Cubs Selected Lendy Castillo in Rule 5 Draft … Flaherty Selected by Orioles, Gonzalez Selected by Red Sox, Dealt to Astros

The Cubs organization was busy in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. The Cubs selected one player in the Major League portion, took another in the Triple-A phase and saw two of their prospects selected by other organizations.

The Cubs selected right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo from the Phillies organization. The 22-year old is a converted infielder and posted a 4-2 record with a 2.54 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 21 games, two starts with 46 strikeouts and 16 walks in 21 games, two starts in A-ball.

The Orioles selected Ryan Flaherty and the Red Sox took Marwin Gonzalez from the Cubs system. According to multiple reports, the Red Sox traded Marwin Gonzalez to the Houston Astros.

In the Triple-A phase, the Cubs selected third baseman Ricky Alvarez from the Angels organization. The Cubs did not make a selection in the Double-A Phase.

Updated – 12:41pm CTCubs dealt recently acquired Ricky Alvarez to Monterrey team in Mexico for cash considerations. Cubs selected Alvarez in the Triple-A Phase of the Rule 5 Draft

Players selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the club’s active 25-man roster for the entire season. The Cubs received $50,000 for each player they lost and the pick in the Major League portion cost $50,000. If the player does not stick, he can be offered back to his original organization for $25,000.

Ricky Alvarez, a 22-year old right-handed third baseman, was drafted by the Mets in 37th round of the 2007 draft. Alvarez posted a .257/.292/.388/.680 line in 126 games with 31 doubles, a triple and 10 home runs at the A-ball level.

With the selection of Lendy Castillo, the Cubs 40-man roster stands at 35 players.

Lendy Castillo’s Page on Baseball-Reference
Ricky Alvarez’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • cubtex

    Wow! Castillo hasn’t pitched in any level higher than A ball and only 46 innings there. He looks like he must have some movement on his pitches based on his hits per innings pitched numbers. That is a huge jump for this kid and it will be interesting to see if he is able to stick.

    • paulcatanese

      Well if he can’t pitch, he can go back to playing the infield. Fits the mold of Theo, probably another shortstop that couldn’t move to third base.:)

      • cubtex

        How many pitchers have you heard that have thrown less than 50 innings in A ball and make it to the show the next year? Odds aren’t overwhelming in his favor but like you say….maybe he can play short and move Castro to 3rd :)

        • Aaron

          David Patton…well, 73 IP in A ball anyway

          • cubtex

            Yes David Patton. How did that work out :)

        • paulcatanese

          Not many, in fact I would say the players that have come straight up have to be under 5 total in modern day baseball, Kaline, Cavaretta?

          • cubtex

            I just saw Hoyer’s quote on Castillo. He hopes he can stick and make the team working out of the pen this year because they look at him as a potential starter down the road.

          • paulcatanese

            Good thought, but can you imagine with his experience coming in with bases loaded?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Official moves: Couple post-Rule 5 trades: Royals send Cesar Cabral to Yankees for cash; Red Sox send Marwin
    Gonzalez to Astros for Marco Duarte & cash.

  • John_CC

    Where is the PUJOLS thread?  I’m sorry we lost Flaherty…but Albert is gone to the AL!  Wow! 

    I heard a Cards fan on the radio this morning “Let him go, we’re better without him…” 
    HAHAhahahahhahahaha!

    • MikeT_2008

      Trust me I come from a family of Cardinals fans and when something doesn’t go their way they’re like a 4 year old who got their toy taken away.

      And this had to be the best possible outcome for the Cubs, we don’t pay him and he’s in the AL.

      • paulcatanese

        That may be true, but do you think they may jump on the Fielder bandwagon now, or just let it pass?

        • MikeT_2008

          If you’re asking if the Cards will go after Fielder I would highly doubt it, their organization is too smart to pay huge $$$ to anyone besides Pujols. My guess is they will slide Berkman into first and go looking for an OF just save that money for the future

          • cubtex

            I heard they are looking into Beltran and Jimmy Rollins now

          • MikeT_2008

            Yeah I heard they are looking at making a late run at Rollins, but it seems that he’s probably heading back to Philly, that said we all thought Pujols was going back to STL too

          • paulcatanese

            Makes good sense for the Cardinals, just hope it does for Berkman as he likes the OF over first base, and had a banner year out there. It will be interesting.

          • MikeT_2008

            Yeah once they get over the initial shock they will get back to being the same old Cardinals. There’s a reason why they are one of the best organizations in baseball.

        • John_CC

          If the Marlins where ready to drop 275M$ on Pujols, I’d say they are now in pole position for Prince.

  • cubtex

    I would have liked the Cubs to take a flyer on Aaron Poreda(former White Sox #1 pick) in the AAA phase instead of Alvarez. Poreda has command issues….but he is 6’6 240 left handed pitcher. Great strikeout numbers but brutal walk numbers. He was the main player traded in the Jake Peavy trade with the Padres a couple of years ago. With the Cubs lack of pitching in AAA…..he would have been a better pickup IMO.

  • Tom U

    Cubs fans should not expect either Flaherty or Gonzalez to be returned to them.

    The Orioles have already announced they are moving Mark Reynolds to first base, leaving only Robert Andino at third. Because of Flaherty’s versatility, the Orioles can essentially operate with a 24 man roster until Flaherty has enough days on the major league roster to be “injured” and wind up on the disabled list. Once he is on the active roster for 90 days, all Rule 5 restrictions are removed.

    With Clint Barmes signing with Pittsburgh, Houston only has 28 year old Angel Sanchez and 27 year old Matt Downs at shortstop. Gonzalez, a 22 year old switch-hitter with good plate discipline (currently hitting .320 in Venezuela) will be an ideal number two hitter behind the fleet-footed Jason Bourgeois.

    As for the Cubs’ selections, don’t expect Castillo to stick unless Theo and Company plan to go with basically a 24 man roster until he can get “hurt”. Due to the rules, Alvarez will most likely replace Vitters at Double-A, with Vitters going to Iowa.

