Zych, Baez Named to Rising Stars Roster … and Other Cubs News and Notes

Rosters for Saturday’s AFL Rising Stars Game were released on Wednesday night. Two of the Cubs’ prospects participating in the Arizona Fall League were named to the East Division team, but only one has a chance to play in the annual event. Tony Zych and Javier Baez made the East squad after solid starts to the fall league. Baez will not be able to participate due to breaking his thumb last Saturday but Zych should pitch out of the pen. Zych is 1-0 with a save in eight appearances with four strikeouts, a walk and two runs allowed on 10 hits in eight innings of work (2.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP).

The MLB Network will televise the game with Mike Ferrin calling the game on MLB Network Radio. First pitch is slated for 7:00pm CDT from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Logan Watkins replaced the injured Javier Baez on the Mesa Solar Sox’s roster. Watkins had an excellent season and earned Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year honors. Watkins hit .281/.383/.422/.805 with 20 doubles, 11 triples and nine home runs in 133 games for Double-A Tennessee.

Brett Jackson
The Cubs are building the 2013 Opening Day roster without Brett Jackson according to a report from Patrick Mooney. One of the holes the Cubs are looking to fill this winter is in the outfield, either right field or centerfield, so Brett Jackson can gain more experience in Triple-A. Theo Epstein explained that Brett Jackson was brought up to the majors in August for specific reasons. The Cubs recognized that Jackson’s swing was not ready to compete at the big league level. Dale Sveum wanted to work with Jackson and the front office felt that Jackson needed to see certain things in order to help with his development.

Brett Jackson said at the end of the year that he was not proud of his season. Jackson acknowledged that he pressed early on and fell into bad habits that he was not able to work his way out of as the season progressed.

AFL Rising Stars Game
Eighteen of the game’s top 100 prospects will participate in the AFL Rising Stars Game on Saturday night. The Cubs will have only one representative due to the injury to Javier Baez. Tony Zych has had a good fall and should receive a non-roster invite to big league camp in the spring.

Jarred Cosart, Austin Romine, Anthony Rendon, Jonathan Schoop, Jonathan Singleton, Gary Brown, Nick Castellanos, George Springer, Kyle Gibson, Hak-Ju Lee, Kolten Wong, Billy Hamilton, Rymer Lirano and Christian Yelich are among the top prospects participating in the game.

This is must see TV for those that follow the Minor Leagues.

Full AFL Rising Stars Rosters

News and Notes
The Cubs’ new Minor League Pitching Coordinator considered himself a Cubs’ fan growing up and that was part of the appeal for Derek Johnson leaving Vanderbilt to join the Cubs’ organization. Johnson discussed the move and the process behind his decision to leave Vanderbilt … and it all started with a phone call from David Macias.

During an interview on the Score, Steve Stone suggested strongly that Eric Karros will join Len Kasper in the Cubs’ booth next season.

Paul Kinzer was fired from the Wasserman Media Group on Wednesday night. Kinzer failed to file Francisco Rodriguez’s no-trade list in 2011 and Rodriguez ended up being traded to Milwaukee from the Mets as a result of Kinzer’s mistake. Rodriguez received a $2 million settlement and Kinzer was fired. Starlin Castro is one of Kinzer’s clients and it is unclear at this time what will happen to Kinzer’s client roster.

Joe Mather was outrighted off the 40-man roster and assigned to Triple-A Iowa last week. According to Cubs.com, Joe Mather has elected free agency.

Off-Season Calendar


  • 2 – Free Agents may sign contracts with new teams
  • 6 – 9 – General Managers Meetings – Palm Springs, CA
  • 8 – Silver Slugger Awards announced – MLB Network – 4:00pm CDT
  • 8 – Last Date for Players to Accept Arbitration from Current Club
  • 10 – End of Waiver period
  • 11 – Beginning of New Waiver period – waivers secured on or after November 11, 2012 remains in effect until February 15, 2013, exception: outright waivers
  • 20 – Deadline for clubs to file reserve lists for Major League club and all Minor League Levels (Rule 5 Draft protection)
  • 30 – Last Date to Tender Contracts to Arbitration Eligible Players

BBWAA Awards – All Award winners announced at 3:00pm CDT on MLB Network

  • 12 – NL and AL Rookie of the Year
  • 13 – NL and AL Manager of the Year
  • 14 – NL and AL Cy Young Awards
  • 15 – NL and AL Most Valuable Player Awards


