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jorge soler cubsThe Cubs blanked the Cardinals last night 3-0, thanks to a couple RBI singles by Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo, and a solid pitching performance from Chris Rusin (and James Russell, Blake Parker, Pedro Strop and Kevin Gregg).

  • The win brought the Cubs to within 15 games of the Cardinals in the NL Central, which is at once a joke, and a commentary on the NL East, where the Braves lead the second place Nationals by 15.5 games. The Cubs trail the division-leading Pirates by 19 games, however.
  • Jorge Soler, recovering from a stress fracture in his tibia, will be examined in Chicago on Monday to determine his progress, per Cubs.com. Soler is now within the window in which it was hypothesized he could return to action, but everyone already seems to be talking about the Arizona Fall League (October) rather than him seeing some action before the minor league seasons end later this month. Hopefully that’s simply because the AFL is fun to talk about (and it is), and not because it’s already a forgone conclusion that Soler will not play again this season. Whether he returns this month or not, the AFL is a strong possibility for Soler, who has very limited game action over the last few years, thanks to injury and defection.
  • In the same Cubs.com piece, Jed Hoyer notes that Kris Bryant – currently destroying at Boise – is a candidate for a promotion soon. I’d expect to see him at Kane County or Daytona soon to finish out the year. That Cubs.com piece is actually a great read on a variety of prospect-related topics, including thoughts from Hoyer on AAA starter Kyle Hendricks.
  • It also has an estimate on Albert Almora’s return from his latest injury (groin), which is about 10 to 14 days. The article says that Almora is a candidate for the AFL, which would be something of a surprise, given his youth. Per league rules, only one of Soler or Almora could be in the AFL, however, as only one player below the AA level (player has to be in AA by August 1) is permitted per organization. There’s also this rule, which would seem to exclude both players: “To be eligible, players on Minor League disabled lists must be activated at least 45 days before the conclusion of their respective seasons.” I’m pretty sure that’s, like, not accurate, or is some kind of oversimplification. You’re telling me a guy is ineligible if he misses a week in late July with a sore back? That doesn’t make any sense – and would definitely exclude Soler from participating, and no one has suggested he cannot – so I’m pretty much ignoring that rule. In fact, as I think about it, that makes me question all of the roster rules listed on that page. Maybe Almora and Soler both could be eligible, and the entire list of rules on that page are dated, ill-written, or flat-out incorrect.
  • Wherever they wind up playing, both Almora and Soler are candidates to play in some post-season league, given the time they’ve missed. It might be the prospect-laden AFL, or it might be a Winter League in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela.
  • Dioner Navarro is not expected to head to the disabled list today, after the team doctor diagnosed him with a Grade One ankle sprain, following that nasty collision at the plate with Chase Utley. Navarro must be some kind of super beast to have suffered only a minor ankle sprain on that play.
  • Cerambam

    I missed Navarros collision. Anyone know where I can find the video

    • Tobias

      you should be able to see the video on the Cubs website.

      • HCS

        The video is actually embedded in the article linked in the 3rd bullet. Hope that helps.

    • Funn Dave

      It was brutal. They had to stop play for quite some time.

  • http://radioaffliction.blogspot.com The RadioGuy

    AFL= Arizona Fall League!
    When I saw the headline I thought Australian Rules Football and I thought that was weird.
    My Bad!

  • cubmig

    I need to say this: I loved the whoopin’ the Cubs put on the deadbirds last night. Here’s
    hoping to seeing the “crybabies” get sent home again—-wings clipped and all.

  • ssckelley

    I wonder if that “at least 45 days” applies to being active in at least part of the last month and a half. So perhaps Almora is eligible since he was active at least part of 45 days out but Soler is not since he has been on the DL the entire time. The rule might be to prevent teams from using the AFL to rehab players.

    • Scotti

      Soler still has a shot to be activated and fit in the 45 day window…

      • ssckelley

        how? there is not 45 days left in the season

        • Scotti

          My read is that he doesn’t need to be active FOR the final 45 days (again, as Brett pointed out, that would be a stupid rule–a kid is DL’d for a week a month and a half before the season ends because he has a slight sprain and can’t go? That’s nuts) but, rather, just IN the final 45 days (if a kid isn’t active for 45 straight days he would need spring training (like Bryant needed), not the AFL).

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            This explanation makes sense to me, and, if accurate, is poorly reflected in the linked set of rules.

            • Scotti

              Yeah, making sure that a kid is game ready keeps the quality of the AFL high. Keeping out a top prospect because he had a boo boo a month+ ago doesn’t. Odds are great that it’s just poor writing.