    • daverj

      Tom – 

      I agree with your analysis of the Rule 5 guys on who will (and won’t) stick in the majors, but Schafer (one of the pieces from the Michael Bourn deal) is the Astros projected lead-off hitter.  Right now Bourgeois is behind Bogusevic for the starting right field job (though I suppose he could win the job with a better spring).

      • Tom U

        Good job!

    • RynoTiger

      of course we don’t really know how any of this will go until the season actually starts and the players get a chance to perform.  Given that neither the former Cubs players selected nor the players the Cubs selected have actually peformed at the major league level, they could all fail and it’s all for not.

    • JW

      Chris Davis is an option for the O’s at third, although his ship may have sailed offensively.

  • joejoed

    Interesting that we protected Jr Lake and Vitters over either Flaherty or M Gonzalez…. right?

  • Tom

    Castillo sounds like a perfect 25th man. He can pitch junk innings (lot of them with this team), play backup infield, pinch run and hit. You gotta be kidding. He is a low class A player. Just how bad are the 2012 Cubs gonna be.

  • Aaron

    For those that even care:

    Castillo is a converted middle infielder that couldn’t hit, but throws in the 94-96 mph with what has been described as “easy gas” with decent movement, but as Tom U said, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that he sticks….making Epstein and Hoyer’s decision to leave Flaherty and Gonzalez off the 40-man even more suspect.

    As for Alvarez, there’s also a minor league portion of the Rule 5, which has already been mentioned, but he’s nothing more than an Abner Abreu clone (ie.-free swinging, can’t make contact, will K over 100 times in full-time duty, low avg, low OBP)….again, like I said, it’s as if the “Hendry virus” infected them, because that’s not even close to the type of player they’d get with the Red Sox

    • JW

      I would guess that the loss of Flaherty will be tough, although he is unlikely to be a big contributer for the O’s and probably projects as a left-handed super-util with power. If you read the scouting reports, his defensive skill is awful and he may be better suited for the AL anyways. I wonder if there was failure in scouting from the transition of power. Losing Gonzalez is probably not that big of a deal since he is behind Lake as an infielder anyways and we have Barney as a UTIL IF. Truthfully, I think Terry Doyle, Cesar Cabral, and Brad Meyers are the 3 players likely to have the biggest impact from the draft with Terry Doyle being my top pick.

    • cubtex

      agreed. At least they didn’t lose Rhee. As mentioned above….I would have preferred Poreda.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      From Carrie Muskat: Cubs select Ricky Alvarez in Triple-A phase of Rule 5
      Draft, then deal him to Monterrey team in Mexico for cash
      considerations

  • Anthony

    Well, the BOS/SD Compensation is the next order of business. Any guesses?

    • cubtex

      Lendy Castillo and Ricky Alvarez :)

    • J Daniel

      Next order of business??? What the hell have they done to improve the club during the winter meetings and gm meetings?  Wow, I really thought we would see some change in the roster!!!!

      • John_CC

        Patience, grasshopper. 

        This week has seen mega-deals and very minor deals.  The good deals will occur between now and the next 6-8 weeks.

  • Jay From Sandwich

    Flaherty lost in rule 5 appaerntly Team Theo forgot to scot the cubs faem system. This is a bad sign (but not the end of the world). My cocern here is that Team Theo is not only blowing up the major league scod (which is ok and even welcome by must Cub fans) But he is blowing up the minor leaguers which means this is a ten year plan before the cubs are containders.

    • JW

      I wonder if they are looking at Lendy Castillo as a possible 5th/6th starter. He doesn’t have a ton of minor league numbers to judge so this may be a scout’s kind of move. It’s hard to imagine via free agency or trade that the Cubs would completely fill the 40-man roster which is what makes the loss of Flaherty so hard, but there may have been other moves in the works that fell through.

      • cubtex

        Not a chance with as little experience as Castillo has that he would even be considered for a rotation spot at this time. He looks like someone who would be nice to have in your system…but unfortunatley with the way Rule 5 is set up, he has to be on the roster the majority of the year to be able to hold on to.

    • RynoTiger

      for all we know, Flaherty is the next Gary Scott or Kevin Orie

      • daverj

        And Flaherty is not nearly the prospect Scott or Orie were.

        I really don’t think this will be much of a loss for the Cubs.

        • Aaron

          ummmmm….right……cuz Orie and Scot were 20+hr, 80+RBI threats in the minors…oh no, wait…they weren’t…Oh, right, it must’ve been their versatility…oops, wrong again, they were 3B prior to being called up.

          I guess you could consider Scott’s production in his 2nd season between A+ and AA at 16 hr, 87 RBI to be close, but that’s about where it ends (as a side note, I happened to know his father-in-law)

          There’s not a comparison. Flaherty wins in all categories, except for age…he’s an older prospect, but he was also moved along slowly, and he comes from a strong baseball pedigree too.

  • brent carmona

    Neil, still trying to understand twitter, attempted to retweet a comment to @cco, peter gammons saying its a real possibility fielder signs with cubs. Of course, don’t take it seriously but something to think about…

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I received, thank you. It’s only just begun with the Fielder rumors

  • cubtex

    With PuJols getting 254 mil…I am sure Boros is licking his chops now with Fielder. That just drove up his price you would imagine. I say no to Fielder now. Let the Marlins sign him.

    • JW

      any chance the Cubs would go after Kendrys Morales – he really doesn’t have a position anymore? He’s injured but may still have prime years ahead of him.

      • cubtex

        How is Kendrys health? He had a hell of year before he got hurt. If healthy, he is definatley someone they need to look at if the Angels put him out there. He is still only 28.

        • Aaron

          He broke his leg, then I believe there was some scar tissue build-up and he had to get more treatment, and missed a bulk of the season, yet still put up above average offensive numbers considering the amount of games he played. I’d definitely consider him over Trumbo…but at what cost?

