Thank you for the early support with the BN Blogathon fundraiser, for which you have already – incredibly – donated more than $3,000 to Make-A-Wish with the goal of sponsoring the wish of a young Cubs fan. It’s a hell of a great start, but we’ve got a little way to go if you want to see me blog for 30 or 36 straight hours at the Trade Deadline.
- No one seems to know what’s up with Steve Clevenger – not even Steve Clevenger. The Cubs catcher/utility player has been rehabbing a serious oblique injury, which he suffered earlier this year with the Cubs. From there, he worked his way back in Mesa, and spent a rehab stint at AAA Iowa. That stint ended, but Clevenger had some kind of setback, and was the officially optioned to Iowa. Since then, it’s been a little fuzzy what’s going on, but Clevenger was sent back to the hotel before last night’s Iowa game, according to Tommy Birch. Clevenger says he doesn’t know what’s going on, but it apparently isn’t for a call-up. He says he was told he should await a phone call on what comes next.
- It’s notable that the international signing period opens up today, and international pool money – which the Cubs may want to acquire, and for which a player like Clevenger could net a small chunk – is officially available to be traded today. Based on the oblique recovery stuff, I would have simply assumed Clevenger was in the process of being sent back to Arizona for more rehab. But maybe it is a trade after all.
- Carrie Muskat offers a big profile on Cubs hitting coach James Rowson, with discussion of Rowson’s approach, Starlin Castro’s development, and Anthony Rizzo’s adjustments.
- Kane County Cougars broadcaster Wayne Randazzo interviewed Cubs Director of Player Development Brandon Hyde.
- Boise Hawks outfielder, and former Cuban defector, Yasiel Balaguert is dominating at short season Low-A, and, as Luke mentioned in the Minor League Daily, he was the Northwest League’s most recent Player of the Week. Balaguert, 20, is hitting .262/.378/.557 so far this year, and you may remember that Balaguert was a well-regarded Cuban prospect when the Cubs signed him a year and a half ago (though not in the same class as a Jorge Soler, however). This is a young man to watch.
- Javier Baez missed out by something like 1% in the fan vote for the Futures Game (but maybe he’ll be added to the roster as players – like Jorge Soler – drop off due to injury or whatever), losing out to Astros prospect Carlos Correa.
- In case you missed the late night coverage, the Cubs appear to be on the verge of trading Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers, and there are updates aplenty there. Theo Epstein was on Dave Kaplan’s new show on WGN radio last night, and, although he’s never going to say, “Yeah, we’re trading Marmol to the Dodgers and it’s just getting finalized,” he did say that there might be a deal in the works, but, if it’s finalized, it won’t be a big trade. He said that it’s just about getting Marmol a change of scenery. So … yeah. A trade is coming, barring a last second hiccup (which you can never rule out).
- I also talked to Baseball Prospectus’s Jason Parks yesterday about a huge range of Cubs topics. The post went up late last night to make it in time for the opening of today’s international signing period, so check it out if you missed it. Jason offered some great stuff.