The Cubs Dump a Former Top Prospect and Other Bullets

Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment 10 days ago to make room for Adrian Cardenas, so we can expect a resolution on his situation (i.e., released, claimed on waivers, cleared waivers and sent to AAA Iowa, or traded) today, though we may not hear about it immediately.

  • For those of you who were upset at the prospect of the Cubs giving Ramon Ortiz another minor league deal (which, I mean, it’s a minor league deal – where’s the downside?), you can exhale. He signed yesterday with the San Francisco Giants, who will bring him to camp. What do they know about pitching, right?
  • When the Cubs traded Derrek Lee to the Braves in August of 2010, they netted a couple marginal prospects and pitcher Robinson Lopez. Then a teenager, Lopez was considered a high upside prospect, and made the deal a pretty good return for the Cubs. Indeed, Lopez ranked as high as a top 20 prospect in the system before the start of the 2011 season. Yesterday the Cubs released Lopez. Details are scarce on the reason for the move, but Lopez, who’s still just 20, pitched poorly at A-ball Peoria in 2011 (5.35 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, just 4.6 K/9), but that’s rarely a reason, alone, to dump a kid. One thing to consider: given his step back last year, he would have been on pace to repeat at Peoria, and it’s possible that the Cubs felt like they couldn’t spare the staff spot, in any role.
  • Cubs executives and scouts are in Mesa for their organizational meetings, which were postponed from when they usually take place, shortly after the season, because of all the organizational changes. To that end, I’m not quite sure what will be discussed at the meetings (other than, say, releasing Robinson Lopez), because most of the planning for 2012 is already complete.
  • If the Cubs don’t get a hard commitment from Boise to construct a new ballpark, the Cubs’ Low-A affiliate’s stay there may end after the 2012 season.
  • The Cubs aren’t the only team with international signee problems – the Orioles’ problem is actually much worse (though it involves a much less heralded player than Jorge Soler). Their $550k signing of Korean teenager Seong-Min Kim will be voided by MLB because the organization failed to follow certain protocols in the signing (namely, informing MLB if its intentions, and having MLB then inform the Korean Baseball Organization), and the Orioles could face additional punishment. Their scouts have already been banned from the country.
  • The Padres are about to sign a 20-year TV deal that will pay them $30 million in 2012, increasing to $70 million by the end of the deal. The Astros are putting together a network with other Houston sports teams that will pay the Astros about $80 million starting in 2013. The Cubs’ TV deals (the WGN deal expires after 2014, but the CSN deal doesn’t expire until after 2019) pay them something in the ballpark of just $50 million per year. Think about that.
  • A look at the Cubs going into 2012 from a Reds writer’s perspective. The conclusion sounds familiar: the long-term future looks bright, but the immediate future looks bleak.
  • You can win a t-shirt from Joe Cowley if you offer a great #LegendofTheo tweet. Details here.

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

32 responses to “The Cubs Dump a Former Top Prospect and Other Bullets”

  1. Ryan

    Hopefully the Cubs can release one more Lopez before the season starts…looking at you Rodrigo.

    1. cjdubbya

      Or he can be the compensation…

  2. Cliffy

    QT @nickcafardo: A Red Sox official indicated he expects comp decision on Theo Epstein “very soon.”

    1. Smitty

      I cannot wait until this compensation issue is done with. I will then officially not have to pay any attention to this puppet Cafardo.

    2. Stinky Pete

      I suppose the Earth will be swallowed by the sun someday also but you don’t see writers filling space and passing it off as newsworthy.

  3. LJ

    The biggest shocker is not that the Cubs considered resigning Ortiz, but that they had competition for him.

  4. Dan

    “Where in the world is.. Mr. Doug Davis?”

  5. RoughRiider

    With the upside that Lopez supposedly had its curious that a 20 year old pitcher would get an out and out release. There has to be more to it than meets the eye. If he was a sound prospect, even with year he had last year, he could have at least been included in a trade or better yet compensation to Boston or San Diego.

  6. gratefulled

    Business Cat for president!!! He just looks presidential. Although I wonder about his foreign policy.

