Winter Leagues Week 9

Good morning! Now the entire Caribbean is begun  their winter leagues as the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico opened last Tuesday. That meant more chances for former and present Cubs prospects to show their stuff. For more information on all of the action, take a look inside!




Dominican Winter League

Toros del Este 5 – Gigantes del Cibao 1

Jeimer Candelario by Jamie Harms -

Jeimer Candelario by Jamie Harms –

On Saturday, Este was able to nudge their record over .500 by defeating Cibao 5-1 with the help of some former Cubs prospects. With former major-leaguers Peter O’Brien and Yasiel Puig on the Toros, it was lefty James Russell that stole the show. Russell started for the Bulls and struck out 5 while scattering 4 hits over five innings. Jeimer Candelario lined up at Designated Hitter and went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while infielder Cristhian Adames was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Roberto Clemente League

Criollos de Caguas

The Roberto Clemente League kicked off their season on Tuesday as Caguas defeated Roberto Alomar’s RA12 team 7-5. Cubs prospect Trent Giambrone started at second base, but moved to left field in seventh and went 1-for-4 with double at the plate. Shortstop prospect Luis Vazquez entered in the eighth and then switched to right field for the ninth, going 0-for-1. Former Cubs prospect Giovanni Soto entered the game in the fifth and struck out 4 in 2 perfect innings, as the lefty garnered the win. Caguas 7 – RA12 5

It was a fun time for the Criollos on Wednesday, as they put a 21-9 thumping on RA12. Trent Giambrone moved over to first base to start before shifting to left field. Giambrone muscled two home runs, a solo shot in the second and a two-run blast in the seventh, as he was 2-for-5 with a walk, 3 runs scored, and 4 RBI. Luis Vazquez took over at shortstop in the seventh and ripped a three-run homer of his own as he went 1-for-2. Miguel Amaya started a catcher and went 0-for-2 with a walk. Caguas 21 – RA12 9

The Creoles continued their winning ways on Friday as the were twice as good as Manati in a 4-2 victory. Trent Giambrone went the whole way at second base and was 1-for-2 with 3 walks, an RBI, and a stolen base. Miguel Amaya also played the whole game at catcher and went 1-for-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Caguas 4 – Manati 2

Caguas finished up opening week by going a perfect 5-0 with a 7-5 win over Manati on Saturday. Lefty Giovanni Soto started for the Creoles and gave up 2 earned runs on 2 hits and 4 walks while striking out five over 4 innings. Trent Giambrone moved over to first base and was 0-for-3 with 2 walks, a stolen base, a run scored, and an RBI. Caguas 7 – Manati 5

Venezuelan Winter League

Caribes de Anzoategui

After a Sunday off, Anzoategui spotted Margarita a run on Monday and then blew them away 9-1. Leadoff hitter Rafael Ortega had a big night as the centerfielder was 3-for-4 with 2 walks, a stolen base, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Anzoategui 9 – Margarita 1

Tuesday’s results were not as desirable for the Caribes as it was the day before, as they lost to Aragua 7-1. Rafael Ortega still came to play as he went 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored as the lead-off hitter. Erick Castillo got some time at catcher and was 1-for-2 in the loss. Aragua 7 – Anzoategui 1

The Tribe continued to roll on Wednesday as they were able to edge out Aragua 4-3. Rafael Ortega was moved down to third in the batting order but remained hot, going 2-for-4 with a walk. Catcher Erick Castillo was 1-for-5 in the game. Anzoategui 4 – Aragua 3

Anzoategui had everything go their way on Friday as a ninth inning run by Caracas was the only blemish in a 5-1 victory. Rafael Ortega was bumped up to second in the batting order and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a RBI for the Caribes. Anzoategui 5 – Caracas 1

On Saturday, the Caribes closed out the week with a 14-4 loss to Aragua. Rafael Ortega was back at the top of the line-up and was 2-for-5 in the loss. Speedy Cubs outfield prospect Fernando Kelli entered the game late as a defensive replacement in left field and did not have an at bat. Aragua 14 – Anzoategui 4

Tiburones de la Guaira

It’s been a struggle to the start of the season for La Guaira, but they were able to take out some frustration on Friday as they beat Aragua 13-5. Nestor Heredia entered in the sixth inning as pinch-runner and remained for the rest of the game as the Designated Hitter. Heredia would go 0-for-1 with a walk and 2 runs scored in the win. La Guaira 13 – Aragua 5


The Australian Baseball League is set to open play on Friday, December 18, making them the final winter league to begin play. Currently, there is no final word on rosters.


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  • Thanks again Tom. Your Winter League updates are informative and interesting, tho, in general, do not produce a lot of comments. As I noted previously, I like to discuss the hot stove rumors. The fact much is rehash, hasn't stopped me yet.

    So the latest, in addition the KB trade rumors is, that the Cubs are one of the teams interested (+Phillies) in free agent Jacky Bradley Jr. He is a true centerfielder/leadoff and he would fit. At the age 31yrs, Bradey is still an above average fielder and average to slightly above average hitter. The Cubs budget would have to work in dollars and years with any free agents. He would replace Schwarber and play center moving Happ to left. Bradley Jr. is probably another option in this unknown odd off season.

