arodys vizcaino bravesSo, those Blackhawks are pretty ridiculously good, eh?

  • The Chicago Cubs’ top pitching prospect, Arodys Vizcaino, whom the Cubs acquired from the Braves last year, was never a real threat for the Cubs’ April rotation. Now, Dale Sveum has confirmed that Vizcaino is not a threat to make the roster at all out of Spring Training. Although Vizcaino had Tommy John surgery last March and would thus be on pace to be recovered by April, the Cubs aren’t going to take any chances with the 22-year-old righty, who’s had other arm problems in his young career. Sveum said that Vizcaino would not pitch in any Cactus League games, and will begin the year in extended Spring Training. Don’t look for him in Chicago until the second half of the season at the earliest, and, even then, probably in the bullpen. None of this is surprising or concerning, by the way – he’s young, and he’s not a critical piece to the 2013 team (mostly because the 2013 team isn’t expected to be competitive). This kind of ultra cautious approach was always going to be the way.
  • The approach will also leave open the possibility that the Cubs can put Vizcaino on the 60-day disabled list, opening up a spot on the 40-man roster without risking losing a player. That 40-man spot will be necessary if a non-roster invitee like Brent Lillibridge or Hisanori Takahashi is to make the team.
  • Baseball America reveals the guys who just missed its top 100 list, and the Cubs had an additional prospect who was a consensus top 150 player: Brett Jackson. In other words, although Jackson fell out of the top 100 for BA, none of the editors at the publication thought he should fall out of the top 150.
  • Carlos Villanueva talks about his short outing yesterday.
  • Vine Line’s prospect profile series continues with a look at Trey McNutt, and his conversion to the bullpen. I really can’t wait to see how he does this year as a full-time reliever. Obviously guys have more value as starters, and you don’t want to see a high-ceiling starter converted to the pen – but, for many players with big league aspirations, that conversion eventually becomes necessary. Now that it’s happened, I’d like to see McNutt succeed – and I think he’s got the stuff to do it.
  • Dontrelle Willis described the injury that took him out of yesterday’s game after just seven pitches as his shoulder “tightening up” on him, which could be nothing, or it could be a serious problem. He thinks it’s just fatigue. We’ll see – he wasn’t going to make the team out of Spring Training (he’s not even in Major League camp), so he’ll have plenty of time in the minors this year to demonstrate that he still has value.
  • Patrick Mooney with a profile on non-roster invitee Darnell McDonald, who was a hot prospect long before he was a journeyman outfielder.
  • Don’t be late for a Chicago Cubs meeting. If you are, the coaches might make you wear a clock around your neck so that you can remember the time, like they did for Rafael Dolis.
  • Brian Peters

    The Flavor Flav approach to time management….I like it!

    • GDB

      I hadn’t realised Flavor Flav was actually late to all those Public enemy gigs…

      • Brian Peters

        Lol!! Not what I meant. I meant the Cubs are using clocktastic methods to improve Dolis’ timeliness. Flav is NEVER late…..that’s because he has those clocks. Lol

  • FFP

    The Patrick Mooney piece on Darnell McDonald sets the (admittedly early) bar for baseball writing-2013.
    There is a lot to like about McDonald. I know I’m being a (former Fenway) homer here, and I don’t wish anyone else bad luck, but I hope he catches with the Cubs.

  • Clark Addison

    Mooney is the best of Chicago baseball writers.

    I can’t even think of a second. That’s why I read the blogs.

  • another JP

    I really hope the seven pitches Willis threw is the last as a Cub. Not only wasn’t he a serious candidate to make the Cubs roster, but all I’ve read about is his injury on every site since last night. Now the news about Vizcaino or the performance of Loux are items which will have a more profound effect on our 2013 team- that’s what needs to be focused upon other than another veteran running on fumes hoping for one last chance.

    • tim815

      Rather harsh. The guy wants to see if he still has anything in the tank still. And you’d just as soon see him done. I hope he’s fine, and pitches in Iowa. No, he shouldn’t be the lead, but retirement due to injury is sad.

