The Daily CCO: Tsuyoshi Wada Gets First Shot at Fifth Spot in the Rotation and Other Cubs News

Rick Renteria announced Sunday that LHP Tsuyoshi Wada would be recalled from Triple-A Iowa Wednesday and start the second game of the series with the Padres. Wada is coming off a solid start with Iowa last Friday in which he gave up one run on three hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts over six innings to Round Rock. Wada bounced back after a not-so-good start in his first outing back from the big leagues.

Renteria would not commit to Wada making more than the one start Wednesday against the Padres.

Kyle Hendricks will make his Wrigley Field debut Tuesday in the opener of the three-game series with San Diego and the front office is expecting him to remain in the rotation for the rest of the season. The Cubs saw Hendricks as the first call-up if trades opened a spot or two in the rotation. And the Cubs like what they saw from Hendricks after the first inning in his debut.

While Hendricks and Wada are filling the two vacated spots in the starting staff, both Dallas Beeler and Dan Straily are on the 40-man roster and are expected to get extended looks at some point this season. And Straily appears to be on the same timeframe as Jake Arrieta was a year ago, as previously reported. Comcast SportsNet indicated Sunday “the Cubs also want to see what they have in Dan Straily” and Theo Epstein “saw Jake Arrieta as a blueprint.” The Cubs had Arrieta regroup in the minors after the trade on July 2 and with the exception of one start in the second game of a doubleheader, Arrieta stayed in Iowa until mid-August.

PrintThe Cubs sent LHP Zac Rosscup down to Iowa after Sunday’s game to make room on the active roster for Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs have not officially recalled Hendricks and will wait until Tuesday to make the move. The front office will have to make at least two more roster moves prior to Wednesday game to add Wada to the active roster.

The Cubs have not committed to keeping Arismendy Alcantara with the big league team. If the front office does not send Alcantara to Iowa, Mike Olt or Junior Lake could be optioned down.

There could, and should be, quite a bit of roster movement over the next 10 days. It is the trade season and the Cubs are expected to be active for the rest of the month and in August. Plus, Emilio Bonifacio is getting close to returning and Kyuji Fujikawa is rehabbing in Kane County.

News, Notes and Rumors

Jake Arrieta admitted after Sunday’s game that he had been battling a virus for three days. Arrieta was not at full strength after not being able to eat much over the weekend. And the numbers, or final line, from Arrieta’s start are deceiving according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

Chris Bosio is ready for the challenge of a third straight second half with different staff than he began the year.

Emilio Bonifacio went 4-for-5 with a run scored for the Smokies Sunday as Bonifacio works his way back to the big leagues. Bonifacio was also caught stealing in Tennessee’s 10-3 win over Huntsville.

According to Newsday’s David Lennon, a source familiar with the Cubs said Starlin Castro is not expected to be traded this season. And Castro could be moved to third base in 2015.

Ken Rosenthal thinks trading for David Price would be the right move for the Cubs.

Minor News and Notes

Addison Russell had a huge day in the Smokies 10-3 victory on Sunday. Russell went 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI. Russell hit a grand slam in the fifth inning, the first slam of the season for the Smokies. Russell is 5-for-11 over his last three games with three home runs, a walk and a strikeout.

Pierce Johnson took Addison Russell out of his pre-game routine Sunday, said Russell would go 4-for-4 with four RBI afterwards … and Russell went 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI.

Javier Baez extended his hitting streak to 14 games Sunday. Baez went 3-for-6 in the loss. Baez also swiped a base and was caught stealing. His 14-game hitting streak is the longest for the I-Cubs this season and is two games short of his career best 16-game hitting streak. Baez is hitting .318/.340/.682 with four doubles, four home runs, a walk, seven strikeouts and a 1.022 OPS over his last 10 games. Baez returned to shortstop Sunday after three straight games at second base.

Albert Almora went 4-for-5 with two runs scored Sunday and is hitting .377/.403/.638 with five doubles, two triples, three home runs, three walks, 10 strikeouts and a 1.041 OPS in 16 games in July.

Weekend Headlines

The big league club did not have a good weekend in the win-loss column. Anthony Rizzo came out of the break rather hot and beside the unbelievable catch he made Sunday, Rizzo hit three home runs and tied his career high with 23 home runs in a single season. Even with Edwin Jackson being Edwin Jackson, two reports indicated the Yankees could be interested in acquiring Jackson.

In the minors, Home Run Mania caught everyone’s attention while Javier Baez played three straight games at second base and stayed hot at the plate.

