Geovany Soto is Fit Again and Other Bullets

One thing I really hate about this time of year? Every top play on every sports program is a dunk. Sigh. The dunk is, by definition, the easiest shot on the court. Yes, some of them look cool, and involve a high degree of difficulty in terms of getting yourself in position to dunk. But we’ve seen them all. End the love affair with the dunk.

  • Bruce Levine suggests that the Cubs’ payroll – currently around $110 to $114 million when you incorporate payments to players on the 40-man roster and certain medical replacement pay (this is just player payroll) – is about what it’s going to be when the team breaks camp, which sounds about right (depending on the Cubs’ success in landing one or more of the trio of Cuban players, and how their payments will be structured/considered for payroll purposes). That’s a marked drop from the $142 million payroll in 2010, and the $131 million payroll last year. I don’t think it’s a matter of the Cubs going cheap – it’s just a matter of reallocating resources, and patiently waiting for the right time to strike.
  • Levine also suggests that the problem in the Theo Epstein compensation dispute is Red Sox President Larry Lucchino. He wants blood.
  • Tony Campana really wants to make the Cubs out of Spring Training. He’s been working out in Arizona for months, and has put on 10 pounds of “good” muscle. “I’ve been in Arizona since Nov. 1 working out,” Campana said. “I kind of know how to go about doing what I need to do and what I need to get better at. Seeing major league pitching for the first time was something I really needed.”
  • Geovany Soto is also getting in shape this Winter, which, in the past, has proved to be a precursor to his intermittent good years. He looked good at CubsCon, and says he’s been working hard. “I already took my big step in 2009,” he said of a marked weight loss between 2009 and 2010. “I’m just trying to come to camp in the best shape I can. This off-season was great for me. I was training with my personal trainer. It really paid off. I feel absolutely amazing.”
  • Of the extreme spread between his arbitration ask and the Cubs’ offer, Matt Garza said what we were all thinking: “It’s been a business, it’s always going to be a business.” When it comes to players trying to earn as much as they can while they’re healthy and productive enough to do so, I have no beef. Get yours, guy. (But, yeah, objectively, your request was just too high ….)
  • Jayson Stark goes through the remaining DH options for the Tigers, and they are many. Stark doesn’t even mention Alfonso Soriano, so it’s easy to see why the Tigers aren’t interested unless they get him, virtually, for free.
  • According to Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, the Cubs have signed former Twins utility player Matt Tolbert. At 29, Tolbert has been on a backslide offensively for four years, and doesn’t offer much hope of a resurgence. But he can play all over the infield, and offers – you guessed it – additional depth. Though Valencia didn’t say specifically, there is zero chance that the deal is not of the minor league variety.
  • More details on the Wrigleyville West project in Mesa.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

166 responses to “Geovany Soto is Fit Again and Other Bullets”

  1. loyal100more

    another source in the fielder deal is: http://www.oscar mayer.com

  2. loyal100more

    http://www.hebrewnational.com has fielder going to the nationals for 50 hotdogs. not sure who to believe. they are both excellent sources.

  3. D-Day Simpson

    See that guy do that dunk on that other guy he was sat on his shoulders!!!!

  4. Cubbiecop

    My question is why are we supposedly signing Tolbert? This guys numbers are terrible, getting worse, and we could get the same production out of calling up one of our guys in AAA without spending additional cash. Where is the upside to this? Unless Theo and Jed were once saved by him from a speeding train and they owe him one, then I can understand. Pointless signing to me….

    1. MichiganGoat

      Depth, if he is in AAA and we have an injury we can use him instead of rushing a prospect or signing someone who is sitting on the couch.

      1. Cubbiecop

        I agree that depth is important, but at least get some quality depth. Unless this guy is the second coming of Jesus in defense, i would rather bring up on of our youngsters in the minors and get them some experience.

        1. DocWimsey

          I don’t think that Jesus was the best fielding of the Alou brothers: wasn’t that Matty?

          1. Michael

            Bazinga.

            1. DocWimsey

              c’mon, someone had to hit that hanging slider….

        2. Mick

          Tolbert’s good stuff. I live in Mpls and have seen him play alot. He’s not the Cubs’ future starting 2B or anything but he’s a quality backup. I think he’ll give the young guys some good competition too. I think the Cubs wanted Jeff Bianchi for this role but were forced to waive him to make room for Maholm. I love the Twins style of baseball and can’t wait to see Tolbert in some spring training and hopefully regular season games too.

    2. Deer

      I’m guessing these guys will be useful during ST games and split squad games since M. Gonzales and Flaherty are unavailable. It works out for them because other teams get to see them play before they get cut.

