brooks raley cubsInterestingly, the Chicago Cubs will not be replacing Scott Hairston on the roster with another positional player. At least not today.

According to multiple reports, lefty starter Brooks Raley will be called up to join the Cubs’ bullpen, which is understandably taxed after yesterday’s extra-inning, short-start effort. Indeed, need a fresh arm who can go multiple innings today is probably all this move is about. I tend to think that, if the call-up was the precursor to a starter being dealt, the Cubs would be tapping Chris Rusin as the “next” starter, rather than Raley.

HOWEVA, the exception is if today’s starter, Matt Garza, were being dealt. In that case, the Cubs would need a starter on short notice today – Rusin, who was sent down to Iowa on July 3, is not eligible to return to the Cubs until July 13 – Raley would be the guy. So, am I telling you Matt Garza is being traded today? No. I’m sure the Raley call-up really is mostly just about the taxed bullpen, and the fact that the Cubs don’t yet need another position player (they had six outfielders prior to the Hairston deal, for crying out loud).

I’ll only go this far: if you’re the Cubs, and you have to call someone up anyway, wouldn’t it be convenient to bring up a guy who can swing a start today just in case a deal for Garza materializes later in the day? The Cubs have covered themselves in that instance. And, even without a Garza move, calling up Raley is a completely defensible, reasonable move.

The most likely outcome here is that Raley comes up for a day or two, Garza makes his start (and the rumors continue to swirl as the month goes on), and the Cubs swap Raley out for a position player later this week.

I just thought I’d point out the alternative possibility, just in case.

As for who comes up when Raley is shuffled back down (again, assuming there’s no pitcher deal in the interim), it’s not like it has to be an outfielder. It also doesn’t have to be someone on the 40-man roster, since moving Hairston opened up a spot. Junior Lake is a possibility, depending on what the Cubs’ development priority is for him (i.e. regular starts at AAA, or a sniff of the bigs). Donnie Murphy would be an interesting solution, given that Cody Ransom remains the Cubs’ only backup infielder on the roster (and he might be dealt at some point). Darnell McDonald isn’t hitting. Logan Watkins should probably continue to get regular starts. Ty Wright could get a look.

We’ll see.

  • Josho

    Garza’s getting traded today? First reported by BN’s very own Brett Taylor

    • Brett


      • Kasey Ignarski

        THat was the exact thought I had this morning when I heard Raley was being called up

  • magilljl

    Although it will be fantastically awesome to not be in sell/shuffle mode this time of year, it gets kind of fun seeing and speculating on who’s getting called up/sent down/traded….if they can’t be winning and competing.

  • JulioZuleta

    Man, it has to be hard for Garza waking up and not knowing if he’s going to pitch on the day he’s scheduled. I would say there’s a 95% chance he pitches tonight but still, having that constant doubt must make it hard to focus. I guess he’s done pretty well with it though.

    On that note, there’s a thunderstorm in Chicago right now and looks like it’s going to be a rainy day. May need to look at dates for a makeup makeup.

    • Brett

      I think it has to have been difficult to do it for weeks now. Then again, he’s pitching for a big, big contract, so maybe that help keeps the focus, regardless of the team he pitches for.

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Baseball America has ranked our big three 10, 16 and 18 respectively or the midseason top 50.

  • RizzoCastro

    I say bring up Lake soon and lets see what he can do. Barney is going to play almost everyday. Castro plays everyday. LV plays 75% of the time. Ransom plays the other 25%. Lake would need to get some playing time. I think a deal with the Tigers where the Tigers get Barney and Gregg and the Cubs get Drew VerHagen RHP at AA. Then you can move LV to 2B/3B and Lake can play 3B/2B. I think the Rangers will get Garza and Soriano but it will cost a ton. Like maybe 5 of their top 20 prospects or 4 with Perez now in the Majors.

  • Cheryl

    I know you said that its more than likely its roster shuffling but with the Hairston deal and te call-up I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a deal that comes through today. For Garza to pitch on a rainy day in Chicago is asking for trouble imo. The scenario may go something like this – he’s traded before the game or he pitches three innings and pulled and Brooks takes his place.

