It’s Decision Time for the Cubs as Opening Day Nears

The Cubs extremely long stay in Arizona is just about over. The equipment truck leaves for Chicago on Wednesday and the team breaks camp after Thursday’s finale at HoHoKam Park … Opening Day is just around the corner.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs might not finalize their Opening Day roster until Sunday. The Cubs have two spots left to be filled, one on the bench and one in the bullpen. Steve Clevenger appears to be the leader in the clubhouse for the final spot on the bench. Dale Sveum has liked what he has seen from Clevenger at the plate and in the field this spring.

Dale Sveum told the media that Clevenger “has swung the bat better than anybody in camp.”

The Cubs are watching the waiver wire for players that could fill the role as well. And some feel that the Cubs will go another route and option Clevenger down to Triple-A Iowa in order to catch every day.

Reports prior to the weekend stated that the Cubs were looking to finalize the roster before the team broke camp on Thursday. But plans have apparently changed.

Hisanori Takahashi is seen as the favorite to land the last spot in the bullpen. The Cubs would have to add him to the 40-man roster, but the veteran lefty has not pitched his way out of job of late where Zach Putnam and Cory Wade, the other two relievers in camp fighting for the last spot, have.

So will the Cubs wait out the waiver wire and try to find another Shawn Camp or begin the season with Steve Clevenger and Hisanori Takahashi on the roster? It should be an interesting final five days of Spring Training.

Chris Young

Chris Young filed the paperwork to opt out of his minor league contract with the Nationals. The Nationals have 24 hours to add Young to their Major League roster, but reportedly they are going to let Young become a free agent. Young has been solid this spring and the Cubs were among several teams that had scouts at his start on Monday.

Ken Rosenthal reported that nine teams had scouts at Chris Young’s start on Monday night … the Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Indians, Mets, Cardinals, Red Sox, Brewers and Cubs. Rosenthal mentioned that the scouts in attendance were not necessarily focused on Young, and they could be there for other reasons.

Chris Young posted a 4-9 record in 20 starts for the Mets last season with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Young has a relationship with Jed Hoyer from their days together in San Diego.

Jose Dore and Minor League Moves

The Cubs made several moves down on the farm over the past week. A report surfaced out of San Diego on March 19 that the Cubs had acquired minor leaguer Jose Dore from the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. The Cubs confirmed the report on the transactions page.

The Padres selected Jose Dore in the eighth round of the 2010 draft and signed him to a $450,000 bonus. Dore turned 21 on February 9 and can play first base as well as left and right field. Dore played only nine games last season after playing a combined 98 games in 2011 at Low-A Eugene and High-A Fort Wayne.

Jose Dore’s Page on Baseball-Reference

The Cubs released two minor league pitchers according to Baseball America, RHP Ryan Hartman and RHP Su-Min Jung.

The Cubs’ selected the Mt. Zion High School product in the 16th round of the 2010 draft. Ryan Hartman posted a 1-1 record in 11 games last year in Rookie Ball with a 8.10 ERA and a 2.34 WHIP (13 strikeouts, nine walks and 30 hits allowed in 16 2/3 innings)

Ryan Hartman’s Page on Baseball-Reference

The Cubs signed Su-Min Jong in 2008 for $510,000. The Korean right-hander was once considered one of the top prospects in the system (Baseball America ranked No. 30 prior to the 2009 season). The soon-to-be 23-year old (April 1) posted a combined 1-1 record in 17 games, two starts, in Rookie ball and with the Boise Hawks last year (3.14 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP).

Su-Min Jung’s Page on Baseball-Reference

June Draft

With Kyle Lohse signing with the Brewers on Monday, the draft order is now set. The Cubs pick second in June’s draft (June 6 – June 8) behind the Astros then again at No. 41 and have three picks in the first 75.

Cubs’ first three selections in the 2013 draft:

  • First Round – 2
  • Second Round – 41
  • Third Round – 75

The A’s have the last selection (106) in the comp round. The Cubs fourth round selection would be No. 108.

Full 2013 MLB Draft Order

News Bits

Scott Baker met with the media on Monday and called his setback a speed bump. Baker said he felt great during all of his throwing sessions leading up to his first Cactus League start on March 17. The Cubs have not put a timetable on when Baker could join the Cubs’ rotation. Baker has been shut down for a month and will be re-evaluated at that point to determine the next step in his rehab. Baker said he is not a five-percenter.

Dale Sveum is happy with the way things have played out this spring. Theo Epstein is also happy with several of the young players that have not received as much publicity as Javier Baez and Jorge Soler. Epstein thinks Dan Vogelbach is going to have a big year and likes the deep group of infielders in the system such as Jeimer Candelario, Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez and Carlos Penalver. Epstein added that pitchers Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn are off to good starts this spring.

The Cubs have to be smarter on the basepaths this season according to Dale Sveum.

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Quote of the Day

"Pitching is the cornerstone of most championship teams." – Roger Craig

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Chris Young could fit right into our staff. He’s been injured a lot. He hasn’t been healthy since 2007.

    • Theboardrider

      If you can get him on a good deal, he would be low risk, high reward. If he stays healthy you’ve got a great piece to flip at the deadline and if he doesn’t, well don’t sign him in the first place unless you can get him on a deal that won’t cause you to lose any sleep.

      You have to remember, they aren’t signing guys to win this year. They are signing guys such as Edwin Jackson and Scott Baker to be in the rotation in 2014 and beyond; most likely sliding down the order to a #4 or 5 spot. And they are signing guys like Feldman to flip at the deadline much like they did with Maholm. So far the plan has worked close to perfectly.

