View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



November 2017



Around the League and Stuff: HOF ballots, Hammer Drop on the Braves, Appel falls from a tree?

Written by , Posted in General

The off season trudges along, but this last week or so has probably been about the most exciting of it so far.  Teams have made roster moves to protect players from the Rule 5 draft (Adbert Alzolay was among the players the Cubs added to their 40-man roster to protect!), but with that being a Winter Meetings activity…there’s time for that later.  In the meantime…

2018 Hall of Fame Ballots Out

…and a couple of former Cubs are on them for their first turn in the barrel: Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano.  Kerry Wood, he of the memorable 20 K game and career sidetracked by injuries, among many other accomplishments, I would figure will at least stick around on the ballots for a few years, but probably doesn’t end up getting in to the hall–in his early years he was a hell of a pitcher, but injuries sidetracked his career and he was strictly a reliever from 2007 on until his retirement in 2012 (fun fact: Wood retired having given up exactly 666 walks).  He never led the league in ERA or Wins, and Strikeouts only once, and made the All-Star team only twice.  Not exactly solid credentials.  Carlos Zambrano, on the other hand, probably doesn’t continue after this year’s voting, in part due to his antics on the field (fast temper and all that), and partly because…the numbers just aren’t there.  He led the NL in wins once, made 3 All-Star Teams…but led the league in walks twice and HBPs once; he only once recorded a sub-3.00 ERA (2004).  He was fun to watch, and had potential if he could just stop punching Michael Barrett in the face, or trying to toss umpires out of the game.  He’ll always have that no hitter at the Astros, in Milwaukee though.

Sammy Sosa is on the ballot again, as well, but his staying power is probably limited given the low support he’s garnered over the years, not to mention the tarnish of the era he played in.  Speaking of, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds remain on the ballot as well, but with better chances of getting elected.  The rest of the ballot, here, I’ll leave you all to discuss if you wish.  Hopefully it’s less contentious than yesterday’s discussion.

MLB Set to Hammer the Braves 

Remember when the Cardinals’ Chris Correa got into the Astros’ player database, and wound up a convicted felon?  MAN, did the league hit them hard, with that $2 Million dollar fine and the loss of their annual free extra draft pick for being in a small market.  Absolutely DEVASTATED them.  Just mucking around with the rules, surely, can’t be hit as bad as that, could it?


Here’s the damage they’re looking at:

  • Former GM John Coppolella is banned for life, joining Pete Rose; their former scouting chief was also banned for a year (but will probably never work in the league again anyway)
  • THIRTEEN players in the Braves’ system are now free agents–yes, over HALF A TEAM worth of players–including guys like Kevin Maitan (who signed for over $4M).
  • Loss of a 3rd round draft pick in 2018
  • In the 2019-2020 IFA signing period, they can’t sign a player for more than $10,000 (ten thousand, yes)
  • In the 2020-2021 IFA signing period, their IFA pool will be cut in half
  • They cannot sign Robert Puason in the 2019-2020 IFA signing period.

Other team officials are probably going to face some discipline, and I’ve seen some rumors that other teams who go after the released free agents may be able to apply signing bonuses to their 2018-19 signing pool (a period where the Cubs shouldn’t be limited to $300,000 signing bonuses), but I’m not certain that will prove true.  In any case, this is absolutely BRUTAL in the punishment department by MLB.  But, given that they want to avoid any shenanigans with Ohtani this offseason, maybe they felt it was important to carry the big stick.

Mark Appel DFA’d

Mark Appel–the pitcher the Astros took that allowed the Cubs to get Kris Bryant–was DFA’d by the Phillies during cutdowns for the Rule 5 draft.  It’s worth seeing what happens, as he’s a young pitcher without much mileage on his arm.  That said, he’s never pitched in the Majors, and his performance in AAA is less than inspiring.  If the Cubs think people in their system might be able to do something, maybe you see them offer him a minor league deal, see what he can do in the spring–there are worse ways to spend money, like signing John Lackey–and maybe he gives them a depth option at AAA for the rotation if they need.  Or maybe it’s a disaster and his road comes to an end.  Who knows?


  1. Buddy
    • Michael S.
  2. JTBarrett16
  3. Doc Raker