Cubs News and Notes: I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr. Arguello

Cubs News and Notes: I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr. Arguello

John is taking the day to deal with some personal issues, which means I get to be the five year old hamming it up for the camera today.  I've eaten a bunch of sugar.  I'm way too hyper.  AIEEEEEEEE!  Here we go:

  • If it seems like there have been a lot of huge deals this offseason but fewer minor ones, that's because it's true.  Dave Cameron at Fangraphs has an interesting article on the role of the new TV money in the megadeals being handed out.  He concludes it's quite possible that this will be the first time ever that multi-year contracts outnumber one-year deals.  How does this impact the Cubs?  That's a lot of money being tied up for a very long time.  By steering clear of free agents who don't fit their financial and development timeline, the Cubs leave themselves with a lot of flexibility when they need it.
  • There remains a possibility, however, that the Cubs may dip into free agency to sign another veteran starter to solidify the rotation.  The top two players still available are Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.  Both players received qualifying offers and, thus, are tied to draft pick compensation.  There is little evidence that the Cubs are interested in either one.
    Going slightly deeper, though, there are still some good options out there.  A.J. Burnett recently announced his intention to pitch this year, and likely becomes the third best pitcher available.  Early reports, however, suggest that the Orioles and Rays are in on him.  The Cubs are not mentioned and it seems unlikely he would choose a rebuilding scenario at this point in his career.
    The best options out there might be former Red Bronson Arroyo and former Cub Paul Maholm.  Arroyo recently expressed frustration that he is languishing while teams spent $155 million on a guy who has never pitched in the majors.  Both could be solid middle of the rotation guys for the Cubs this season.
    After them, it starts to drop off pretty quickly.  Former Oriole Jason Hammel and former Angels Jerome Williams and Tommy Hanson would likely come next.  Hammel has his fans here, and may wind up being a bargain signing.  However, I'm pretty reticent to rely on castoffs from a team as weak as the Angels were last season.
  • One guy that won't be coming back to the north side is Scott Baker.  Baker signed an incentive-laden minor league deal with the Mariners yesterday, which includes an invite to spring training.  Baker pitched in a few games last September for the Cubs, but could never regain his velocity following Tommy John surgery in April, 2012.   He gets $1 million for making the team, with an extra $3.25 million in incentive pay.  This is essentially the same lottery ticket the Cubs bought last year for $5.5 million.  Given the deal contains virtually no risk for the Mariners, I have to believe that the Cubs weren't that interested in bringing him back and that his velocity problems scared a lot of teams off.
  • With the draft starting to take shape, CSN Chicago has some bad news for Cubs fans.  The White Sox are leaning pitcher, and have already interviewed the "top 3" (Probably Carlos Rodon, Jeff Hoffman, and Tyler Beede.)  If this is accurate, it seems unlikely the Cubs will get the college pitcher they were hoping for.  Seriously, just a split with the Sox last year and this is a non-issue.
  • CSN ran a less depressing article, this one about catcher Welington Castillo.  In it, catching coach Mike Borzello points out that, while Castillo made big strides defensively last year, this year the focus will be on calling games, reading scouting reports, and working with the pitchers.

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  • John that's a nice likeness to you in the pic, seriously, why do you think no one has picked up Arroyo yet. He seems like the kind of guy we would have nabbed already, unless there's something to him i'm not aware of.

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    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    It was acutally me, not John, that wrote it. I think all of the starters were in Limbo waiting for Tanaka to be resolved. Now the market is just starting to develop for the tier behind Garza/Santana/Jimenez.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Realized it wasn't John after I hit reply button, sorry about that Mike.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    According to Arroyo's agent, that highly published report of Arroyo saying he didn't have one solid offer was a hoax; his player never said that. Given his age, all the pitches he has thrown now in the last ten years or so, and his declining velocity, it wouldn't be surprising if he wasn't getting the offers he was looking for.

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    In reply to krn99:

    There is no way Arroyo doesn't have offers. Now, if his agent says "Don't make an offer unless it's a 3-year offer at least $12 mil per", THEN I can believe he doesn't have an offer. Certainly, Arroyo doesn't have an offer he wants to take, that much is true.

