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Alcantara, Soler complicating Cubs plans

Alcantara, Soler complicating Cubs plans
Photo: BoyofSpring.com

We expected Kris Bryant and Javier Baez to be knocking on the door by this time, but we also understand the process and why they don't make sense for the 2014 season.

In a perfect world, the Cubs would have liked to have brought up Arismendy Alcantara for a cup of coffee and then save him for 2015 as well, but sometimes talented players don't adhere to your tidy little plans.

Now before you tell me about how Kris Bryant is forcing the Cubs hands as well, consider that Alcantara has 400 more games and 1700 more minor league PAs under his belt -- including almost 300 more at the AAA level.

Alcantara is also very different from Junior Lake, who found himself called up early in an emergency situation last season.  Lake matched him in terms of minor league experience (though about 200 PAs less at the AAA level).  There is a significant difference in their approach at the plate.  Alcantara understands it his role to get on base and/or to wait for a pitch he can drive.  The experience and age may be similar, but in terms of a mature approach, Alcantara is light years ahead.  Small sample size aside, I think Alcantara has shown he is ready to stay from a skills standpoint whereas Lake's early statistical success may have been a little misleading.  Ideally you'd like them to switch places with Lake getting more time in AAA, but things are always more complicated when you are dealing with people than a stat line.  It will be interesting to see how the Cubs handle this because if Alcantara stays, it does no go good to keep Lake as a bench or platoon player.

Alcantara isn't the only player messing with time frames.  Jorge Soler has done it from both a positive and negative standpoint.  The Cubs would have hoped he would have had at least 500 more minor league PAs under his belt than he does now.  More to the point, they would have liked him to have more than 53 PAs above the  A ball level.

The problem with Soler is twofold: A) time is running out in terms of options and B) He is destroying AA pitching right now.

The temptation is to move him up.  But should they?

Soler would seem to be more advanced in terms of pitch selection even than Arismendy Alcantara, but we have only seen it in small samples and certainly not enough at the upper levels.

Soler was granted an extra option for next season and given his lack of development time, the Cubs would be wise to jump all over that.  They need to use all the time that is available to them.  They need to make sure he is ready when he comes up, because when he comes up, he's coming up for good.  Circumstances have dictated that.   An early call-up as Hoyer did with Anthony Rizzo makes it difficult to go back and re-claim those needed minor league ABs.  Rizzo wound up going back to AAA for half of the 2012 season.  But he had the luxury of going back with no time pressure constraints.  If Soler has to go back to the minors, he would have lost some development time he cannot get back.  He cannot afford to lose anymore than he has and then have to come up again at a time that may be more dictated by his options situation than anything else

Call him up when he is ready, after he has had his 1/2 season at AA and at least a 1/2 season at AAA.  There will be plenty of cookies, there is no need to curtail his development more than you have to.  In fact, the Cubs may have to be creative and find ways to increase his much needed reps at the plate and in the field.

I would play it by ear.  Let's see how he does over the next month or so -- and let's see how the AA Tennessee team does vs. the AAA Iowa club.  I think if it looks like Iowa will be in the playoffs but Tennessee won't, you promote Soler late in the season, not just to get the playoff experience, but to get the extra ABs as well.  On the other hand if it's the Smokies heading to the playoffs, you keep him there.

Other intriguing options include calling him up in September once the minor league playoffs are done to get him more reps and then there is winter ball, which is a higher level of competition than the fall league.  Either way, however, you have to bring him back to AAA to start 2015 and preferably stay there for a few months to get his ABs.

The Cubs are already fielding a young team that will include Castro, Castillo, Rizzo, Alcantara, Baez, and Bryant at some point next season.  The Cubs would like to surround them with some veterans.  There is plenty of time for Soler to join that group.

For now, I think both of these talented players, Alcantara and Soler, are right where they belong.

 

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  • Perfect, John!! Here's hoping the time on the DL, this time, was just what the doctor ordered. (pun intended) Hopefully, the medical staff was able to identify and correct the structural deficiencies that caused the hamstring issues.

    But the dude just picks up a bat and is killing it... again!!

    I like the timetable you laid out. I'm sure it's more in line with what this F.O. is thinking as well. God it's an awesome time to be a Cubs fan!!!!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Thanks MB!

  • When bonifacio comes back. Alcantara would most likely get sent back down, correct? Only way alcantara stays if they trade someone, right?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Couldn't we just demote Lake? Or demote Olt?

    Hell, if Alcantara is ready, I'd rather DFA Bonifacio or Barney. I'm not prioritizing utility guys like those two over a potential starter in Alcantara. Barney is a candidate to not get extended a contract this offseason, so if he can't be dealt by the deadline what difference does it make losing him for nothing now or losing him for nothing in the winter?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    we could yes. i think the cubs would prefer to try and get barney and boni playing time to get someone to take em off their hands . send Alcantara down, let Bonifacio, Barney and everyone play and maybe get a trade done for either or Valbuena (also help draft position by being horrible for the remainder of the season). I think they would prefer that. if they can get anyone to take Boni and or Barney in even a post trade deadline deal they would prefer to do that.

