Brooks Raley Claimed Off of Waivers by Twins – Any Implications?

brooks raley cubsThe Chicago Cubs must have decided that now was the time to try and sneak a couple guys through waivers.

According to Mark Gonzales, the Minnesota Twins have claimed lefty Brooks Raley off of waivers from the Cubs (UPDATE: Cubs confirm). Raley, 25, has seen time with the big league club each of the last two years, but his long-term future with the organization was uncertain. It had started to look like, if he was going to stick around, it was going to be in a bullpen role. But, with James Russell, Wesley Wright, Chris Rusin and Zac Rosscup in the fold, among others, it was probably going to be something of an uphill climb. In that regard, seeing Raley risked on waivers isn’t a huge surprise.

On the other hand, with Brett Marshall claimed by the Reds on waivers today, the Cubs had already opened up a spot for Jason Hammel. Why waive Raley, too? He had an option left, and the Cubs could have kept him on the 40-man until they absolutely needed a roster spot.

Perhaps it’s a signal that there’s another move on the way that requires a 40-man spot? Maybe. But more likely, as the opening line suggests, the Cubs simply felt like now was a decent time to try and slide a couple guys through waivers. No dice, apparently.

Side note: as recently discussed in the context of the Dodgers placing Scott Elbert on the 60-day DL to open up a spot for Paul Maholm, I have to wonder if the Cubs simply wanted to open up a spot for Hammel, could they have just placed Kyuji Fujikawa on the 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery)? If they could have done so, this is a further suggestion that the moves weren’t just about the roster spots, at least not immediately. Eventually, the Cubs may need a spot or two if they want to try and grab some of the inevitably available guys that are waived late in Spring Training, or if they want to add a guy or two that was brought in on a minor league deal.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

139 responses to “Brooks Raley Claimed Off of Waivers by Twins – Any Implications?”

  1. Greg

    Well there goes 2014

  2. CubFan Paul

    I was looking forward to Marshall’s 2014 campaign.

  3. cubsfan1594

    If the cubs need to add a guy they signed on a minor league deal at the end of spring training is probably what this roster spot ends up being used for

  4. brickhouse

    Raley’s days were numbered when they did not project him as a starter

  5. nate1m

    Will the Cubs keep one of them or let them both go if there isn’t another move coming?

    1. J. L.

      When another team claims a player off of waivers, he’s gone. Therefore the Cubs already lost both.

  6. Funn Dave

    Aww. Bye bye, Brooks.

  7. Kyle

    MLB roster rules are always hard to understand, but I think the Dodgers could use the 60-man DL because they had opened camp last Saturday. Cubs camp opens tomorrow.

    1. cubsfan08

      The old “got hurt moving in” trick?

  8. BlameHendry

    Good. Clear-out these future-less bums.

    1. Jon

      That’s a little harsh, no?

    2. DarthHater

      And, with that epitaph, the Bleacher Nation blog went out of business…

  9. Luke

    Phooey. Raley has a very nice curve that I suspect would have worked well out of the pen. I don’t think he was future closer material, but could have been valuable out there nonetheless.

    Still, the Cubs have a little depth in that department right now, and I suspect longer term he’d have had a hard time fending off Rosscup for that bullpen lefty job.

    1. J. L.

      I can’t get over this: Raley’s SO/9 in the minors in 2013: 6.0. Rosscup’s SO/9 in the minors in 2013: 14.6.

    2. Big City Mick

      I wouldn’t even waste a phooey on this move, wait a month and Raley will be back on waivers.

      1. Big City Mick

        Could be also the Twins plan on waiving Raley sooner, maybe they think they can slide him through waivers themselves, he did make through every NL team.

        1. Big City Mick

          Wait, that the means the Astros didn’t even want him :(

          1. coondawg

            The Astros are in the American League

  10. mportsch

    Raley and Rusin have always been similar pitchers (fringy lefties with 88-89 mph fastballs and good control), so there’s probably not a great need to keep both around.

    I was a little bit excited about Raley during his excellent 2012 campaign (split between AA and AAA), but last season’s mediocre results in AAA probably sealed his fate. He’s a fairly pure definition of a replacement-level starter at this point, and thankfully the Cubs have several better options on the depth chart.