    But if he was willing to take, say, a 1-year, $8 mil deal, he would be signed in the next 30 seconds (I'm not saying he should)

  • A lot of things can change between now and the draft. Odds are at least decent that there will be a Jonathan Gray in there somewhere... or that one of the big name pitchers won't look as good come June.

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    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Even if that's true, the argument remains similar. The Cubs need a net of +1 to be assured a college pitcher. Last year the net was -1. (Manaea and Stanek drop out, Gray adds himself.)

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed, though it seems too early to speculate on the draft. Let's see what happens during the college seasons first. Come May, time to speculate.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There is also the chance that one of those who is believed to want a pitcher may choose a position player instead.

    How many thought that the Cubs would not choose a college pitcher last year?

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Good point, Bryant was obviously always in the picture but most people thought they would take whoever was available from Appel/Gray

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    Can the Sox really do anything to make me dislike them more? Taking Beede would probably be it. I like him more than anyone not named Rondon.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Personally, I think Beede is going to shock a lot of people and beat out Rodon for #1.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think Sean Newcombe will rise up before the draft. 6'5" left handed pitchers with a 97 mph fastball aren't too common. Mike don't worry we have Theo/Jed/Jason picking for us. It will be just fine.

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    In reply to John57:

    I like him, too. Lefties that size who throw 97 don't grow on trees. I also think he could be a fast riser this year. The secondary stuff needs to catch up to the fastball and he needs to improve his control.

  • Maybe the Marlins will go off the board and take Jackson or Kolek. Really feel like Trea Turner is going to be the pick at 4 after the top 3 college arms come off the board.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    A Kris Bryant popping up this year would be awesome.

  • I would be in the Jason Hammel fan club (lamest club ever) but I see a guy who has spent his career pitching in the AL East and Colorado with similar numbers to Scott Feldman. If he is asking for a reasonable contract he could put up decent numbers for the Cubs and get flipped at the deadline. Boring but seems to fit the cubs type of moves the last couple years.

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    In reply to Bochedda:

    One thing in our favor: Unlike most teams, we could offer a guaranteed rotation slot, barring injury. That's how we signed Feldman for relatively little. Playoff teams cannot offer Hammel that, and what he is looking for are starts, and a pillow contract.

  • I have heard a lot of good things about Beede related to improved control showing last fall, but I kind-of thought the Cubs would be left with a Kolek/Trea Turner choice. Does anyone else think Braxton Davidson might be the guy at 4 if he has a good senior year. His approach and lefty power are mighty interesting to me but not at four, yet anyway.

  • Oh and Mike. At least you turn into something cute when you have too much sugar. My wife is jealous of the yellow pjs.

  • What are the chances a high school bat jumps into the top three? Im not too familiar with the top HS guys, but I remember hearing a couple names as possible top ten guys.

  • Yeah, that's a good question. MLB has Davidson at 13 right now. Jackson, Gatewood and Gettys are a few other HS names predicted to go in the top 15 or so. I've seen Jackson predicted at 3 a few times but Davidson sure does look like a Cubs-way type hitter with power from the left side. If he impresses this season he could rise from there.

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    WInning meaningless games to make fans and media happy is why the Cubs can't have nice things. The idea that none of the top 3 college pitchers could be there when the Cubs pick 4th makes me want to vomit.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Me too. Its very frustrating. But I don't think the players won those games against the Sox because the media wanted them to. I don't know how you tell your players not to do their best to win when they are out on the field.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I really hope the Cubs do not have any player who considers any game meaningless. I want to root for guys that want to win each and every game.

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    In reply to kansascub:


  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Cubs were lucky to get #4, they underperformed in many metrics. Theirs even a statistic that said they underperformed by 10 games.

  • I wonder what's with Baker. The Cubs paid him $5 million for rehabbing last year. I figure he owes them, but they weren't interested at any price. Is he a bad guy, or is his arm toast?

    I'm guessing the latter.

  • In reply to clarkaddison:

    He doesn't owe the Cubs anything, they took a chance, it didn't work. Moving on.

  • In reply to clarkaddison:

    Is it official that Scott Baker received 5 million? That was a guaranteed 5 million dollar contract? I would think it would be incentive based. Anyway, I don't blame him for doing what was best for him and his family it's just the Cub fan in me would love to have had a better return on that investment.

