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ball and bottle openerBecause my dad passed away when I was 11, Father’s Day didn’t have a lot of meaning for me for most of my life. At best, it was an anonymous Sunday on the calendar of which I was made aware only by reading the rash of “Happy Father’s Day” messages that morning around the web. At worst, it was a day that made me very sad. But, thanks to the arrival of The Little Girl in early 2011 – and now The Little Boy in early 2013 – Father’s Day has re-entered my life, and I couldn’t be happier. I don’t need my fatherhood to be celebrated or applauded, but being a dad to these kids is as awesome as everyone always said parenthood could be. Whether today is supposed to be about me, I don’t much care. Because it’s actually about them. They make me very happy every day, and hearing The Little Girl say, “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy” is the icing that makes today special.

The kids also gave me a baseball with their hand prints on it, and The Wife gave me a bottle opener made from a game-used Chicago Cubs bat. So, yeah, today’s already been pretty awesome.

  • There’s a broad discussion going on in several media about what minor league outfielder should come up to replace David DeJesus (shoulder sprain) on the big league roster, primarily because Dale Sveum said he expects to eventually bring up another outfielder. Although DeJesus was temporarily replaced by reliever Shawn Camp, who was himself coming off a toe injury, it’s not expected that the Cubs will go with 13 pitchers and just four bench players for too much longer. But here’s my question: should the positional player that replaces DeJesus necessarily be an outfielder? The Cubs were already bloated with six outfielders and just one – ONE – backup infielder. It seems just as reasonable to me that the Cubs could bring up an infielder to more appropriately balance the bench. Sveum is closer to this than I am, and he’s the one that has to manage the roster in-game. I suppose the fact that he never rests Starlin Castro, and rarely rests Darwin Barney, militates against having another infielder on the roster.
  • If the replacement is an outfielder, your two obvious candidates are Dave Sappelt and Brian Bogusevic. The former has the advantage of already being on the 40-man roster and batting righty, and the latter has the advantage of killing the ball at AAA. Bogusevic, 29, is hitting .320/.421/.505, while Sappelt is at just .254/.306/.369. Neither player would see a ton of action if called up, so I’m inclined to suspect the Cubs will go with the one who’s freely optionable and gives them slightly more options off the bench, because he’s right-handed. Hopefully Bogusevic gets his shot in the second half of the season, if you know what I mean.
  • Note that I didn’t include Brett Jackson. The former top Cubs prospect is still working on his swing at AAA, and with Ryan Sweeney (rightfully) picking up most of the starts in center field with the big team, Jackson would ride the pine in Chicago if he were called up. There’s no real point to that right now, so it’s reasonable that he’s not being considered for a call-up right now.
  • DeJesus, by the way, is expected to have an MRI on his shoulder tomorrow, and we might get a better idea of just how long he’ll be out. If you’re willing to be cold and calculating about these things, I’d suggest that the target date – at the latest – for DeJesus’s return is the All-Star break. That would give him a two-week period to show that he’s fully healthy before the Trade Deadline. If he can return before then, all the better. If he can’t return by then, however, it’s a good bet that a trade is out of the question.
  • The Florida State League’s All-Star festivities were yesterday, with a number of Daytona Cubs (High-A) represented. Outfielder John Andreoli was honored with the leadoff spot, and the heart of the lineup went Dustin Geiger, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler. Baez had a couple hits, while the others didn’t do much (indeed, Soler was replaced before he even had an at bat – wonder what that’s about?). Frank Del Valle worked an inning in relief, giving up a run, but striking out the side.
  • Baez participated in the Home Run Derby as well, making it all the way to the finals before losing. Geiger also participated in the Derby.
  • Not to step on Luke’s toes, but pitching prospect Paul Blackburn’s debut at Boise yesterday was absurdly good. Blackburn, 19, was the Cubs’ second supplemental first round pick last year, after Pierce Johnson.
  • The Houston Astros have reportedly reached an agreement with top draft pick Mark Appel – the only player taken ahead of the Cubs’ top pick, Kris Bryant – for a signing bonus that comes in well below slot. I didn’t want you to think I hadn’t heard or that you couldn’t discuss, but I’ll be writing about that report and the implications thereof tomorrow.
  • Speaking of Bryant, he won another award. That tends to happen when you’re the best college bat in the country.
  • Beardface

    Whether or not you want it to be about you, I hope yours is a great one anyway!