          • daverj

            In 2010, he broke his leg 1/3 of the way into the season and missed the rest of 2010 and all of 2011.  It’s been over 1.5 years since his last major league at-bat.  That said, he’s worth looking at if the cost isn’t too high.  Before he got hurt, he could play the outfield in addition to first, but I don’t know if the injury would effect his ability to play the OF in the future.

          • cubtex

            I would imagine the Angels would prefer to keep Morales over Trumbo to DH and hit behind PuJols since Morales is a switch and Trumbo bats right….Wouldn’t you agree?

          • Aaron

            Trumbo is supposedly learning 3B

  • Tom

    Flaherty sounds like Dewitt. Since we don’t value Dewitt, why should we care about Flaherty?

    • JW

      I somewhat agree.

    • Aaron

      not even close. DeWitt never had the power or versatility that Flaherty has. Some have knocked his defense, but if you read scouting reports on him, those that have seen him play will tell you that he’s above average defensively, and his best two positions are LF and 3B. The knock against him, was that when he first came up through the system as a SS-only, he had 16 errors in 52 games at Boise, then they played him more at 2B, 3B, and LF, and he did very well defensively.

      In fact, Tom U even reported that when LeMahieu, Flaherty, Gonzalez, B. Jackson, etc were brought up to Iowa, their pitching and defense on that squad improved dramatically.

      DeWitt is a butcher in the field AND terrible at the plate, with almost no extra base pop…Flaherty is the complete opposite. And those that say DeWitt is a “versatile player”, I have one response for you….AARON MILES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just because a player is tested at different position, does NOT mean he belongs. Flaherty is at least passable at SS, and also has played 1B, 2B, 3B, and OF without being a butcher. DeWitt has played all around the IF except for SS, plus LF, and he’s been terrible at every position…even his supposedly best position of 3B.

      There’s absolutely no comparison of these guys

      • daverj

        I disagree completely on the offensive side.  DeWitt was always a higher rated prospect than Flaherty has ever been.  Flaherty’s minor league power numbers are only slightly better than DeWitt’s and DeWitt was 2-3 years younger than Flaherty at each minor league level.  DeWitt broke into the majors at 22 while Flaherty is 25 now and just now getting a chance.  There’s a reason why a guy is 25 and still hasn’t been given an opportunity to play in the big leagues … he’s really just not that good.

        I don’t think either DeWitt or Flaherty will develop into anything more than a utility guy, but I’d take DeWitt over Flaherty on my roster.

        • Aaron

          Wow…your roster must be award winning…How’d that work out for you, by the way? Oh yeah, the Cubs already tried that too, and got .265/.305/.413, 5 hr, and 26 RBI out of him…oh, and that was in 121 games, 230 AB…which spread out over the course of full-time duty would be about 10 hr, 65 RBI…Yeah….cuz that’s what you want out of your starting 3B. At least Flaherty was a 20+hr, 80+RBI threat without sacrificing contact ability. DeWitt’s best offensive production came with 19 hr, 67 RBI, but with a .251/.320/.399 slash line

          Flaherty had 19 hr, 88 RBI with a combined .280/.347/.478 slash line last year, and the year prior had 10 hr, 72 RBI with a combined .271/.339/.418 slash line, and the year before that had 20 hr, 89 RBI with a .276/.344/.470 slash line

          …sorry, but at least back up what you’re saying…Flaherty is superior offensively and defensively to DeWitt, and he will be a huge loss for the organization. My only hope is that he tanks in Spring Training, and the Cubs get him back, but I saw him last Spring Training, and he looked like he could handle MLB pitching, so it’s not likely

  • paulcatanese

    Now maybe Pujols can get off food stamps.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The contract called for him to be TAX FREE.

      • paulcatanese

        It just gets better and better,:):)

  • Ripsnorter1

    Ryan Flaherty: age 24
    Primarily a 2B with POWER. Plays 3B and LF as well.

    No speed. 5 sb, 6 cs in 2011.280 BA
    .347 OBP
    .478 slugg
    19 HR
    475 AB
    50 BB
    .99 K

    I don’t get it.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Marwin Gonzalez: AGE 22

    Aaron rightly prophesied that he’d be gone, as well as Flaherty. Now who did we protect so that these men could not be protected?
    Let’s see……we only have 35 on the roster, with 40 slots available.

    1. Koyie Hill
    2. John Gaub. WHY????
    3. Mateo. Sorry, but forgetaboutit.

    Gonzalez…..
    Plays SS, 2B and CF
    .288 BA  4 Hr 39 RBI in 465 AB
    33 BB
    48 K

    • Chadaudio

      Can Gonzalez glove?  I wasn’t too worried about loosing Flaherty because he can’t field, but if we just lost a good middle infield defender… then it’s too bad.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I haven’t seen him personally. 

        Stat-wise,he’s as good as Castro.

        • Chadaudio

          Castro’s MLB stats?  Because Castro is currently horrible at “D”.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Peter Gammons: Cubs say they do not have cash to sign Fielder

    • cc002600

      not sure I understand that.
      so what is their payroll going to be ??  $90M ?  $100M ?

      Jeez

      • cubtex

        well judging by the players they are looking at and with DeJesus..it very well might be. If they aquire Stewart for 3rd..I believe he is around 2 mil. and we know how much ARAM was making so deduct that. Fuko was at 11 mil? a year and now we have a guy making 5 mil so again deduct that. 1st base? If they go with LaHair that is another huge savings.

    • cubs1967

      HUH??……..so after drawing 3M fans every year for the Ricketts family…….with a worst record each year……here’s the thanks to the fans??

      this must be a game??

      where’s the money??

      45M came off the payroll…….

      Pittsburgh Cubs?

    • Anonymous47701

      I got a brief message for Peter Gammons and it reads: “Go back to Boston and Stay Out of Cubs affairs from now on!”

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Cubs select Ricky Alvarez in Triple-A phase of Rule 5 Draft, then deal him to Monterrey team in Mexico for cash considerations

    • Chadaudio

      Bizarre.  I thought if they didn’t make the 25 man roster, they had to be shipped back to their original club?  I guess, instead, you can just sell ‘em off?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        He was selected in the minor league phase, not the major league Rule 5. The major league selections have to stick.

