Cubs Notes: Potential TV deal, Morgan, Yoon, and Cubs land 8 prospects on top 100 list

Some interesting news the past few days and it keeps rolling in…

New TV Deal in the Works?

Last night The Score 670 reported that Fox network is in talks with the Cubs about a TV deal.  Patrick Mooney confirms the report this morning and adds some detail, saying,

“The Cubs are locked into WGN for one more season, and Comcast SportsNet Chicago has exclusive cable rights through 2019. So one concept being discussed is a bridge deal that would put X-number of games on a local Fox affiliate during that five-year window, before taking the full schedule to a new channel in 2020.”

Mooney also looks back and quotes Theo Epstein talking about potentially way to activate the TV deal sooner and be able to use some of that revenue, but the sense is that it isn’t going to happen in time to aid in their pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka.  Theo noted that much of the big free agent spending was tied directly to new TV deals and that it could provide a steadier stream of revenue than gate attendance,

“Once you get the TV deal that you should have in a market like this, those local revenues will be largely fixed. I don’t look at inter-market competition. I really just look at what we’re trying to do on the baseball side, and that matches up perfectly. There’s no way I can make our business side happier than by putting a winning team on the field.”

Nyjer Morgan close to signing with an MLB Team

Former Brewers outfielder Nyjer “Tony Plush” Morgan is said to be close to returning to the MLB.   I don’t know if the Cubs are interested here, but given there were rumors that the Cubs would like to add some speed at the top of the order and OBP, maybe he’s a fit in Chicago.  He’d give them a legit plus defensive CF’er in the short term.

Morgan’s best two seasons were in 2009, when he put up a 5 WAR on the strength of his outstanding defense and then another solid 3.6 WAR season in 2011, which was his best offensive season (.304/.357/.421, .344 wOBA, 115 RC+).

Last year  Morgan hit .294/.361/.434 with 11 homers in 424 PA with the Yokohama Bay Stars.

If there are questions about Morgan, it’s whether his outgoing, sometimes brash personality will fit in the clubhouse and also whether he’s a fit for the Cubs in what they are trying to do long term.  The Cubs may prefer to give those ABs to Junior Lake instead.

Suk-Min Yoon comes to U.S. to visit with teams

Another player that could interest the Cubs, Suk-Min Yoon, is traveling to the U.S. to meet with MLB teams.  I’ve had mixed reports on Moon.  Some believe he can be a bottom of the rotation starter while others see him more as bullpen help.  Even some of those who think he has the stuff to start have concerns about his stamina to be able to do it over a full season.

Moon is just 27, however, so the Cubs may feel he has some long term value for them in some capacity.


Cubs land 8 prospects in’s top 100

Kiley McDaniel of put out his top 100 list and there are 8 Cubs on that list.   They are as follows..

  • #8 Albert Almora
  • #10 Kris Bryant
  • #13 Javier Baez
  • #44 CJ Edwards
  • #53 Jorge Soler
  • #80 Dan Vogelbach
  • #84 Pierce Johnson
  • #88 Arismendy Alcantara

The Almora ranking raised a few eyebrows, to which McDaniel responds,

“Most thought I had Almora a little high as a top 10 guy, but when pressed, almost every scout conceded he’s a high-probability, quick-moving guy that conservatively has a ceiling of .280 with 15 homers and plus defense. Almora may not have the flashy raw tools of other prospects ranked this high, but those projected numbers are close to what Carlos Gomez did this year, posting an 8-win season.”

Also a bit surprising is to see Javier Baez as his 3rd best Cubs prospect, though he is #13 overall, so that is more of a testament of the Cubs strong system and the high floors of Almora and Kris Bryant.

The Dan Vogelbach ranking is intriguing in that he is ahead of both Pierce Johnson and Arismendy Alcantara.  It’s a departure from many lists, including my own (coming soon), but you can make the argument that Vogelbach’s sheer hitting ability gives him a higher floor.

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  • fb_avatar

    Not enough pitching in that top 8. Gotta love Bryant, but it would be nice to see a Jonathan Gray type up there in the top 5.

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    In reply to Phil James:

    You're right, we do need more impact arms, but there's still Edwards and Johnson, and Vizcaino was ranked in the top 100 four times, including # 40 pre 2012 and #83 last year. The only reason he's not on that list is because he's missed two full seasons due to injury. I think he'll land in the Cubs bullpen sometime this year and perhaps return to starting in 2015, provided he makes it thru '14 unscathed.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    I like having the better ballplayer with the better chance of making it. That to me, is Bryant. Time will tell, but I like what the Cubs did there. I can't blame Houston for taking Appel either, though it's mixed now as to who is better between him and Gray. Guess is that those who prefer higher floor guys prefer Appel and thsoe who prefer higher ceilings like Gray.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, I wasn't second guessing the Bryant pick at all here. I'd rather have him than Appel or Gray. Rather, you can put this in the category of "I'm really greedy."