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I think you keep Valbuena.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    No point in burning Lake's final option when there's only a few weeks left to the minor league season. You wouldn't have the flexibility of sending (or starting) him there next year if need be. Personally, I'd just say goodbye to Barney, one way or the other. I doubt he'll being anything of value in trade. DFA seems to be the most likely route.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    A valid point. Being able to send lake down next year does offer the club choices next season. It would seem logical to hold onto that ability at this point.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    All of that is possible but I think the Cubs would prefer to not have to do that to their players. I think they'll look for other avenues first.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know I'm really late to the party chiming in on this, but I don't think the option on Lake matters, if he's not a proven major leaguer by this time next year he won't be with the team. When Bonifacio comes back you send Lake and Olt down and ideally quickly trade Schierholtz or Villanueva to give roster spots to Bonifacio, Hendricks and either Beeler or Wada. Since a 5th starter in only needed twice more this month trading one of those guys won't be too time sensitive. I would then have and outfield, 2nd and 3rd rotation going on with Coghlan, Ruggiano, Alcantara, Barney, Bonifacio, and Valbuena, where 2 of the guys are sitting daily and Alcantara gets reps at 3rd. Sweeney would be the seldom used backup. Lake and Olt try to fix themselves with what they have left this year at Iowa. Given the time table of the Cub's prospects and the likelihood that they will sign a veteran offensive player in the offseason, Lake and Olt will have to show that they can not only play at the major league level, but that they have at the very least above average talent. They will need to do this by the end of May or there just won't be room for them and they will share the fate of Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. It's amazing that the Cubs are in the position that 2 players and young and with significant potential as Lake and Olt are going to have prove it quick or get out of the way because the Cubs have prospect that are on the cusp are younger with higher ceilings that they are already closer to. As was stated earlier it's a great time to be a Cub's fan and our patience is very close to paying off. To all those that have stayed positive, as I have, through this process I applaud you. I believe the fruit will truly be that much sweeter for us, because it's not our team that will be winning, but our family.

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    When Bonifacio comes back, if the Cubs maintain an 8-man bullpen, eventually 2 position players would have to be traded or optioned to keep room for Alcantara.

    Lake and Olt have options, so those are two possibilities to clear roster. Otherwise, we need to DFA or trade somebody.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    It would seem that something would (indeed) have to give in order to keep AA in Wrigley once Bonifacio is ready to rock & roll again.

    Assuming that the Cubs intend to keep the slighly inflated bullpen roster deep into August (and their untried starting rotation may dictate that at this stage) - then it would seem that you really can't toplan keep all of Bonifacio, Lake, Sweeney and AA active at the same time.

    Bonifacio is the only real vetran of the bunch and has lots of position flexibility. Sweeney is on a ML contract and would likely have to pass through waivers (even assuming he is agreeable) in order to get down to Iowa. AA is the young up & comer - who if you keep him in Chicago - needs to get regular reps. And Lake,.... who probably most needs to go down to AAA IF he can be coached to work out his rough spots and who still has options.

    I know what I would do,.... but the personality factor looms large.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I'd rather they just cut Bonny loose. They aren't going to get anything back for him in a trade because he's not going to come back and prove his health in time for the July deadline.

    Tell him that you're doing this so he can have the opportunity to pick his destination and potentially play in the playoffs. Best of luck.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    There are all sorts of alternatives to sending Alcantara down. Lake could be sent down. Olt could be sent down. One of the throng of bull pen pitchers could be sent down.

    Or, a trade could be made. Or Barney or Schierholtz could be DFAd.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Somebody out there has got to want/need a Barney, whatever high-A relief pitcher we get back. And Schierholtz is barely a major league ballplayer at this point. If anybody deserves a DFA it's him.

  • Its best not to bring them up just the please the fans and media.
    Also bringing them up to soon might cost the Cubs and extra year
    of controlled service time

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    Not with Soler. He has a MLB contract signed cheaply through 2020. It doesn't really matter when they bring him up, but what does matter is that he's healthy and ready by the time they do.

  • Alcantara does look ready. He is certainly more ready than Lake was last year. I don't think this is a big issue though. Alcantara is probably going to be more of a Shane Victorino caliber player than a superstar, so while he could make some significant coin in his next contract, it won't be astronomical, so playing games with service time isn't really worth it in my mind. Just let him get reps in the bigs now, unless they think he really needs some extra work in CF that they don't want him to work on in the bigs.

    Agree with Soler. Keep him in AA as long as it is reasonable. If he is still killing the ball at the end of August, sure promote him to AAA and let him chase some PCL postseason at bats with Baez and Bryant. Then winter ball or AFL. Start him off in AAA next season, and when he is ready, he is ready.

