The Arizona Fall League, September Call-Ups and Other Cubs News and Notes

With the Cubs season wrapping up just five weeks from Sunday, the front office will soon turn their attention to the off-season. Jed Hoyer confirmed on Saturday that Jorge Soler will be among as many as eight Cubs’ prospects to play in the upcoming Arizona Fall League (AFL).

Albert Almora is also expected to play in the AFL and there have been rumblings that Kris Bryant could also see time in the fall league to help make up for the month he missed between the draft and signing with the team. As for Javier Baez, the Cubs’ top prospect will not play in the Arizona Fall League this year.

The rosters for the upcoming AFL season are expected to be released this week.

September Call-Ups

The Cubs were not expected to call up any players that are not currently on the 40-man roster when rosters expand on September 1 according to reports earlier in the week. But a report from Carrie Muskat on Saturday night indicated “the team will likely add players who are not currently on the 40-man roster but are expected to be added this off-season.”

The Cubs have a full 40-man roster and will have to open spots for both Ryan Sweeney and Scott Baker, as the CCO reported on Saturday. Other players that could be added to the active roster and called up include J.C. Boscan, Dave Sappelt, Eduardo Sanchez and Brooks Raley.

Brooks Raley has put together a decent season in Iowa’s rotation but his value to the big league team could be as a lefty specialist out of the pen. While September is not a good way to gauge how effective a player can be, it would be a good time to take a look and see if there is something there to build on with Raley.

The Cubs should call-up RHP Alberto Cabrera for the final month of the season but they could delay his call-up and assign him to Tennessee to help the Smokies in the post-season.

Another player to keep an eye on is Justin Grimm. The big league coaching staff, especially Chris Bosio, might want to take a look at him during the final month of the season. The Cubs could use Grimm as a way to help limit Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood’s innings without officially shutting them down.

The Cubs have not mentioned the possibility of calling up Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters or Mike Olt. With the injuries and down seasons all three players have had, it might be better to send them home and let their off-seasons begin.

As for players not on the 40-man roster that could possibly be called up for a look in September, reports have not surfaced on who those players could be.

Logan Watkins

Jesse Rogers reported last week that Logan Watkins merits a look over the last few weeks of the season. Dale Sveum was upfront when Watkins was called up from Triple-A about his possible playing time. Darwin Barney is the Cubs’ everyday second baseman and Watkins’ best position is second base.

Sveum said that Watkins would play sparingly while he finishes the season on the big league roster.

Logan Watkins told Rogers that he doesn’t know what the Cubs have in mind for him. Watkins is taking his time with the big league team as a learning experience.

Cubs Rumors

According to Bruce Levine, Mike Olt should have a shot in the spring of being the Cubs’ everyday third baseman next season.

The Cubs face a decision with Nate Schierholtz according to the Sun-Times. The Cubs could decide to move him this winter or keep him around and give him more playing time next year.

Bruce Levine does not think Dioner Navarro will be back with the Cubs next season. The Cubs view Welington Castillo as their everyday catcher and Levine feels Navarro will sign with another team in the off-season. The Cardinals showed a lot of interest in Navarro just before the deadline.

Patrick Mooney reported last week that the Cubs will make a run at Shin-Soo Choo in the off-season, and Bruce Levine agrees.

News and Notes

Luis Valbuena was scheduled to report to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa on Saturday. Valbuena is expected to take coach-pitched batting practice as he rehabs from the right oblique strain that landed him on the disabled list on August 4. It does not appear Valbuena will be activated from the DL when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

According to a report from the Tribune, Dale Sveum and James Russell agree that fatigue is not the reason that Russell has struggled for the last month. Sveum blamed bad pitch selection as the reason for his latest game winning homer on Friday night. Russell did not agree.

Ryan Sweeney started his rehab in Mesa on Saturday with the AZL Cubs (Rookie League) and is expected to be activated on Sept. 1 when the rosters expand. As reported on Saturday, the Cubs will have to open a roster spot for Sweeney before he can be added to the active roster.