          • ssckelley

            Ok, that makes sense.

            • Jason

              The Cubs will not have any coaches represented in the 2013 Arizona Fall League. We do have a trainer. Whether this makes a difference in whom we send–maybe. Our instructional league down the street will have all of our minor league coaches and all of our co-ordinators 6 days a week . But I can not recall ever a player in azf one season and then participating in instructs anytime after—so Baez is a lock.

  • ssckelley

    In case anybody missed it Bogusevic did make a start in Arizona last night. He went 1-4 with 2 SO and a walk.

  • N.J. Riv

    What’s the popular opinion on where Solar starts next season? Daytona for a short period then Tennessee? Or should he just start off at Tennessee? He pretty much dominated the first month or so, and he was having a decent season until the injury, especially for playing with the injury since spring training.

    • DarthHater

      Back to Daytona for at least a month or two.

      • Scotti

        Spring training should decide. If he’s ready for AA sending him to A+ wastes not only development time but time on the clock (he signed a MLB–you don’t save money by keeping him down). If he’s got quality AB in spring training and isn’t over matched in some MLB games then challenge him at AA. If he doesn’t show you quality AB or is over matched by tougher competition, then put him in A+.

    • Bilbo161

      I’d like to see Soler start out at AA next season. Also think Bryant should spend most of the year at AA. Maybe all of it if he finishes well this year at Daytona (depending on promotion soon). All of the top prospects need to be continually challenged untill they hit a snag. Then we wait for them to adjust.

    • ssckelley

      Soler was hitting his way towards a promotion before his injury put him on the DL. Keep in mind his injury happened in spring training so he was playing through it the entire time. I do not think Soler has anything left to prove at Daytona. Unless he comes out struggling next spring training I think he should be assigned to Tennessee.

  • Jason

    ss: I have been at AFL and do not recall anyone rehabbing there. Unless he starts play now say in Mesa Rookie league and then moves up–may be a problem. Even so I wonder if the very competitive fall league would be appropriate–instructional league games are competitive and he could get a lot of times at bat there. Only 5 cubs on Mesa solar sox so Solar would not play every game anyhow–other teams involved with Sox so you can not get every game play. Come to Mesa and for about a hundred bucks season ticket with 6 weeks of best prospects from every team in majors here. Maybe a hundred fans or less daily in the very nice spring training stadiums that seat 12,000–just scouts and gen mgrs. and retired players–never know who you will meet and get to talk too. Coaching staffs for all teams are top notch.

    • Scotti

      Soler should play against the best competition the Cubs can get him in front of and the AFL is it. Fewer AB against better competition is better than more AB against weaker competition.

    • ssckelley

      I was not suggesting anyone ever rehabbed in the AFL but trying to guess as to why they have that 45 day rule.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Saw an article that Navarro tapes his ankles when playing catcher. It probably saved him a break or severe sprain or ligament tear. Maybe all catchers should take this preventive step when playing at the professional level.

  • Stevie B

    Rusin looked very good. With Hendricks looking solid in AAA we might just have a solid,young, back of the rotation.
    We have several # 3 candidates….add an ace through free agency and there you have it.

    It’s that simple….right?

    • nkniacc13

      and Ace pitchers come on the market so often

      • Stevie B

        Should have added or via trade….?

    • Ivy Walls

      Now:

      Wood, 26 an All Star calibur
      Samardzija 28, probably trade inventory w/2 yrs arbitration
      Jackson, 30, three years contract
      Rusin 26, rookie
      Villanueva 29, one year contract remaining (considered a swing)

      Options from 40-man

      Baker, 32 60-day still recovering
      Vizcaino 23, 60-day still recovering
      Grimm, 27, AAA
      Arietta 26, AAA

      Options in AAA
      Hendricks 24, AAA

      One has to say that Cubs have two bona fide long term options for starters in the rotation for 2014, Arietta (spring) and Hendricks (mid season), with a wing and prayer regarding Baker. Vizcaino if he comes back will probably go to the bullpen.

      One could see conceivably see Wood, Samardzija, Arietta, Rusin and Hendricks making up the rotation next summer with Villanueva swinging in on injuries or a trade. IF IF IF Baker recovers and can start he could be next year’s Feldman, while Samardzija next year’s Garza.

  • Rebuilding

    Couldn’t the Cubs get around the one player below AA rule by simply promoting one of the two to AA for the last game of the season?

    • Rebuilding

      Whoops. Just saw the August 1 deadline

  • Funn Dave

    According to the Arizona Fall League’s Wikipedia page, each team can have two, not one, players below AA. Am I missing something or is the page outdated? Says the page, “Each club can opt to send two players below Double-A.”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It would not surprise me if either page is outdated. I’m a big Wikipedia booster, but I posted only the rules listed on the AFL’s site. If inaccurate, they need to be updated.

