While baseball focused on day one of the draft, the Cubs spent Thursday’s off-day making a trade, signing a free agent reliever and shaking up its Triple-A roster. And once again the front office proved there is never a dull moment when it comes to the Cubs.
The Cubs re-acquired OF/INF Chris Coghlan from the Oakland A’s for INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara. The Cubs will officially place INF Tommy La Stella on the 15-day DL before the first of three in Atlanta on Friday night. La Stella tweaked his hamstring during Tuesday’s game and apparently the injury is significant enough for the Cubs to make a deal with Oakland to bring back Chris Coghlan.
The Cubs traded Coghlan to the A’s on Feb. 25 for RHP Aaron Brooks. The deal with the A’s was announced 45 minutes before Dexter Fowler walked on to the practice field at the Cubs’ facility and announced to his teammates he was back.
With the Cubs sending Alcantara to Oakland for Coghlan, the trade that was made in late February is essentially Arismendy Alcantara for Aaron Brooks.
Chris Coghlan struggled with the A’s but being reunited with John Mallee and being back with the Cubs should give him a fresh start, and Coghlan is not going to believe the changes at Wrigley. His numbers should get back in line to where they were a year ago, depending on the playing time.
And if the series with the Pirates was not going to be intense enough, Clint Hurdle just received another reason to justify having his pitchers throw up and in next week at Wrigley.
Injuries have started to deplete the depth that was built in the off-season. The Cubs have not given a timeframe for Jorge Soler and have not addressed the La Stella injury. The Cubs know Coghlan. This was a safe move for a team that could use the versatility and depth Coghlan provides.
Iowa’s New Look
The front office made significant changes to Triple-A Iowa’s roster. And more additions and subtractions are on the horizon.
The Cubs signed veteran reliever RHP Joel Peralta to a minor league contract. The Mariners released Peralta last weekend and he is supposed to report to Triple-A Iowa at some point in the near future.
3B Jeimer Candelario and OF Mark Zagunis were added on the position-player side. INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara was traded to Oakland.
The pitching staff is where a majority of the changes were made.
The Cubs released RHP Jean Machi and RHP Brandon Gomes. RHP Corey Black and RHP Miguel Mejia were promoted from Double-A Tennessee.
Willson Contreras was back in the starting lineup Thursday for the Iowa Cubs. Contreras moved down to third in the order … and he extended his hitting streak to 15 games, one shy of his career-high.
Contreras went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Contreras is batting .341/.433/.582 with 13 doubles, two triples and nine home runs for a 1.015 OPS. In 49 games, Contreras has 27 walks and 29 strikeouts in 182 at-bats.
Jeimer Candelario made his Triple-A debut on Thursday night at Principal Park. Candelario started at third and hit sixth in the lineup.
Candelario went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Both doubles were against right-handed pitchers.
It appears Matt Murton will avoid the disabled list. Randy Wehofer reported during Thursday night’s broadcast that he spoke with Murton and the veteran outfielder said it was cramping in his hamstring that forced him to leave Tuesday’s game.
As would be expected of Matt Murton, he accepted full responsibility for the hamstring issue. Murton has been working hard in the cage and studying more film than usual. Murton said he has not been taking care of himself properly, not getting the right amount of rest or drinking enough water.
Murton did not play Thursday but anticipates being back in the lineup soon.
RHP Corey Black was promoted Thursday to Triple-A Iowa. Black was one of the top pitching prospects in the system after the Cubs acquired him from the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. Black was in the news for all the wrong reasons in the spring of 2015 for hitting Hunter Pence during the first game of the exhibition season.
Black really struggled with his command last season and in the fall. The Cubs left Black exposed to the Rule 5 Draft and he was passed over. The Cubs were able to keep his big arm in the system. And he’s been better this season for Double-A Tennessee.
Corey Black struggles with throwing strikes and consistency. One outing will be good, the next, not so much. Black was 0-3 in 20 games with eight saves, 14 games finished, a 3.18 ERA and 1.45 WHIP for the Smokies. In 22 2/3 innings, Black allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 18 hits with 15 walks and 25 strikeouts.
Corey Black could be an option for Joe Maddon later in the season if he is able to throw quality strikes on a consistent basis. Black has the stuff to record outs in the majors, and a lot of them.
The Cubs released RHP Jean Machi on Wednesday. To say he did not take the news well would be an understatement.
Machi was arrested early Thursday morning for public intoxication and urinating in public according to the Des Moines Register. Machi actually urinated on the bumper of a car. And when he was asked to stop … well, when you got to go, you got to go.