  • 1 – Last date to request outright waivers to assign player prior to Rule 5 Draft
  • 5 – Last date to outright a player prior to the Rule 5 Draft (5:00pm ET)
  • 3 – 6 – Baseball’s Winter Meetings – Nashville, TN
  • 4 – Balloting Results announced for Ford C. Frick Award
  • 6 – Rule 5 Draft



  • 5 – 15 – Salary arbitration filing period
  • 13 – 15 – 27th Annual Cubs Convention
  • 18 – Exchange of salary arbitration figures
  • 18 – 20 – 28th Annual Cubs Convention


  • 1 – 21 – Salary arbitration hearings
  • 15 – End of Waiver Period
  • 16 – Beginning of New Waiver Period
  • 23 – Cubs Cactus League Opener **Note, this is a tentative date


  • 2 – 6 – World Baseball Classic, First Round – Pool A
  • 2 – 5 – World Baseball Classic, First Round – Pool B
  • 7 – 10 – World Baseball Classic, First Round – Pool C
  • 7 – 10 – World Baseball Classic, First Round – Pool D
  • 8 – 10 – World Baseball Classic, Second Round – Pool 1
  • 17 – 19 – World Baseball Classic, Championship Round – AT & T Park, San Francisco
  • 8 – Single-Game Tickets for the 81 home games of the Cubs 2013 schedule go on sale
  • 31 – All Clubs must reduce active roster to 25 players
  • 31 – Opening Day for MLB


  • 1 – Opening Day for Chicago Cubs – Cubs vs. Pirates at PNC Park

Will Update Off-Season Calendar throughout winter

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • Tony_Hall

    MLB trade rumors has their Top 50 list of FA and predictions


    Predictions sure to go wrong…

    To the Cubs – Shawn Marcum

  • Tony_Hall

    MLB trade rumors – free agent tracker is up and running.


  • DWalker

    I see we have 5 on MLB’s top 100 prospect list, not bad, although an interesting selection, and gasp, there is a pitcher on it!
    Ok, ok. So, now that time has passed a little, one name on the FA list popped out still, Dempster. He pretty well screwed things up at the deadline, do the Cubs even make a play at him after all that to try and fill the hole he left?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      With a short answer, no on Dempster. That ship has sailed and was burned in the process.

    • ChadAudio

      DWalker – I’m sort of surprised by the Dempster backlash. There never seems to be any indication on either side that Demp could come back… which is surprising knowing how well he pitches at Wrigley. He didn’t do that well in Texas – why wouldn’t he be as an affordable option as almost any other FA pitcher the Cubs are looking at this offseason?

      Logically, it makes sense for Dempster to get a look by the Cubs… unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like it will ever happen.

      • paulcatanese

        I have to agree with Neil on Dempster Chad, complete
        personality conflict. Epstein will not go that way given the hole he was put in by Dempster. That was a mega deal taken away for the Cubs. So as Neil has said
        “That ship has sailed”,and I don’t blame Epstein.

      • cc002600

        Not sure why the cubs would want him back after what he pulled last year at the trade deadline.

        That was unreal.

        I used to really like Dempster…..but at this point, good riddance….time to move on

        • Brp921

          I agree completely. My thoughts exactly cc.

        • coachdon

          It makes perfect sense to bring Dempster back. Here is a guy that would possibly do a discount deal to get back in Chicago. He probably has about two good years left in him and then he’ll probably want to retire. That would make him the perfect bridge guy to get the regime to where they think they’ll be in 2015. Then you’d have 3 guys that basically 2’s and 3’s in a rotation(Garza, Jeff S., and Dempster), along with Wood a possible 5 man. All you would need to be highly competitive pitching-wise would be to get another 3 or 4 slot guy, and there are some decent options for that slot. I am not a huge fan of Edwin Jackson for that role, though. I see in him as a guy with great stuff and little success to show for it. On a side note, I would like to see a guy like Rusin as a lefty long man/spot starter on the staff. I think he could be very useful there.

