Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Canario might be the hottest hitter on the planet at this moment; Dermody and Espinoza toss Iowa's 2nd straight shutout; Mervis homers once, Washer homers twice

Alexander Canario (photo by Todd Johnson)

AAA

Iowa 7, Omaha 0

Game Recap

A day after Caleb Kilian and Sean Newcomb combined to shutout the Storm Chasers, Matt Dermody and Anderson Espinoza followed suit. The 32-year old Iowa native Dermody has been a nice run of late. He’s gone at least four innings in each of his last seven appearances, and not allowed more than two runs in any of them. It’s been a great rebound (4-0, 1.35 ERA, 33.1 IP, 26 H, 5 R, 9 BB, 32 K) from after he was rocked during a six-start stretch from mid-May to Mid-June.

As for Espinoza, he seems to be pitching with greater confidence since making his MLB debut. There’s no question he took a long road to get there after multiple surgeries and years away from the mound, so maybe it’s freed the former top prospect of the doubt of never making it. I think he ultimately settles into a long relief role, but he’s got MLB talent if he can gain greater consistency.

Matt Mervis blasted one home run and was just inches away from a second.

Top Performers

  • Matt Dermody: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (W, 6-3, 3.94)
  • Anderson Espinoza: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (S, 1, 0.00)
  • Matt Mervis: 2-4, 3B, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBI (.231)
  • Zach Davis: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB (.205)
  • John Hicks: 1-3, BB, SB (5) (.255)
  • Nick Madrigal: 2-4, R (.300)
  • Nelson Maldonado: 1-4, R, RBI, BB (.224)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

A good sign: In two games since restarting his rehab Nick Madrigal (.300/.391/.300 in 7 total games at Iowa) has reached first base twice in each.

Cam Sanders has been transferred to the Developmental List. He failed to get out of the 1st in his last start and has struggled overall since getting to Iowa. It is likely the Cubs spotted a mechanical issue they want to work through with him away from game action.

AA

Tennessee 7, Chattanooga 1

Game Recap

I’m not even sure what to say about what Alexander Canario has been doing of late other than WOW. Yes, he’s hitting homers, but we always knew he could do that. What’s impressing me is he is showing greater patience and plate coverage, so he’s drawing walks and making hard contact more consistently even when pitches are at the edges of the zone. Those were the next step he needed to take in his development, and over this latest stretch he is doing it.

Riley Thompson returned from a stint on the Developmental List to fire three shutout innings. It was a trying first half, coming off a missed 2021 (and obviously 2020) seasons. Hopefully he’s knocked the rust off and yesterday indicates he is ready to take off in the second half. He’s one of the more talented arms in the system, and Rule 5 eligible in the offseason, so the Cubs need to gather a lot of information before the end of the year in order to make an educated roster decision on him.

Walker Powell shined in his four innings of relief as well. He’s been served well by the BABIP dragon since arriving in Tennessee, but he always pitches with better command than most AA pitchers. Not sure the stuff ever gets to be MLB caliber, but he is a big guy and has increased his velo since turning pro, so maybe there’s a little more left in the tank.

Top Performers

  • Alexander Canario: 4-4, 2B, HR (17), 3 R, 2 RBI, BB (.254)
  • Bryce Ball: 3-5, 2B, R (.282)
  • Jake Slaughter: 1-2, 2B, R, 2 RBI, SB (18) (.320)
  • Bradlee Beesley: 2-5, R, 2 RBI (.212)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 0-2, 3 BB (.248)
  • Chase Strumpf: 1-2, HBP (.250)
  • Riley Thompson: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (6.48)
  • Walker Powell: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (W, 2-2, 1.59)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Chase Strumpf exited after being hit by a pitch.

Ben Hecht has recovered from 2021 TJS and has rejoined the Smokies. He was pitching very well prior to going down with the elbow issues, so hopefully he can pick up where he left off.

High-A

South Bend 13, Quad Cities 12

Game Recap

An unexpected power outburst from the South Bend lineup led the way to 13 runs, and every one of them proved necessary. Jake Washer, the most unexpected HR hitter in the system this season, posted his second two-homer game of the season:

But, he wasn’t the only one to go deep. Jordan Nwogu hit his 7th of tghe season, and then South Bend also received two more from unexpected sources: Yeison Santana hit his first of the year, and Casey Optiz hit the first of his career.

