The Chicago Cubs have added another veteran depth pitcher. According to Eyewitness Sport, LHP Nate Robertson has signed with the Chicago Cubs to a minor league deal. Robertson, 34, is most known for the years he spent in Detroit from 2003-2009. He has been used mostly as a starting pitcher throughout his career, with his best season coming in 2006 where he posted a 13-13 record with a 3.84 ERA. Since, his career has been on the decline and last year he had a 7.14 ERA in 18 starts while pitching in Tacoma, the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate.
This signing is yet another way to get depth in the organization. Evident from last year the Cubs do not have a lot of pitching depth and they have spent a lot of the offseason attempting to improve it. While being mainly a starter, it is possible the Cubs picked him up hoping he would be more successful in a left-handed reliever role, but only time will tell. Ultimately this ends up being a low-risk low-reward type signing that might help the team at some point throughout the year, or we may never hear his name again.
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After an off season full of excitement, and building, the 2012 Cubs baseball season is kicking off today in Mesa Arizona. Pitchers and catchers are due to report today, and many have showed up early. On Friday, Kerry Wood and Rodrigo Lopez each threw off the mound, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo worked with some players in the cages, and Darwin Barney, Bryan LaHair and Josh Vitters were among those practicing on the half field. The most telling quotes coming out of Mesa might have been from Marlon Byrd via (Carrie Muskat)
It was eleven days ago when Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment. Today the 26-year old utility player cleared waivers and the Cubs have sent him to Triple-A Iowa. I am guessing DeWitt will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training with a chance to win a reserve role, much like the one he had last year. If he makes the team he will earn $1.1 million for the upcoming season. If he does not make the team the Cubs will have to decide if they want him to play in Iowa in case of injury in Chicago, or they could release him. Obviously the Cubs also could look to trade him between now and the start of the season as well.
Coming soon: Pitchers and Catchers Report……. And hopefully
we have the Epstein compensation issue resolved soon.
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In a bit of fun news today, the White Sox officially agreed to terms with former Chicago Cub, Kosuke Fukudome. The White Sox announced that they have agreed to sign Fukudome to a one-year, $1MM contract that includes a club option for 2013. The outfielder will earn $500K in 2012 and the $3.5MM option for 2013 includes a $500K buyout. This marks the first dollar spent by the White Sox this off season as GM – Kenny Williams has already stated this team will be in rebuilding mode.
We touched on the very high interest the Chicago Cubs had in 19 year old outfielder Jorge Soler earlier today, and now there is even more to add. According to the Chicago Tribune this evening, the Cubs are ready to put pen to paper and add Soler to the club. Again, I’m not entirely sure that a deal can be done yet because of the same issues Cespedes had with coming over from Cuba. But, judging by the information the Tribune has, Soler is as good as a Cub once he is officially able to sign with a major league team. We will obviously have more news on this as we inch closer to spring training so check back often for the latest developments.
From the Trib article…
Soler, according to one report, will be making $27.5 million with the Cubs for three or four years. He may have been courted by Cubs ownership and front-office officials while they were visiting their new Dominican academy earlier this month.
If this is actually the case, what a tremendous deal for the Cubs, they get “Cespedes light” for the same amount of years and less money. Not to mention Soler’s best baseball is ahead of him, and he could develop into a flat out superstar. Again, nothing 100% official yet, but sounds like it’s only a matter of time.
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- George Cotugno
Around the League: February 6, 2012-February 12, 2012
Monday, February 6
- Pitcher Anibail Sanchez won his arbitration case against the Marlins (1 yr. 8MM).
- Orioles designate former Cub Clay Rapada for assignment
- Rockies acquire RHP Jeremy Guthrie for Pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.
- Nationals sign Mark Teahen to a minor league deal.
- Rangers sign Conor Jackson and Joe Beimel to minor league deals.
- Cardinals sign Alex Cora to minor league deal with a spring invite.
- Astros sign OF Justin Ruggiano to minor league deal with spring invite.
According to several sources the Oakland Athletics have agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a 4 year $36MM deal. This is a big surprise as it appeared the Miami Marlins were well on their way to signing him to a six year
deal. This contract will enable Cespedes, who is said to be 26, a chance to become a free agent once again at 30, giving him a possibility of cashing in on a second big contract. According to Peter Gammons, Cespedes’ representatives “felt the A’s wanted him more than anyone else.” For the A’s this is a nice signing considering they have been looking for offense anyway they can get it, plus they are looking for some excitement in hopes of getting a new ballpark soon.
What does this mean for the Cubs? As we discussed in the Soler article it appeared the Cubs were out of the Cespedes running anyways, but does this mean the Marlins will focus their attention towards Soler having missed out on Cespedes? Only time will tell.
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With all the press and stories about Cespedes, the Cubs apparently have been doing their homework on 19 year old Cuban Jorge Soler, and appear ready to strike. It seems as though the Cubs have realized that a continued pursuit of Cespedes is pointless given the Marlins offer to him, and Cespedes’ desire to play in Miami. Soler is not a free agent as of yet, he has to go through the same process that Cespedes had to go through to become a major league free agent. Once that does happen, it is being reported that the Cubs are going to be very aggressive to sign the 19 year old.
The biggest free agent remaining on the market is now officially in play for all teams, and the Marlins have struck first making the highly touted Dominican a 6 year, $40MM offer. Cespedes made his way to the United States last week on Thursday, and met with the Marlins. At that time Marlins president David Samson said that it was possible that the Marlins would make an offer to Cespedes at said meeting, apparently that’s exactly what happened.
Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer joined “The Carmen, Jurko, and Harry Show” on ESPN 1000 to discuss a lot of topics ranging from Alfonso Soriano to when he hopes the Cubs will be a contending team and how to get to that point.