    1. ssckelley

      I thought Raley looked pretty good coming out of the pen after he got called up last year. But you are probably right, no sense keeping both Rusin and Raley especially since there are many other lefthanded pitching options for the bullpen.

  11. cubsfan1594

    The Cubs had talked about moving Raley to the Pen wonder if Rusin gets put in that role now

    1. Mike Taylor

      Rusin would be excellent against left-handed hitters, although he did get hit really hard his last two outings vs. MIL and PIT. With Marshall gone, bullpen looks like:

      LR Villanueva
      RP Cabrera (no options)
      RP Russell (L)
      RP Wright (L)
      SU Parker
      SU Strop
      CL Veras
      CL Fujikawa (DL)

      Grimm / Rusin / Rondon / Rosscup / Vizcaino / Beeler / Ramirez

      Cabrera seems to be clogging up a solid pen if Grimm’s pitch mix is back to where it needs to be (to be effective). Villanueva was solid out of the bullpen last year.

      1. CubFan Paul

        You forgot about Lim.

        I like him over Parker.

        1. MightyBear

          WTF – Why?

      2. Lou Brown

        Didn’t I read on one of the comments in a past post that Rondon can opt for free agency if he is sent to AAA? He showed enough the second half of last year that I don’t think they would want to let him go.

        1. Brocktoon

          I believe it’s that he can opt for free agency if removed from 40 man.

          1. Kyle


            He has one option year left, so he can be optioned to AAA while staying on the 40-man.

            But if they try to remove him from the 40-man via outright waivers, he’s already been outrighted once and can opt for free agency.

      3. blublud

        If Grimm is not in the MLB bullpen, then I’m sure he’ll be starting in AAA. No need to move him off of a starting spot if he’s not helping the big team.

      4. ssckelley

        Does anyone else think that the Cubs bullpen looks much better than it did last year at this time? No more Kameron Loe, Shawn Camp, or Michael Bowdens!

        1. Napercal

          Yes. The emergence of Rondon and Strop was encouraging. I see the Cubs bullpen as more of a positive than negative this year.

        2. mjhurdle

          and we lost Marmol, who is now being stretched out to be the Marlins 4th starter, per DieHard :)

          1. TWC


          2. ssckelley

            oops, good catch….can’t believe I forgot to mention Marmol. The Cubs practically turned over their entire bullpen from the start of last year. Not many are left, Rondon & Russell I think are all that is left. Fukodome is still here but on the DL.

            1. Edwin

              I think the bullpen might be ok, but nothing special. Strop is basically 2011 Carlos Marmol, with fewer BB’s but also fewer K’s. Veras is pretty much the same thing. Both seem like they’d be better 7th inning guys than 8th/9th inning guys to me.

              1. Kyle

                It definitely should be a better bullpen, but the lack of a true shut-down high-leverage guy will probably hurt it.

        3. Diggs

          So much better. At least on paper. And deeper too — exciting to think (hope) that Vizcaino could come up at some point and dominate.

        4. Funn Dave

          Oh, no doubt. I’d say the bullpen is the only part of this team that looks better going into this year than it did going into last year.

  12. Joshua Edwards

    I guess I’m a little encouraged that fringe Cubs players are valued by other organizations, too. Reds and Twins aren’t stupid teams.

    I just wish we were past the point of trying to hang on to every “maybe” and had a few more “definitelys” to rely on. But it does appear the overall talent level in the system is improving: losing players that have perceived value due to a roster crunch is some evidence of that.

    1. Big City Mick

      Roster crunch? That might win this year’s preposterous statements tournament championship.

    2. Eternal Pessimist

      Just about every 38th – 40th player on every team is fringy.

    3. Baseball_Writes

      I actually think the Reds and Twins are two of the worst-run teams in baseball. That doesn’t mean these are bad pickups for them, though. As Luke pointed out, Raley definitely has potential, Could be a good value pickup with very low-risk.

      1. Jon

        The “Twins”? They have essentially been the Cubs for the past 3-4 years, planning/strategy and all.

      2. ssckelley

        I am sure baseball reference is getting a heavy volume of hits from the Twin Cities. Twin fans all over have to be like “who the heck is Brooks Raley?” and “why are we picking up cast offs from the Cubs?”.