Top Performers

  • Jake Washer: 4-5, 2B, 2 HR (12, 13), 4 R, RBI (.301)
  • Yeison Santana: 1-2, HR (1), 2 R, RBI, 2 BB (.255)
  • Jordan Nwogu: 2-5, HR (7), R, RBI (.237)
  • Casey Opitz: 1-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBI, BB (.192)
  • Kevin Made: 3-5, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI (.250)
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong: 1-5, 2B, R, RBI, SB (7) (.258)
  • Eduarniel Nunez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (3.47)

Low-A

Charleston 2, Myrtle Beach 0

Top Performers

  • Tyler Santana: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, BB, 5 K (L, 7-1, 2.31)
  • Frankie Scalzo Jr: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (4.50)
  • Juan Mora: 1-3, BB, SB (4) (.287)
  • Jacob Wetzel: 1-3 (.209)
  • Felix Stevens: 1-3 (.213)

Comments

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  • I'm hoping to catch a game in south bend later this week, any recommendations or particular game to go to?

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I haven't been to a game in South Bend for a few years so I can't really give any advice.
    The South Bend rotation has some pretty good arms, so if you can time it to see one of Devers, Franklin, Hodge, or Schlaffer that would be good.
    The lineup should have at least a handful of top prospects regardless of the day.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    If you are on twitter you should ask Todd Johnson. He's always attending games in SB. He could give you some tips no doubt.

  • That first HR from Washer was off a high fastball above the hands. If he can do that consistently, he could be a real find. It seems that every MLB pitcher has that pitch in their arsenal these days.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Yeah. He's really surprising this year. Came in with more bulk and it's showing. He is 26 though, so I'd like to see what he does against more consistent velo and better breaking stuff in AA.

  • Canario already being on the 40 man roster I wonder if he gets a shot in September with the MLB Cubs.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    The Cubbies are going to have to move several of these right handed power hitting corner outfielders who are also very good defenders (and all can play a solid CF except I assume suzuki). Valazquez, Davis, Canario & Alcantera all do pretty much what Suzuki does. I also feel the cubs need to trade either Happ or Suzuki because we need a big time left handed bat in one of the corner outfield spots.

    That's 6 guys for really just 2 or 3 roster spots and they will all be on the 40 man by fall. So something's gotta give.

    It starting to look like we might have a solution for first base. The kids bat is dynamite.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Eventually they'll need to make some moves. I've always assumed they would trade for a proven arm or IF bat from their projected OF surplus, but that isn't much of a concern this year, and even to some extent next year. By start of 2024 they'll need to make decisions though.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Well the Cubs do have a LH hitting OF at AAA if you want one of those. D. Hill who is hitting .333/.374/.458 right now. And another RH hitting power hitter in Crook .260/.347/.502 Crook does look awful similar to Velasquez and Canario but older. I can see them trading Happ because they can replace him easy. Maybe we can trade him for a good pitching prospect..

  • In reply to John57:

    I agree. You can easily replace Happ with Hill/Valazquez in left field, for at least the rest of the year.

    But still the Cubs will have to go out and get middle of the order hitters. They need 3 thru 5 hitters that are elite. We have a ton of very good hitters in the organization but none I think that are elite.

    I do think Higgins is a better hitter than Contreras. He doesnt have the power or the arm. But I do like him. He will be really good in the lower part of the order. Let's be honest Contreras isnt a middle of the order hitter. He is more like a 6-8 hitter on a really good team.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I like Higgins too. He has been a pleasant surprise. Nico also has been a pleasant surprise. If N. Velazquez keeps hitting, he looks like a keeper too. Morel is reminding me a little of Javy. This team has quite a bit of talent but has its flaws too. And the farm is getting absolutely loaded. Hitting and pitching. The farm in 2015 did not have much pitching at all. We do now. I am really curious how the just finished draft supplements the pitching.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Creature, you cannot ‘easily replace Happ’ with what you say.
    What’s your plan? Once a player like Contreras or Happ make an all star team, ‘let’s trade them’. Keep kicking the can down the road - because your version of what should be, is better than reality. Sooner or later it becomes time to put Humpty Dumpty, back together.
    You are one of the people that always defends Ricketts by saying that ‘when it’s time, he will spend’. Problem with that, in your mind, that time never gets here.
    Do you really think if we need 3-5 hitters that are elite - he’s gonna spend to get them? Or are you going to keep trading all stars? Then you want a couple TOR guys too. POOOFFF, just like that.
    When does the time to spend, get here?? 2026 or 2027?
    I’m going golfing.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Happ is on pace to whack a whopping 15 HRs this year. Morel has the same number (9) in 25 fewer games played. LF is a power position. With the surplus of outfielders currently in the Cubs' system, I can't think of Happ as indispensable. I like his improved BA this year, but the Cubs need more power from that position.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    That's 35 fewer games (fat fingers).