  • I don't much care who the White Sox select. With their track record they're probably going to mess it up anyway. There's still a long baseball season to go where a lot can change.

    The Astros took the cheaper route with Correa, the Marlins love to save money so I wouldn't be surprised to see them go a similar route this time around.

    I don't consider it bad news that the White Sox are considering selecting a college arm five months before the draft, it's bad news when said guy is up in the majors producing much more then the Cubs draft pick. This isn't even like a slam dunk where the top three guys are THAT much better and can't miss (especially with the high flame out rate in baseball) then everyone else. Turner/Kolek etc are very good guys that I'd be happy with. I'll take the wins over the Sox anyway, I'll eat my words in 10 years or so if the pick ends up breaking much better for the Sox. Until then, no worries from me.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I know I've mentioned it here before, but I just can't help myself. You are talking about a team that once drafted the GM's daughter ahead of 14 future major leaguers including Placido Polanco and Bob Howry. if anyone can blow a golden pick, it's the White Sux.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Sox pick of Chris Sale wasn't too bad.

  • In reply to Lee Smith HOF:

    I agree. I didn't say all of their picks were bad.

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    In reply to Lee Smith HOF:

    I guess even a blind, double-amputee rat with a bad sense of smell finds a piece of cheese from time to time.

  • Use this tool to check out the history of our drafts. Look at a lot of the players around our selections. I think Theo and Jed are turning the tide here.

  • RE: The White Sox are leaning pitcher, and have already interviewed the "top 3" (Probably Carlos Rodon, Jeff Hoffman, and Tyler Beede.) If this is accurate, it seems unlikely the Cubs will get the college pitcher they were hoping for. Seriously, just a split with the Sox last year and this is a non-issue.

    I am so pissed right now! If we miss out on Beede, I'm going to friggin scream - God I wish Theo/Jed had traded away Dioner Navarro at the deadline, even if they only got back a worthless low prospect the extra losses would have been worth it. This is why I constantly harp on the fact that mediocrity is an absolute killer. In the MLB you want to either be terrible or in the playoffs. The spots in between are valley of death.

    For example, people say "The Yankees have always been good they can just buy championships"...but the reality couldn't be further from the truth!

    After the Yankees lost to the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series they went on a Playoff drought of 14 Years! 14 years without the playoffs, and they were led by All-Star's Don Mattingly & Dave Winfield most of that time. How did that happen? Because they kept reloading with expensive veterans every year, ignoring farm development, but still winning enough games to miss the playoffs but get a lousy draft pick.

    What changed?

    From Wiki: "Steinbrenner hired Howard Spira to uncover damaging information on Winfield and was subsequently suspended from day-to-day team operations by Commissioner Fay Vincent when the plot was revealed.

    This turn of events allowed management to implement a coherent acquisition/development program without owner interference. General Manager Gene Michael, along with manager Buck Showalter, shifted the club's emphasis from high-priced acquisitions to developing talent through the farm system. This new philosophy developed key players such as outfielder Bernie Williams, shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada, and pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera."

    What followed as everybody knows was a dynasty. Won the World Series in 1996, then 1998, 1999, 2000, etc, etc, etc.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I'd say the Cubs were terrible and not close to mediocrity. Mission accomplished.

    We don't even know who is atop the Cubs list, it's not accurate to say they are hoping for one of the three college pitchers, that's just speculation.

    I don't get why so many people are getting upset about this. There's as good a chance as the #4 guy being better than the #3rd pick.

    "Oh damn the Cubs are going to miss out on a guy that won't hit his prime until around 2020, if he even pans out at all. And who has about as good of a chance of panning out of the 4th pick, Grr!!!"

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    It's not "people", it's me personally. I wanted the Cubs to get Tyler Beede way before they had the 4th pick and before the year even started.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Ghost Dawg, what will you do if Beede is on the board for the 4th pick and the Cubs pick someone else?

  • In reply to John57:

    Be sad?
    Considering that Derek Johnson, the Cubs Minor-League Pitching Coordinator recruited Beede to Vanderbilt the year the Commodores reached the College World Series (first time ever) where DJ was the pitching coach for 11 years during which time he recruited & developed 32 MLB Drafted Pitchers including No. 1 pick David Price ,first-round pick Mike Minor of the Braves, & 2011 first-round picks Sonny Gray and Grayson Garvin.

