-out single, driving in two to push the score to 6-4. Blake Parker stopped the bleeding with a scoreless seventh inning. John Gaub then blanked the Express over the final two innings to earn his second victory.

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News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs called up OF Luis Montanez and OF Brad Snyder; optioned RHP Casey Coleman and RHP Justin Berg to Iowa.

The Chicago Cubs traded LHP Ryan Buchter to the Atlanta Braves for RHP Rodrigo Lopez, who was assigned to Chicago. Right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter and RHP Andrew Cashner were transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

The Iowa Cubs released LHP J.R. Mathes and designated RHP Robert Coello for assignment. Outfielder Ty Wright and RHP Marco Carrillo were assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. Catcher Geovany Soto and RHP Ryan Searle were assigned to Tennessee. Right-handed pitcher Marcus Hatley was assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Larry Suarez was assigned to Peoria from Boise.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) – .194, .297 OBP, .698 OPS, 10 Doubles, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 6 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-1, 4.91 ERA, 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 K, 4 BB, Hold, Save 1.36 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .280, .417 OBP, .772 OPS, 4 Doubles, HR, 8 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) is in extended Spring Training
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .267, .320 OBP, .764 OPS, 3 Doubles, Triple, HR, 7 RBI, Outfield Assist (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) – .295, .420 OBP, .938 OPS, 7 Doubles, 3Triples, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 13 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies) 3-for-8, Triple (Extended Spring Training)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .358, .386 OBP, .878 OPS, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) - 1-2, 2.34 ERA, 34.2 IP, 9 ER, 22 K, 8 BB, 1.18 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) - 1-1, 4.05 ERA, 40.0 IP, 18 ER, 36 K, 15 BB 1.48 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .325, .396 OBP, .778 OPS, 5 Doubles, 10 RBI, 12 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.264, .306 OBP, .730 OPS, 11 Doubles, 5 HR, 25 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)

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Quote of the Day

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

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  • Vivid_Reality

    Would have rather seen Flaherty called up than DJ. While its true that DJ has been crushing, I would value him as the better overall prospect and would rather see him playing everyday. Flaherty seems to be everything the Cubs want. He can play second, short, third, or the outfield and he hits lefty with above average power. I would imagine Flaherty would find more consistent playing time than DJ.

  • Tom U

    The breakdown of the LeMahieu call up can be looked at from several angles.

    First, I’d like to give the organization some credit for working on bringing more prospects to the 40-man roster. While the decisions on Schlitter, Cashner, and Coello aren’t the big changes at the Triple-A level I’d like to see, its a step in the right direction. 

    As far as Flaherty goes, I believe this might be one time that being a left handed hitter worked against him. Theoretically, with Fukudome, Campana, Snyder, Perez, and Dewitt all left handed, and Koyie Hill a switch hitter, the parent club may have enough left handed bats at this time. LeMahieu is also considered a better defender over-all than Flaherty.

    One perspective is that this may be LeMahieu’s “freshman orientation”. The idea is to bring him up to get used to the big leagues; Wrigley, Chicago, life on the road, etc. This would be a prelude to another call up later this season, a more permanent one. I can see that happening sometime after the All-Star break, and tied into the status of Aramis Ramirez.

    Another is what I alluded to in the piece that ran Saturday on important dates. The team may be rolling the dice that the Super 2 date for 2014 will be greater than 2 years, 122 days. If so, they’ll benefit from having LeMahieu on the roster for practically the whole season, yet delay his arbitration eligibility. That’s if he’s up here to stay.

    Whatever the case, for critics out there, this move seems to have Tom Ricketts written all over it. This is usually not the way that Jim Hendry or Oneri Fleita like to do business.

    • diehardcubfan

      You bring up some good points and my question remains is what do the Cubs envision for Flaherty.  He has played every position but catcher and CF this season. 

      The Cubs really need to decide on how Flaherty fits into their plans.  Flaherty obviously has plenty of offensive potential. 

      It would be awesome to see Soriano walk at the end of the year and give the LF job to Flaherty but I do not see that happening.

      It just seems from the outside the Cubs have no plan for all the developing players at the AA level, particularly the outfielders.

      • Tom U

        Actually, the Cubs do have a plan for Flaherty, and it involves exactly what he is doing currently at Tennessee.

        The plan is to not lock Flaherty into one position, but to have him play a variety of positions and get around 400 at bats a season. What mainly has to happen is a re-framing of thinking on the fans part, as this looks like a trend in baseball for the future. 