  • I like the idea of bringing them up a few at a time so they get showcased to everyone else. It will make it easier to obtain value in case there is someone better that can take their jobs.

  • Nice problems to have.

  • I generally agree with all of this. However, I have a question that maybe someone can address.

    I had the impression--and this may be totally subjective--that Lake was making real progress as hitter up until he ran into the door. For sure he's slumped horribly since then, but my impression that he was having better ABs for about the month before that. I'm not sure that would change Cubs planning any, but it might affect what sort of return you'd want for Lake in a trade.

  • In reply to markw:

    Junior Lake can't hit a breaking ball. In fact, it has been mentioned on broadcasts several times, that he can't hit anything down in the zone. You can't live on mistake pitches up in the zone.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I see where I got that impression. He ran into the door on 6/26, but I missed that his slump started a month earlier. It was May that was by far his best month (while still striking out 1/3):

    86 ABs, most per month
    6 BBs, out of 10 for the year
    .273/.313/.477
    2B6 HR4 RBI15

    But from 5/28 on it was curtains, while Coghlan and Ruggiano surged.

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    Soler we're just going to have to trust them on. He's putting up video game numbers right now. The only one of the Cubs top prospects who has come close to this is Schwarber -- 3 levels lower. If he keeps it up -- I find that unlikely, but not impossible -- then they have a hard decision to make.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I have decided to play Devil's Advocate today and jump to the I want more cookies midset. Lets say for a second that Soler hits his 147 PA's in AA and his numbers are exactly the same as they are now (I know that is not likely that is why I said I am playing). At that point are we talking a Puig to the big leagues promotion? A month or 2 at AAA this year? What do you think the time table should be before that conversation starts?

    Like I said I am just spit balling and have no idea myself if he should be up or not but right now he is not being challanged and we found out 2 springs ago he could play RF in the majors so it is not a defensive thing.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    I think at that point we say can probably say he is too good for that league. 150 PAs is a better sample size to judge that.

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    He could benefit from Manny Ramirez's experience in AAA.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Could be said about every player.

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    In reply to Phil James:

    He already got that every day in Arizona that may be why he hit the ground running in Tennessee.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Agreed as long as Manny doesn't teach him how to field.

  • People were looking for Soler comps earlier today. A somewhat obscure one that came to my mind was Richard Hidalgo. That guy flamed out after a couple of seasons, but he was really good those years. Same ridiculous strength and solid plate discipline and decent RF skills.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    My comp is Vlad with better plate discipline.

  • In reply to Northside Neuman:

    I see Baez as more of a Vlad comp. Vlad had bad plate discipline in the beginning. Everything I read about Soler is the opposite.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    If his arm is almost as great as the scouts say, I see him as a poor mans Roberto Clemente

  • That picture of Alcantara looks like how Superman would look if he was flying very close to the ground.

  • I may be in the minority, but I don't think Soler "HAS TO" to go through AAA. If he continues to mash in AA, they may or may not opt to let him participate in AAA post-season. But regardless of whether he's mashing in AA/AAA, I think they bring him up in Sept. unless he cools off substantially.

    He's already on the 40-man and there are no service clock issues with extending his season. If he does okay there and then plays winter ball and mashes, I can see him earning a spot on the opening day roster. Lot's of "IF's", but it's possible.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    In all fairness you could be right. Soler played at the highest level of Cuban baseball. Which most scouts say translates to roughly +A to AA. So he should do this at this level. The only reasons that he started lower was to get some AB's and get his timing back after a long layoff during his defection. He is doing now what he should be doing to a talent level he is use to seeing. Dominating it. Lets hope that it translates into a successful promotion soon.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    Soler did not play at the highest level in Cuba, called the Series Nacional, which is our MLB. He played at a minor league level in Cuba, specifically because he did have a lot of work to do even down there.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    For some reason I was thinking he played at the highest level. I am sorry for my mistake.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    This is news to me as well. Baseball-reference has him playing the '09 and '10 seasons with Vagueros de La Habana - a team that I had never heard of before but play in the same devision as Industriales and Elefantes, so I had just assumed Soler played in the CNS.

  • With Solar begin out of options next year, does that mean he has to be on the big league club at some point or does it mean that he can't be sent down in 2016?

    I think I understand the basics of the options for US draft players, but I am completely clueless with the international players. Is it basically the same situation? I think I am getting confused with Solar due to it being prior to the new international spending rules.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    He still has an option for next year. He was granted an extra year. They can send him up and down as much as they need to next season. Its not until 2016 that he can't go down without being exposed to waivers.

  • so after the futures all star game. they ask Bryant about Javy and he says "thats Javy being Javy"

    reporter passes that message to Javy. and Javy says "more like Javy being Manny"

    LMAO!!

    Javy talks about how manny has been helping him with approach and how pitchers will most likely pitch him..

  • I think that although young, Rizzo and, to a lesser extent,Castro are going to be the veterans of a young team. Someone like Bonafacio would be attractive to retain for that intangible feature.

