Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/16/12

It’s not a good time to be a relief pitcher in the organization, as the bullpens at all levels cost their teams a chance to win to end the week.

That doesn’t mean that the hitters have stopped hitting, as Trey Martin has emerged for Boise while Peoria has a new hero in Chadd Krist. Teammate Javier Baez is now tied for the team lead in home runs, and Daytona’s Rubi Silva is scorching hot.

Pitching was the key in Tennessee, as Nick Struck recorded his organization leading tenth win, Eric Jokisch pitched another gem, and Dae-Eun Rhee made it three in a row. While in Iowa, Josh Vitters extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

All of this, and more, are inside today’s Down on the Farm Report …

Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (10-19)
After being blown out in the past couple of games, Boise was able to turn the tables, slightly, as they defeated Vancouver 6-1 on Wednesday. Trey Martin did it all for the Hawks, as he was 2-for-3 with his first home run, two RBI, and an outfield assist. Now ninth in the Northwest League in RBI, Willson Contreras drove in another run as he was 2-for-3 with a triple. Rock Shoulders was 1-for-3 as he slugged his third home run.

Jose Arias had only one blemish, a solo home run in the fourth inning, in an otherwise stellar effort, as he went five innings and struck out three batters. Eduardo Orozco followed and had two scoreless innings. Pitching the last two innings were a couple of struggling relievers, Pete Levitt and Bryce Shafer. Each tossed a scoreless inning with Levitt striking out two and Shafer punching out one.

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Despite piling up a big lead on Thursday, an implosion by the bullpen for the Hawks resulted in a 12-11 loss to Vancouver. Home runs by Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4, two RBI), Marco Hernandez (1-for-6. two RBI), and Rock Shoulders (1-for-3, three RBI) help build a 6-1 lead for Boise through two innings. Bijan Rademacher joined in as he was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs driven in, while Trey Martin was 3-for-5 with a stolen base. Also having good nights at the plate were Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5, RBI) and Stephen Bruno (2-for-4, double). It all seemed to be enough for James Pugliese, who allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out five in four innings. Michael Heesch continued the success, as he tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. But Rafael Diplan had a sequence he’d rather forget, giving up five earned runs while going only 0.1 innings. Roderik Pichardo didn’t fare much better, letting in three earned runs in 1.2 innings, striking out three batters. Su-Min Jung finally restored order, striking out two in a scoreless inning, but the damage had already been done.

Friday saw more bullpen trouble, with a little “help” from the defense, as Boise turn a 4-2 lead into a 7-4 loss to Vancouver. Starter Tayler Scott did his part, allowing two runs (one earned) in four innings, Long reliever Hayden Simpson took over and struck out four over 3.2 innings, but he too was a victim of the defense as he gave up three runs (one earned). Bryce Shafer received the same treatment, letting in two runs (one earned) and recoding two strikeouts in his 1.1 innings. Gioskar Amaya had the big hit as he was 2-for-5 with a solo home run and an RBI, while Dong-Yub Kim was 2-for-4.

Some struggling pitchers took the mound on Saturday, and it ended with good results as Boise defeated Vancouver 9-3. Ian Dickson brought an 8.10 ERA into the game, but that was significantly lowered as he allowed two earned runs and struck out four in 4.1 innings. Reliever Pete Levitt, who has had a hard time getting untracked this season, went 1.2 scoreless innings, while Michael Hamann, who has also been shelled recently, tossed two more. Rafael Diplan gave up the last earned run, but struck out two in his inning of work.

Really turning things on offensively has been Trey Martin, who homered and drove in four as he was 2-for-4. Marco Hernandez plated another three as he was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Hitting his sixth triple of the year already, Gioskar Amaya was 2-for-4, while Rock Shoulders went 2-for-3 with a double.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (44-47)
Peoria was caught up in a pitcher’s duel on Wednesday, but came out ahead as they defeated Dayton 1-0. The story of the game was starter Starling Peralta, as he went seven scoreless innings and struck out four batters. Larry Suarez showed up at the top of his game. Suarez had two strikeouts while keeping the Dragons off the board. Yao-Lin Wang wobbled a bit in the ninth, giving up two hits but holding things together enough to record his 12th save. The only run was provided by a solo shot off the bat of Javier Baez (1-for-3). Also going 1-for-3 were Oliver Zapata (with a double) and Pin-Chieh Chen (19th stolen base).

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The rest of the Chiefs had to grit their teeth and bear it on Thursday, as Dayton snatched one away from them 8-5. Peoria took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning, with starting pitcher Jose Rosario giving up one earned run and striking out two in six innings. However, rehabbing pitcher Justin Berg allowed five runs (one earned) in only 0.2 innings. Hunter Cervenka relieved and had a bad outing by his standards, letting in two more earned runs while pitching 2.1 innings. It all spoiled a excellent effort by Taiwan Easterling, who was 3-for-5 with double, home run, two RBI, and a stolen base. In his debut for the Chiefs, Chadd Krist was 2-for-4 with a double and RBI, while Paul Hoilman was also 2-for-4.

