Cubs Notes: BA Top Prospects List, Barney, and would the Cubs actually consider moving?

Hang tight everyone. We are a week from pitchers and catchers reporting.  Until then, here are a few news and notes…

BA Top Prospects List

Baseball America released it’s top 31 prospects as the Prospect Handbook arrived in mailboxes everywhere.   I”m waiting to order mine until I return from vacation, but CCO has them listed on their site.  The list is as follows…

  1. Javier Baez, SS (1, 70, Medium)
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B (NA, 70, Medium)
  3. C.J. Edwards, RHP (NA, 65, High)
  4. Albert Almora, OF (2, 60, Medium)
  5. Jorge Soler, OF (3, 65, Extreme)
  6. Pierce Johnson, RHP (6, 55, High)
  7. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/SS (10, 55, High)
  8. Jeimer Candelario, 3B (8, 50, High)
  9. Dan Vogelbach, 1B (7, 50, High)
  10. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP (4, 55, Extreme)
  11. Kyle Hendricks, RHP (NR, 45, Low)
  12. Paul Blackburn, RHP (16, 50, High)
  13. Christian Villanueva, 3B (12, 45, Medium)
  14. Mike Olt, 3B (NA, 55, Extreme)
  15. Corey Black, RHP (NA, 50, High)
  16. Eloy Jimenez, OF (NA, 55, Extreme)
  17. Jacob Hannemann, OF (NA, 55, Extreme)
  18. Dillon Maples, RHP (18, 55, Extreme)
  19. Tyler Skulina, RHP (NA, 50, High)
  20. Rob Zastryzny, LHP (NA, 50, High)
  21. Ivan Pineyro, RHP (NA, 45, Medium)
  22. Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP (9, 45, Medium)
  23. Gleyber Torres, SS (NA, 55, Extreme)
  24. Dallas Beeler, RHP (NR, 45, High)
  25. Armando Rivero, RHP (NA, 45, High)
  26. Matt Szczur, OF (14, 45, High)
  27. Zach Cates, RHP (NR, 45, High)
  28. Ben Wells, RHP (NR, 45, High)
  29. Rubi Silva, OF (NR, 50, Extreme)
  30. Danny Lockhart, 2B (NR, 45, High)
  31. Dustin Geiger, 1B (NR, 45, High)

It’s nice to see 5 Cubs with grades of 60 or higher, which is indicative of a first division starter.  Perhaps equally as nice is that 3 of those 5 carry just medium risk at this point.

I’ll be having my own list out soon (I promise — I apologize for the delay. I just made it out to be a bigger project this year with lots of moving parts) and I can say that one difference on my list is that there is a preference toward higher ceiling players toward the bottom.  I do like players like Beeler, Rivero, Szczur, Lockhart, etc., but they are more likely to be role players, as noted by their MLB fringe average 45 grades, which indicates a bench player, middle reliever, or 5th starter.

I’m not a fan of listing veteran NPB players like Kyuji Fujikawa on prospect lists.

Barney signs

Darwin Barney and the Cubs avoided arbitration by sagreeing to a $2.3M deal.  Barney is coming off a down year but the arbitration process pretty much guarantees a raise for all players who file.   Considering Barney’s Gold Glove level defense, the salary still provides value for the Cubs, but that may not be the case by next season if Barney doesn’t bounce back.

Only Jeff Samardzija remains unsigned.   The RHP is seeking $6.2M while the Cubs are offering $4.4.  I believe they’ll settle closer to Samardzija’s figure, perhaps in the $5.5 range.

Cubs to consider moving from Wrigley?

I think this is probably something of a bluff at this point, but if Dan Bernstein’s report is true, it does signal renewed frustration with negotiations.  I don’t think a move happens, but I wouldn’t push my luck if I were the rooftops.

Sources: #Cubs frustration w/rooftops’ intransigence is high enough that they are discussing “unavoidable prospect” of options elsewhere.