        • Chadaudio

          Ahhh.  Thanks for that correction Neil.

  • Anthony

    Well, Jackson is now the only outfielder on the AAA roster.

    Likely candidates probably the older guys to fill that roster are Adduci, Wright, and Perez. Any promise from these 3 guys or have they become fillers? Is Colvin AAA also if untraded? Any other OF’s on the big club at risk of demotion?

    AA TENN, I would imagine Ha stays there due to younger age and development. Who from Daytona moves up, if any? Szczur/Abreu/Burgess/Crawford?

    Wonder how Theo Gang will approach this? They can either fill the rosters up with older guys by signing FA’s to minor league contracts, or take an aggressive approach by accelerating the younger guys.

    Some of the A ball OF guys are very athletic from the Peoria roster, and I would imagine how they hit/perform in Mesa training will determine their assignments.

    I would imagine from what I read, and saw of Szczur’s swing, it is in need of a restructure. What I saw of Abreu is a talented work-in-progress as far as approach, but very toolsy and athletic. Burgess appears to be the same player he always has been since 2007 as a drafted HS player, no positive development, maxed out physically, and Crawford, can’t comment, never seen him play.

  • paulcatanese

    With Theo’s ten year plan at my age I better look for a voice command TV or teach my wife to work the remote or check where they are holding classe’s on seance so she can forward the scores.

    • Reggie

      I’m thinking of going the Ted Williams route and getting frozen Paul.  Wake me up when it’s done.

      • Ripsnorter1

        If you are never awaken, just figure they never got it done.

        • paulcatanese

          It wouldnt matter then anyway.:)

      • paulcatanese

        Didnt think of that, :)

    • cubs1967

      113 yrs and counting…………when do they get contracted??

      • paulcatanese

        What would that be, 113 years and counting?:)

    • cubtex

      You can always watch Tony Campana’s inside the park homerun nonstop :)

      • paulcatanese

        Have been, after 20 times he seems to be losing a step, must be old age,:)

  • Anthony

    Assuming age 31 is accurate, and the historical physical decline timetable holds book at age 36-38, is eating $100M for years 7-8-9-10 or this type contract good business? You have to sell tons and tons of jerseys and bobblehead dolls to even make a small dent in cost recovery.

    STL is being criticized for not “upping” this guy during the past 2 years, so do you think they felt that certain new rules make fixing an older “MACHINE” a factor?

  • cubtex

    Cubs dealt Alvarez to a team in Mexico for cash so I guess that answers that question

    • Chadaudio

      Maybe they have the cash now for Fielder? :)

      • MikeT_2008

        I don’t know, maybe we should ask Gammons, he seems to know so much about the Cubs regarding their farm system or how much cash they have haha

  • John_CC

    Bob Nightengale claims that the Marlins had $275M on the table for Pujols…AND $100M for Wilson.  CJ was quoted saying that if it was about the money he’d be in Miami “they offered more money”.

    How in hell can the Marlins do this?  I honestly do not understand the economics of baseball. The Marlins were ready to spend upwards of $80M on 4 players. After years and years of not spending $40M on the entire team.  All the while Loria complaining about being broke.

    • GaryLeeT

      Advance season ticket sales at the new stadium, are through the roof.

  • Aaron

    I am still pretty upset…especially if the Cubs do not land Fielder, that they did not take a flier on Matt Rizzotti of the Phillies in the Rule 5…he’s EXACTLY the type of hitter the Cubs could use, and is 5 years younger than LaHair.

    I cannot understand the Lendy Castillo pick or even the Alvarez pick in the minor league portion for that matter.

    If the Cubs really wanted a pitcher in the draft, they should’ve considered a more MLB-ready guy like Brewer, Fitzgerald, Araujo, or even Meyers, who was selected later.

    I’m still trying to think what they’ll do with the other 4 spots (and possibly up to 7 spots if Hill, Baker, and DeWitt, among others are non-tendered). Their roster stands at 36 right now, with a spot already being projected for Wood, who is likely to resign.

    And now with Hoyer coming out, saying that they expected Flaherty and Gonzalez to be selected, but hope they get them back…..really makes them look stupid, especially considering they don’t even consider Barney to be a solid starter anyway.

    So the question, as I always posed each and every season under Hendry’s leadership is this:
    If not those guys….then who are you giving those roster spots to? What veterans are you targeting that would be better options?

    And now we are hearing from Gammons that the Cubs won’t be signing Fielder, because they lack the cash….hmmmmmmmmm

    So here are your choices now for 1B:
    -trade for Gamel if Fielder resigns with Brewers
    -trade for Sanchez if Fielder signs with Marlins
    -trade for Trumbo or Morales…both of whom are said to be staying, even after the Pujols signing
    *the problem with all 3 trade options is…at what cost? They’d likely all require a significant haul to land, and the Cubs system just got depleted further with valuable trade chips in Flaherty and Gonzalez just being snagged in the Rule 5
    -sign Kotchman
    -sign Branyan
    -sign Cantu
    -just go with LaHair…or…
    -re-sign Pena
    Only the trades seem appealing, but, again, at what cost?

    Here are your options for 3B:
    -trade for Gamel (incidentally, he also plays 1B)
    -trade for McGehee (again, like Gamel, this is predicated on them resigning Fielder)
    -trade for Wright…even though mets say he’s not even on the market
    -trade for Canzler of the Rays (remember him?)
    -trade for Headley (Padres rumored to be asking for a king’s ransom)
    -trade for Stewart (Rockies rumored to be asking for Colvin AND LeMahieu…LMAO…WOW!!!!!)
    -trade for Pedro Alvarez (who knows, maybe Pirates finally give up on him)
    -sign Betemit
    -sign DeRosa
    -sign Kouzmanoff
    -just go with platoon of Baker and DeWitt (I couldn’t even be a fan of this team next year if that’s the case)
    -bring up Vitters and throw him in the fire, or try LeMahieu there and hope he develops power
    Only Gamel seems appealing, but the cost would likely be exorbitantly high

    Here are your options for OF:
    -there aren’t too many “untouchable” outfielders out there, so anyway could be up for grabs at the right price, among them are: Quentin, BJ Upton, Alonso, Gordon (if he can’t come to terms on extension with Royals), Eithier, etc.
    -sign Beltran
    -sign Cuddyer
    -sign Kubel
    -sign Damon
    -sign Buck
    -sign Crisp
    -sign Andruw Jones
    -resign Johnson
    -just go with in-house options like Colvin, Wright, Ridling, etc.