On Friday, Peoria never looked back as they scored six in the first inning and cruised to an 8-1 win over Dayton. Joe Zeller had his knuckleball dancing, as he no-hit the Dragon through six innings, striking out four batters. While Jeffry Antigua gave up a hit, he kept Dayton in check for an inning, while Luis Liria allowed the only earned run in his two innings.

Everyone in the Chiefs’ lineup got on base, as Chadd Krist continued to enjoy Single-A pitching. Krist hit his first Peoria home run along with a double as part of a 2-for-4 performance. Paul Hoilman and Wes Darvill joined Krist in driving in two runs apiece. Also driving in runs were Zeke DeVoss and Pin-Chieh Chen.

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A new hero is emerging for the Chiefs, as it took 10 innings Saturday to defeat Bowling Green, 9-8. Chadd Krist (3-for-6) laced a two-out single that plated pinch-runner Oliver Zapata for the game winner. Javier Baez drove in four runs as part of a 3-for-5 night that includes a triple, a stolen base and his eighth home run of the season. Baez is now tied for the team lead in longballs. Taiwan Easterling also knocked in a pair (2-for-6 with a double) and Paul Hoilman was 2-for-4 with a triple and a RBI.

Michael Jensen did not have his best stuff going for him, as he allowed six earned runs, but struck out three, over 5.1 innings. Sheldon McDonald gave up another two runs (one earned) to the Hot Rods while striking out two as he went 1.2 innings. Austin Reed then tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. Yao-Lin Wang earned the victory by keeping Bowling Green off the board in the tenth.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (40-51)
Daytona put the pedal to the metal and pulled ahead of Palm Beach on Wednesday, winning 7-2. The D-Cubs started by spotting the Cardinals a run in the fourth inning. But starting pitcher Kyler Burke kept his composure, allowing only two runs in six innings while striking out four batters. Jeffrey Lorick was dazzling, striking out five and not allowing a hit in 1.2 scoreless innings. After spending some time on the shelf, Brian Schlitter is starting to show some of the ability that surfaced a few years ago as a potential closer. Schlitter shut down Palm Beach for 1.1 innings to earn his second save.

Two of the struggling offensive players showed up for Daytona, as Ronald Torreyes and Matt Szczur were each 2-for-6 with an RBI. Torreyes hit a triple while Szczur collected two doubles. Elieser Bonne drove in two as he was 1-for-4, and John Andreoli took the league lead with his 31st steal as he was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

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In a tight game on Thursday, Palm Beach ended with the upper hand as Daytona lost 5-4. Ahead 4-1 going into the sixth inning, starter Matt Loosen allowed the Cardinals to tie the score as he ended with four runs (three earned) and six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Eduardo Figueroa gave up the lead with an earned run in 0.2 innings, with AJ Morris cleaning up by holding Palm Beach scoreless over 1.2 innings. Providing the offensive highlights was Rubi Silva, who was 2-for-4 with a triple. Matt Szczur, Rebel Ridling, and Taylor Davis each drove in a run.

The D-Cubs had a total meltdown of their bullpen on Friday, as they lost to Palm Beach 11-8. Starter PJ Francescon retired to the clubhouse with a 7-0 lead after five innings in which he struck out three and two-hit the Cardinals. Then Matt Spencer failed to even record an out as he gave up five earned runs. Still ahead 7-5, Ryan Searle came in to finish the inning, allowing three more earned runs and giving up the lead. Scott Weismann let Palm Beach expand the lead by letting in two more earned runs in an inning of work. Frank Del Valle worked the last two innings and allowed the icing on the cake for the Cardinals, giving up the final earned run. Batting .410 over his last ten games, Rubi Silva was 3-for-6 with a triple and an RBI. Ronald Torreyes was 2-for-6, while Rebel Ridling went 2-for-5 with two RBI.

The bullpen woes continued on Saturday, as fans watched a 6-2 lead evaporate into a 9-6 loss to Palm Beach. Daytona took advantage of a Cardinals’ error in the bottom of the first, with John Andreoli (2-for-5) and Ronald Torreyes (3-for-4, RBI) eventually scoring. The D-Cubs continued to put up runs, as Taylor Davis drove in two by going 1-for-3. Rafael Lopez was 2-for-5 with a double, while Elieser Bonne picked up an RBI as he went 2-for-4. Austin Kirk put Daytona in good position, as he struck out four and allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings. Eduardo Figueroa followed and held Palm Beach for an inning, striking out two batters. But veteran reliever Jeffrey Lorick failed to record an out, giving up three earned runs. Brian Schlitter then let in four runs (two earned) over 1.1 innings. The game was finished up by infielder Dustin Harrington, who got the final two outs.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (47-46)
With a rainout on Thursday, Friday saw a doubleheader with Birmingham that ended in a split, a 4-1 loss and a 3-0 Tennessee victory in game two. The Smokies were unfortunate to draw a rehabbing Phil Humber, who threw a perfect game in the majors earlier this year, in game one. Starting for the first time in over a year, and also for the first time in Double-A, was Zach Rosscup. Rosscup lasted only 0.1 innings, as he was pounded for four earned runs. Ty’Relle Harris and Kevin Rhoderick tried to salvage things by tossing 3.2 and two scoreless innings respectively, but the offense wasn’t up to the task. Tennessee managed only two hits, with Junior Lake and Justin Bour each going 1-for-3.