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Velazquez had 3 in the 3 games against the phillies. He has insane power. Canario too but he is at AA for now. Crook has very good power too. And I am not counting Jackson Fasier. I would love to see what Hoyer/Hawkins could get for Happ. They seem very good at finding other teams hidden gems. I would be thrilled if they get another Killian type prospect. I do like Happ. He is a good player who is intelligent and easy to like but like all the players and agents say, it is a business and we have to get maximum contracts. the are not willing to give hometown deals. The owners are looking for maximum value. They probably see Velazquez producing similar results at a fraction of the cost. Both sides are looking for what is best for themselves.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    So I take it, that Joey Gallo would be a guy you want to see in LF?
    To me, I’d rather have a complete player. I don’t judge players by the number of HRs they are ‘capable’ of hitting. Creature wants ‘Elite’ guys batting 3-5. I wonder what his definition of Elite, is? And how many players, including those the Yankees have, that FILL THOSE numbers? And after he tells us WHO those ELITE guys are, how we’re going to get them.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Ricketts doesn't make baseball decisions. He has 'experts' for that. When those hired to make those decisions ask, the money will be there. Your war on Ricketts is a false narrative in my opinion.

    Contreras, Davis are rentals, Happ trade will depend on a really good return (an offer that the Cubs would wise not to refuse.)

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Ricketts, are choosing to operate the Cubs like mid-market team-with a mid-market payroll. Payroll enter the season was 14th out of 30 MLB teams.

    Cubs could easily spend $55-$75 million more on payroll than they currently are doing, while also increasing the budget for player development, scouting, & analytics by 50% and not sweat spending the money at all.

    Why didn't the Cubs actually increase their payroll from the 2021?

    The following thresholds were put in place per the new collective bargaining agreement--- 2022: $230 million,
    2023: $233 million, 2024: $237 million, 2025: $241 million, & 2026 $244 million

    Did Cubs really find hidden GEMS, when you trade 3 first division regulars, a true #1 starting pitcher, & a closer? Cubs got back some young prospects ranked outside of other teams top 5.

    Giants found the hidden gems in Kilian drafted in the 8th round of the 2019, & Giants paid him $221K over-slot. Canario, Giants signed him for $60K as a 2016 international amateur free agent. Kilian was having a very good season with the Giants AA team (2.43 era, 63IP-8BB, & 64K) before the Cubs acquired him in 2021.

    Cubs might have found their own hidden gem in the same 8th round of the 2019 draft DJ Herz. Cubs need to do much more of that.

    Most prospects fail to deliver, and just thinking the huge market Cubs are waiting for another wave of prospects to come up, and play well together before then start spending near the luxury tax cap. I find that insulting as a fan who likes to win, especially for the prices Cubs charge for everything.

    How many top ranked Cubs prospect have failed to develop since 2011? Look at Marquez- Cubs top pitching prospects from 2019-2020. Had TJ surgery during this season, hasn't pitched in a game since 2020, & from the pictures I saw he has a soft body for a young athlete in his 20's. Marquez can throw 100mph from the left side, but like most top prospects he has (not/yet) played well in the majors. Most top prospects end up playing Almora, Russell, A. Ademan, J. Albertos, & Marquez. Those guys are incredible players, but it is almost impossible to become an MLB first division regular.

    Every fan understands, and want the Cubs to have a good minor league system. It should be done mostly with home-grown talent.

    Cubs could increase payroll while avoiding long-term high price contracts.

