Archive for July, 2013

Cubs Bid Farewell to Alfonso Soriano

Friday, July 26th, 2013

The age of social media, especially Twitter, has changed the way transactions and rumors are reported. Now, we’re all but sure to hear about so many more deals before they are actually finalized and announced. As of this morning, there has not been a formal announcement on the deal to send Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees, but because it was being reported everywhere as being a sure thing, you see it. In my opinion, this is both good and bad. It’s great because it makes the trade deadline so much fun. I find myself checking Twitter so often for any updates on anything. At the same time, I feel like it has the potential to get hopes up before deals as truly final. We saw this in full effect last year with Ryan Dempster and this off-season with Carlos Marmol. Both trades were reported as being done and both fell through. It is what it is at this point so we have to live with it.

At this point, Soriano is on his way to New York for the series with the Rays that starts tonight. He hopped a plane last night after saying good bye. No word yet on who is coming back in return, but I’ve heard the Cubs are picking up the majority of the remaining money on the contract so that should increase the value of the prospect we receive. A deal should be announced today so I should have an update later. I thought this quote from Sori said it all “I got that kind of money just because the game gave it to me. I love the game and I respect the game. I love what I do.

There was still a game to play last night and the Cubs offense did everything they could to show solidarity in protesting the Soriano trade by leaving their bats in the dugout each time they came to the plate. As a result, just one run and a series split that could have been a series win.

Junior Lake had another hit in the game and now has 15 hits in his first seven games played, including a hit in each. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that is the third most all time in the first seven games played. Only Bo Hart and my childhood favorite player, Kirby Puckett had more. Next up is a very winnable series with the Giants. If we can take advantage with a win tonight, we can punt the Chris Rusin start on Saturday and close it out with a series win behind Travis Wood on Sunday.

by Rob Willer

The Future Looks Bright

Albert Almora – This young man is the first draftee by the Theo Epstein regime and quite possibly might have the highest ceiling of all the Cubs prospects. Almora was the number six overall pick in the 2012 draft and was taken right out of high school. As an 18 year old he hit .347 in 75 at bats in rookie ball, also contributed a .363 on base percentage and .480 slugging percentage. He then was promoted to Boise to finish out his first season in Short Season A Ball where he still hit .292 in 65 at bats. Early indications show that this man can absolutely hit for contact through his first 351 at bats in the minor leagues he has 113 hits which amounts to a whopping .322 batting average. Those numbers themselves are impressive but for being only 19 years and producing at that high of level provides us with great hope for our future. As the Cubs organization weighs September call-ups to the big league club Almora could earn a call up to Daytona in the coming weeks. Personally he has been just an absolute treat to watch at near by Kane County. Plays the game the right way and gets the job done all you can ask in a young player.

Performance Thursday Night at Kane County: Almora went 4 for 5 with two doubles and raised his batting average to .333 at Kane County.

Dan Vogelbach –  Vogelbach is an interesting prospect for the Cubs as they already have Anthony Rizzo at first base for the next seven years after he recently signed his 42 million dollar contract. He like Almora was drafted right out of high school in the 2nd round. After tearing it up at rookie ball he then made the move just like Almora did and moved to Boise. When he arrived at Boise nothing changed he batted .322 also hit 10 home runs and  drove in 31 runs. To sum up his 2012 season he put up an impressive 1.051 OPS with 21 home runs and 17 doubles in 245 at-bats last season. Those are all star numbers for a 19 year old kid who if all things go to plan projects as a Matt Adams type.  When you think of Matt Adams you think quality hitter and a ton of power with average defense and below average speed. Vogelbach emulates all four of those traits, he will continue to develop this summer at Kane County and we should see him at Daytona by the start of next year.

Performance Thursday Night at Kane County: Vogelbach went 1 for 5 with a double and a run scored. His batting average is still .288 at Kane County.