In the nightcap, Nick Struck became the first pitcher in the organization to attain 10 wins, as he helped hold the Barons scoreless. Struck went six innings and tallied seven strikeouts. Frank Batista earned his 17th save as he blanked Birmingham for an inning. Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-4, while Nelson Perez (1-for-3) drove in two.

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Solid pitching and 14 hits led to a good, old fashioned blow out on Friday, as Tennessee defeated Birmingham 12-3. Eric Jokisch continues to steal the spotlight from some of the Smokies’ more well-known pitchers, as he struck out six in five scoreless innings to raise his record to 5-1, as well as lower his ERA to 2.77 and WHIP to 1.012. Now in a new role, reliever Trey McNutt also shutout the Barons for two innings while striking out two batters. But Casey Weathers gave the fans some reason to be nervous, as he allowed three earned runs in 1.1 innings, and had to be bailed out by Casey Harman, who finished the ninth with two strikeouts.

Leading the entire Cubs organization with 69 RBI, Justin Bour added four more to his total as he was 2-for-6 including a double. Driving in another three runs, Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4) also had a double. Logan Watkins (3-for-4) plated two more runs while Michael Burgess was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI and Junior Lake went 2-for-6.

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Make it three in a row for Tennessee, as the Smokies edged out cross-state rivals Jackson on Saturday 4-2. Juan Apodaca put the Smokies ahead for good in the bottom of the second, as his three-run homer was part of a 1-for-2 evening. Michael Burgess (1-for-3) cracked his tenth dinger of the year. Justin Bour (2-for-4) doubled and came home on Apodaca’s home run.

Dae-Eun Rhee started and had one of his better outings. Rhee allowed two earned runs and struck out six over five innings. Tony Zych and Marcus Hatley held the Generals the rest of the way. Zych and Hatley each pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and Hatley earned his fourth save.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (39-55)
Hitters for Iowa and Omaha must have had their Wheaties on Thursday, as they produced 31 hits combined in the I-Cubs’ 12-11 victory. Diory Hernandez (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) had his best game of the season for Iowa. Adrian Cardenas was 3-for-6, while Welington Castillo drove in three as he was 2-for-5 with a home run. Dave Sappelt and Josh Vitters were each 2-for-4. Sappelt drove in two runs and stole a base while Vitters had a double and an RBI.

Chris Volstad was rocked by the Storm Chasers, allowing seven runs (five earned) in two innings. Frankie De La Cruz ate some innings with three scoreless frames. Alberto Cabrera and Jeff Beliveau were also victims of the defense, as both gave up two runs (one earned) in one inning of work. Jay Jackson and Michael Bowden shut down Omaha the rest of the way. Jackson and Bowden each tossed a scoreless inning and Bowden picked up his second save.

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Friday saw another veteran Iowa pitcher at the root of a 4-3 loss to Omaha. Starter Brooks Raley continues to show he belongs at this level. Raley allowed two earned runs and struck out four over five innings. But an error by Ryan Rowland-Smith led to two unearned runs in his two innings. Esmailin Caridad struck out the side in the eighth inning, but the damage had already been done. Welington Castillo (3-for-4) is starting to heat up, while Adrian Cardenas was 2-for-3 with a double and triple.

A 13-game hitting streak for Josh Vitters is about all Iowa can hang its hat on, as they lost on Saturday to Omaha 7-1. Vitters (1-for-5) doubled in the fifth inning to keep the streak alive. James Adduci (2-for-3) scored on a Dave Sappelt (1-for-4) single for the I-Cubs’ only run. Randy Wells lasted only 1.2 innings. Wells was bludgeoned for seven earned runs in the second inning. Casey Coleman was able to stem the tide a bit by shutting out the Storm Chasers through 5.1 innings while striking out three batters. Alberto Cabrera followed with a scoreless inning.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned RHP Lendy Castillo, RHP Duane Underwood and RHP Justin Amlung to the AZL Cubs. The AZL Cubs assigned RHP Pierce Johnson to the Boise Hawks.

CCO’s Prospect Watch

  • Javier Baez (IF) – . 319, four doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 19 RBI, 16 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B) – . 303, four doubles, four home runs, 18 RBI, one stolen base (Boise Hawks)
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B) – .237, 17 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 22 RBI, 22 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Junior Lake (IF) – . 281, 11 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 17 RBI, 10 stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .270, 18 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 28 RBI, 30 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Ronald Torreyes (2B) – .246, 14 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 25 RBI, eight stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) – .302, 27 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 50 RBI, two stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – . 367, 11 doubles, one triple, six home runs, 26 RBI, stolen base (Arizona Cubs)
  • Robert Whitenack – 0-4, 6.67 ERA, 27.0 innings, 17 strikeouts, 10 walks, 1.96 WHIP (Daytona Cubs)
  • Tony Zych (RHP) – 0-0, 5.06 ERA, 5.1 innings, nine strikeouts, two walks, 2.06 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)

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Quote of the Day

"The struggle you're in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don't give up." - Robert Tew
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  • Dorasaga

    Baez had 3 triples in 39 games? That’s one 3B-per-13G. Not too bad, wouldn’t you say?