    If the Boston Red Sox end up trading away many of their pending free agents before August 2nd. Will the Red Sox say something like we are waiting for a group of prospects to develop to build around? Red Sox will get their 2023 payroll up near the luxury tax penalty. Some Red Sox fans are complaining about their team being too frugal, & that is with the 4th highest payroll in MLB.

    Jed built this team, & choose this path based probably on the financial limitations Ricketts placed on the team's payroll.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Sometimes an org has to take a step back and reassess. Maybe start over even. What I see is some good and not so good decisions, but they were all baseball choices. Both the Dodgers and Yankees have had to do the same not so long ago. I'd like to see the Cubs get to where you think they should already be. Had it been a good time to spend the baseball brass would have asked for and received funds.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    So Slug, the budget your man Ricketts sets, doesn’t dictate the baseball decisions that Hoyer makes? Really, you believe that? I take it, you’re not a financial advisor.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I recently read that Crane K. said Ricketts gave the go ahead to spend more for 2022 but Hoyer/Hawkins did not see enough good deals to spend it all. He said what was not spent in 2022 would be carried forward. If the baseball people running the team don't see a reasonable deal to do then why do it? You would have them do a bad deal just so they could spend like you want them to spend? I like the way Hoyer and Hawkins are running the team. They seem to be doing a good job.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Ha, no one would want that, I'm bad with money. I do think that Ricketts and the Cub brass were always trying to win. First the WS and then a second one. Mistakes were made and baseball is always a readjustment as things change. Some are wrong approaches, others are things that one doesn't expect to happen. The org woke up one day where it was obvious, that they were not going to be able to spend their way out of this one. An injury here and there, a unexpected head case, a core plateau, and under performances. Life Happens! The future looks strong.

  • Michael,
    2024 can't come fast enough ! Do you think Owen Cassie could play 1st base ?
    How far away is Matt Mervis from joining the big club ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Mervis tripled and homered last night at AAA. I would say he is very close. Who is holding him back from Chicago? Not Rivas or Schwindel.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Yes, I think Caissie could play 1B. He's a decent athlete.

    Mervis might be able to make it this year, but given he isn't Rule 5 eligible I think they might keep him off the roster in order to protect someone else, and then they can assess where he is at in ST. You can usually count on at least 1 injured player going to 60-day IL at start of the season to free up a roster spot should Mervis earn the job over Rivas

  • Braylin Marquez is having shoulder surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. Yet another lost season of development for him. Beginning to wonder about his future in the organization and when he will be healthy to even be a viable bullpen arm.

  • fb_avatar

    Could someone explain the Chris Paciolla pick, especially with the 3rd pick? He has 50 grades across the line and I can't believe there weren't more athletic SS or middle infielders with better grades, or at least ones with at least 1 elite or very good grade. It just doesn't make sense for that high a pick.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I just read the BA write up on him. " the youngster flashes plus skills at the plate and a body that screams power and is still growing. With his wide shoulders, he probably moves off the position in time. Look for him in Mesa in early August. Love the power profile!" his power and arm are rated 55/80. I would guess the Cub scouts really liked him. We will have to wait for the teenager to physically mature some first. I can be patient.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I see on draft tracker that the Cubs have signed him $165K over slot. Slot was $735K and he got $900K. Kind of says they absolutely love him. I am guessing they see him has a power hitting strong armed 3B.

  • 2023 will be the last year of sell trades. That is the last year of Hendricks, Heyward, and Stroman (his 2024 year is a player option, and at 21m, you WANT him to opt out and thus be traded at the 2023 deadline).

    Thus, the 2024 roster only has like 35 million on the books (only seiya, bote, and a 6m club option for Gomes).

    That means the 2024 roster can take on probably 230-250m in additional spending in order to fill the gaps of the farm system, or whatever the cubs are not able to trade for.

    I expect a big bat to sign this off-season, maybe even a big pitcher, and then again after 2023 season ends.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    2023 may or may not be a sell trade year. If the team does not have terrible health with their rotation, makes some more FA deals they think are good and have more young guys develop they might be a buying team. Right now no one knows for sure.