Jed Hoyer said on Saturday there is still time for Scott Baker to pitch this season and the Cubs are hoping he can make it back to the big leagues.

Mike Olt went 4-for-4 with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored on Saturday night in Iowa’s 8-5 win over Memphis.

Iowa activated RHP Chang-Yong Lim from the DL prior to Saturday night’s game. Lim pitched a scoreless inning with a walk and two strikeouts. Lim had been on the DL since August 13 with a right shoulder strain.

RHP Neil Ramirez was officially added to the Smokies’ roster on Saturday.

Andrew Cashner is looking to prove a point to the Cubs on Sunday and “shove it up their (blank)” according to the Sun-Times.

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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    A little touchy from Cashner. Hey man, you were inconsistent and injury prone in Chicago and got traded. It’s not like we screwed him.

    He got traded to the most beautiful city in the country with world-class weather. Also a great park for a young pitcher to minimize some mistakes while learning. He should be thanking us. We could have traded him to Toronto.

    Why the bad blood? I hope we put up an 8 spot on him.

    • Tony_Hall

      Read the article that was linked. He is using that the Cubs felt he would be a relief pitcher as a chip on his shoulder to prove them wrong.
      I say, good for him, nobody should want him to fail, just because he was traded from the Cubs. He is a good young pitcher with an electric arm and I hope he can start for a long time.

      • Sonate

        But like Theboardrider, I don’t understand the attitude. Baseball-reference.com assigns Cashner a WAR of 0.9 for this year. Rizzo, even with his down year, is given a WAR of 2.2. Rizzo recently turned 24. Cashner turns 27 in about 2 weeks. Despite Cashner’s performance (and his verbiage), I’ll take Rizzo. Hey, it’s a preference, not a put-down on Cashner.

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree.

        • Guest

          I hope Rizzo takes him years twice.

    • Tony_Hall

      And yes, today an 8 spot would be great as we should want him to fail today.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You are always rooting for players to fail.

        LOL

        • Tony_Hall

          I am always rooting for players to fail…..that would be you my friend.

          But even at that I believe you and I are not so much rooting for them to fail, as much as pointing out that they are failing when we do post stats.

          I don’t want ex Cubs to fail. Two ex. – Soriano and Garza I believe will put up similar numbers and be similar players to what they were here. They both didn’t become MVP and Cy Young candidates after leaving the Cubs, no matter how much people try to think that.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I have no grief against Cashner, Soriano, Garza. In fact, I want Soriano
            to hit the 30 HR and 100 RBI this year. That would be great.

            But I have to rib you whenever the opportunity arises….it doesn’t
            arise very often. : )

    • Ripsnorter1

      You’re right, Boardman. He caught a break.

      Some folks are too dumb to recognize a break when they get one.

    • Brp921

      Most guys try a little harder or have a little more motivation to play well against a team who traded them but Cashner seems to be taking it pretty personal. Sounds like he’s got a pretty big head.

      • Brp921

        After reading the article in the Sun Times I think I took the shove it remark a little out of context. He readily admitted he didn’t pitch well in Chicago and said he wanted to prove to everyone he has what it takes to be a starter. The remark was a little over the top, but not as bad as I initially thought. He should remember what Theo or Jed Hoyer said at the time of the trade. “You have to give up talent to get talent.” They wanted Rizzo and San Diego wouldn’t give him up unless we gave them Cashner.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I would keep Navarro. He’s the best offensive catcher we have.

    • 07GreyDigger

      But if Navarro wants to play full time why would we stay? I think its more up to him than what they want to do. I’m sure they want him to stay.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I am wondering if the Pirates will fall down to 3rd in the division.
    Marte on the DL now.

    The only hope the Pirates have is Dusty managing the Reds.

    • Tony_Hall

      The difference between 2nd and 3rd is being at home for the 1 game playoff. The Wild Card gives you a chance, but teams all want to win their division. It should be a good last month or so.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I van’t believe they didn’t make a move at the deadline. Come grab Scheirholtz!

