Minor Deals and Rosters, Sponsors and Other Cubs News and Notes

Tuesday was a rather quiet day for the Cubs as to be expected, with a few exceptions. The Cubs signed veteran right-handed pitcher Joel Pineiro to a minor league contract. Pineiro will report to Mesa and workout for 10 days in extended spring training before reporting to Triple-A Iowa. It is unclear at this point the team’s plan for Pineiro.

Three of the top four teams in the Cubs’ system have released their initial Opening Day lineups. Iowa is expected to release their roster Wednesday. Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Christian Villanueva, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters are slated to be on Iowa’s roster along with starters Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Dallas Beeler and Chris Rusin.

Paul Johnson provided excellent updates on the Kane County Cougars. Paul Blackburn will start the opener on Thursday night and for now will be followed by Tyler Skulina, Daury Torrez, Juan Carlos Paniagua and Jen-Ho Tseng in the Cougars’ rotation. Mark Johnson said the Cougars will switch to a six-man rotation eventually and Duane Underwood could be the sixth man. Underwood “tweaked his forearm” in Spring Training and is a little behind the other pitchers. Dillon Maples broke a rib in his upper back and is out for eight weeks. And the Cougars will begin the season with a starting outfield of Jacob Hannemann (CF), Trey Martin (LF) and Yasiel Balaguert (RF), Shawon Dunston Jr. will be used as “the swing man” in the outfield.

Budweiser, Weber and Target

The Budweiser sign in right field will not be up in time for the home opener on Friday. The Cubs and Anheuser-Busch have an exclusive marketing deal in place, and the see-through sign in right field was expected to be installed by the Cubs first home game. The sign would reportedly net the Cubs $140 million over ten years.

The Cubs and the Rooftops have not come to an agreement on the right field sign or the large video board in left field. But according to Jon Greenberg, the delay with the Budweiser sign “is for design reasons” and “doesn’t have to do with the rooftops.”

Jon Greenberg reported Tuesday the Cubs have a new multi-year partnership agreement with Weber Grills. The Chicago-based company “is getting ad placement on a small outfield door.” Greenberg also reported Target “is not returning as an outfield wall sponsor at Wrigley.”

A Positive, Winning-Type Environment

The Cubs spent Tuesday in Pittsburgh with the hype of Opening Day in the rearview mirror. While the offense could not string together any hits or deliver with runners in scoring position, the pitching staff had a good day with the one exception … that cost them the game.

As long as the weather cooperates, the players will soon settle into the routine of the season and focus on making adjustments so there are fewer days like Monday when the entire team had trouble putting the ball in play.

Theo Epstein spoke with the Sun-Times prior to Monday’s opener about the importance of the Cubs having a clubhouse in which the players can go through adversity, learn from it, adjust and thrive. The Sun-Times reported the Cubs “will measure this season just by the progress of our young players.”

Epstein told Gordon Wittenmyer the front office will focus on several areas. “Are they in an environment where they can go through some adversity, make adjustments and thrive? Are we putting them in a position to succeed, giving them the support system that they need and also hold them accountable, and holding them to high standards, and creating a winning-type environment?”

Cubs Park and the Sheraton Hotel Mesa

According to a report from AZ Central, the City of Mesa and officials from the Sheraton hotel chain broke ground Monday on the Sheraton Hotel Mesa, a four-story, 180-room hotel in the Wrigleyville commercial area within the Cubs complex.

The hotel is the “first component” of the commercial area and will “include a bar, pools, Jacuzzis, fitness center, among other amenities.” The report indicated, “Mesa-based project developer BCY LLC also has agreed to construct a minimum of 20,000 square feet of adjacent retail space and will be recruiting restaurants and other retailers.”

The hotel is scheduled to open in January 2015.

And speaking of the Cubs’ new Spring Training facility, according to Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal the Cubs averaged 14,254 per spring game and (now have the record for the 11 largest single-game crowds in Cactus and Grapefruit League history.)

News and Notes

According to Jim Callis, “MLB draft pools can still change if Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales sign” but for now the Marlins will have the top pool at $14,199,300 and the Orioles will have the lowest at $2,204,400. Callis also reported “the total of all 30 MLB draft pools are currently at $205,786,400. Last year the pool total was $202,501,600.” The Cubs’ bonus pool stands at $8,352,200 right now.

