Cubs Watching the Waiver Wire and Other Off Day Notes

With Ian Stewart unavailable for the start of the season, Dale Sveum announced Tuesday that Luis Valbuena would be at third base for the Cubs on Opening Day in Pittsburgh. Valbuena and Brent Lillibridge, who has played his way onto the 25-man roster this spring, figure to share time at third base early in the season. But the Cubs may not be done adding players to their roster.

According to multiple reports, Dale Sveum said Tuesday that the team would continue to look at the waiver wire.

The injury to Ian Stewart has also opened a window for Steve Clevenger to break camp with the team. The team announced early in Spring Training that Clevenger would begin the season as the I-Cubs everyday catcher, and that could still end up what happens. But Clevenger’s ability to play multiple positions (catcher, third and first base) has put him in the mix for a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.

The Waiver Wire

Dale Sveum explained Tuesday that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are always looking at ways to make the team better.

“There’s no question about it, you’re always looking to better your team. (Whether it’s) a position or a left-hander out of the bullpen – whatever it might be – you’re always looking to do things like that. So whatever comes up on the waiver wire or releases, Theo and Jed are always looking at those kind of things. (We do the same thing): ‘Oh, man, that guy came available. He might fit in here good.’ That’s always going on. That’s just the nature of the game.”

So as team’s start cutting and releasing players as Spring Training comes to an end, the Cubs could end up finding a player or two that could help this season.

Armando Rivero

Patrick Mooney caught up with Jason McLeod on Wednesday at Fitch Park. Mooney asked about the Cubs’ newest signing, free agent right-handed pitcher Armando Rivero.

McLeod said the plan for now is to start Rivero at one of the team’s Class-A affiliates so they can see exactly where he is once he is ready to leave Arizona. McLeod confirmed reports that Armando Rivero will be used as a starter this season, just to build up his innings.

Rafael Dolis

Baseball America confirmed on Wednesday that Rafael Dolis is eligible for a fourth minor league option. Before camp began it was reported that Rafael Dolis was out of minor league options and would have to break camp with the team. The report was accurate in stating that Dolis had used all three of his minor league options.

As reported by the CCO, Dolis is eligible for a fourth minor league option due to service time.

From Baseball America:

Major League Baseball grants a fourth option to teams when a player has five or fewer professional seasons under his belt but has already burned through three optional assignments. For this purpose, the Collective Bargaining Agreement credits a player with a season of service when he spends 90 or more days on the active list during a season.

Hector Rondon is also eligible for a fourth minor league option. But due to the fact he is a Rule 5 Draft pick, he cannot be optioned to the minors unless the Cubs and Indians work out a trade.

Complete List of 23 Players who qualify for a Fourth Minor League Option in 2013

News and Notes

The Cubs have only one spot open in the bullpen with the way the roster is currently constructed. Carlos Marmol, Kyuji Fujikawa, Shawn Camp and James Russell are locks for the backend of the pen. Michael Bowden has not done anything to lose his job this spring, plus he is out of options, and Hector Rondon is a Rule 5 Draft pick that has done everything but pitch on back-to-back days. With six of the seven spots filled, the last spot figures to be between Chris Rusin and Hisanori Takahashi. Either pitcher would give Sveum another lefty as well as a reliever that can pitch multiple innings.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers and Padres are the teams most active on Rick Porcello. The Orioles have also scouted Porcello, but the Red Sox are not currently pursuing him. Rosenthal did not report the Cubs as one of the teams currently in the mix for Rick Porcello.

Ken Rosenthal reported the Yankees are asking around about everybody.

According to a report from Patrick Mooney, Chris Rusin has moved up the Cubs’ starting pitching depth chart. A few weeks back, multiple reports had Drew Carpenter as the sixth starter in the Cubs system, in other words, if another starting pitcher got hurt, Carpenter would have been the first call-up from Triple-A Iowa. Mooney reported that Rusin “is on the radar as the potential No. 6 starter.” Rusin is still in the mix to break camp as the second lefty in the bullpen behind James Russell.

Casey Coleman is building a strong case for the bullpen according to the Sun-Times … but Coleman has no illusions about his odds of breaking camp with the team knowing the Cubs would have to create a spot for him on the 40-man roster.

All Major League teams will wear special ribbons on their uniforms in season openers to honor those lost in the Newtown tragedy.

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Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • triple

    Rusin has impressed me this spring… having said that, I think Takahashi will make the opening day roster in the bullpen as that will allow Rusin to continue to develop as a starter in minors. And you know we will be needing more starting pitchers as more injuries are inevitable.

  • Tom U

    A very happy birthday to Shawon Dunston. Former Cub and father of Cubs’ prospect Shawon Dunston Jr.

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      I remember seeing a pic like this of Dunston on the cover of a now defunct weekly sports rag called The National.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      Happy Birthday Shawon! Thanks for all the great memories. We may have no idea where it would end up but I’d still pay to watch him load up a throw from short.

      • Tom U

        Mark Grace always said that his heart would sink a little when he saw Dunston pound the ball in his glove before he threw.

