The Daily CCO: Cubs Making Roster Moves and Claiming Pitchers

It was rather busy Wednesday before the Cubs took the field in Denver for the second game of the series with the Rockies.

The Cubs held a private workout, in front of tourists, at Wrigley Field for OF Rusney Castillo. The free agent outfielder from Cuba reportedly intrigues the front office, along with a majority of baseball. The Cubs are one of many teams holding private workouts for the speedy outfielder with mixed comps that could make him a starting outfielder on a first division team, or at best a fourth outfielder in the majors.

The Cubs designated OF Nate Schierholtz for assignment. Schierholtz could not build on or replicate his career season from a year ago. Schierholtz was expected to be one of the first trade chips the Cubs moved this summer but he was not able to dig himself out of an early slump. The front office has ten days to trade him and could still find a contender to send him to, along with cash, for a young arm with upside, similar to the trades the Cubs completed for Scott Hairston a year ago and Darwin Barney last month.

RHP Kyuji Fujikawa was activated from the 60-day DL and took the spots Nate Schierholtz occupied on the 40-man and active 25-man rosters. Fujikawa is still recovering from last June’s Tommy John surgery and the radar gun Wednesday night backed up what Rick Renteria was saying about Fujikawa, his velocity is still several ticks below where it was before his arm injury.

PrintThe Cubs reportedly claimed RHP Jacob Turner off of waivers from the Marlins and are talking to Miami on what it would take to finally have Turner in the Cubs system. As was reported Wednesday and pointed out by Patrick Mooney, the front office has had its eyes on Turner dating back to talks with the Tigers for Matt Garza. The Cubs are expected to work out a deal for Turner, and when they do another spot, at least on the 40-man roster, will have to be created. Turner is out of minor league options and would have to be added to the active roster as well.

And a report out of Philadelphia late Wednesday night, early Thursday morning indicated the Cubs were the team that claimed LHP Cole Hamels.

Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday afternoon that an unidentified team claimed Cole Hamels on revocable trade waivers. Rosenthal pointed out at the team, the Phillies had 48 hours to work out a deal with the team or pull him back. Hamels can block trades to all but nine teams (Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Nationals, Cardinals, Braves, Rangers, Padres and Yankees) and the claiming team, at the time, was believed to be in the National League.

David Kaplan passed on report from a sports radio host in Philadelphia the Cubs were the only team that claimed Hamels.

Kaplan made two excellent points. One, it is highly unlikely the Phillies would trade Hamels. The Phillies see him as the staff ace moving forward on what could be a very tricky rebuild. Two, the Cubs willingness to put in a claim for a pitcher owed nearly $100 million ($96 million guaranteed after this year) through the 2018 season proves the front office has the financial flexibility to make the additions to the roster they feel benefit the team moving forward. Kaplan reported the claim shows “the baseball world that the Cubs are again open for business.”

News and Notes

The arrival of Javier Baez was a boost for the TV ratings. According to a report from the Tribune, Baez’s debut delivered a 2.0 rating on Comcast SportsNet, up 43 percent from the season average of 1.4 … an additional 92,600 homes tuned in to see Javier Baez make his big league debut.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Kyuji Fujikawa’s future with the Cubs is uncertain.

Jed Hoyer thinks struggles will be good for Javier Baez according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

This Day In Cubstory

2009 – Mets purchased Jason Dubois from the Cubs

2008 – Cubs traded Scott Eyre to the Phillies for Brian Schlitter

2005 – Victor beat Carlos in the ‘Battle of the Zambranos’ at Shea Stadium. The Mets topped the Cubs 6-1.

2004 – Greg Maddux won the 300th game of his career. Maddux and the Cubs topped the Giants 8-4 and became the 22nd pitcher in MLB history to win 300 career games.

2001 – Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael from Wrigley Field. McMichael disputed a call made in the previous half inning and said he would speak to the umpire about the call before he sang ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’ Hernandez had McMichael removed from the old ballyard

1984 – Cubs swept a doubleheader against the Mets at Wrigley Field. Rick Sutcliffe beat Ron Darling in the opener 8-6 behind a three-run homer by Keith Moreland and a two-run homer from Ron Cey. Cubs won game two 8-4 behind Tim Stoddard and Lee Smith’s 25th save of the season.

1967 – Angels purchased Curt Simmons from the Cubs

1921 – Cubs replaced manager Johnny Evers with Bill Killefer

1911 – Joe Tinker was one of the few players that hit Christy Mathewson and he had his best day against Mathewson with a 4-for-4 performance that includes two singles, a double and a triple. Tinker scored three runs, stole home and helped turn two double plays. Mordecai Brown beat the Giants 8-6 at West Side Grounds.