  7. Ivy Walls

    Probably an attitude thing that was not reported. But the big picture is that there will continue to be house cleaning moves. Waiting for a commitment today near Noon I will have some time to review the tracking of roster players of Hendry and now of Hoyer or is it Ep-Hoy or Theo-Jed? What about the Bostonians?

    1. Dave H

      Try not to name them with any derivative of Boston. Anyhow, can you imagine how bad of an attitude Mr Lopez would have had to get released?

  8. Vic

    I think Candy Maldonado should be given another look.

  9. BD

    Look at it this way, if the Cubs can get a new TV deal around 2019/2020, it will be just in time to start signing all of our homegrown prospects as they reach free agency. Otherwise known as, “a foundation for sustained success”.

  10. Norm

    WGN deal expires in 2014, so there should be an infusion of cash in 2015…and maybe another in 2019…Good stuff!

  11. Eric

    It could have been drugs. It’s happened before. We had a lefty (name was something that started with “P” I think) who had an awesome spring and looked like an up coming prospect, but was later cut, and it was later said it was due to drugs/other legal issues.

  12. Dante Hicks

    TV deals:

    1) The Tribune company is still in bankruptcy court. They may forced to sell off assets including some TV stations (no one has ever mentioned WGN being sold), but they should not be assumed to be flush with cash to renew the Cubs. The company as we know it may not even exist in the same form. The newspaper business continues to tank, so how much will they be able to spend? Also, the Trib continues to own 5% of the team so that could also play into the talks. It is possible that fewer and fewer games will air on WGN, especially if the team wants it own YES network.

    2) Two summers ago I visited Wrigley with many other season ticket holders. I had rather interested talk with the great Crane Kenney. One part disturbing, the other interesting. The first part was the discussed Hak-Ju Lee and where he might play in the major. This a full year before the new team arrived. Kenney starts scouting grades on Lee and says “he’s a chip.” I almost passed out in horror. A few months later Lee was traded (no judgement there, but do you want Kenney telegraphing trades?). Shows that either influence he either had or thought he had.

    More importantly, we talked (he is a talker–braggart–whatever, but I learned a lot) about the Cubs lack of good broadcast revenue. He said they want their own network as soon as they can, but were working it. I have no idea if you get out of a contract lasting until 2019 and when you own part of the network, but the idea has been around for all the RIcketts’ time here. And now Crane may spear head that…not sure if that is good

    3. It will happen. Hopefully much sooner than 2019.

  13. Jojo

    Just can’t come to grips with the idea of Soriano being in left again. Truly thought the new administration would find a way to dump him as a DH to the American League. Sure, the Cubs would be eating a great deal of his ridiculous salary, but just the thought of him mucking up left field again makes me cringe. Plus, the picture of him flailing pathetically at the low and away sliders makes my head hurt. It truly takes away some of the spring training happiness I feel each year.

    1. DocWimsey

      Again, it takes 2 to tango. Which AL teams expect to get worse production from their DH’s next year than Sori provided last year? It is a very short list: two teams! And, come to it, the A’s might be off the list due to Cespedes, as that might let the A’s shuffle somebody to DH. That leaves the O’s: and things fell through there.

  14. Sweetjamesjones

    “A hundred and three years is a long time to wait for a World Series championship. Longer still is 104.”

    Yeah. Well written.

    1. ferrets_bueller

      …and if you try to do it in 103, you’ll be waiting well past 105. There’s a reason why its gone so long…and it has a lot to do with trying to do it quickly.

  15. cubmig

    On the TV revenue thing:

    It’s not mentioned, but……
    Does anyone know if the Cubs get a share of the MLB internet subscription revenue guys like me pay in to watch all games? And if so, how much might that be?

  16. Mick

    Guys, I have some bad news on our mascot front. The Rays beat us to the punch:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/dj-kitty-debut-rays-reveal-cat-mascot-145548241.html

    1. ferrets_bueller

      ….are you kitten me?

    2. Luke

      A team named for a type of fish is using a cat as a mascot.

      My head hurts…

  17. John (ibcnu2222)

    If the cubs create their own network, how much annual revenue do you see them bringing in from it?

    1. MightyBear

      a lot

  18. Idaho Razorback
  19. Joe

    Perhaps cubs can sign a deal w/ WGN America for out of markets viewers and a Cubs channel for Chicagoland fans. You’d get double the revenue.