  • In reply to John57:

    Cubs will trade Stroman and maybe Hendricks, if healthy

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I really hope both of them are traded in the next week. No waiting till next year! Hendricks is far past the peak of his best performance. I’ve never been impressed with Stroman. I didn’t really understand the signing, but figured maybe he’d be good enough to bring a nice return in trade, but that’s unlikely too now.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    I hope they keep Stroman and Hendricks is hurt. So I dont see either happening.

    That being said, if a huge offer comes for Stroman they cant turn it down.

    I know it would reduce the haul but I wonder if they are trying to throw Heyward in the deal to a contender?He would be a good bench player for a contender. It would free up money for next year.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I had previously said that Stroman and Hendricks would be traded in 2023, at the deadline. They will not be traded this year as it would be selling low on both.

    Heyward can be the 5th OF and his contract is up after 2023. I'd rather the cubs keep any trade return high than dump salary. The cubs only have like 95m (plus arb raises) committed to 2023, so Heyward contract isn't hurting their ability to sign players this off-season.

  • fb_avatar

    There was a great article in Baseball America about teams not regretting trading for an AS player. The prospects they give up more times than not never pan out. We should be aware of getting a lot of prospects for our players--I would rather get a ML player or a highly rated one. Even then, look at how many 1st round players never see the majors.
    I also don't want to see the Cubs spend big on a SS. Look at what Hoerner is doing. He is a Trea Turner but paid a lot less money--and I love Trea Turner.
    I hope this is the last time in years that we have to go through this trading our players for prospects.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Well let's take the trade of Kris Bryant for Killian and Canario. I think KB counts as an AS player at least to me he is one. KB is hurt again and only has 5 HRs this year so far. I don't know when Killian is coming up again to pitch for the Cubs, but he is coming soon. He looks very promising as a SP but is still developing. Canario has 24 HRs so far this year, mostly in AA. He is the hottest hitter on the planet right now and could be getting a promotion again soon. I don't know if SF would make that trade again.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    I'm not arguing John but we have to see what Killian and Canario actually do in the majors. Right now it looks like the Cubs have won the trade. I'm a big fan of Canario, not only does he hit for power but his arm is at least a plus, maybe a plus plus. Not only that, but Wisdom has has hit a lot more HR but he's better than KB at 3rd. I guess that's why trades aren't judged for 4 or 5 yrs.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I love Hoerner at short too. But the Cubs need middle of the lineup hitters and if you put a great defender at short and move Hoerner to 2nd you have an amazing defense.

    But again the Cubs must buy middle of the lineup hitters!

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Next year these guys could get to the majors. Velazquez, Crook, Frazier, Mervis, Davis, Hill Some of them just might be middle of the lineup hitters. Should be fun next year.

  • In reply to John57:

    Oh I forgot the hottest hitter on the planet, Canario. Next year is going to be interesting.

  • In reply to John57:

    John, Crook and Frazier and Hill - don’t move the needle, one small iota. Even if they all changed their first names.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    OK then, Canario, Mervis, Davis, and Velazquez do move the needle for you. And I don't think any of them are planning a name change.

  • In reply to John57:

    The goal should be to make the playoffs every year, beginning 2023. And your $100M under the salary cap. If Contreras or Happ are traded for a player(s) who makes it more likely we get to the playoffs next year, I’m for it. If not, we’re just kicking the can down the road.
    Those players you mention, some maybe can help - but without established players in place, they shouldn’t be expected to get the Cubs into the playoffs.
    It’s time to ADD, not subtract. The farm will be healthy next season. Enough losing. We’re not that far away, certainly within striking distance if the payroll is allowed to get, where it should be.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I agree with you if they trade Happ and Contreras that does not help 2023 results. The prospects are not as good as they are right now. They both are AllStars this year. And it sure looks like both will be traded. Their current value could not be higher. Maybe Hoyer does not get offered the players he values and he ends up keeping them. But do you want to sign those two guys to extensions and slow down the development of the prospects and young mlb players? That question is above my pay grade. I defer to Hoyer and Hawkins. No matter what they do, there will be many complaints, that is guaranteed but they get paid well to take all the crap they are going to get from fans.

  • In reply to John57:

    I actually am not sure they are worse by trading Happ & Contreras.

    By the end of the year Contreras and Happ will both fall to their career numbers .250/.330 which makes them meh.

