With the Cubs’ win last night and the Rockies, Twins, and Indians losses, the Cubs’ “lead” in the Second Pick Sweepstakes shrunk to 1.5 over the Rockies, and 3 over the Indians and Twins.

  • The Cubs have officially re-upped with Boise, signing a two-year extension of their player development agreement, which will keep the Hawks as the Cubs’ short season low-A minor league team through 2014. The other two deals that are up this year are Low-A Peoria and High-A Daytona. The former is expected to switch to Kane County, and the latter is expected to remain the same.
  • Dale Sveum reiterates that the boner the other night on the run that didn’t score was Dave Sappelt’s and not Starlin Castro’s. “It’s not on [Castro] at all,” Sveum said, per the Tribune. “Yeah, you want everybody to sprint 100 percent through home plate, but not when it’s a complete no-brainer where there’s no play at home [or] anywhere else. It’s a non-play, basically. It’s a sacrifice fly deep enough in the left-center field gap, and that’s by no means Starlin’s fault for shutting it down five feet in front of home plate.” Maybe that’s why Sappelt went 3 for 3 with a walk last night. He knows Dale is on him.
  • Phil Rogers looks at some of the scheduling quirks that developed by virtue of the 15-teams leagues, starting in 2013.
  • Travis Wood is battling for a 2013 rotation spot, but I doubt anything short of four consecutive no-hitters to end 2012 will lock up a spot. Although the Cubs aren’t going to go out and get Zack Greinke this Winter, I do think they’ll add quite a few pitchers to compete for rotation spots next year. Only Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija will enter 2013 as locks for the rotation.
  • Carlos Marmol has saved 18 of his last 18 opportunities, and with one more, he’ll have 20 on the year. That would make him just the fifth pitcher in Cubs history with three straight seasons of 20 or more saves, joining Lee Smith (1983-87), Bruce Sutter (1977-80), Ryan Dempster (2005-07) and Randall Kirk Myers (1993-95).
  • How would things have been different if Jim Crane had bought the Cubs instead of the Astros? Maybe not much different.
  • BD

    Is it a 100% guarantee that the Cubs don’t go out and get Greinke?

    Right now we have 2 guys locked in for next year (Garza, Samardzija), and several guys that want the 4th or 5th spot. Wouldn’t adding a guy like Greinke setup our rotation pretty nicely? (Now, if you don’t like Greinke- that’s one thing. But I’m referring more to that caliber of pitcher.)

    • Chris

      Not sure you can give Greinke the money he’d want for a rebuilding club. Plus, he has that whole anxiety disorder thing. Another reason not to invest too much money into him in a large market. He’s the caliber pitcher you’d want, but it’s probably not the right time for that kind of investment. But at least in his case, it wouldn’t cost a draft pick, since he was traded mid-season. If they could sign him, not give him a no-trade clause, and the money isn’t too prohibitive to move him at the deadline if the team is still complete garbage, it would be a thought. But I think there are too many ifs for the perfect scenario to present itself.

      • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

        You can. Probably shouldn’t. And won’t.

      • CubFan Paul

        5yrs/$75M – 5yrs/$100M isn’t too much for the Cubs to give to a top of the rotation starter this off season (especially considering the 2013 payroll or lack thereof). Theo&Co probably plan on winning 85plus games in 2014 so acquiring top talent when it’s available the year before is exactly the right kind of investment they’ll be looking for

        • Chris

          While it’s not out of their spending range, I agree with Tim. They won’t do it this season. I could see them maybe spending a little more money in 2014, but I think for 2013 we’re looking at a similar offseason to 2012.

          • CubFan Paul

            Unless (enter what I previously said).

            • Chris

              Rationale solid. LIkelihood of happening, IMO, not at all. They were willing to bid on guys like Darvish and Cespedes, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But both of those guys were 2-3 years younger, and that was before this team was on pace to lose 100 games. If the system is built up enough, you can always make trades to acquire top talent too. Free agency won’t be the only way to acquire a pitcher, so I don’t think the window closes if you miss out on a free agent during a year you aren’t expecting to win much.

        • JR

          “5yrs/$75M – 5yrs/$100M” no way in hell Greinke goes for this. If he does the Cubs better be all over it, regardless of the plan..

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Agreed – if Greinke went for a mere 5/100, the Cubs would be fools not to pursue him.

