Cubs Ink Four Players to Minor League Deals … and Other News and Notes

The Cubs did not announce they found any deals on Black Friday but four minor league signings were announced prior to Thanksgiving. The Cubs signed outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Johermyn Chavez plus infielder Alberto Gonzalez and catcher J.C. Boscan. Bogusevic, Gonzalez and Boscan should have received non-roster invites to Spring Training.

The signing of J.C. Boscan leaked last week and while the former Braves’ farmhand does not figure into the Cubs plans at the big league level, Boscan has a reputation of being a good defensive catcher and one that is very familiar with Arodys Vizcaino. The 14-year minor league veteran should help with the development of the pitching staff, as well as Steve Clevenger, at Iowa next season

On the surface, all four minor league signings appear to be defensive upgrades to an organization that struggled in the field a year ago.

Bogusevic, Gonzalez, Chavez and Boscan

Brian Bogusevic
Brian Bogusevic is the most notable of the four signing that were announced Wednesday. The Cubs officially signed Bogusevic on November 14 and the Oak Lawn native should compete for a spot on the 25-man roster in the spring.

Many remember Bogusevic for his walk-off grand slam against the Cubs and Carlos Marmol on August 16, 2011. Bogusevic has hit much better on the road (.258/.327/.369/.696) than at home (.192/.292/.319/.611) in his short career. Bogusevic will play next season at 29 (February 18, 1984) and the former first round pick (24th overall selection by Astros in 2005) will get a fresh start with a new organization after not living up to expectations with Houston.

Brian Bogusevic’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Alberto Gonzalez
Alberto Gonzalez was officially signed on November 13. Gonzalez spent last season in the Rangers’ organization after playing for Jed Hoyer in San Diego during the 2011 campaign. Gonzalez can play all four infield positions and is much better in the field than at the plate. Gonzalez hit .241/.241/.315/.556 in 24 games with Texas last year and managed a .314/.327/.471/.798 slash line for Triple-A Round Rock. In 14 games, Gonzalez hit a pair of doubles and two home runs.

Alberto Gonzalez figures to compete with Edwin Maysonet for a job on the Cubs’ bench during Spring Training. If nothing else, Gonzalez should help the defensively challenged Iowa Cubs next year.

Alberto Gonzalez’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Johermyn Chavez
The 23-year old (January 26, 1989) infielder officially signed with the Cubs on November 13. Johermyn Chavez has spent the last two seasons in the Mariners’ organization after being acquired by Seattle in the Brandon Morrow-Brandon League trade in December of 2009. Chavez put together a .242/.345/.423/.768 slash line over two stops in the Mariners’ organization last season. Chavez spent a majority of the year with Double-A Jackson in the Southern League and hit .232/.339/.386/.725 with 12 doubles and eight home runs in 75 games.

Johermyn Chavez has not advanced beyond the Double-A level but has played all three outfield spots during his minor league career.

Johermyn Chavez’s Page on Baseball-Reference

J.C. Boscan
J.C. Boscan has played in only 11 big league games stretched out over three seasons and has spent a majority of his 14-year minor league career in the Braves system. Atlanta signed the 32-year old catcher (December 26, 1979) in 1996. Boscan signed as a free-agent with the Brewers in 2006 and played in just 45 games at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Boscan spent the 2007 season in the Reds organization before re-signing with the Braves in 2008.

Boscan has played in only 131 games over the last two seasons with Triple-A Gwinnett and managed a .189/.264/.284/.548 line with 12 doubles and three home runs in 70 games (250 plate appearances) last year.

J.C. Boscan will play next season at the age of 33 and figures to begin the season behind Welington Castillo, Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger on the Cubs’ depth chart.

J.C. Boscan’s Page on Baseball-Reference

News, Notes and Rumors
There are conflicting reports on how much the two-year contract Bryan LaHair signed with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks is actually worth. When the news surfaced Wednesday night that LaHair was in agreement on a two-year deal, reports indicated LaHair would be paid $4 million over the length of the contract. Reports then surfaced on Thursday that LaHair will receive a little more and agreed to a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Japanese team. The Cubs will receive $950,000 from the SoftBank Hawks for LaHair’s rights.

Reed Johnson is drawing interest from the Braves and a number of other clubs according to a report from Ken Rosenthal. Johnson has not been connected to the Cubs this off-season, so a third term for Johnson on the North Side appears to be unlikely at this point.

Several former Cubs and former Cub farmhands signed minor league contracts last week: Jeff Stevens (Reds), Nate Spears (Indians), Frankie De La Cruz (Brewers), Blake Lalli (Brewers), Scott Rice (Mets), Felix Pie (Pirates) and Alex Hinshaw (Blue Jays).

Jeff Keppinger has been mentioned as a possibility for the Cubs this off-season. Rumors have suggested that Keppinger would fit the short-term solution at third base the Cubs are looking for, plus if he was able to put together a good four months, the Cubs could flip him at the deadline for prospects. Keppinger is also on the Diamondbacks radar according to Baseball Prospectus.

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  • Dorasaga

    ” “This is the only one that exists,” said Carroll, who has dedicated his career to sports-related health topics. “No other teams do this. No one even has a one-day symposium. When Roger came to me eight or nine years ago and said, ‘What do we need to do?’ I said, ‘Get everybody on the same page.’ ”

    “Using high-speed cameras and digital markers, Raasch and his staff take measurements of each pitcher’s delivery to measure the force applied to different parts of the body. The Brewers use that data to try to avoid the two most dreaded injuries for pitchers – torn rotator cuffs in the shoulder and ulnar collateral ligaments in the elbow.”