Javy Baez –  One of the most exciting prospects in baseball is 20-year-old Javier Baez. Baez recently got promoted to Double-A, he could be in line for an everyday big league job by next season. He has been getting high remarks from highly respected sites including Baseball America which ranked him as the No. 10 prospect in baseball in Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 list. What sets Baez apart from others is possess some of the best bat speed in all of minor league baseball.. Baez has incredible power and has shown it between High A Daytona and Double A Tennessee where he has combined to hit 25 home-runs and 72 runs batted in.   A September call-up is not out of the question although I see unlikely at this point.  Some numbers that worry me though are his 101 strikeouts in 404 at bats which is right at 25 percent between the two levels. If Baez can cut down on the strikeouts to about a 17% rate and improve on his batting average no question he will be up with the Cubs by 2014.

Performance Thursday Night at Tennessee – 2 for 6 with 2 Home Runs and four runs batted in.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Rob_Willer for the latest on minor league news regarding the Cubs organization.

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GirlieView (07/25/2013)

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of 2013 = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • Either Jed Hoyer was using a bit of misdirection (also called lying through his teeth), or things moved a lot faster than he thought they would
  • Once upon a time, an American education thru high school meant you had some pool of knowledge. The pool is now very shallow.
  • It is one of the few shows on TV (comedy division) that actually celebrates being smart versus being dumb
  • A number of hotels will have free toiletries available at the front desk for travelers who forget to pack a razor or tooth brush. If one is staying with relatives, you could call ahead to make sure the local Kwikie mart is fully stocked.
  • Who says pandering doesn’t pay off. My greatest letdown after reading the Lizzies….I have to wait 14 days for another.
  • I am becoming increasingly optimistic that the Cubs are turning this ship around.
  • You did say “ship” right?
  • This is not a horrible season. For me, it’s filled with promise and hope
  • On the ledge (to the tune of “Turn the Page”)*
    On a long and lonesome highway
    East of anywhere
    You can listen to the talkshows
    Moanin’ out their same ol’ song –
    You can think about the error
    Or the strikeouts from the night before…
    But your thoughts will soon be wandering
    The way they always do
    When you’re losin’ lots of ballgames
    And there’s nothin’ you can do
    And you don’t feel much like watchin’,
    You just wish the year was through…
    Here I am
    Cubbie Fan again
    There I am
    hand in the fridge
    Here I go
    Missin’ work again
    There I go
    out on the ledge…
    Well you trudge into a sports bar,
    Can’t win at home or on the road,
    And you feel the eyes upon you
    Smirkin’ at the cap,
    You pretend it doesn’t bother you
    But that’s a load of crap…
    Most times you can’t hear ’em talk,
    Other times you can
    All the same old cliches,
    “Is he that stuipid, man?”
    And you always seem outnumbered,
    You don’t dare make a stand
    (your only consolation, man, is you’re no White Sox fan)
    Here I am
    Cubbie Fan again
    There I am
    hand in the fridge
    Here I go
    Missin’ work again
    There I go
    out on the ledge…
    Out there in the bleachers
    You’re a million miles away
    Every ounce of energy
    You try to give away
    As the sweat pours out your body
    it’s those beers you had today…
    Later in the evening
    As you lie awake in bed
    With the memories of walks and balks
