According to Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald, the Cubs have signed Cuban left handed pitching prospect, Gerardo Concepcion to a $7
million guaranteed contract. Concepcion, 18, was declared a free agent last week by Major League Baseball. It is believed he had several teams interested in him, before he ultimately chose to sign with the Cubs. Reports have the 6-foot-2 lefty featuring a low 90s fastball to go along with a curveball and change-up. Concepcion was named the Cuban National Series Rookie of the Year, posting a 10-3 record and a 3.36 ERA.
By all reports this is a nice signing for the Cubs. This will give them another young pitching prospect which they desperately need and should help the Cubs in the future. Reports have Concepcion with the potential to be middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues, but how his skills will translate to the major league level is yet to be seen, but at 18 there is a lot of time to mature and grow.
Might the Cubs sign another Cuban before spring training? It is possible, they, as well as several other teams have shown interest in outfielders, Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler. With the first of the three Cuban players signed, when will the other two go and where?
There has been a lot of talk about the newest free agent in major league baseball. If we know one thing, this man has one hell of a production staff, I mean look at this quality (Click to open the 20 minute Cespedes showcase video, yes 20 minutes, there’s a pig on a spit at the end, not sure why, but if you are against that type of thing, please don’t watch). The video in it of itself is impressive, there is no denying that, it’s just hard to get past the “second coming” feel it has to it. What we also know is that the Cubs have been consistently mentioned as one of the 6 teams that are showing serious interest, along with the Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers (not so much since Prince?), and a mystery team. When we really take a look at who he is, does the baseball talent warrant the hoopla surrounding the latest Cuban defector? Let’s get to know him.
Matt Garza will have an arbitration hearing tomorrow to determine how much he will earn this upcoming season. The two sides have not been able to come to an agreement and are quite far apart as the Cubs offered $7.95 million while Garza is looking for $12.5 million for the 2012 season.
Last year, Garza made $5.9 million and was the Cubs best starting pitcher posting a 10-10 record with a 3.32 ERA. At 28 he is under team control through the 2013 season, thus making him arbitration-eligible again next year.
Tomorrow we will discuss the arbitration decision and what the future might hold for Matt Garza.
Much was made about the compensation that would be going to the Red Sox after the Cubs were able to sign him away just after the season ended. There was some heavy debate about what should be going to the Red Sox, and for the time being it was left up to the
clubs to decide the outcome. Quickly it became apparent that this scenario was not going to work, and that Bud Selig himself would be the one deciding who or what would be going to Boston. Ever since that announcement there has been little to no news about what would be taking place, that is until today, or should I say, last night. Compensation discussion came to the forefront as Epstein and Boston GM Ben Cherington participated in the Hot Stove Cool Music panel discussion at Fenway Park’s State Steet Pavilion last night. While nothing was settled, it’s clear based on the comments of both Epstein, and Cherington that the deal is almost complete, and the Sox still expect something “significant in return.
Another sign that spring training is right around the corner, aside from the 50 degree temperatures in Chicago today, is that the Cubs have announced the twenty one non roster players that will be invited to spring training. Headlining that list is 23 year old outfield prospect Brett Jackson. While none of these players will necessarily break camp with the Cubs (nine have previous MLB experience) they will all have the same opportunity to do so during spring training. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs new staff on, and off the field evaluates the organization’s time in Arizona.
Lost in the hoopla surrounding the Cubs since the end of the season was the little matter of deciding Mike Quade’s future. Even if we, and most Cub fans knew that Mike Quade was not Major League manager material, the Cubs brass
needed to make that official. Shortly after the Cubs front office was completely re energized, the no brainer decision to let Mike Quade pursue other opportunities, most likely in the minors or outside of baseball was made. We will give Epstein some credit here with the way he handled the process of letting Quade go, very professional. He made multiple trips to meet with Quade, and had a number of conversations with him and others in the organization to see if he would be a good fit, not based on what he had done it the past, but where he thought, and wanted this team to go in the future. Clearly, Quade’s idea’s did mesh with the idea’s of the new regime that was now in place, and he was let go from his two year deal that had one year remaining on it. Epstein and company didn’t have to go far to find the 52nd manager of the Chicago Cubs, just a short trip up I-94 to Milwaukee to find Dale Sveum. Sveum, serving as the third base coach in 2004 with the Red Sox, won a World Series title with Epstein. Since 2006, Sveum was on the Brewers coaching staff with titles ranging from third base coach, to bench coach, and to most recently hitting coach. Sveum did get a crack at the managerial position albeit a short one in 2008 when he took over for Ned Yost and led the Brewers to a 7-5 record down the stretch and a NL Wild Card berth. Along with Sveum, the following coaches will be joining the Cubs this season...
Before this blog moves forward, we would be remiss not to mention what has transpired since the disenchanted 2011 season came to a close. The Chicago Cubs as a team and organization took a giant step forward in not only changing the direction of the club, but the culture as well.
On October 25, 2011 the Chicago Cubs named a new President of Baseball Operations, none other than Boston GM Theo Epstein. Talk about making a splash, and for once, it actually makes sense because it’s off the field where it was needed most. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t much to like on the field the last couple of years, but in order to fix that, the real issue needed to be addressed, and it was. In order for Epstein to make the move to the North Side of Chicago he had to take a role that was above his current GM role in Boston. That in it of itself is a giant win for Ricketts, many die hard Cubs followers probably didn’t think Ricketts had it in him, but he proved them, including us, wrong in a huge way.
Video of Epstein’s full press conference via ABC 7 Chicago.