    • Dorasaga

      I watched two PIT games this week. They couldn’t win at tied game into the 9th. Something not clicking for their batters (they were only slightly above average after all, by Ops and Woba), and their setup guys were erratic lately.

  • Brp921

    Olt had a good day. Is there any word on how he’s doing with the concussion symptoms?

    • That One Guy

      Other than last night, he has been miserable since joining Iowa.

  • That One Guy

    I hope Rizzo takes him yard a couple of times.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    in other news, Jose Ascanio and Sean Gallagher also can’t wait to shove it up the Cubs’ (blank)…

    • CubbyDenCritic

      list also includes…Janie Moyer……..Bill Caudill…….Willie Hernandez…….Scott Fletcher…….the other guy in the Tyler Colvin trade……..Sam Fuld…..Tony Campana……the throw player in the Harden trade……..

  • Denver Mike

    Ken Rosenthal reported that prior to the season the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw were close on a 7yr/$210M deal. I never thought he would be leaving the Dodgers in the first place, but at that kind of money you can cross him off your wishlists!

    • John_CC

      That is completely insane. As good as Kershaw is, 7 years is nuts. $30M is nuts too, but it was bound to happen and why not the best pitcher and the freaking LA moneybags? Kershaw has been in ML since he was 20, I think. 5 more seasons of 200+ innings and what does he look like then? Halliday?

      • Brp921

        As long as fans keep paying the price salaries will continue to escalate. If and when the fans get fed up and the money’s no longer there things will balance out.

        • John_CC

          Like I said, the $30M per will happen and I don’t care, apparently they found a few golden cows in LA. 7 years on any player older than 21, let alone a pitcher, is guaranteed to end badly.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Supply and Demand……….blame the insanity of baseball owners…and the Greed of Agents & Players…….it is the fans who pay this guys salary and the ad’s on the media & at the ball park.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        If that is what Kershaw gets then Ejax contract was falling into place.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    what happens if Cashner drills Rizzo?…..
    nice to see Olt have a good game…..rest and be ready for Spring Training….
    can we stop the Scott Baker reports?……it is like going back to the Angel Guzman days…..
    Maybe the Cubs will waive Navarro just
    to if they get something?……
    I think Theo will trade Schierholtz this winter based on his high trade value…….maybe in some time of large trade package deal for pitching……might include Russell and/or Barney?

    • Tom U

      Great call on the Angel Guzman reference. I was covering Daytona when Jim Hendry’s obsession with Guzman screwed up the development of pitchers like Dae-Eun Rhee and Jeffry Antigua.

  • paulcatanese

    Campana scored the winning run last night from first base. Had 5 walks and 1 for five. Starting again today.

    • Tom U

      Another favorite of your’s, Paul, Giuseppe Papaccio was 1-for-4 with a home run last night. He’s now batting .277 for Kane County.

      • paulcatanese

        Thank you Tom. It may take some time to develop favorites with the new Cubs, but am sure they will come about. Bryant, Vogelbach,and Baez will draw a lot of interest in the near future.

    • triple

      That doesn’t really tell the whole story though. I decided to turn on this game when I saw that they were in the 17th inning. Ryno got a big spoonful of “learning how to manage your bullpen in an extra innings game.” Casper Wells (RF) became the pitcher to start the top of the 18th. Got the first 2 guys out and then crumbled against Campana. I guess his speed really scared him just standing in the batters box. Then Campana didn’t even attempt to steal until there were 2 strikes on the next batter. Actually Wells showed a pretty good pickoff move to 1st! But then Adam Eaton doubled while Campana stole 2nd, so he easily scored on the play. That’s when Wells completely fell apart. Four runs later and Wells was back in RF, while Darin Ruf moved back to LF (where he was playing until Wells pitched), and John McDonald (utility IF) who was just playing LF for the first time since ’10 became the new pitcher. Just to recap that, you gotta love the triple switch where the RF who is pitching goes back to RF, sending the RF’er back to his LF position, and the utility IF playing LF becomes the pitcher!

  • paulcatanese

    And Campana one hops the wall in right for a triple to start the game.