Onward (sometimes I draw a blank up here) …
- The Cubs’ front office will soon meet with Dale Sveum to discuss possible September call-ups, per Cubs.com. For those who don’t know, in September, the 25-man roster expands to include anyone on the 40-man roster (as in, you can bring up anyone on the 40-man that you’d like, regardless of the previous 25-man roster limit). Plausible call-ups include Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm, Brooks Raley, JC Boscan (most teams go to three catchers in September), and Dave Sappelt. Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson are also possible, but each probably needs to just keep playing to make up for lost time. Matt Szczur and Christian Villanueva are still probably a bit too green to come up, and Mike Olt probably needs to keep working on whatever issues are plaguing him right now (being further exposed at the big league level won’t do much for his confidence). I’m not sure the Cubs will want Alberto Cabrera to get too many more innings, and I’m not sure Trey McNutt is long for the 40-man. Logan Watkins is already in Chicago, so he’s not really a “September call-up,” but he would have been considered.
- Otherwise, we could see a few guys come off of the DL (Brian Bogusevic, Ryan Sweeney, Luis Valbuena), and could see the Cubs finally add Scott Baker, if his rehab is completed in the next few weeks. In other words, short of Arrieta and Grimm both being inserted into the rotation, I don’t know that there’s going to be a ton to get excited about – in terms of seeing new-ish, young players – when rosters expand.
- There is also, of course, the possibility that the Cubs could add a player or two to the 40-man roster and bring them up. Given how tight the 40-man figures to be this offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only players under serious consideration for addition to the 40-man in September are guys that the Cubs might need to add anyway to avoid Rule 5 Draft eligibility. (If the Cubs add a guy now whom they don’t otherwise have to add, he eats up a 40-man spot all offseason or he gets waived and could be plucked from the Cubs.) Per Arizona Phil over at TCR, there are quite a few interesting guys that project to be Rule 5 eligible this year, including Arismendy Alcantara, Eric Jokisch, Gioskar Amaya, and more. This will all make for some very difficult decisions come November, but the Cubs could make a couple of the decisions in September.
- Theo Epstein remains firmly in Jeff Samardzija’s corner, regardless of a stretch of rough starts. “I want him to continue to grow as a pitcher and continue to develop the consistency, which is the last remaining hurdle for him,” Epstein said, per CSN. “He’s got tremendous stuff and tremendous makeup. Really, the only thing separating him from being the pitcher we believe he can be is consistency, taken to the mound every time.” The Cubs will presumably work on extending Samardzija this offseason.
- Marc Hulet offers a scouting report on pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks, who had one of his worst outings this year in his second start at AAA yesterday (4 ER, 8 H, 3 BB in 5 IP (but 7 K)). The conclusion is a familiar one: lots of polish, lots of pitches he can command, not dominate stuff, and a Number 4 future.
- More on recently-promoted first baseman Dan Vogelbach (who immediately homered at High-A Daytona) from CSN.
- One scout, in speaking with Carrie Muskat, likened 18-year-old Taiwanese pitching prospect Jen-Ho Tseng (whom the Cubs signed for $1.625 million) to netting an additional compensatory draft pick (i.e., just after first round).
- Ernie Banks was honored at last night’s game, on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.