December 2011

12/22 Marshall in Cincy

There could be an announcement Friday finalizing the Cubs and Reds proposed deal which would send Sean Marshall to Cincinnati for Travis Wood and two Minor Leaguers. Marshall was in Cincinnati on Thursday to undergo a physical.

— Carrie Muskat 

12/22 Corpas to sign with Cubs

The Cubs have agreed to a one-year, Major League deal with reliever Manny Corpas. The right-hander was in Chicago on Thursday to undergo a physical. The team was expected to make an announcement soon.

Corpas, 29, last pitched in the Majors in 2010 with the Rockies. He underwent Tommy John surgery that year and the Rangers signed him to a Minor League contract in April. He pitched in the instructional league and played winter ball in Panama.

Corpas has a 12-16 record and 3.93 ERA for his career, striking out 206 batters and walking 80 in 286 innings.  He is best known for his work during the Rockies’ run to the World Series in 2007, when he saved 19 games with a 2.08 ERA in 78 innings of work. He finished the 2007 postseason with five saves and a 0.87 ERA.

— Carrie Muskat

12/22 Winter league update

Cubs prospect Austin Bibens-Dirkx struck out five and gave up three hits over six scoreless innings in Zulia’s 6-0 win over Magallanes on Wednesday. Bibens-Dirkx improved to 7-2 in Venezuelan Winter League play.

* There are reports that Carlos Marmol will pitch for Licey in the Dominican Winter League, starting Monday.

— Carrie Muskat

12/21 Cubs Minor League coordinators named

The Cubs also announced the 2012 Minor League coordinators:

* Brandon Hyde joins the Cubs as Minor League field coordinator after nine years in the Marlins organization, including his first full season as the Major League team’s bench coach in 2011. Hyde, 38, was the Marlins’ Minor League field coordinator to begin 2010 before he joined the big league team. He takes over for Dave Bialas, who was named Triple-A Iowa’s field manager.
* Dennis Lewallyn enters his second season as Minor League pitching coordinator, and his sixth in the Cubs organization. He served as Double-A Tennessee’s pitching coach from 2007-10, and helped that club to consecutive Southern League Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010.

* James Rowson begins his first season with the organization as the Minor League hitting coordinator after six seasons in the Yankees organization, including the last four as their Minor League hitting coordinator. Rowson, 35, is a former outfielder who played professionally from 1995-98, including time in the Mariners and Yankees organizations.

* Tom Beyers returns for his 13th season with the organization, and his first as short season hitting coordinator, a newly created position. In this role, he will focus on players with Single-A Boise, Rookie-League Mesa and the Cubs Dominican clubs. Beyers was the Minor League hitting coordinator in 2011 after two seasons as Tennessee’s hitting coach. Prior to joining the Cubs in 2000, Beyers spent 21 seasons in the Dodgers chain as a minor league player, coach or manager.
* Bill Dancy enters his first season as infield coordinator in his third year with the organization. He managed Iowa in 2011 after earning the 2010 Southern League Manager of the Year award while guiding Tennessee to the Southern League Championship Series. Dancy has 38 years experience as a player, coach or manager in professional baseball and has amassed 1,670 victories in 23 minor league campaigns as a manager.

* Marty Pevey begins his third season as catching coordinator after managing Class A Peoria in 2009, his first year with the Cubs organization. Pevey brings 13 years of playing experience and 10 seasons as a manager to the position.

* Lee Tinsley enters his second year as the organization’s outfield/baserunning coordinator. He has 11 years of coaching experience following a 14-year playing career. He was the Mariners’ Major League first base coach in 2009-10 after serving in the same capacity with the Diamondbacks from 2006-08.

* Carmelo Martinez enters his 15th season in the Cubs organization, and his fifth as Latin American field coordinator. The former Major League outfielder and first baseman spent 10 seasons at Mesa, handling managerial duties from 1999-2003 and 2006.

* Doug Jarrow begins his fifth season as the strength and conditioning coordinator. He previously spent five years in the Dodgers organization, including 2003-05 as the Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator and 2006-07 as the Major League strength coach.

* Justin Sharpe returns as Minor League athletic training coordinator for the eighth-consecutive year. He joined the Cubs in 2003 as the athletic trainer for Double-A West Tenn after six years as an athletic trainer in Atlanta’s system.

* Chuck Baughman enters his seventh season as rehabilitation coordinator, and his 12th year with the organization, after joining the club as Single-A Boise’s athletic trainer in 2001.

— Carrie Muskat

12/21 Cubs name Minor League staffs

The Cubs announced their Minor League managers and coaching staffs for 2012. Dave Bialas takes over at Triple-A Iowa and Buddy Bailey moves from Class A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee.
Here are the coaching staffs.