    Contreras has a great arm and Happ is a switch hitter, so those are good things both are career 20-25 Homer' guys so that will fall off a little.

    As far as offensive production I think Hill & Valazquez or Canario or Davis in left will meet Happ's output. Except for Hill the defense will be better. At catcher I believe Higgins will put up better numbers than Contreras the rest of the year.

    As far as next year goes, the Astros are willing to trade controlled major league starting pitching for a catcher. Plus the cash freed up by trading those 2 will be 40-50mil. If the front office spends that money then yes trading these 2 will make them better in 23'

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I don’t think any team trying to add Happ or Contreras at the deadline will be giving up any mlb ready players that would help the cubs in 2023 because then wouldn’t that same player be capable of helping them now and for a lot longer than 2-3 months of Contreras or 1.25 years of Happ? The thing that will help the cubs get better in 2023 is actually trading both of them and giving two more minor league players a chance to play mlb games and learn on the job at the highest level. This would give the coaching staff and managaement a better assessment of what we got at our top level while also pushing a couple other prospects a little higher up the ladder for more evaluation against tougher competition.

    There’s no guarantee that next year Happ will be as good as he is as this all-star season for him. Take what we can get for him since he’s got that extra enticing year of control and hopefully what we get in return will be on track to help us by 2024. Same with Contreras.

    I think 2024 is the year this team will ascend higher. I see some subtle improvements with this year’s team. I like some of our players, but I see Hoerner as the only regular on a really competitive team. I’m all for keeping some guys like Ortega, Morel, and Wisdom; even Madrigal and maybe Schwindel, as role players in the future, as they are cheap and seem to get that they are playing as a team and not just taking at bats for themselves. Morel might just develop into a somewhat star regular player, but I’m not gonna hold my breath. I love his character and attitude. He’s got great makeup for this game. He’s a keeper, just still not sure he’s got all the skill to be a regular on a great team, but he can definitely play an important role off the bench.

    Having said all that, I agree that we need to start adding this offseason. I really want to at least see us add a top of the rotation quality proven starter, even if it’s kind of a gamble on a guy like Syndegaard, with injury history. We need to have better starting pitching immediately so this team can have more experience winning close games and doing even more of the little things that help us win playoff style baseball. If we can add a really good starter this offseason, and then again next offseason, I think we would be in a position to have some long term success going deep into the playoffs, especially as all our other prospects and the newly drafted pitchers are getting closer to being ready.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I agree, it is hard to acquire good upper level prospects. Teams just won't trade them, unless they get stars. Jed, has shown us all that he is willing, or has to accept trades for younger prospects usually ranked outside of other teams top 5. I think for Contreras, Happ, & maybe Robertson. Cubs will end up netting 3 or 4 hitter playing in high A ball, or lower ranked outside of other teams top 5 prospects, it sure seems like teams are much more willing to trade lower level OF prospects who are plus athletes with potential upside.

    For the rest of Jed's trades for Cub's pending free agents the team will focus on getting pitchers ranked outside of teams top 20 prospects. Trades similar to the Tepera trade for Bailey Horn a 5th round pick from 2020 draft.

    Cubs might also take on a player like Dominic Smith as a second piece in a trade for a prospect.

    I wouldn't mind seeing the Cubs package Wisdom with some prospects depth to get something at the MLB level that is more interesting then second/third tier prospects Cubs.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    The Cubs must add a couple middle of the lineup free agents this off season and a top starting pitcher. Without these 3 players (plus a couple more) they arent going to be a playoff bound team. I believe there payroll should be around 86 million (that includes 22 mil to heyward) by the end of the year. If they dont add 100million well spent dollars then I will be very disappointed.

    So yes i am glad they arent spending that huge money on Contreras. He isnt a middle of the lineup hitter on a playoff team.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    creature: 1) maybe I’m wrong, but didn’t you say less than a week ago, that you wanted to sign Contreras?
    And 2) how many teams have ‘catchers that are hitting in the middle of the order, that are PLAYOFF teams’? Just asking.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    And thinking about Hill, his line is .340/.381/.462 at AAA. He is just OK defensively with little power, but a LH hitting, high average OF has value. He could definitely play in the majors some day.