    There wouldn't be a need for a Tanaka if the top 3 guys in the system were pitchers close to making the team.

    Then again, it's nice to even have this conversation this year.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Would be nice. I think the CBA made it difficult to acquire multiple assets like that at once. Where once you could get players later in the draft and pay them 1st round money, that has been made almost impossible without multiple picks.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    30 teams in MLB which means each team should have 3-4 players on the list, if all things are equal, with 1-2 of them a pitcher. There are 52 pitchers on the list total.

    Things are not equal and the Cubs do have 2 pitchers but instead of then 1 or 2 position players, they have 6. The abundance of position players shouldn't detract that 2 pitchers is still good.

  • In reply to Theo Epstein:

    I think our farm system is very good and wouldn't trade it for any other teams right now. The top is as good as anyones and it is deeper. No other system nabbed 6 top international prospects this year.

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    Nice to see on the TV deal. I've thought for a while complaints about recent ratings are just WGN negotiating through the press. FOX entering the picture makes me even more sure that is what was happening.

    I dig the CJ Edwards love, but I think it's safest to see him as a high leverage reliever with amazing upside. I think he's a helium guy right now.

  • I hope when they say local fox affiliate they don't just mean in Chicagoland. As a downstater, my local fox affilate (fox sports midwest) shows Cardinal games. If I lost the ability to watch half of the Cubs games I'd be pissed.

  • I haven't followed the Cubs minor league system much in the past (before reading this blog) but the only time I can remember them having a big wave of respectable talent coming up was the middle to late 1980's with Maddux, Moyer, Girardi, Palmiero, Walton, Smith, Lancaster, Grace, etc. Very exciting to see them have some potential young talent getting closer. We may have a team that finally does things the RIGHT way, build from within with a strong draft and developmental system.

  • In reply to JV36:

    Agreed. Everyone remember Dallas Green for 1984 but he hired some great farm personnel and built the team that won in '89 -- and it should have lasted longer but mismanagement by GM Jim Frey ended that hope.

    Wondering where Cubs would be if they still had Palmeiro and Moyer and allowed Walton to develop properly. Cubs could have sustained that success, but from what I understand Green and Trib suits had big egos, and Green was forced out. Yes man Jim Frey gets installed and the whole thing goes to pot.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John dont forget Lee Smith, i recall other teams being pissed The Cubs dealt exclusively with Boston.. Lasorda if i recall would have given us Bob Welch for him and many wondering why we didnt demand Ellis Burks in that deal

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Green would have had Boston over The barrel plus Frey have up on Tewksbury who had some big seasons includi mg a 20 Win season

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    talk about a guy who couldn't break a pane of glass. Tewks fastball was a smokin' 70-something mph. He's a great example that you don't have to throw hard, or even relatively hard to have some MLB success. It's all about control, command, changing speeds and what's going on between the ears.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    That is true. A horrible deal by the Cubs and that caused them to trade for Mitch Williams later and give up way too many good players for him. You couldn't be a worse GM than Frey if it was actually your stated purpose to take the Cubs organization apart. He was cartoonishly incompetent.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Awful as a GM, but my favorite field manager

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Much better as a manager, not equipped to be a general manager. His go-to move was the head nod whenever ownership asked him to get rid of players they didn't like.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    All four of these trades were made in the 2 years prior to 89 and the Cubs still managed to have a good season:

    Lee Smith
    Al Nipper and Calvin Shiraldi

    Dennis Eckersley
    3 minor leaguers

    Leon Durham
    Pat Perry

    Rafael Palmeiro, Jaime Moyer, Drew Hall
    Mitch Williams, Paul Kilgus, Steve Wilson, Curtis Wilkerson and 2 minor leaguers

    Amazing the Cubs were able to compete in 89 given the talent they gave away. The only good deals Frey made were getting Assenmacher and Bielecki for nothing.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Those are some painful memories. What could have been.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Don't forget Dave Martinez for Mitch Webster.

    Both the Martinez and Palmeiro deals may have been addition by subtraction, but there is no excuse for getting so little for them even if that was the case.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know about Frey being the worst GM, there is always Larry Himes.

  • In reply to Hal McCarty:

    Thank you. I was waiting for someone to bring up that mroron. That is the guy who single handedly set this franchise back a decade at least

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Mitch Williams trade was unbelievable. Who, in any era, trades a first round pick, who in his first big league season is second in BA to Tony Gwynn, for a horribly flawed reliever? Answer..... Jim Frey

    It is like a 10 year old ripping off his his five year old brother in a baseball card trade, but this was grown men, for real!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Apparently no one can get along with Dallas Green, including Dallas Green.