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    44slug : You and I will be this going . I to am just interested mainly in the big league team . Jack Bradley as you say is a true centerfielder/leadoff player perked up my old brain !!!! More hot stove rumors . The off season to me can be as exciting as the season , as we build our team for the season .

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    I like reading about Cub prospects and ex Cub players and their progress in the winter. It's informative, just does not create much discussion.

    Yep, Bradley Jr could be Fowler. Sure would be nice to have a real leadoff man, even if he isn't the best of the crop. It's similar to a closer. They do not have to be the best, just a good one, who knows that he belongs there.

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    44slug : I think were on the same wave length . We don't need a high price perfect Centerfielder/Leadoff man , just a journeyman . Much like Fowler , He was never a super star ! Just a journeyman Who went out everyday and helped win ball games ." YOU GO WE GO " CUBS !!!!!!

  • In reply to Ronald Dietzler:

    One thing for sure, what the Cubs have doing at leadoff has not worked. Schwarber and Bryant were awful. A couple more games leading off Kyle and he would been out of baseball. I believe there is a comfort level factor involved. It wears on a player, who presses In that role. As far as Happ goes, he cooled off pretty early too. Bradley Jr. has been there before.

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    44slug : Where can I contribute to the BRADLEY Jr. Contract Fund !!!

  • Jackie Bradley, looks like the perfect lead-off hitter for the Cubs!! Yikes

    After 3,281 MLB career plate appearances-Bradley's career .239 average, and .321 OBP screams Cub lead-off hitter.

    I hope the Cubs spend some money on a few decent mid-level free agents. Not sure Jackie does much outside of CF defense. He is a bottom 3rd of the order bat to me.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    That sounds pretty dismal, but we are dealing with today's market and Cubs budget. JBJ has put up some pretty good years above those career stats. Actually, it would improve the defense in two positions. So much of the hot stove is still in the air, it's good to explore all options. I suppose Ross could leave Happ and move Bryant to left. Who do you want in center? I'm skeptical that any big trades will be consummated.

  • I know Billy Hamilton has real trouble hitting. I would rather see Hamilton given two starts a week in CF, just to try to get some speed, and a different look into the Cubs lineup.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    A career .296 OBP. What is speed going to do with starting 2 games a week. Can't steal first.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I like Hamalton only as a 26th man. Pinch runner, defensive replacement, and spot starter to rest a regular. He does have the ability to impact games in short blocks of duty.

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    I would like to see Ian Miller get a shot. He is an excellent CF (by all reports) but hasn't hit very well, but as well as Hamilton, although BH can play in the bigs and is an excellent CF. Bradley can play too, but again, when Theo first came he said he didn't want to pay for what a player HAD done but will do, and Bradley's best days are behind him.

  • Jesse Rogers on the Kaplan radio show. I paraphrase...

    If he is to believe what he’s told, publicly and privately, there is a better chance Bryant is on the opening roster than Darvish.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    It would make sense to me. Sell Darvish high and bank on Bryant, during a walk year, having a good first half, then deal him.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    It also makes sense to me. Cubs should trade players with highest trade value this off-season. Especially, if they are not going to push team payroll right up to the luxury tax penalty limit.

    Darvish, and Contreras have the most trade value.

    Even after trading Darvish and Contreras. Cubs could still maybe compete in the weak NL central. It would help if they spent some money on a few mid-level free agents. A few bounce back seasons would help too.

    N. Castellanos type of trade return. Which was Paul Richan, & Alex Lange. Is why I think trading Darvish and Contreras this off-season makes the most sense for helping the Cubs future.

    I hope the Cubs have the ability to use their large market revenue to at least maximize the trade return for players on the block-which means taking back bad contracts, or including money. Large market teams selling off should be able to do this, not sure the Cubs are willing to do this.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    We maybe part ways in the "compete in the weak NL Central." That doesn't hold much interest to me if the likelihood is that they just lose again in the playoffs. I would just assume the team loses a LOT and gets a high draft pick.

    I guess it depends on what you want out of a team. Some people enjoy watching the season unfold, or get really connected to a particular player. I found that watching the Cubs win 100+ games, win playoff series, and win a World Series is what I really enjoyed. I actually liked the down years as they built to that as well. So I personally would trade all the players who's contracts expire after 2021, and start gearing up for the next WS winner.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    I hope the Cubs trade most if not all of their players on expiring contracts.

    I think whatever the Cubs get in trades will be a big plus for the future.

    Cubs as a large market team with all payroll removed from trades, gives the Cubs many options to look for value in free agents, or trades hopefully for the next few seasons.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I'd be ok with that under more normal circumstances. My fear is no player is at their highest trade value this winter. Maybe with the time more toward opening day, things will look different. I do hate to move guys like Darvish/Contreras or too many other young core All Stars while still in our competitive window. I want can't miss young studs in return.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think the window was slammed shut in the 2018, or 2019 off-seasons. Would the Cubs have made the payoffs in 2020, if it was a normal season?