      1. Cubbiecop

        That is a possibility that i had not thought of, Deer. I guess if we give him a contract that says “you don’t make the team, you get released without penalty to the team then that would be understandable. And then we would not have to risk injury to our “good prospects” then that is a plus.

  5. jim

    Sorry, but i have a very bad feeling about this season. Start drinking now! Drugs later.

  6. jim

    Soph slump for castro. Demp hits the wall. Injuries abound. Maholm n wood busts. Soriano lone all star.

    1. ty

      Jimmy–Prozac is worth a try!

    2. Toosh

      2012 will be Castro’s 3rd season. So much for a sophomore slump.

      1. jandersonjr81 father of Caden

        I guess he means “junior” slump, or “post” sophmore slump. Either way, a slump for Castro would be 185 hits and a .290 average. Not a bad floor for a baseball player.

  7. Cheryl

    How about another rumor on who will be sacrificed to Boston for compensation? Haven’t heard a thing on that.

    1. Tommy

      My shot in the dark is Josh Vitters is the compensation.

      1. ty

        I hope beyond hope that we retain Vitters. Fortunate to see him play many games ever since he signed and has the quickest bat of any Cub–ball jumps off bat and he hasn*t even physically matured yet. Unfortunately the ball also jumps off his glove. Pure hitter though!

        1. DocWimsey

          How does that possibly tally with Vitter’s .283/.322 /.448 line? Pure hitters should have isoD’s a lot higher than that: and probably higher BA’s, also.

          Everything I’ve read states that the ball does NOT jump off of his bat: Vitters hits way too many popups and weak grounders on pitches outside of the strike zone.

          1. Tommy

            I live in the Peoria area, so I was able to see Vitters quite a bit in 2008/2009 when he was with the Chiefs. Granted, it’s only A ball, but he was the reason for going to the games. Among a bunch of players that I couldn’t even name, when he came up to bat, he typically crushed the ball pretty good.

            In fairness, I haven’t seen anything but highlights of him since he moved up from A ball.

  8. JR 1908
    1. Bill

      LOL

      1. MichiganGoat

        It’s a satire sports site

  9. ty

    Doc–between those popups and weak grounders he creams line drives I have no doubt Boston wants him to play tag with the Green Monster. Scouts become very quiet when he comes to bat. Go see him play if you can!

  10. DocWimsey

    I’d be surprised if the Sox want Vitters. Although Theo is gone, the core of the scouting and player development department remains, and one of the things that they prize are players who work counts and swing only at particular pitches. They consider “contact hitting” to be overrated and even counter-productive: they preach driving particular pitches and taking the rest. Vitters simply does not fit that profile. (Brett Jackson is really much more their type, although he’s obviously off-limits: but that should give you an idea of what they like.)

    As for the scouts, they might be quiet when Vitters bats: but they also have been dropping him lower and lower in their rankings and projections. My inference would be that they expect the frequency of those creamed line drives to drop quite a bit if Vitters ever faces MLB pitching.

    Of course, I am writing as if we are talking a trade: at this point, the Sox are just looking for anything, and they never were going to get “what they want” for this.

    1. Mick

      No offense but what the hell are you talking about? I swear, some of the stuff you write it’s like you don’t watch the same game as I do. You’re either way off on this one or you’re like Neo and you’re in the matrix.

      I’ve never watched Vitters play but he’s only 22 years old. He’ll finally get a year in AAA so, we’ll finally be able to get a good assesment of his skills. I’d hate to lose him now after we put all of this time and effort into him.

      1. Tommy

        Yeah, I have to agree with Mick on this one. Vitters is ranked pretty high on all the scout ranking charts for 3rd basemen that I’ve seen. The most common one being MLB.com:

        http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2011/

        1. Rick Vaughn

          Yeah, I’m still high on Vitters. Especially if he can prove to be a capable 3rd baseman. 22 years old at AAA. Going to be fun seeing how he does.

          1. KCubsfan

            I think think is funny that you guys have more faith in Vitters then the Cubs and the experts. The Cubs sent Vitter to the AFL as an OFer and BA have had him in it projected line up for years in LF. What is that telling you guys?

            1. Rick Vaughn

              That maybe he can be a solid left fielder.

        2. KCubsfan

          You are looking at an old prospect list. The newest one doesnt even have him in the top ten.

          1. BetterNews

            KCubs–Don’t know what you’re talking about when you say old prospect list. Please explain. Give link for new one, please.

            1. Rick Vaughn

              I think it was a list from 2011. Again though, I’ll say 22 years old at AAA…still lots of potential. Stoked to see how this season goes for him.