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Love the upside of Blackburn. Kind of weird his 2 seamer is harder than his 4 seam. Wonder if that is just a comfort and feel thing locating the seams. If he gets comfortable with that, and already throws his 2 seam in the low 90s at 19… When is the last time any pitching prospect gave you something to possibly drool over?

  • Steve

    I’m loving all the young kids we are developing. People complain about a lack of pitching, I don’t agree. We may not have a farm loaded with top arms, but there is a lot of potential good ones. Johnson, I believe will turn out to be extremely good. If Blackburn, Underwood, and Vizciano develop like we hope, there’s four right there. Not to mention some others as well as some of the kids we drafted this year. I know they are a few years off, but we it is what it is. I do believe any trades we make this year will bring back pitchers close to ready, which wil allow us to not rush the kids we have at the lower levels. Plus all the hitting prospects have me excited about our future.

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder how soon Johnson moves to Daytona. Be nice if Blackburn continues to pitch well and can get moved to Kane before year is over

    • BWA

      I don’t particularly mind if we don’t deal Dejesus. His option is team friendly and he will be a good guy to have around next year.

      Why hasn’t blackburn been pitching this year? Has he been in extended ST this whole time?

  • wvcubsfan

    Well Blackbeard (I know that’s not his name) is too good for that level, need to move him to Iowa tomorrow.

  • Oswego chris

    Listening to White Sox pre game yesterday and they were pounding their chests because the Sox have already signed 27 of their draft picks…the anti-Reinsdorfian in me says that’s because they always pick under slot and their own children….any idea how many guys Cubs have signed?

    I have been out of the loop for the last couple days

    • cubchymyst

      If all of the twitter messages are to be believed around 15-17 players. Only 1 player has been officially announced with their signing bonus.

    • King Jeff

      It’s a lot more than 15-17. Earlier this week, Brett pimped PSD’s Yagyu thread where he is tracking all of this, and his list is around 30 signed Cubs. Even if most aren’t official, a lot of them are in Mesa already, bragging on twitter about spending signing bonuses and what not.

      • cubchymyst

        I saw that thread, I wasn’t counting any of the guys listed in blue only green. I could be a little higher I didn’t take much time counting.

  • cubsin

    Why not Junior Lake instead of Sappelt? He’s also on the roster and bats right, is clearly outperforming Sappelt and could fill in in the infield as well.

    • cubchymyst

      Need for consistent starts. Lake needs to see in game action as often as possible. If an outfielder is called up they will likely be on the bench 2/3 of the games.

      • hansman1982

        Especially since they are getting him time at positions he hasn’t played much in the past.

        He should get a September call-up this year, I’d think.

    • cubzfan

      I think it should be Clevenger. I’d like to see some games with Clev at third and Valbuena at second. But in any case, I like Clevenger’s bat coming off the bench better than the alternatives.

  • cubzfan

    I had a great father’s day already, but it was yesterday. Went to a Family Day at Wrigley with five of my kids, and got to walk on the field for the first time, and run the bases with my daughter. We played catch for about 45 minutes. What was extra special was that three of the kids had never had on a mitt before. We adopted them from Peru about 18 months ago, and soccer (futbol) is their game. They’ve been introduced to basketball and frisbee, but showed no interest in baseball. Yesterday, we went to the store and picked out gloves, and used them for the first time in the outfield grass at Wrigley Field. The oldest particularly enjoyed it, but then he’s a natural athlete, and 13. Within a half hour he was standing on the home bullpen pitching mound and throwing strikes, and catching the ball when I threw it back to him. Really fun times.