    • Noah

      The only way you’d pull Garza after 3 innings is if a deal has in fact been agreed to (and if I’m a team dealing for Garza today I make sure it’s finalized before he hits the mound). If you pull him for no apparent reason, there will be concerns it’s due to injury. And saying that we think he’s so fragile he can’t throw more than 3 innings outside of perfect weather conditions isn’t a way to increase his trade value.

      Half of the Cubs’ bullpen is probably unavailable today (or at least the Cubs would prefer to avoid using them), with Guerrier and Strop having pitched 3 times in the last 4 days and Rondon having thrown 36 pitches yesterday.

      Raley will give the Cubs an option who can go multiple innings in the case of a blow out either direction, or can give at least one inning to give the rest of the bullpen a break in a close game.

      It’s likely just some roster magic to alleviate a recently overused bullpen, with a distant second in likelihood being that Garza will be traded today. I highly doubt the Cubs would use Raley to piggyback on a short Garza start.

    • cub4life

      the only prob with that is if he is traded befor the game he won’t pitch at all. But going with the three innings theme, he pitches 3 shutout innings with 1 hit and 4 SO and no BB then gets traded works. The Raley pitches for 4-5 maybe even 6 innings. hmmmm interesting.

    • Rebuilding

      The good news is that pitching against the White Sox lineup can only help Garza’s trade value. I would assume Raley is there “just in case” because with Villanueva in the rotation now there really isn’t anyone else who could start

  • OCCubFan

    If there are thunderstorms in the Chicago area, there might be rain delays tonight. So, of Garza pitches 1, 2, 3, 4 innings, then there is a 2-hour rain delay, you don’t send him out after play resumes.

    • Nate

      Great point. This moves makes even more sense with that in mind. I don’t think Garza gets traded today but a rain delay would cause the use of a long relief guy or the whole taxed bullpen.

    • Noah

      This is true, although my understanding is that the bad weather (which is hitting us right now) is supposed to largely pass by mid-afternoon.

  • The Show

    I would be surprised if Garza pitched today. I’m thinking this would be handled like Feldman. Traded the same day he was scheduled to pitch.

    • Jp3

      Yeah I’d like to see him dealt today before this start and not have him pulled in the 2nd inning due to forearm tightness and thus destroying his trade value not to mention future worth to us. If he’s having arm troubles 2 years in a row why would you want to resign him

  • Mak

    I think it’s time for Raley to get a good look at the major league level — as he’s holding a valuable 40 man spot. Come winter, I expect a fair amount of turnover (as the last couple years) and the FO needs to see if he can be a successful reliever.

    • Nate

      Also, for now and the future the pen needs a second lefty. Why not see what he has?

  • willis

    Bullpen is sort of taxed, no need for PHing for a pitcher in tonight’s game, Raley can work out of the pen as needed. That’s all it is. I would expect he’ll be sent back down tomorrow or Wednesday. It makes sense after Saturday and Sunday’s bullpen use. A few guys are probably unavailable tonight so they needed an arm.

    • On The Farm

      I think Raley is an “insurance policy”. The hope is that Garza pitches 7+ innings tonight so hopefully that gives the pen some rest, but if not you have Raley availible to give you some innings. Also Garza is scheduled to pitch tonight, and his next outing is slated for Saturday, I think Raley will be up all week because if by chance Garza is traded before his next Saturday start, Rusin isn’t able to be recalled until the day he would start. It probably makes it a little easier to have a guy who could start already on the team, rather than worry about getting Rusin to Chicago in time for a start.

      Just another thought.

  • Diamond Don

    Maybe the Cubs are showing what Raley has to another team who might be interested in trading for him as part of larger Garza, Soriano or Gregg trade.

  • babe ruth

    anybody follow Josh Donaldson from the A’s? he’d the catcher we traded for Harden, and he’s tearing up the league right now.