    So if anybody knows Beede it's DJ. Also scouts have been reporting that he found his release point this winter, which has been his only issue, as all 3 of his pitches are filthy. If he has his command, their really isn't much development left, and he could be a fast mover.

    By the way, before this years draft I was rooting for Gray, and wrote multiple comments where I said I thought he would be a true Ace vs Appel who I think can be a TOR starter but to me is more of a Garza minus the injuries and personality issues.

    Well Gray has been lights out, and I haven't lost any sleep over it even though I was right so far. As they say, TINSTAAPP, injuries and crazy stuff can happen with prospects. The Cubs took Bryant and he has been unbelievable. I trust the Cubs FO to make the best choices based upon the huge amount of info they have.

    ...And yet knowing all this I still really, really, really want the Cubs to get Tyler Beede.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    People who want one of the three college arms is what I meant. Like the author.

    Last time something like this happened 2011, three college arms go off the board and Bundy goes to the O's.

    I'm sure the Diamondbacks wish they picked him instead Bauer looking back. That book is still far from being written though. The thought that this upsets people is funny.

  • I hate the spam filter.

  • The Sox are really laying this smoke screen on thick, John....


  • I'm in on Hammel if his arm is 100% but I'm a bit skeptical with the way he fell apart last year amid some recent DL trips (in the last couple of years). Maholm is palatable, too, and a guy like that tends to peak later that other types of pitchers, so he may actually be entering his best seasons. I would steer clear of getting locked into an Arroyo contract, and I'd avoid anyone I need to cough up a comp pick for, because the guys available at this point are not anything special. The Cubs have a ton of starting depth at AAA and they have Villanueva, too--so they don't really need to sign someone. In fact, if they're planning on keeping Cabrera (who is out of options) in the pen and not sending Rondon to AAA, they may need to let Villanueva be their fifth starter--which really wouldn't be all that bad, come to think of it.

  • One thing to keep in mind is the Marlins are sitting at the 2nd pick and have a history of being cheap. Last year, they went down to the wire on Colin Moran and eventually signed him to full slot at about $3.5M. Last year, the #2 slot was $6.7M and I'm sure it's projected to go up. Will the Marlins drop that kind of cash? They could probably easily sign Trea Turner or Alex Jackson with the 2nd pick for $4.5M or so...

  • no way the 3 arms go 1,2,3 at 2 or 3 1 of those teams will go bat. book it .

  • There's a little over 5 months before the draft. College and prep baseball teams haven't even played one game. A lot can and will happen between now and June 5th. Chill, Dawg.

    What we do know is that in two drafts Team Theo have selected 3 players that are currently in the top 100, 2 in the top 30, of every meaningful prospect list. They've signed one IFA and traded for another prospect that also made these lists. They seem to know what they're doing. I trust that, at the 4th spot, whoever they pick will be worthy.

    The other confidence inspiring thing is that they've also assembled a development system and staff that, according to the early results, seems to be working. Of the Cubs top 20 pre-season 2013 prospects, only Marco Hernandez, Duane Underwood and Brett Jackson struggled or regressed. Some were stagnant. Many more had major strides in their development. Whoever they select at 4 will be in good hands.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    OK Duane Underwood does not belong in that group. He is 19 nineteen. He was 17 when drafted cut the kid some slack. I saw him pitch in HS and I saw him pitch last year. He is improving he was always going to be a project. The potential is still there it just may take a little time.

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    In reply to Jason Brooks:

    I agree with this. Underwood is going to take a lot more than two seasons to polish. But to the extent that people think he's failed and he drops out of the glare of the spotlight, I think that's a good thing. If he's going to succeed, he just needs to be left alone to do his thing in the low minors for a while.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh, I agree. Never said that Underwood was a bust. Just that he didn't show marked improvement last year (which is a factual statement) as a part of a larger point being that the Cubs have had good results in the last two years developing the players they do have.

  • In reply to Jason Brooks:

    Cut the kid some slack? Where did you read that I was criticizing him?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    A little over 4 months. It is closer than you think.

  • In reply to John57:

    Indeed. Good catch. Closer than 5, still very far away in terms of what can change. And we should still just chill.

  • Happy birthday Mr. Cub! Ernie is 83 today.

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