Brown Paper Packages and Baseball in December and Other Bullets

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Brown Paper Packages and Baseball in December and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Rain was the only thing keeping the imploding Yankees from an ALCS sweep – their Game Four against the Tigers was postponed to today thanks to a deluge.

  • The Cardinals/Giants game, however, was not postponed, just delayed by three-ish hours. It didn’t matter, as the Cardinals went into the delay with a 2-1 lead, and won the game 3-1. That gives them a 2-1 lead in the NLCS, though they did lose Carlos Beltran to a knee strain early in the game. He’s day-to-day, which means that he’ll not only play in Game Four, but he’ll hit seven homers and record the save.
  • The Cubs have a number of players taking part in Winter League baseball, which leagues opened up within the last week, and will play through the end of December.  Among the Cubs on those rosters – in the Mexican Pacific League: Alfredo Amezaga (Obregon), Esmailin Caridad (Obregon), Greg Rohan (Mazatlan), and third base prospect Christian Villanueva (Obregon); in the Dominican Winter League: shortstop prospect Arismendy Alcantara (Licey), Jeffry Antigua (Toros de Este), Jairo Ascencio (Este), Diory Hernandez (Este), and Junior Lake (Oriente), who needed more at bats on the year; in the Venezuelan Winter League: Juan Apodaca (Zulia), Eduardo Figueroa (Caribes de Anzoategui), Yoanner Negrin (Caracas), Loiger Padron (Caracas), possible 2013 third baseman Luis Valbuena (Lara), and Ty Wright (Aragua). The level of competition varies pretty wildly in these leagues, but, given the presence of a number of quality minor league veterans, I think it’s fair to say that the leagues are approximately the equivalent of somewhere between AA and AAA. Tony Camapana and Miguel Socolovich are also expected to play in the VWL at some point this offseason.
  • Paul Sullivan looks at the Cubs’ pitching situation in 2012 and next year, and it’s a reminder of just what an uphill climb the Cubs face. He also shockingly notes that the Cubs’ team ERA – 4.51 – was 24th in baseball. Seriously? It was that good?
  • Right field also gets a look, with the focus on Bryan LaHair’s inability to grab that spot in the brief shot he was given.
  • Doug Padilla sets his sights on left field, with well-deserved praise for Alfonso Soriano.
  • Jim Callis takes an early look at each team’s bonus pool for the 2013 Draft (recall, the “bonus pool” is the amount of money a team is given to sign its picks in the first 10 rounds, over which amount you’d incur certain penalties). The Cubs, as you’d expect, come in at number two, with a pool just over $9.8 million. The Astros are at the top with about $10.9 million, and the Rockies are third with about $9.5 million. From there, the drop-off is stark, with the Twins having just $7.7 million (though, thanks to competitive balance picks, there are teams a little way down that have more than $8 million to use (because they have more picks)). These numbers are based on the 2012 recommendations, however, so they’re likely to all be slightly higher in 2013. Further, the numbers can change as teams sign free agents who were made a qualifying offer (thus costing their new team a first rounder (or a second rounder, if the team drafts in the first 10 picks)). The upshot of all of this is what we already knew to be true: the Cubs’ crappy 2012 record offers some upside, and the substantial bonus pool is a major part of that.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.