It could also put pressure on the city since they stand to lose a lot if the Cubs move to the suburbs.

Boycott rooftops?  Maybe we won’t have to.


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  • Come what may, this is Barney's final season as the starting 2B for the Cubs.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I certainly hope so. Barney is a bench player, and a glove first one at that. Can Alcantara be any worse as a total package?

  • Until one of the 'kids' pushes him out - we had to figure that signing Barney as the year's starting 2B was a forgone conclusion,... At least we know defensively, the IF is going to be solid.

    He'll push himself out of the lineup if he doesn't pick the offense up though.

    Any thoughts as to the potential of Watkins getting some playing time splits with Barney? Or if he doesn't make the roster - the likes of Roberts splitting the PT at 2B?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Yes, he definitely has to hit this year to stave off the young players from grabbing one of the infield spots.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Check Watkins offensive and defensive statistics in the PCL last season and then compare them to Darwin Barney's statistics in his last year in the PCL. That should answer your question quickly.

  • In reply to krn99:

    I can't find the defensive statistics in AAA or Barney or Watkins, but here's what I see.

    It looks like Watkins was better in AAA with the bat than Barney was in his last year at AAA. And looking at both of their splits, I don't know how you don't at least give Barney a lot of days off when facing RHP (Barney's OPS vs RHP last year: .515; Watkins' OPS vs righties last year: .736).

    So, if you're saying look at their stats to point out that we should give Watkins quite a few ABs against righties, then I agree.

  • Can someone please explain to me why they don't just start building everything and deal with the lawsuits as they come? If its truely just a few owners then settle out with those that want and take the others to court.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    The Cubs don't want to put forth the capital for the construction just to receive a stop work order until the whole deal is sorted out.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Except they can't. The remedy for breach of contract is damages, not an injunction. So the worst case scenario is they do all of the work and the court orders them to pay the rooftop owners damages which would be the projected business lost due to the obstruction.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I would guess the "projected business lost" would be rather small since most of their customers are there to party rather than watch a game. A little more obstruction might not even be noticed.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    But isn't that the 'catch'. The cubs get added revenue from the sign(s), then they 'potentially' / 'actually' / 'maybe' spend that on getting better players, which then leads to more attendance in the park and more attendance at the rooftops, which leads to increased revenue for the rooftop owners....

    How can the rooftop owners get paid damages when, in theory, their revenues will be increasing?

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    The court would have to decide that. I think the rooftop owners would have a hard time arguing the Cubs will be better at some future point and then their revenues will go up.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Why don't they just wait and see what their revenue actually is. If the revenue is flat or goes up, then the Cubs owe them nothing. Also there are more concert dates that the RTOs make money on. Do those events impact the revenue that is counted?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Because they can get a restraining order ordering work stoppage, increasing construction and labor costs, and, look like the bad guy!

  • Breaking news... the Cubs threaten to leave the city... again. Wow, are we past the Super Bowl again already? At this point, no one believes the Cubs' annual crying about moving to Rosemont or wherever. And there's nothing the city can do to eliminate the rooftop owners' right for a day in court. The Cubs know the contract language is against them but are trying to increase the heat to get a better negotiated settlement. Good on them, but a PR war seldom works in civil court. Plus unfortunately they have a timeline and their adversaries have no timeline and strong contractual grounds. What a never-ending fiasco. How does Crane Kenny keep his 7-figure job?

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    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    The Cubs have never threatened to leave, it's always been the fans, the media, and politicians from neighboring suburbs. This is the first we've actually heard anything from the Cubs about leaving. Yes Tom has mentioned it in the past but never has he threatened. And from what I read the contract with rooftops would go the Cubs way if they did go to court.

    I think there is just one of the rooftop owners that is trying to play hardball with Rickett's and he's playing hardball right back and trying to force that last owner to sell.

  • That is a exciting list can't wait to see those players at spring training.

    Barney oh boy. Cubs avoid arbitration with Barney just like the ball avoided his bat.