    • Tony_Hall

      I hope he keeps it up, and he stays in Peoria this year. The Chiefs play in Beloit 6 times in August, and right now my schedule should allow me to go to most of those games.

      • Tom Olson

        He’s fun to watch. I’ll be at the 11:00 game this morning and expect to see something new from him as usual. Last time he bare handed a high hopper up the middle and caught the runner by an eyelash at first. Made the whole stadium go, “Oooooooo!”

        • Tom Olson

          Baez was just named MWL player of the week. Solid day at the plate today, but not a ton of production.
          Baez does NOT get cheated when he swings.

      • Aaron

        Off the subject of Baez…though I agree he is a great talent to talk about…

        What does everyone else feel about the deadline? Where do you all think Garza, Dempster, etc. will go?

        Personally, I think it’ll be Dempster to either the Dodgers (first) or Tigers (if they offer more), then Garza to the Jays.

        • cubtex

          The rumor is the Dodgers and Tigers are frontrunners for Dempster. Do you think either team would part with their top piching prospect for a rental? If Detroit offered Jacob Turner for Dempster…..I would do that immediately. I feel the Tigers are trying to have the Cubs include Barney in deal. Tigers have moved Castellanos to RF and I don’t think they would move him now but if they want Dempster and Barney…..they’ve got to pay big!

          • cc002600

            The Cubs quest for a young 3B really speaks volumes about how they really feel about Vitters, doesn’t it ?

            Given the lack of pitching in the system, and the fact that Vitters has really shown major improvement this year, I wish they would just go for pitching and give Vitters a chance at 3B, but I have a feeling that’s not gonna happen.

            I think you would agree, but you wouldn’t love to see an IF of Vitters, Castro, Barney, and Rizzo in 2013 ?

          • cubtex

            I would love to see that infield right now! Why wait till 2013?

          • cc002600

            That works for me.

            Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t sense their (Theo & Jed) excitement over Vitters and Jackson.

          • Dnuge44

            Vitters needs to upgrade his defensive skills at 3B, according to the Cubs staff he needs to improve his footwork. Jackson has been a strike out machine at every level he has played in, almost every game he plays he strikes out at least once , other than that he can play.

          • Denio

            The Giants traded Zach Wheeler for a rental last year.. I would love to see a deal with Castellanos in it.

          • Bredstik

            Was going to mention the same thing. I believe he was their #1 prospect and they gave him up for 3 months of Carlos Beltran.
            So, there is a precedent. Much like we’ve heard that they’d want an Ubaldo Jimenez return for Garza, I think they’d want something similar to the Zach Wheeler return for Dempster.

        • daverj

          I think Dempster to the Dodgers and Garza stays with the Cubs.

          • cc002600

            I hope you are right on the second part

          • paulcatanese

            Yeah, Dempster to the Dodgers, and Lilly back to the Cubs:):):).

        • BosephHeyden

          I get the feeling either Garza or Dempster goes to LA for that awful pitcher package (which everyone, not just here but in the Chicago sports media, will then turn around and defend, much like people did with the DeRosa trade a few years back, which was the first of Jim Hendry’s no-win trades).

          To counter that, I get the feeling the other pitcher and Barney will go to the Detroit (which will immediately nullify the argument that will be prevalent that Garza or Dempster to LA was the best they could do when Detroit gives up at least one MLB ready prospect).

          Also, I could see Maholm going to New York or back to Pittsburgh, and I see either Marmol or Soriano getting traded to the AL East.

        • cc002600

          I sometimes think that people on here just want the cubs to trade anybody and everybody so they have something to talk about.

          To me, prospects are just suspects until proven otherwise, and MOST of the time, as we have seen a million times over, the prospects turn out to be nothing. And I highly doubt anyone is going to give away their top pitching prospect to the cubs for a rental.

          To me, they would be MUCH better off keeping Garza and adding to the rotation in free agency this winter with the GOBS of money now available.

          With a couple decent moves in the winter, you could EASILY compete in this horrid division next year. EASILY.

          Are you telling me the cubs are that far away from the mighty Buccos or the Big Red machine ?? LOL . please. And don’t forget there is another wild card team.

          You can develop young players while trying to win at the same time.

          • paulcatanese

            You make a very good point here, and is logical, I like that.

          • Aaron

            I think the consensus for most fans out there is that if the Cubs are going to lose, they might as well see what they have with the prospects. It is NOT that they think players like Cardenas, Vitters, Castillo, Rusin, etc. are better than the guys currently on the roster, but the fact that they’re younger, cheaper, and MIGHT perform better than the veterans. What’s the harm in finding out?

            Please tell me your argument for keeping the veterans on board. Please tell me why you think it’s better to finish in 4th place in the Central, versus last place, and thus end up with an even better draft pick.

