Cubs Notes from the First Day of Baseball’s Off-Season

It was a busy first day of the off-season throughout baseball. Several teams picked up players’ options while some teams passed on picking up options on a few notable players. Nearly 150 players became free agents on Monday and are eligible to sign with any club beginning Saturday, November 3 at 12:01am EST (Friday – 11:01 CDT).

The Cubs would like to bring back their only free agent, Shawn Camp, but until they re-sign him, the Cubs 40-man roster officially stands at 32 players.

Javier Baez will miss the remainder of the AFL season after injuring his thumb over the weekend. Baez left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning with a broken thumb. Baez underwent tests on Monday to determine the severity of the injury to the tip of his thumb which is not expected to keep him from missing the beginning of Spring Training.

Darwin Barney
The Cubs’ second baseman is one of three finalists for the National League Gold Glove. Darwin Barney, Aaron Hill of the Diamondbacks and the Reds’ Brandon Phillips are in the running for Rawlings’ annual award.

Darwin Barney set a National League record this past season for the most consecutive games played by a second baseman without an error (141) and tied the all-time single-season record held by Placido Polanco.

Barney is the only Cub in the running for a Rawlings’ Gold Glove. Alfonso Soriano put together the best fielding season of his career. Soriano was charged with only one error in 266 chances. Ryan Braun, Martin Prado and Carlos Gonzalez are the three finalists for the NL left fielder gold glove.

The Fielding Bible named Darwin Barney the best defensive second baseman in the Senior Circuit last week.

Managers and coaches vote on Gold Gloves and it will be interesting to see if Barney is able to take home the award and not Brandon Phillips, who is considered to be the best second baseman in the National League.

The awards will be announced on Tuesday night on ESPN2 beginning at 8:30pm CDT.

News and Notes
Baseball America released their tentative schedule for when each team’s prospect list will be published during the off-season. The Cubs’ top 10 list for 2013 is set to hit the world wide web on January 7.

Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin confirmed Monday that Derek Johnson has left the university to become the Cubs’ Minor League Pitching Coordinator.

The first of three broadcasts of Arizona Fall League games on the MLB Network is Saturday night. Paul Severino and Tom Verducci will call all three telecasts beginning with the Rising Stars Game. The seventh annual contest begins at 7:00pm CDT on Saturday night from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The full rosters for the Rising Stars Game have not been released but the Solar Sox’s Jarred Cosart (Astros) and Kyle Gibson (Twins) of the Peoria Javelinas have been named as the starting pitchers. The MLB Network will also air the Military Appreciation Game between the Scottsdale Scorpions and Surprise Saguaros on November 10 and the AFL Championship Game on November 17.

Click here for list of MLB free agents and players with options for 2013.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Tony_Hall

    Congrats to Darwin Barney on winning his 1st Gold Glove Award!

    • Cubtex

      Congrats to Darwin Barney for winning gold glove

  • Brp921

    Congratulations Darwin Barney!

    • bpot92

      keith law disagrees with barney winning. I don’t get him sometimes….

      • paulcatanese

        bpot92, I agree with you, it was not the “upset of the night”.
        That award is about the glove and nobody did it better.
        He deserved it and got it. Pretty darn good year considering
        he learned to play second just last year.

    • Aaron

      Congrats to Barney!!! It’s nice to see hard work like that pay off. I don’t believe he has any type of future with the team, unless he adds more power and OBP skills, but a Gold Glove is still impress nevertheless, and you can’t help but root for the guy to develop into a “core player”…I just don’t see it

  • DWalker

    Go Barney, its an impressive feat, especially considering with as much oppurtunity as he had to blow it.
    I find myself looking forward to the onslaught of prospects lists. Always interesting to so who is on the radar, and this year should see a lot of changes.

  • paulcatanese

    Good luck to Barney, he used his glove very well, and never shyed away from even the most difficult chances in prolonging the record, he deserves the gold glove.

  • calicub

    by the numbers, Darwin should take it.

    First in Range factor of 5.16 where Hill had a 5.06 and Philips a 4.55

    First in Fielding Pct. with a .997 compared to Hill and Phillips .992

    Second in DP with 96 compared to Hills 94 and Phillips 73

    Fewest errors w/ 2 compared to Hills 6 and Phillips 5

    Third in Assists with 418 Hill has 487 and Phillips 391

    First in Put Outs per Total Chances with 311/731 (42.5%) Hill 264/757 (34.9%)Phillips 241/637 (37.8%)

    Avg. Put-outs Per 9/IP: Barney with 2.2, Hill with 1.77 and Phillips with 1.73.

