Cubs Game Notes: Scouring the waiver wire, last minute trade rumors, and scouts say Cubs will be feared.

Cubs Game Notes: Scouring the waiver wire, last minute trade rumors, and scouts say Cubs will be feared.
David DeJesus

Our poll earlier today indicates that Cubs fans still favor polished college power RHP Mark Appel, but the fireballing Jonathan Gray is starting to intrigue and has passed up LHP Sean Manaea as the second favorite.  Meanwhile a scout tells David Kaplan that they'd like a college pitcher but if it isn't Mark Appel, they may go for the best position player...would that be Kris Bryant, Austin Meadows, Clint Frazier...or will they go with a guy who could rise late like C Jonathan Denney or a soon-to-be healthy college OF'er Austin Wilson.  Remember too that many consider Colin Moran to be the best pure college bat in the draft.

But after our weekly draft update, it's time to get back to the big league team...

We're going to change up the 5 things to watch for a little and we're going to cut it to 3 with Tom, Felzz, and me all chipping in one thing each.  We may add to it later, such as an opposing fan's view and/or a contribution from different readers each day. Here's a sneak preview...

John: It looks like Brett Jackson is available off the bench after missing some time with a minor injury.  I'm anxious to see his new swing in a live game.

Tom: We should see Edwin Jackson treat this like a regular season start. So we'll see him use his whole repertoire, work efficiently, and try to get deep into the game.  It may be a sneak peak at what we can expect from him this season.

Felzz: Mistakes. This isn't about seeing players. It's about tightening up and getting ready for April 1. All kinks should be considered ironed. And mistakes should now count against you.  Also keep your eye on the waiver wire (see below).

News and Notes...

  • The Cubs are scouring the waiver wire in case a utility middle infielder becomes available.  I do not expect that to be Chone Figgins despite his name popping up in the news recently.  Figgins just doesn't hit enough to make any of his other skills (switch-hitting, versatiliy, speed, good eye) matter.  Felzz also gave me his thoughts on this: "Rumors of Chone Figgins already have most observers in a tizzy. And not in a good tizzy either. Still, there's a roster spot open and someone out there could take it. Brad Hawpe perhaps."  It seems Dale Sveum is looking for a lefty bat with some pop.  That was probably going to be Luis Valbuena's role until Ian Stewart got hurt.  The new in-house candidate is Steve Clevenger, but his power is limited and his ability to fill in in the infield remains a question mark.  The left-handed quote also seems to rule out former Cubs Ronny Cedeno and Ryan Theriot.  If the Cubs are going to go with a true utility infielder, then it appears they will go with defensive specialist Alberto Gonzalez.
  • Late spring is a time for trade rumors to start resurfacing as teams re-evaluate their roster situations.  While most expect the Cubs to trade Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol, it's a different player that may intrigue other teams.  Rany Jazeril writes that the Royals would like a lefty bat to platoon with Jeff Francouer and that David DeJesus would be an ideal fit.  The Royals recently gutted their farm system a bit with the big James Shields trade, but there's enough talent there to get my attention.  While the Cubs don't have an immediate full-time player to replace DeJesus, it's likely the Cubs will listen as long as the Royals are willing to part with a prospect with a chance to make an impact.
  • If some of you are worried about "the plan" this article by Tony Andracki based on a tweet by David Kaplan may assuage some of those fears.  An AL scout is saying that the Cubs are doing exactly what everyone feared they would -- developing within while still having the financial might to bring star players in through free agency.  The scout believes the Cubs could become a monster in the NL Central.

Today's Lineup...

  1. David DeJesus, CF
  2. Starlin Castro, SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Scott Hairston, LF
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Dioner Navarro, C
  7. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  8. Darwin Barney, 2B
  9. Edwin Jackson, P

 

Comments

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  • I wonder if Fontenot has made the roster with Tampa?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    There's a LH utility infielder with some pop -- and an ex-Cub to boot.