          • BosephHeyden

            When the veterans in question are Reed Johnson, who is a really good FOURTH outfielder, Jeff Baker, who is a really good BENCH PLAYER, and Joe Mather, who is a really good INJURY REPLACEMENT, and those veterans are starting in place of guys whose immediate major league playing time could very well be the difference between this team being competitive in 2014 vs. 2015, I don’t think there should be any question what route this team should be taking.

            What’s more, I’m all for winning, but only as long as it is winning with progress. As much as I respect Jeff Baker, I would much rather see the Cubs lose a game where Brian LaHair goes 5-for-5 versus a lefty starter (to build up his trade value as an actual ballplayer and not a platoon guy) than I would a game where Jeff Baker goes 5-for-5 with 5 home runs, because at the end of the day, Jeff Baker is not a long term answer in right and already has his value established.

            What’s more, getting fourth place this year just makes us not the worst team in a division that should be an easy road to the playoffs every year. That’s not exactly something to hang your hat on. I would prefer not to lose 100 games (because no manager in the last five or six years has ever lost 100 games and gone on to win at least .500 the next season), but, like Aaron mentioned, the lower we place, the better the pick.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Trey Martin was named Northwest League Player of the Week.
            Martin hit .545 with two home runs and seven RBI

          • cc002600

            I’m not saying I want them to keep all the veterans like Johnson, Baker, Demp, etc…, I’m saying they should keep Garza, given his age, durability, and reasonable salary.

            And this is for next year, not this year. At this point, where they finish this year is irrelevant, except for the draft pick.

            Let me ask you this. What are the chances you get a prospect that turns out to be just as good or better than Garza in 3 to 4 years ? and if you do, you are no better off then you were by keeping him. The only way you improve is by getting another prospect that turns out well too. History will show that the odds are WAY against that from happening. Its slim and none, and slim left town.

            Garza is 28 years old, why can’t you build around him ? Why do we have to wait until 2016 to even think about contending again in what is probably the worst division in baseball ? Why can’t you develop young players and try to win at the same time ? Teams do it all the time.

            I’m not advocating going out and spending stupid money again like Hendry did 5 years ago, but you’re telling me if they kept Garza, and signed let’s say Edwin Jackson and Annibal Sanchez in the winter, that the cubs couldn’t win that crappy division next year ?? Come on, seriously ?

          • Dnuge44

            Garza’s agent has asked for a ton of money, rumored to be 5 yrs at 14-15 million per year, he is not worth that. Agent is using what the White Sox are paying Danks as a guideline & Danks is way over paid.

          • cc002600

            Well, I respectfully disagree.

            In 2012, $15M / yr for a #2 starting pitcher is the going rate, so I would not consider that a ton of money, relatively speaking. That’s the going rate.

            If the Cubs don’t sign any major FA’s this winter, their payroll next year could be in the 75M range.

            I’m sorry, but when you are charging top prices for tickets for a large market team that is RIDICULOUS.

            Not too mention, you have teams like the Philles, Mets, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers spending $150-200M. And the cubs are going to spend 75M ?????? Are you kidding me ?

            The freakin MArlins have a payroll over 100M, for cryin out loud !!!
            That is ridiculous.

            When did the cubs become the Royals or Pirates ??

            I don’t get it.

          • gary3411

            15 million might be the going rate in the OPEN MARKET, but Garza is under control for another year and a half. To ask for open market rates when you are that far off is ridiculous. Going rate for extending a 2-3 that far off from being a free agent should be no more than 12mil per. Even the Danks deal was still closer to free agency than Garza is now, and it is right around 12mil per.

            If you want to wait and pay him the open market price when he actually is on the open market, you can still trade him now and get him back for 2014.

          • Aaron

            I don’t want to build around Garza, because both he and his agent are looking for $15-17 million/year Why would you pay that for a current #3 starter (which is what his production matches up with at the moment), or at best a #2 (which is what his production matched up with last year)?

            If you’re rebuilding, you simply CANNOT pay a non ace-caliber starter that amount of money.

            I didn’t like the deal when Hendry made it, because it was a desperation trade to save his job, and the Cubs didn’t have the supporting cast around him to compete anyway.

            Just look at the rest of the top prospect lists, and you’ll see…the Cubs aren’t expected to compete for at least 2 years. This year, Garza earns $9.5 million in arbitration. Next year will be his final year in arbitration, and he is expected to earn at least $11-12 million. So unless the Cubs plan on going all out in free agency next year with Hamels, Anibal Sanchez, and Greinke in the fold, plus a closer to replace Marmol, and at least someone like BJ Upton, Swisher, etc. for the OF, oh, and they also need a 3B.

            Baez
            Almora
            Soler
            Vogelbach
            Saunders
            Maples
            Kirk
            Zych
            Burke
            Jensen
            Candelario
            …..

            These are guys that could help…..in 2-3 years. So, what you’re suggesting is that the Cubs go with a lackluster FA class, and try to win next year by retooling versus rebuilding (which would involve trading Garza, plus the rest of the veterans. That just isn’t going to happen (the winning) with that method.