    I say this with respect. Can we stop with the roof top talk. I am focusing on this list and spring training. We finally have positives to look forward to.

  • I don't know, but I like Barney I kind of hope he hangs through 2015 for utility until Bryant, Baez, and Alcantara get settled in. He will eventually be too costly for that role I guess, but seems like that he is the type of player that could really help with young guys transition.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed - assuming he is interested in filling the Ut-IF role, he's probably capable of covering 2B/SS (he was a MiL SS after all) and in a pinch 3B (although his arm might be a bit suspect at 3B). His bat would be far less a liability as a Ut - as long as he doesn't price himself out of a place on the roster.

    He's reportedly been a good influence on Castro as a defensive mentor of sorts. Could serve a similar role (again - if he's willing to do so in a cost-controlled manner) if/when Beaz, Bryant, or Alcantara force the issue sometime next year, or even later this year.

    I think it is more likely though - assuming his bat has rebounded from last year's disaster - that he gets traded to a contender come July/August.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Unless his bat improves a lot, I think he's basically a lock to be DFAd next year. I doubt the Cubs are going to want to pay $4M+ for his production, especially if Watkins proves he can be a solid utility player.

  • If the report is true it's about time the Cubs put the move option on the table. It's unfortunate but the only way to get what you need in a business negotiation is to have an alternate option if the negotiation is ultimately not successful. Tom Ricketts put the organization behind the 8 ball from day 1 when he said the Cubs would not consider leaving Wrigley. Sometimes you have to threaten to end something in order to save it.

  • John-

    When does the current rooftop agreement end? Isn't it 8-9 years from now? It seems awfully short-sided on the rooftop owners side of things to think of just the last 4-5 years of their agreement. It would seem as though once the timeline for the rebuilding of our franchise has come to fruition...the owners would only have a few years of really talented ball clubs to watch, before their agreement with the Cubs end. From my viewpoint, it seems as though they are biting the hand that feeds them. The Ricketts seem to obviously be very intelligent business people. If the RoofTop owners think this negotiation is rough....I can't wait to see the crocodile tears they shed when their agreement is up and the product on the field is more than sustainable and entertaining. If it comes to that...I hope the Ricketts have LONG memories and "stick it to " the rooftop owners. What goes around comes around...rooftop owner might want to remember that.
    Any thoughts?

  • In reply to CDUB:

    The agreement ends at the end of 2023. That is 10 more baseball seasons.

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    The truth is, if moving "is" a bluff, they have to start the moving process to get Chicago to the table. Because, right now, everyone thinks its a bluff.

    Of course, if you're a destination city, you don't want to be the negotiating chip, so you're going to ask for concrete commitments by the Cubs FO.

    All so very confusing. (FWIW, I do think they would consider moving if they can't get out of the deal with the rooftops, but we aren't yet at the point where it's likely.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's not about getting Chicago to the table, I don't think. More about getting the rooftop owners to realize that this is an actual possibility (even if it's not) and that their property value and investments will go up in smoke if they don't cave.

    Part of me wants to see this play out to the point that there's infighting between the rooftop owners, so that the rooftops that aren't impacted start putting pressure on the holdouts to get a deal done.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Indianapolis Cubs has a very nice ring to it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Now that move has zero chance of happening.

  • I've never understood why the Cubs just don't negotiate with Evanston, Highland Park et al. and build a beautiful, modern "New Wrigley" right on the lakefront, a-la San Francisco or Pittsburgh on the river. Those are two really nice parks, I'd love to see the Cubs have something similar. As long as it's on the metro North Side somewhere, do we really care if it's in the city limits?

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Evanston and Highland Park are not options because of lack of major traffic arteries and lack of space to build a new stadium.