  • MaxM1908

    I have to think that the collective facts of both Appel and Gray signing well below slot bodes well for the Cubs. Granted, Bryant has more leverage being a Junior, but the same could be said for Gray who accepted $800,000 less than slot. And despite the ability to go back to college ball, there’s no guarantee he’ll be selected this high again. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I predict Bryant signs for $5.7 million.

    • Assman22

      Bryant will sign and the Cubs have leverage too. Best case scenario for Bryant in the 2014 draft class would be the same #2 slot he was chosen at this year and he’d be a senior, so even less leverage than the little he has today. If he doesn’t sign, the Cubs would likely have two top 5 picks in next year’s draft. Bryant will sign…

      • Cheryl

        How strong is next year’s draft? If Bryant doesn’t sign and the cubs have two top five drafts, it almost seems like they’d be better off, especially if they could get two r89 pitchers.

        • Cheryl

          should be two top pitchers

        • Assman22

          Too early to say, but the top 2 pitchers have TOR potential. As of today, Cubs are sitting on the #5 pick for 2014…

          • King Jeff

            Rodon or Beede would be a great add to the system, but if they are still ranked as highly next year, the Cubs wont’ get a shot at either.
            One guy they might look at is a guy named Touki Toussaint. He’s a high school pitcher from Coral Springs. My nephew is on the JV team, so I saw him pitch a few times over the last two years. He started hitting the upper 90’s this year and he’s got a nasty curve, and a Pedro like changeup.(at least that’s what it looks like against high school kids) Wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs break the mold of avoiding HS pitchers early and take a shot with him.

            • nkniacc13

              Bryant will sign im not worried about that. As far as ’14 those 3 names along with Michael Cederoth, Trea Turner and Sean Newcomb are some of the top names I’ve see. I think the Cubs would take a HS arm high they did last year

              • Assman22

                Cubs took a HS bat last year, not an arm, although he has two. Cubs won’t take a HS arm…

                • nkniacc13

                  didn’t they take 2 hs arms in the supplemental rd?

        • Drew7

          He’s gonna sign. Remember going through this last year with Almora?

  • King Jeff

    Steve Clevenger is absolutely killing it in Iowa. If I had to pick, he’d be my next man up.

    • 5412

      Hi,

      I agree with you. Clevenger can pay multiple positions and was doing well before he was hurt.

      Regards,
      5412

  • True(ly) Blue

    I don’t understand why a pitcher with Blackburn’s ability, or any young pitcher for that matter, is only throwing 20 innings in a season. No wonder it takes forever for these kids to develop. I understand the concept of overuse and abuse but is there a situation of under use?

    • King Jeff

      He was just drafted last year, and he played for a short season team where he didn’t sign until their season was close to over. He also pitched for his high school team last year, so it’s not like he was shut down the whole year.

    • Rich H

      Blackburn was an out of HS pick and those guys normally spend the first full season in AZL or Boise. If he makes it to Kane County this year then he is ahead of the curve. Lets see him get a couple starts at Boise and truely get tested before we rush him up.

  • Carew

    Dammmit Brett, I got teary-eyed by the opening and I’m an 18 year old kid

  • The Dude

    “(The Cubs) aren’t trying to rush me, they were basically putting me somewhere I’ll succeed and feel comfortable.” -Paul Blackburn. Love this quote and this approach by the Cubs.

  • Dynastyin2017

    Happy Father’s day Brett. You have two jobs today. 1). Hug ‘The Wife’ . Often. 2). Figure out a way to frame that baseball. You will want to last forever….okay three jobs 3). Enjoy those babies.

  • PR Cajun

    Happy fathers day, home! I’d like the idea of calling up someone who play both the IF and OF like Lake or even Vitters.

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