            If the Cubs don’t resign any of their free agents, next year, here’s essentially what they’d have:

            Garza
            Samardzija
            T. Wood
            ?
            ? (last two spots between Volstad/Wells/etc)

            Marmol
            Russell
            Maine
            Dolis
            ?
            ?
            ?

            C-Soto, Clevenger
            1B-Rizzo
            2B-Barney
            SS-Castro
            3B-Stewart, Valbuena
            LF-Soriano
            CF-DeJesus
            RF-LaHair
            Bench-?, ?, ?

            So, if they signed guys like E. Jackson/A. Sanchez/Liriano for the rotation, then they’d be above average for sure in that area, but they’d still have holes elsewhere. I Would make the case they should add Rhoderick and Batista to the pen, plus Vitters at 3B, and just those moves would have them well on their way to being competitive, but you still need to have decent top prospects coming in at the AA and AAA level, which the Cubs do NOT have right now.

            Who could net them those prospects? Dempster, Garza, Maholm, and guys like Barney, LaHair, Johnson, Soto, DeJesus, Soriano (if they pay all of his deal pretty much) could all be added to deals to improve the return.

            That’s why you blow this thing up….you’re just not going to have another opportunity like this come along in quite awhile to retool in a hurry.

          • cc002600

            You don’t need an All-star at every position to win the NL Central, which is probably the worst divsion in baseball.
            You don’t think the Pirates and Reds have “holes” too ? Come on.
            Teams come out of nowhere every single year to win divisions. Did you expect the Pirates to be in first place back in March ? How about the White Sox ? Nationals ?
            and don’t misunderstand me, I am all for trading the likes of Demp, Soto, Marmol, Baker, etc….I just think they should hold onto to Garza and keep building from there. They have no pitching at AAA or AA

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            why is the goal just to win the Central? what does it matter if we can win a weak division if we arent going to be able to really compete with the other teams in the playoffs?

          • Aaron

            Well, after you expanded on your response, it’s much clearer to me now, and I can somewhat agree with the principle of your argument.

            However, if the Jays come calling, and offer two of the likes of Syndergaard, or Sanchez, or Nicolino, or even the underperforming McGuire, then the Cubs would be stupid for not trading him.

          • Aaron

            Cubs just had a couple more suitors for players after tonight…

            Reds: Votto just went down for about 4 wks
            *LaHair would be logical solution

            Jays: Bautista just went down with an unknown wrist injury, which likely means he’s out for a very long time
            *this just opened the door for Soriano to be included in any trade with the Jays…however, this is assuming the Jays haven’t called it quits on the season to begin with, being last in the AL East (though at .500 and 10 1/2 games back)

          • J Daniel

            Only argument iss if the prospect is not ready. You don’t want them overmatched to the point of being bad. If they are ready, they should be up.

        • Zonk

          Everyone should keep in mind that under the new CBA, “Rental” players are not worth as much to the team acquiring them. Why?
          Because you no longer get draft pick compensation. So while the Giants gave up Wheeler last year, they did get a first round pick back when Beltran signed with St Louis. That does not happen this year.
          This makes a difference in what you get in return.
          If the Cubs hold onto Dempster, we probably will get a first-round pick when he signs elsewhere (if Demp is given a qualifying offer, which he probably will)

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            but he will probably accept the qualifying offer and stay in chicago where he wants to be. So we wont get a draft pick for him anyways.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

          Well Hopefully, Demp and Barney, if both are traded, go to the Tigers. Crosby, Smyly, Rob Brantly and Eugenio Suarez in return. And then Hopefully if Garza is traded its to Toronto in a package that includes Nicolino and Syndergaard and either Gose or Marisnick. Lahair to Dodgers for Gould, same deal they made with houston. Maholm will probably be involved in one of the deals as well, Probably with garza to toronto.

        • Roland

          I am going to go against the grain and say Dempster goes to the Orioles.
          I believe Garza stays with the Cubs.

      • Dorasaga

        Curious, what beer do they sell at Beloit stadium? Drink one for me!

  • Zonk

    Tom, how about a mid-season top 10 prospect list, now that Rizzo is promoted, we have some picks signed, and have seen some performance this year?
    Here is my guess (tough to rank after Baez):
    1. Javier Baez
    2. Albert Almora
    3. Josh Vitters
    4. Jemier Candelario
    5. Brett Jackson
    6. Jorge Soler
    7. Matt Szczur
    8. Arismendy Alcantara
    9. Junior Lake
    10. Pierce Johnson
    Obviously, alot of guessing on this, as 3 of these guys haven’t even played!
    No Trey McNutt, he’s off the list for now……….
    I also omitted Vogelsbach, Dillon Maples….let’s see SOMETHING

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I wouldn’t think BJax would be in front of Soler any longer. BJax is in freefall until he cuts down on his AAA strikeouts…

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I would probably have Baez, Almora and Soler 1,2 and 3. Says alot about Team Theo that since they came over they’ve signed 2 of our top 3 prospects. Quite a feat in only 6 months on the job.