  • Nice to see 8 guys in a top 100 list regardless of where they fall! Not exactly sure how Baez snuck out of his top 10 though. I feel like he should be in the 5-8 range on every list. Not like it really matters.

    Let's please just give those AB' s to Junior and if he blows it, give them to Kalish or somebody else. Please.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    One thing to remember on Baez is the K rate is a red flag. I love the kids potential, but the K rate says we should keep in mind there is some risk that he is nothing more than the bad Adam Dunn (without all the walks).

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Agreed to a certain extent on the SO. That said, Dunn was a born DH and Javier could probably be an average, to slightly below average SS - which creates a lot more value than a DH.

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    Would Fox get all of the WGN games in 2015??

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    No. Comcast will air their usual number of games until 2019, hence the need for a "bridge deal" like the one being discussed with Fox..

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I think it's too early to know specifics, but it sounds more like a percentage of the games until 2020.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    WGN has 70 games including most of the day games (which are worth less because they are not prime time when people are home)

    So as Mike said below the acquirer would get those games until 2019 when the CSN deal is up.

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    As a long-time Cub fan now living in Wisconsin, I can say that Brewer fans seemed to like Morgan.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Agreed. I live in the stateline area and any Brewers fans I know liked him. The key part is if his teammates, or his new teammates, would like that type of big personality. Or if he's even going to be productive at his age with speed being a big part of his game in his prime.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:


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    There's a live chat on MLBTR.

  • I asked McDaniel on Twitter what percent chance he gives Almora of playing in the majors...

    "basically 100%. You could call it 90% if you want, but most of those possibilities include injury of some sort."

    Safe to say he's higher on Almora than most.

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    The Soler ranking is interesting, because it feels a bit low, lower than other experts, etc. It could be because of his abbreviated season, then AFL being cut short, but it is interesting.

    I'll be interested to see BA's top 100, and how many we have on it. Based on the ranking of our top-10 in our org by BA, we probably will have no more than 7, IMO

  • Hopefully all 8 will soon be earning some of that sweet sweet TV money coming to the Cubs.

  • WGN better consider their so-called "Superstation" those of us outside the Chicago area get on our cable systems. Other then sports, all they show are reruns of (mostly) WB shows. No sports = no WGN would be my guess.

  • Because I am completely selfish I say NO to FOX. It means those of us in Iowa are screwed even worse than before because of the arcane territorial rights in MLB. I get CSN-Chicago and WGN America locally here. Any game on a local Fox channel is going to be blacked out even on MLB.TV!

  • Maybe Voglebach gets traded for a pitching prospect down the road. It would be nice to have a front of the rotation prospect soon

  • In reply to Mick:

    Unless something happens to Rizzo, I think he gets traded.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope whomever we get for him is a big time player that helps us when we're almost there. I have a feeling this kid may have a few 40+ homers in his career and we seem to be doing a great job developing a pretty special player.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    If Vogelback were to break out power-wise (25+ hr's), while maintaining his good plate approach and OBP, and play passable defense in A+ & AA this year... while at the same time Rizzo continues to struggle with LHP, plays his usual good defense, hits for low average (.230-.250), but maintains his power (or even improves a bit), say 35 Doubles & 28 HR's (Rizzo had 40 doubles & 23 HR last year). That would make for an interesting (but wonderful) dilemma for the Cubs Front Office.

    In that scenario Vogs would be ready for the MLB in 2015, and while Rizzo (if he played to the above performance) would be a very good player, Vogelbach would be the more valuable player, as well as younger, and cost controlled for longer. I realize you have to pick your core players and stick with them at some point, but if Vogs is ready in 2015 with those kind of numbers (and passable D) then you could potentially trade Rizzo (and change?) for a TOR pitcher.

    With all the talent in the organization, I'm excited to see which players break out and claim the starting spots in the next couple of years. I'm sure their will be a surprise or two, including a player surplus coming that Theo & Company will surely use to improve the team further.

    I don't know why everybody is so down, I think this is an exciting time. We are watching a powerhouse come together in my opinion. Two years in, and probably this final year of being below average at the MLB level... but after that the "waves" begin to arrive (some traded away) and then we will see great improvement. I don't envision a slow steady rise to the top either, I think after this year the Cubs will make big jumps each year until they reach the top. After that the continuous "waves" of talent will keep us at the top without getting stuck in crazy contracts for older players.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Cubs will always give preference to Rizzo because of the difference in defensive value, unless Rizzo completely falls apart. But that's unlikely IMO. When you look at Rizzo's BABIP last year and project that upward to something more typical for the type of player he is, it doesn't look like there's really much to worry about. Not only that, but some of those doubles will likely turn to homers next year, as well--which will boost his OPS a bit. I'm guessing he's in line for something like 275/350/500/850 next year. Maybe even a bit more SLG than that.