  • In reply to John57:

    Question John: is he as good as Happ, in your opinion? Is Hill going to get us to the playoffs in 2023? Sounds to me, Hill is just another guy, you will be clamoring to trade, 2 years from now when Pinango or someone else like that, ‘might be ready’. Kick the can down the road.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I read something from AZ Phil two or three weeks ago. He sees Hill as a major league player. He does not have the power Happ has and he is an average defender, but he will have the better batting average. Hill has the better hit tool. Depends what your team needs more. Personally I think Velazquez and Canario will be better than Hill. They both have made changes so they can use their insane power better. This has elevated their profile. Both may beat B Davis to the majors. The hitting coaches in A+ and AA are doing a great job. Course if your outfield has Suzuki, Velazquez, Davis and Canario, you probably would want a LH bat like Hill.

  • In reply to John57:

    I certainly respect AZ Phil. I met him a couple years ago at the backfields. He certainly does his homework and is a nice guy to boot. (a retired fireman’s boot lol). So let’s hope Hill pans out.
    That said, I am on record as not being for any trade that does not give us a better chance to win, in 2023.
    Our farm system is very healthy, and being $100M under the cap - it’s time to start adding for 2023.

  • I just read that there is interest in Wisdom from a couple of teams. He is controlled, a very good defender and hits for power. I wonder what value he has? I am sure the FO isnt going to just give him away. Because he is a good fit at third for a couple more years until Triantos possibly gets here.

    If wisdom is gone they better spend money in the middle of the infield next year to fill the middle of the order. For now you move Morel to 3rd and slide Madigral into 2nd. I have read that Baty (left handed power hitting 3rd baseman) might come from the Mets in a deal for Contreras.

    Let the fun begin.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Wisdoms defense has definitely regressed.

    I go back and forth on trading him. He's cheap and decent bat, but not sure the return would be worth it. Cubs have lots of intriguing players in minors but not many top tier prospects.

    If including wisdom helps get more top tier, then fine. If it's for more lottery tickets, nah.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    Don't forget, third base is where Morel likes to play, his favorite position. As far as Madrigal goes, everybody wants to see this guy packing, however, he is hurt as we speak, Wait until he is healthy before you want to get rid of him. When Theo drafted Happ, I was pissed because he was a defensive liability, but the Cubs worked with him and he plays a pretty decent left field this year. The Cubbies aren't going anywhere this year, so there's time to straighten 2nd base out.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I don't have much faith in madrigal. I want him to do well I'd rather have Morel at 2b and free agent play 3b.

    If the shift will be regulated, if not banned, madrigal will be even worse at defense. Morel has great range, and will help the young pitching staff gain confidence.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    Toes, I totally agree with you on Madrigal. I hope they make him prove his worth, in Iowa, before even thinking of bringing him back.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I agree with both of you guys about Madrigal. Got to get him healthy and have his swagger back before I would want to bring him up. I do really like his hit tool though. He is young. I can be patient.

  • Michael,
    What's the latest on the Cub's ability to sign their 2nd & 4th round picks?
    Will this happen?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    they both have been signed. 2nd pick for 3 M. 4th pick for 1 M. I am really interested in Mule. He is quite the unique player. Exit velo batting is over 100 mph and he hit 100 mph pitching when he was 16 years old. Could be a 2 way player.

  • I made a too long reply to cubbustible, and wanted to expand how I feel about the cubs mlb team’s starting pitching situation. I really think they need to add a TOR quality arm in free agency this offseason. Even if it’s a gamble on a guy like Syndegaard (who at this point I feel like could be had on a shorter term contract with an opt out). I wonder if he could be signed to a somewhat front-loaded 4 or 5 year contract around 110-140m with a player opt out after the 2nd year that would trigger the cubs ability to pick up options on the 4th and 5th year if he doesn’t opt out?