        1. Big City Mick

          Yes, the general consensus from Twins fans is that this is a head scratcher. Raley is almost a carbon copy of Scott Diamond who will currently battle for the Twins 5th SP spot or LOOGY and is also out of options. IMO, Diamond won’t win the 5th spot, Deduno will, and both Diamond and Raley will be waived along with Vance Worley.

      3. Big City Mick

        I’ll give you that during the time Terry Ryan stepped away from the game and Bill Smith took over, for those few seasons the Twins made bad decisions but now that TR’s been back, he has most definitely righted the ship. The Twins are FREAKING stacked with pitching, the newest top prospect is Lewis Thorpe, a 17 year-old LHP they signed last year out of Australia that some people are comparing to a young Clayton Kershaw. I gurantee this kid will be a top-100 prospect this time next year.

  13. NorthSideIrish

    Bruce Levine reporting that the Cubs had to open roster spots for Hammel and James McDonald…I thought McDonald was a minor league deal?

    1. J. L.
  14. CubChymyst

    I would think the easiest time to move people through waivers before the season would be at the end of spring training. Simply because of the influx of players from other teams and the need to add players who were non-roster invitees who made the 25-squad. It also wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong in that guess.

    1. Eternal Pessimist

      I though even guys on minor league deals needed to be on the 40 man to be protected from poaching.

      1. Brocktoon

        Nope. only, in the offseason during the rule 5 draft if you’re not on the 40 man.

  15. D-Rock

    What does “sneak a couple guys through waivers” mean exactly? I get that they would try to claim them if they made it through with no other team claiming them, but why is this done if someone else on the Cubs was going to take their roster spot? Do the Cubs save money putting a player on waivers and them re-claiming them later?

    1. Bret Epic

      If they can “sneak” them through waivers, it means they can remain on the AAA team for the time being, instead of taking up a 40 man roster spot.

      1. D-Rock

        So, in order to send a player who is on the 40-man down to AAA, they have to be put on waivers first?

        1. Kyle

          Not exactly.

          In order to take them off the 40-man roster, they have to clear waivers without being claimed.

          In order to be put in AAA while on the 40-man roster, they have to be in an option year, and there’s a limited number of years for each player (usually 3, but in some circumstances four).

        2. Beast Mode

          Yes, but usually a team can “option” a player to the minors 3 times w/o putting him on waivers. I think. If I’m wrong I would love a clarification. Thx.

    2. Kyle

      If nobody claims them, you can outright them off the 40-man roster but still keep their rights.

  16. Diehardthefirst

    Let’s hope Theo is a better chess player than da other guys- thought Railey and Marshall would stick 2015? Shows what I know!!

    1. Patrick W.

      Finally! Something to indicate what you know!

      1. Rich H

        I just spit up my coffee. Dang it Patrick I like this shirt.

  17. Diehardthefirst

    If you can believe that time worn finger injury Seattle DL a pitcher today from spring training opening spot for ?????? Rhymes with lark and snark

    1. Big City Mick

      Can someone translate this for me?

      1. DarthHater

        Sure. Diehard. Understand now? :-P

        1. Big City Mick

          I couldn’t find that option in Google Translate. I thought maybe it could just be a dialect not native to this reality.

          1. DarthHater

            It’s a dialect combining features of Russian and Yiddish, known as “Rubbish.”

    2. CubsFaninMS

      Can we label this post “DieHardwithaVengeance”?

      1. Big City Mick

        I still can’t figure out his riddle, I think he’s saying the Mariners just placed a player on the DL due to a worn finger because they plan on signing a free agent with a name that rhymes with lark or snark. But none of Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, or Ubaldo Jimenez rhyme with snark. It’s as if he gets his information using a glass to listen through a door.

        1. D-Rock

          I think I’ve solved the riddle! The M’s might be more willing to trade for Shark which rhymes with snark and lark, since one of their best pitchers is out for the first part of the season. Am I right?

          Per Rotoworld: Hisashi Iwakuma won’t throw for 4-6 weeks due to a strained tendon in his right hand.

          1. Patrick W.

            15 seconds. You beat me by 15 seconds!

            1. D-Rock

              Damn, we’re good.

              1. Patrick W.


                1. DarthHater

                  Dammit, Patrick. Now I’ve got hand smudges all over my monitor.

                  1. Patrick W.

                    At least they should cover up the lip imprints.