    As I said the other day, it looks like this will be our team:
    Garza
    Dempster
    Zambrano
    Wells
    ?

    Marmol
    Marshall
    Wood
    Dolis
    Carpenter
    Cashner/Samardzija
    Russell

    C-Soto, Castillo/Clevenger (though, their decision-making thus far has
    already been suspect, so it could very well be Koyie Hill still here…plus, Clevenger is rumored to be going to Boston as compensation)
    1B-LaHair
    2B-Barney, LeMahieu
    SS-Castro
    3B-DeWitt, Baker
    LF-Soriano
    CF-Byrd, Johnson
    RF-DeJesus, Colvin

    ….I could also see them filling in an OF spot with a veteran.

    Epstein is pleading with Cubs fans for patience, yet all they have to show for anything is losing Gonzalez and Flaherty in the Rule 5 for nothing while having plenty of room on the 40-man to protect them, signing DeJesus…which was a “meh” type of signing…non-difference maker sort, and then they draft a guy in Castillo who doesn’t have a chance in hell at sticking, and they draft a guy in the minor league phase that they turn around and sell to a Mexican League team. I just don’t get it…supposedly he’s a genius, and so is Hoyer, and yet Hoyer sounded like the dumbest guy on the planet after Gonzalez and Flaherty were selected, saying that they worried about losing them….Well, then why the hell didn’t you protect them, you idiot?!?!?

    Keep this in mind, folks….The Cubs had depth in the middle IF, with Flaherty, Gonzalez, Barney, Castro, LeMahieu, and Lake all either MLB or MLB-ready.

    Now, in terms of starting-caliber players, they have Castro, LeMahieu, and Lake, with Lake so poor defensively, that they’re considering moving him to RF. How’s that depth looking now?!?!? And don’t even tell me that Baker and DeWitt are a part of that depth, as neither of them can play SS, and neither are starting-caliber anyway.

    I’m not trying to overvalue our own prospects…just telling you that now the system is even more worse off than it was after the Rule 5.

    Cubs are dreaming if they think they can unload Soriano without paying 75% or more of his deal. There doesn’t appear to be a market for Byrd right now, and there are no decent options on the FA market for 3B. How are you going to improve a lineup that just lost it’s most productive player (ARAM) without making a splash for Fielder?!?!? And it’s not like the Cubs don’t have money to spend.

    Even if they drop significant money on Edwin Jackson, or Darvish, they’d still have room for Fielder’s salary.

    A lineup of…
    B Jackson-CF
    Castro-SS
    Fielder-1B
    Quentin-LF (obviously, they’d have to trade a prospect or two to get him)
    DeJesus-RF
    Vitters-3B
    Clevenger/Castillo-C
    LeMahieu-2B

    and a rotation of: Garza, Darvish, Dempster, Zambrano, and Edwin Jackson….would make them into an instant contender…and the ONLY trade you have to make is for Quentin, and the guys you get rid of via trade/non-tender to save money are: Soriano, Byrd, Soto, Wells, Baker, DeWitt, and Hill. You would then sign Damon on the cheap to be a back-up OF, and go with rookies everywhere else on the roster to replace those guys.

    …that’s just my opinion

    • J Daniel

      Aaron,

      100% completely agree and have no IDEA of what they are doing???

    • cubtex

      I agree with alot of what you are saying. The division has just gotten weaker…and if Fielder signs somewhere else…..even moreso. In the NL Central….I don’t believe you should ever take it for granted that it is a lost year and rebuild. They have a ton of work to do but like you pointed out…..A rotation of Garza,Darvish,Dempster,Edwin Jackson and either Z or Cashner(I threw him in there if Z is traded) looks pretty damn good on paper.
      I am disappointed hearing these 2nd tier players on the rumor boards or already here. David DeJesus? Ian Stewart? No money for Fielder?????
      As someone has said and I have brought up…this feels and looks as if we are the Pirates!

      • Aaron

        Exactly…and it totally contradicts what Epstein has been saying all along, “every opportunity to win should be viewed as sacred”…in other words, he’s NOT the type of guy that wants to lose now, and rebuild for the future. He wants to retool now, while at the same time building for the future, which is why he offered both Pena and ARAM arbitration to get the picks, but then he basically has contradicted his own statement by allowing Flaherty and Gonzalez (two guys that are BETTER and CHEAPER than the likely options Epstein will bring back in DeWitt and Baker) to go unprotected, then he signs DeJesus, who could be best described as a 4th/5th OF at this point in his career….

        Not a single damn thing they’ve done thus far makes any sense…even their Rule 5 and minor league portion selections make little sense. As I said, if they wanted MLB-ready pitching, there were FAR better choices. And if they wanted a replacement for Pena that is actually better than LaHair, they could’ve selected Rizzotti….I just don’t get what’s going on in their heads.

        Preaching patience to Cubs fans after overhauling the front office and touting their plan for the team for the future along with winning now, etc., is equivalent to handing a child a cookie for breakfast, then telling them they have to wait until dinner before they can have a bite to eat.

        And the Cubs are already missing out on opportunities to capitalize on their players’ values (even if it’s somewhat limited) with guys like Marmol, Byrd, Barney, Marshall, etc. being better and cheaper options than veteran free agents right now…but teams are filling their holes very quickly, while they Cubs haven’t even addressed, nor do they appear willing to seriously address it…the MAJOR holes at 1B and 3B.