This Day In Cubstory

2004 – Cubs traded Ricky Gutierrez to the Red Sox

2000 – Cubs traded Glenallen Hill to the Yankees for Ben Ford and Oswaldo Mairena

1998 – Kerry Wood outpitched Greg Maddux and beat the Braves. Wood struck out 11 batters in 7 2/3 innings and was the sixth time in 18 starts Wood recorded double-digits strikeouts. Wood handed Maddux his first loss against the Cubs.

1992 – Cubs released Dennis Rasmussen

1989 – Before the game against the Giants at Wrigley Field, OF Dwight Smith sang the National Anthem. Smith went 0-for-4 in the game the Cubs dropped 4-3. Mark Grace hit a two-run homer in the eighth. All of the Giants runs scored off Rick Sutcliffe.

1986 – Cubs traded Davey Lopes to the Astros for Frank DiPino

1980 – Kyuji Fujikawa, born

1972 – Billy Williams drove in six runs with four hits that included a double and a home run in a 11-3 victory over the Astros

1971 – Ernie Banks hit the 511th home run of his career, tying Mel Ott, in the Cubs 11-7 win over the Mets at Wrigley Field

1951 – Phil Cavarretta replaced Frankie Frisch as Cubs manager

1881 – Johnny Evers, born

This Day in Baseball History

1988 – Yankees traded Rick Balabon, a PTBNL and Jay Buhner to the Mariners for Ken Phelps

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Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • The Dude Abides

    Why would you send Olt down? Oh yeah, he has more than three times as many K’s this year as hits. That’s really hard to do but he is making it look easy. Of course where do you send him? He’s not playing in AAA in front of Bryant. Maybe AA, but that’s questionable as well.

    • Steve Baier

      He could see time at 1B at Iowa, should they send him down.

      • Eugene Debs

        They should send everyone down.

    • cubtex

      I say…who cares. He is not part of the future and probably won’t get another shot with this team. Keep Alcantara up and let him play everyday. He is a part of the future. Olt and Lake will more than likely not even be on this team next year.

    • John_CC

      Unless he starts to struggle, sending Alcantara to Iowa and keeping Olt and/or Lake in Chicago will make no sense to me. Lake would probably be easier to send down because he could start in the OF everday without displacing anyone that mattered. Olt could DH and play 1B I guess.

      • Chris K.

        Or play the OF. The Cubs OF is pathetic.

      • Tony_H

        Lake only has one option left, while Olt has 2. I say send Olt down if it comes to this decision.

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  • cubtex

    Cubs are currently 40-57 with 65 games to go. As long as EJax and Wood are still going along with Hendricks and Wada or Beeler or Straily….A top 3 pick is almost assured(or better)
    Here is what is left.
    Cards- 10 games
    Brewers- 10 games
    Reds-9 games
    Pirates-6 games
    Dodgers-7 games
    Giants-3 games
    Orioles-3 games
    Blue Jays-3 games

    51 games left with teams over .500. They will be lucky to win 25 games from this point on.

    • Theboardrider

      Yep. I look forward to watching the Hendricks and Arietta games for sure. Will also want to watch Beeler, Wada and Straily, if he comes up.
      Hard to get up for Wood or EJax.

      • mutantbeast

        except if your the other team.

        • Theboardrider

          Well that’s a given.

          If someone other than Rizzo doesn’t get hot were in real trouble. Hopefully Coghlan and Ruggiano get going again. Gotta figure Castro will get going. Alcantara needs to make some adjustments I suppose.

    • Tony_H

      Let’s go for #1!!!

      • texcubnut

        Right now, I’d be happy with a top 5 pick. There are some really bad teams out there right now.

        • Tony_H

          We are 3rd right now.

          Of course if MLB actually rewards the Astros, that would mean the 4th pick.

          • texcubnut

            Right now, today, you are correct. But the Cubs don’t hold the patent on ‘bad’ these days. I would not be a bit surprised to see us fall out of the top 5 picks. There are some really. really bad teams out there right now and the Cubs are but one of them. I could easily see the Padres, Rockies, Astros, Rangers and Phillies drafting ahead of us.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            but if Aiken becomes a FA as a result, and Cubs can outbid for him, then they will feel much better about Astros being given that 2nd pick.

      • cubtex

        at least they are going for #1 in something :)

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      I have Hendricks and Wada on my CCO Fantasy roster.
      Being on my roster earlier in the year made Arrieta the pitcher he is today.

      I see Cubs winning at least 3 out of every 5 games the rest of the way.

  • daverj

    I feel like it’s the elephant in the room when talking about the Cubs minor league system, but I’m very concerned about the strikeout rates and walk rates of the Cubs top prospects.

    Baez and Alcantara have both high strikeout rates (Baez is very high) and low walk rates in AAA which based on history with other top prospects, indicate that they will struggle in the major leagues (or end up as busts) unless they turn those rates around. Alcantara showed better walk rates in AA. I am likely alone on this one, but I think he would be better off in AAA right now working on his plate discipline rather than having the pressure of being one of the few brights spots on the big league club now.