            But he’ll get far, far more than that. More than makes sense, probably.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Greinke is the only Greinke-caliber pitcher on the free agent market this Winter. He’s going to get paaaaaaaaaaaa (*draws breath*) aaaaaaaaaaaaaid. I just don’t think it’s the right move for the Cubs right now, and I don’t think they think so, either.

      • JR

        Right on Brett. My guess is 6 yrs 138 Mill. minimum..

      • Featherstone

        Cain got 6/127 with a full NTC
        Hamels got 6/144 (unsure about NTC)

        Both were extensions for the team that drafted them and as such probably left some money on the table.

        My Guess for Greinke given his age and the lack of pitching this wineter. 6/150 starting with it probably ending around 6-7 years with an AAV of 25-27 million and a full NTC.

        Hell I could even see something like an 8year/200mil contract given his age and relative health.

        • Mick

          Greinke will get paid.

          #3 Yankees-Word is they’re planning on reducing payroll in preparation for 2014 when they finally could be beneath the luxury tax threshold. They’ve only got CC, Hughes, Pineda, and Nova under contract for 2013 and comparatively to the other contenders, that rotation looks weak. They could go out and sign a guy to a 1-year deal like Kuroda but is that the type of SP to put the Yanks over the top, probably not.

          #2 Red Sox-The Sox have soooo much cap space after dealing their top salaried players and few other contracts expiring. Also, they have a few spots to fill in their rotation with only Lester and Buchholz being locks and Lackey, Morales, and Aceves as other possible rotation pitchers.

          #1 Angels-The Angels also have a bunch of money freed up with some big expiring contracts such as Hunter, Abreu, and Ervin Santana. They’ll likely pop on Haren’s $15 million option giving them Haren, Weaver, and Wilson and 2 spots to fill. Also, the Angels have the distinct advantage that Greinke already pitches for them so he’ll have time to get acquainted to the environment which could be really important due to his anxiety disorder.

          Other possible contenders are the Mets, Dodgers, White Sox, and Cubs.

        • Boogens

          I’m not arguing that the numbers are wrong, but it is stupid money.

          • Dougy D


    • bails17

      No way we go afte ZG. I am going to throw ot the perfect candidate for the Cubs. Eric Stults. Free agent after this year, throwing very well for the Padres right now (6-2 with a 2.5ish ERA), and he wants to be closer to his hometown in Northwest Indiana so his agent may just reac out to the FO. Guys like his wll be targeted by the Cubs. Just sayin.

  • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

    I’m probably the only person to think so, but I hope Team Theo is talking to reps from the State College Spikes this week. They sound upset that Pittsburgh sends them sub-standard teams, and want a new parent club.

    Though 2013 might not be ideal for adding a new MiLB team, the opportunity only presents itself every other year. The Cubs have a bunch of high school arms they drafted, and if they stay in Mesa, they won’t get any more than 30 or so innings. Bump Blackburn, Underwood, and McNeil up to the NY/Penn League if ready, and see what we have.

    Outdraft the opposition, then outdevelop them.

    • Chris

      Does anybody know how many affiliates are allowed per ML team? To me, that’s exactly the kind of thing the Cubs should do. Another way to spend money that we know they have and stockpile minor leaguers would be to add more minor league teams. I just don’t know what the rules are in adding another affiliate or two. Good call tim. I’ve been wondering what the rules would say to something like this, and if there are other teams out there available, why not investigate the posibility.

      • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

        The basics. 1 AAA. 1 AA 1 A+ 1 A-. Others, catch as catch can. But only in even-numbered years when the squad is willing to flip.

        And thanks. Always love talking Cubs MiLB.

        • Chris

          Then I hope they are trying to steal a bunch of SS teams as well as another Rookie team or 2. Why not? I don’t know how many teams are available, but it seems like a no-brainer to get a team in every low level league that’s possible.

          • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

            At some point, you run into the Law Of Diminishing Returns. We barely had enough players to finish off the Mesa season. I don’t think adding more than one would do much, as pushing a 34th Rounder to be a starter seems like a waste of time.

            However, I think one more team might be worth the gamble.

            • Chris

              You have to be able to field a team if you’re going to grab an extra one. And most teams have already extended their contracts, so my guess is there are only a small number of possibilities at this point. Still, with a Dominican Academy housing 2 teams, I would think they will have a larger pipeline of under the radar international players that they could bring to the states early to fill in wherever they have roster gaps. My original comment about signing a bunch of teams was a little ridiculous, but I do think having one or two more teams could be a competitive advantage that the Cubs could use against other teams in the league. With the draft budget and international signing budgets evening the playing field when it comes to acquiring amatuer talent, this would be one way of stockpiling players, and developing them, that not all other teams can take advantage of. But clearly they are limited to what’s available, so your initial post is the best case scenario. Here’s hoping Theo thought of that one too.