  • Remember Soler signed a major league contract not a minor league contract. Even though he is signed for many more years he has one more option year.

  • Arismendy Alcantara needs a nickname. It's just too long to say or write. My girlfriend has been calling him "Alphabet" because she was tired of trying to say his name and she says he has a lot of letters in it.

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    In reply to TD40:

    How about Contra like his teammates call him? Or maybe AAAAA for the 5 a's that in his name.

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    In reply to Richard Hood:

    Rugiano called him "Al" in his interview after the win against Atlanta

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    I thought his teammates call him Mendy?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I don't what he is called, just so he is called. The Cubs need his combination skill set and energy.

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    In reply to TD40:

    Double A lol

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    Alcantara has indeed been a burst of energy and projects as an exciting player, but I still think OBP is going to be an issue with him.

    I see him as being a guy whose OBP will run about 50 points above his batting average. So if he can hit .280 with some power and speed, he could stick around as a center fielder or second baseman.

    If Soler can stay healthy, I think he still has big star potential as his approach appears to be solid. But I agree that he needs some more time at AA and a half season at AAA.

  • Best players play.
    Lake down, Alcantara up.

  • Lake is a confused mess right now. AA is looking like a keeper. Bye Junior, AA just took your job.

  • You can carve up all the scenarios you want but a player like Alcantara is given a chance because of circumstances or necessity and if/when they seize they stay...period. That is the message that you want sent to every prospect or player in the system. Players who are not performing are kept that too is the message you need to send to the MLB club and prospects and players. Now as for timing, tell me about Puig or Cespedes or Trout or any player who is called up and becomes a star. Bryant and Baez are not ready yet for a variety of reasons but they are getting closer. Soler appears to have turned the corner and when he crosses the threshold in Tennessee they will elevate him, same for every other prospect.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Puig and Cespedes played and starred at the highest level in Cuba, Soler did not. We cannot compare them in that sense.

    They do have some sort of benchmark they need to reach but I would be surprised if it would occur after 50 PAs.

  • As we know, the FO actually wants to see our prospects work through some adversity at the minors level. They also have a # of AB's at the AAA level in mind(think it's 500 ish). Soler is absolutely mashing AA right now; why not bring him up to AAA now, let him work through some likely adversity this season(while playing with Baez, Bryant and Manny)-and start him out of the gates at AAA next season; hit the AB benchmark and hopefully he'll be ready for promotion at some point next season? I realize there can be exceptions to all rules, but taking into consideration Soler's output and the FO's philosophical approach-to me bringing him up now serves all purposes. Of course, I may be a little biased, as I'm heading to Iowa the 24th throught the 28th to see the Thursday night game and the 5 game series against the Redbirds-Soler's promotion would be the icing on the cake!

  • John, I think you are minimizing the experience that Bryant obtained during college in your comparison of Alcantara to Bryant. He's not as far behind in experience as your stats would seem to imply.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    Maybe to some degree but considering he played in a weaker conference and even counting Bryant's college career he's still had almost 1000 more PAs and about 225 games. he's also had over half of those extra PAs at the upper levels. There is a pretty big difference as far as high quality experience.

  • I just don't see Soler skipping AAA under this regime. You could have made a real case to have Baez skip AAA, and thank God we didn't now. Let the kid mash for a while in AAA and make sure he's all right, if his head is straight it will just make him that much hungrier for Wrigley anyway.

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    Agreed!

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    You might be right, but it is Soler's advanced approach that makes this a possibility. Baez doesn't have that and while Bryant does, Bryant isn't on a MLB contract or on the 40 man yet so there's business/financial reasons involved too.

    If you don't think that this FO won't deviate from their mandate to promote a hot player w/o minimum success at each level once the business implications are removed, then see Mike Olt. Struggled all season in AAA, was Hot in ST and already under contract through his prime years....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Olt is also nearly 4 years older than Soler, and both have had some funky injury related setbacks mucking up their growth curves as players. Olt had also already had a 16 game "cup of coffee" with the Rangers in '12.

    Agree that sometimes the biz side and 40 man concerns can put pressure on a player's trajectory, but in this case with nothing to gain at the Big League level by rushing him up I just don't see Soler skipping AAA under this regime. If he does and immediately starts mashing at Wrigley, I will be glad to have been proven wrong!!

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    3 1/2yrs to be exact... Olt's cup of coffee was no more successful than his AAA stint and with the eye issues aside, and with 20/20 hindsight (pun intended) one can now see those failures as an indicator of what was to come in his 2014 MLB season. I wanted to believe like everyone else and I am certainly NOT ready to throw in the towel on Mike Olt.

    But he clearly WAS NOT ready, and had not enjoyed success in his cup of coffee or AAA stints. The biggest difference is we lost no control over his prime aged seasons. You don't seem to dispute any of this, because it is factual. Which is why I say Soler "Might" skip AAA, because the same business environment exists.

