Cubs News and Notes: McDougal, Cubs get PTBNL from Red Sox, and the Laws of Physics

Cubs News and Notes: McDougal, Cubs get PTBNL from Red Sox, and the Laws of Physics
Gioskar Amaya

Cubs have an early get away day today in St. Louis (12:45 start), but I have a few odds and ends to tide you over in the meantime...

  • The Cubs have signed Michael McDougal to a minor league deal.    The 35 year old McDougal was waived, then cleared but refused his assignment to the minor leagues.  The Cubs snatched him up on a minor league deal with a likely promise that he'll get called up soon if he performs well at Iowa.  McDougal has really struggled this year (7.94 ERA, although his FIP is a less ghastly 4.73).  His fastball is down a couple of ticks so far this season at 93 mph, which is still plenty fast.  Anyway it's a free (or cheap) look and the Cubs are hoping that they find themselves another reliable veteran arm for the pen.
  • In something of a surprise move, the Iowa Cubs have also received Gioskar Amaya from extended spring training.  Amaya is just 19 and played Rookie Ball last year where he hit .377.  His bat is advanced but it's worth noting that he's skipping 4 leagues here.  Not even Starlin Castro did that.  Amaya's bat is his main tool.  He played some SS at Arizona, but that's not his long term position.  He doesn't have great quickness now and he's a little thick legged, so he figures to slow down a bit more as he fills out.  He's in Iowa for his bat, which the Cubs must think is pretty special for him to make this huge leap -- but as reader Vike80 points out, it's likely just a temporary move while the Cubs sort out the Blake DeWitt situation.
  • If you're into such things as the physics of baseball, Obstructed View blog has a great article on  Alfonso Soriano using a lighter bat.  Will it help or hurt him?  This was the very question reader "44 slug" and I were pondering in the comments section yesterday and the guys at OV provided us with a timely answer.
  • I've noticed that a few readers have been chiming in during the games recently.  Informal poll...should we start an official game thread here on Cubs Den?  It's something we've considered in the past.  Let us know if that is something you'd like to see here and we'll set it up if it gets a lot of support.
  • Prospect fans can now bookmark our minor league recaps.  We have them listed under a single category here.  There's nothing fancy about our recaps here -- just what we believe is the best daily information on Cubs minor league players you'll find anywhere.  We not only give you the results, we're focused on the process.  We watch or even attend the games whenever possible, we provide impromptu mini-profiles on prospects, and we give you the story behind the numbers.
  • Cubs received 6'2", 215 lbs. LHP Hunter Cervenka to complete the Marlon Byrd trade.  Cervenka, 21, was 0-3 with an 8.04 ERA in low Class A Greenville.  He'll likely join Peoria.  Cervenka is all projection and no results so far.  He can touch 94 mph with his fastball, throws a mid-80s cutter, a curveball that flashes occasional good bit, and a work-in-progress change-up.  The raw materials (size, velocity, stuff) are there, but he obviously has a long, long way to go.  Perhaps the Cubs found someone they think they can coach up a bit, but don't hold your breath on this guy.  We'll track his progress in the recaps.

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  • That Amaya move is ... weird. Makes me suspicious of ulterior motives, almost as if he is being showcased for someone or something.

    An in-game thread would be cool. I am sure it would enhance the game experience for me.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Maybe we should try this particular thread for that as an experiment?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ok, I'll start something below.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    As for Amaya, it is strange. Iowa comes on in an hour so it'll be interesting to see if he plays and how he looks.

  • John,
    Just wanted to touch up one thing, Amaya isn't really making that huge leap, he's just up as a bench body while we wait for Dewitt to clear waivers and see what he's gonna do. It's easier than making multiple moves up from AA with Lake or someone of the like.

    Love your stuff

  • In reply to Vike80:

    Thanks...that makes a lot more sense!

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    As somebody who has been "chiming in" during games, yes I think that would be a fun idea to have a game log for such things.
    Thanks! you guys are the best cubs writers out there!

  • John, I love the coverage you provide in Cubs Den. The minors stuff is great too. It does seem like a big jump for Amaya, so it is probably a stop gap for a couple of days until they see what DeWitt will do. I think that before the end of June Lake should be at Iowa and DeWitt should be gone. The young guys have to get a chance to perform so Hoyer knows what he has.

  • In reply to Vito23:

    Thanks Vito!

    Another great day (3 hits) today at the plate for Lake, by the way...but 6th error in the field, so he does have work to do.

  • I got te see the top of the first before I had to step away. Disappointed that Maholm couldn't hold the lead. How's his stuff?

    Another botched sacrifice bunt. So much for that bunting tournament in March...

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Now we know how Sveum did so well.

  • Where was Castro hit? Is he OK? I only have ESPN Gamecast today.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Well, there was either a snafu with Castro getting hit, or it was a borderline/reversed call. Either way - LaHair dinger! Woo-hoo! Really would like to see a winning road trip.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Definitely hit his bat.

  • I don't have an opinion either way on an Official game thread, John.

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    following the game on gametracker here at work. what happened with castro in 6th inning? first it said he was hit by the pitch, from the spot the pitch was it looked like maybe the head, and then it said he struck out swinging. They must have changed the ruling?

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    Hit his bat, just missed his chin. Castro just learned how tough it can be because Cards just schooled him afterward with sliders away. Looking forward to see how he adapts for his next AB

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    barney seems to be heating up lately. Good to see! and reed comes through again!

  • Also, Rizzo hit #13 down in Iowa. Can't wait until we see him and LaHair in the same lineup.

  • I'd love for there to be a game thread. A few thoughts of the game so far (7 2/3):

    * Maholm wasn't as sharp as he's been in some previous appearances, but he matched Kyle Lohse, and you'll take that from a No. 4 starter when he's going against the defending champs.
    * Great to see Barney and Reed Johnson combining to manufacture a run. They're not the guys you'd expect, but to meet a team like the Cards you need contributions from unexpected sources.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Good observations. Thanks for the input on the game thread idea too.

  • Sigh. Kerry Wood.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Double sigh. :>(

  • Wow, what a time for Sori's first dinger. This team certainly never gives up, which you just gotta love...

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    They're battlers.. Tough loss. That was actually a good pitch by Dolis but a nice piece of hitting and some BABIP luck there for Yadier Molina. He finds a way to get it done. Maybe should have walked him.

  • You've got to give this Cubs team credit. They fought the world champs to a draw. Games don't get any closer than these last two. My guess is that the Cardinals are pretty happy to have the Cubs leave town. It's shaping up to be one hell of a rivalry.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Cubs are going to be the team nobody wants to play. Not because they're the most talented, but because they'll play tough the whole game That alone is a refreshing change from last season.

  • Speaking of light bats. I remember years ago a lot of the better hitters used a much heavier bat than today's. Little Matty Alou used to hit with a bat that weighed at least 40 ounces, saying it helped with bat control.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Interesting how the game changes and that a heavier bat was more often used back then. As for Soriano, his wrists were so quick when he was young that maybe he needed that heavy bat. Maybe he still does...I don't know. But it was good to see him HR today off a 98 mph fastball.

    I remember the days of choking up and trying to slap the ball through the infield. That would be highly frowned upon today.

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