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ryan sweeney red soxWell this was a pleasant development.

Over the weekend, I mentioned that it would make sense for the Chicago Cubs to take a look at recently-released outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who was bumped out in Boston after the emergence of super prospect Jackie Bradley, Jr. It made sense to the Cubs, too, because they’ve reportedly signed him to a minor league deal.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that Sweeney inked his deal with the Cubs this afternoon, and he’ll head to AAA Iowa to serve as quality outfield depth.

Here’s what I said about Sweeney this weekend:

The Red Sox are letting 28-year-old outfielder Ryan Sweeney go, and I wonder if he might be an interesting pick-up for the Cubs on a minor league deal, if that’s the best he can find. Right now, the Cubs’ AAA outfield depth consists of Brian Bogusevic (if he sticks with the Cubs), Darnell McDonald (if he sticks with the Cubs), Jae-Hoon Ha (a very young player who isn’t ready for the bigs), and, of course, Brett Jackson, whom the Cubs would prefer not to call up until he’s ready, rather than in a pinch. Seems like there’s a pretty wide opening and need for Sweeney as depth. He really struggled in Boston after being dealt by the A’s last year, but, hey, depth-ers can’t be choosers. He’s good defensively, can play all over the outfield, bats lefty, doesn’t strike out, sees a lot of pitches … I’d like him in the organization. Smart money says the Cubs are feeling him out.

That’s Sweeney in a nutshell. He’s not going to be a difference-maker at the big league level, but he could absolutely still be a contributor off of the bench. He provides the Cubs nice cover in the event that an injury or trade occurs at the big league level before Brett Jackson is ready.

This is the kind of subtle move that I really love about this front office.

  • HawkClone

    Xavier Saints baby!

    • Cub Fan Dan

      My wife, a J-Hawk, is still bitter about the transfer from Jefferson.

      • college_of_coaches

        J-Hawk wives are generally insufferable in March, that is until the J-Hawks are eliminated. I know, because I’m married to one.

  • http://www.wavesoftalent.webs.com tim815

    Team Theo is reading your opinion pieces, then? :P

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Have been for years. ;)

  • Believe in 2015

    Brett should work for the Cubs FO, then again, I like BleacherNation too much.

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    It seems like Theo and Co are really good at making these small productive moves.

    • http://www.wavesoftalent.webs.com tim815

      Just like Hendry. Oooh. April Fools’ Day was yesterday.

  • King Jeff

    Nice pick up, I think Sweeney is a pretty good 4th outfielder, even if we already have 2 of them.

    • MichiganGoat

      SIGN ALL THE 4th OUTFIELDERS
      ***Darth can you help me out here***

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    Can’t wait to see this front office work the FA market with the go signal! Also did anyone else hear that Robinson cano, fired boras and signed with j-zees agency?

  • Chase S.

    Love it. Welcome back to Iowa, dude!

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    With J-zees ties to newyork I wonder if that a sign that a uankee extension maybe coming?

  • Kyle

    Wow. I’m really surprised he’s willing to come here. He’s completely buried on the outfield depth chart. Assuming Jackson is ready sometime this year and they don’t hate Sappelt, that puts him at something like the 7th outfielder.

    Conspiracy theory: They known an outfield-shaking trade is coming soon?

    Why are we overflowing with useful outfielders and have barely 3 useful infielders in the whole organization?

    • DarthHater

      “Conspiracy theory: They known an outfield-shaking trade is coming soon?”

      Woohoo!

  • MichiganGoat

    Did we discuss trading for him last year? I thought there was a post about him.

  • DONNIE621

    I’m not sure how to view this signing. I was posting my frustrations and as I wrote I kind of answered my questions regarding all the insurance the Cubs seem to be buying… Some insurance is better than others. Sweeney might be really good insurance…

    Still if Soriano hits the bricks or DeJesus leaves will what they have in reserve fill the bill? I hate the thought of losing 100 games. Especially with players who represent no development for the team of the future.

    Oh well… I’ll still go to the games

    • Chase S.

      Keep in mind, it’s a minor league signing. The only thing it really impacts is OF depth in AAA and adds a replacement player for the big league team for insurance (as you already pointed out). It really has nothing to do with development, nor does it necessarily take away from it. Every team makes this signing.

    • http://www.wavesoftalent.webs.com tim815

      Bogusevic. Sweeney. McDonald. Iowa’s OF could fill in at Wrigley well enough.