    Fourth in Total Innings with 1270 vs. Hill’s 1337 and Phillip’s 1251

    Darwin takes the cake in Errors, Fielding %, Range. He beats out Hill and Phillips in DP’s Put-Outs per Total Chances, and Avg. Put-Outs Per Game. More durable than Philips and about 7 games short of hill. Plus he set a league record with 141 consecutive errorless games.

    I don’t see how Phillips could repeat. Darwin deserves it.

  • calicub
  • Aaron

    Couldn’t agree more…well said

  • Neil

    #Cubs Darwin Barney wins 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove. Barney is
    the first Cubs’ 2B since Ryne Sandberg (1991) to take home the honor.

  • Aaron

    I sincerely hope that the Cubs look to some possible non-tenders I mentioned yesterday like Braden, Jurrjens, and Pelfrey.

    Aside from them, guys like McCarthy and Liriano make sense as guys looking to bounce back from injury or poor seasons and might take less money and years to prove themselves. Who knows?

  • cubtex

    I thought of Pelfrey and I can see him being a possibility. I might take a flyer on him but I don’t want any part of Jurrjens. He was never overpowering to begin with but he is only topping out at 88 now. He is a fastball- change-up guy who has not been the same since the 1st half of ’11. He has little to no command and has been getting hammered.

  • cubtex

    Just looked up Jurrgens numbers from last year. Wow! Beyond brutal

    48.1 IP 72 Hits 18 BB and only 19K

    Not much else to say. That says it all

  • Bryan

    Cubtex…you are spot-on regarding Jurrjens. After his injury last year he lost around 5-6 mph on his fastball. I’ve seen him in numerous games this year (at both the major and AAA level) and he was brutal. Plus, he has a questionable attitude.

  • Preston Price

    guarantee they pick him up and he does well with the cubs

  • Aaron

    My understanding was exactly what you said….that he was down to 88-90 mph this year. However, it was also my understanding that he started regaining some velocity late this season. Additionally, with the new pitching coordinator from Vanderbilt specializing in increased velocity, it would appear that he might be a worthwhile pick-up.

    Also, today Braden officially became a FA, along with Feldman, so now we have this likely list of non-tender/FA to choose from:
    Braden: 85-92 mph
    Feldman: 92-94 mph
    Jurrjens: 88-90 mph (most of last season, but was up to 94-96 mph in recent years)
    Liriano: 91-95 mph (though last year he was around 92 mph)
    McCarthy: 88-93 mph
    Humber: 88-93 mph
    Pelfrey: 92-95 mph
    Outman: 90-92 mph (though before TJ, was 94 mph, so there might be more velocity there)
    Stauffer: 88-93 mph
    E. Jackson: 94-97 mph
    Matsuzaka: 90-95 mph
    Carmona/Hernandez: 90-95 mph
    A. Sanchez: 90-95 mph
    Marcum: 84-90 mph

    *as an FYI, here was Boston’s average velocity when Theo was there:
    Beckett: 91-95 mph
    Lester: 90-96 mph
    Bard: 96-99 mph (though it was less as starter)
    Bucholz: 90-98 mph
    …plus Matsuzaka listed above

    It’s quite clear that they liked power arms that could get it up to 95-96 mph at the very least in the rotation.

    Garza and Samardzija are the only ones that can do that right now. I would venture a guess that Jackson, Liriano, Matsuzaka, Sanchez, Pelfrey, Carmona/Hernandez, and maybe even Feldman might be at the top of their list based on that.

    Consider the Giants average velocity this year:
    Lincecum: 89-96 mph
    Cain: 89-95 mph
    Bumgarner: 88-94 mph
    Vogelson: 90-94 mph
    ….that should be the template for the Cubs

    How about the Tigers:
    Verlander: 93-102 mph
    Scherzer: 90-98 mph
    Fister: 87-92 mph
    Porcello: 88-96 mph
    Sanchez: 87-95 mph

    In fact, look around the league, and all of the playoff teams: Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Giants, Cardinals, Reds, etc. all had at least 3-4 arms in their rotations that threw 94+ mph. Here’s a great site for that info:

  • Cubtex

    Thanks for that link. I never heard of that site before.

  • Aaron

    I didn’t either until today when I did a simple search under “________(pitcher) scouting report mph”, and that’s what pulled up. I love the search by team function at the top too…that’s pretty cool. They obviously don’t have all the pitchers listed, but it’s a pretty interesting list, because it has the basic scouting report, plus velocity on all of their pitches.

  • SuzyS.

    Applaud, Applaud.Applaud,……I’m so happy for Barney!!!!