    Ringin’ in your head
    You play the day’s last bat,
    over in your head…
    Here we are
    pitchers’ count, we see
    Here we go
    Ain’t it a shame
    Here we go
    Called strike three…again
    There we go
    Blame Dale Sveum…
    Here we are
    thrown out again
    Here we go
    Ain’t it a shame,
    Won’t be long now
    Shutout again
    There they go
    Losing the game…
    There they go
    There they go…………
    *with tremendous apologies to Bob Seger
  • some part of me said that I should not be banking with a division rival.
  • Seymour’s novelty Cards chest retractor is a hoot in the cardio wing.
  • some of us can’t spend all day on the internet.
  • you can wed yer kin.
  • Vagaries are real sons of bitches.
  • Luck is being the Oakland news anchor with the day off when the gag of the century gets pulled off with amazing efficiency.
  • I mentioned the wooden clogs didn’t fit his persona very well. He gave me a dirty look. I was eating a hot dog so I guess you can say we had a post game meal together.
  • Uh oh. The old Kevin Gregg is back.
  • I am beginning to believe his baseball IQ is that of a Meatball Sub with ranch dressing.
  • I think you’re being a little generous. Rizzo has to work his way up to the ranch dressing.
  • The first time something like that happens, shame on the player. When it keeps happening, shame on the manager. Where is the discipline this team so sorely lacks?
  • What I don’t understand is why the All Star break has to last until Friday. Do we really need 2 days after the actual All Star game before everyone is back with their teams and ready to go.
  • When dealing for prospects you always go for the best player you can get regardless of position. Players get hurt. Players start to unexpectedly suck. Players demand trades or leave as a free agent. You can always shuffle players around in the field or trade them later for what you need. You can never have too many top prospects.
  • I read somewhere that Shark played football in college.
  • To combat this epidemic, the Cubs should only draft players who didn’t pitch before they turned 18.
  • The big slow curve is Rakers out pitch, and his set up pitch and every pitch in between. Nine innings of slow curve balls, OK, I threw 4 ‘fastballs’ but no one could tell.
  • I could just see a GM thumbing through his twitter feed now, “HaHaHa, Matt Garza for Mike Olt…wasn’t even a thought!”
  • Chetter Chatter?
  • I see your Chetter Chatter and raise you a Chet Cetera.
  • Is it a relative of Chicago tenor, Peter? People would undoubtedly inquire.
  • Greg? Well shit…I’ve spent twenty some years emulating Mike Maddox.
  • Think of the amount the Cubs could have gotten in a trade for Brett Jackson at the beginning of 2012 compared to the beginning of 2013.
  • “Since I’ve been here, that’s the first kid that’s come up and looked like a major leaguer, aggressive, aggressive on the bases…He did a great job and swung the bat really nice.” said Swammy as Dave Sappelt, Luis Valbuena and Brian Bugusevic wimper in the corner.
  • I’m not sure if Carlos Villanueva would be better equipped to be a productive member of the starting rotation by growing the handle bar mustache back, but it does seem like he’s lost his super powers since he shaved.
  • Last year I rode Luis Valbuena pretty hard. I apologize now for those comments.
  • DeMan says something insightful into the pitcher hitter matchup and there is an awkward silence, followed by………………Pearl Jam is in a rain delay at Wrigley Field tonight.
  • It’s not about the money you idiots, don’t you listen to these guys after they sign there megamillion contracts.
  • He will also be able to pick a good school system for his kids,
  • I love the deal.
  • Rangers overpay for Garza. Cubs win in AZ, Lake big night, Deal expected with Soriano and Yanks, Braun exposed again and suspended, Damn good sports day!!