  • kevin

    nice move. I like seeing AB’s w/more than 2 pitches thrown

  • Die hard

    Good call Brett

  • Die hard

    As I forgot to add though – even a broken clock is right twice a day :D

    • Edwin

      A stitch in time saves nine.

      • Hansman1982

        Penny saved is a penny earned.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Time and tide melt the snowman.

  • Tim

    No down side with this move. Love it! All of our OF’s are basically 4th OF types, but I could see this guy helping out at some point if another team wants one of our other 4th OFs.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      I don’t think Soriano or DeJesus are 4th OF, although DeJesus isn’t really a CF either.

  • BABIP (MichCubFan)

    Ryan Ludwick needs surgery on his shoulder. Might we be trading Soriano or DeJesus to the Reds?

    I don’t exactly think that this signing does mean a trade is coming in the near future, but you never know.

  • Can’t think of a cool name

    How does a guy who is 6′ 4″ and weighs 225 pounds only hit two home runs in over 800 plate appearances spanning 3 years?

    • DarthHater

      How did Willie Mays (5′ 10″, 170 lbs) hit 660 home runs?

      • Can’t think of a cool name

        He hit it over the fence many many times. But seriously, a man that big ought to be able to hit it out of the park every now and then on accident. But if he could he wouldn’t have been cut and we wouldn’t have another 4th/5th type outfielder in Iowa.

    • jt

      Doesn’t seem a natural replacement for Soriano does he?
      Maybe a couple month replacement for DeJesus as the left side bat in a CF platoon?

  • Rcleven

    Sweeney seem to be happy.

    Ryan Sweeney ‏@RyanSweeney12 10m

    So pumped to get this opportunity with the cubs. I know I have made a lot of Midwest people happy. Looking forward to a great 2013 season!

  • Dustin S

    When I look at Sweeney’s stat line it definitely looks a lot like Schierholtz’s. My guess is that since that pretty much any and all of the Cubs outfield (including bench) could be traded, so it was the best deal for him to take. I feel a bit bad for Bogusevic, who’s chance of a call-up just dropped a bit.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I’ve said before that Cincinnati would be a good fit for Soriano (but that’s if we start off slow).

  • Austin

    So, we’re trading Dejesus soon?

    • jt

      A poster on another board used to say…
      I’m not sayin’, I’m just saying…
      Brett’s idea of a KC bullpen arm has stuck in my mind.
      Wonder if Theo saw it?

      • Kyle

        PSD insider ABTY said a few months back in the offseason that the Cubs and Royals had discussed that exact scenario. DeJesus for one of the Royals’ young relief pitchers.

        • jt

          I am glad I didn’t claim it as my original…
          I like DeJesus but I like this idea more.

  • Rcleven

    Has there been any reported salary ?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Probably just a standard minor league deal.

      • Rcleven

        Hope so. 80% of last years contract would be 1.4 mil.

  • DONNIE621

    Tim
    April 2, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink | Reply
    No down side with this move. Love it! All of our OF’s are basically 4th OF types, but I could see this guy helping out at some point if another team wants one of our other 4th OFs.

    Tim this is my thoughts too… outside of Sori and DeJesus all are #4’s … I suppose on some teams they would be 4’s too. These moves just gets you through the night but its not a lasting relationship.

    I suppose all these players are placeholders until the real guys get here? Is that what we are looking at? Kind of depressing.

  • Rebuilding

    Darvish is looking absolutely filthy tonight. If they don’t pull him for a pitch count you might see a no hitter

  • Yep

    Solid depth signing.

  • college_of_coaches

    Marwin Gonzalez!

  • http://Bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Wow that was heartbreaking. Great game for Darvish either way.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    heh, maybe Rangers fans will quit bitching for a week or so that the $25M overbid on Darvish cost them Greinke/Hamilton/Romney/whomever…..

    • Rebuilding

      Haha – I was going to post something similar and then post a mock rotation, Doc /sarc

  • Rebuilding

    Rule 5 draft pick Marwin Gonzalez breaks up Darvish’s perfect game. He looked absolutely dominating against an admittedly terrible Astros lineup. I doubt many Texas fans are going to be complaining about that posting fee after this season is over. I’ve watched Verlander, Price, Weaver, Kershaw, Cain, King Felix, Hamels and the other opening day starters over the last 2 days (Direct TV MLB Mix is awesome) and I have to say that Darvish, Samardzija and Sale are the three pitchers with the best stuff I’ve seen. Obviously it’s one game and its all about consistency, but in just raw stuff terms we might have a true #1

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, that really depends on how things shake out for the Rangers. The posting fee overbid seems to have gotten blame for the Rangers failure to match the big bids on multiple free agents this winter. That, in turn, was blamed on them not ponying up the youngsters to get Upton.

