Archive for the ‘ Off Season ’ Category

Royals Claim Volstad From Cubs

The Chris Volstad era in Chicago is over.  Yesterday the Royals claimed Volstad from the Cubs off of outright waivers.  The fact that Volstad was put on outright waivers shows exactly what the Cubs thought of Volstad after a horrendous season.  Some speculated that Volstad would be given a chance to compete for a spot in the 2013 rotation, that obviously won’t happen now.  Volstad will join his third organization in three years (Marlins, Cubs, Royals) after being acquired for Carlos Zambrano last offseason.

Thanks for reading,
– George

More Cubs Organizational Shuffling; David Bell Hired

Dale Sveum has rounded out his coaching staff for 2013 yesterday, he removed the interim tag from hitting coach James Rowson, and added David Bell to the staff as the third base coach.

More on David Bell from Cubs.com

Bell, 40, managed in the Reds’ Minor League system the last four seasons, most recently guiding the Triple-A Louisville club in 2012. Prior to Louisville, Bell was the manager for Double-A Carolina from 2009-11. The ’09 season was his first as a manager or coach at the professional level after a 12-year Major League career, which ended in 2006.

A former infielder, Bell batted .257 in 1,403 Major League games for six different teams — the Indians (1995, ’98), Cardinals (1995-98), Mariners (1998-2001), Giants (2002), Phillies (2003-06) and Brewers (2006). Sveum was Milwaukee’s third-base coach in ’06.

So David Bell fills the role of what Ryne Sandberg would have been if he was still in the organization in my opinion.  I like adding Bell to the staff, he’s only six years removed from playing in this league, and was always one of those smart ball players, hopefully he brings a lot to the development side of this team.  I also think having Rowson stick around as the full-time hitting coach makes sense, the results might not have been there for everyone but no use in bringing in someone new before Rowson can have a full season to work with players.

Those weren’t the only moves yesterday as the Cubs announced that assistant GM Randy Bush has been given a three-year contract extension.  Bush was the assistant GM under Jim Hendry in 2011 and is in the good graces of Theo Epstein given how much he helped Epstein with the transition to President of Baseball Operations.  Cubs.com has the other moves announced.

The Cubs also announced Louie Eljaua has been promoted to special assistant to the general manager and director of international scouting. Paul Weaver, who was the director, will now be an international cross-checker and coordinator for the Pacific Rim. Alex Suarez was promoted to assistant director of player development.

The team also said Mark O’Neal, the Cubs’ athletic trainer since 2004, will stay with the organization but in a different role.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Casey Weathers Removed From 40-Man Roster

The Cubs removed RHP Casey Weathers from the 40-man roster today.  He was obtained this offseason with Ian Stewart in the deal that sent Tyler Colvin and D.J. Lemahieu to the Rockies.  (more…)

Cubs and Garza Talk Extension

It looked like the Cubs would try to trade Matt Garza this offseason, but now it appears the Cubs are going to start contract extension talks with him.  This whole winter we heard Garza would give the Cubs the best opportunity to replenish the system.  On the other hand the Cubs also expressed interest in keeping Garza long term and it now appears that may be the route they are headed.

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Hoyer and Carpenter Weigh in on Compensation

The story is now a couple hours old, so the media has had the opportunity to speak with Carpenter and Hoyer.  Bud Selig also issued a statement.  Contrary to some of the stories out there the compensation deal was finalized by the two teams, not Bud Selig.  I’ve included a number of quotes from Carpenter this morning, as well as Hoyer.  Both parties were very complimentary of one another.

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Theo Compensation Done, Carpenter Headed to Boston

  After four months, the Cubs and Red Sox have finalized the deal that brought Theo Epstein to Chicago.  Headed to Boston is relief pitcher Chris Carpenter, who impressed in his short time up with the Cubs at the end of last year.  Carpenter, who is 26 years old, will be given a shot in the Red Sox bullpen, where I expect him to have some decent success.  The deal also says that the Red Sox will receive a player to be named later, and the Cubs will receive a player to be named later (April 15th deadline already in place).  I don’t anticipate either of the  players being anything more than fringe prospects.  All parties have been assured that these players will be named before the conlcusion of Spring Training.  Theo Epstein released a statement this morning regarding Carpenter going the other way, in a word, he is relieved.

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Theo Compensation About to be Announced?

Based on all the chatter this morning it sounds like the Theo Epstein compensation ordeal will be resolved today.  Trey McNutt has been a popular target in the last 24 hours given the comments he made about having a talk with Epstein about the possibility of going to Boston.  It sounds like that has been since ruled out.. 

(Via MLB Trade Rumors)

The Red Sox will receive a pitcher from the Cubs’ 40-man roster, tweets WEEI’s Alex Speier.  That’d rule out McNutt.  Rafael Dolis, Chris Carpenter, Jeff Beliveau, and Casey Weathers are on the Cubs’ 40-man and cracked Baseball America’s top 30 prospects for the team.

If I were a betting man, I think Chris Carpenter is as good as gone, but that remains to be seen.  I think Cubs nation should breathe a sigh of relief that it will not be McNutt going the other way.  Stay tuned to the blog, we will report on this story as soon as it breaks.

Thanks for reading,

George Cotugno

Cubs Sign Nate Robertson

Nate Robertson

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.

Thanks for Reading,

Mark Sorrentino

Blake DeWitt Clears Waivers

Blake DeWitt

Blake DeWitt

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.

Thanks for reading,

Mark Sorrentino

Fukudome Back in Chicago, Further South

  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.

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