    • Aaron

      I would go:
      Baez
      Soler
      Almora
      Candelario
      Vitters
      Szczur
      Vogelbach
      Lake
      Underwood
      Jackson

    • Tom U

      Zonk, I usually don’t rate players at all until they produce on the field. That said, here’s a list of my top prospects, not including ones that have already been promoted to the big league level:

      1. Josh Vitters, 3B
      2. Austin Kirk, LHP
      3. Javier Baez, ?
      4, Eric Jokisch, LHP
      5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
      6. Brett Jackson, OF
      7. Gioskar Amaya, 2B
      8. Michael Jensen, RHP
      9. Frank Batista, RHP
      10. Dan Vogelbach, 1B
      11. Arismendy Alcantara, SS
      12. John Andreoli, OF
      13. Matt Szczur, OF
      14. Nick Struck, RHP
      15. Justin Bour, 1B
      16. Tony Zych, RHP
      17. Rubi Silva, OF/2B
      18. Chadd Krist, C
      19. Daury Torrez, RHP
      20. Tim Saunders, IF

      Others worth mentioning: Chris Rusin-LHP, Logan Watkins-2B, Kevin Rhoderick-RHP, Greg Rohan-UT, Robert Whitenack-RHP, Dustin Geiger-3B, Bijan Rademacher-OF, Marco Hernandez-SS, Michael Heesch-RHP, Dan Lockhart-IF, Jeffrey Baez-OF, Jenner Emeterio-IF, Alexander Santana-RHP

      I’m sure i forgot or misplaced a few names, but that was off the top of my head.

      Javier Baez would be “hands down” #1 if he had a defensive position. After watching him play, I have serious doubts of him mastering any infield position. However, he is only 19, and has a lot of time to improve.

      Of the players listed, Kirk, Jokisch, Candelario, Jackson, Amaya, Jensen, Batista, Alcantara, Andreoli, Bour, Silva, Torrez, and Saunders should have all been promoted at least one level by now.

      • Zonk

        That’s a high rating for Austin Kirk; you must really like him, more than Baseball America did pre-season anyway
        Javier Baez is showing serious bat….but you are right, what position does he play? Cubs will probably leave him at SS/3B to see if he can develop there, but if he hits enough, it won’t matter in the long-run

        • Tom U

          Kirk rated that high simply because he is the best pitcher in the system, right now.

      • DWalker

        wow, shocked to see 4 pitchers in your top 10. Are they placed that high because its a pitching barren system, or do you really see them as high level prospects for the club? Considering Baez and jackson still make top 100′s and vitters is at least making a good argument to sneak back in, do you feel Kirk, Jokisch and Candelario (I feel Candelario is going to be making some lists personally), should all be considered potential top 100 or 120′s?

        Lake is totally off your list at this point?

        Its interesting to see a list from someone who really is dedicated to minor league ball. Thank you

        • Tom U

          Thanks DWalker, and like I said, it was off the top of my head.

          While I agree with Aaron’s assessment that Jokisch really doesn’t have anything special, I’m truly beginning to warm up to him as a player that is just a winner. I don’t like comparisons, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up like Jamie Moyer.

          Kirk won’t make any of the top lists because he doesn’t have the “wow” factor people who make those lists like. But there are a lot more pitchers with worse stuff on major league pitching staffs.

          I’ve watched Lake a lot at this point and, frankly, don’t exactly know why he remains in the infield. His offense seems to fall in that Sammy Sosa/Derrick Lee/Aramis Ramirez category in that he puts up good numbers, but it never seems to be when they are needed.

  • Redlarczykg

    Anyone know what happened to Dillon Maples?

    • Aaron

      Maples had an undisclosed arm injury he was rehabbing in Mesa. I had been following him on Twitter (dsmaples). A few weeks ago, he mentioned that he’d be throwing again mid-July. I tried checking today, but my computer is acting weird, and I can’t access that.

      • gredlarczyk

        Thanks Aaron. Your are a great resource, like Tom U.

        • Tom U

          Thank you, and thanks to Aaron.

  • Anthony

    Hey TomU, you heading to the Schaumburg games vs. LEC?
    The quickest release in Epstein history should get a mound appearance during the series

    • Tom U

      Sorry Anthony, busy week for me, I might mot be able to make it out.

      • Anthony

        Understand, in Nashville so tough to do so also, just interested in seeing that 96 velo you know

        • cubtex

          Why do I get this funny feeling that team Theo will trade Dempster and 6 mil to the Red Sox for Brett Lillibridge??? lol

          • paulcatanese

            Dreamer:):)

          • cubtex

            I think Theo needs to deal with a different team. Forget the Red Sox.

          • Aaron

            I agree…unless they can land a Barnes, Bogaerts (the good Bogaerts), etc.