    Cubs need to move forward from here.
    I agree, you cannot trade players for next to nothing. I still don't expect much more than what the Cubs traded for N. Castellannos for any of their pending free agents.

    Darvish, and Contreras values will not go up waiting for the season to start.

    2021 off-season is less than a year away. Time to make some big decisions for the whole roster going forward.

    Before Covid teams did not like trading multiple top prospects much anymore. Are prospects overvalued in today's game?

    Financial flexibility is a huge part of today's game. Last off-season Red Sox's supposedly took less for Betts in order for the Dodgers to take on half of D. Price remaining $96 million due.

    I personally think the Cubs are in a good spot to build a winner for the 20's.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I wouldn't say that that is not the way the Cubs should proceed, I guess we will see what Jed has in mind. I don't think that he will 'back up the truck'. A trade or two seems more likely. I'm hoping for better days ahead, one way or the other.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'd love a good old fashioned blockbuster. Specifically, with Toronto. Darvish, Bryant and Baez for a package headlined by Bo Bichette plus ????

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    In reply to Naujack:

    Realistically you have to look at what the cubs have been the last three years and see which way the needle is pointing, and it's pointed down. My opinion is you move whatever assets that are costing you money and not producing what you are paying for, strip the payroll down to where 22 becomes the year you can reinvest money to get free agents that can help you. Trading Bryant would be first on my list, shed the money. Trade Baez now because he hasn't showed the willingness to adjust his offense to what we need,maybe move our starting pitchers( Darvish and Hendricks)
    with the caveat they bring back top pitching prospects. Same with Contrares, which is hard for for I feel he is the cubs best player as of right now, we would go through maybe two years before we would be very competitive and much younger

  • In reply to tater:

    I think Baez is a player that has a hard time recognizing strikes. It's a natural gift that some hitters have and others will never master. It might be why he looked so lost at the plate without his technology to review the opposition's pitching strategy. Once a hitter has that knowledge, he will have an idea how to adjust and what to look for. Sandberg got so good at doing that, that he had the ability to ambush pitches depending on the count. I expect better days ahead at the plate for Javy.

  • I'm all for some much needed changes and the strong desire for a leadoff hitter. We need to make changes from an offense built on power, but too much swing and miss. I'm not sure, however, a 31- year old, good fielding, but very average hitting Jackie Bradley, on a three-year contract, is the long term answer the Cubs need.

  • In reply to Ringer:

    With that assessment of JBJ, you have pretty much described Dexter Fowler in 2015-16.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Huh? In 2016, Dexter Fowler had a .393 OBP. He was not "average" but very good. And it was a one-year deal. He when he went, they went. He was the offensive catalyst.

  • In reply to cubs09:

    The correct question is not what Fowler was in 15/16, but prior to that, and can JBJ play close to Fowler.s role of 15/16 in 2021/22. Of course, that will only be in play if the Cubs are unwilling to, or unable to, make the trades that you are advocating. In that case the team will have to fill in with the best possible affordable options. I'm not actually pushing that outcome, but. non the less, it would not be a surprise. We will see.

  • Dexter had good OBP prior to 2016 and has declined since. My curiosity led me to look at Ted Williams OBP: in 19 seasons he had one season under .450. Unbelievable.

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    In reply to IVYADDICT:

    I love looking at stats from players of all eras. Williams was unbelievable. Ty Cobb hit .238 in his rookie year when he was 18 and played in 41 games--every year after that he hit at least .300 and he played until he was 41! There are so many others. That's why I'm so against players using PEDs because they distort all these stats.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Amen to that!

  • Is it just me or is it that there really isn't much help out there in the outfield? I'm thinking both free agency and availability in a trade, factoring in affordability. The harder I look the more I find myself looking at KB in leftfield and Happ in center batting one/ two with Ian leading off. I'm not sure how much creativity thIs off season will allow. It is already be too late for trading anyone at the the top of there value with the exception Darvish and Contreras and orgs want to hang on to their prospects in this climate. Maybe Jed will concentrate more so on an everyday type infielder and a starting pitcher. Add one Zobrist type bat and the Cubs could be pretty competitive in 202I. After that the Cubs will have lots of money and major league prospects looking for playing time.

  • 44slug,

    I agree you are not going to get much for pending free agents in trades. Main reason why I think the Cubs need to actually should trade both Darvish, and Contreras now. Trade when healthy, and get a decent return.

    Although you might not get much for the pending free agents, Cubs should still trade them-because sometimes second-tier prospects guys pan out. It also gives the Cubs more second-tier prospects to use in future trades. Cubs cannot let multiple players leave for nothing like Schwarber.

    Acquiring players without out much money, means risk. Will the Cubs end up looking at some platoon OF set up?
    Delino Deshileds Jr. CF-RH bat, some speed. non tendered by Indians- career .246 Avg-.326 OBP
    Nomar Mazara-RF-LH bat, non-tendered by White Sox career .258avg-.318OBP

    Far from exciting, but might be the route Cubs go in 2020. Front office Cross their fingers, and hope it works out for that year.

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