      The truth obviously is that if the Rangers hadn’t thought that other teams were going to post $40+M to get the rights to Darvish, they would not have bid $50+M. However, they had absolutely no way of knowing: it wasn’t like the Cubs, Jays, Sox, etc. were going to tell each other how much they were bidding. And I would not be surprised if they laughed at Greinke’s agent when he said “The Dodgers are offering $160M over X years”: given how much the Dodgers already were spending, that had to seem silly. (The Rangers almost certainly still remember how Boras got them to bid against themselves for ARod a decade ago.)

      However, fans don’t think that way!

      • Kyle

        I don’t believe for a second that the Rangers overbid everyone by as much as was vaguely “reported.”

        Everyone who didn’t win the bid has every incentive to lie through their teeth if asked, and even actively spread disinformation.

        • Hansman1982

          Well then it would be a break in precident from what was reported during the Matsuzaka bidding when most bids were reasonably in the neighborhood.

          But don’t let that blind your distrust of Theo.

          • YourResidentJag

            I don’t care whether or not the bid report was accurate or whether or not the Rangers overbid. The team got tremendous value for Darvish, even with posting fee, especially considering that, only one year removed from the Darvish contract, look at how much the price of TOR starters has escalated. I wish the Cubs would have had the foresight to consider this.

            • hansman1982

              So do the fan bases of 29 other teams.

              • YourResidentJag

                Except that 29 teams didn’t all bid on Darvish, while the Cubs did.

                • hansman1982

                  So how does that impact your statement of:

                  “I wish the Cubs would have had the foresight to consider this.”

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Well, let’s see here. You’re statement is a conclusion of hindsight and retrospect, while my statement is a statement of initiative and proactivity.

                    • hansman1982

                      You’re not as dumb as I thought you were…

          • Kyle

            I think my position puts Epstein in a positive light. Maybe the Cubs did bid only $20m, but I think Epstein is perfectly capable of being outbid by $1 and not flinching when reports say that he only bid $20m. I think Epstein is capable of being told by Ricketts that he can’t afford to bid on Darvish, and then leaking $20m rumors to keep his financial restrictions close to the vest.

            • Hansman1982

              I’m not disagreeing that Theo is capable of lying. (Hell, I think his schmoozing comments are lies, to an extent) i think everyone in baseball is capable of lying to achieve whatever ends. You are, however, moving the argument here. We went from disputing the amount of the 2nd place bid to epsteins ability to lie.

              It boils down that either the reports got 29 teams’ bids wrong, or the Rangers desperately wanted Darvish (which, based on the pre-bidding reports was arguably a gamble).

              • Hansman1982

                And, see doc’s post below.

              • Kyle

                Technically, the argument moved from the bid to my motivations for questioning the reports to Epstein’s ability to lie.

                I’m perfectly comfortable with the idea that those reports got the bids wrong, because there was no mechanism for them to be made public, and the only people who might talk about it had heavy incentive to mask the truth.

                • hansman1982

                  “…it fits well with the information we do have. Sports teams may not open their books, but they do operate in the public eye and a lot leaks out.”

                  “…the only people who might talk about it had heavy incentive to mask the truth.”

                  Just like in 2006 when the reports had the runner up bids (which I think the Cubs were 4th, somewhere in the high $40Ms) reasonably close to the winning bid.

            • hansman1982

              Ooo, I missed this one the first time through:

              “…and then leaking $20m rumors to keep his financial restrictions close to the vest.”

              So how does this impact the other 28 teams he reportedly outbid?

              Again, the evidence points to a MASSIVE overbid by the Rangers, which, again, was risky in and of itself.

              • Kyle

                “Hey, Theo. Sure, I’m interested in Soriano. But I know you’re under a squeeze, so I’m only going to give you salary relief. You must need it, you couldn’t even make a bid on Darvish with that owner of yours.”