      • frank

        I agree–that is harsh.

    • tim815

      Loux won’t have a ‘profound effect’ in 2013. If he has a good year, he’ll be rostered before the Rule 5 Draft in December, but Rusin and Raley will pitch more than Loux in Wrigley in 2013.

      Yeah, I do like Loux. Not for his 2013 production.

  • Clark Addison

    There’s Miles, but his cheap ass paper won’t even send him to spring training.

    • WGNstatic

      I am somewhat surprised that he as stuck with the Herald as long as he has. Since they put up a paywall I just never read him anymore, too bad.

  • fromthemitten

    anybody have photos of the clock?

  • WGNstatic

    I am not an expert on the DL rules, but might it actually not be in the Cubs best interest to 60 day Vizcaino?

    As I understand it, the 15 and 60 day DL, and thus their active/total roster implications, are only for guys on the ML active roster. The minors simply have a 7-day DL.

    I may very well be wrong about this, but putting Vizcaino on the 60 day DL would free up a roster spot (YEAH!) but it would also count as MLB service time for him (BOO).

    • Brett

      That may well be the case. If they make the move (or don’t, I guess), I’ll have to investigate.

      • WGNstatic

        I just looked it up on the CBA…
        Article XIX:
        C. Disabled List:
        (1) There shall be no assignment of a Player by a Major League Club to a Minor League club while such Player is on a Major League Disabled List.

        3) Rehabilitation assignments:
        (d) Any service with a Minor League club while on rehabili- tation assignment shall be deemed to be Major League service as defined in Article XXI. A Player so assigned shall continue to receive his Major League salary and the other rights and benefits of such Player shall be in accordance with past practices relating to assignments to Minor League clubs; provided, however, that all such players shall be treated as if they were Major League Players on the road for purposes of hotel accommodations and the daily meal and tip allowance. Such assignment shall not be counted as an optional assignment under Major League Rule 11 or for any other purpose, and waivers shall not be required.

        • dw8

          ohh. Seems like the prudent thing to do then would be to leave him off the 25 man. He’s already had more than a year of service time on the DL.

    • brickhouse

      They will end up putting Vizcaino on the 60 day dl when theu put Lillibridge on the roster.

    • DB Kyle

      The 60-day DL doesn’t open up until a certain time in ST, I think 30 days before Opening Day. Once it opens up, I’m sure Vizcaino will be on it.

  • Spriggs

    I know that expectations this year with Vizcaino were low and this is no real surprise. But haven’t we all been hearing people (including FO people) say that the Cubs could possibly be competitive if “everything goes right”. And if they get off to a good start, who knows, they might not be sellers at the break, blah, blah, blah…

    Well everything isn’t going right so far. Garza may or may not be ready by opening day – or even April. Stewart/Vitters injuries – still no real 3rd base option, but no surprise there either. Vizcaino — and similar Baker news will probably be next… and we’ll all say, “well, yeah, we knew that all along, we have the depth this year to make up for him missing a month or two”. Sure we do (sarcasm).

    My only real point is that this sure gets old. This almost merits a “God’s Wrath” classification if you asked me.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Wow… you know all that based off of two real spring training games and a week of practice? You must have ESPN [sic] or something…

      • Spriggs

        I’m just venting a little. Don’t you ever get tired of this kind of news though? And isn’t it kind of easy to predict – if you’ve been a Cubs fan for any length of time? I mean – weren’t you hoping – even a tad – that Vizcaino might pitch at least one time this spring just for the heck of it… is it so unreasonable to at least hope that a Cubs pitcher might be in line (or God forbid, ahead) of a rehab schedule? Like I said, it just gets old. I am just in one of the moods because I have tickets, but can’t go to the game today.

        • hansman1982

          I hear you there. It gets awfully old that incredibly little goes right as a Cubs fan.

          Wood, Prior, Patterson, Jackson, Vitters, Guzman, on and on and on

          2007-2009, 2003. When we need a few things to go right to contend and nothing does.