    If the Cubs were to actually move, they would want to be near a major highway or highways and near public transportation. And there would have to be enough open space for a complex big enough to build a state of the art, larger than Wrigley stadium with an added area for bars, restaurants and hotels as well as massive parking area. None of the lakeside near northern suburbs can offer that.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Cooperate with Northwestern University maybe on a complex. I agree though, if they are going to move, somewhere in that area would be a at the top of my list.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Heard it here first. Island stadium. Dubai of the Midwest.

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    On the BA list: I can't tell if Hannemann ahead of Zastryzny is a vote of confidence in Hannemann, an indictment of the Zastryzny pick, or both.

    And Corey Black. Who knew he was going to be this good when the Cubs got him from the only team Sori would even consider a trade to? (Theo pretty much aced his "use ownership pressure to your advantage" test last year.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    BA relies more on in-house opinions than other prospect lists, so I think what you'll find is more emphasis on guys they trade for, overslots, and guys they considered steals Hanneman is two out of those 3.

  • I wonder if the move to Florida for ST was a bluff? Mesa didn't want to find out.

  • When the Cubs do well the RTOs make upwards of $ 20mil gross each (per the published figures in the newspapers). They pay the Cubs $3.5 - $4 mil. That is why they are fighting and what they have been lining their coffers with over the years. Its not like they do not have money. The challenge becomes what is important to Tunney and Emmanuel? Do they want the Cubs to be in Chicago at Wrigley or do you want to side with the rooftop owners? This has gotten to the "either/or" point. University of Chicago economists point to local land values being independent of Wrigley. Who suffers the most with a Cubs exit would be the local businesses the rely on the 3 million plus visitors each year frequenting their shops. The neighborhood wants the Cubs despite the smear campaign that gets published from time to time. If the Cubs were to leave, I would argue 50% or more of the businesses around the stadium would end up closing in addition to the rooftops. That is a lot of vacant storefronts for the city to manage and explain to the tax paying property owners who moved in because of the thriving community.

    Does Rahm Emmanuel want to be the Mayor who let the Cubs leave Wrigley for the rooftop owner? Does Tunney want to be known as the Alderman who drove them away? This is a PR nightmare for them. Someone needs to see how many "political donations" Tunney has received from the RTOs. There is only one choice. The neighborhood thrives with the Cubs and sinks without them. The success of the neighborhood is independent of the rooftop owners needs. If the RTOs left, the neighborhood still thrives. To paraphrase a line from Spock - The needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few.

    #BoycottRoofTops #ImpeachTunney

  • In reply to Gator:

    And furthermore, we all moved in knowing full well there was a baseball stadium here. If people are so naïve to think that didn't present different challenges (public intoxication, traffic, congestion, etc.) then they are foolish and should just pack up and leave on their own.

  • In reply to Gator:

    The Cubs get 17% of their total revenue. Last year that was 3.5 Million. That means the RTOs make in the 20 Million dollar range as a group. I seem to remember that there is 16 individual root top owners. Of course some are bigger than others but if you divide the revenue equally, they average about 1.25 Million a year.

  • In reply to Gator:

    10% of Tunney's campaign funding comes from Wrigley rooftop owners (Sun-Times, May, June 2012)

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    So the cubs should just find out how much that is and double it. Or, just get their own guy to run against Tunney...

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

  • I couldn't help but notice that Baez went from a high risk prospect to medium, which is a very good sign... And also Kyle Hendricks is rated as a low risk prospect, he's already putting good numbers and to be a low risk type of prospects gives me hope.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I saw that too and I don't agree with the "Low" rating for Hendricks. They rate him as low, because he's more likely to achieve his limited ceiling, which is a #4/5 SP. But he has no margin for error. If he throws anything over the white part of the plate, he will pay dearly... I don't see how that is a low risk.

    Baez probably went up to medium for the changes he made in his approach.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Good point about Hendricks, he's probably a low risk because his ceiling is not that high to begin with, but there's a case to be made about him being a high risk prospect due to the lack of plus stuff.