Lizard

  • I don’t think there’s anything entertaining about the guys who cheat being rewarded the most.

Shout Outs

  • Many thanks to Ann Landers who logged her first Lizzie of 2013 this time around! Imagine that!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Doc Raker and jswanson, co-Most Valuable Lizzie’ers this time around!

Top Ten of 2013 (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard) – on account of the fact that this post isn’t quite long enough as it is, I’ll list the full standings this time around.

1. jswanson
2. Seymour Butts
3. Doc Raker
4. Eddie von White
4. Jedi Johnson
6. Joe Aiello
7. Chuck
8. Jeremiah Johnson
9. Doug S.
10. Buddy
11. Jerry in Wisconsin
12. Noah Eisner
13. cap’n obvious
14. Katie
15. Gymjok
15. Josh Cornwall
17. Chet
17. LVCubFan
19. Bryan
19. Norm
19. Verncrowe5
22. Darlin_Starlin
22. Tom C
24. CAPS
24. Dusty Baylor
24. Sean Powell
27. Bones
27. Mark_from_Toronto
29. Holden Clark
29. Sherm
29. wisconsinjpc
32. Michael Jimenez
33. Aaron
33. Allan
33. Ann Landers
33. Dave
33. Dous Entendre
33. Drew Peterson
33. Hugh Hefner
33. Jim Hickman
33. Josephine
33. Josh H
33. Just Curious
33. mrbaseball2usa
33. Rick Beato
33. Rocco Kavana
33. Scott E. Entsminger
33. Still Curious
33. The Whole Damn Show
33. Troy Maskell

Chit Chat

  • What are your plans (baseball-related or otherwise) for the rest of the summer?

 

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Alfonso Soriano Traded to the…..For……

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

The big news on Twitter yesterday was the conversation that took place between Alfonso Soriano and Theo / Jed. At the end of the conversation, they came away with an agreement with Soriano to waive his no trade rights in exchange for a deal to a certain list of teams. He has said he’d like to win a ring before he retires. The rumors have been around a deal to the Yankees so you have to imagine that they are on the list. Who else is on it or how long it is is anyone’s guess. What’s important at this point is the Yankees. Rumors are that the the holdup to the  deal being discussed, while still “far” away, primarily revolves around the money owed to Soriano and who picks up how much. Since it’s the Yankees, you have to imagine Theo and Jed are asking them to absorb more than they would normally ask a team like Texas. They know the Yankees can afford it and they know they are in desperite times at this point with key guys making a lot of money all on the DL for most of the season. I still maintain that there is no rush on the Soriano move other than the fact that the Yankees, if they are truly interested, may either fall out of the race or decide to punt on Soriano and go after someone like Alex Rios. Soriano is a name you can move in August because his contract will clear waivers. There is no rush. Still, I can see a move for Sori completed before the end of the weekend. We’ll just have to be patient and stay glued to Twitter.

  • David DeJesus returned to the lineup after being on the DL and had a 2-for-6 night. It’s good to have him back. I like him as the leadoff hitter for this team. He’s just a decent baseball player. He’s not a star, but he’s a guy I like on my team.
  • Another multi-hit game for Junior Lake with a double and a single and and RBI. He played LF, giving Soriano a mental day off with all the trade rumors swirling.
  • The fact that Nate Schierholtz is hitting and hitting well is such a plus right now. We’ve got a series coming with San Francisco so you know he’s gonna be jacked about playing against his old team. I’m really hopping he has nights like he did in this game to show teams he can help down the stretch.
  • I’ve decided that I’m against giving Jeff Samardzija # 1 or even # 2 starter money when it comes to contract time. I like him, but I just don’t believe in him enough to trust he’ll be consistent and worth the money.
  • Don’t look now, but we’re about to pass San Francisco in the Wild Card standings and gaining ground on Washington. If I would have said we were going to type that at this point before the season would have started, you would have guessed the Cubs were in contention. Instead it’s been the Giants and Nats that have been disappointing this year.
  • Pedro Strop for president!!!!

by Rob Willer

Mike Olt  makes his Iowa Cubs debut.

Mike Olt (3B, Age 24)

Assigned to Triple A Iowa. July 23rd.

Triple A Stats: 268 AB’s, .213 .317 .422, 12 HR 33 RBI’s (Triple A Round Rock)

Background Info: Olt was a highly regarded prospect with the Texas Rangers last year being ranked the number 22 prospect overall across baseball. He got off to a tough start this spring as he was dealing with vision issues and struggled at Triple A Round Rock in April and May. Recently he got the problem corrected and his numbers have steadily improved with his average up to. 213 and his power has returned with 11 home runs. Most likely Olt will get the majority of time at 3rd base raising questions on what to do with former top draft pick Josh Vitters. Currently Olt is ranked at 43 by MLB.com and was regarded as the center piece of the Matt Garza deal.