          Jesus, next thing you know Castro will blow out both of his ACL’s and need double TJ surgery.

          • hansman1982

            Meant to include this:

            It feels like we are the people that have no money and all debt to our name, not because we make it rain money but because we bought a house, then the furnace and a car needed replaced, then when those got paid off we needed a new roof and driveway, and then windows and carpet and the other car and then…

            Blah, blah, blah, darkest before dawn…

            • Ron

              I guess so but right now, we are tied for first place.

              • frank

                Are you really Lovie Smith?

                • Spriggs

                  …Rex is our quarterback…

    • CubFan Paul

      …You’re just being silly or trolling if you think Theo&Co wanted/wants to be competitive in 2013

      Nothing they’ve down has “improved our chances” and everything is geared to selling off 1yr contract veterans in July, not shipping out prospects for rentals in a transition year.

      • DB Kyle

        Yeah, none of that is true.

        • Patrick W.

          the “not shipping out prospects for rentals in a transition year” is true. Be fair.

          • hansman1982

            No, I think they will ship anyone anywhere for the right price. I believe that they want to have a majority of the core in place for a 2014 run and to be more attractive to free agents next year.

            You won’t see any blatent, holy crap they are going for it all this year by emptying the farm system!!!!!! type trades but it wouldn’t shock me one bit to see Baez shipped out.

          • DB Kyle

            I could totally see it happenings.

            Jackson holds down CF, Samardzija is the ace his peripherals say he is, and suddenly we’re eight games over in July and two back of the last WC.

            I wouldn’t expect to see Baez or Almora shipped for an All-Star rental, but I’d expect to see some prospects heading out for key veteran pieces.

            • hansman1982

              If that’s the case, I think they’d either solidify the bench or slightly overpay for a guy like Price or Stanton (i.e. someone who is moving in the offseason, really good and one more year of control and/or someone they know they can extend and really want) and work like mad to extend them.

  • Bilbo161

    What, no one took the bait of the first paragraph? Yea baby! Go Blackhawks. I expect the Cubs to do it the same way. Continue to promote good talent from within first. Then add external pieces once the core is solid and backed up in the high minors. Good example to follow.

    • DB Kyle

      The Blackhawks signed Brian Campbell to a massive deal after the 07-08 season, when they had finished below .500 and missed the playoffs. At the time, many people argued that they were wasting money on a team that wasn’t quite ready to compete and that they should have waited until the “time was right” to add a major piece.

      • Bilbo161

        I was fine with the Campbell pick-up. Great skater and could get the O going when it was down. Though I was hoping for him to stay healthy. His contract did cause (in part) them to dump salary right after the big win though. We lost some of the key pieces that contributed to the championship. Lets hope the Cubs make the right moves at the right times and add a bit of luck.

  • Bric

    Trey McNutt and Josh Vitters- the last remnants of the vaunted Jim Hendry farm system…

    • BT

      right, because no one has ever hear of Javier Baez.

      • David

        Hendry may have been GM when he was drafted, but if he pans out, I will definitely give this front office a ton of credit for developing him properly.

      • Bric

        I’m pretty sure Hendry got axed before Baez ever made a start in the ’12 fall league but okay.

        • ETS

          There much debate about how much impact development has – oh for instance, I don’t know, jason parks seems to suggest it probably doesn’t have THAT much impact in the BN podcast.

          Also, you said the “hendry farm system” typically when judging how GM manage farms you are looking at acquisition, not development. Heck, it’s not even apples to apples as Epstein has much more power over development since he is EVP of baseball operations and Hendry was a GM.

          • David

            I think anybody who has watched how the Cubs have “developed” for decades would disagree with Parks. Development is important…and even if you can’t do much to help a player’s development, the Cubs sure did just about everything they could do to impede it or harm it for many prospects.