          • SuzyS

            Coachdon, While I tend to agree with you…there are a few “hard to get around obstacles” to bringing back Dempster.
            1) From Dempster’s perspective…he’d want a no trade contract…especially since he would have lost his 5/10 veto rights….The main reason he’d want to come back is to stay in Chicago….NOT to stay through the next trade deadline. I believe the Cubs would want to maintain the flexibility to trade him if they could.
            2) It would probably be a negative public relations move, given the way he left….and the Cubs NEED to avoid any negative backlash in any of their signings…given their on-field record of the past season.
            3) For it to work for the Cubs…Demp would have to come back at a reduced paycheck…and I’m not sure Demp would go for that.
            I see a much better possibility that he might sign with the Brewers or White Sox to stay in the area…and still get a fresh start.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree all the way Suzie, especially on number three, I think he would not go for that at all, in fact he will ask for more money, not less. And he is past asking for more.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Here you go … from Carrie Muskat: Cubs have been in contact with Ryan Dempster’s agent about possibly returning next year

      This contradicts what I was told by one of my sources.

      • cubtex

        You know what they say about sources and something else…….everyone has one. lol

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          From Bruce Miles: Hoyer downplayed possible Dempster return but said there has been contact. Hoyer said Dempster’s exit wouldn’t preclude return

          • GaryLeeT

            After 104 years of losing, there is one thing the Cubs should be able to recognize, and that’s a pattern. Like Dumpsters odd year failures.

      • John_CC

        I’ll take what you’ve heard and your feeling over Muskat every time, Neil. She’s a company shill.

  • paulcatanese

    Its a shame that Baez will miss this game on Saturday. For whatever the reason of the broken thumb it deprives him of being
    able to shine on a National stage. I would have thought that given his makeup for the dramatic he would have done something
    spectacular with the bat.
    If for some reason he broke his thumb over something stupid I would hope its a wakeup call for him. Breaking it while playing is one thing, but breaking it away from the field is another. I don’t think it will be brought forth, and anyway its done and the Cubs business, and dont really care if its released to the public.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wow. Mather elected Free Agency.

    Germano has elected Free Agency, too. And Germano insisted he had had a good year in 2012. 2-10 record with a 6.75 ERA in 13, 12 as a starter. I wonder where he will land now….if you can’t pitch for the Cubs, just where can you pitch? Kansas City? Volstad landed there. Maybe Germano can also make the staff in KC.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Cubs pitchers/catchers report Feb 9. First workout Feb 10. Early this year because of WBC.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Talk about 3B to be picked up in FA……pretty thin pickin’s, to say the very least.

    Plácido Polanco….0 SB, 2 HR, 19 RBI in 303 AB for Philly. UNPRODUCTIVE. Even Valbuena out produced that! LOOK: in the same number of AB (303), Valbuena hit 4 HR, 28 RBI with his .219 BA.

    Kevin Youkilis…19 HR…just 60 RBI playing 509 PA……235 BA, too. VS. RHP he hit just .220, and only .213 vs RH starting pitchers. Pretty weak……he’s looking like Mr. Carlos Pena. Speaking of Carlos, he managed only a .197 BA (remember his .196 BA when Jim Hendry signed him? Wrigley was worth a boost to .225). But Pena struggled vs LHP to the tune of .176, and vs RHP hit only .206. He slugged .354 in 2012. Youkilis is aging.

    Ty Wigginton…Philly’s other 3B….235…11 HR..43 RBI….375 slugging…35 yrs old. Pretty poor fielder everywhere…at 3B he’s worth an extra 41.5 runs for the other teams.

    Scott Rolen…probably done. He’ll be 38 in 2013. 8 HR, 38 RBI….245 BA. Not much better than Valbuena at this point.

    Casey McGehee. Hit .230 in Pittsburgh (.151 with Yankees).9 HR, 41 RBI in 318 AB. Fielding? At Pittsburgh he saved 0 runs at 3B…Valbuena saved 9. I’m sure this isn’t a Theo pickup.

    Jeff Keppinger. Had a career year in 2012: .325 BA…9 HR…40 RBI in 385 AB. Doesn’t walk much…24 BB. Doesn’t fan much: 31 K. What’s wrong with that? 33 yrs old. Beats what we currently have. .288 career BA. DJ LeMahieu with just a touch more power. He’s a good 3B glove, too.

    Adam Kennedy. Decent glove. Darwin Barney bat. Do you really want another one in your lineup?

    Not worth considering due to age, performance, or both: Brandon Inge, Orlando Hudson, Drew Sutton, Mark DeRosa.

    That’s all folks!