Former Top Cubs Prospect Heads Off to the Mets, Turner Issues, and Other Cubs Bullets | Bleacher Nation

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Former Top Cubs Prospect Heads Off to the Mets, Turner Issues, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The food choices this week. They … have not been great. The Mom makes the best apple pie in the world, and she made a huge one for my birthday this weekend. So far, I have shared none of it, and am eating multiple pieces a day. Just because. And yes, a la mode.

•   Although at a superficial level, the most eye-catching part of this report is that the Mets have signed away long-time Cubs pitching prospect Oscar De La Cruz on a minor league deal, I think there’s even more going on here:

•   If seeing a team signing 11 players and sending out 9 Spring Training invites in early November sounds a little odd today, that’s because it is a little odd. It’s early for that much movement on the minor league side. Anecdotally, what you see in early November is maybe one or two minor league signings per organization as they identified a couple really preferred targets whom (1) they know are not going to get a Major League deal, (2) they really like as potential upside plays to pair with their upper-level minor leaguers, and (3) they are willing to spend more for than the typical minor league salary. For the Cubs, each year, it seems like that’s about two or three guys we hear about in the first few weeks of November and they tend to be upside guys we like to dream on. (Then you go through a period of more minor league signings that are “depth” types, and then finally, you go through a period very close to Spring Training where you can sign “big league type” players on minor league deals to see what’s what in Spring Training.)

•   It’s always been a talking point that you could try to gobble up more of the minor league market by spending a lot more to lock guys down on minor league deals early in the offseason, but teams generally don’t do it. In fact, most teams simply don’t – as a matter of course – pay more for any players on minor league deals. Just the standard rate required by their service level, and and then to the extent there’s an extra incentive, it’s the rate they’ll be paid *IF* they get put on the big league roster. So, that is to say, when I see the Mets announce a boatload of early minor league signings, given the new owner and the expectation that they’re going to become a very spendy organization, my antenna immediately goes up.

•   So, are the Mets jumping the minor league market with cash? I would say … maybe? Six of those eleven players were already in the Mets org, so those are minor league RE-signings, and, heck, the Cubs have a whole lot of those, too. That is very normal right after a season ends. But the other five guys the Mets signed (and five is a lot) are really intriguing ones, including De La Cruz, Mallex Smith, (old friend) Arodys Vizcaino, Jose Peraza, and Mitchell Tolman. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if all five of those guys were highly-desirable early free agent targets that the Mets ponied up extra to ensure they could get them right away on minor league deals. I think there’s some financial weight being thrown around, and – get used to this sentiment – I don’t like that it isn’t the Cubs.

•   As for De La Cruz, who was frequently among the top pitching prospects in the Cubs system a few years ago, it’ll sting if he finally puts it together in another org. He had the right build, a strong arm, good velocity, good movement, and good command. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t miss enough bats despite all that. Worse, he constantly battled injury issues and was suspended for PEDs. He’ll pitch next year at 26, so it’s not like he’s old, and it’s not at all hard to see him finally breaking out as a reliever. It’s easy to see why he would be an early target for an org like the Mets.

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•   The Justin Turner process is still ongoing, though it is very hard for me to believe – given everything else going on – that the league and players would want to make this any kind of real fight:

•   I started riffing on Twitter about TV issues, which I’ll probably turn into a post, though I don’t know when. It’s really important, but also complicated, stuff. It’ll take me a minute to write it up fully. So in the meantime, here’s the thread:

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.