    • Chris

      Just took a quick glance, and there are 2 teams, the Rays and Mariners, that have one more minor league club than the Cubs. One difference there is both teams have a Venezuelan Summer League team, as well as a DSL team. The Cubs have 2 DSL teams, so adding a Venezuelan team might be an idea. Although I have a feeling with all the money spent on the Dominican campus, they’re fine with the 2 DSL teams as is. Most teams are moving out of Venezuela with the political climate there being poor for
      American interests. The real difference is both teams have 2 stateside rookie ball teams, to go along with 1 SS-A team. So maybe the Cubs could add a team as tim suggests.

      • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

        VSL may be going away.

        As much as I like International spending, with 2 DSL teams, I pretty sure most Venezuelan signees can be moved to our DSL Academy and run through their paces there.

        In other words, I agree

  • hansman1982

    On Castro’s play, 99 out of 100 major leaguers would do exactly what he did…the other 1 guy is the guy who sprints everywhere even to head first dives into the wall and has an average career length of about 2 years.

    • RoughRiider

      999 out of a 1000

    • WGNstatic

      Thank you for making the injury point.

      Funning full bore into home plate when not necessary is a recipe for disaster. A slick plate, catcher’s mask, bats, catchers, etc. all could very easily lead to significant injuries.

      • Dougy D

        A slick plate? C’mon. If the plate is not blocked it certainly isn’t going to hurt you. I haven’t seen the play yet, so I won’t make an argument either way, but a slick plate? Sounds like you may be a bit of a Castro fan.

        • bbmoney

          I think most Cubs fans are Castro fans, or they should be.

          • Dougy D

            I am a Castro fan myself, to an extent. If a professional baseball player doesn’t have the coordination to cross a wet plate, then they should maybe not be a professional baseball player. That is all that I am trying to say. That and there may be a little man crush on Castro?

            • bbmoney

              Freak things happen all the time. Speaking of catostrphic injuries around the plate…see Kendrys Morales…….. Obviously that’s no excuse to not run hard enough to score, but he ran plenty fast enought to score. Sappelt screwed up, he had no business tagging up…..end of story.

              • Spriggs

                Let’s all just stay home.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Heck, even Bob Brenly said that all MLBers would have done what Castro did.

      Who was the on deck batter? It’s that guy’s job to tell the runner coming home whether he has to come in “full bore,” in part to avoid unnecessary injuries. Of course, most them would just put the hands up “no play” sign as soon as they saw the ball going somewhere other than home.

  • swaz46

    There is something hilarious about the phrase “the boner the other night on the run”…

    • CubFan Paul

      Isn’t that a song?

    • New Guy

      Sounds like a line from a Brice Springsteen song.

      • BeyondFukudome

        “tramps like us, baby we were boner to run…”

        • Dougy D


  • New Guy


  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Good to see the Cubs staying in Boise. Hopefully this certainty will help Boise sort out their attendance issues.

  • http://WavesOfTalent.webs.com tim

    Fiberpipe coverage is icing on the cake for my MiLB package. Especially when the team is good.

  • SoCal Cubs Fan

    Another rookie team would be nice, that’s for sure. I would also like to see them get out of Daytona! It seems with all of the rain they had this year it was a hit or miss if they would play and then they had a build up of double headers. IMO they would be better off in one of the other A+ leagues where the games would be more consistent and allow the developement to continue unabated. Plus the build up of double headers places a major strain on the young arms we are trying to develope.

  • Rcleven

    Travis Wood has pitched at his career numbers this year. With a little support from the offense and a lot of luck he could be be a 15 game winner this year. I’ll take that from my fifth starter any day.

  • Dougy D

    Randall Kirk Myers, hah!

  • bbrave307

    I would be inclined to not add another minor league team. That would have the effect of spreading our talent thinner on all of our teams. Thus we would lose more often.

    I think you would rather have these kids get used to winning and having them compete a little harder for jobs and promotions. Set the standards a little higher.

    I think our AZ summer league an low A teams started turning into winners this year and would love to see that happen all through the system as Theo and company rework the system and these kids move up. Dilution would only make this much harder to do.