Cubs Sign OF Casper Wells to Minor League Contract, Release OF Dave Sappelt

According to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Cubs signed outfielder Casper Wells to a minor league contract. Wells’ deal should include a non-roster invite to Spring Training so he can compete with Aaron Cunningham for a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster

The Cubs cut ties with outfielder Dave Sappelt, which should not come as a surprise. Sappelt was acquired along with Travis Wood and IF Ronald Torreyes from the Reds for Sean Marshall in December of 2011. Sappelt was not able to get his career on track in the Cubs’ organization. Sappelt voiced his displeasure with playing in the Pacific Coast League and the writing was on the wall that the Cubs would move on from Sappelt when he was designated for assignment on Sept. 3 then outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Sappelt hit .257/.310/.361 with nine doubles and two home runs in 57 games over parts of two seasons with the Cubs.

The Cubs also signed right handed pitchers Paolo Espino and Carlos Pimentel and shortstop Jeudy Valdez to minor league contracts … and the Cubs have acknowledged the signing of infielder Chris Valaika.

Casper Wells spent the 2013 season in Oakland, the South Side of Chicago and Philadelphia. The 29-year old veteran outfielder hit only .155/.211/.169 with one double in 41 games for the three teams. Wells owns a career slash line of .248/.329/.450 in 143 games, 357 plate appearances, against southpaws during his big league career.

Casper Wells’ Page on Baseball-Reference

The Indians selected Paolo Espino in the tenth round of the 2006 draft out of Pendleton High School in Bradenton, FL. Espino has been used as a starter and a reliever during his seven-year minor league career. Espino was 6-11 in 32 games, 21 starts, at the Double-A and Triple-A levels last season with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

Paolo Espino’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Carlos Pimentel has spent the last seven seasons in the Rangers’ system but does not turn 24 years old until Dec. 1. Pimentel has been used as a starter and a reliever and posted a 8-7 record in 22 games, 21 starts, for Double-A Frisco last season with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Pimentel made six appearances out of Round Rock’s pen at the Triple-A level and finished three of those games (1.59 ERA, 1.32 WHIP). Pimentel posted better than a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio for the first time last year and could be on the verge of figuring things out.

Carlos Pimentel’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod are very familiar with Jeudy Valdez from the time they spent in San Diego. Valdez has been in the Padres’ system for the last eight seasons but is only 24 years old. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound shortstop has not played above the Double-A level and his .251/.300/.406 in 125 games for San Antonio in 2013 with 29 doubles, five triples and 10 home runs. Valdez has played short, second and third base during his pro career with a majority of the time spent at shortstop.

Jeudy Valdez’s Page on Baseball-Reference

The Cubs have signed the following players to minor league contracts this winter:

  • OF Aaron Cunningham
  • SS Walter Ibarra
  • C Eli Whiteside
  • IF Chris Valaika
  • OF Casper Wells
  • C Daniel Canela
  • RHP Alan Oaks
  • RHP Paolo Espino
  • RHP Carlos Pimentel
  • IF Jeudy Valdez

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  • Tom U

    In the past thread, a question was asked as to what was ever seen in Sappelt to be included in the Marshall trade.

    In 2010, Sappelt was named both Southern League MVP (the same league that includes the Cubs’ Double-A team, the Tennessee Smokies) and the Cincinnati Reds’ Minor League Hitter of the Year.

    In 2011, the season before the trade, Sappelt hit .313 in 74 games for Triple-A Louisville before being called to the Reds, Sappelt then hit .243 in 38 games for the Reds, for an overall .295 average for the season.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Both Ronald Torreyes and Dave Sappelt fell off of an offensive cliff when they came over
      to the Chicago Cubs organization. Torreyes was a .360 hitter when he came, and immediately
      became a .264 hitter. Sappelt was a .300 hitter, and suddenly, once he became Cubs’ property, became
      a .255 hitter in AAA of the PCL. In addition, all the power was gone.

      What gives? Our hitting instructors?

      • CubbyDenCritic

        “Lack of” hitting instructors !

      • Tom U

        I don’t have the answers to that. What I do know, and as Neil pointed out, is that at times, Sappelt was his own worst enemy.

        However, Sappelt hasn’t been the first Cubs minor-leaguer to be unhappy about their standing in the organization. Young men don’t always make the best decisions, especially when they are frustrated. Whether you believe the frustration was justified is a matter of opinion.