              BetterNews, good stuff today. You tend to get under my skin, but you’ve been pretty cool lately. Thanks bro.

              1. BetterNews

                Sometimes I get pissed like everyone else, especially when it comes to Garza, as you know. I try to stay cool, sometimes it’s hard.

          2. BetterNews

            You’re probably going by John Sickels report from ESPN, KCub. I wouldn’t take too much from his reports!

            1. KCubsfan

              I was going off of the MLB report from about 2 days ago. Defensively I dont think he will ever handle 3B. He is at best a 25 Hr guy and a 280 hitter. I sorry but all he will be is a place holder at best for Baez who will be an impact bat.

              1. BetterNews

                KCub–http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/1/6/2688854/chicago-cubs-top-20-prospects-for-2012

                1. KCubsfan

                  First off who care where he rank in the organization. The Cubs until Vogelbache and Baez they didnt have an impact bat in their system so, the organization ranks are subjective. I look at the positional ranks in with Vitters was not in the top 10.

                  1. BetterNews

                    Isn’t your comment subjective? What’s your point?

                    1. KCubsfan

                      No its not is is based on expert analyze.

              2. BetterNews

                My God! Man, what are you saying? A 25 HR guy with .280 avg. would be peanuts!

                1. KCubsfan

                  You misunderstand that is his ceiling that is at best and the biggest part which you ignored as usual was he cant handle 3B defensively. He will end up in the OF.

        3. ferrets_bueller

          Once again, that is a watch list, not a ranking list. No one, in their right mind, would EVER rank Matt Dominguez as the number 1 3B. Its based on their likelihood to make an impact in the majors next year, not on how good they are or their potential.

          1. BetterNews

            ferrets–To whom were you replying?

            1. ferrets_bueller

              I was replying to Tommy, and his MLB.com list.

    2. BetterNews

      I also agree with Mick on this.

  11. Cliffy

    QT @TradeDeadliner: Deal is done. #RedSox trade SS (now 2B) Marco Scutaro to the #Rockies for RHP Clayton Mortensen.

    Could it be that Darwin Barney winds up being compensation to Boston they have a hole to fill now.

    1. cubs4life

      i still think that is too much to give, but i dont think i would complain if that is what is agreed upon as compensation.

  12. curt

    i guess i just dont get it why are the redsox entitled to anything at all, in the real world if another corporation offers me a promotion i give 2 weeks notice and go get my promotion previous employer gets you guessed it bumpkus, i maybe could seea lowlevel prospect as a courtesy but nothing else, so i just done see why this is so hard and has taken so long except the redsox management are a bunch of douschebags, and dontlike it when someone under them wont kiss their collective butts, id give them a couple bags of tea to throw in the harbor and a bag of baseballs, a copy of dr.phils self help book to deal with their anger issues and this might be more than they deserve.

    1. DocWimsey

      There is no “real world” on this. This is a question of contracts and what they stipulate. In cases like this, contracts often necessitate this sort of compensation. Theo was not a free agent for another year yet: and the Sox had rights to him until then. (This sort of contract is not uncommon in the computer programming, advertising and legal worlds, among other places.)

    2. Kyle

      If you had a contract, see how easy it would be to just leave for a rival.

    3. bluekoolaidaholic

      And yes, Lucky Larry is appearing to be a douchebag.

  13. Cliffy

    From twitter:

    QT @Kevin_Goldstein: he’s better than any of ‘em. “@jonf1220: @kevin_goldstein If the Cubs were to get Cespedes would he be their top prospect?”

  14. 2much2say

    I recall Dewitt or Baker being of interest to Boston. So, could be Barney or 1 of those 2 as Comp.

  15. 2much2say

    You seem to be calculating the Cubs payroll while Soler Cespedes Fielder and others are still available. Fielder at 5 yrs 20 mil +/- 2 mil. Could be 18 19 20 21 22

    1. DocWimsey

      The Cubs are off of the Fielder market. The Nats are the team that are going to be most apt to sign him. Moreover, given that the Nats just gave a Boras client a sweet deal last winter, Boras will be much more apt to show a “bargain rate” contract from the Nats than from the Cubs.

      If the Cubs sign Soler, then he’ll (probably) be in A ball and thus not on the MLB payroll. (That counts only the 40 man roster, I think.) I’m not sure that anybody has any good feel for what will happen to Cespedes, or if he’ll be an MLB player (as opposed to a miLB player) in 2012.

  16. Rick Vaughn
  17. die hard

    unless they let Soto call the game, he will never grow into the standout he could be