    Bryant has a very high strikeout rate, but a decent walk rate. He also makes a ton of hard contact which may make up for the high strikeout rate (see Giancarlo Stanton). That said, the strikeout rate is concerning and is a good reason to keep him in AAA a bit longer.

    Soler on the other hand has a very high walk rate (and his strikeout rate while high is much better than Baez or Bryant. If I had to rank the Cubs hitting prospects based on liklihood of long term major league success on offense, I would actually put Soler second behind Bryant now because of the plate discipline Soler is showing.

    Russell is an interesting case as his K and Walk rates have been all over the board at different levels at different points. His rates with the A’s AA team in a small sample size were very good with a high walk rate and low K rate. Hopefully this continues with the Cubs.

    • cubtex

      They can’t be any worse than Olt and Lake :)

    • triple

      I very much agree on Bryant and Baez. They are not ready. Both need to get their contact rates up. It would be a shame if they were left to figure out how to do this while playing in the big leagues. Sure they would hit some homeruns still, but they wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

      Baez has made improvements lately. Maybe it has more to do with Bryant being in the lineup behind him, or maybe Manny is coaching him up? I don’t really know how to explain it, but he his K rate is much lower for the month of July, than it was any time before. If he can sustain that throughout the rest of the season down there, I’d believe he could be a mid-April call up next year, if not opening day starter.

      Baez K rates by month:
      April – 22k/58AB: 38%
      May – 41k/108AB: 38%
      June – 34k/102AB: 33%
      July – 15k/62AB: 24%

      Bryant’s K rate in AA was 31%, and is now up to 34% in AAA.

      These are two guys who look like they can use the rest of the year in AAA to really prove that they can finish of their development. Otherwise, these are 2 guys who will K 200+ times per season in the majors.

      • daverj

        Are you and I the only ones who see this? I’m surprised by the number of fans who want to see Bryant and to a lesser extent Bryant in the majors now. Arbitration/free agency is a big issue on the timing of a promotion, but with these two, there is more at play than just $$$.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          I find it even more interesting considering the “Cubs Way” was supposed to be high OBP guys, and while Rizzo fits that mold, every other young piece brought up past 2 years or expected to be up next year, has high K rates or low OBP: olt, lake, castro (not as bad K’s, but certainly doesn’t walk enough), baez, bryant, etc etc

          • Tony_H

            Baez wasn’t drafted by this FO.

            Bryant has very high OBP. You are taking their K% and assuming it means low OBP

            AAA 398
            AA 458
            A+ 387
            A- 416

            It is also hard to teach an old dog new tricks and Olt and Lake are never going to be even decent with OBP and Castro has improved his strike zone discipline, but will always be a free swinger.

        • triple

          You are right, there are very few of us that see this. Tony being another. The nice thing is that the FO and AAA coaching staff have great communication between each other and the players, and I’m sure Bryant and Baez know exactly what is expected of them to earn promotions. It looks like Baez is definitely getting closer. I’m not even against him seeing Wrigley in September, and I’d even expect growing pains, but I’ll be damned if we’ll see him come up and strikeout in a third (or more) of his at-bats and then all the impatient posters start moaning about him striking out as much as Olt and Lake do. I’ve had enough reading rants about guys who aren’t cutting it. It’s pure impatience and selfishness.

          The mob is calling for Baez and Bryant to be promoted, but they’ll also be the first to condemn them when they struggle due to poor pitch recognition and low contact rates.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I think Lake does have a future with the team as a 4th or 5th outfielder.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      I think Olt may also have a future as a backup 4 corners guy 1b, 3b, LF, and RF. His glove is solid he needs a lot of work in 7 batters box.

      • daverj

        I’m not as sold on Olt. I think for now he needs to be at AAA working on his plate discipline.

    • daverj

      Agreed. I would like to see him play a bit in the infield too like he did in the minors. I see value in him as utility player who can play many positions off the bench.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I think they are hoping they can trade Wada if he has a couple of good starts. Besides the bullpen the Cubs pitching is very thin in terms of quality and anything you could get for him with upside would be great. He’s put up great numbers in AAA and so many teams need pitching depth.

  • Jhay187

    Why is Wada pitching tomorrow when it’s EJax’s day in the rotation? With the off-day they don’t need a 5th starter until Saturday. Could he be gone by Wed? Let’s hope.

    • Tony_H

      Hendricks is pitching on Tuesday and Wada on Wednesday. And yes they could have skipped the 5th spot, but I think they want Wada to get 2 more starts before July 31st.