    We will not lose any prime years with Soler either. The Baez comp is invalid because of a potential super two date with Javier, no current 40 man roster spot, and his approach warranted more seasoning before being called up.

    I am not predicting Soler will skip AAA, but to say he wont isn't being open to the very real possibility that he may. Especially if he gets a cup of coffee this season and excels, then goes to winter ball and mashes. Follow that up wit ha strong ST and I don't see how (provided those stars align) that they can leave him behind when they break camp. If he doesn't do those things, then by all means, he isn't ready...

  • I think Castro signed as a FA for about 50 thousand or less. Does anyone know what Alcantara signed for?

  • In reply to DaveP:

    He wasn't a bonus baby. 50K or less.

  • After Mauricio Rubio's recent Cubs Den article on the horrid outlook of our pitching staff and prospects, I'm looking for a good reason to come in off the ledge again. This might work :

    1) Bring up Soler, Bryant, and Baez in Sept. the microsecond their MiLB seasons end. Let them get over the "nervous nellies" and get as many starts and PAs as possible without blowing their rookie status. (Can Manny come with them as a coach / mentor?)

    2) After the AS break, keep AA, bring up and PLAY Valaika and Watkins, and recall Bonafacio the millisecond he is healthy again. Do whatever is needed to clear Olt, Lake, Schierholtz, and Barney.
    But whoever we bring up, PLAY 'em - don't put 'em in WITSEC at the end of the bench like we did with A. Cardenas 2 years ago, Watkins last year, and Coughlan earlier this year.

    3) if Travis and EJAX are still putting up 7 run, 3IP starts when Iowa's season ends, shut 'em down and go with a 6 man rotation of Jake and the Iowa 5.

    4) Get ready to open the checkbook to sign a couple of top tier starters.

    5) ... and sign a veteran cleanup hitter whose name rhymes with Nelson Cruz.

    6) And finally, prohibit the next Cubs TV provider from EVER showing another Bud Lite Lime waterslide, Cialis "Little Things She Does", or Viagra "Knowing How to Make Things Happen" commercial. Yeeeesh!

    Sorry about the long rant but the last two games against the Braves were really a kicker weren't they?

  • I think Alcantara will be most likely be sent back down soon to ply in the AAA All-Star game (he was chosen) and to join Baez & Bryant for a late season run and into the AAA playoffs, for an attempted repet at the Daytona magic of last year. Also if Soler keeps crushing the ball and showing a great approach at the plate in AA for the 3-4 weeks, I believe he will also be promoted to AAA to join Baez, Bryant, and Alcantara for that playoff run. Great experience to get the four of them coming together to try and do something special as a team the year before they come up together. If Soler does join them, I expect him to go to the AFL after the season for more at bats and development under the watchful eye of the Cubs, and then return to AAA next year, if he continues to do well by this time next year he will be chomping at the bit to join Baez , Bryant (both late June callups), and Alcantara (May) at Wrigley. Just my take, I could be wrong and Alcantara might stay with the mlb team, and soler could stay in AA...but I doubt it.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Like the way you think Ghost Dawg!

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I'm hoping you're right, GD.

    Alcantara to AAA to work on CF defense and play in the AAA All-Star game. He stays there thru the end of their season and then finishes the season with the Cubs in September.

    Baez and Bryant stay in AAA. They don't come up until either late April or early June depending on how they're performing and the FOs determination on the importance of super-2 status for them.

    Soler stays in AA until at least the first week in August. If he's still raking, he gets promoted. As John pointed out, if Tennessee looks like they're headed to the playoffs and Iowa is not, perhaps he stays in AA regardless of how well he's hitting.

    The guiding factor for Soler should be what will best serve his development. If he has a weakness, it needs to get exposed as quickly as possible so he can start working on it as soon as possible. Not only is his developmental time limited (2015 is his last option year) but, depending on off-season acquisitions, the Cubs might contend in 2015. If that's the case, having a big league ready Soler would come in handy next season. He shouldn't be called up before he's ready, so the Cubs need to ascertain his readiness as soon as possible. Getting him challenged then becomes a priority. He may still be challenged in AA, if so, leave him there. But if he keeps up an OPS above 1.200 for another couple weeks, the Cubs risk delaying his readiness (and subsequent arrival in the bigs in a year where they might need him to make the playoffs).

    If the Cubs think a cup of coffee in September will advance Soler's development, then they should bring him up and start him in AAA next spring regardless.

  • Really like your perspective on prospects and their development John. I must say you help me reign in my enthusiasm whenever it gets out of control. i would love to see Soler get some significant playing time with Bryant and Baez sometime this season in AAA. I get the feeling more and more that he is going to force that issue (promotion to AAA) sooner rather than later. If it becomes a choice between the AA playoffs and the AAA playoffs I'd probably prefer AAA as long as his play warrants it.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Ha! I always try to stay level-headed. Have seen too many guys come and go, too many guys called up too early.

