From the Shrug Department:

The Chicago Cubs may look to re-sign 2011 swing pitcher Ramon Ortiz to a minor league deal. Ortiz, 38, split time between the Cubs and AAA Iowa last year, with modest success in each place – he had a 4.86 ERA and 1.260 WHIP with the Cubs in 22 games (20 of which came out of the pen) and a 4.26 ERA and a 1.359 WHIP in 16 games at Iowa (all starts).

Ortiz adds to the Cubs’ pile o’depth, and can also probably help a few young arms at AAA, where he’ll start the season short of a catastrophic rash of injuries in Spring Training.

The Cubs have already signed one of last year’s other fringey, swing starter types, Rodrigo Lopez. If Lopez is the team’s ninth starter, then Ortiz would slot in somewhere right around tenth. Or 14th. Something like that. Ortiz will join Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells, Jeff Samardzija, Andy Sonnanstine, Lopez, and Casey Coleman as theoretical rotation options (and that’s without digging into the minors too aggressively).

Clearly, this front office doesn’t want to be put in the position that last year’s was, when injuries at the start of the year forced the team to scramble to pick up guys like Doug Davis and … um … Ramon Ortiz.

  • Alex


  • al

    This makes the Sox deal for Kosuke Fukudome look good.

  • TWC


    Happy Valentines Day to us ALL!

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      I think the Theo & Company knew how important it was to all of us fans to bring back Ortiz and they wanted this signing to be similar to Kerry Woods. They waited until CubCon to announce the Wood signing and I gotta believe they waited until Valentines to announce the return of Ortiz. I am just ecstatic right now! haha

      Love this line, Brett, as it sums it all up perfectly: “Clearly, this front office doesn’t want to be put in the position that last year’s was, when injuries at the start of the year forced the team to scramble to pick up guys like Doug Davis and … um … Ramon Ortiz.”

  • Dan

    Ya, the Cubs just need to sign good old Doug Davis and we’re set for another losing season.

    • The Dude Abides

      I think we are already “set for another losing season” this is going to be ugly, I am anxious for spring training to come and go to see what we put on the field and who ends up making this team. Currently have one of the oldest starting outfields and least experienced infield with a good mix of old and young pitchers with mixed results. No experienced 3 – 5 hitters and first year manager and pitching coaches. Sort of drawn to it like a moth to a flame I guess because I’m ready to get things started.

  • Dustin S

    Meh, but staying positive – if he’s a good clubhouse guy maybe he can share some wisdom with the younger players at Iowa and help keep them on track.

    All the depth does indirectly help a little bit as far as leverage with trades later on too. Not so much that Ortiz would likely have value himself (although he might), but having a bigger pile of chips when dealing is not a bad thing.

  • TC

    Best potential signing of the day, hands down

  • Dante Hicks

    No way to be positive on this move unless there are some stats missed. They usually terrible. He is a link the past they don’t need (Wood and Johnson are positive links). I feel like this Randy Bush’s homage to Jim Hendry. I have no idea what role Randy plays in this if happens, but really Theo and Jed? Really? I’d rather have the damaged Scott Kazmir. I only am upset because it is shocking, no matter how bad the market is, to bring back Ortiz and Lopez (Lopez can be argued more). This is so old regime.

    What’s this about Soler? I hear something…good.:)

  • npnovak


  • rbreeze

    Camp foder and minor league buffer stock at best.  Do we really have to bother with this guy again?

  • Richard Nose

    I puckered up when I read “catastrophic rash of injuries”. Perfect.

    • Brett

      Ha. Richard Nose … love it.

  • David

    At least this year, if injuries hit and the Cubs need Ortiz in Chicago, he will be ready to suck right away. Last year, he had to get tuned up in Iowa before he was ready. (In all fairness, though, and ERA under 5, and a WHIP of 1.26 is really better than anyone should’ve expected from him last year)

  • JB

    I think that what they Cubs are trying to do is get into position to make some deals at the trading deadline this Summer. By having all this depth, they are able to make a move with Garza, Dempster and potentially Volstad without having to rush up the people that aren’t ready and ruin arms.

    I think that they Cubs are going to be a competitive team for the first half of the year. They have a lot of players that are going to try to prove themselves because they know they are not a part of the long term vision(I would like to refer this to the Major League syndrome based on the classic movie). Players that are movable but maybe for one reason or another are undervalued right now which would include Byrd and Soto into this mix. If they Cubs can “gut” the team in June, I feel they have a better chance in getting more than they will get now.

    As Cub fans we need to hope that players like Halladay, Sabathia, Beckett, Hughes, Wainright, Carpenter, Verlander and other potential fragile front line starters struggle for these contending teams whose windows are closing. The Cubs would be in a position to make these teams over pay. Garza will not finish the season as a Cub and the Cubs will have a nice bounty to show for it.

  • B_Scwared

    Agree on the trading deadline positioning.  I have been waiting for the team to get blown up for years, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that it didn’t happen until Theo arrived.  I have been poring over hot stove/lukewarm stove reports like never before. 

    I’m expecting a decent but not very good team and I’m ok with that.  I think they will have as many wins as last year or more, without ARam or Pena.  So, I’ll enjoy watching this team come together, but not overperform, and get psyched up for the trade deadline so the rebuild, excuse me “building”, can continue. 

    Then bye bye Sori, Byrd, Dempster, Baker, Reed, Soto, Maholm and every other player on a 1 year deal if they can find a taker.  As for Garza, move him if you get a very sweet deal, otherwise lock that puppy up.

    • DocWimsey

      How can you have been waiting “for years” to see the team blown up? This team was in contention just 3 seasons ago, after all!

      As for this year, I actually expect to see fewer wins. The Cubs actually over-performed last year: given their run differential, their most probable number of victories was only 69. Replacing ARam with Stewart and Pena with LaHair means that the Cubs run-creation probably is going to get worse, not better. Barring some breakthrough season by one of the #5 starter experiments, the run-prevention won’t be much better than last year. So, we could easily be looking at the mid-90’s in loses.

      • B_Scwared

        Years, because after they got swept by the D-backs in 2007 I was convinced they didn’t have what it took to win the whole thing.  That playoff performance was awful.  I wanted to blow it up then while players still had trade value.  2008 came around, regular season performance was good and then swept again.  So…years. 

        As for this year, its nothing but pure optimism as to the Cubs doing better than last year.

  • colocubfan

    The last couple of years, I have enjoyed watching the young players go out with all their heart and play ball. I know it’s painful sometimes, but I’d rather watch Barney giving his all than watch Soriano loafing out another single that could have been 2.

  • SouthernCub

    Dear God WHY?!