        It’s kind of a mirror image of the NFL. As the talent level in MLB increases, teams will look for more well rounded players in order to have a deeper bench. It will allow managers to be more willing to give breaks to players, and may help in cutting down injuries.

        • diehardcubfan

          I can see your point and yes that makes sense.  As we have seen in years past when the Cubs start to have injuries there is no one that can easily fill in.  As you noted it will take a while to adjust to that philosophical change of developing players to be more rounded. My question would be how will that impact on their defensive skills given they have to play many positions.  Too me that makes them more prone to making errors.  In order to make that idea a reality also, many of those ideas would need to be introduced early to properly develop talent.

          The main thing I would be worried about would be retarding growth.  I just think it is a big gamble with little statistics to support its feasibility.

          It is interesting to me though given Flaherty size that the Cubs are keeping him play the middle infield positions and the corner outfield positions but not much of 3B or 1B.  Granted it seems Flaherty struggled early in his career at 3B. 

          Given the Cubs lack of depth at 3B and 1B in their system you would think they would move in that direction. 

        • Dorasaga

          Interesting point. Several young players had gone through this “reframe” and “trend” in other organizations. Zobrist with the Rays; Prado with the Braves; Aviles with the Royals…

          This looks hardly a new concept, but more “regulars” who have offensive prowess were redeveloped from AA to the Major league level to fit into well-roundedness at this moment of baseball progression.

          I guess we might see Colvin at first base and Barney at right field, and I’ll be all for it, as long as they were taught the fundamentals of playing the game. “Smart baseball,” not Cubs Think.

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

          I always liked the way Toronto handled Delgado early in his career or Inge in Detriot for that matter. You build them up as a catcher to get them to the majors the fastest way possible ( for Delgado it was because of his bat/ Inge it was because of his intelligence and instincts). Then if you hit pay dirt with there bat you make a position for them. Both guys say major league time at catcher, 1st and 3rd. It wasn’t until everyone figured out that Delgado had a superstar bat at the major league level did he finally get penciled in at 1st base and DH.

    • JimBo_C

      Tom,

      Could this is the beginning of a migration towards more “youth” without it being announced?

      Could moving Baker in a trade be on the horizon?

      • Tom U

        The answer to your questions are yes and yes. But look for the Cubs to make a methodical approach. 

        Remember, the GM has only one year after this season on his contract. If he wants to stick around, he has to keep the owner, players and fans happy. Quite a balancing act!

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

          But if some of the rumors that said that after the draft Hendry was being “demoted” upstairs to be a special assistant to the owner or what ever were true then we have a spot for Oneri Fleita to take over a spot in the GM’s office to keep the scouting in place.
          Not saying it is going to happen but from the outside it looks like a white flag move.

    • Aaron

      “…this is usually not the way that Jim Hendry or Oneri Fleita like to do business.”

      That statement couldn’t be more true. In fact, Hendry would probably prefer to make a trade to re-acquire Aaron Miles than bring up an actual prospect.

      Furthermore, playing Campana as much as he has, even though he’s been a pinch runner a lot, is wayyyyyyyyyy out of character for even Mike Quade if you consider his track record last season, that one would have to assume that playing Campana was a directive from the top as well.

      My guess is that if prospects keep getting added to the roster, which has NEVER happened under Hendry’s watch……that both his days, and Quade’s days in their respective positions with the team are numbered. 

      With the rotation, I could easily see some trades being made to acquire some young starting pitchers. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if they approached Dempster and Z about waiving their no-trade clauses, considering that two of their top arms in Cashner, and now Whitenack are injured. 

      The only guys they’d even remotely consider bringing up are McNutt (1-2, 2.34 ERA, 8 starts, 34 2/3 IP, 33 hits, 8 walks, 22 K’s, 1.18 WHIP) and possibly Cabrera (6-2, 5.47 ERA, 10 starts, 52 2/3 IP, 70 hits, 25 walks, 36 K’s)…..McNutt is good, but not great, as evidenced by the amount of hits he’s given up…and Cabrera has been a huge disappointment, despite having some great stuff.

      The problem is, outside of those guys (and Cabrera isn’t even deserving of a call-up, but he’s on the 40-man, which is why I included him), the only other deserving candidates are in high-A ball with Struck, Kurcz, and Rosscup (who has some injury issues of his own). 

      Therefore, in any trade, they will probably go after starting pitching. It’s a shame that Byrd went down, because he could’ve fetched some starting pitching from the Rangers, who were rumored to be interested in him. 