  • If the Cubs were to trade DDJ would that mean BJax would come up right away. I'd like to see him get some work in AAA but I wouldn't be against him coming up now and taking his lumps for a while. He seems like he has the right mental makeup to deal with the ups and downs of adjusting to his new swing.

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    In reply to GZUS:

    I think BJax would stay at Iowa until June/July, unless he absolutely forces their hand (a hot BJax and a Soriano trade would do it too). I think the Cubs would bring up Bogusevic and maintain the platoon. If Bogusevic gets hot, he could be dealt at some point...win-win.

  • In reply to GZUS:

    I think BJax is going to get time in AAA regardless of what happens with the OF in Chicago, but it could speed up his timetable.

  • In reply to GZUS:

    I don't think there is ANY scenario in which Jackson makes the opening day roster. If DeJesus goes, someone else will fill in for a couple of months.

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    Although that article is confirmation of what many of Cubs Den followers already knew, it's nice to see it in print. I'm still getting slack from White Sux fans and I'm biting my lip for now but taking notes. Our day will come and folks will feel the wrath of the Cubs Universe!

    Stay the course Theo/Jed. I want back to back to back Championships! LOL

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    What do Pale Hoser fans think they have, to be talking trash? I see them as fighting for third at best in the AL Central, and going downhill after this year.
    Plus they have to endure Hack Horrorson droning and dozing at the mike....

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    When the Hawkster moves on I will be the first to say, He Gone.

  • Interesting possibility with DeJesus & his going back to KC. He might be intereted (am not aware if there is any old bad blood between him & the KC management) in going back to a familiar team,... especially if that team looks to try & contend.

    He's on the back end of his career,... and he's a good guy. Wouldn't hurt my feelings to see him with a chance at a playoff run - even if elsewhere. He doesn't figure to be with the Cubs when they are ready to contend anyway.

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    The scout article is fascinating. As I read that, they don't want "a college pitcher" at #2, they want Appel at #2. Nice to hear that stuff from a scout. I am a bit worried about the Ricketts intestinal fortitude for this plan with ticket sales that just have to be described as disappointing, but it's worth noting TD Ameritrade captured a nice slice of the market for online trading by undercutting their competition on price. I remember in the early '90s people in the business saying the losses were going to drive them out of business. The point: the Ricketts clearly have vision and want the big long term payoffs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's the way I read it too. College pitchers as front of the rotation types are anything but sure things and Appel is the only one close to being that. I wouldn't mind seeing them go Meadows or a top college bat if they don't love any pitcher behind Appel.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Depending on how much weight we want to give the scout, they seem to be thinking along the same lines. So, assuming there isn't a Tim Wilken shocker pick coming, it seems like Appel, Meadows, Frazier, and Bryant are the choices.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. Not sure who Wilken would prefer here. I'd guess Frazier or Meadows.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The difference between Appel and Gray isn't that much.

  • In reply to tim815:

    Stuff-wise maybe. I have more concerns with Gray though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If he's fanning 14 and walking one, fanning the last hitter with 97 MPH cheese in the ninth, I'm good with him being in the picture,

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    In reply to tim815:

    I can't say that I wholeheartedly agree with that. While he may be get the easier outs through SOs, think of the number of potential pitches he allowing hitters to see all the while racking up pitches in his final pitch count.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Picking Amora last year is a big clue. I understand the need for getting pitching at the top of the draft, based on need and availability. But can see the positives for landing a top position guy who is a more solid projection to help the big club for a long time. I'ts a tough call and the only thing toughter would be not to be in the position to make the hard choice. So either way the Cubs are looking good for a strong pick, either way they go with it.

    I also think the changes to how the current free agent market is shaking out will influence this draft pick. Look at the contracts the last top position players were pulling down, pujols fielder etc and look at their production for the price. If you can line up a few top position players in your minor leagues, you won't be as likely to get stuck over paying for one of teh big boy fre agents, and sinking your team under bad contracts, as we've seen first hand. I think because of those deals and the new flood of tv money to teams like the pirates and the royals, who will be resigning more guys, that positon player may be the better value draft pick than a pitcher. If you can fill your rotation with guys from the later draft rounds and from free agency. The balance is different now.