Mick Gillispie reported Tuesday night that Kris Bryant and the Smokies will face Mat Latos on Opening Day in Pensacola on Thursday night.

Chicago Cubs’ Lore ‘Joy in Wrigleyville?’ airs Wednesday night at 8:00pm CDT on Showtime’s 60 minutes Sports.

Theo Epstein told the Sun-Times he thinks “too much has been made about identifying core guys.” Epstein explained a player can be a good player without being a core guy.

Major League Baseball released a report Tuesday that 223 players born outside of the United States were on Opening Day rosters. And according to Carrie Muskat, the Cubs have the most players on their roster from the Dominican Republic. Seven players from the Dominican were on the Cubs first roster of the season: Emilio Bonifacio, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Junior Lake, Pedro Strop, Jose Veras and Carlos Villanueva.

Cubs business needs to catch up to baseball according to the Sun-Times.

Robert Feder reported WGN-TV hired a new boss.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back." - Diana Frances
Share on Fancred
  • Pingback: Minor Deals and Rosters, Sponsors and Other Cubs News and Notes - Cubs Chronicles

  • Richard Hood

    Of course there has been a lot made of being a “Core Guy” Theo! You started that narrative by naming them. If you had never stated that you see Castro, Rizzo, and maybe Barney as core guys 2 years ago this would never been a big deal. So as you go about killing the messenger make sure you remember the original message was from your own lips.

    • Tony_H

      Yeah, no reporter, blogger, or fans would be hyping the top prospects and players if not for Theo calling them core players…..

      • coachdon

        It’s just a reflex reaction at this point isn’t it…?

        • Tony_H

          I guess, but don’t you think this is a ridiculous statement: “If you had never stated that you see Castro, Rizzo, and maybe Barney as core guys 2 years ago this would never been a big deal.” LOL! If only Theo hadn’t said who the best young players were, no one would have made a big deal about their progress.

          All Theo said was that other players can be a part of the future outside of the Castro, Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler group. We all know that the prospect depth is much deeper than that.

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

            True. And the core is subject to change. Hopefully Darwin Barney works his way to someone else’s core…

    • Scott

      Eeeaaasssyyy. When Theo took over the job, he used that term to identify those players that he wanted to have around for the long term. That’s the reason guys like Joe Mather, Shawn Camp or even Dempster were not referred to in that manner. But Castro and Rizzo are guys that Theo has identified as pieces he would want around for a long time. It is like with the Yankees this year….Tanaka would be a core piece as they probably hope he will be there a decade or longer. Beltran, at 37, would be just a good player.

    • Denver Mike

      Rarely do I go out of my way to agree with any one person’s opinion on here, but Tony is correct, this statement is just ridiculous.

  • Eugene Debs

    Let’s not confuse “winning-type atmosphere” with “winning atmosphere.” A wining atmosphere only happens with wins. Not going to happen this year.

  • cubtex

    Interesting.

    BP Unfiltered: Do the Rays Have a Drug Problem? by Ben Lindbergh: Have the Rays really had a higher number of … http://bit.ly/1gOf51k

    • Tony_H

      There is definitely still PED’s in baseball and with that comes certain people who are dealing or pushing it. I would bet where there is smoke there is fire. But I doubt it is team generated at this point in time or that people in high places are looking the other way.

  • GaryLeeT

    Flipping through the games last night. Had to give a Bevis & Butthead laugh to the Astro players Bastardo, and Hoes.
    Nice to see Reed Johnson, Casey McGehee, Jeff Baker, and Carlos Marmol contribute heavily in a Marlins win.
    Why does their, and Houston’s rebuild make it look like the Cubs are standing still?

    • mutantbeast

      Easy. There core pieces (Fernandez, Yelich, Marinchak) have already rea ched the big leagues, joined by the fact they already had a superstar in place in Stanton.

      • GaryLeeT

        Stanton? Did you see the year he had last season. I think he is still in the potential superstar category. Besides, 1 Castro + 1 Rizzo doesn’t = 1 Stanton?
        My original question was rhetorical BTW.