        The problem I have with their current philosophy (or so it seems) is the fact that the Central Division has strong pitching and strong offenses. Look how stacked the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals are even without Fielder and Pujols:

        Berkman
        Holliday
        Freese
        Molina
        Craig
        Jay

        Braun
        Hart
        Weeks
        Gomez/Morgan (hey, it’s better than Byrd, right?)
        Lucroy (more RBI than Soto)

        Phillips
        Votto
        Bruce
        Rolen (if healthy)
        Stubbs (debatable)
        Cozart
        Alonso

        …..and that’s not even including their stellar rotations, including: Carpenter, Wainwright, Garcia, Greinke, Gallardo, Marcum, Cueto, Leake, Bailey, Volquez, etc.

        How can the Cubs possibly compete with signings like DeJesus, and no other signings of players capable of significant run production (ie.-80 RBI+)?!?!? The Cubs ranked 8th in the NL last year in runs at 654 runs scored.

        They’re getting rid of ARAM, and possibly Pena, who scored 80 and 72 runs, respectively, ranking 2nd and 3rd on the team behind Castro (91). They just signed DeJesus (60 runs), but also have to factor in the loss of Fukudome’s 33 runs contributed.

        Unless they sign Jackson and Darvish both, plus some decent closer to replace Marmol and his 10 blown saves, I just don’t see how they can make up for the lost run production with these minor signings.

        • cubtex

          100% agree! I am hoping now that they do overpay for Darvish and sign Edwin Jackson so at least they will show they are trying to improve in one area. As you said even ARAM,Pena and Soriano get bashed on this site…..their production needs to be replaced or it will be another painful season to watch!

    • Zippy2212

      I agree Aaron.  I was excited about bringing these guys in, and still hold out hope, but for me this has been a very disappointing week.  I just don’t understand the thinking of so many open spots and yet leaving guys unprotected.

      The Castillo pick makes me believe that Carpenter or Dolis is going to Bos.

      • Aaron

        I thought the same thing RE: Castillo

    • Anthony

      Depth thru Boise 2011:

      Catchers:

      Geovany SotoSteve ClevengerKoyie HillWelington CastilloMario MercedesChris RobinsonLuis FloresBlake LalliMichael BrenlyChad NobleSergio BurruelMicah GibbsYaniel CabezasRafael LopezInfield:Bryan LaHairBlake DeWittStarlin CastroDarwin BarneyJeff BakerDJ LeMahieuScott MooreMarquez SmithMatt CampCarlos FigueroaJunior LakeDavid MaciasJonathan MotaRebel RidlingNate SamsonJosh VittersJustin BourMatthew CerdaGian GuzmanJake OpitzGreg RohanElliot SotoJohn UrickLogan WatkinsArismendy AlcantaraDustin GeigerRichard JonesPierre LePageBrandon MayKenny SocorroRafael ValdesJavier BaezWillson ContrerasRyan CuneoWes DarvillZeke DeVossDustin HarringtonPaul HoilmanBrad ZapenasOutfield:Alfonso SorianoTyler ColvinMarlon ByrdTony CampanaDavid DeJesusBrett JacksonJames AdduciJae-Hoon HaNelson PerezTy WrightAbner AbreuMichael BurgessEvan CrawfordTaiwan EasterlingMatthew SzczurBen KlafczynskiRubi SilvaAnthony GiansantiJesus MorelliSmaily BorgesJohn AndreoliReggie GoldenKyung-Min NaBlair SpringfieldOliver Zapata

    • Jason Douglas

      This is Rule 5 draft people…inhale a deep breath of reason, and relax a bit.  FA signings typically don’t work out.  Except for Buerhle and Fielder, no one excites me this year. 

      Real progress will be made through trades, and smaller pieces via FA.

      But if everyone wants to bypass Reality, then here is my MEGATRADE to make it all better:

      We trade Soto, Soriano, Dewitt, Baker, and Barney, plus new Cubs mgr Dale Sveum to the Phillies for:

      Roy Halliday, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Polanco, Mike Zargurski (obscure/random player that Aaron probably knows), and AAA mgr Ryne Sandberg.

      In a surprise twist, Sandberg doesn’t come over to manage…we actually play him at 2B, as he is an upgrade over Barney, even at 50 or however the hell old he is now.

      Larry Rothschild will be brought back to Cubbydom to mgr this new team to greatness!   (this works nicely with the new Lands End Bath Towels sponsorship of the Cubs, as fans will wave their towels after every victory in a simulated pitching motion)

      This will lead to a 2012 Cubs World Championship, will lower Global temperatures on planet Earth, and will bring balance to the Force. 

      Your welcome. 

      • Aaron

        good trade idea..LOL…except Zagurski was already dealt by them….But I want Manuel in that deal, plus the Philly Phanatic….gotta love his costume…oh, and I want the Liberty Bell….so, I’ll throw in Rham Emanuel for the Liberty Bell

    • Ripsnorter1

      Give Theo another week, and I’ll be calling him, Theo-Qlueless.”

      • John_CC

        I’m guessing it might not even take a week! But you need to work on the new pet name, not very catchy,..

        • Ripsnorter1

          Right.

  • daverj

    In 2010, Fielder hit .261 with 32 HR and 83 RBI.  In 2008, he hit .276 with 34 HR 102 RBI.  If we sign him for huge money and then he turns in 2012 and 2013 seasons like those, how will Cub fans feel with his albatross contract strangling the ability to sign other free agents?  

    • cubtex

      I am with you. I think they need to pass on Fielder. His price went up today with the PuJols signing as well. I am sure Boras is salivating. If Pujols can get a 10 year deal at 31….I am sure they think Fielder can as well. 1st base is an easy position to fill. Take a pass.

      • cc002600

        By the way, I just checked and Pujols is actually going to be 32 next month. That is his “stated” age. As we know from history, he could be older.

        So how does anyone justify paying Pujols 25M / yr until he’s 42 ?? 

        Wow, are they going to end up regretting that one, after 4-5 years.