1906 – Under orders from Giants manager John McGraw, umpire James Johnson is refused admittance to the Polo Grounds and the scheduled game was forfeited to the Cubs, 9-0. The Giants owner, John Bush allowed Johnson to enter the park the next day and the Cubs beat the Giants 3-2 behind Mordecai Brown and Ed Reulbach.

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Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Ray Koenig

    It will be interesting to see what the Phillies do with Hamels.

    • J Daniel

      Pretty sure they will pull him off waivers. It would take the Cubs giving a couple of top prospects which would kind of defeat the purpose of the last 3 years. But, you put in the claim and maybe get lucky? Maybe the owner wants do rid of the contract? Highly doubtful but is worth the risk. At some point need to bring in a pitcher or 2 like him if want to win.

      • DWalker

        its pretty certain Hamels stays where he is until the off season. What it does do though is fire a warning shot to everyone else that the Cubs are now in the game. They are willing to pay serious money for frontline pitching RIGHT NOW.

        • Bredstik

          I believe Hamels would have to approve a trade to the Cubs also, so it seems unlikely that a deal would get done. The Cubs have money to spend though, and if they’re willing to pay most of Hamels’ remaining contract, perhaps the Phillies would consider it, even without the Cubs’ top top prospects being included. The Phillies are hamstrung in trying to move salary now as Lee is out for the season, Howard’s contract is virtually untradeable, and Utley & Rollins have no trade clauses.

          If the Phillies are desperate enough, this COULD be the Cubs’ opportunity to get that TOR bonafide ace SP they desperately covet.

          • Neil

            The nine teams not on his no-trade list are in the report.

      • John_CC

        How would adding a young ace to the rotation defeat the purpose of the last 3 years?

        • J Daniel

          If you gave up top prospects that were gotten because of the intentional losing.

          • Eugene Debs

            Plenty of talent on the farm and another solid draft position this off season. Giving up talent to get a #1 starter is usually called a “good move.”

    • Tony_H

      They are going to do what every other team does with almost all of these revocable waivers, pull him back. It is just a way to gauge interest in players, and make a few moves in August. But if the Cubs were the only team to put in a claim, it shows that the market for Hamels with his contract is not that big.

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  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I have been on vacation in the dark…parents showed up and brought me the Sun-Times showing Baez was called up, and now (thanks to McDonalds wi-fi!) I find we DFAd Schierholz.
    Finally we are starting to see an exit from the years (years!) of purposely putting crap on the field. I count 4 keepers in the lineup: Baez, Rizzo, Castro, and Alcantara. Add Soler soon, Bryant next Spring, and then hopefully Russell next Fall, and we have 7 of 8 position player spots filled with quality instead of retreads. Then we just need a C and a pitching staff, but at least games will be infinitely more watchable!!

    • Tony_H

      I think we have been telling you about what is coming for a while now, you would think it wasn’t too much of surprise :)

    • Chris K.

      I don’t know about you guys, but I see Russell as a trade chip or Baez. I think that’s what part of this late season addition is all about.

      • Jeffrey Rogers

        I believe that if the Cubs were going to trade Baez they would not have brought him up now. He is going to struggle for awhile, which could scare teams off. If they wanted to max his value, they let him continue to mash AAA pitching.

        • calicub

          I don’t think GM’s would be that short-sighted with Baez. It’s been all over the media how much Baez is expected to struggle in his first glance so I can only imagine GM’s around the league are aware as well.

          It may be that getting Baez in now could lessen the amount he will struggle with another team if he’s traded, thus raising his trade value.

  • PleaseStopLosing

    My Dream Lineup for late-2015:
    1st: Rizzo
    2nd: Baez
    SS: Russell
    3rd: Castro
    LF: Bryant
    CF: Alcantara
    RF: Soler
    C: Schwarber
    4th and 5th OF: Almora and Coghlan
    Utility IF’s: Valbuena and Alcantara
    And money actually being spent on filling out the roster should a prospect fade away and on the pitching staff. There may be light at the end of this tunnel afterall…

    • binnyballs

      I don’t mind Castillo behind the plate. whoever we have back there needs to be able to call a good game and be solid defensively. I would like to see 7 solid sticks in the lineup to go along with a defense first catcher.

    • calicub

      Personally, I don’t see Almora up that soon, but when he does, there is no way he’s coming up to be a 4th or 5th OF. He will start everyday in CF and Alcantara will move into a super-sub role of SS,2B, and CF.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Regarding the Kaplan quote, I hope so but let’s see a major signing first.

  • mutantbeast

    I certainly DO NOT give up one of our top 5 for Hamels. maybe 1-2 0f our 10-20 prospects and the remainder of his contract, but thats it. Amaro should have traded him before the deadline if he was serious.

    • daverj

      I can understand your position, but that means no Hamels for the Cubs. I suspect Amaro’s position is that he would have to be overwhelmed to deal Hamels, but he is willing to listen.