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    I think DeJesus is a great fit, as he was in the past, in KC...but KC giving up another prospect, after the big deal, seems unlikely. KC is probably ready to give up on Hochevar...an intriguing arm and former top pick (though old now at 29, for his lack of development). A flier deal of DDJ for Hochevar and RHP Kyle Smith (not highly rated) would work for me...even if the FO just flips Hochevar for a prospect or two.

  • In reply to Ray A:

    I think they'd love to deal Hochevar for DeJesus. I'm not a fan. I think he was never a true #1 talent. More of a safe pick or them.

    I'd inquire to see if they'd sell low on 3B Chestor Cuthbert. One of their top prospects going into last season and had an awful year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't think they would give up on someone so young, but it is possible. If Cuthbert is going to repeat High-A, wouldn't he be fighting with Baez for time at 3B, if Villeneuva is at Tenn and Lake/Vitters in Iowa?

  • In reply to Ray A:

    Baez is going to play SS for now. Of course that could change later but you should always get talent when you can and let everything else sort itself out later.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd be thrilled with Cuthbert. Saw him in about a dozen games back in 2011 with Kane County, kid was off to an insane start at the plate before falling off. Royals probably rushed him by sending him to high-A this year. He'll only be 20 this upcoming season, so there'd be no hurt in sending him back down to Daytona to repeat the level.

    Also of intrigue from that '11 Cougars squad is OF Brian Fletcher. Son of Darin Fletcher, he appears to be a college free agent sign for them, and made it up to AA in his second pro season. A bit older, he'll be 24 this upcoming season. That said, I did see a lot of Matt Murton in him. And, to me, having another Matt Murton isn't a bad thing at all.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    *Scott Fletcher. No idea why I said Darin.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    I'd be thrilled as well. Looked like a promising player in 2011 but maybe they sell low.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Cheslor Cuthbert would be a great return. What are your thoughts on Brooks Pounder, Kyle Smith, Cameron Gallagher, Angel Baez, Miguel Almonte or Patrick Leonard? I doubt they would deal Yordano Ventura unless the Cubs added someone to the proposal, but if the Royals are in win now mode, I figure the younger and further away the Cubs go, the more value they are likely to get like they did with Campana.

  • In reply to Ray A:

    I'd take Kyle Smith straight up for DeJesus in a heartbeat. Question is would the give him up?

  • Hochevar might be an interesting add,... guy has always been erratic & just never seemed to quite get it figured out with KC. Flashes of brilliance,... followed by more being erratic.

    That might be a very interesting trade - especially since Hochevar seems to be the odd man out in the KC rotation this season.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Personally, I'd prefer a prospect, though KC does have a big dropoff now after their big 3 (Zimmer, Ventura, Starling).

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Who knows, maybe Moore is that desperate.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, is Kyle Smith not a prospect in your estimation?

  • Just added 3 things to watch for...by the way. We're tinkering with the format as we approach the regular season. Tom, Fels, and I will all contribute one thing to watch.

  • "A monster in the NL Central". I like the sound of that! Slay those effin' Cardinals!

  • Ha! Me too!! They'll probably be a monster too, though, with that farm system. It'll be like Godzilla vs. Mothra.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I prefer the Cubs vs. Cards analogy to be one of my favorite movies, "Godzilla vs. Bambi".

  • It would be fun to have Fontenot back. I would want a good prospect for DDJ because he is such a good role model for the type of player for the 'Cubs way'.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. No way to I give up DDJ for anything but good long term value.