  • The Cubs will be 2029.

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    Yeah, I would like a run of playoff appearances from 2016 to 2029. That is a nice little run.

  • fb_avatar

    Morgan signs with Cleveland.

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    Saw that. Didn't really expect it. Guessing the Cubs are going with Lake, which I think is the right move. I would like some insurance, but I suppose that's what guys like Aaron Cunningham and Casper Wells are for.

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    Darwin Mendoza filed for arbitration. The way he hit last year, I think it would be more appropriate if he were applying for unemployment.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Arbitration is pretty much a guaranteed raise. It gives him some leverage.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Barney has value to a team, just not much of it is offense. He's not the only one who regressed at the plate.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    A lot of people are very down on Barney - he is one of the many players who hugely regressed at the plate under Sveum and Rowson... If Barney could just bounce back to a 0.240-250 average, his Defensive WAR would make him at top 5 overall second baseman...

    People tend to look at his 2013 average and OBP and forget that combining his RBI, Runs and Defensive WAR he is still above average for his position, even when hitting below 0.220

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I would guess he was trying to live up to the Mendoza Line.

  • Been thinking a lot about the chances the Cubs have in landing Tanaka. I wondered what the reasons were that Fukudome chose the cubs. I found this article:
    The best line was, "Economics played a big role, but the position the player was going to play played a big role, the ability to win played a big role, the Japanese community played a big role," Urbon said. "There were all these elements that came into play that pointed to the Chicago Cubs as the best choice for the player."

    Who knows what will happen and I think the Fox deal shouldn't and doesn't have a bearing on how much they are willing to give Tanaka. The money is there to outspend almost everyone. It really is going to come down to the intangibles, in my opinion.

  • I have a friend who said "I'm surprise how some people get
    dressed in the morning" Does this describe anybody we know?

  • Great to see 8 top 100 prospects on the list. For all of the negative attention that the team is getting at the moment, at least the future is looking pretty exciting. Also, surprised to see Baez ranked as low as he, as I think he has the potential/tools to be the best out of the whole bunch.

  • "Paul Maholm could be on Cubs' free-agent radar"...I would prefer that to a Scott Baker reunion.,0,6868198.story?track=rss

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I like that possibility. i'd be happy if he wants to come back.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like Maholm better than anyone else out there at this point, too. He's not going to be expensive. And when he's on, he can go very deep in games and save the pen. Guys like him tend to be at least as good in their early to mid thirties as they were in their twenties.

    I think Rusin has another option year left, right? So, they might as well stash him at AAA for depth/insurance and grab a Maholm on the market. Even though I was impressed with Rusin last year, beginning in spring training, continuing in the PCL and finally with the Cubs in the late summer. Rusin had a nice year.

  • The cubs system is quickly approaching the 2011 KC farm system aka "the greatest farm system ever." KC had 9 top 100 prospects. The cubs have the #4 pick in this coming draft and typically that means a top 50 prospect ranking just based off draft position. I'm not sure if Alcantara and Baez will see too much time in the majors to qualify next year but if they still do then you could be talking about 9 possibly even more if someone like Jeimer Candelario steps up or if they trade Shark for 1-2 top 100 guys.

    KC's system hasn't produce quite what you would hope for but 2 years later they are on the cusp of the playoffs likely for the next 3-5 years and they don't have the cubs payroll to spend. So even though many consider their system a failure, you can expect 2016ish that the cubs should be in the playoff hunt even if their players don't turn out like you would hope.

  • Another day, another Top Prospect List. MLB Draft Insider's Chris Crawford put out his list which has some surprises...Soler over Almora, Kris Bryant as a 1B, and Eloy Jiminez and Scott Frazier made the end of the list. He has gotten some different scouting reports than some of the other lists and maybe isn't as sky high on some of the Cubs prospects as other writers.

    BTW, Crawford's Draftbook is well worth the $1.99 if you want to be more knowledgeable come June draft time.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    "Like Baez, Bryant’s overall position is still a bit in flux, with many believing he’ll have to move across the diamond to first base at some time. He’s only an average athlete and his speed isn’t even that, but he does the necessary arm-strength and hands to be at least average there in the short term. I give him better than 50/50 odds of staying at the hot corner, but even at first Bryant’s chance of being a 270/360/550 bat will play wherever Chicago chooses to deploy him."

    I was begining to think I was nuts as everyone poo-pa'd Bryant ending up at first. I hope he stays at 3rd too, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if he didn't.

  • One thing this management team does is follow other models rather than set trends. They like things that are tried and true. I get that due to the financials involved and at stake. I would love to see the Ownership look beyond TV into more internet options - I know this gets fussy due to restrictions - But that is the future as mainstream networks are already competing with online forums. How do the Cubs leverage mobile platforms better?

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