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    John, you are being way to conservative or towing the Theo line. Solar, Baez and Bryant, along with Alcantara shoud all be up after the trade deadline. Whoever has not been traded should be dumped.

    I would be willing to start their clocks even if it affects their time entering free agency. The two-three months they would play together with Rizzo, Castro and Welly is crucial for them in startng next season as a cohesive team with familiarity playing together.

    I will worry about 2020 and beyond at another time!

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    I am just being rational and considering the big picture. You know things like properly developing players, responsible roster management, etc.

    On the other hand, you seem to want these guys to be called up because you wish to be entertained in a losing year. Explain to me why that is a basis for making responsible baseball decisions.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    The worst thing you can do for a prospect is bring him up too soon. Baez should not see the MLB this year, and not next year until he dominates Iowa. Bryant should remain in AAA until he gets his recent strike out rate under control.

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    Also, why start them next year in May, June? The only thing that could do is the Cubs have another miserable start and then it will be late for the kids to save the season. Then...wait till 2016.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    the same reason polance for the pirates and tavares for the Cards were held out till then.. service time

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Totally agree. All good orgs do it. Service time, roster management, development are always considered-- all things the last regime handled so poorly.

    Yet some want to repeat the same mistakes, I just don't get it.

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    As explained above, service time is not a good reason to hold them back. It affects a team six years down the road and Cub Natiion has waited long enough. We may not be alive in six years.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    doubt the FO cares about dead fans who cant buy tickets/merchandise.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    It's an unsatisfactory explanation. I cannot think of a worse reason than "we (the fans) have waited long enough", to compromise a player's development, potentially make him a free agent a year earlier so you can see him play now, and then give yourself unneeded roster issues to work out at the end of the year.

    We've waited long enough for competent management and now that we have it, you want to go back to the mistakes that made the Cubs a laughingstock in terms of how they managed their organization.

    There really is no rational argument to promote these guys. None

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    "We've waited long enough for competent management."

    Fantastic.
    Can we give an award for best response of the year?
    This should be the motto if this website.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Haha!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You need to remember you're dealing with personalities too. If Bryant continues to crush the ball through this year and does the same in spring training it becomes very obvious to him that the team only is keeping him down so that they have the extra year of control. I can't speak for him, but I would go through every year of arbitration and on to free agency to get every dime I can. If they brought me up when I was ready instead of waiting to control me longer, I would be more likely to agree to an early extension. I believe this keeping prospects down for years control will eventually come to a head in MLB...Scott Boras will see to it.

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    In reply to Nick Johnson:

    I have to tend to agree, luckily we are not at the place yet.

    Stay tuned .

    This Bryant stuff is going to get real interesting if he keeps knocking on the door while Theo n Jed holding the door closed w one hand and getting calls from BORAS on the other hand......

    Thank god Javy has a different agent

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    Excellent point, Nick. There's also guys coming north knowing the team has deprived them of -- in Bryant's case -- a potentially stud player in their line up, putting player control over the team winning in those first 2-3 months.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Really, John? There is not a single rational reason to bring up Bryant and/or Baez even for September? Would doing so compromise their development?

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    In reply to TTP:

    It would cost 40 man slots and start their service clock meaning we would have to bring them up a month later in 2015, which hurts the year we might actually be competitive.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I get the service clock issue, but I gotta think bringing them up in September would go a long way in both helping and speeding up their development and that should be weighed against the service clock issue.

    The clock is about about money, namely, saving it, rather than putting the best team on the field from the get go next year. I certainly understand its the smart thing to do economically, but it doesn't do much for me as a fan -- an endangered species in these parts.

    Oh, oh, . . . wait . . . I think that's Felzz's Baseball Police busting down my door, coming to arrest me! I should have exercised my right to remain silent.

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    In reply to TTP:

    "The clock is about about money, namely, saving it." You keep saying this, but it is simply untrue. It is about keeping good players for an extra year. The biggest spenders in the game couldn't keep a great player that they desperately wanted, Robinson Cano. It applies to the Cubs, too. Once a guy hits free agency, anything can happen.

  • In reply to TTP:

    There are several rational reasons to bring up Bryant and Baez in September.

    However, the rational reasons not to do so are much more numerous and important.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    Unfortunately, many of us will probably be alive in 6 years, and would like to see a good team then, rather than a mediocre team next year, which is what we will be if we bring up Baez and Bryant.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    and actually service time is a good reason to hold them back. which is exactly why most teams actually do it.

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    In reply to Randy Michelson:

    Okay, here's another reason. Neither Baez nor Bryant are on the 40 man roster right now. While you can say, "No big deal. We'll just dump Barney, Schierholtz, etc. to clear room." While that may be true, you still have to account for the many prospects at our mid and upper minor league levels that will have to be added to the 40 man to protect them from this winter's Rule V draft. Players like CJ Edwards, for example. There's no need to expose a kid you want to keep simply because you ran out of room by adding a guy before you had to so you could give the fans a cookie.