  • As far as 2013 goes I would trade anybody anytime as long as it
    helps the system In the long term. Owners should never have
    any input in who a team drafts.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I agree. Only bad things tend to happen when owners and business suits start making baseball decisions. For his part, Ricketts has indicated that he will keep himself -- and Crane Kenney -- out of baseball decisions.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Forgot to mention that the wavier wire should be looked at
    for someone trying to be hidden and pasted through.

  • DDJ for the Royals Competitive Balance pick. Who hangs up? Do they think about it very long?

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    In reply to tim815:

    The Royals pick is #34 -- which I'm sure you knew -- so a pretty nice prize. I'd think Theo would jump all over that. The Royals -- depends how badly they want to win this year. Probably a lower price than one of the big 3.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I didn't know the specific number, but knew it was around there.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If the Royals don't go for it, the Cubs could always try to sweeten the pot. Rusin?

    If the trade does involve their comp pick, it would have to take place after the season starts.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    for the #34 pick, I'd throw in Barney and Marmol + enough cash for Marmol.

    For this FO, I think the pick would be worth it.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Barney? No.

    DeJesus and Marmol with cash for the 34th pick. Possible.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    I recognize it's an overpay, but I don't think Barney factors in long-term (I see Baez at 2B). so I'd be willing to overpay a little to get back into the draft before round 2 starts.

    Even in a poor draft class, this is a FO that believes in the draft for building teams and this is literally the only way to acquire picks from other teams.

  • In reply to tim815:

    I'd take that deal in a heartbeat and they are in "win now" mode, so I don't think they hang up..at least not right away.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The one thing we really don't know about the Royals is how they, internally, valued Myers. If they thought his strikeout issue was Brett Jackson bad, the Shields trade takes on a very different color. As much as we say it was an over pay, they got the best starting pitcher on the market -- on the market is key here -- for their prospect.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    This is true. We were all quick to judge but we may have limited info. I also think anytime you have a trade with Friedman and Moore, most will reflexively side with Friedman.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not sure I agree. I think Dickey would have been just as solid a pickup as Shields. And after watching Shields go up against a perrenial powerhouse team like the Angels yesterday (in probably what was his second to last start in the pre-season) and get shelled. The royals had to rely on the upswing in their offense to keep them in that game, not Shields effectiveness on the mound.

  • I think I'd take any useful, long-term piece I could get for DDJ.

    But trading him in April wouldn't be good for the Cubs--it would have to really be worth their while, and I'm skeptical that anyone would value DDJ so much as to offer something wonderful for him.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    In reality, the difference between DDJ and Brian Bogusevic isn't that much. Flip for a pick, and have three of the top fifty picks.

  • In reply to tim815:

    Yeah, just about 200 points of OPS...

  • I like the Edwin Jackson I'm seeing right now. Locating his fastball well, but not feeling slider yet.

  • Also like Castro taking time to get his feet into position before making the throw last inning. Could easily have seen him throwing that one away in the past.

  • Note for draft fans: Ryne Stanek came out dealing in the first, aggressively going after hitters with his fastball. Has gotten too cute with his slider at times...in other words, the Carlos Marmol syndrome.

  • All things considered, if the Cubs stud prospects pan out, they will have a very right-handed lineup. Castro, Baez, Soler, Castillo, Barney and Almora all hit from the right side. That leaves Rizzo and one spot (LF or 3B) to fill. I realize that even the best prospects aren't sure things, but if all things are equal, would rather see the Cubs find a lefty to fill the last position. I would lean toward selecting Austin Meadows I think, if my scouts had him dead even with Frazier and Bryant. The latter has eye-popping numbers and is closer to the majors that Frazier or Meadows, but it sounds like it's a question about whether he will be able to stick at 3B. I'm glad Theo and company will be making the decision. It's going to be a tough call and they have to get it right.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    I'm really intrigued by Meadows and I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs were strongly considering taking him if Appel is not there. I see the argument for Bryant too because he is a safer pick with a very good offensive ceiling. I just don't think it will be Frazier for some reason.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    If you are thinking that far out, don't expect to see Barney still there, that's another position that could be LH.

