Weekend Update … It’s Decision Time for the Cubs

The next few days should be anything but boring for the Chicago Cubs. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer checked off two items from their off-season to do list when they signed Scott Baker and Dioner Navarro last week. The next deadline for the Cubs is Tuesday when they must file their reserve lists to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.

The Cubs have two open spots on their 40-man roster and several players that could be selected in the draft on December 6. There are moves that could, and should, be made which would create space on the 40-man in order to keep players with better projections in the system.

The Cubs search to replace Bob Brenly will not include Dan Plesac. According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Dan Plesac informed WGN on Friday that he would be staying with the MLB Network and withdrew from consideration. The report also confirmed that Doug Glanville is no longer in the running for the job.

Patrick Mooney reported that longtime Astros color analyst, Jim Deshaies, recently interviewed for the Cubs job.

Kyuji Fujikawa
According to reports out of Japan and from the Dallas Morning News, veteran reliever Kyuji Fujikawa visited Chicago last Thursday and toured Wrigley Field. The reports also indicated that Fujikawa is scheduled to visit the Angels and Dodgers and has visited the Diamondbacks.

Fujikawa is a free agent and looking to pitch in the Major Leagues next season. Due to his free agent status, he will not be subject to a posting fee. The 32-year old right hander as a 26-18 record in 345 games in Japan with a 1.36 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. Over six seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, Fujikawa has notched 202 saves. Last season, Fujikawa was 2-2 in 48 games with 24 saves. In 47 2/3 innings, Fujikawa struck out 58 batters, walked 15 and surrendered 34 hits (1.32 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP).

Fujikawa features a low-90s fastball, a slider and a forkball.

Kyuji Fujikawa’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Cubs Rumors
During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning, Bruce Levine teased that he thinks there is a big trade on the horizon for the Cubs that will be a swap of young players for young players. Levine did not share any details of what he has heard (teams or players that could be involved). Just before the show ended, Fred Huebner and Bruce Levine discussed the recent signing of Dioner Navarro.

The Cubs view Welington Castillo as an everyday catcher and were very happy with the progress he made last season. The addition of Navarro means one of two things for Steve Clevenger according to Levine. Clevenger will likely start the season in the minors or be used as part of a big trade. Levine reported the Cubs and Indians have continued to discuss a deal that would include Lonnie Chisenhall. The Cubs are interested in Chisenhall and the Indians like several of the players in the Cubs’ system. Levine did not go into details, again, of what players a trade between the Cubs and Indians could include.

Rule 5 Draft
The deadline to file reserve lists at the major and minor league levels is Tuesday (November 20). The Cubs have several decisions to make over the next two days on which players in their system to add to the 40-man roster in order to protect from the Rule 5 Draft. The Cubs have two open spots on the 40-man roster and several questions they must find answers to prior to Tuesday’s deadline.

The Cubs could create additional spots to protect players such as Trey McNutt, Logan Watkins, Christian Villanueva, Austin Kirk, Frank Batista, Robert Whitenack and Jose Rosario … just to name a few. Casey Coleman remains on the 40-man roster after multiple chances to prove himself as a big league pitcher. Coleman has not shown he can throw enough strikes in the majors, much less retire big league hitters. Coleman has a 1.68 WHIP in 165 innings in the majors with a 4.4 BB/9 … and a less than 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio (118 strikeouts, 83 walks).

The Cubs must make decisions on both Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart. LaHair had an excellent start to his first full season in the big leagues but was pushed to the bench twice when Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson were promoted. LaHair does not figure to be in the Cubs’ plans moving forward. Ian Stewart was a big disappointment before finishing his first season with the Cubs on the disabled list. The Cubs appear to be lukewarm on Stewart returning to the point that even Stewart himself has questioned [on Twitter] if he will be tendered a contract for next season. The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players for next season is not until November 30 but his spot could be used to protect a player they thinks fits in with the organization’s plans moving forward. If they are happy with Stewart and plan on tendering him a contract, that is fine. But waiting to non-tender him and risking losing a prospect in the system would be the wrong move.

Players in the Cubs’ system eligible for the Rule 5 Draft

  • Jeffry Antigua, LHP
  • Frank Batista, RHP
  • Jason Berken, RHP
  • J. C. Boscan, C
  • Justin Bour, 1B
  • Michael Brenly, C
  • Michael Burgess, OF
  • Kyler Burke, LHP
  • David Cales, RHP
  • Esmailin Caridad, RHP
  • Marcelo Carreno, RHP
  • Matt Cerda, INF
  • Hunter Cervenka, LHP
  • Evan Crawford, OF
  • Willengton Cruz, LHP
  • Michael de la Cruz, RHP
  • Antonio Encarnacion, RHP
  • Carlos Figueroa, INF
  • Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
  • Marcus Hatley, RHP
  • Ty’Relle Harris, RHP
  • Jay Jackson, RHP
  • Alvido Jimenez, RHP
  • Austin Kirk, LHP
  • Luis Liria, RHP
  • Jeff Lorick, LHP
  • Marcos Mateo, RHP
  • Edwin Maysonet, INF
  • Trey McNutt, RHP
  • Pedro Medina, RHP
  • Jose Montesino, INF
  • A. J. Morris, RHP
  • Jonathon Mota, INF
  • Blake Parker, RHP
  • Felix Pena, RHP
  • Starling Peralta, RHP
  • Nelson Perez, OF
  • Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
  • Greg Rohan, IF-OF
  • Jose Rosario, RHP
  • Zac Rosscup, LHP
  • Julio Sanchez, RHP
  • Brian Schlitter, RHP
  • Ryan Searle, RHP
  • Matt Spencer, LHP
  • Nick Struck, RHP
  • Larry Suarez, RHP
  • Francisco Turbi, RHP
  • Christian Villanueva, 3B
  • Brett Wallach, RHP
  • Logan Watkins, INF
  • Casey Weathers, RHP
  • Robert Whitenack, RHP
  • Ty Wright, OF

Source: The Cub Reporter

News and Notes
Bud Selig met with the media Thursday during the Owners Meetings. The Chicago media asked the commissioner what he thought about the way the Cubs are being run in the wake of the latest Marlins’ fire sale. Bud Selig gave his stamp of approval to the Cubs’ plan for building an organization with sustained success. Mr. Selig added that if he was running a franchise he would follow what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are doing to a T.

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Bud Selig has offered to help Tom Ricketts with his efforts to get $160 million in public money for Wrigley Field renovations. Mr. Selig and Ricketts have discussed the matter but Ricketts doesn’t expect for Selig to get involved with the talks.

The Cubs have changed ad agencies from the New York-based Brooklyn Brothers to the Chicago-based Schafer Condon Carter Inc. The contract between Schafer Condon Carter and the Cubs is for the 2013 season and the Cubs hope to continue the relationship.

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Quote of the Day

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