    And I definitely agree about Baez, I think his plate discipline was primarily what made him a high risk prospect and he improved as the season progressed last year.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Success in AA makes his odds better too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    true... but they both had success at AA so I didn't mention that. I guess technically, the risk with Baez is lessened with success at AAA too... but how many successful AAA sluggers failed in the MLB? So for me (man-crush on Javier and all) until he does it at the MLB level, he's a high "risk". His ticket is his bat so...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Historically, Baez's level of statistical success at the AA level makes him less risky. From a scouting standpoint, his bat speed alone helps raise his floor because it can cover up a lot of flaws. The bat is his ticket, but his ability for that bat to be in the middle infield positions also puts less burden on that bat.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No I agree, the bust factor is reduced as he moves up the org... But he is still very much an all or nothing type of player. It's not like he can make it on his glove or speed alone so that carries more risk, IMHO.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He can absolutely make it on his glove (maybe not at SS, but somewhere) and his baserunning is excellent. He is not just a power hitter with nothing else to his game.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Nobody on here has seen more of him than I have. I didn't say he was an all or nothing "Power hitter" I meant he is an "all or nothing hitter". i.e., His bat, not his defense or running is his ticket to the bigs.

    I think he plays good enough to stick at SS, but he's not going to play GG caliber defense at MI, which is what it would take without his bat. Look at how disgusting Barney has made everyone... and so if he doesn't hit, nobody has everyday glove only corner position players.... Nobody!

    I agree he runs well and will have several 20+ SB seasons... but his speed is avg-avg+, he makes up for that with instincts, but it's still not enough to carry him if he doesn't hit. Tony Campana anyone?

  • I agree about not including NPB players like Fujikawa on a prospect list. I'd be okay if they were legit prospects, but he's coming off of TJS and will be 34yo before he throws another MLB pitch...

    I'm curious why Tseng isn't getting more prospect love. I've been reading more and more scouting info on this kid and I like what I'm seeing. He's already 6'1" and 200lbs at 18yo, and the only HS player to make the national Taiwanese team, and he wasn't over-matched. He's got a ton of international experience with 4 plus pitches.... I can see him moving very quickly through the lower minors in 2014...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    can you say Hiroki Kuroda part deux?....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I know Kevin likes Tseng a lot. He thinks he's a potential TOR.

    I'm not ready to go that far yet, but I do know scouts who have seen him pitch and they have very good things to say about Tseng. Personally, I think of him potentially as a bit like Paul Blackburn (who I have rated highly on my list). Both are guys that have 3 solid or better pitches, advanced pitchability, and the potential for plus command. But until Tseng pitches in the U.S., I'm going to be a little reserved, he'll be on my top 35 list, but he'll be closer to the bottom.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Where is Tseng going to pitch this year? And the other 18 year old IFA pitcher they signed last year? I think his name is Jefferson M.

  • In reply to John57:

    Tseng has a shot at Kane County and probably no lower than Boise. Jefferson Mejia will probably start in Boize or AZ.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If Jimenez & Torres play in AZ as has been speculated, that gives 4 legit prospects playing state side from our IFA pool. That's exceptional seeing how most of these kids play in the DSL & VSL before coming stateside.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That would be awesome - if even a couple of these guys pan out as TOR guys,....

    Given - chances are it will be a few seasons before any of these guys would filter up to Wrigley.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm not saying either of you are right. Only time will tell... I agree that Tseng's performance in 2014 will have a lot to say with how everyone views him going forward. But I've read that he was throwing a 95mph FB with hockey-stick type tailing action on it recently. When you mix that with a plus-hard breaking curve and a plus change-up and an average slider... and advanced maturity/make-up and the international experience and I see a man among boys in Rookie & Boise so I'm thinking he'll likely plant himself on everyone's prospect list as the year goes on.

    We'll see how he develops as to whether or not he's a #3 or a TOR guy... but I like what I'm reading and seeing and think he could one to move quickly throughout the lower minors...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I don't know either, I'm going off of some scouting reports I have, but I hope Kevin is right :)

    I'm just in wait and see mode. Let's call it cautiously optimistic.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If Kevin is right, he will be the steal of the IFAS signings...