      The likeliest candidates for trade considerations are: 
      Dempster
      Zambrano
      Grabow
      Baker (when he gets off DL)
      Johnson (when he gets off DL)
      Fukudome
      Pena
      Soto
      Byrd (when he gets off DL, and provided he can hit again)
      ARAM

      The likeliest candidates for outright release/option are:
      Hill
      Davis
      Maine
      DeWitt
      Perez *not on active roster

      The only ones that would be able to fetch decent prospects are Soto, Byrd (if he’s hitting like before), ARAM, Dempster, and Zambrano, and the latter 3 have no-trade clause and salary issues.

      So, if Lopez can turn in a decent start today, and Wells can pitch like he did to start the season, I believe the Cubs might consider the following for their rotation if trades are made:

      McNutt
      Wells
      Lopez
      Samardzija
      Cabrera

      This is a HORRIBLE rotation, just FYI, but they have to start from scratch basically. Then, they’ll hope 1 or 2 of the prospects in the trades can step in the rotation, and you’ll start seeing some Daytona and Peoria pitchers moving up, especially the likes of Kirk, Kurcz, and Struck. And unfortunately, you’ll see the Cubs draft another starting pitcher in the first round, even though the draft is pitching-heavy. And if the Cubs choose to go that route, we might see a college pitcher selected that can step right into the rotation this year. It’s quite possible, actually.

      As for the rest of the team, if they continue to fall out of contention, I could see this type of roster:

      C-Clevenger, Castillo
      1B-Ridling
      2B-Barney
      SS-Castro
      3B-LeMahieu, M. Smith
      LF-Flaherty, Montanez
      CF-B. Jackson, Campana
      RF-Colvin, Snyder

      Yes, I realize that would basically be turning over the entire roster, but I think they’re (meaning ownership) finally coming around, and understanding that this veteran movement isn’t working. Veterans like Baker and Johnson have already broken down. Dempster was dreadful early on. Grabow has been horrible since signing his extension, Soriano is………decrepit. Fukudome has already commenced with his post-April slide, and it’s ugly, even though his average says otherwise. But they can’t continue down this road any longer, and even if they can’t trade these guys, it’s quite possible they might outright release them all, and here’s why….

      ALL of those players will be earning the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary (which I believe is $415k this year). This would equate to about $280k. A total of $2.8 million with those young players would be added to the payroll. And I find it hard to believe that at least some of the veterans on the team wouldn’t be able to be moved, and thus at least a portion of their salaries absorbed by their new team.

      In Soriano’s case, I would think that if the Ricketts approached a team like the Angels, or some other contending team in the AL, and offered to pay nearly 3/4 of his remaining salary, which would mean eating $52.5 million of his remaining $70 million in salary (subtracting the $6 million already paid this year). If $17.5 million is all that remains, he’d be about a $4.5 million/year player, and MUCH more palatable for any team to absorb.

      You have to think of all of this like a business owner. Consider the future payroll already a “sunk cost”. Meanwhile, your attendance is lagging, resulting in a shortfall from concessions/merchandise of more than $20 million. Assuming that the young players you bring up infuse more energy, which equates to more wins, and more fan interest, then eating ANY money owed to veterans would be considered worthwhile, because you more than make up for it at the gate, and a vast majority of veteran contracts are off the books next year, so it makes a TON of sense to bring up your young talent now.

      • Tom U

        Let me make sure I’m clear on this. While I said this isn’t the way Fleita does business, I didn’t want to imply that he takes a bad approach. 

        Quite the contrary, as Neil pointed out earlier in the week. Fleita likes to be conservative with promotion, making sure he doesn’t negatively affect a prospect’s confidence. 

        That’s why the move with LeMahieu is curious. Did Ricketts over-rule Fleita, or did Fleita “sign off” on the move? We’ll have to wait and see.

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

          Maybe Fleita actually sees some confidence in the kid and wants to give him the 3 week tour. We may be in the middle of Maury Wills situation though with DJ. Wills was brought up to cover an injury and when the guy got back he was moved to RF to keep Wills in the lineup. So please get hurt ARAM 1st base will be open when you can get right.

    • paulcatanese

      Tom, I would like to thank you again for all the information on the players
      in the minor league system. Without your’e posts and Neil’s I would have
      no idea how the system works. I have enjoyed the videos very much as it
      gives me first hand visual opportunitys to see for myself. Brian also,and if
      I have missed anyone here I apologize. Keep up the good work.