Summary of the Game: Back to the game, Olt played third base as expected an batted sixth in the Iowa Cubs lineup. He struck out in his first at bat on a high fastball out of the zone. On the night Olt went 1 for 5 with three strikeouts and a single. During the 6th inning, Olt singled to left and was robbed of an RBI as Donnie Murphy got thrown out at home. He showed great skills in the field with adjusting on a high hop chopper to get the out at first. Brooks Raley started for the Iowa Cubs and pitched brilliantly going seven strong innings giving up three hits and one run while striking out six. Raley was recently up with the Cubs mostly pitching in long-relief. Interesting note to end with is that Vitters started in left-field for the Iowa Cubs going one for three with a single and a walk. Since Vitters is now blocked at third base the Cubs are trying to give him opportunities to play other positions to get enough at bats.

Story-lines to Watch Going Forward: Olt’s progress at Iowa and how long it will be until he is up with the Cubs and playing third base regularly with them at the big league level. Justin Grimm who also was part of the Garza trade will be on the mound Friday for the Iowa Cubs. Grimm has bounced around this season as he made 17 starts with the Rangers to go along with a 6.37 earned run average. This in turn gives Grimm time to work out a few kinks at the Triple A level before trying to earn a spot in the Cubs rotation later on in August and years going forward. Either way it should be a fun week seeing some of our new acquisitions contribute at the minor league level.

Be on the lookout later on this week as I break down the Cubs system position by position evaluating the talent. Make sure to follow me @Rob_Willer for the latest Cubs Minor League News.

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Why Cub Fans Should Care About the K-Rod Trade

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

An interesting trade went down on Tuesday and it, while it didn’t directly impact the Cubs, fans should take note because it’s a deal that could be important over the next week in regards to our continued rebuild. In case you missed it, the struggling Milwaukee Brewers sent reliever Francisco Rodriguez to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league infielder Nick Delmonico. While it may not seem earth shattering, it’s important for a few reasons, but first, let’s look a little at this Delmonico kid and find out why.

According to Jonathan Mayo of MiLB.com, Delmonico was ranked as the #5 prospect in the Orioles system at the time of the deal and immediately slots in as the # 3 guy in the Brewers system. In exchange, the Orioles, who are desperately trying to reward their fans with a playoff birth, get a relief pitcher who will not be closing for them, but rather offering more depth in the pen.

What this trade does, and why it’s important for Cub fans to pay attention to, is it establishes that there are multiple teams that are kicking the tires on relief help. Reports on Twitter had at least four, all of which were reportedly AL, teams were interested in acquiring the services of K-Rod. In the end, Baltimore got him with what we can assume was the best offer. The Cubs also have a pair of relievers who have each had their names in the rumor mill in Kevin Gregg and James Russell. Both have different roles, but nevertheless have drawn interest from other teams. If we’ve established that there is not only a market, but potentially a valuable market for late inning relief help, the Cubs should strongly consider moving one, if not both of these guys in an attempt to acquire a top 10 prospect for each. You’d have to guess Russell’s value is higher given his age and friendly service time, but Gregg should have value to. This K-Rod trade, if nothing else, allows Theo and Jed to read the green a little before making their putt. Now it’s time to make a move.

  • Is it just me, or is anyone else annoyed by the Notorious B.I.G. intro music every time Gregorius comes to the plate for Arizona?
  • Junior Lake continues his assault on America with a 3-for-5 night that included another home run. He’s on an incredible streak
  • Travis Wood pitched pretty good, considering the amount of time between starts
  • Why does Cody Ransom continue to get in games?
  • Dale Sveum’s ejection last night ended with him and the home plate umpire walking away laughing despite yelling at each other for a good two minutes.

 

by Rob Willer

Kris Bryant Promoted to Boise Hawks Short Season A

Kris Bryant (3B, Age 21)

Assigned from Arizona Rookie League to Short Season A Boise Hawks on July 23rd.