  • I just noticed that our trade of Dempster netted us Hendricks & Villanueva our 11th and 13th best prospects. That trade is looking better and better.

  • In reply to John57:


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    There are some notable names that are completely off the top 31 list:
    --Neil Ramirez
    --Dillon Maples
    --Gioskar Amaya
    --Josh Vitters
    --Brett Jackson
    --Juan Carlos Paniagua
    --Very thin in IFL talent; Alcantara, Candelario, are the only ones signed more than a year ago

    Ramirez to me is the most surprising to not even crack the top 30.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Maples is #18

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Maples is on the list (#18) but I agree about the surprise on Ramirez. They must think he's destined for the bullpen, but you could say the same for Maples and other guys on the list.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I was thinking Trey Martin, Dunston Jr. were going to be there somewhere. Maybe even Bruno though he is more of a personal favorite of mine.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    I'm with you. I like those two players as well. Bruno has that hit tool and he won't hurt you in a number of positions defensively. Hope he stays healthy.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    The lack of Gioskar makes me sad. He wasn't great last year, but I am still a believer.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Indeed....maybe it was just one bad year. This year is probably his last shot

    Also, complete lack of our recent IFA bonus babies. Penalver, Delarosa, Paniagua, Malave........IFA's are very hit or miss, but we seem to be missing alot

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    In reply to Zonk:

    You can add Underwood to the list of players that were left off the list as well.

  • For someone who has never gotten the prospect handbook, are there blurbs on each player in the top 30? If so, how long are the descriptions? Looks like Amazon has it for only $20, worth the investment?

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    on the prospect handbook; I have purchased it the past 5 years and enjoy it. there is a full write-up on the organization, details on who has the best tools overall and more about the most recent draft class. It has a paragraph on each of the top 30. They added the risk and 20-80 player ratings a couple years ago and it gives you an idea for a future role instead of the straight player comps which are impossible to really nail down. I also like it for reference at trade deadline and the years I play fantasy baseball, always use it to draft a prospect or two to stash for value. I think it is a good investment, especially if you are interested in reading about other teams' prospects, too.

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    Cool, thanks for the feedback. I've spent $20 on stupider things.

  • I think they have not reached a one year deal with Shark because they are still working on an extension. I wonder if Shark is lowering his demands after seeing the bottom drop out for free agent pitchers this winter. When you figure he will make around $15 million the next two years with arbitration, he has to ask himself what are my first three agent years worth if I sign a five year deal. If he doesn’t sign an extension, one of three things will happen. He will pitch better (like a 1-2), he will stay the same or regress (3-4 starter) or he will get injured. Two of those three options leads to a contract like Garza got (12.5 million a year). If he becomes a 1-2 option, yes he can cash in (20 million a year maybe??). So Shark and Cubs should compromise. 15 million for Arb years plus 15-17 million a year for free agent years. That comes out to around 5 years, 65 million. Let’s get it done!

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    In reply to Craig:

    I think if Shark would take 5/65, he'd be signed. The takeaway this offseason isn't the bottom dropping on pitching prices, the opposite in fact....Clayton Kershaw set a new market for TOR pricing.

    Shark isn't Clayton Kershaw, but he thinks he can be. He's also made $20 mil already in his career, and figures to make $20 mil more before FA, so it's not like he has to secure his's already secure.

    Shark is going to hold out big money. He's confident he can get it.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Pitchers similar to Shark are seeing prices drop. He has a long way to go to get Kershaw money and don't see him getting there.

