Dan Vogelbach quickly shifted the focus Monday night from Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final back to the Chicago Cubs when he congratulated Kyle Schwarber on his call up to The Show. And soon after Jesse Rogers verified that Schwarber was on his way to the majors.
The Cubs will officially add Kyle Schwarber to the 40-man roster Tuesday and he will spend the next six games with the big league team. Theo Epstein told the beat writers Monday night that Schwarber will be used as the team’s DH during the upcoming games in American League parks (Progressive Field and Target Field), a pinch-hitter Tuesday and a third catcher.
The front office is also looking at this time as a way for Schwarber to learn about being a big league catcher from Miguel Montero and David Ross.
Theo Epstein said, “Regardless of how this week goes, Kyle will head to Triple-A after Sunday’s game.”
With Schwarber on the 40-man roster, he will be optioned to Iowa and use one of his option years for this season. The Cubs would be able to call him back up for the two-games on the South Side in August (Aug. 14-15) the only other games in an American League park this season. And it’s very likely he will be a September call-up at this point.
The Sun-Times spoke with Tim Cossins, the Cubs catching coordinator. Cossins said Schwarber “has made impressive progress even since the off-season and Spring Training with his catching and doesn’t necessarily believe his defensive skills are further from being ready for the majors than his hitting.”
Kyle Schwarber tweeted Monday, “Grateful for this opportunity that I’m going to get! Very excited to compete and learn!”
The addition of Kyle Schwarber means the active roster will likely consist of 13 pitchers and 12 position players. The Cubs have not indicated which player will be sent down to make room for Schwarber on the roster.
Monday’s rainout gave the bullpen a much needed break and allowed the Cubs to bring up a position player for Tuesday night. The Cubs-Indians game from Monday was rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 24.
Joe Maddon is not going to skip Tsuyoshi Wada and is pushing back his rotation a day. According to the Sun-Times, Wada is “potentially pitching for a last chance to keep his starting job” on Wednesday in Cleveland.
Before Monday’s game was rained out, the Cubs announced RHP Neil Ramirez would be reporting to Double-A Tennessee on Wednesday to begin a rehab assignment.
Ramirez has been on disabled list since April 17 (retroactive to April 16) with right shoulder inflammation. Ramirez appeared in five games before landing on the DL. Ramirez was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP and a 3.44 FIP. Ramirez allowed one run on one hit with three walks and four strikeouts in three innings.
The Cubs were depending on Ramirez and Justin Grimm early in the season and both relievers ended up on the disabled list. The Cubs pen has been much better of late. Having a healthy Neil Ramirez will only help Joe Maddon.
Maddon said getting Ramirez back “could really solidify that whole group.” The Cubs skipper is using his relievers a lot and will need to back off Pedro Strop and James Russell or both of those pitchers will end up on the shelf before long.
The Cubs have reportedly agreed to terms on a contract with OF/2B Ian Happ, the team’s first round pick in last week’s draft. Multiple reports indicated Monday that Happ signed for $3 million, which is $351,000 less than the $3,351,000 the Cubs were allotted for the No. 9 pick in the draft.
The Cubs are expected to announce signing Ian Happ once he passes a physical. Happ should begin his pro career with Short-Season Class-A Eugene Emeralds.
Multiple reports suggested Happ is on the same development path as Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber the summer after they were drafted and signed. If all goes as planned and Happ hits, he should be promoted rather aggressively and finish his season in at least High-A ball.
News, Notes and Rumors
• OF Jorge Soler was still in his walking boot Monday. Soler played catch Monday at Wrigley before the grounds crew covered the field.
• Jayson Stark talked to a National League executive that thinks Billy Beane will trade LHP Scott Kazmir first, then RHP Tyler Clippard. The A’s will move INF/OF Ben Zobrist last because he needs time to rebuild his value. Peter Gammons thinks Kazmir will be dealt to the Astros.
• The Padres dismissed manager Bud Black on Monday. The Padres have not won enough games to satisfy its General Manager. Joe Maddon is close with Bud Black and reached out to him after he was fired Monday. Maddon told Carrie Muskat the two “giggle when we talk.” Dave Roberts and Pat Murphy are seen as the favorites for the Padres interim manager’s job.
• RHP Ryan Williams had another good outing for Double-A Tennessee. Williams allowed one run on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in six innings Monday. The Smokies won the game 5-1 and Williams improved to 2-0 in three starts with Double-A Tennessee. Williams has given up five runs on 13 hits with four walks and 14 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings (2.93 ERA, 1.11 WHIP).
• Arismendy Alcantara went yard two times Monday. Alcantara is now hitting .277/.341/.530 in 51 games with nine doubles, six triples and 10 home runs for a .871 OPS. Alcantara has 20 walks and 58 strikeouts in 202 at bats. Over his last 14 games, Alcantara is batting .316/.371/.632 with five doubles, two triples, three home runs, five walks and 19 strikeouts for a 1.003 OPS.
• Monday was the first time in MLB history in which all games played were Interleague games.
• The Boston Red Sox signed former Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt to a minor league contract. And the Washington Nationals released INF Ian Stewart according to Baseball America.
And last, but certainly not least, Major League Baseball has a big issue on its hands. The All-Star voting for the American League became, for a lack of a better phrase, a bleeping mess Monday when the latest update was posted. The starting lineup for the Junior Circuit will be filled by Kansas City Royals, Mike Trout and a starting pitcher. Omar Infante moved in front of Jose Altuve in the fan voting. Commissioner Rob Manfred is going to have to step in and put an end to this before it becomes a huge black eye on the sport.
This Day In Cubstory
1995 – Cardinals traded Todd Zeile and cash to the Cubs for Francisco Morales, Paul Torres and Mike Morgan
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Brendan Donnelly
1993 – The 100th anniversary of Cracker Jack was celebrated at Wrigley Field. Cracker Jack was introduced at the Chicago World Fair in 1893
1981 – William Wrigley announced the sale of the Cubs to the Tribune Company for $20.5 million, ending 66-year ownership by the Wrigley family
1977 – Kerry Wood, born
1958 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Dick Ellsworth
1958 – Dick Ellsworth made his Cubs debut by pitching the Cubs to a 1-0 win over the White Sox at the Boys Benefit game at Comiskey Park
1954 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Dick Drott
1927 – Cubs won their 12th consecutive game by beating the Phillies 7-2 behind Hal Carlson at Wrigley Field. The Phillies traded Carlson to the Cubs nine days earlier for infielder Jimmy Cooney
1884 – Due to inflammation in his right index finger, Larry Corcoran pitched both left-handed and right-handed in a game against the Bisons. The right-hander threw four innings alternating throwing arms before finishing the game at shortstop. The White Stockings (Cubs) lost 20-9.