            • ETS

              The difference, I believe, isn’t development as much as it is type of player. I have hash this out on here before, but hendry draft high contact, athletic guys who played up the middle and hope the BA would hold into the pros. Baez is this kind of guy and not all of them were bad. Obviously, this isn’t what Epstein drafts (in general). Batting eye tends to develop* very young and tends to translate very well when transitioning levels, and if you draft guys who draw walks that’s what you get. BA doesn’t translate well between levels (or even season to season, thanks to varying levels of BABIP).

              • ETS

                *if batting eye “develops” at all. Some would argue you either have it or you don’t

        • BT

          The entire argument is absurd. Half of the Cubs top 10 (depending on what list you look at) was drafted under Hendry. The idea that Vogelbach and Baez or Maples or Jackson or Lake were doomed to failure as major leaguers had Hendry stayed on as GM is nonsense. The idea that any GM immediately ceases to get credit for a farm system the moment he leaves a team is nonsense. The idea that Trey McNutt and Josh Vitters are all that remains of the Hendry farm system are, you guessed it, nonsense.

      • ETS

        BA’s top 10 cub prospects
        1. Javier Baez, ss (HENDRY)
        2. Albert Almora, of
        3. Jorge Soler, of
        4. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp
        5. Brett Jackson, of (HENDRY)
        6. Pierce Johnson, rhp
        7. Dan Vogelbach, 1b
        8. Jeimer Candelario, 3b (HENDRY)
        9. Kyuji Fujikawa, rhp
        10. Arismendy Alcantara, ss (HENDRY)
        and that’s not mentioning a plethora of 2011 guys (maples, dunston, etc) that are also high in our system.

        • ETS

          (Edit button) Vog is also, obviously, hendry… duh. (/edit button)

          • Bric

            Good research- cool. But less than half of the top ten guys in the system are related to him and he’s only been gone for 16 months. Again- not much left of the system he bragged about over and over.

            Also- I wasn’t really making a question of how he ranks in regard to Epstein. More of a comment on how he compared to the rest of the GMs. A better analogy would be to find another GM who was fired and take a look at that systems’ rankings 16 months later.

            • ETS

              If I had a composite list of farm system ranks of all GM’s for their last year and ranks of the systems for the same teams 16 months later, you don’t see how there couldn’t be any signal impacting the noise?

              For example, draft order of teams, strength of draft, CBA changes that may encourage more intl spending, there’s so many other factors that go into that I really don’t think this test would be of any value at all.

              • ETS

                *noise impacting signal.. AHH lol you got me trying to type in between lecture notes…..Alright I guess I need to give it up for tonight

    • Bigg J

      I will look at the positive for Hendry though, currently on the roster in the pros are: Shark, Russell, Castillo, Barney, Castro and others on the 40 man: Szczur, Jackson, Watkins, Vitters, Lake, Clevenger, Whitenack, Rusin, Raley, Mcnutt, and Dolis. I didn’t like what Hendry did with the club, but there is a little light on it as well. No saying any of the 40 man will pan out, but they look good right now.

    • ETS

      I’m not going to get in a huge rant about this, but to say that Hendry was terrible at talent acquisition is not true and to think that any GM’s acquired minor leaguers, regardless of how terrible the GM was, will not still have a presence on the farm after only being 1 year removed is crazy.

      • ETS

        to that point you can argue whether or not Hendry was a “good GM”. You just can’t argue that “the last remnants of the vaunted Jim Hendry farm system… (are fading away)” ……………yet.

        • Bric

          Agreed. Jury’s still out on both Vitters and McNutt. I’m was just curious about the reasoning behind Brett’s continued optimism.

          • ETS

            Ask the BA writers. I probably wouldn’t have him 5th.

          • Luke

            Vitters put up an OPS of .869 as a 22 year old in his first season of Triple A.

            McNutt has two plus pitches and had a .202 batting average against as a reliever for Tennessee, and is also only 22.

            Sounds like good reasons for optimism to me.

  • DarthHater

    I’m shocked … SHOCKED … to find that the Cubs farm system contains a significant number of players acquired by the guy who was GM for 9 of the last 10 years.