  • If they argue for a couple hours over 'left foot' or 'right foot' touching first, there will be some intense discussions over the second pick.

  • I voted for Meadows.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Have the sense that he's high on the Cubs list.

  • Cubs need young pitchers in their system very bad, but I would
    not pass up a great hitter. Use most of the later picks for them.
    Also there is the international market in July

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Hard to say there's a great hitter in this draft. They all have their flaws. Then again, so do the pitchers. I can see why that scout would say Appel or hitter.

  • Would it be silly to pick up Bill Hall?

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    In my opinion, it's not a fit. He looks done and is probably a little redundant with Lillibridge.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know spring training results don't usually translate, but Lillibridge has looked really good. He had a nice at bat with that triple and he hasn't struck out that much at all this spring. I really hope he can repeat his 2011.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    Agree stats don't mean anything but good ABs do and Lillibridge has done that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Lillibridge can't play the INF either, like Hall.

    This team needs a true utility INF. Gonzalez or a waiver wire pickup like Gonzalez needs to be on this team. Lilibridge is a train wreck at 2b and SS. And he can't hit. A hot 30 AB's in spring training shouldn't overweigh 649 career MLB AB's and his .213 average and under .280 OBP. Bad INF glove and bad bat is no way to build a roster.

  • Ryne Stanek with his best statistical outing of the year: 6IP, 2H, 0ER, 1BB, 5Ks. Good fastball and held down the walks, but it seemed to me he had trouble with command. Worked up some counts and wasn't able to use the slider to put hitters away because he wasn't locating it.

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    So let's get this straight: They're keeping a former utility INF as their 5th OF, despite the fact that he can't hit (.213 career avg) and can't field any infield position worth a damn.

    Nice to see the poor decision making is continuing.

    Keep a real OF'er as the 5th OF and keep a real utility INF as the utility INF'er.

    All this excitement for Lilibridge is a joke. He can't hit. He'll prove that very quickly, and when Sveum decides he also needs to play him regularly on the INF people will be complaining about how bad of a fielder he is. He is drastically below league average defense at both 2b and SS. There's a reason he's been released multiple times, he's not very good.

    I thought we were over keeping guys like Joe Mather on the roster, instead we just exchanged one mistake for another. And now we might carry a 3rd catcher instead of a real utility INF. The decision making on shaping the roster is very bad two years in a row.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Because there's certainly a wealth of guys on the open market who cn hit for average and field average at the two most difficult positions on the field.

    It's not lack of options, it's just poor decisions, right?

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Our utility IF has to be our starting 3B due to injury.

    When you have some starters that are bad, the back ups will be worse.

  • Speaking as a Cubs Fan I would be happy with Appel, Bryant, Manaea, Frazier, Meadows or Gray. I do like Bryant and think he would be a great pick. But Appel as Ace potential and could be in the rotation by mid 2014. I have recently done Reports on Frazier and Meadows and love both players. Gray and Manaea could both be very special arms out of the Draft. It is a good year have a high pick.
    But even I go back and forth through out the day.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    If the baseball gods guaranteed that whomever we pick will play at his ceiling, who then would you take? I'd be taking Manaea. Top of the rotation lefties are even harder to come by than righties, so even though that guarantee is not going to happen, it's something to think about.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    That thought almost makes it more impossible to answer. If Bryant hits his ceiling you are looking at a Miguel Cabrera numbers type player at 3B. If Appel reaches his your looking at a possible top 5 pitcher in all of baseball in 3 to 4 years. Gray would be the next Clemens. And think we have all heard the comoarisons for Frazier and Meadows. I am thinking I would go Meadows if he was guaranteed to hit his ceiling.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Wow. You're right, the ceilings make that decision way more difficult.

    I'm going to agree with you on Meadows. His ceiling appears to be Josh Hamilton sans substance abuse issues.

    Manaea is probably a close second due to the dominant lefty role but...yeah. That's tough.

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