The Draft is Around the Corner … and Other Cubs News and Notes

As Theo Epstein has said, the most important day for the Chicago Cubs is just 48 hours away. The 2013 first year player draft begins on Thursday and the Cubs are in a position where they cannot afford to miss with the second pick in the draft.

Most feel the Cubs will take one of the highly touted pitchers. But if the Cubs pass on Mark Appel or Jonathan Gray, the Cubs could land power hitting third baseman Kris Bryant, who many think could end up in one of the corner outfield spots. And third baseman Colin Moran from North Carolina is not out of the equation either. Of course, the Astros could select one of the four, as expected, and reduce the Cubs choices. Plus, the news that Jonathan Gray tested positive for a banned stimulant could have an impact on which way the Cubs go on Thursday.

Jason McLeod indicated on Sunday the decision will come down to which player they feel will have the most significant impact.

After the first round, the Cubs are expected to focus on pitching in the upcoming draft, the same as they did a year ago, in an attempt to fill the pitching void in the system.

Jason McLeod said Sunday that the Cubs have not only spent time on which player they will take with the second pick, but the organization has spent a lot of time on the players they could select with picks no. 41 and no. 75.

Dustin Geiger and Kyle Hendricks

The Cubs named their minor league player and pitcher of the month for May on Monday.

Dustin Geiger was named the Cubs’ minor league player of the month. Geiger has been tearing up the Florida State League and is hitting .303/.370/.478 with 15 doubles, one triple and six home runs in 54 games with a .848 OPS and 47 RBI. Geiger earned FSL Player of the Week honors in the middle of the month (May 13-19).

Jason McLeod spoke highly of Geiger on Sunday. McLeod likes Geiger and pointed out he probably gets a little lost being in the same lineup with Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.

Kyle Hendricks was acquired from the Rangers along with Christian Villanueva for Ryan Dempster at the trade deadline last year and has thrown the ball very well this season. Hendricks improved to 6-2 in 11 starts with his complete game shutout win on Monday night. Hendricks has given up 57 hits while walking 14 and striking out 55 in 65 1/3 innings this season (2.20 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP).

Release from the Cubs

Steve Clevenger

Steve Clevenger has been on the shelf since April 14 with a left oblique strain. Clevenger swung through the final pitch from Santiago Casilla to end the game on April 13 against the Giants and grabbed his back as he swung the bat. Clevenger hit the ground and did not move for several minutes after the game had concluded. Once he could move, Clevenger had to be helped off the field. Clevenger was placed on the 60-day DL the next day.

Clevenger has been rehabbing at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa and started a rehab assignment on Monday with the I-Cubs. Clevenger started behind the plate and hit fifth. Clevenger went 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI in his first game back. Clevenger told the local media prior to the game that he was feeling 100 percent.

Minor Moves

The Cubs announced several moves down on the farm. The Smokies placed Tim Torres on the 7-day DL and Pin-Chieh Chen was promoted from Low-A Kane County to take his place on the Smokies roster.

LHP Austin Kirk was promoted from High-A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee. Kirk will take Matt Loosen’s spot in the Smokies’ rotation. Matt Loosen was demoted to Daytona.

The I-Cubs will have a new face in their pen. Recently DFA’d RHP Alex Burnett cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Burnett accepted his assignment and was expected to report to Iowa late Monday night.

News and Notes

According to a report from Des Moines, Josh Vitters is expected to be out at least another week, possibly longer. Vitters is on the DL for the third time this season with a strained muscle in his rib cage.

Shawn Camp is expected to throw a bullpen session at some point over the next two days while the Cubs are in Anaheim. Camp has been on the DL since May 22 with a sprained right big toe.

Carlos Marmol made a little history on Sunday. Marmol became the first Cubs’ reliever to walk three batters in consecutive games since Scott Sanders in August of 1999.

Javier Baez and Jorge Soler continue to impress according to a report from ESPN Chicago but the Cubs have not discussed promoting either player yet.

Kirk Gibson thinks Jeff Samardzija should shut up and pitch according to a report from FOX Sports.

The Cubs have not announced when Kyuji Fujikawa will undergo his Tommy John surgery as of Sunday night.

According to a report from the LA Times, Milton Bradley was convicted of spousal battery on Monday. Bradley was taken into custody and bail was set at $250,000. Bradley is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2 and could face more than seven years in jail.

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Quote of the Day

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

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  • Ripsnorter1

    With Gray testing positive for Adderall, perhaps the Cubs are more likely to draft him. They could use this as a bargaining chip to lower his price…..

    Would the Cubs consider giving Marmol his unconditional release when Mr. Shawn Camp returns from his “toe holiday?” Can we afford two of these on the same roster?

  • Tony_Hall

    How would this guy look in LF at AGE 25 for us?

    Domonic Brown
    17 HR’s
    42 RBI’s

    To think, some people thought Soriano was too much for this guy, if we were paying most of his salary. Now it looks like we should have paid most of Soriano’s salary, plus thrown in another prospect or two.

    I am sure glad Domonic Brown is on both of my fantasy teams this year.