                    1. DarthHater

                      No, no lip imprints. Yet. But if Diehard ever gets an avatar, I make no guarantees!

          2. Big City Mick

            There it is, thanks guys. It’s not like I’m new to this site, it’s just, this is the first time I’ve seen Diehard have anything useful to say but I couldn’t understand him.

        2. Patrick W.

          Actually, this is cryptically the best post I’ve seen from Diehard. 1: Mariners have shut down Iwakuma for 4-6 weeks before he can start throwing because of a strained tendon in his right middle finger. 2: The Mariners might now be a more legit trade candidate for Samardzija.

          1. D-Rock

            Agreed. Nice work, diehard.

    3. ChrisFChi


      1. DarthHater

        I think it must be Chan-Ho Park.

    4. Jon

      Diehard just mind-f*ked you all.

  18. Mike

    Maybe they need the roster space for some other fringy guy like Bonafacio?

    1. Coldneck

      I sure hope not.

      1. Mike

        Clearing roster space to go on a fringe binge like the tend to do. We need more 5th OF, platoon options and AAA roster fillers, right?

  19. Coldneck

    Perhaps this is just Theo and Jed playing nice to a couple fringe prospects. Its quite possible that the Cubs don’t see a role for Marshall or Raley and released them this early to give them a chance to make another team. Releasing them all the way through spring training kind of sucks for the player.

  20. NorthSideIrish

    I think the Cubs waived Raley to open up a roster spot to reclaim Marshall next week when the Reds try to sneak him through waivers.

    1. blublud

      Then you know, they could have just waived Daley and not had to deal with that.

  21. Jason P

    He didn’t make it very far down the waiver line. Interesting how a soft-tosser who never had anything more than modest minor league success was scooped up so quickly.

    1. ssckelley

      He did show signs of a fairly good curve ball. Plus lefties are notorious for being late bloomers.

      But it is kinda neat other teams are wanting the Cubs castoffs. I have been saying all along that I thought our 40 man roster has been improving.

      1. Jason P

        Yeah, I guess it’s nice, but most of our 40-man roster is filled with (A) prospects not yet ready to contribute or (B) guys worth a roster spot but not a starting spot.

  22. josh ruiter

    UPDATE: Iwakuma to possibly miss time early this year! If the Mariners are serious about contending, and already are playing catch up, does this further their need to acquire impact starting pitching, on a cost effective plan? Could this be a perfect storm to hit the Mariners while they are in perceived big need? Might they be willing now to part with Walker and another for Shark and another ML option such as Arrieta, Villanueva, or Travis Wood? Thoughts?

    1. Mike

      Why not just try and plug the void with Walker though? That’s an even cheaper option for them.

      1. Big City Mick

        Walker’s already penciled in the Mariners rotation, the plug in would be either Brandon Maurer OR, wait for it…Scott Baker!

      2. bonger0493

        If they were to include walker in a deal it would be for price

      3. josh ruiter

        Walker is plugged in, but is not perceived as a top of the rotation piece this year. Fact is, he is penciled in as #5 in that rotation right now. They just lost a number two…and they were weak after that. That means they are now competing with Oakland, LA, & Texas with a rotation of King Felix, 2 #4′s and 2 #5′s. That won’t work. If they are serious about winning they need to add a #2 type starter in a hurry, and that could potentially come in the form of Price, Shark, Santana, or Jimenez. Of those four you can think of reasons for the other three over Shark. Price is the best. Santana and Jimenez only cost a #49 pick. Problem is…they will all command upwards of 15+ million a year and aren’t 1 year options at that rate either. Seattle has already reportedly hit the top of their salary line for 2014. If that is the case then Shark is the only guy of the 4 legit options that come at a cheap cost relatively speaking. It may be enough to spur them to deal Walker for Shark, or even include that last piece of the outfield they are looking at in Schierholtz.
        I am proposing a trade, would love feedback:
        Cubs get: Taijuan Walker, Franklin Gutierrez, Paxton
        Mariners get: Shark, Schierholtz, Travis Wood & Russell
        Mariners get two quality starters. When Iwakuma gets back they have a formidable 4, the bullpen lefty they need, and their last outfielder. The Cubs get two future top of the rotation type pieces… a 1 and a 3 probably, to fit in with Johnsen, Edwards and whoever else pans out. I know it tosses this season, but we can fill the gap and let the young guys grow. Let Walker work out his kinks without pressure to win this year, and then next year we are young, growing, strong. The Mariners are poised to compete now and for the next 4/5 years, at which time they can presumably have restocked their minor league pitching depth.