Rookie Ball Stats: 6 PAs, .167/.143/.333, 0 HR, 2 RBI’s

The Move: Bryant went to Arizona to knock off the rust for not playing for the past month after trying to finalize his pro contract with the Cubs. My initial thoughts were that Bryant would play 4-6 games in Arizona, then get the call up to Boise. Although, the cubs felt they saw enough with Bryant and moved him up to Boise where he batted 3rd and continued developing as a 3rd baseman in the Cubs system. So far through four at bats Bryant struck out all four times. One of those at bats he went down looking on a debatable pitch with the bases loaded. Even though Bryant struggled at the plate he did not let it affect his glove as he made a great throw to end the 5th inning with the bases loaded. For the rest of the season Bryant should be at Boise as Jeimer Candelario would be blocking him at 3rd for Kane County. The Cubs have a plethora of position prospects scattered throughout their system which in turn can lead to major league talent or assets to trade for young pitching.

Bryant’s Potential: As Bryant develops the debate has already started with Javy Baez moving to 3rd and pushing Bryant to the outfield. The Cubs Front Office has downplayed that and has said Bryant will develop as 3rd Baseman for the time being. Mike Rosenbaum of Bleacher Report gives us in depth scouting report of Bryant.  Things to take away from Rosenbaum’s report are Bryant’s impressive power reaching the top ranking of 80 projected for the future. Also that his overall hitting and plate discipline are above average as well which should bode for some great years in the near future for the Cubs third baseman of the future or right fielder depending on what happens in the coming years. For now Bryant will continue developing through the minors one at bat at a time it won’t be long until he is playing in the majors . Mike Safford voice of the Boise Hawks provides us with video of taking Batting Practice with the Hawks for the first time.  Just seeing Bryant take batting practice exemplifies his ridiculous power at such a young age.

Follow me @Rob_Willer for the latest on Cubs Minor League News.

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Reaction to the Matt Garza Trade

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

We’ve waited and waited and waited some more. We even saw notes from Dale Sveum that there was a 100% chance that Matt Garza would make his slated start on Monday against the Diamondbacks. Even Ken Rosenthal speculated that Garza would make the deal. In the end, just a few hours before the start, the Cubs and Rangers confirmed a deal to send Garza to Texas in exchange for five prospects. Let’s talk a little bit about the new names in the system.

Mike Olt – The Rangers looked to make a deal last season for a starting pitcher at the deadline and settled on Zach Greinke. Many people asked at the time about Olt and his availability. The Rangers, in turn, balked at the idea of trading their highly touted 3B prospect. He had a tremendous year in 2012 hitting .288 / .398 / .579 with 28 home runs in just 420 plate appearances. He participated in winter ball and suffered a concussion and then had some vision problems to begin the season this year. He came into the season ranked 22nd in baseball by both Baseball America and MLB.com. Rumor has it that the vision is slowly getting back to normal so we should see his numbers develop. He’s got raw power and a good glove at third base. Keith Law said “if he can hit enough to get to that power, he has 25-30 homer potential.” He’s definitely the potential gem in the deal. Expect him to be assigned to AAA Iowa to continue his development, which could push Josh Vitters to full time DH or outfield. The to watch as you follow his development is his ability to make contact. If he can focus on putting the ball in play and limiting the strikeouts, we should see that power manifest itself and coupled with his good defense, make him a viable call up very soon at third. I was on Twitter a little after the deal and one of the things I saw in the #Cubs feed was people complaining about the fact that Theo and Jed dealt for a player with “vision problems” or complaints that we drafted a third baseman and then traded for one. It’s incredibly important to remember that when you’re building a farm system, you don’t simply put all your eggs in one basket on one player at each position and expect each to develop into the player you project for them. You stockpile as many talented players at each position and let them develop. As they do, if multiple guys develop well, then you have a good problem on your hands and the ability to use those assets accordingly. Third base is a position that I wouldn’t necessarily describe as weak in the system, but it certainly wasn’t as strong as it has gotten over the last month. Looking at the system now you can easily see five guys that have potential to make an impact at the major league level at the third base position in the coming years in Luis Valbuena, Junior Lake, Vitters, and now Kris Bryant and Olt. The more talent we have, the better chance we have of finding the long term solution, and I believe it’s Olt. He slots in at # 2 in the system according to MiLB.com after the trade behind Javier Baez.