  • Love the list John, I think the impression is that Maples is a future closer/reliever. I think BA and other places tend to see hard throwers older than 21 in the minors as closers. As for Cubs leaving Wrigley, I saw it coming. Mayor Emanuel does not seem interested in getting involved, seems like personal dislike of the Ricketts family, most of the Ricketts are die hard republicans and the Mayor ( unlike Daley) is a VERY partisan Democrat. I also get the impression that Mayor Emanuel sees Tom Ricketts as a spoiled, naive boob. Due to that and the irrational behavior of the rooftop owners, we will start hearing of "meetings" between the Cubs and Mayor Stephens of Rosemont and talks with the bigwigs in DuPage county.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Steve, I have to disagree about the Emaunel part. He was completely involved in getting the city issues squared away. No matter what he thinks of the Ricketts, they are trying to invest $500 million in the city and bring in much needed tax dollars. The remaining problem is the rooftops.

  • The Astros just DFA'd Brett Wallace to open a spot for Jerome Williams... Can someone explain to me how is it that it makes sense for the Astros? I didn't know they had given up on Brett Wallace already.

    Anyone think he could be a good pickup for the Cubs? Lefty bat, can play 1B and 3B, though he's not plus in any position, hit 13 hr's in only 262 at bats last seasonl, he strikes out quite a bit, but I believe he has some power upside... Does he have options?

    Not sure how Wallace can get DFA'd over some others there like Raul Valdez, maybe it's just a reflection of how strong the Astros' farm is.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I'd take a shot if he could really play 3B and not just in the sense that they can run him out there and the ball will find it's way into his glove from time to time. That he is basically a DH likely makes him a better fit for the AL.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly, I think the question is if he can play 3B, I also read he's out of options, so the Cubs probably shouldn't DFA someone, unless they are high on Wallace and think he can break out with the Cubs... At this point, if the Cubs pick him up, he would be competing for a job and Mike Olt, if healthy, is a better option... Whether Wallace can play 3B or not.

    I still don't know how DFA'ing him makes sense for the Astros, unless they plan on trading him to whoever picks him up, I would think teams like the Pirates, Twins, Marlins and others with either openings at 1B or rebuilding would find a spot for him.

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    In reply to Caps:

    Advanced metrics hates Brett Wallace's work at 1B. He is terrible hacker. He's a poor man's Mark Reynolds, or a poor man's Mark Jacobs, niether of whom is very good. I would take a pass.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    He has a slider speed bat and no range at 1B or 3B. Pass.

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    Totally agree about putting fujikawa on a prospect list - does not belong there.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    BA is the only one that puts Japanese FA on prospect lists, and I never understood why. They probably have Tanaka as the top Yankees prospect. Awhile back, Fukudome rated as a Cubs top 3.

  • "Marlins, Carlos Marmol agree to terms"

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Good for him. Marmol is a good guy. I hope he sticks and does well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But I have to admit I'm glad he's going to try and do that somewhere else :)

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    In reply to Oneear:

    This is not going to help the Cubs draft position...

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's pretty low Mike. Didn't the Dodgers get a few innings out of him.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    21, to be exact.

    In which he struck out 27 batters. And walked 19.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I hope he rebounds,.... gets a handle on his control issues,.... and pitches lights-out against everybody in the league NOT the Cubs.

    He's a quality guy in the clubhouse, can potentially benefit some team (apparently the Marlins at the moment) as a late-innings reliever, and can still be a useful player.

  • OT from this discussion, but I'm planning on catching a few Boise Hawks games this season. Which players should I be keeping an eye out for in June/July?

    I appreciate all the hard work and time that you all put into this site. This is a daily (many times a day) read, for me.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    I would say keep an eye on the newly drafted players, some and most of them will at least get their feet wet in Boise, but from the ones that played in AZ last year, I would say... Keep an eye on Jeffrey Baez, Mark Malave, Erick Leal, Carlos A. Rodriguez, Alex Santana, Trevor Clifton and Trey Masek.