    • Josh

      We don’t like to mention him around here it just makes everyone sad

    • Rebuilding

      Donaldson has turned out far better than anyone could have expected. At the time he was a catcher that really couldn’t catch. Harden was an integral part of some pretty good teams – it’s just the kind of thing that happens with prospect trades

      • On The Farm

        Agreed, 2008 Harden was downright filithy. Sadly the GIDP statistic really hurt us in the ARZ NLDS. I know I had game four tickets to that series.

    • another JP

      That transaction is a perfect example of what the Cubs will look like in several years. The Harden trade was made quite a while ago when the Hendry regime only cared about short term results and our farm system was nothing more than a way to acquire veteran players. Donaldson took a while to develop but the As are enjoying his success right now, much like we hope to see guys like Hendricks or Pineyro mowing down batters in several years.

    • The Show

      A move like that shows the difference between Beane and Hendry.

      • another JP

        I hear ya on that-

    • ssckelley

      The Cubs were in a win now mode, the main trade piece the A’s got in return never panned out (Sean Gallagher). This is why the Cubs are making deals as a seller, you never know which player they are getting back that could be our future Josh Donaldson.

      • On The Farm

        Some prospect evaluators had Donaldson as a top 10 organizational guy at the time of the trade which means he was probably just as important as an inclusion in the trade as Gallagher, and Patterson was a good prospect at the time as well.

        Sharma had a couple tweets about it during the Oakland series about.

        • ssckelley

          Donaldson was in the middle of a horrible season and being a top 10 prospect in the Cubs organization back then did not mean much. If I remember correctly Patterson was ranked pretty high as well.

          Bottom line my point is that you have to give value in order to get value in return, Harden had a hand in the Cubs winning the division that year and 5 years later the A’s ended up with a pretty good 3rd baseman. Hopefully the Cubs are now on the other end of these types of trades.

          • Cedlandrum

            It is hard when a guy has flamed out to defend them, but Eric Patterson was a pretty good prospect. It is easy to forget, but he was in AA in his first year in the minors and AAA in his second. His numbers weren’t bad he just never established himself as a big leaguer.

            It wasn’t an awful top 10 in 2007 in retrospect. Not great, but not awful.

            3. Gallagher- He was ranked too high. He is still just 27 years old believe it or not.
            4. Patterson
            5. Colvin
            6. Donaldson
            7. Veal
            8. Samardzija
            9. Ceda (Hasn’t pitched since 11′ still just 26 years old)
            10. Tony Thomas.

            Of the top 10 All but Thomas made the bigs. Soto had a few really good years, Colvin a couple of good years, Donaldson- great year this year, Samardzija- could be really good.

            All in all not a bad top 10, but obviously not great. Next 10 were really thin, but Petrick, Hart, Clevenger, Fox and Fuld all were big leaguers of some sort in their career.

            • ssckelley

              Of that top 10 technically only Donaldson and Samardzija are having an impact at the MLB level. I still do not have a problem with Hendry making that deal in 2008. Harden was one of the top prizes at the trade deadline and I remember Cub fans, myself included, being very excited to get him.

              Again this proves why we should be patient with what the Cubs FO is doing today. While the moves they are making are hurting the team this year you never know the impact of trades like this can have on future teams. Perhaps a Donaldson will emerge.

  • North Side Irish

    Short profile on Watkins…hoping to see him in September… ‏@MiLB 2m
    After another slow start, @IowaCubs’ Logan Watkins has been one of the @Cubs’ best Minors hitters since June started:

  • Jason Powers

    I think Raley will be given a shot to stick by July’s end. He’s got 500 IP in the minors, basically 3 full seasons. He’s not regressed horribly, just gives up too many hits/9 and strikeouts too few. But, might catch magic in a bottle. Once Garza goes, he’s a plug to the season ends. Not trying to compete, trying to see what we got that is servicable, flippable, and in the long-term plan.

    Hairston wasn’t. LHP are – if they find their niche.

    • Nate

      Only once Garza once traded and until Baker comes up in August. The starters should be Samardzija, Wood, Shark, Baker, Villanueva unless someone else is traded.