CJ Edwards and Justin Grimm – In these two, the Cubs continued their quest to stockpile young arms in hopes of building a surplus very similar to what the Tampa Bay Rays have done over the last 6-7 years. It keeps with the theme of amassing as much as you can at a position and seeing what shakes out. It’s easy to look at Grimm and get disappointed when people are pointing to his Major League stats and saying they are so so, but what it’s important to look at is that his numbers in the minors were good. What I’ve read is that he projects as a potential swing man /  bottom of the rotation started due to the fact that his repertoire is mainly two pitches. If he can develop further, then you can see him in the bottom of the rotation. Law states “Moving to the NL may help a little, but the biggest key will be finding a usable changeup for him.”

Edwards is a guy who is further from the Majors and a little younger than Grimm. He wasn’t looked at as a highly touted guy in the amateur draft, taken in the 48th round, but he seems to be developing into one of those late round gems that are mined and found to be rather sparkly. In his first full season last year, he put up good numbers between rookie ball and low A. This year he’s done very well again in low A and I’d expect that he’ll be sent to Daytona to try his hand at High A since he seems to have proven all he needs to at the Low A level. According to scouts he has good velocity on his fastball and an above average curve ball. The changeup is a work in progress and seems to be coming along nicely. The knock on him is his limited time in the minors to fully show that what he’s done is not just a product of being under slotted in the minors as well as a concern about his size. He is listed at 6’2″ and just over 150lbs. I suppose if he asked really nicely, I could give him a few of my extra pounds. At any rate, Edwards slots in as the #10 prospect in the system.

PTBNL – This is the most traded commodity in the majors. It stands for player to be named later and the way it works is basically that the two teams agree to a pool of players and the team that receives the players has a deadline for when those players must make their decision by that time. There are reports that the deal includes one and potentially two players to be named later. The name I hear is Neal Ramirez as the main name with him being the only name should the Cubs choose him. If not, they’d select two names from a pre-set pool. Ramirez is apparently the name that held the deal up due to questions on his medicals. If Ramirez is legit in the deal and is healthy, this was a heck of a haul for Garza as he currently sits as the #13 prospect in the Ranger system. I used to look at the PTBNL tag and simply write that off, but it’s important to note that any name has potential to develop. There have been a few notable ones in the past that have gone on to be very productive ML players. Jason Schmidt, David Ortiz, and former Cub, Moises Alou all come to mind in this category.

Overall, I love the deal. When you look at the fact that we added two top 10 prospects in our system in exchange for roughly two months of Garza starts plus whatever, if anything, we get out of Grimm and the PTBNL and I think it’s a huge boost to the system. How you can come away from the first part of the Theo and Jed regime and not be excited about how they are building from the ground up is beyond me.

  • #Lakesanity is in full effect. He continued his role of stealing the hearts of Cub fans all over the globe with another great performance that included two bunt hits, a home run to left center, a late RBI single and a cannon throw to the cutoff man late in the game. On the downside, he was caught stealing again, running his success rate to just 1-for-3. He’s on fire.
  • Chris Rusin got the late starting assignment after the Garza trade and really did well given the situation. My guess is he was on standby early in the day if not late last night so it wasn’t like he had to start on a moment’s notice, but he did throw well and got the win as a result.
  • Really nice catch early in the game by Cole Gillespie, who will probably be the front runner to be removed from the active roster when David DeJesus returns from the DL.
  • The men in blue were out in full force tonight. Thankfully neither of the main instances came back to bite us. Between the unnecessary warning to Tyler Skaggs when he hit Dianor Navarro in his at bat after his home run and the missed call on a steal by Paul Goldschmidt in the 8th, our boys in blue obviously did not get the memo that this is Lake’s world and we’re just living in it.
  • Pedro Strop continued to pitch lights out since being acquired with a scoreless 8th and Kevin Gregg came on to close it out in the 9th. With the news that Jason Grilli left the Pirates game with an injury, perhaps they come calling.