Team/manager/pitching coach/hitting coach/athletic trainer

Iowa (AAA):  Dave Bialas/Mike Mason/Dave Keller /Nick Frangella

Tennessee (AA):  Buddy Bailey/Jeff Fassero/Mariano Duncan/Aaron Larson

Daytona (A):  Brian Harper/Marty Mason/Desi Wilson/Peter Fagan

Peoria (A): Casey Kopitzke/Tom Pratt/Barbaro Garbey/Shane Nelson

Boise (Short A): Mark Johnson/David Rosario/To be determined/Bob Grimes

Mesa (Rookie):  Bobby Mitchell/Frank Castillo and Rick Tronerud/Jason Dubois/Steve Melendez

Dominican-1 (Rookie):  Juan Cabreja/Anderson Tavares/Ricardo Medina and Leo Perez/Wilkin Perez

Dominican-2 (Rookie): Yudith Ozorio/Leo Hernandez/Franklin Blanco/Robert Jimenez

— Carrie Muskat

12/21 Reed Johnson returning

The Cubs have agreed to a one-year contract with free agent outfielder Reed Johnson, pending a physical. Johnson, 35, batted .309 in 111 games last season with the Cubs. He’s perfect extra outfielder, great guy in clubhouse and batted .305 vs. left-handed pitchers. FOX Sports reported the agreement; sources have confirmed the deal.

— Carrie Muskat 

12/21 Winter league update

Bryan LaHair hit a two-run homer, his 12th of the season and third in his last three games, to help Magallanes beat Zulia, 10-3, in Venezuelan Winter League play. LaHair is 5-for-12 in his last three games with five RBIs. He started in left on Tuesday while Cubs prospect Rebel Ridling started at first and was 2-for-4 with a walk and scored three runs. Ridling is batting .323 in 19 games with Magallanes.

— Carrie Muskat

12/21 Possible Reds-Cubs deal

The Cubs and Reds are reportedly close to a trade which would send reliever Sean Marshall to the Reds for starter Travis Wood and two Minor Leaguers. FOX Sports and are both reporting the possible deal. Wood, 24, was 6-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 2 games, including 18 starts last season. He became expendable after the Reds acquired Mat Latos from the Padres. Marshall, 29, has been one of the top left-handed relievers in baseball the last two seasons, posting a 2.26 ERA over 75 2/3 innings in 2011.

Why trade such a valuable player as Marshall? The lefty is one year away from free agency while Wood would be under Cubs control through 2016. The Cubs also have James Russell and Scott Maine plus prospect Jeff Beliveau who could compete for the lefty set-up role. Beliveau was named the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year after he held hitters to a .192 average in 53 appearances.

Wood made his Major League debut at Wrigley Field on July 1, 2010, and gave up two hits over seven innings. He made one other start there in 2010 on Aug. 8, and picked up the win, giving up three earned runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings.

 — Carrie Muskat

12/20 Changing Sox

According to WEEI Boston, the Cubs have hired Red Sox area scout Matt Dorey to be a national crosschecker. Part of the Cubs-Red Sox agreement to allow Theo Epstein to leave Boston included restrictions on who he could take with him. Although Epstein cannot hire anyone from the Red Sox top-tier level in baseball operations, he can add at least one person. Dorey had been an evaluator in Louisiana and Texas the last two years, and started with the Red Sox under current Cubs exec Jason McLeod. Among the players credited to Dorey are right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, third baseman Garin Cecchini, and outfielders Kendrick Perkins and Lucas LeBlanc.

The Cubs also have reportedly hired former Red Sox pro scout Kyle Evans, who apparently was leaving the Red Sox. WEEI says Epstein also may try to hire former Red Sox VP of international scouting and player personnel Craig Shipley, who left Boston after he was replaced last month. Shipley was one of Epstein’s first front office hires in 2002.

Epstein reportedly cannot hire anyone from the Red Sox office for three years, according to

— Carrie Muskat


12/18 Could Rizzo be 1B of future?

Forget Prince Fielder. Maybe the Cubs’ first baseman of the future is Anthony Rizzo.

Rizzo was a sixth-round pick in 2007 by the Red Sox — and Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were in Boston’s front office at that time. In December 2010, he was dealt to the Padres in the blockbuster Adrian Gonzalez deal. Now, Rizzo, 22, finds himself No. 3 or 4 on the Padres’ depth chart at first base after a major deal Saturday between the Padres and Reds. The Padres acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso, pitcher Edinson Volquez and Minor Leaguers Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger in exchange for pitcher Mat Latos. Latos joins Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake in the Reds rotation. Reds GM Walt Jocketty says they still plan on using Aroldis Chapman as a starter, although that could change.

This year, Rizzo batted .452 with six homers in his first 15 games and was eventually called up to the Padres in June, and batted .143 in 35 games. He was then recalled in September and finished with a .141 average in 49 games. At Triple-A Tucson, he hit .331 with 26 homers and 101 RBIs. Rizzo and Tony Campana have something in common, as Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May 2008 and was successfully treated with chemotherapy. McLeod once said Rizzo has the best makeup of any player he’s ever drafted.

On Saturday, Jim Bowden of and MLB Network Radio tweeted that the Padres have some interest in acquiring Matt Garza from the Cubs in a package that would include Rizzo. The problem with a Padres-Cubs deal involving Garza is that the right-hander is under team control for two more years, and if the Cubs were to move him, they’d expect a lot in return — similar to what the Reds gave up to get Latos. Epstein has said Garza is the type of pitcher to build around.

Or, the Cubs could give Bryan LaHair the first base job. LaHair hit a two-run homer, his 10th, in Magallanes’ 8-0 win over Caribes on Saturday in Venezuelan Winter League play.

— Carrie Muskat