Scott Baker was reported to have gone for a “precautionary” MRI after his start on Sunday and I felt like it would be to evaluate the arm after his start to make sure he’s on track with his rehab. While that is the case, it was brought on by some soreness in the arm after the start. Gordon Wittenmeyer reported that “Team officials said the MRI results were not conclusive and held out hope that it’s not a serious setback.” While it’s discouraging news for Baker, it’s also discouraging for the Cubs. The hope is that he’s fine and that this just a minor setback. Ultimately, what’s important to remember is that the deal he signed is very low risk at $5.5 million. If he never pitches this year, you may see the Cubs re-sign him to a minor league deal as his contract is for 2013 only. The hope is that he’s able to come back and pitch effectively enough to draw interest on the trade market before the non-waiver deadline to continue the rebuilding process. Time will tell, but I think it’s too early to just jump off the ledge and give up. Patience and watch how this one plays out. Baker’s MRI results will be evaluated this weekend and we’ll know more at that point in terms of the timetable for resuming rehab.
Keeping with the injury bug theme, the mystery that really wasn’t much of a mystery has been solved as the Cubs have announced that Ian Stewart will begin the season on the disabled list. The Cubs believe he can get the extra time he needs with his time on the DL and that allows them to not have to release him before opening day. We’ll see how this one shakes out. Had the Cubs released him before opening day, they would not have been on the hook for his entire salary. After opening day, they would be.
One of the top prospects in the system, Albert Almora, was reported recently to have been bit by our pal the injury bug when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand. Obviously he wasn’t going to make the team out of spring training and the injury is not a severe one, but it does mean he’s scheduled to be out of commission for the next 3-4 weeks which takes away development time. A little bit of a bummer, but overall not too bad. Recently, John Sickels profiled Almora on his site. Take a look at his profile so you stay excited about him. A brief snippet to wet your appetite for the full post:
Scouts love this guy, and it isn’t hard to see why. He has a good swing. He has solid power. He has above-average running speed, and he knows how to use it. He has a solid throwing arm. He has center field outfield range. His instincts, especially on defense, are considered outstanding and help all of his tools play up. His makeup is considered outstanding. He thrived against good competition in high school and shines on a big stage. (Read the Full Profile)
A few minor transactional notes: The Cubs acquired minor league infielder Jose Dore from the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. It’s always a little intriguing when Jed brings in someone from the team he was overseeing before. There is the thought that maybe he knows something they don’t, like was the case with Anthony Rizzo. In his short amount of time in the Padres system, Dore has put up the following numbers over three different levels of baseball. (Click the stats image to be taken to his Baseball Reference Page)
Also in the transaction news is that the Cubs announced a signing of Cuban right handed reliever, Armando Rivero to a contract with a $3.1 million signing bonus. Ben Badler of Baseball America has this note on Rivero:
Since Rivero is 25 and has four seasons of professional experience in Cuba’s top league, his bonus will be exempt from Chicago’s 2012-13 international bonus pool. For the current signing period, Cuban signings are exempt from the international bonus pools as long as they are at least 23 and have played in Serie Nacional for at least three seasons.
The Cubs haven’t said where Rivero will begin his career, but he’s advanced enough that Double-A Tennessee would seem to be an option. (Read the full entry)
Finally, Chris Rusin made another spring start yesterday, this time against the Rangers, giving up four runs on seven hits over five innings of work, while striking out five. I mentioned yesterday that I feel like Rusin will start the year in the rotation in AAA because of the lack of depth of ML ready arms and the rash of injuries to starting pitchers (I’m looking at you Mr. Garza and Baker). I just can’t see him being put in the pen and then having to get stretched out again to start if needed.
Finally, a discussion question for you to mull over. Brad Stephens, Mayor of Rosemont, has come out recently and offered the Cubs 25 acres of land for the Ricketts family to build a new stadium on. It’s pretty remote that something like that would actually happen, but if it did, how would you react? Call me crazy for saying it, but I could care less if the Cubs left Wrigley field. I know some will ask that I turn in my fan card, but to be honest, I could care less. I want to see a championship and if getting a new stadium with facilities that can be considered some of the top in baseball to replace what are largely considered the worst in baseball will help get us there, I’m all for it. Screw nostalgia. If nostalgia and feel good is what you care about, go rent a Disney movie (no offense, CAPS). As Mike Singletary once said “I want winners”. Discuss.