    Also hearing that guys like Tseng, Jefferson Mejia and others from the DSL/VSL could make it to Boise this year... There are many players in the DSL/VSL that could make the jump, like Kevin Encarnacion did last year.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thank you, Caps! This site and most everyone on it has really opened my mind to the bigger organizational picture. I sincerely appreciate all the hard work/enjoyment.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    Mark Malave is one guy who is a breakthrough candidate. Charcer Burks is interesting. One scout told me to keep an eye on Ryan McNeil. Erick Leal. Not sure who will actually be there, but those are a few I'm keeping an eye on.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thank you for the reply, John. I will catch a few of the games this season and attempt to give a very amateurish assessment of their performance.

  • Side note: Tommy Hanson. Is the guy's arm done?

    If not, I think we should overpay a bit on a deal, as he is controlled for an extra year. Could be the steal of the off-season if he has something left.

    Anyone have the details on him?

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    Not a bad idea, though I think it's already really crowded for us in terms of bounceback pitchers, and the slot available at Iowa. We have Johnathon Sanchez, James McDonald, and Tsuyoshi Wada. That's on top of Rusin, Marshall, Hendricks. Hanson may feel he has a better shot elsewhere.

  • I was hoping for Daury Torrez to be on the list.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Maybe. He's going to get a shot at Kane County, I think. I hope...since I'm going to be there often.

  • Off topic again, but has anyone tried the Milb streaming service? I saw two options online- around $175 for MLB and Milb or $50 for Milb only. That includes (I think) radio broadcast of all games and video broadcast of most games in addition to the 'game center' type app.

    I am considering one or the other, have done MLB radio in the past and I like it, but would like to follow the minor league as well.

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    I've streamed the games on MiLB and it is totally worth it for me. Most of the games are for the AA and AAA level, no Daytona, few games from Kane County. 2 years ago they had Bosie but not last year. Considering the Cubs top prospects will be in AA or AAA, now would be the year to try it!

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    Absolutely worth it. Especially now because as John said, most of the top prospects will be viewable this year.

    The Iowa broadcasts are not very good, but the Tennessee games are very well done.

    I would love it if the lower level teams would broadcast their games, with local blackouts so people still attend the games since ticket sales are I am assuming their largest revenue stream. You would think teams could find plenty of interns willing to work on TV broadcasts, and the MLB teams might be willing to foot the bill for some video equipment as a way to get fans excited about their prospects. Seems like a wasted opportunity for a lot of people to me.

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    MiLB is a great investment. They now offer an app to view games (AA and AAA only?) via iPad and iPhone, so there are many options for seeing real time/archived games. Be aware, though, that the vid quality isn't the best. But, many times last year, I hooked a laptop to my TV to watch, so the quality is decent enough for large screens.
    The flack at Boise told me that they would have a contract in place this year to stream games once again (apparently, they weren't happy with the company that filmed their games in 2012 and didn't renew the contract). Let's hope that's true; imagine the huge opportunity missed out on by the Hawks last year when Bryant was there.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Awesome news about Boise. Luckily 2012 was a year when they had a huge number of prospects on their team. Last year's team wasn't nearly as interesting (with the exception of Bryant's short stay)in comparison but maybe this year will be.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    That is excellent news if true. Thanks Eldrad.

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    I'll reiterate what John & mjvz said and add that the cost is nothing compared to MLB.TV subscription, and I ended up watching it more than the MLB team. The video quality & speed is not in the same league though. with MLB.TV, I could watch it on my ipad, or smart TV and it was cable-tv quality. The stream from MiLB is not even close to that, but still a better value than the MLB.TV subscription and more fun watching Baez, Alcantara, etc vs Barney & Valbuena if you know what I mean...

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    John, hope it's OK to link to Bleacher Nation, there is a really good analysis of Rizzo posted:

    It dives further into BABIP and asks if Rizzo was unlucky last year. While he profiles as a guy who will always have a lowish BABIP, he was unlucky, and all things being equal will rebound. In fact, several Cubs has bad BABIP years, including Valbuena, Barney, and Nate S. (and Soriano, but he's gone)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Linked that piece on my article today on Rizzo, actually. Agree it was excellent analysis.

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