Cubs

Cubs notebook: Colvin and Soto are all in

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Cubs notebook: Colvin and Soto are all in

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
10:50 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

If you saw that broken maple bat stabbing Tyler Colvin just above his heart, its almost impossible to forget the image. It left him in a Miami hospital bed with a tube in his chest.

It took more than a month before the 25-year-old outfielder felt comfortable enough to go jogging. But Colvin says that he feels strong again and has regained weight from last September. His 6-foot-3-inch frame has filled out to around 210 pounds.

Colvin also insists that hes pushed that freak accident out of his mind.

Im not going to go out there and play scared if thats what youre implying, he said Friday at a Cubs Convention that is clearly marketing youth.

Colvin is featured on the programs cover alongside Starlin Castro and Andrew Cashner, two other impact rookies from 2010. Colvin no longer has to answer serious questions about playing first base, but everyone is curious to get a better read on a player who hit 20 homers and struck out 100 times in only 358 at-bats.

Staying is the hard part. You cant get complacent. You just always have to get better, Colvin said. I havent had any setbacks with anything. Im cleared 100 percent to do whatever I want.

Soto gets a huge raise

Geovany Soto avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal worth 3 million, a source confirmed Friday. It is a reward for his production in 2010 his .890 OPS was highest among regular major-league catchers, at a cost of only 575,000 and another sign that he is progressing after shoulder surgery.

Four Cubs filed for arbitration on Friday: Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny. Marmol who dominated in his first full season as closer (38 saves, 138 strikeouts in 77.2 innings) would be open to a multi-year extension.

Part of the logic behind the Garza trade was that he would be under team control for the next three seasons, but the 27-year-old pitcher hasnt heard much about a long-term arrangement yet.

I have no clue, Garza said. I stay out of that and I wait until I get a call from my agent. I just let him handle that and I take care of everything between the lines.

Radio silence from Wood

Kerry Wood has been promised a role within the organization whenever hes done pitching, and plans to raise his children in Chicago and be a Cub for the rest of his life.

But theres no agreement in place for a future media job Ron Santos eventual replacement on WGN? as one radio station speculated this week.

Wood joked that hes been practicing his calls and he is comfortable in front of the cameras but right now he doesnt even see himself working in radio or television once his playing career ends.

Not at all, Wood said. I dont think that would ever be an interest to me, getting behind the mic on a regular basis and broadcasting anything, much less baseball.

Etc.

Chairman Tom Ricketts said that the Cubs will unveil their 2011 plans to honor Santo on Saturday. A statue outside Wrigley Field and a No. 10 uniform patch would be good places to start. Greg Maddux, who has become a trusted voice in the front office, has to attend to a family emergency and will not be a part of Saturdays baseball management panel at the Hilton Chicago.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Willson Contreras’ trade value just spiked, thanks to White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal

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USA TODAY

Willson Contreras’ trade value just spiked, thanks to White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal

This is the best thing the White Sox have done for the Cubs in years.

The White Sox made a big splash in free agency Thursday, signing catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million contract. Grandal joins the South Siders from the Brewers, where he played an integral role in Milwaukee making a second-straight postseason appearance in 2019.

Grandal led qualified catchers in on-base percentage (.380) last season, also posting career highs in home runs (28) and RBIs (77). He’s also an excellent pitch framer, tying for fourth in RszC (runs saved by catcher framing) among all catchers with 9.

Milwaukee’s payroll reached a franchise-high $122.5 million in 2019 and their farm system (No. 29 in MLB, per Baseball America) is lacking. How they replace Grandal’s production is a major question mark, which in turn is a win for the Cubs this offseason.

But besides plucking him from the NL Central, the White Sox signing Grandal early in the offseason helps the Cubs, who have important decisions of their own to make.

Although Cubs president Theo Epstein said to take any trade rumors with a “mouthful of salt,” multiple teams believe catcher Willson Contreras is available for trade. The Cubs need to retool their roster and replenish a farm system that has been depleted in recent seasons from numerous “win now” trades.

The Cubs and White Sox made the notorious José Quintana trade in July 2017, but it’s unlikely the two would have matched up for a Contreras trade. The Cubs need young assets; trading away young assets is the last thing the White Sox want to do as their championship window opens.

So, Grandal landed with a team that was unlikely to be involved in any potential Contreras trade talks. Grandal was the best free agent catcher; Contreras is the best catcher that can be had in a trade.

Other teams interested in Grandal — such as the Reds — can no longer turn to him in free agency. The Rays have made addressing the catcher spot this winter a priority, but they have one of MLB’s lowest payrolls each season. Signing Grandal wasn’t going to happen, but Tampa Bay has the farm system (No. 2 in baseball, per MLB.com) to make a big trade.

Contreras is the best catcher available — for the right price, obviously — so the ball is in the Cubs' court. They don’t get better by dealing their two-time All-Star backstop, but Contreras’ trade value is high. With Grandal off the market, it just got even higher.

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Cubs add four players to 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 Draft, including top prospect Miguel Amaya

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MiLB

Cubs add four players to 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 Draft, including top prospect Miguel Amaya

In preparation for next month’s Rule 5 Draft, the Cubs have added four players to their 40-man roster. 

Wednesday, the Cubs selected the contracts of right-hander Tyson Miller and infielder Zack Short from Triple-A Iowa and right-hander Manuel Rodriguez and catcher Miguel Amaya from Single-A Myrtle Beach. The Cubs 40-man roster now stands at 36 players.

The Rule 5 Draft is Dec. 12 at the Winter Meetings. Teams can “draft” players from other organizations if that player is not on a 40-man roster and also matches one of the following criteria:

-If the player was signed when they were 19 or older, they must have at least four years of professional baseball experience

OR

-If the player was signed when they were 18, they must have at least five years of professional baseball experience.

Miller is a fourth-round draft pick from 2016. He went 7-8 with a 4.35 ERA in 26 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa in 2019. The 24-year-old was much better with Tennessee (2.56 ERA, 15 starts) than with Iowa in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League (7.58 ERA, 11 starts).

The Cubs drafted Short, 24, in the 17th round in 2016; he can play shortstop, second base and third base. He gets on base at a decent clip (career .377 OBP) but hasn’t had much success offensively (.241 career average) in his four minor league seasons.

The Cubs signed Rodriguez, 23, to a minor league deal in July 2016. He posted a 3.45 ERA in 35 relief appearance with Myrtle Beach in 2019, faring much better than he did in 2018 with Single-A South Bend (7.59 ERA, 32 appearances).

Amaya is the Cubs' No. 2 prospect and No. 90 overall in MLB (per MLB Pipeline). The Cubs signed him during the international signing period in July 2015, giving him a $1.25 million signing bonus. The 20-year-old posted a .235/.351/.402 slash line in 99 games with Myrtle Beach in 2019. His OPS jumped from .714 in the first half to .790 in the second half.

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