      • bpot92

        He may be willing to take a headliner with Almora plus a guy like Cj Edwards/P Johnson, plus two more b level prospects and a guy like Travis Wood if the Cubs took on all of the money owed. That way he could try to rebuild with that saved money while getting some solid prospects.

      • bpot92

        He may be willing to take a headliner with Almora plus a guy like Cj Edwards/P Johnson, plus two more b level prospects and a guy like Travis Wood if the Cubs took on all of the money owed. That way he could try to rebuild with that saved money while getting some solid prospects.

        • calicub

          No way the FO gives up much if any pitching, let alone two of the top 3 in the system. Not with the high-end hitters they have.

          • bpot92

            For Hamels they may give up one. And tseong might climb above pierce johnson. And I did say Edwards or Johnson not both. But to not give up a top 3 guy they will have to give up something the Phillies want. They already have a first baseman in ruf ready to Come up and their top prospect is a ss. If you got a Ace, giving up one pitching prospect would hurt less

    • Vivid_Reality

      If we could headline a trade with Almora, which I doubt, I would do that in a heartbeat.

      • VBCubs

        I was thinking the same thing. With Alcantara in CF and Bryant and Soler probably in the OF next year when Russell gets called up, Almora seems expendable in a deal for pitching. Add in Wood, 1 of Johnson or Edwards, and then a lower level guy and that seems like something Philly would definitely take. Then we can sign hopefully sign a Scherzer or Lester in the offseason.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    With Hamels, the Cubs would need to trade big time prospects AND pay a big time contract.
    With Lester (or Max S.) they just need to pay a big time contract but get to keep their young and cheap talent.

    • Bredstik

      True, but there’s no guarantee they’d be able to get either of them, and they’d both probably cost more money than Hamels’ existing contract.

      To me it all depends on what prospects they’d have to give up. They do have depth at a lot of positions in the minors, so they could afford to part with some. Preferably they don’t move anyone in their top 10-12 if at all possible.

      • Jeffrey Rogers

        I would do Russel straight up if Hamels was 3-4 years younger.

  • Tony_H

    Jayson Stark ‏@jaysonst 1m
    More fodder for the Hamels-to-Cubs rumors: Sources say Cubs ARE on his approved trade list. Turns out Red Sox are NOT on that list

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      Maybe they could be convinced Vogelbach is the next Ryan Howard.

      • Tony_H

        Remember, they knew Ryan Howard was the next Jim Thome, when they traded Thome away.

        I think to make a trade for Hamels right now it will be a name we won’t want to give up.

        • Jeffrey Rogers

          It depends on how much of the contract we take on though. If we take it all, they might be willing to take much less. He’s 31 and they have no reason to believe they will be in the race in the next 2-3 years.

          • Tony_H

            If that is the case they will wait until the off-season to have more teams involved. The Cubs will have to make a very good offer to make this happen now.

          • calicub

            Agreed. Hamels has been a face of the franchise for some time and they aren’t just going to let go of him.

            That being said, I think they have received immense pressure from their fans to get moves done now. Phillie Fans aren’t a patient group, so the faster they move to rebuild [and Amaro has admitted they likely won’t be competitive next year], the better they can appease their fanbase.

          • Tony_H

            But if I am the fan base, one of the last players I want traded is Hamels.

          • calicub

            True, but realistically he, Papelbon and Utley are the only guys on that team with real trade value and Hamels is the most likely to bring the best pieces back. If you’re realistic and want to get the rebuild done quickly, that’d be the best way.

            I wouldn’t be upset if they tried to get him with Almora, Vogelbach, Alcantara and maybe one other piece.

      • bpot92

        Don’t they have a top prospect who is ready to take Howards spot in Ruf?

        • calicub

          Yes but he’s been splitting time in LF spending most time there the last two seasons.

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  • SirGladiator

    We may be a lot closer to a deal than anyone realizes. The fact that the Phillies put Hamels out there and the Cubs were the ONLY team interested is big, it shows the Phillies are interested in selling, and that they aren’t going to be able to get a big price since we’re the only ones interested in buying. Also the fact that Hamels has agreed to wave his no-trade for us is obviously huge, it’ll go a long way toward making a deal happen. And the fact is, Hamels’ contract is huge, so they can’t really expect a lot back for him, since the salary relief alone is so massive. I’m thinking that Alcantara and Vogelbach and maybe one other minor dude would be an offer the Phillies would jump at. Whether we should ‘make’ that offer is open to debate, but I could certainly live with it. Keep the good news coming!

  • John G

    Are MLB teams allowed to trade draft choices, the way NFL teams do?

  • jtrain23

    Angel Hernandez “don’t want NONE of Mongo McMichael, lol.