        Look at AROD, and how stupid that contract was. It’s very similar.  They have about 5 more years with him until he’s 42.  Yes, I know he was hurt, but last year he had 16 HR, 62 RBI, all for the tidy sum of $25M.
        How’s that looking now ? 

        • Schwimmer

          I totally agree.  AROD’s was a joke.  And, the YANKEES were in a perfect position to re-negotiate it for $20 million.  Instead, they went right back up to $27 million.

          What has happened to baseball organizations is that they’ve come up with all kinds of rationale for why a ridiculous contract makes sense.

          And, some reasons are not ridiculous but still lead to extravagant signings.

          For example, the MARLINS wanted ALBERT because he’s HISPANIC.  They have said that they are not interested in FIELDER because he would have no impact on their HISPANIC fan base.

          I would think that all these GMs are seeing through SCOTT BORAS b.s!  He is so full of it!

          And, no lie, hyperbole, or manipulation is too big for him to tell – to get a big contract.

          Shame on any GM that falls for it.

          I say if FIELDER wants to play for the CUBS for 5 years — then sign him.  But no more.

          The good news about THEO is that after his dumb signing of CRAWFORD and LACKEY he realizes that the odds are too great against signing a player for too much and too long!

          • cc002600

            Agreed !!

          • John_CC

            I believe that most GMs and owners do see through the b.s. of 10 year contracts and the agents that acquire them, the problem is it only takes one guy like Loria, this year, to keep the insanity alive.

            Sidebar: why do feel the need to yell HISPANIC?

      • Aaron

        hmmmmm daverj conveniently leaving out some key stats:
        2006-.271/.347/.483, 35 doubles, 28 hr, 81 RBI, 59 walks, 125 K’s
        2007-.288/.395./618, 35 doubles, 50 hr, 119 RBI, 90 walks, 121 K’s
        2008-.276/.372/.507, 30 doubles, 34 hr, 102 RBI, 84 walks, 134 K’s
        2009-.299/.412/.602, 35 doubles, 46 hr, 141 RBI, 110 walks, 138 K’s
        2010-.261/.401/.471, 25 doubles, 32 hr, 83 RBI, 114 walks, 138 K’s
        2011-.299/.415/.566, 36 doubles, 38 hr, 120 RBI, 107 walks, 106 K’s

        hmmmmmmmmmm….pretty sure I’d take those stats anyday. Aside from his rookie campaign, he’s only had one non 100-RBI season (2010), but at the same time, he led the league in walks that year.

        He also gets his fair share of hits, ranging anywhere from 151 hits-177 hits

      • cubs1967

        here’s the difference.
        pujols is in shape and plays gold glove defense.
        fielder is fat and doesn’t.

        also, pujols is a hall of famer.
        as of now; fielder is not.

        if fatty wants a contract; best he should get is 5 yrs.
        plus, if boras had a clue; in 5 yrs fielder will be 32 and the following big market teams will need a 1b or dh:
        phillies-howard’s contract will be done
        bosox-big papi will be long gone
        yanks-tex will be old; arod really old
        dodgers-should be past he mccourt mess
        mets-should be pass the ponzi scheme crap or a new owner

        fielder is NOT jimmie foxx…….

  • cubtex

    One thing the Angels big splash today with PuJols and CJ might do is force the Rangers to meet the asking price of the Cubs for Matt Garza. It might force their hands to make a move….so PuJols signing with the Angels might have helped the Cubs in more than one way!

    • John_CC

      Could help.  I think it also puts the Marlins in top position to sign Fielder, if he wants to follow the money.  Hell, they have $27M per burning holes in their pants!

    • Aaron

      I hope the rumors we saw the other day about the Cubs wanting Feldman were incorrect. How dumb would that be?

      Last year, the rumored package from the Rangers was Holland, Francisco, Engel Beltre, and Chirinos (who would’ve been acquired from the Cubs)

      Holland was the only one worth his salt in that trade…

      If you’re the Cubs, you’d want Holland (unlikely at this point given his strong season last year), but you’d probably want a package better than the rumored one, which the Rays wisely turned down.

      If you look at what the Cubs gave up:
      Top pitching prospect
      Top IF prospect
      Decent OF prospect
      ….Chirinos and Fuld were essentially offered up for Perez and Rosscup, so I won’t count them.

      That means it’d take at least a package of:
      Ramirez
      Profar
      Olt (he’s blocked at 3B, AND they have no good OF prospects) or…Prince, because they’d be giving up Profar, and he is superior to Hak-Ju Lee in my opinion.

      Jared Prince would be closest to Guyer’s age and potential, and Ramirez is comparable to Archer, but with better command. If I were the Cubs, I’d expand the deal to include Marmol or Marshall, and land Perez, Scheppers, or some other high ceiling pitcher.

      The fact is, if Epstein doesn’t land Fielder, there’s not much point at all in keeping Garza. But if they land him, then there’s absolutely NO reason to trade Garza, because Ramirez and Perez, or whomever else they’d get in that trade (not named Holland) couldn’t come close to Garza’s production at the MLB level.

      • cubtex

        You don’t have to flat out say they are rebuilding with words….Theo’s actions are speaking loud and clear. I don’t think they will sign Fielder( I was wrong with PuJols so I could be wrong here again) so if they can get back Ramirez,Holland and that 3rd base prospect….that is 2 starting pitchers who you can add plus a former #1 draft pick who plays 3rd. Perez’s numbers are bad. I don’t want him. I like Garza a lot…you know that….but if Theo is going to add players like DeJesus,Stewart etc…no need to hold onto Garza. Team Theo= Team Rebuilding

    • Ripsnorter1

      Question: do you want Theo dealing Garza? 

      I mean, Theo is looking like he’s joined the stupid club already, and he’s only been here a month. DeJesus. Gonzalez. Flaherty. Ian Stewart talk. No money for FAs.

    • diehardcubfan

      I agree that the Rangers have not responded well the last two years in retaining key pitchers in Lee and Wilson.  How do you let them go? 

      The Ranger have to go out and seek a top of the line starter but not sure if it will be Garza.