        • SuzyS

          If, indeed, Sappelt played with plantar fascitis last season…then that would surely explain his poor showing.
          However, I agree with the decision to release him.

      • Tom U

        Rip the one red flag that I saw, and reported on, for Torreyes was that while he hit .356 for Single-A Dayton, it was only in 67 games. That is less than half of a full minor league season (140 games), and there was no evidence of him being on the disabled list, or any preseason injury. The big question was Why? I searched the internet at the time, and was unable to find an answer.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Yes, but the previous year he hit .370 and slugged .564 for Cincinnati in
          399 PA. I don’t know why he fell off of a cliff like he did.

    • Tom U

      One PS on the Sappelt release, Sappelt Tweeted several weeks ago that he played most of last season with Plantar Fasciitis.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        I had to look up what “Plantar Fasciitis” was…..at first I thought it was a team in the Mexican League and Sappelt got loaned out by Iowa Cubs……but wikipedia said it is tissue issue with the bottom of the foot……….I was never that good with medical terms……..if my foot had an injury, I just tell people I have a bo bo.

        • Tom U

          Cubby, if an NFL player has Plantar Fasciitis, he usually loses a big chunk of his season. The Bulls Joakim Noah suffered from the condition last season also.

          • Dorasaga

            I didn’t know that. Always thought Noah was an overrated first-rounder who can’t stay fully healthy throughout any season now. Forgive my critical digression.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I’ve had it. It’s very painful.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Catcher Brian McCann signing with Yankees for $85 million.

    • GaryLeeT

      Yeah, I laughed when some people suggested the Yankees were going to have to rebuild the farm system, and shed some contracts, then struggle to be relevant in the AL East.in the near future. I guess it’s hard to imagine the Yankees doing what they do, when our team operates a 60.6 million dollar payroll (per Baseball Reference) like last year’s

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Yankees are all about spending $$$$$$ on players…………..they are looking for three starting pitchers…….they believe they can recoup some that A-Rod money……..New Yawkers would never stand for the Yankee owners to be bargin basement buyers…..they want big name players…..and Yankee owners will get them.

        • GaryLeeT

          Tanaka WILL be one of those starters.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I think so.

          • SuzyS

            Nah…maybe is more like it. Any number of teams are desperate for pitching…including the Cubs and Texas. In a blind bid, I could see several teams outbidding the Yanks.
            I will never concede an inch to the Yanks. I don’t like their business plan in running the team….The Cardinal’s on the other hand….while I consider them the dreaded competition…I admire how they go about it.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Suzy,
            You are just a blind Yankee hater.

            But look at their successful record. A touch better than Your Chicago Cubs.
            Cashman is no dummy.

          • SuzyS

            Cashman is a great GM….if “Uncle Hal” would leave him alone. But he never will.

            Yep, the Yankees are about winning at all costs…and play on a different economic scale then the rest of baseball.

            There’s nothing blind about me.

            There’s just not much to like about HOW they compete.
            Yes, I dislike the Yankees.

          • Dorasaga

            “Yankee Sucks.” I even said that in Cambodia in front of a white man with sunglasses and his black NYY cap on.

          • SuzyS

            That’s never my terminology…but always my sentiment…lol…:-)

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

          They also have first rate facilities and no debt. The Cubs have a lot to do before they can spend money on players like the Yankees can…

      • SuzyS

        After the Cubs, I’ve been a huge Red Sox fan/Yankee’s watcher for years.
        The $189 million level is real…and the Yanks won’t be able to call on Pettite or Rivera to bail them out.
        I expect them to make big moves…still field an old team….and fall short once again.
        Their farm system is still weak…and not about to get any better. Think Yankees of the early 1980′s rather than late 90′s/2000′s,

        • cubtex

          I know you would love nothing more than to see the Yankees fall Suzy…… but keep watching what they do this offseason. The Yankees will be relevant again next year and the year after.

          • SuzyS

            I didn’t say they would be irrelevent…I said they would fall short with an old team.

          • cubtex

            I was curious because you keep saying how poor a farm system the Yankees have, so I looked to see where they are ranked. I have seen them being anywhere between 12 and 16. Not a top 10 system but they have quite a few positional players with value. Now that they signed McCann. They could deal Gary Sanchez(one of top catching prospects in the minors) for a need as well.