        • Shawon O’Meter

          That’s awesome. If I was Grace I would’ve asked for a face shield and a net. Loved the way Dunston played.

        • jw

          Thanks for the laugh

          That’s a good anecdote Tom

      • Theboardrider

        Shawn was my favorite after The Hawk left…

  • paul john catanese

    I have watched the movie “Money Ball” five times now and
    am slowly getting the idea.
    While it looks like it has merit, what I don’t care for about the system is the fate of players. They have become numbers on the computer and are learning not to un pack their bags, as they may be gone the next day.
    I don’t know how much Mr. Epstein associates or cares for the individuals involved, but the end result is the same for all of them.
    What is paramount for me is the confusion it brings, I don’t know whether or not a player will be here today, tommorow or the next day.
    It’s difficult for the average fan to get a grip on who to root for knowing that they could be on the way out even as they read about them.
    It’s true that someday the system may bring about a consistant winner, then again that part of it depends on things beyond the method being used, a pulled hamstring, pebble in front of a ground ball, sun at an inappropiate time, I think the point is made that plain old luck plays a big part.
    I understand some sort of plan, since others have not worked needs to be in place, but this cold calculated way to go about baseball leaves me with a little more to be desired.
    I totaly agree with accountability with players getting a lot of dollars and not producing, they should be gone, what I don’t agree with is bringing players in based on some prior years of success before an injury,or players brought in simply becuase they are inexpensive and released by another team and something may have been missed in their ability that the Cubs can bring out in them. There is too many things that must go right to see a World Series.
    The one thing that stood out in the movie was “winning the last game of the season”.
    Patience may require a great deal of time before aquired.

    • DWalker

      You pretty well Identified the weakenss in the pure Moneyball concept, it rely’s soley on stats and takes the human element out. Since the events of that movie though, Baseball has focused more on the Moneyball concept than it did before. Why? Because every team looks for an edge. Some programs embraced it, others only half heartidly added a guy who could do stats besides his day job. The old cubs FO was that way, and it cost them, Badly. From a Moneyball approach, some of the worst signings Hendry made, could not be justified. Theo is more of a hybrid, I don’t think of him as a pure moneyball stats operator, more as a hybrid information junkie. From what I am getting from this front office, Theo absolutly CRAVES information. Scouting reports, video, stats, mental and physical reports, anything he can get his hands on. you notice he’s also beefed up the traditional scouting and video analyisis for every cubs affliated park? not what a pure stats guy would do. I think he does take mental factors into account, but he doesn’t weight them heavily. He figures at the majors, most guys are pro’s and should be treated as adults when it comes to possible trades.
      Thats why I look at theos flops, and I wonder what happened and how they fit into his make up? Lets take Crawford. A horrible signing that didn’t make sense. Nothing information wise supported that signing, and from a moneyball approach it was a total opposite. Either Theo went off the charts or another factor was in play. Lo and behold, information emerges that theo was given marching orders by management to sign Crawford. That makes much more sense, because no mattter how I look at it, Crawford does not make sense for theo. The Stewart trade was the exact opposite, on paper an excellent moneyball transaction, buy low, high reward mid risk for low ceiling bit players, ie perfect trade chips. In reality though, it seems that lack of, or bad information was likely the downfall on this trade. Probably both in evaluation of stewarts real condition and in evalaution of the cubs minor league system and value of the players in it and who could fill 3rd and when. Bad moves were certainly made. Mid season, two of the individuals who would have provided a lot of the information for that winter left the organization.
      Beans biggest problem was not his moneyball concept or information, it was his purse. Moneyball is about maximum effieciancy in finding undervalued players, but a lot more can be done with a larger purse and in the end, shoestring budget can only go so far.

      • Theboardrider

        I think you need a mixture of Moneyball tactics and human intuition. However for front offices, Moneyball has been a great addition overall in my opinion. Especially things like emphasis on OBP instead of pure batting average.

        • paul john catanese

          Agree with all of the response’s above,as mentioned I am still grasping the concept
          of it. Maybe it’s moving a bit fast for me, and maybe it is not moving fast enough, if that makes any sense.
          Hopeing for results faster is what I am looking for, but understanding or believe that it will take longer.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I think Moneyball was using statistics over scouting simply because the A’s had a lot of highly scouted draft busts at the time and Beane wanted a way to know what he had in the system instead of guesses. The book is an interesting read as it better explains the statistics part and parallels Beane’s own baseball career as a highly scouted projectable “can’t miss” prospect who failed vs. the stat angle. The movie doesn’t do a very good job explaining why the stats were so important. I’d read the book.

    • triple

      I like that movie more and more every time I watch it. I think it’s very present in the movie that it’s not just all the statistics, but also the human element. The mention of romanticism in baseball is very real. It embodies all the human, unexplainable, and emotional elements that are involved in the game that we can’t deny exist. I believe that same theme is very alive here on the CCO as we argue about players and their stats and their worthiness of being a cub or not. Ian Stewart is the perfect example!

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