    • Theboardrider

      I’ve thought the same thing Tony! What a trade that would have been. I never understood why people didn’t want to do this deal in a heartbeat.

      • 07GreyDigger

        I think the Phillies didn’t want to do this deal to be honest. Didn’t want to give him up for Soriano and who could blame them!

        • DWalker

          Thought they came out and said they never had a deal even close with the cubs on this

          • 07GreyDigger

            I think that’s as far as it went. What do you want for Soriano?

            Domonic Brown.

            Buzz off!

          • Theboardrider

            LOL! Probably so…

        • John_CC

          Right, I don’t think this was ever more than a media pipe-dream trade rumor.

    • Ray Ray

      Yes he has adjusted his long swing and is having a hell of a first half. Again…First half. Not ready to crown him one of the top RF in the NL yet.

      • Tony_Hall

        I don’t believe I was crowning his A$$ (to quote ole Denny Green), but saying who would you rather have, I would rather have Brown.

        He plays LF too.

    • Ray Ray

      Guess who this player is Tony. He has played 15 years in the majors.These are his career averages.

      .273 Avg 40 2B 34 HR 95 RBI and 25 SB

      Hint- It is someone who you constantly diminish and say how easy he is to pitch to. How he offers no protection for out #3 hitter and Castro is learning from him. Lol. I wish we had one player capable of putting up this type of career but ye of the small sample size.

      • John_CC

        I don’t think anyone would argue that Soriano has not had a helluva career. He has.

        Stats are funny, on one hand you can have the “small sample” problem on the other the “career average.” Career average is a great line to assess just that, a guy’s career. But we all know the a player that has a relatively long and prosperous “peak” during his career, and continues to play through his decline years will look a lot better on paper than the last years of his playing days actually are. I’d say Soriano peaked in 2006, was greatly rewarded for it by Jim Hendry – who got a couple more great years out him, and has been in decline the last 5.

        He has not reached his career average in HR once with the Cubs, and has eclipsed his RBI average only once since. Obviously the SB average has been rapidly declining every year for past 7.

        I guess my point is, that as a player ages and his bat and legs slow down, the free-swinging days of youth catch up to him fast. So the question is, is it better for a young hitter to learn to lay off the low and away pitches that he can reach once in awhile when he is still quick enough and pile up the counting stats, or learn to lay off them and hopefully become a hitter than sustain his OPS throughout a long career?

        Since we are obviously talking about Castro, it is important to note that while he is a very talented hitter when it comes to making contact, he does not have the power or speed that Soriano did. Maybe it will develop, I hope it does, he is still young enough.

    • cc002600

      You don’t really believe the Phillies would have given up Brown for Sori last year, do you ?

      I said this last winter….Soriano could have hit 50 HR’s and drove in 150 RBI last year, and it wouldn’t matter much. Nobody is giving up much for a guy that is almost done with his career with bad knees.

      The very BEST you would get is a mid level prospect, and even that would be a stretch.

      • Tony_Hall

        That is why the trade talks never went anywhere, but many on here didn’t even think Brown for Soriano was fair, yet if we would have upped the ante, we may have been able to make a deal.

        • Dorasaga

          That also begs the question, what’s Soriano’s “true worth” now, compared to all available LF, by objective measures such as stats; win share, salary structure, etc.??

    • Dorasaga

      Talking about fantasy… nay, we’ll keep it private and among the league participants ourselves. 😉

    • A_Gret

      I was just talking about this the other day! I was in full support of the rumors and talk of this potential trade but noone seemed to be with me. I think everyone got caught up in the fact that he struggled early in his ML career but forgot that he is only 25….

  • Neil

    From Jon Heyman: Oklahoma University: all our athletes are subject to NCAA drug testing, and jonathan gray is eligible to compete.

  • 07GreyDigger

    I see Clevenger is on a rehab assignment, but what do they do with him? They have MORE than enough left handed batters on the roster.

    • paulcatanese

      Good question, but isn’t he better than Navarro
      at defense? That would still give the Cubs the original thought they had alternating with Castillo.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Still. Navarro is hitting too good to dump and it’s too early to make a trade.

        • DWalker

          He’s also a switch hitter on a left dominated lineup

    • Neil

      When Spring Training began, the plan was to have Clevenger
      catch everyday in Iowa and learn from JC Boscan. When Stewart got hurt, the
      plan changed due to lack of options. I would think the best thing at this point
      would be to activate Clevenger from the DL when they can and if everyone is
      still healthy, option him to Iowa to get regular at bats and work on his catching.

  • Ray Ray

    With the draft approaching on Thursday….the Cubs have a former 1st round pick who is tearing it up. Any guesses???

    2007 1st round pick # 48

    Here are his current stats

    .321 Avg .392 OBP 8 HR and 35 RBI

    • John_CC

      No idea, please tell before I have to look it up.

      • Ray Ray

        I agree. I am not saying he will continue with this pace. Coming out of Auburn he had the hit tool. There were questions about his catching and being able to stick there. He is doing a pretty good job at 3rd and so far is doing better than Vitters who was drafted much earlier. He was sent in the package for Rich Harden. Sean Gallagher was the main piece in the trade.