          • SuzyS

            Cubtex, Cashman is on record as saying the Yanks, like every other team have to build more through the farm system.
            If you look at McCann…in the last four years he’s gone from starting 143 gms/128 gms/121 gms/102 gms..
            With Sanchez just finishing a strong AA season…if he continues to progress, I see them holding onto Sanchez (and their other top ten C prospect, JR Murphey…throughout the 2014
            season…In 2015 they’l trade one of the three…my guess is that it might be McCann.

          • Ripsnorter1

            McCann–full no trade clause, and a vesting option for year #6, too.

            That loud bang you just heard was Cashman shooting himself in the foot.

          • SuzyS

            Nice thing about the Yankee’s…and all AL teams…is there is always the DH when a player get’s too old or hurt to field the position.
            The problem is…a team is allowed only one DH per game.
            The Yanks also give up a draft pick in the deal.

          • Ripsnorter1

            The NL needs the DH.
            The Cubs need a brand new, retractable roof stadium.

          • SuzyS

            Correction, JR Murphey is the Yankee’s #12 ranked prospect.

          • Dorasaga

            Like many sports analysts have said: Staying healthy is a skill.

          • GaryLeeT

            Hey Suzy, are you a politician by chance? Every team, but one falls short.

      • cubtex

        Agreed. I was right there with you.

        • GaryLeeT

          I remember.

  • SuzyS

    The Cub’s signings today are pretty much of the “hohum” variety.

    • J Daniel

      Agree! It would be nice to see a couple of GOOD signings, not more garbage fillers.

      • cubtex

        Chris Valaika didn’t do it for you?

  • GaryLeeT

    The fact that Casper Wells will take somebody else’s ABs this spring, confirms what we already know about next season.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Ain’t that the truth.

      • SuzyS

        Love “The Wizard of OZ” reference, Rip. The Cowardly Lion holding his tail and weeping is still a vivid image whenever I hear that phrase.

  • Ripsnorter1

    And now it appears that the Cards will sign Jhonny Peralta.

    • SuzyS

      PED’s pay.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Indeed.

        Just ask Marlon. Byrd, that is.
        See also: Rodriguez, Alex.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Will he play SS for them? I still see Starlin Castro
        going to the Cards this offseason.

        • SuzyS

          Not a chance…on Castro…he’s the starting ss for the Cubs this year.

  • SuzyS

    On some other sites, there is lots of smoke simmering about a Toronto/Cubs trade with Shark going to the Blue Jays and the Cubs receiving a package of players headlined by SP Sanchez.

    Any thoughts here?.

    • Tom U

      I’ll bite Suzy. I’ve seen that one of the players involved is Anthony Gose. While he has his supporters, I’ve never been a fan. Gose does have great speed, but I don’t think he will hit at the major league level. In my opinion, I’d rather have Tony Campana.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Now that’s a ringing endorsement! LOL

      • SuzyS

        I loved Campana as much as Paul did…but not in a trade of this magnitude…lol.
        Purely on rumor…the proposed trade is Sanchez, Stroman/or Norris, Gose/or Drabek…for Shark.
        Now that we know your thoughts on Gose…what are your thoughts on the others, Tom?

        • Tom U

          Drabek is a little over-rated due to his name and pedigree. Norris is young, but he hasn’t shown much.

          Sanchez has a projectable frame and his numbers are good for his age. Stroman put up good numbers at Double-A, but at 5-foot-9 may not last as a starter.

          • SuzyS

            So it seems you’d be underwhelmed if we traded with the Blue Jays?

          • Ripsnorter1

            To put it in Cubs’ terms….

            They just offered you Casey Coleman, Tony Campana, and Trey McNutt.

  • Eugene Debs

    I hope we can find some more terrible AAA players.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Your hopes are being fulfilled every single day. : )

    • GaryLeeT

      Mud players thrown at the wall. We should be use to the process by now.

  • jtrain23

    I know it’s a few days early but I just want to share my thanks for having an open forum where we can have intelligent conversations about sports. Although we might sometimes disagree, all CCO posters are respectful and ultimately use proper perspective.

    After reading the articles over the last 24 hours regarding D Rose, it makes me realize how rare it is to be able to discuss with people that are rational. It makes me sick to read posts by anonymous trolls that take joy and mock the misfortune of others, especially when it regards a man’s health. Sorry for jumping off topic here, I just wanted to share my thoughts.