  • In reply to Randy Michelson:

    Also, a likely reason for not promoting Bryant and Baez this year is that they are not on the 40-man roster, nor do they need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter. The Cubs are not yet in a position to sacrifice unnecessarily two roster spots just to give B and B some ABs in Sept. This has been pointed out multiple times by other commentators.

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    100% correct on this. IMO, only way Beaz or Bryant see the majors if they absolutely kill it the remainder of the year as well as destroy spring training in 2015. Even if they do. I still think they will hold them back until June or the super 2 date.

    I just wish they would keep AA up here, let him practice CF here, trade or dfa Barney. It's not like they aren't trying to get a top 3 pick anyway.

  • I think if all goes to plan in that:

    1. Soler stays healthy and plays good at AA/AAA/AFL over the next 4 months.
    2. Javy and Kris continue to play good at AAA.
    3. AA finishes the year strong between AAA and the big club.

    Then we could have a lineup by May 1, 2015 of all 4 of them on the Cubs! However that is a very big "if," but it is nice to dream a bit.

  • I happened to be listening to 87.7 on Friday morning and they had Jed Hoyer on for about 15 minutes. He said Alcantara is definitely going back to Iowa after the break because they want him to play centerfield only for about a month. He said he has only played eleven or twelve games in center and they want him to get more experience there. He was rather adamant about it. He said something like; "I guarantee you he will be sent back to Iowa because he needs more experience in centerfield".
    These guys always keep their word on these things so
    I assume he is going down for a month and then will be back for good. I'm surprised no one heard it.

  • In reply to Leo the Lip:

    DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!! DAZ CAMERON!!

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    No HS players until we are picking beyond the top 10 please. Let's stick to college guys.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I generally agree, but if someone like Buxton or Correa is there, you'd be pretty dumb not to take them.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    While I agree technically... The issue is that you don't really know if you're getting Buxton or Tim Beckham.

    Buxton played HS ball against absolute nobodies. He was drafted 107% on tools. There were plenty of evaluators who questioned if he could hang with the other big kids.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    That doesn't apply in the same way to Cameron. He plays for a large suburban high school and the Georgia high school ranks are generally considered some of the best in the country.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I should say, I agree they'll have to be absolutely sold on him to take him.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Fair enough, but speaking about DazCam specifically, I just don't see it. I'm skeptical ... *shrug*

    If McLeod and Hoyer pick him, then I'm on board, don't get me wrong. But right now I'd much prefer Matuella or possibly the mystery college bat behind door #2.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    "the mystery college bat behind door #2."

    AKA: DJ Stewart

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Or Alex Bregman?

    Although DJ Stewart would look pretty interesting with Schwarber. Both are built like a tank.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I am definitely on the Matuella train...assuming he continues developing, he could be the star we are looking for.

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Matuella, Matuella, Matuella, Matuella, Matuella!!!!!!

  • In reply to William Ray:

    I was sticking with the FO's MO of picking Bats over arms with their first pick.. Id be happy with either though

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    DJ Stewart

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    MC Lars

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    In reply to William Ray:

    I'm behind Matuella for now, but who knows what happens. If the FO sticks with their "best bat" policy, I'll be hard pressed to disagree.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I Say Michael Matuella !!!!!!!

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I'm aboard with Michael Matuella

  • In reply to Andrew444:

    going with bats over arms in rd 1 Id take LSU SS Bergman (sp)

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    Who said so

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    In reply to Leo the Lip:

    That's sucks. Hopefully they can find someone to take Barney for a playoff push. Maybe we can just give him to the reds ?

    Poor AA.......well I guess he can play in the all star game.

    Anyone know why he wasn't invited to the Futures game ? Or was he taken off when he was invited to the show ?

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    He was on last year.

    I realize you can play multiple years but most of the guys are uber prospects and there's a lot if quality guys out there.

    Not really a slight on him.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Yup, I know he was on it last year. I believe he even hit a home run as well.

    Just wondering if he was on it, and then taken off because of being in the majors.

    I assume Addison Russell wasn't on the roster because he was hurt most of the season. Lets hope he's there next year.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I think a team is limited to having 2 players in the game. We already had Bryant and Baez going to the game.

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    In reply to John57:

    Bluejays had 3 and so did another team, perhaps the twins ?

    We might have 4 playing next year.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I guess I am wrong. It is not the first time. If there is no limit then I am all for getting more in the game next year... and then promote them all to the major league team after the game.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Russell was also at the Futures Game last year with Alcantara, he was the starting SS on the USA team. Soler also was selected to the World team last year but was replaced because of injury.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I thought I remembered seeing Russell last year but I wasn't sure if it was the AZ fall league or futures game, Thanks

    If Russell didn't get hurt this year, he might have gone to 3 straight next year.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    If Soler and Alcantara were in the game last year why wasn't Baez?

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    In reply to John57:

    Who knows, but I think we will see Baez and Bryan Wednesday night on the MLB network at 6pm for the triple A all star game !!!