      • Funn Dave

        Thanks Brett. Here’s hoping the Wikipedia page is the accurate one!

      • Ivy Walls

        Well last year Cubs had Baez, A level, plus Silva and Szczur (both recently promoted to AA, Szczur had 35 games total and Silva had 20 games total, there are 23 games remaining, Cubs conceivably could have Soler go to rehab in AZ and then reassign him retroactively to Aug 1 to AA and have him play 20 games like Silva who was promoted on Aug 11 last year.

        • Scotti

          IIRC, there’s a foreign exception and Silva would have qualified as the foreign exception. Szczur seemed to fit in without an exception. That leaves Baez as the below AA exception. I’m also thinking that they’d give teams latitude as long as things are close but maybe that’s just how I would run it.

          • Jason

            You are correct Scotti. There is some latitude but just a bit. Roland Hemond who envisioned this league years ago is one of the problem solvers and believe me, there are a lot of disputes. A Giant coach who managed Scottsdale Scorpions a few years ago told me–Hell, no. He would never do it again. Between Gm’s and asst. Gm”s and club presidents and agents and spoiled brat prospects all wanting playtime, it can be a mess. But from a baseball addict perspective it is a wonderful 6 weeks..

  • Hawkeye2434

    Watched Arrieta pitch last night. Couldn’t locate his fastball and couldn’t get a breaking ball over, several bounced a few feet in front of the plate. I thought the ump was squeezing him and apparently he did also as he got ejected for jawing with the ump after he was taken out. On a positive note though Coleman came in and threw well.

  • Blublud

    Was just doing my weekly check in on our top prospects and took a look at Javy Baez stats over the last week.

    31 PA
    28 AB
    14 H
    3 BB (9.6 %)
    5 SO (16.1 %)
    9 RBI
    5 R

    .500/.548/.645/1.293

    SSS, I know, but he has been trending this way for a few weeks now. Looks like the kids is figuring AA out and is now moving himself closer to the “can’t miss project” category.

    • Blublud

      Prospect, not project.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      I agree, Baez has really taken a step forward this year. I did not really see this coming.

  • Kevin

    Lake is exciting to watch. I know it’s early but he’s holding up fairly well after a great start.

  • Die hard

    Josh Johnson would be an interesting addition and Toronto may be willing to kick in some dollars… He could stabilize staff

  • Blublud

    Welly Castillo is hitting .278/.355/.381/.736. Not great numbers, and not the numbers I expected from him, but I can’t think of a few teams that would love this pruduction from their catcher, not to mention he has become very good defensively, yet people here are always talking bout how much we need a catcher.

    • Blublud

      Can, not can’t.

    • Jimmy James

      He has outperformed my expectations….

    • Funn Dave

      We need more depth at catcher, but not necessarily a new starting catcher. I’m fine with Castillo/Navarro for now.

  • William

    I would love to see Hendricks get a chance in our rotation this year. I do not want to see Villanueva start anymore games.

  • William

    Granted, Villanueva is not terrible, but I want to see our younger guys get a shot.

  • KidCubbie

    Sorry if someone has already posted this but CJ Edwards has 8k through 3.2 IP. Also 4 walks but the kid is for real.

  • Kevin

    Barney comes through in the clutch!

  • Kevin

    Navarro too, this is sweet!

  • Blublud

    Say what you will about Darwin Barney’s season and the existence/non-existence of clutch, that seem to always come up with a big hit.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Barney just added about 1 WAR to his season total…extend him quick!!!

    • Diesel

      I was looking and I think barney had a higher WAR than pujols or hamilton in 2012. Just sayin. But then again I have always liked him

  • Jason P

    Every spot in the Cubs order has reached base tonight. Nice to see.

  • Blublud

    I’m not saying Lake is this good, but his approach at the plate says to me that he will be an above average offensive player going foward. I have seen very few bad at-bats from him.

    • Kevin

      Lake brings a lot of energy to this team.

    • Jason P

      I’m still skeptical. From left or right field, he’d have to out-produce what he’s done offensively at any level of the minors to even be average. Tonight was encouraging, but the BB% still stinks, the K’s aren’t quite where you want them, and his approach hasn’t been great with men on (.596 OPS with guys on-base).