    • Aaron

      Anthony,

      I was in your camp with Klafcyznski, but seriously man, give it a rest….it’s over and done with. I know I was the dead horse beater for the Dunn signing a few years ago, so I know where you’re coming from…but the fact is, there are numerous guys that have been wrongfully cut throughout baseball…You could make the same case for Lastings Milledge, who is now playing in Japan, along with many others

      • Anthony

        Man, I was addressing TomU since he attends INDY/Schamburg games, and was hoping for a scouting report. Kid gets cut unfairly, and decides to use that 70 plus arm on the mound, have your beef with Theo for being ignorant to that fact.
        Go ask Theo about Jason Place, and soon Kolbrin Vitek. Theo was launched by BillyB telling Boston NO NO!
        When you listen to an online broadcast and you hear terms like electric arm and 96mph, that used to be considered “special”

        • Aaron

          Like I said, I understand where you’re coming from, and I held the same opinion, but my point was, you just have to let it go, and I don’t understand what you meant by “Theo was launched by Billy B telling Boston NO NO”

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            cause Beane turned down the job in boston so they hired Theo. I think thats what hes referring too. Its always nice when Anthony stays away from here. I mean hes admitted to not being a Cubs fan on here before. Not quite sure why he bothers.

  • Aaron

    In case any of you are wondering what is available in free agency next year (which the Cubs are unlikely to be involved much in as they are rebuilding), here are some intriguing options for their holes (catcher, 2B, 3B, OF, starting pitching, closers):

    C-Napoli
    2B-Kelly Johnson
    3B-NONE (unless they could get Youkilis for less and on a short-term deal once he’s likely non-tendered)
    OF-Hamilton (unlikely, doesn’t like day games and would require HUGE long-term deal), Delmon Young, BJ Upton, Quentin, Swisher
    SP-Hamels (unlikely due to $$ and length of deal), Greinke (unlikely due to $$, length of deal, AND his anxiety disorder), Edwin Jackson, Dempster (brought back if he’s willing), Liriano (my personal choice), McCarthy (if healthy), Anibal Sanchez (another personal choice)
    Closers-Broxton, League

    That’s what you would call “SLIM PICKINGS”. Aside from Napoli, Hamilton, Hamels, and possibly Greinke and Jackson, there aren’t many big time difference-makers available in free agency.

    If you look at the Cubs’s own free agents: Dempster, Maholm, Baker, Stewart (non-tender candidate), and Johnson, you could make a case for only bringing back two of them (Dempster and Maholm), so you can see there are a lot of holes to fill without much available in free agency to turn this franchise around.

    So, again, if this team is THIS bad WITH veterans, and there aren’t many quality free agent veterans available this offseason, then why are people so against blowing this thing up and simply starting over?!?

    • Zonk

      Quick Correction: Cubs have a $6.5 mil club option on Maholm, and right now I would say the Cubs will pick that up.

    • J Daniel

      They are sort of starting over. I guess wait until the deadline to see where they are at.

    • Dorasaga

      McCarthy will be an interesting choice. He pitches both a cutter and a sinker, has good command with both. I’ve been following him for a while… Keep him healthy, 150-180 IP, he’ll contribute on a contending team.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        From Buster Olney:

        Source: The Red Sox are aggressive in the pursuit of Ryan Dempster. Cubs going through their process on the right-hander.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

          Is Xander Bogaerts in the deal? I would think with Middlebrooks there, they have no need for Bogaerts. I know he is a SS now but they say 3B is more likely.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            I have not heard/read any names yet on what the Cubs might receive in return.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

            Ryan Lavarnway and Matt Barnes should be names discussed if he goes that way too. Only prob is Barnes isnt ready for prime time yet. Lavarnway could be our starting Catcher right now though. I still prefer a package with Detroit more cause their pitching is closer to being ready.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Javier Baez officially named MWL Player of the Week.
    Baez hit .478/.500/1.130 with a league best three home runs and seven extra
    basehits last week (two double, two triples, six RBI and two stolen bases)

  • J Daniel

    I don’t feel there will be a deal with the Dodgers, I think they are using the Dodgers. Might be wrong but soon we will know as the headline will read . .. From the wire . . .

  • Zonk

    Tom: One prospect that hardly ever gets a mention is Alberto Cabrera. What do you think of him?
    Ever since being moved to the bullpen, he has put up filthy numbers. Keith Law says he is throwing 97+ mph consistently with a heavy sink on his fastball. No good secondary pitch though.
    Given our bullpen situation, would you be surprised to see him at Wrigley sometime this year? I wouldn’t.

    • Tom U

      Zonk, I’ve never been a big fan of Alberto Cabrera. To me, he’s Rafael Dolis, take two.

      It doesn’t surprise me that Law is intrigued by he, as Law has always preferred “stuff” to production.

      While Cabrera has done a little better at this in Iowa, his numbers are deceiving because he doesn’t hold the other team. Those runs get charged to the pitcher he replaced, and everyone seems to forget that Cabrera was the one who let them score. Iowa has counter this by usually having him start an inning.

      • Tom U

        To further illustrate, look at tonight’s Iowa game. Cabrera came in with a runner on first and one out. Cabrera let the runner steal second, then gave up a double, but the run was charged to the previous pitcher.

        • SomeGuy27

          LOL…we had a guy in our system we all called Mr. ERA. Everyone loved him except the starters as we all figured he added almost a full run to all our ERA’s while his always stayed low. Finally someone figured out to give him his own innings and that ended that.