  • Now that Garza is gone, which is so much of a relief that it got done this year, it’s time to focus on other players to move to continue boosting the system, the first of which is Gregg, who was quoted in an interview with Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun Times as saying “Garza’s a headline piece, but I think that in the baseball world, people are looking for relievers.  I hope I’m on that list” I hope there is interest in him and that he can draw a top 20 guy. On an unrelated note, Wittenmyer is my favorite Cubs beat writer.
  • Also on the potential trade market are Alfonso Soriano and Nate Schierholtz, both who have recently been linked to the Yankees. I could see them making a move for Soriano in August if they can keep themselves in the race enough over the next three weeks. The Cubs have said they will eat the majority of the remaining year and a half of salary, but my fear is that the Yankee system is not really brimming with top notch prospects.
  • John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com had a nice piece on Lake and his development through the system since being signed out of the Dominican Republic. My favorite quote is “The tools stand out, particularly an outstanding throwing arm. He has a genuine cannon, reminding me of Shawon Dunston.” You can read the whole piece here.
  • Ervin Santana, of the Royals, is now following me on Twitter. I’m not sure why, but I’m not gonna complain.
  • The Mayor is pushing to get the final OK’s needed on the Wrigley renovation deal finalized this week. As usual, Tom Tunney is being a tool and holding up the process.

by Rob Willer

The Iowa Cubs gained two new additions today in the Garza trade with the additions of Olt and Grimm after he recovers from his forearm injury. According to a tweet from Des Moines Register’s Tommy Birch we should see Grimm with the Iowa Cubs on Tuesday and Olt very soon. Back to the game it was a rain shortened contest as Nick Struck struggled all night giving up 10 hits seven runs (seven earned). Brad Nelson gave us something to cheer about going 2 for 3 with a double.

Kyle Hendricks has been something to watch this season and tonight was no different as he went seven strong innings giving up four hits and two runs (none earned). If Hendricks keeps up this dominant pitching we could see him at Iowa some time in September when the Chicago Cubs make their September call ups. Javy Baez once again struggled going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts lowering his batting average to .200 at Tennessee. With Baez its going to be about making adjustments this summer from the pitching in High A to Double A. Zac Rosscup struggled out of the pen as he gave up three runs in two thirds of an inning a minor speed bump in Rosscup’s season.

The Daytona Cubs were rained out Monday night and will play a double header Tuesday against the St. Lucie Mets. Some players to keep an eye on are Second Baseman Dustin Geiger whose hitting an impressive .281 with 10 home-runs and 68 runs batted in and pitcher Zach Cates who has turned in a solid season so far going 8-7 with a 3.91 earned run average to go along with 68 strikeouts in 94 innings pitched.

Pitching prospect and international signing Juan Paniagua struggled again on the mound lasting 3 1/3 innings giving up five hits and three runs (2 earned). The Cougars couldn’t muster much offense as they only had six total hits while Albert Almora went 0 for 4 on the night with a walk.

David DeJesus continued his rehab stint with the Mesa Cubs in the Arizona Fall League by going 2 for 4 with a double to raise his batting average to .375. Although, the big story of the day was first round pick Kris Bryant who recorded not only his first professional hit but added two runs batted in on the night as well. Cubs fan @EricLPauly gets video of Kris Bryant’s First Professional Hit.  Look for DeJesus to play a few more weeks on his rehab assignment before he is back with the Cubs.

Follow me @Rob_Willer for the latest on Cubs Minor League News.

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