      • BigJonLilJon

        True. But my question is what ages are those guys? Arent they just as young as the Cubs “core” guys? If so why haven’t can’t our young guys be on the parent club? Also….. Stanton’s numbers last year could be what we see from Baez his 1st year. High power and low avg

        • mutantbeast

          John , while your correct about the respective ages, Miami is not Chicago. The pressure to win here is far greater than there. Remember how Loria has won 2 world series, then immediately tore those teams apart, letting virtually all his vets leave. The same will happen with Fernadez and Yelich in 4 years.

          • BigJonLilJon

            I get that. But since the pressure to win here is greater than Miami… All the more reason to get the prospects up now and get them seasoned now. Is there really going to be much of a difference in the win/loss column with them on the field opposed to what we are trotting out now? Starting to think it may be better for the prospects….

    • Chris K.

      Because the Marlins are further along than we are. They have younger pitching that’s either in the majors or real close. We have a ways to go in that department.

      • GaryLeeT

        Where is the Cubs phenom debuting 2 years after he was drafted? Or, what would the Cub’s timeline to competitiveness have been if Darvish, A, Sanchez, and Tanaka were in the starting rotation? Why can’t a major market team right a wrong?

        • Tony_H

          Jose Fernandez is the exception, not the rule. Only 138 innings in the minors and no innings above A Ball.

          Yes it worked in this case, but is that what you want the Cubs to do, just bring them up after success in A ball if they feel they have the talent?

          You think the failure rate of prospects is high now, start rushing guys up like this and it will go through the roof.

          • GaryLeeT

            I want McLeod to find a Jose Fernandez, not try to create one out what he has.

  • paulcatanese

    Weber grills, Budweiser Beer, what’s next? Barbeque sauce?
    And the amount of players outside of the US goes in line when I said no “National Holiday” for opening day, International Holiday, maybe, but not National.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    What he’s saying is alcantara could end up at 2b even though he’s not one of the Core 4, and Villanueva or Bryant could end up at 3b if Olt doesn’t work out. Kris Bryant and or Baez could end up in the OF. If Rizzo doesn’t work out that Vogelbach is nipping at his heels. He is saying that Rizzo or Castro of any of them could be flipped for pitching even though they have been identified as a Core player. No one is untouchable.

  • Tony_H

    Matt Garza had a no-hitter through 6 2/3 before giving up a HR to Chris Johnson. Now down 1-0.

    Pitching seems to be dominating most games to start the year.

    • cubtex

      except CC.

      • Tony_H

        He didn’t look so good. He really needs to be close to the old ace for that rotation.

        • cubtex

          he cannot blow the heater by hitters anymore. A lot depends on Tanaka and Pineda. I think CC could be their #4 when it is all played out this year. Tanaka Kuroda Pineda CC

          • Tony_H

            That’s banking a lot on a guy who is new to MLB and a guy who hasn’t pitched for 2 years. Their rotation could be very good or not so good.

          • cubtex

            agreed. A lot of If’s.

          • Tony_H

            $200M doesn’t buy what it use to :)

          • cubtex

            Pineda had a very good ST. Of course it is ST but IF he looks like he did this past month and gives them 20 to 25 starts this year….that could be huge.

          • Tony_H

            He was pretty good in 2011 for Seattle, I had him in fantasy baseball, so I followed him all year. I was very surprised they traded him away, even for Montero who has now eaten his way to being a bust.

          • cubtex

            It will be interesting to see Banuelos looks this year recovering from TJ. Nova could have a good year too. I forgot about him.

          • Tony_H

            I would think you play fantasy baseball, as well as you know the depth of the pitching for the Yankees :)

          • cubtex

            follow most teams. I am a baseball fan. I am usually watching some baseball most nights. I even watched part of Texas State vs UTSA last night :)

          • mutantbeast

            True Tex, but the Stankees now see Banuelos as our FO sees Grimm and apparently Viz. Hes a middle innings arm at the moment. Same with Betances.

          • texcubnut

            Both the Yankees and Dodgers saw to that.

          • mutantbeast

            For the $ the Stankees are paying CC hes essentially a # 4 pitcher now, and likley wont improve unless he suddenly finds a new pitch hes never thrown and can command it. used to throw 93-97mph FB. Last night was 87-90 most all night, which is basically slider speed compared to CC 4 years ago.