      • Nate

        Sorry: Jackson, Wood, Samardzija, Baker, Villanueva

        • On The Farm

          and there is you’re correction. I hope Rusin and Raley get some chances to start, Baker is basically a month and a half rental at this point. Unless the FO thinks they can resign him to another team friendly deal I hope he doesn’t take too many opprotunities (I know their are future FA implications to deal with here).

          • Noah

            I have a feeling the Cubs will be able to re-sign Baker cheaply if they want to quite easily. If he wants a long term deal, he’s going to need to show teams he can hold up over a full season.

            • On The Farm

              I hope you’re right because I think he could be a really good/affordable rotation piece next year.

            • Jason Powers

              I would not count on Baker for either. If the FO has, it will keep that quiet. Let’s say this:

              We need auditions for contracts:
              Baker needs to throw 5 starts in September and throw well enough to prove velocity and breaking stuff.

              Raley and Rusin might split: 1 BP guy, 1 arm in the rotation. Do we really need to see more Villanueva to know what we got? He’s a swing guy that does not complain. That’s refreshing.

      • On The Farm

        Man you have Samardzija and Shark starting twice in a five day period. He is on a whole other level as a pitcher if he can do that.

        • ChrisW

          Learned to pitch LH?

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Oh, and for the record: I much prefer getting Raley as another right-handed bat to getting Franceour!

  • JulioZuleta

    Daytona is playing a very early game. Matt Loosen has a non-no through 7. The team twitter feed just linked the radio broadcast. Not sure what his pitch count is, hopefully it’s low enough that he’ll get a chance to finish it. Jinxes are stupid.

    • JulioZuleta


      • North Side Irish

        Still going through 8…

        Daytona Cubs ‏@daytonacubs 25s
        Matt Loosen through 8IP: 0H 0R 0ER 2BB 8K … Cubs still up 7-0. Tune in live on or WSBB on TuneIn

        • X the Cubs Fan

          1 out left

          • X the Cubs Fan

            1 strike left

            • X the Cubs Fan

              No HITTERRRRRRRR

            • Cedlandrum

              Oh wow I was way too excited about a minor league no hitter. Think I scared the crap out of some of my co-workers.

              • willis

                Hahaha me too. This is pretty sweet. Congratulations to Matt Loosen on a dominant start. It’s foreshadowing of Garza tonight??

              • X the Cubs Fan

                Yeah I was on the edge of my seat when the guy said line drive and the excitement when Bijan Rademacher made the catch.

        • DaveY

          Thanks for the link North Side Irish. I just heard the last 3 outs.

    • ssckelley

      Nice, now which team wants to trade for him?


  • Ivy Walls

    Garza is the main focus, now that Nolasco and Feldman were dealt to pretender/contenders the true suitors are now and therefore we might see Garza skipped and Raley starting against one of the worst teams in MLB, the free falling Chicago White Sox—ha…

    I could see the Cubs making minor roster moves almost simultaneously, like trading Sapelt and someone like Vitters to KC for Fracouer, some lower 20 level prospect like Almonte or Dwyer and KC Intl signing $$ while Cubs taking on Fracouer’s salary.

    Cubs then could add Lake to the 40 man and have a RH bat off the bench and better defensive player for late innings. Moving Vitters would allow the Cubs to move Zapenas or Alcantara to AAA up and open up another 40 man roster spot.

    • Ivy Walls


      Francouer and Lake is already on the 40 man.

      I think Sapelt is a throw away and Lake a better utility option once he is ready to stick. Francouer is another throw away and if the Cubs could cut a deal where they take some salary for Intl signing slot $$ while trading off a number one

  • Alex S.

    After his million years in the organization, I’d love to see Ty Wright get a call up. It’s not like they’d have a problem getting him through waivers on the way back down…

  • Kenster

    Oakland DFA’d Adam Rosales.. That’s the type of guy I feel like the FO would pick up so I wouldn’t be surprised if they claim him.
    Otherwise I would like to see Ty Wright but if they go with an IF Junior Lake. Gut feeling is Donnie Murphy will be added

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