In a non-surprising move, the Cubs today non-tendered LHP Neil Cotts. I have no grudge against Cotts but I was glad to see this – sometimes the Cubs have a tendency to believe too much in a rejuvenation project and Cotts was certainly that. Here in Nashville we would refer to him as a “one hit wonder” as he had that one great year and has been mediocre ever since. Hopefully Neil will resurrect his career elsewhere; despite being shipped down he kept his mouth shut and tried to do his job. He didn’t pitch particularly well but at least he was a trooper.
The Cubs have now made two Rule 5 moves – in addition to taking a look at the Cards’ Parisi they have also acquired the rights to Nationals pitcher Arismendy Mota (“mota” is Mexican slang for “reefer” so maybe this guy will be popular in the clubhouse.) He put up impressive numbers and he won’t have to be carried on the 25 man so my hat’s off to Hendry on this move. I’m not looking for much from Parisi, my guess is that the Cards will buy him back for $50,000. That will give the Cubs a free team dinner at Morton’s that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Not a bad move with nothing to lose.
Update by Joe:
Paul Sullivan listed the 8 players the Cubs did tender a contact to, with some notes on each of them in his blog:
Carlos Marmol: He’ll demand the most and make the most after 27 holds and 15 saves in 2009. Though Marmol won’t make closer’s money yet, the Cubs may decide to give him a multi-year deal after 2010 if he succeeds in his first full year as closer.
Ryan Theriot: After establishing himself as the starting shortstop in 2007, and with a respectable .288 career average, Theriot figures to cash in this year.
Jeff Baker: He hit .305 this year in 69 games for the Cubs, after being acquired from Colorado on July 2. The Cubs are hoping he can become the new version of Mark DeRosa, providing them with a solid backup at third for Aramis Ramirez.
Angel Guzman: After a series of injuries prevented Guzman from reaching his potential, he finally emerged in ’09 as a reliable setup man, limiting opposing hitters to a .191 average and posting a 2.95 ERA. More is expected of him in 2010, and he should get some save opportunities on days when Marmol isn’t available.
Sean Marshall: The left-hander has done everything the Cubs have asked without complaint, and even played left field during a wacky inning against St. Louis before the All-Star break. He’s 19-29 with a 4.55 ERA in his career, and needs to show more consistency.
Koyie Hill: Strong defensive catcher who filled in admirably for Geovany Soto. The Cubs are 60-36 in his 96 starts since ’07, a .625 winning percentage. Some of that is coincidence, but obviously Hill knows how to handle pitchers, which makes up for his lack of offense.
Tom Gorzelanny: He’ll get a shot at the fifth starters job, though Gorzelanny will have to significantly lower his ERA (5.63 in 13 starts for the Cubs) if he hopes to stay off the Iowa express.
Mike Fontenot: Barely made it to the arb-eligible list as a Super-Two player. A standout season in 2008 (.305 average) led to the Cubs giving him DeRosa’s position. But he struggled out of the gate and finished with a .236 average, losing his spot to Baker. The Cubs won’t non-tender him because they like his makeup and believe he’ll rebound. But it’s probably a make or break season for Fontenot.
The fact that we tendered a contract to Koyie Hill seems to tell me that he’s still the primary option to backup Geovany Soto. Other than Hill, I don’t really think we could have expected any other non-tenders off this list. Monday we’ll be back with a look at the non-tender names from around the league that might be options to fill one of our needs.