        1. Funn Dave

          Wow. I don’t have any feedback, but that was a nice analysis. I guess that’s feedback of a different kind.

    2. Jason P

      That still doesn’t change the fact that, unless they suddenly decide to include Walker — in which case thy would probably go after Price and not Samardzija, anyway — they don’t have the farm system to make a trade for Shark without *completely* decimating their depth.

  23. Napercal

    Between this post and the previous post, I count 80 comments about the Cubs losing the 39th and 40th players from a roster of a team that finished with 66 wins last season and has admitted they want to tank this season. Pretty sad state of affairs for Northside fans.

    1. ssckelley

      ok wise guy how about you tell us Cub fans what we can discuss. Evidently the 39th and 40th players on the Cubs roster is good enough to make another team, one of them is expected to contend for the playoffs. Years past these types of moves usually would clear waivers and be assigned to Iowa.

  24. NorthSideIrish

    @dan_bernstein Sources: negotiations #Cubs & rooftops have revived,w/ the team taking a harder stand,confident in better legal/$ position

    About time…

    1. DarthHater

      The Cubs attorneys must have read Brett’s legal analysis… ;-)

      1. mjhurdle

        Or maybe we finally have proof that Brett is on the Cub’s (legal team’s) payroll!! :)

        1. mjhurdle

          bah, Brett beat me to it.

  25. DarthHater

    Okay, Sahadev is having an entertaining slapfight with some doofus on Twitter about Derek Jeter, Ozzie Smith, and the significance of # of errors in evaluating defensive play. :-D

    1. ssckelley

      It is probably blublud.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      Hey, you cannot make errors on balls you cannot reach: and as we know that errors crush pitchers’ souls and cause them to give up home runs (which, fortunately, kill rallies) whereas clean base hits are just something that happens, Jeter obviously helped the Yanks a lot more than Ozzie helped the Cards.

      Sometimes ridiculous arguments are not illogical: they are just based on fantasies!

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        Smith played the majority of his games on astro turf. Much easier for a fielder than playing on a majority of grass infields like Jeter has.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Balls got through astroturf infields much faster than they do on grass fields. Yet Smith’s range statistics were much better than Jeter’s were. The issue never has been about numbers of errors: the issue has been about Jeter not getting to grounders that most other SS routinely reach.

          1. cubfanincardinalland

            Doc, if you ask any infielder who has played on astro turf, they would tell you that it is easier to take angles and get to balls, because you know the way the ball is going to bounce on the turf.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Ground balls get through for hits at a much higher rate on AstroTurf than on grass. When turf parks were prevalent, all of the infielders had (apparently) greater ranges in the grass parks because natural grass greatly reduces the speed of grounders compared to AstroTurf. Players often claimed that the ball sped up on AstroTurf: but that was just an illusion created by the ball not slowing down as much as they expected it to do.

              Regardless, Ozzie had great range *relative to other mpiddle infielders of his day.* Jeter had very poor range relative to the middle infielders of his day. (Or relative to extinct species of giant sloth, in all probability.)

  26. ThatCubsGuy

    First time poster. Love the content on this blog

  27. cubfanincardinalland

    Cracks in the rooftop solidarity? If you owned a right field rooftop, the Cubs have offered to put the sign across the street giving you unobstructed views for the length of the contract, and you have to say no deal because of two guys over in left field. And the alternative is, the sign is going up in the bleachers then, see your ass in court.
    It is a no brainer to make a deal.

  28. A Possible Waiver Explanation: Is James McDonald Getting a Major League Deal? | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] the Chicago Cubs lost Brett Marshall and Brooks Raley on waivers, neither of which was utterly shocking, individually. But, taken together, it was […]

  29. RITZ

    IMO-Don’t see much promise here past a hope and prayer Raley coud pitch in the Bigs. Saw mop up duties mostly, then when given a chance would get in trouble when they put him in. Got hit hard with too many homers hit off of him. His $490k salary is better spent elsewhere on this team.

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