                • hansman1982

                  “Hey Other GM, that’s fine. Cash is so tight here, I’ll hang on to this slugging LF that plays good defense, responds amazingly to coaching and is amazing in the clubhouse. In fact, cash is so incredibly tight, that I’ll pay every dime of Zambrano’s salary to make him go away and a healthy chunk of Dempster and Maholm when I trade them. Oh, did you see that cash must be incredibly tight on 28 of the other teams as well? You know, those other teams that we beat out in the Darvish bidding. I know I have infinite cosmic powers (with an itty-bitty player clubhouse) and can hoodwink the media (cause you and I know that it’s not possible a younger journalist would just LOVE to make a name for himself by proving the big guys wrong) but Team XYZ was willing to offer a better prospect since I was willing to eat cash, as I have said a bajillion times.”

                  • Kyle

                    You seem a bit tense, Theo. That Kyle kid still ragging on you?

                    • hansman1982

                      Not tense at all. Did you hear he approved me trading DeJesus? You interested?

              • Rebuilding

                Well, the “evidence” is just news reports presumably leaked by each team. Darvish isn’t the last guy coming over so every team that didn’t win would have an incentive to understate the amount they were actually willing to bid for that kind of talent

                • hansman1982

                  Which is why I point to the Matsuzaka bidding. That didn’t happen then, no reason for it to happen now. My guess is that the leak comes from the MLB FO, which would explain why all of the bids, generally, get reported together.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Hmmmm… maybe. I’m not sure about your conclusions though. Wouldn’t MLB (the owners) have every incentive to downplay the bids to make the Rangers bid look ridiculously high? I’m sure they aren’t happy about that much money leaving an American team for a Japanese one. And if it did come from the teams FOs then wouldn’t they have an incentive to either lowball so the Dodgers don’t know how high they will go or cluster so they don’t have to answer questions about why they didn’t go just a little higher. If you were Epstein and you bid $40 mil wouldn’t you leak $20 after you lost? I certainly hope so

                • King Jeff

                  Darvish might actually be one of, if not the last guy to go through the posting process with blind bids involved. NPB in Japan and MLB have been talking about changing this process.

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2012/12/passan-mlb-npb-discussing-significant-changes-to-posting-system-79881/

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yes, but you seem to like to believe that the Cubs and other teams find ways to strategically underbid just to make it look like they were trying. Now, obviously the runner up bids never are disclosed: but lots of sources point to the Rangers having badly overbid. It actually would be very understandable: they had just lost the WS in brutally heartbreaking fashion, and they had lots of money to spend on very few holes. Wilson was leaving, and they probably realized that he was not as good as his W-L numbers suggested. The urgency to *act now!!!* probably caused them to bid a bit higher than they would have otherwise.

          (Again, this is perfectly understandable, and quite in keeping with human nature: in a lot of ways, Darvish was worth more to the Rangers than he was to any other team after the 2011 WS.)

          At any rate, given all of their bad PR this winter, the Rangers probably would have tried to claim that other teams actually nearly matched their bid. After all, everybody can lie!

        • David

          But Forbes essentially guessing at what teams make is gospel.

          • Kyle

            That’s an amazing amount of wrong to cram into a fairly short post.

            First, of course it isn’t gospel. But it does come from a disinterested third-party with no incentive to falsify the information.

            Second, it fits well with the information we do have. Sports teams may not open their books, but they do operate in the public eye and a lot leaks out.

            • David

              You said, “Of course it isn’t gospel,” which is basically a reiteration of what the short post above said after adjusting for sarcasm. So it clearly can’t be an amazing amount of wrong, unless your threshold for amazing is very low.

              • Kyle

                Well I was, in fact, amazed.

        • Hansman1982

          Furthermore, the cluster of low 2nd place bids would coincide with the early December reports that Darvish didn’t want an excessive posting fee taking away from his money.

          It’s entirely possible that this is one of those times where the truth goes against the evidence that a $25M 2nd place bid would be true. I think the Mythbusters would be crossing their fingers calling it plausible.

  • Rebuilding

    Correct me if I’m wrong, because I can’t find the post, but I thought at one time Brett reported that “sources” had indicated that the Cubs finished 2nd and supposedly bid around $40 mil for Darvish. Again, I might be wrong or have my Cubs sites mixed up, but I swear I read that somewhere

    • Kyle

      Correct on 2nd place, but the report was somewhere around $20m.

    • hansman1982

      There were reports, during the week it took the Fighters FO to accept the bid, that the Blue Jays were in the $48M range, but afterwards most bids fell in the $20-25M range.

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