      • cub2014

        i think Lake has to be a centerfielder, there offensively
        he would be a plus. He has the glove,speed and the
        arm he just needs to play there. He looked pretty good
        when he played there. Keeping in it warm for Almora

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Jason, go look up Soriano’s minor league stats. Then look up Soriano’s first few years of major league play. Not saying they are the same, but 100 PAs aren’t enough to label Lake yet. He could grow into some power.

        • Kyle

          Did Soriano have a normal minor league career? Didn’t he go play in Japan or something?

          • Emil

            Soriano quit Japan because of the long practice hours and devotion to fundamentals. True-look it up.

            • mjhurdle

              yep, nothing about the fact that he wanted a raise from the 40K a year he was making mentioned in your post.

              I’m going to assume that was just ignorance on your part, and not some attempt to discredit Soriano based on some slanted tale.

      • Kyle

        IF Lake can keep his Ks down to 22%-ish, and IF he can become as good of an outfielder as his raw tools suggest, he can be a useful player. I think a lot of Cubs fans are excited by the hits that are falling in right now and glossing over the long-term, but there’s certainly potential there.

  • cub2014

    moscoso gets the win for the giants that
    should help us with the PTBNL

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      I highly doubt that it will. Even if it is dependent entirely upon performance, there is no way they included something so context dependent as wins.

      • cub2014

        playing well can definitely enhance
        the PTBN in return

        • Timothy Scarbrough

          It definitely can depending on what the agreement was before hand. But, pitchers win is a worthless measure of individual value, and the quality of the PTBNL will not be dependent upon it.

  • John

    How about a promotion at the end of the year for the Boise pitching coach. What hes done or whatever hes doing with Dillon Maples is working, Only 1 walk in 5 innings tonight and only 4 in his last 23 innings pitched compared to 31 walks in 34.2 inning pitched in Kane County.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Too bad BN has been off, seems ex-Card Jack Clark called out ex-Card Albert Pujols. Fairly or not, we should be circumspect of the validity of Albert’s forthcoming lawsuit against Clark. Pujols was being bantered around back in 2008-9 about alleged usage stemming from a Chris Mihlfeld connection, a former Pujols trainer, who was [then falsely] connected to Jason Grimsley in a Federal affadivit. (Or was it just a lack of evidence?)

    Somehow, I don’t think Clark is wrong. Seems odd for Jack Clark, someone I hadn’t thought of in 20 years, would just do this for the stunt of promotion. He must feel he’s right about it. And Bonds certainly had his trainer, Greg Anderson, willing to lie about it…did jail time to boot…so, Chris ain’t gonna snitch for no reason, and with no pressure to do otherwise.

    Lance Armstrong sued a few teammates, therapists, et. al. to hide his usage. So, the story will continue…on PEDs/steroids.

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/eye-on-baseball/23082071/former-mlber-jack-clark-accuses-albert-pujols-of-using-peds

    How would Cubs fans feel if they knew Albert Pujols was every bit the juicer A-Rod was? Would that rivalry heat up? Have a beef to cultivate with those arrogant Cardinals fans?

    • http://It'searly Mike F

      You have to look at the LaRussa Cardinals. Lots of crabs, but we had one to in Sammy Sosa… The difference I think is how more and more of the LaRussa teams show a model of body type and other tell tale signs of juice. We have to at least consider, like Nomar some of Pryor’s troubles could have been from juice. It does work and seems to work longer with advances, but the coast longer term are said to be high and we’ll seek in 10 years what MM, SS, and Bonds health looks like. Bonds was the most advanced juicer, so it’ll be interesting.

      • Emil

        Soriano got away with it. Look up 2003 mlb list and there he is.

    • mjhurdle

      having listened to Jack Clark on the radio here in STL, he is exactly the type of guy to make stuff up for promotion sake.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Well, Jack wasn’t there long now was he. Like 1 week…So, in that one week we’ve passed judgment pretty quickly, from those 7 total broadcasts and ESPN recounting of Clark’s past of what usually happens in baseball – people not always liking each other…

        I guess if Jack’s eventual lawyer calls in Chris Mihlfeld, deposes him, to see what he’ll say, that will decide how far this goes. Because InsideSTL Enterprises – WGNU station ownership- is the deeper pockets (ha ha) for Albert Pujols to chase. Likely, he has more cash than all the defendants put together in this case. Let’s see if a settlement gets reached, or this gets to the court room. Betting the former, wishing the latter.

  • jt

    Early in the year The Cubs showed that an average team with a bad pen is not an average team.
    The Cards are now showing that a good team with a bad pen is not a good team.

  • Chris

    I was at the cubs, cards game tonight and I must say that the cards definitely do not have nearly the best fans in the league. They were awful, trying to right everyone. Half the stadium left before the ninth even started……

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