    And then they need to do the same and sign another frontline pitcher after the 2023 offseason. I kinda like Thompson, Steele, and now Sampson too. I think they can function in the middle to back of the rotation and do a good job of it for the next couple years. In that time, one of them might even raise their game up another notch. Wouldn’t that be nice? But I see them as the kind of pitchers that can do a really solid job for a couple years and then probably regress like most players do after a short “peak” to their careers. Essentially, can one of them have a career like Chris Archer did for the Rays? They all can be helpful, and are cost effective. If we develop better pitching soon enough, they can also do great in a bullpen role, or be traded to another team to help fill another need.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Ok, so you want to sign Syndergaard for $25M/yr for a minimum of 3 years. But don’t want to sign Contreras.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Based on Thor’s record this year there’s no way he gets more than 10-15/yr and I think that would be generous.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I’m not opposed to resigning Contreras after trading him, if the price is right. Thing is, he’s 30 and gonna regress more. He’s never made it healthy through a full season. He usually has a couple really good months and then regresses. Now as he gets some rest and gets to DH, I thought maybe that would change, but it’s still the same. So like I said, if the contract is right, I’d love to have him longer, maybe something like 4 years $65m.

    As far as Syndegaard, he’s a dominant pitcher when he’s right. He’s had some bad outings this year, but also some good ones. Tater mentioned wanting Rondon for 6@25/yr. Put Rondon’s and Thor’s stats side by side and tell me who would be the better signing. Thor has started 25 or more games 3 times in his career (breaking the 30 starts barrier twice) against Rondon’s 1 time (28!starts in ‘16). Rondon has never stayed healthy either. They’ve played about the same amount over the same ages in their career so it’s a great side by side comparison actually. Very similar numbers, but they all tip in the favor of Syndegaard. The contract I hypothesized compared to tater for Rondon are also very similar. However Scott Boras is Rondon’s agent.

    Here’s a link if you wanna see the side by side comparison of the 2 pitchers.

    https://stathead.com/baseball/player-comparison.cgi?player_id2=syndeno01&type=p&player_id1=rodonca01&sum=0&request=1

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Thanks Cubber, makes sense.
    Also, 6 years for anyone with Rodons medical history, doesn’t seem like a good gamble - I agree.

  • fb_avatar

    If we're going to add payroll next year it should be on starting pitching, I believe Rodon will out out of SF and he would be a good start, he would give us a TOR arm to lead off, 6@25 per I think would do it .
    I don't know if any of you have heard Ohtani might be on the market, but it would take your top 4-5 prospects to get him, but I'm in.
    Next year we probably won't make the playoffs, but we have to start with a solid staff. Rodon , followed by Stroman, Hendricks, Steel and Thompson would look pretty good. The rest of the line up would start with Suziki,Hoerner, Morrel,Madrigal, and fill in the blank with another signee or rookies, most likely maybe close to .500 baseball, but way more entertaining.

  • They can compete for the playoffs next year but it's going to require 2 really good pitchers (starter & reliever)
    and 2 middle of the order hitters to do it.

    The surrounding cast is as good as the Cubs have had in a while. But They lack the 3 or 4 elite players you need to make a deep run in the playoffs.

    If you spent money on stroman and suzuki last year why would you not add the players you need to compete next year?

  • Before anybody loses their mind. What would it take to get Soto Bogerts and Verlander by next year.

    For Soto I here 4-5 top prospects or controlled mlb. Happ Madigral Davis Alcantera Wicks?
    For Bogerts 6yr 30mil/yr?
    For Verlander 2yr 30mil/yr

    I am ok with all of the above.

    But you still need to add left handed dh power bat (vogelbach $1mil/yr). He has very good numbers against righties. A couple good relievers $10mil

    If you add the above $100mil you are very good defensively, great OBP, decent power, deep in starting pitching and strong in the bullpen. A real chance to be as good as anyone and your payroll is still under $190mil. Plus your only long term committment is Bogerts. Unless you are able to add Soto to a long term contract sometime in the next 3 years.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Interesting tidbit.

    If Thompson & Steele were eligible they would be #24 and #40 in the mlb in ERA. That pretty much a 1or2 starter for Thompson and a 2or3 for Steele.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Good point bleachercreature. Both of those two have been fairly consistent for has green as they are. And they are both on pace to get in >140 IP despite Thompson starting out the season largely out of the BP. Steele has been his own worst enemy many outings with the high BB numbers though.

    A rotation with those two anchoring it's middle and Hendricks (if he can get and stay healthy) as the Hendricks more like 2019 & 2020, and with a healthy Stroman isn't flashy, but mostly would get the job done. Maybe if Kilian can develop the 2023 Cubs could get by with a single higher-end FA SP hire in the offseason?

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