    • paul john catanese

      While I imagine you’re post is toungue in cheek, I agree with what you are saying.
      No team can keep signing injured players, has been players with the hope of a miracle turn around, and pitchers with no forseeable future and hope to win a World Series.
      While they may make the playoffs, that is no gurantee of even getting to the series. The idea that they will wait around until minor league signings make it even though they look very good is very suspect.
      “Money Ball” Oakland has knocked at the door, but still cannot breach the final nail in the coffin, these types of players can only give so much, as even with career years, they still did not have the final talent to push forward at the end.
      The injury factor is always in play (as the Cubs are finding out) and so many unforseen things that may happen can stall the process.
      I believe that there is no solid prediction for a World Series this year , next or the year after, it takes a great deal of luck to achomplish that feat.
      The White Sox did it (hitless wonders) and that was pure luck.
      No matter what anyone says, prior association with the front office does get people signed, that may be good, but it also may be bad, but it does exist.

      • Tony_Hall

        Paul – Just imagine if Oakland had been able to keep the players that they wanted to keep and still kept spinning of the others….do you think they would have had a better chance if they didn’t have to sell off all their best players, because they can’t afford them. Just imagine if a team used their system AND was able to afford to keep the difference makers, that team would be pretty good, year after year.

        Now if only we could get our Chicago Cubs management to do this, we could be a great team in a few years and be good year after year. Yes we would bring in lots of short term players who are not the elite of the free agent market, and trade off the ones with value, while letting the rest move one that have no value. If only we could have a front office that understands the long term planning that this would take….

        • paul john catanese

          Agree Tony, Beane’s hands were tied right from the start, and also true if they were able to keep the difference makers.
          Having said that, Beane did one great job, and did not have the advantage of a Ricketts that owns the Club.
          The Cubs have the best of both worlds, good front office and owner, lets all hope it works out sooner than later.

      • Tony_Hall

        As far as prior associations with the front office getting people signed. This is true of ALL 30 teams. This is true of all businesses and companies all over. People tend to know what and who they know and will weight that over what they don’t know. This isn’t unique with the Cubs that’s for sure.

  • Tom U

    According to Jon Heyman, IF Nick Green was sent down to minor league camp by the Marlins, and could opt to be a free agent.

    Green has previous ties to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

    • Tony_Hall

      He bats right handed. Gonzalez would be kept over Nick Green.

      • Tom U

        I agree Tony. This is just one of those things that anyone and everyone that management has a previous tie to has to be considered.

        • Tony_Hall

          I don’t believe that anyone and everyone tied to management’s past has to be considered. Green is 34 years old and nothing says he can play MLB. I don’t believe they will consider a past player unless they feel he can help the 25 man roster or fill a hole at AAA. Now sometimes teams will give a player, they have a past with, an opportunity to play as NRI or in the minors to give them a shot to catch on with another team. I think that is a good thing about baseball.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think they’re looking for another Luis Valbuena. Bats left-handed and can play all over the infield. If they do keep Clevenger up, won’t he have to pass through waivers, if he gets sent down? He’d never make it through.

      • Tom U

        Clevenger has options available.

  • calicub

    I have to imagine having another japanese pitcher in the bullpen would be extremely helpful to Fujikawa’s assimilation to the US

  • thebaseballguy

    Tim Saunders desevers WAY more publicity and credit than What he is getting. This kid wasnt recruited by a single colege. Hevwent to marietta, set about every record, 2 time all american and national champion and he is a kid that knows how to workbfor everything and that’s the problem with athletes no a days. They are all spoon fed and used to things being given tob them. He’s been the underdog and overlooked all his lifevand he has the work ethic, mind set and attitude and he needs to start getting more respect and attention. Baez and all other top prospects have nothing on thos kid.Hecdeserves more attention

    • Tony_Hall

      Saunders has been getting noticed quite a bit and was promoted from Rookie league straight to Peoria and then to Daytona last year. Not exactly holding this guy back.

      Baez has a lot on this kid as he has a ceiling of a future All-Star type player and Saunders’s ceiling is more of a utility player or short term starter in the majors as a ceiling.

    • Tom U

      thebaseballguy, just stick with us here at the CCO. Through our coverage, our readers were alerted to the progress of Sanders last season, and he was named our Short Season Player of the Year.

      Sanders then won our primary fan poll, and is the current leader in our final poll.

  • Neil

    This was brought up on Sunday, but …

    Brewers sign Yuniesky Betancourt

  • Neil

    Mets are talking to Chris Young according to Jim Bowden

  • SomeGuy27

    Apropos of nothing but this guy David Adams just got released by the Yankees, He has shown to be a decent contact hitter w/2B power and will walk. Downside is injuries (Ankle/back) and age (25). Drafted as a 2B but will most likely have to move to 3B. Not MLB ready yet but could help stock pile at a position of weakness in the system.

  • Tinkers to Evers to Chance released their ticket findings for 2013. Cubs have 5th highest ticket at $98. No other team in history lost 100 games but drew 2.8M attendance. Remember those numbers as the cubs begin year two of losing on purpose.

    • triple

      I think the phrase “losing on purpose” can be perceived in many different ways. It’s not like these guys are Shoeless Joe’s teammates. And I’d love to see you in the Cub’s clubhouse and tell them that you think they are “losing on purpose!” I guarantee that the 25 guys on this team are playing to win.