    Anyone know If AA in the game ? I hope if he's not there, it's because he's going to be w the cubs team for awhile, not just the AZ series.

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    One thing about Soler I didn't really realize until I saw him last night is how smart a hitter he is. Justin Nicolino was starting for the Suns; he's a legit prospect with a plus changeup. Soler's first two at bats, Nicolino used the change and, quite frankly, made Soler look terrible. But instead of breaking the bat over his knee, Soler was learning. When Soler went up 2-1 in his third at bat, and Nicolino needed a strike, Soler appeared to be sitting on that change. When he got it, he unloaded.

  • Would not surprise me to see them send AA back down. I will be shocked if they don't trade Ruggiano in the next 2 weeks, he has built up his value and is not a long term asset. Then they will play Lake everyday the rest of the season. Sink or swim time.
    I said on another thread, a Soler comp is Derek Lee.

  • We're nearly there gentlemen...Success is right around the corner..
    Patience is the key. Shortly, we'll have a middle infielder type manning nearly every position. All we'll eventually need is 3 or 4 more Edwin Jackson signings to shore up our starting pitching and then...LOOK OUT!!!

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    In reply to Hey Hey:

    Are you lost? This isn't the Yahoo site.

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    Sometimes I wonder what you will say when the Cubs are good.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    He won't notice.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Nothing. Because he'll go into hiding just like the "Castro is regressing!" and "Rizzo is a platoon player!" crowds.

  • Justin Hooper 's no slouch either. just takes 3-4 years development time

  • Meanwhile, down on the farm:
    Almora clearly feeling left out of the "top shelf prospects all hitting home runs" conversation...

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Yep, back-to-back jacks with Marco Hernandez (who somehow is still just 21) to start the game.

    Addison Russell has added a double in his first at bat today followed by a Soler sac fly.

  • If a player is eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5 draft and the front office gambles he will not be drafted by leaving him off the 40 man roster, is that player again eligible for the Rule 5 draft the next year if still not on the 40 man roster?

    Or is it a one time thing and if they are not drafted it does not come up again?

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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Provided they are still in the same organization they are eligible again to be selected

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Thanks.

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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    You're welcome, RB

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    And I should say, under some circumstances, eligible even with another organization. You may remember, the Cubs lost Ryan Flarhety prior to the 2012 season, while protecting Koyie Hill. The rub was that they shortly thereafter sent Hill packing as well, essentially wasting the protected roster spot.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Mike, if a player is selected but then returned is he no longer eligible to be drafted again?

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Excellent question Q. When the following year rolls around, if he's not on the 40 man roster and hasn't left via minor lg free agency, then yes, he could still be exposed and would need to be protected.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    They are eligible every subsequent year that they are not on the 40 man roster.

    Until they finish 6 years, and become a free agent.

  • I have to say the thought of Iowa making a playoff run with AA / Baez / Bryant / Soler is pretty frightening to the rest of the PCL. It would also be nice to have them get some mojo together in the form of a championship run.

    John, one question I have regarding that is what would happen to Beeler and Hendricks in that situation? It would seem foolish to have that lineup and not have a decent rotation to really push for the PCL title.

  • John, I'd love to see an in-depth story comparing and contrasting the Cubs rebuild with other recent and current rebuild projects in the mlb. Is it out there somewhere already, or are you going to write that for us?

  • "Being a part of something special is also something you want to do. You can take that to a first-place team. You could take that all the way to a last-place team like the Cubs. With the talent they have coming up they could be a very special team in a few years as well. That would probably be the coolest city to win a championship in. They haven't done it in I'm not sure how long. To do that there that would be the coolest city to win a championship in right now." -David Price

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    John I'm 100% in agreement with these guys getting there time/at bats in every league all the way up to the minors. Under cooked bread is not good!! I also loved what you said "We've waited long enough for competent management."!! Agreed!! My only fear is trading the right players in the future for good players on other teams that can get us consistently to the playoffs. Our need clearly is going to be pitching and were going to have to be buyers. Who we sell and who we buy is going to be tough. What I'm seeing if Alcantera kills it where does that leave Almora? Trade bait... He's been predicted to be the face of the franchise. If Soler kills it when they call him up. Schwarber? No place for him if Bryants in the outfield ( I hope he can stay at catcher...). I know its a good problem to have.... but wow is scouting the key here and that makes me nervous.

  • One year from now, we won't be looking for the way . . . we will be on the way.

  • I agree 100% that rushing the prospects hurts both them and the team long-term. The question shouldn't be "are they able to play in the majors," but rather "would they benefit from more time in the minors." It seems once a player reaches the MLB level fine-tuning skills becomes more difficult.

    That being said, an obvious trade-off for the fans would be, either via free agency or trade, to pick up one decent OF on a one to two-year deal. Rizzo and Castro deserve some protection as well, and that they made the All-Star team with our OFs is just that much more impressive.

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