          • cubtex

            He was one of the better bargains for a long term pitching contract. Watch how the Kershaw and Tanaka deals look like in 5 years or so.

          • Tony_H

            No long term pitching contract is smart. The only thing good is if you get them young enough to get it to end in the early 30’s. Once they are in their early 30’s 3 years, maybe 4 years.

          • cubtex

            Tanaka is 25. Kershaw is young. It isn’t just age. We will see how those pan out. Dice K was young too.

          • Tony_H

            That’s why I said that no long term pitching contract is smart. The only thing good is if you get them young enough…

          • mutantbeast

            Dice K was pitching in Japans highest league when he was 18.

          • mutantbeast

            Kershaw is already hurt, and likley will not improve the older he gets. I would never give a pitcher more than 5 years, and only if they are 28 or youn ger. Power arms generally break down in there early 30s(CC?)

      • cubtex

        and actually the Rangers vs Phillies have been offensive games

        • Tony_H

          Maybe on Monday but not yesterday.

          3-2 score.

          • cubtex

            when you have a guy in Scheppers making his major league debut on opening day….that is not a good sign. I watched that game yesterday. Martin Perez looked good until the 3rd way through the lineup and left some pitches up. Burnett got away with a hanger to Beltre that I thought left the yard but somehow stayed in. Donnie Murphy and Robinson Chirinos were both in the Rangers lineup.

          • Tony_H

            Rangers rotation is a mess for the month of April. They just need to find a way to not be too far behind when their guys come back.

          • mutantbeast

            Theyve also made some huge mistakes. Should never have converted Neftali Perez into a starter, he just doesnt have the durability. Im thinking Scheppers is going to end up there also.

          • cubtex

            Most teams try to trasition special arms from the bullpen to starter. Cashner, Shark,Reds tried with Chapman, Adam Wainwright, etc. Vizcaino doesn’t have the durability but he was tried as a starter and still might be one day because starters are much more in demand than a bullpen guy.

          • Zonk

            Same thing as last April.. and who was the AL Rookie Pitcher of the Month for April 2013, filling in for the Rangers rotation? Our own Justin Grimm.

      • mutantbeast

        Cant throw 95 anymore. Has to learn how to pitch now. I for one bet he cant make the transition. Seaver and Guidry are the only two I remember who could.

    • Tony_H

      And now Aaron Harang has lost his no-hitter in Milwaukee pitching for the Braves through 6 innings.

    • cubtex

      Garza 8IP 2 hits 1ER 1 BB and 7 K’s and is in line to take the loss. Tough way to start the season 0-1

      • Tony_H

        Yes it is, being out pitched by journeyman Aaron Harang.

  • BillyFinT

    Marlins outrighted Bogusevic today. In review, Ruggiano might be a better talent. Very minor improvement, that is. It’s still a good move in retrospect.

  • Tony_H

    Cubs lineup for tonight

    ChicagoCubsOnline @TheCCO

    #Cubs vs. Pirates, Morton (4/2):

    Bonifacio 2B
    Valbuena 3B
    Castro SS
    Rizzo 1B
    Schierholtz RF
    Sweeney CF
    Castillo C
    Kalish LF
    Jackson P

    • Tony_H

      Hard to take much out of just Game 2 lineup with an off day in between, but I like Kalish in the OF, but not Sweeney over Lake. But just like with Valbuena over Olt, it is early and they could be trying to get everyone in over the first week.

      • cubtex

        I am not thrilled with Castro hitting 3rd but there aren’t really any other candidates other than Schierholtz. Looks like Rizzo will stay at 4 which is better for the team.

        • Tony_H

          You put your best 2 overall hitters 3rd and 4th, 2 best OBP left on top, then the last 4 hitters in order 5-8, with hope of a patient enough hitter 8th to not swing his way into a strikeout.

          You can’t get all that worried about much else at this point.

    • mutantbeast

      Im curious why the Pirates are treating Cole like a #4 starter. His stuff screams ace.

      • Tony_H

        Seems like a saw a few teams having their good young pitchers slotted in games 3 and 4 this year, when they are better than the guys in front of them.