      From the Cubs standpoint after losing out on CJ and Buerhle I think they focus on trading Zambrano instead of Garza.  I agree with Aaron that the Cubs probably should look at going after Darvish and Edwin Jackson and/or trade for Danks.

      I personally am not very happy with how little we accomplished at the winter meetings and then losing Flaherty and Gonzalez when we could have released Gaub and Hill.

      I have just got to wonder.

  • cubs1967

    team Theo’s accomplishments after the GM and Winter meetings:

    signed LH version of Marlon Byrd; DeJesus; and overpaid for him.
    rule 5 pick Castillo……NO shot of making team
    lost Flaherty and Gonzalez……..neither over impress me, but I would not of traded them both for Castillo
    not signed Wood yet
    not traded for Theo
    not traded for Jed
    not signed or traded for 1 player who’ll be part of a championship team in 2012 or beyond
    not traded Sori
    not traded Z
    wasted an inordinate amout of time on a .156 hitter-Stewart and still can’t get him

    so……what exaclty have we gotten done??

    and the division is now wide open with phat albert gone and prince somewhere too………..

    funny how JH in 2003 had a 65 win team and made it to 5 outs from the WS…….

    anyone think Theo is on pace for the same??

    103 years and counting…….there is NO ten year grace period

    • John_CC

      I thought there was a grace period…wait! There isn’t? What?!!!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Cubs1967

      Theo and Jed and Company have had a very successful offseason congratulating themselves on the fine work they have done and superior intelligence that they have.

  • Chris P.

    I think everyone needs to just relax a little about the rule 5 draft. We lost flaherty and gonzalez not pujols. Theo has 2 more world series rings than anyone on here that is concerned about losing these 2 minor league players. Apparently these guys saw something about these 2 that they did not like or liked something more in other players they saw. With all the bad trades and other garbage we have put up with over the years, it is nice to actually have some hope that we have competent people in charge. Breaking them down over losing a guy that has repeated every level twice and a guy that can’t field any position on the field is a bit much. 

    • Chadaudio

      Yeah, also, it’s ok to come away from the winter meetings without a signing… it’s not that big of a deal.  There are still plenty of free agents and roster moves to be had.

      The rule 5 thing is perplexing, but…

      • cubtex

        Yea!!! Ryan Theriot is available again!!!  :)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
  • Scott

    Sometimes it is tough to read through the comments section.  I just don’t understand the lack of patience.  Look, Epstein came over to an organization that had almost ZERO front office.  His first order of business was to build that front office by plucking some of the best minds from some other organizations.  Then he had to decide which manager he wanted to lead his vision for the Cubs into the future.  He has had to deal with negotiating a compensation package for the new GM as well as for himself.  He has had to learn the pros and cons of not only the major league roster, but all of the minor league rosters.  All of this has happened in LESS THAN TWO MONTHS.  Give these guys a chance.  People on here are condeming them for actions that haven’t even taken place yet.  Have they made a mistake by leaving some people exposed in the Rule 5 draft.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  There aren’t a lot of success stories that come out of the Rule 5 draft.  I am not sure that anyone taken to day will ever be any better than a Baker or Dewitt.  The Cubs have been rumored to be talking to multiple teams and multiple agents about numerous deals.  They have said that there is a LOT of work to do to get this franchise to where it needs to be and that it will take time, but there are people on here that already want to run them out of town in LESS THAN TWO MONTHS.  Give it a break and give these guys a chance.  You cannot protect every single person in your farm system.  You cannot turn around a system that has been neglected overnight.  This is going to take time.  Be patient and see what these guys can do before you just throw them under the bus.  Hoyer has been the GM for 42 days and you want to run him out of town.  Sad….

    • Chadaudio

      I agree with a lot of what you are saying, there is a lot of early panic in this thread.  And, you’re probably correct about the meaninglessness of the Rule 5 draft.
      It’s still pretty weird that they left 4 spots open on the 40 man roster though.  No, you can’t protect everyone, but it seems like they had room to protect these two guys.

      • Anthony

        they both are good players, but the new guys probably felt they weren’t in their current and future plans. Flaherty can hit, and appears to be able to play several positions, so if he isn’t what they are looking for, then what are they looking for?

        I keep asking. What makes a MLB player and what doesn’t?

        Guys in A ball are seeing velo 95 and greater, most can hit it, and they are also seeing offspeed also.

        I read about Cubs guys who are butchers in the field, yet the minors have some damn good defenders.

    • John_CC

      Right. And imagine the screams if he’d signed Pujols, or Wilson, or Reyes or Buehrle to a deal anywhere close to what they each just received.  Other than those 4 bloated, too long-term commitments, what has happened in this 4 days of meetings that the Cubs has missed out on?

      You just have to remember Scott that there are some fans that will always be smarter and know better than everyone that is actually doing the work.

      O, and there is no grace period…not 2 years, and not 2 months! Apparently not even till the season begins. The Cubs should be favored to win the NL, right now!

      NOW!

    • AFox

      I’m with you, Scott.  Some of the commentary is painful to read due to the INCREDIBLE lack of patience.  Not only did Theo have to go through everything you just mentioned, but he still has the Big Z situation to deal with (and the $18M he’s owed) and he’s trying to unload Soriano (and the $54M he’s owed).  Thankfully, Z’s $18M and Dempster’s $14M will be off the books after this season.  I find it hard to believe people are making such a huge deal over the $5M/year we gave to DeJesus (who is a pretty good ballplayer) when we have the albatross contracts of the players mentioned.  There aren’t too many free agents out there you can sign for $2-3M/year anymore, at least not many you would want on your team!  Once Theo is completely out of this mess, it’s going to be fun to see where we’re at.  And it’s not an overnight fix, as much as we would like it to be.

  • Anthony

    for now, you have to listen to Coach Norman Dale(Theo) when he says to the disgruntled fans, “this is your team”

    seeking Jimmy Chitwood, no?

    • Chadaudio

      I caught that Hoosiers reference… I live in Indianapolis :)

  • Skeldor

    The Cubs have acquired Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers from the Rockies in exchange for Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post