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/sports-medicine-gives-crew-edge-vc7m0ba-179895821.html

    Management 101: When an organization will address individual issues and keep talents perform, it needs team work that always brings in new ideas and open discussion.

    It’s time for the Cubs to establish their own edge. I think they realize how inconsistent had the Cubs pitching been. “Sustainable pitching,” I expect them to tackle on.

    • calicub

      I read an article similar to this a few weeks back out of the Brewer’s mlb.com/ page.

      It seems like such an obvious area teams should focus on that its surprising when you hear the BREWERS are the innovators in pitching health. The BREWERS?!?! A team i have always seen as one of the weakest pitching systems in the League, and yet they have had the second fewest DL trips by pitchers in the last 10 years. Obviously their System doesn’t produce aces, but seems to do alright keeping them on the mound…

      I expect teams to get more and more involved with computer/data analysis to determine not only how well a player could do, but when he will likely be injured, how, and for how long he will be out, and targeting players whose features speak to their ability to stay in the game, more than potential and ifs.

      • Ripsnorter1

        the Brewers’ cannot pitch. But the bright side is, they ain’t hurt. LOL

        • calicub

          Lol! exactly

        • Dorasaga

          I will quote myself, in case you missed the point: “When an organization will address individual issues and keep talents
          perform, it needs team work that always brings in new ideas and open
          discussion.” The smallest front office in baseball could not achieve anything close.

      • Dorasaga

        Now we identify what’s wrong, I’ll try to explain why the Cubs have been obsessed with the “potential and ifs,” instead of looking for the long-term return of every big signing. A good management wants more “certainty” than “uncertainties.” I rather the Cubs compose a rotation FIRST by signing an Arroyo and a Kuroda, instead of RELYING SOLELY on another Kerry Wood plus another Mark Prior.

    • Tom U

      Rookie league outfielder Garrett Schlecht just tweeted that Randy Wells has signed with the Texas Rangers

      • SuzyS

        Woe to the Rangers…their decline has begun!!!!

        • Ripsnorter1

          He’ll win 15 for them in 2013.

          LOL

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL…you are still calling for him to win 15…

          • Ripsnorter1

            With that lineup, with that bullpen…he might.

          • Tony_Hall

            Do you really think he he was signed to be in the rotation??

            I can’t find the signing anywhere yet, but have to believe it is a minor league contract with an invite to camp.

            Harrison, Darvish, Holland, Lewis with Ogando, and Perez likely to get a chance at the rotation.

            And with that lineup and that bullpen, here are the win totals from last year.

            Harrison 18
            Darvish 16
            Holland 12

            That is is for 10 game winners.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, you are correct there is nothing official out yet about Randy Wells signing with the Rangers. Just the tweet from Garrett Schlecht as you know. Players are very reliable when it comes to signings and promotions. Like you, I would imagine it is a minor league contract with a NRI to Spring Training.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Of course not.

            1. I was joking about the 15 game winner for 2013, in reference to my comments from 2010.
            2. I was pointing out that he’d have more help, should he make the Texas staff, than he had in Wrigleyville.

          • Joker

            Michael Bowden hopes to be a starter on Cubs staff in 2013. Hahahahahahaha! .

          • Ripsnorter1

            You almost sent me to the hospital with uncontrollable laughter with that post!

            But I think he sticks in the Cubs’ ML pen……
            and then, who will be laughing? Us….or the opposition?

          • Tony_Hall

            Whew!! I was worried about you for a minute.

            He would have more help, but think he will be lucky to stick with their AAA team next year.

          • Ripsnorter1

            If his conditioning for 2013 is similar to his conditioning for 2012, he’s totally done.

  • Tony_Hall

    Baseball America has done a preview to the Rule V draft (part 1)

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/prospect-bulletin/2012/2614354.html
    Subscription required.

    For those concerned we left some great player unprotected, of the Top 10 players they listed for being picked, none were our players. And they listed the Top 5 players they were surprised were protected, once again, none were ours.

  • Tony_Hall

    And of an example of how overspending on free agents isn’t the key to success, Of recent teams who jumped from sub-.500 records to the playoffs in a year’s time, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes that none did so after splurging on free agents, instead relying on trades and international signings to remake their rosters.Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/#yCZyC4Ez3ii1xzye.99

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121122&content_id=40398246&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

    “Consider this: In the past five seasons, 10 of the possible 42 postseason teams (including four in 2012) were teams that had losing records the year before. Those teams are as follows: the 2008 White Sox, ’08 Rays, ’09 Rockies, ’10 Reds, ’11 D-backs, ’11 Brewers, ’12 Nationals, ’12 Reds, ’12 A’s and ’12 Orioles.

    Obviously, some of those examples are more extreme than others. The 2011 Nats, for instance, finished just one game under .500, while the ’11 Orioles were 12 back of the break-even mark.

    But now more than ever, in an era of an expanded postseason field, clubs have the ability to talk (and work) themselves into a basis for belief, just as those 10 teams did. And it is interesting — and perhaps instructive — to note that none of those 10 teams made their leap after making major expenditures in free agency proper.”

  • Ripsnorter1

    Mather’s replacement…..drum roll, please….

    Brian Bogusevic!!

    Any idea that he can hit LHP should be shelved forever. He’s a career .152 vs LHP.

    He K’s like Brett Jackson, too.

    No, I had hoped for better.