As most of you know, Cubs pitchers and catchers have reported to Fitch Park, and a number of infielders and outfielders are also in camp.
The pitchers are presently working in four groups, with the four groups rotating periodically from the batting cage, to the ten pac (pitch and catch), to Field #2 for PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice), and to Field #3 for pick-off drills. A loud blaring horn alerts the pitchers when it's time to move to another location.
J. R. Mathes
Jeff Gray (strained groin), Angel Guzman (knee surgery rehab), and Ted Lilly (shoulder surgery rehab and a sore knee) did not participate in drills today.
And Carlos Silva is hopelessly out of shape, barely able to move, although he is participating in PFP & pick-off drills. I suspect Silva might end up spending much of the next two seasons on the 60-day DL.
The seven catchers in camp (Geovany Soto, Welington Castillo, Koyie Hill, Robinson Chirinos, Steve Clevenger, Blake Lalli, and Chris Robinson) spend most of their morning catching pitchers throwing in the ten pac pit (six or seven pitchers throw simultaneously), and then after the pitchers have completed their work, the catchers break up into two groups and take BP (with coaches throwing) on Field #3 (Soto, K. Hill, W. Castillo, and Chirinos) and Field #2 (Clevenger Lalli, and Robinson). So far, Geovany Soto has been the Star of Camp, hitting a number of balls out onto 8th Street in BP. He also has lost a lot of weight and looks to be in great shape
Meanwhile, the non-catcher position players who have arrived take BP and fielding practice on Field #1. Non-Roster Invitee 1B-OF Bryan Lahair (ex-SEA) has been wowing Fitch Park onlookers with prodigious BP power demonstrations, and NRI 1B-3B Chad Tracy (ex-AZ) looks to finally be 100% healthy after battling knee problems (including microfracture surgery) the last couple of years. Tracy has been taking lots of grounders at both 1B and 3B and shows good mobility. (Tracy is also one of the best pinch-hitters in baseball). New hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has been spending a lot of time working with "pet project" Andres Blanco.
In addition to the big league coaching staff in camp, a number of minor league managers and coaches and Spring Training instructors are also present, including Special Instructor Billy Williams, Special Instructor Greg Maddux, Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas, Latin American Field Coordinator Carmelo Martinez, Minor League Hitting Coordinator Dave Keller, Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins, Minor League Infield & Bunting Instructor Franklin Font, Minor League Outfield & Baserunning Instructor Bobby Dernier, Minor League Catching Instructor Marty Pevey, Iowa Manager Ryne Sandberg, Iowa Pitching Coach Mike Mason, Iowa Hitting Coach Von Joshua, Tennessee Manager Bill Dancy, Tennessee Pitching Coach Dennis Lewallyn, Tennessee hitting coach Tom Beyers, and Fitch Park Rehab Pitching Coach Brad Kelley.
And veteran SK Wyverns (KBO - South Korea) reliever Woong-Chun Cho is a Special Guest Spring Training Instructor at Fitch Park. (The Cubs might be checking him out to see if they want to hire him as a full-time minor league coach, since the Cubs have signed a lot of the best young players out of South Korea the past couple of years).
Also, note that there has been one late Spring Training number change, as NRI 1B-OF Kevin Millar has been assigned #15, bumping Bobby Scales to #19. Otherwise the Spring Training numbers remain the same as they have been for the past few weeks (see right side-bar).
I expect Soler to get optioned as well when activated and Cahill to replace Grimm. It wouldn't surprise me if Coghlan and/or Soler is included in a trade.
Maybe Coghlan is up to see if he can get on track before someone acquires him.
This move could also be to assure that we have as much OF depth as possible to maximize Joe's ability to rest players in September once we've clinched.
Maddon basically said as much...Fowler still kind of sore, they're being proactive, etc.
La Stella at 2B...Baez at 3B, or vice versa. Zobrist in RF, Bryant in LF No one gets bumped.
If Coghlan is leading off, I assume Fowler is getting the day off. Who is supposed to lead off, then? Someone has to get on base for Bryant and Rizzo. Coghlan's OBP is .346 with the Cubs. Jackson's was .304. LaStella can lead off, but then he has to play second or third, and bump Zobrist or Baez.
Unless he gets hot, Coghlan will likely change places with Soler soon.
I suspect the Cubs asked Chris Coghlan if he would accept an Optional Assignment to the minors and he refused (Coghlan has one minor league option left), so either you keep LaStella on the 25 and release Coghlan, or option LaStella to AAA for about a month and have both LaStella and Coghlan available in September-October. (As an Article XIX-A player, Coghlan must give his permission before he can be optioned to the minors, while LaStella has not accrued enough MLB Service Time to refuse an optional assignment).
Given today's lineup -- maybe they just wanted an extra OF to give Dexter a few days off (i.e. day game after a night game).
Tommy LaStella has three minor leaue options left so it's no big deal to send him to Iowa, but as of right now he projects to be at 2+124 MLB Service Time by the end of the of the 2016 MLB regular season, which will place him "on the bubble" as far as being eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2016.
But if he spends at least twenty days on optional assignment this season (anything less than twenty days and he will accrue a full season of MLB Service Time), he will not have enough MLB Service Time to have a chance to be a "Super Two."
this will be his 4th time leading off for the cubs this season...WITH A .500 OB%! HAIL MADDON! THE PLAN (c)2016! HE HAS RISEN! #YOLO #SWAG! KONY 2012!
I don't hate Coghlan as a PHer but he's leading off today which is as bad as Austin Jackson doing so last year. He doesn't even have the speed.
TLS has options. He will be up again in Sept, and maybe earlier.
Very odd -- TLS .308/.419 in July (in 26 AB). Strange move for a team struggling to score runs. Hard to imagine Coghlan doing better than that. Maybe they like Coghlan better as a PH?
Sorry to nitpick -- but the first game wasn't a save.
Wow La Stella sent to Iowa and Coghlan brought up. I'm not a huge Stella fan but he has been hitting lately and is to me better than Coghlan. Neither are good defensively but I guess Coghlan can play the outfield allowing Bryant to stay at 3rd more where he's better.
Not 2nd to last but Cubs are definitely bottom of the pack in the 2nd half in oWAR and wRC+. #1 in dWAR though which is certainly a good sign for the playoffs.
I was going to say that you wouldn't want Heyward to achieve Soriano's OBP--.317 with the Cubs--but now I see that he's already done that. Pitchers have lost their fear of him.
Oh, well, at least Chapman seems to be as good as advertised.
Thanks to E-man and Quiet Man for the link on Chapman in a previous post. It's funny because I never really noticed Chapman's delivery until I saw him doing it in a blue uniform. Two saves in a Cubs uniform already. I hope they don't need him today, despite that smooth delivery.