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aaron cunningham padresPerhaps it’s the dreamer in me, but I’ve always enjoyed writing about and deconstructing minor league signings. No, they almost never pay off, and, even when they do, it’s relatively low-impact. But the deals also involve no risk, which make them the easiest kind to dream about.

Aaron Cunningham is the latest dream, a 27-year-old outfielder whom the Cubs have reportedly signed to a minor league deal. (Read that CSN piece for a superfluous, but humorous, story about Cunningham selling his car to Ice-T.)

Cunningham is well-traveled, having made stops in the White Sox’s, Diamondbacks’, A’s, Padres’, Indians’, and Rangers’ systems before now coming to the Cubs. His time in San Diego aligned with many of the Cubs’ front office members’ time there, so you can see the connection. Cunningham has actually amassed 501 plate appearances in the bigs, spread out over five seasons, and he’s hit just .219/.280/.347. To his credit, it looks like he can play all over the outfield, can hit lefties serviceably (.238/.312/.399), and appears to rate out as an above-average defensive outfielder.

Cunningham was a 6th round pick for the White Sox back in 2005, and actually was a top 100 prospect in baseball before the 2009 season. He’s got a .295/.371/.473 career minor league line, so he’s always been able to hit a little bit.

That sounds like a guy you’re happy to bring to Spring Training and see if he can win a bench job. If he can’t, he’s adequate depth at AAA, where the Cubs could be figuring out a mix of guys like Brett Jackson, Jae-Hoon Ha, Thomas Neal, Brian Bogusevic, and Matt Szczur.

  • Stu

    Isn’t it a little more interesting to point out certain facts than to always agree with the Cubs management?

    It is the sign of a healthy mind to constantly question. Always saying, well Theo is great and Jed is fantastic, blah, blah, blah gets a little boring doesn’t it?

    The fact is that will have proven nothing until they have a consistent winning team. Looking at WAR, BABIP, ERA+, etc. might be interesting to the more mathematically inclined, most fans still eventually want to see a good product at a fair price.

    The last 2 years has not been a value to the fans for the price charged. I think that there should be a stat for fans called WPD (Wins per dollar charged).

    • ETS

      Whom are you critiquing and what exactly is this a reaction to?

      • Koyie Hill Sucks

        To the fact that every move the cubs make here is looked at with a positive spin even ridiculous moves like this one and that there is a “Theo & Co know best” mentality so we won’t dare question any move or signing they make. So you find lines like this “can hit lefties serviceably (.238/.312/.399)” serviceable?? really??.. “That sounds like a guy you’re happy to bring to Spring Training and see if he can win a bench job. If he can’t, he’s adequate depth at AAA” The cubs have a plethora of shitty AAAA players, and I don’t think this guy even qualifies as AAAA, why would they be happy add another crappy player to compete for a place on the team? It really is just a reflection of the terrible talent at the major league level.

        • ETS

          – “That sounds like a guy you’re happy to bring to Spring Training and see if he can win a bench job. If he can’t, he’s adequate depth at AAA” The cubs have a plethora of shitty AAAA players, and I don’t think this guy even qualifies as AAAA, why would they be happy add another crappy player to compete for a place on the team? It really is just a reflection of the terrible talent at the major league level.–

          All teams have a plethora of AAAA players. Being happy about signing risk free players that at worst are minor league depth isn’t the same as saying this was a signing to get excited about, and our team’s success next year isn’t laying on Cunningham’s shoulders.

          I’m really struggling to see the logical connections you are attempting to make here. Are you saying you would rather Theo et al not sign any minor league contracts ever? Are you mad at Brett for saying he likes to “dream” about minor league contract working out? Everyone roots for an underdog. Brett points out himself that “No, they almost never pay off, and, even when they do, it’s relatively low-impact.”, but that doesn’t mean that an organization doesn’t need organizational fillers or should never sign these guys.

          You’re grasping for negative straws here and coming up empty.

      • Rcleven

        Last year the Cubs signed Lillybridge(A arguable AAAA player). Traded him for Cash. to the Yankees. Set up relations with Cashman for Sori trade. Little moves pay off later.

  • Sect208Row15

    It’s amazing how Brett’s reporting of this signing has people upset. Tomorrow is the season ticket holders event with Crane and Theo. I’m attending the 4:30 seminar should be interesting.

  • Aaron

    Do we want Domonic Brown of the Phillies?
    2013 STATS: Homers: 27; RBI: 83; Avg: .272 OBP: .324; SLG: .494

    Position: Outfielder
    Bats: Left, Throws: Left
    Height: 6′ 5″, Weight: 205 lb.

    Trade Castro for him?
    Trade Shark for him?

    • bbmoney

      I wouldn’t mind having Dominic Brown. But I wouldn’t trade Castro or Shark for him, and for me it’s not close.

      Wish those Soriano for Brown rumors last year had gained some traction though.

      • Voice of Reason

        A Castro offer would have to be OVERWHELMING for the Cubs to move him.

        As for Shark, if he wants to sign an extension at market value for a #3 starter then I’m not opposed to it. If he doesn’t, then starting shopping him around like a cheap whore. If the best deal before Spring Training is Dominic Brown then do it.

        Shark should bring a nice return.

  • Aaron

    bbmoney – Agreed. Soriano for Brown would have been a great trade for the Cubs. Now the Phillies are looking for pitching. David Price is their target, but perhaps Shark as well. So you wouldn’t pull the trigger on that trade? Just imagine having Big D. Brown batting behind or in front of Rizzo.

    • bbmoney

      I wouldn’t even think twice about it. Yeah Brown’s got more years of control than Shark and had a nice year. But by most accounts his a corner outfield / 1b only type who isn’t particularly good defensively in the outfield (terrible by fangraphs metrics). His bat needs to carry him completely and his bat is good, but not amazing for a LF/RF/1b type. I don’t think he’s a bad player, and I’m not entirely opposed to trading Shark, but I think the Cubs could get a lot more.

      Just my opinion though

  • Aaron

    Future outfield of Domonic Brown, Albert Amora and Jorge Soler. Looks like a ton of home runs and RBI’s.

  • jt

    Does having Aaron Cunningham in the fold make it easier to include Lake of Vitters in a trade?

  • Voice of Reason

    Its Richie’s little brother.
    Not the older brother who is chuck.

  • JM

    Perhaps the team on the north side should be called:

    San Diego Red Sox

    Chicago Padres

    Boston Cubs

    Boston Diego Red Cubs

    San Sox Cubdres

    This could go on forever…

  • YourResidentJag
  • YourResidentJag

    So, does anyone think Jay Cutler is really going to re-injure himself Sunday in Detroit?

  • YourResidentJag

    Reds to sign C Bryan Pena per Rosenthal.

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