The Cubs inked Machi to a minor league contract in the off-season that included a non-roster invite to Spring Training. Machi appeared in 20 games for the I-Cubs and was 2-1 with one save, a 3.68 ERA and 1.30 WHIP (13 runs, 12 earned, 29 hits, five home runs, nine walks, 26 strikeouts, 29 1/3 innings).
The Cubs released RHP Brandon Gomes. The veteran reliever signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in the off-season with the goal of being reunited with Joe Maddon at the Major League level. Gomes spent the spring with the big league team on a non-roster invite.
Gomes pitched in 19 games for the I-Cubs and was 1-2 with one save, a 3.97 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Gomes allowed 10 runs, all earned, on 14 hits (three home runs) with 14 walks and 20 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings.
Shawon Dunston Jr.
Those holding out hope for the return of the ‘Shawon-O-Meter’ to Wrigley Field will be disappointed to find out the Cubs traded OF Shawon Dunston Jr. to the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations.
Dunston Jr. is very talented but has not been able to stay off the disabled list. When he played, he was really good.
In 37 games for High-A Myrtle Beach this season, Dunston Jr. batted .219/.299/.342 with six doubles and four triples for a .641 OPS.
The Cubs selected the now 23-year old in 11th round of the 2011 draft and bought him out of his commitment to Vanderbilt. Dunston Jr. was not able to advance past High-A ball in the Cubs’ system.
Shawon Dunston Jr. has the ability to play in the majors one day. And everyone here wishes him the best of luck in the organization he grew up rooting for.
News and Notes
• Seeing is believing and according to ESPN, these Cubs don’t suck.
• According to the Tribune, David Ross is having a remarkable final season … but will it be his last?
• ESPN Chicago posted five things to know about Albert Almora Jr.
• Mark Zagunis made his Triple-A debut on Thursday night. Zagunis started in right field and hit second in the lineup behind Munenori Kawasaki and in front of Willson Contreras. Zagunis went 1-for-5 with a strikeout.
• The Pirates optioned Jameson Taillon back to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday despite his impressive debut against the Mets. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates can dream after star prospect’s long-awaited debut.
• LHP Rich Hill was placed on the 15-day DL on Thursday, retroactive to May 30, with a left groin strain.
• The Giants signed OF Chris Denorfia to a minor league contract.
• The White Sox agreed to terms with 1B Justin Morneau on a one-year, $1 million contract and placed him on the 15-day DL. Morneau was at The Cell on Thursday and will travel with the team as he works his way back from off-season elbow surgery. The Sox also designated RHP Mat Latos for assignment.
• The Cardinals drafted the incredibly talented Delvin Perez, the player that tested positive for PEDs.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Jose Veras
2013 – Javier Baez hit four home runs in a D-Cubs’ uniform and became the second player in Florida State League history to hit four longballs in the same game. Ryan Harvey, a former Cubs farmhand, accomplished the feat in 2006.
2005 – Cubs and Red Sox squared off at Wrigley Field for the first time since the 1918 World Series. Greg Maddux and the Cubs beat the Sox 14-6. Maddux, Jeremy Burnitz and Todd Hollandsworth homered, David Ortiz went deep twice.
2004 – Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-3 after scoring 10 runs in the fourth inning. Cubs tied a team record with 11 hits in the fourth, nine were consecutive.
1986 – Al Alburquerque, born
1984 – Cubs added a ninth inning insurance run in a 2-0 win over the Cardinals on a triple steal. Leon Durham stole home, Jody Davis stole third and Larry Bowa swiped second base.
1978 – Cubs acquired Ken Holtzman from the Yankees for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Ron Davis to New York on June 12 to complete trade
1976 – Tigers purchased Milt Wilcox from the Cubs
1975 – Reds signed amateur free agent Larry Rothschild
1973 – Rick Monday, Pat Bourque and Ron Santo homered in the first inning and the Cubs hung on for a 9-7 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field
1970 – Cubs signed Bill Bonham
1963 – Cubs signed Len Church
1949 – Frank Frisch replaced Charlie Grimm as the manager of the Cubs. Grimm moved to the front office the following day as the Cubs’ Vice President.
1910 – Frank Demaree, born
1908 – Mike Kreevich, born
1911 – Cubs traded Hank Griffin, Al Kaiser, Johnny Kling and Orlie Weaver to Boston Rustlers for Bill Collins, Cliff Curtis, Wilbur Good and Peaches Graham