        • Neil

          And if I remember correctly he was the comp pick the Cubs
          received for the Dodgers signing Juan Pierre before the Cubs had a chance not to
          offer him salary arbitration

          • Ray Ray

            I think that is correct.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I agree with John here. Look at his career numbers, majors or minors. Nothing really suggests that when they traded him he would have amounted too much. After last season, no one in baseball could have predicted those numbers, not even the Athletics.

    • Theboardrider

      Josh Donaldson!

  • oldanddisgusted

    I personally think that Kirk Gibson is one of the best managers in MLB. If he thinks the Shark should just shut up and pitch, then I agree. I think the Shark was letting his frustrations get the best of him. As Gibson said, he’s pitching very will this year. He also reflected what everyone knows, hang in the game while we get his pitch count up, and then take advantage of the bullpen. Not just Smardj’, but most of the starting pitchers on the Cubs. The way I see it, the Cubs only have three weaknesses this year, relief pitching, hitting and fielding. Other than that, the starters are looking good.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Three big weaknesses wouldn’t you say? At least they’re fielding is better than the White Sox!

    • paulcatanese

      For whatever the Shark had said, coming from
      Gibson (ex college football player to the Shark,
      ex college football player) I think the Shark may listen.

    • John_CC

      Personally, I like the fact that Shark brings a fierce attitude onto the hill. Zambrano did it, but he couldn’t control his emotions. Samadrzija does control it.

      Recently someone compared Samardzija to Starsburg and said they would much rather face Strasburg because Shark is simply scarier to face. That football attitude is why. I hope he keeps it, I actually don’t worry about him ever loosing it.

      As Paul noted below, Gibby was football as well. And quite an aggressive and fierce baseball player too. He should try to think back to when he was 28 years old and playing ball. As if he never tried to intimidate other players or talk crap! Maybe he should shut-up manage his own team?

      • paulcatanese

        Good point.

      • Dorasaga

        So true. I like competitiveness. I’m that sort of guy who’s not afraid to be vocal at meetings within my firm. But no manager enjoyed such “attitude,” and I couldn’t stick long enough with them. Shark might want to pick his fight. He’s not as “established” as himself sees it. It’s too early to make comments regarding any opponent pitcher. Batters, maybe once a while, for they are his true foes facing his mound, but not Ian Kennedy.

    • cc002600

      “only” 3 weaknesses ?


      “Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln ?”

      • triple

        Just think how bad we’d be with 4 weaknessess!

  • DWalker

    you know, aside from the clubs general perfomance, I really miss last years eagerness for call ups. Last year, we were all clamoring for Rizzo, Jackson and Vitters to get called up; even if Jackson and Vitters weren’t really ready. Now, we don’t have anyone we are really cheering for for a realistic call up (Baez and Soler are both not realistic this year) as a community . I miss it, but I am also afraid its going to put even more pressure on whoever the cubs pick as they will be latched onto as the BIG NAME probably closest to being called up, even if they really do need a full year + in the minors. I don’t have a lot of confidence in B Jax but I really hope he puts it together and at least makes enough noise to take some pressure off the new kid as a potential callup.

    • Tony_Hall

      Just shows how bare the cupboard was when Theo took over in the minors.

      • Ripsnorter1

        He dealt away, or left unprotected, the few prospects there were to ensure that the cupboard was totally empty.

        • 07GreyDigger

          Like who?

          • Dorasaga

            Maybe unproven minor leaguers like C.Carpenter (DL-ed twice since traded to Boston), one-year wonders like Colvin plus LeMahieu?

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    I still say pick the kid from San Diego if he’s there at 2. That’s pretty good potential impact talent on the everyday lineup regardless of what collegiate conference he hits in right now. And according to scouts reports doesn’t he have a strong makeup? The Cubs Way makeup ala Almora? With all respect to Gray and Appel here I think the Cubs can still find some well equipped arms in rounds 2-5. Bryant’s college polish should put him on track with Baez Almora Johnson Vogelbach and the others on course for 2015.

  • Neil

    From Des Moines: Huge news for Cubs fans: Iowa Cubs manager Marty Pevey said prospect Junior Lake is expected to join the team on Thursday.

    • John_CC

      Good news indeed.

      • Theboardrider

        Heck yeah!

    • DWalker

      Thats good, I really am glad hes back and moved up to Iowa, but can he handle it? He’s a free swinger like Castro who has struggled a bit but did pretty good late ron last year. He isn’t really a shortstop anymore, so is he going to be playing 3rd base? His bat doesn’t profile as well there as SS, and while he has a cannon of an arm, he also has a lack of control, commiting 32 errors last year. Now, if he pulls it all together, he could be our thrid base or a decent utility, but I actually have to wonder if with his plate approach he’s not another member of the trade bait club. If he comes in as SS, I think he’s trade bait. if he’s at 3rd, he’s going to be contending with Vitters and may have a spot on the rostor going forward.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Junior Lake = pack your bags Stewart!

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    That’s great news about Lake. Lets get that guy in the batters box and let him hit!!