November 2012

11/19 Transactions

Here are some updated transactions on players who were in the Cubs system. Thanks to Iowa Cubs’ Randy Wehofer for doing the research.

* The Cubs have re-signed right-handed pitcher Blake Parker and added catcher J.C. Boscan from the Braves. Both signed Minor League deals. Parker had been outrighted off the 40-man roster after missing most of the season with an elbow injury. Boscan batted .189 in 70 games with Triple-A Gwinnett.

* The Cubs have released Rebel Ridling. Right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich signed with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan.

* The Rangers signed left-handed pitcher Neal Cotts, catcher Juan Apodaca and outfielder Jim Adduci to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

* The Brewers signed catcher Blake Lalli and right-handed pitcher Frankie De La Cruz to Minor League deals.

* Outfielder Brad Snyder signed with the Diamondbacks. The Marlins claimed left-hander Scott Maine off waivers from the Blue Jays. Infielder Marquez Smith signed a Minor League deal with the Reds.


11/19 Cubs roster update

With the signing of reliever Shawn Camp, the Cubs’ 40-man roster is now at 39. For those who need an update (and can’t find it on

* 21 pitchers – Baker, Beliveau, Bowden, Brigham, Cabrera, Camp, L. Castillo, Chapman, Coleman, Concepcion, Dolis, Garza, Gutierrez, Marmol, Putnam, Raley, Rusin, Russell, Samardzija, Vizcaino, T. Wood

* 3 catchers – W. Castillo, Clevenger, Navarro

* 7 infielders – Barney, Castro, Lake, Rizzo, Stewart, Valbuena, Vitters

* 8 outfielders – Campana, DeJesus, Jackson, LaHair, Sappelt, Soler, Soriano, Szczur

Contract status:

* Arbitration eligible: Garza, Russell, Samardzija, Stewart and Valbuena

* Signed: Baker, Concepcion, Marmol, Navarro, Castro, DeJesus, Soler, Soriano

— Carrie Muskat

11/19 Cubs sign Camp

The Cubs and reliever Shawn Camp have agreed to a one-year, $1.35 million contract that includes another $200,000 in possible incentives, the team announced Monday. Camp, who was the Cubs’ only free agent, returns to the team after appearing in a career-high 80 relief appearances. He finished tied for the Major League lead in appearances and ranked fifth in the National League with 77 2/3 innings. Camp, who turned 37 on Sunday, is the ninth Cubs pitcher to reach 80 appearances, and first since Sean Marshall did so in 2010.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum picked the durable right-hander as the team’s first half Most Valuable Player. He totaled a career-high 18 holds, retired 57 of his first 80 batters faced, and stranded 15 of 22 inherited runners. Camp was released by the Mariners on March 23, and signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs three days later. He made the Opening Day roster and was one of the few veterans in the bullpen.

— Carrie Muskat

11/18 Extra bases

* According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Dan Plesac told WGN on Friday that he’s withdrawing from consideration for the Cubs TV analyst job and will remain at MLB Network. There’s a new name in the mix: Astros broadcaster Jim Deshaies has reportedly interviewed for the Cubs TV analyst job, open after Bob Brenly left to join the Diamondbacks’ TV team.

Also, Doug Glanville is reportedly no longer being considered. The former big league outfielder is reportedly close to an extension with ESPN.

Who is Deshaies? A left-hander known as J.D., he pitched for 12 seasons, including seven with the Astros from 1985-91. His last game was an abbreviated start on July 30, 1995, at Wrigley Field. He gave up six runs on five hits, including a first inning home run by Todd Zeile and another blast in the second by Jose Hernandez over 1 1/3 innings as the Cubs rolled to an 8-0 win over the Phillies. Deshaies reportedly holds the Major League record for most at-bats without an extra-base hit (373). Deshaies just completed his 15th season as color analyst for the Astros.

Brenly did not have a direct Cubs tie, playing all but one season with the Giants.

* The Dallas Morning News reports free agent relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa visited Wrigley Field and the Cubs’ facilities. Fujikawa also has talked to the Rangers, Diamondbacks, Angels and Dodgers, and all have some level of interest. The 32-year-old right-hander has compiled a 1.77 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 914 strikeouts and 220 saves over 692 1/3 career innings for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan.

* Josh Vitters and Tony Campana are both playing in the Venezuela Winter League for Caracas. Vitters has started one game at third and was 0-for-3.

* Tuesday is the deadline for Major League teams to finalize their 40-man rosters.

— Carrie Muskat 

11/16 Cubs officially add Navarro

The Cubs officially announced the signing of free agent catcher Dioner Navarro on Friday. He agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract that could pay him an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses. Navarro, 28, has played for the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays and Reds, batting .290 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 24 games last season with Cincinnati. He split the year between the Reds and their Triple-A Louisville team. The addition of Navarro gives the Cubs some experience at catcher behind Welington Castillo, who got his most extensive playing time last season, batting .265 in 52 games. Castillo is projected as the Cubs regular catcher next season.

A switch-hitter, Navarro batted .327 against right-handed pitching last season, and has averaged one extra-base hit per 11.3 at-bats against left-handed pitchers. He was a 2008 American League All-Star with the Rays — and also a teammate of Cubs pitcher Matt Garza in Tampa Bay. In ’08, he batted .295 and was the youngest starting catcher on an American League pennant winner since the Orioles’ Andy Etchebarren (23) in 1966. Navarro has thrown out 25.7 percent of baserunners looking to steal in his career (112-for-435), the 11th-best percentage of any catcher in the big leagues starting in 2004.

— Carrie Muskat

11/16 Winter League update

Junior Lake went 2-for-5 on Wednesday, and was batting .361 for Estrellas de Oriente, leading the Dominican winter league in batting average. Lake has two home runs, six doubles and 10 RBIs. Christian Villanueva, whom the Cubs got from the Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal, was batting .206 for Yaquis de Obregon in Mexican league action. He was 2-for-3 on Tuesday, hitting his second home run.

Josh Vitters was listed on the roster for Leones del Caracas in Venezuela, but has yet to play. Tony Campana also has joined Leones. In Venezuela, Luis Valbuena was hitting .318 with one home run and seven doubles in 19 games with Cardenales de Lara while Ty Wright was batting .247 with three doubles, two triples and one home run in 20 games for Tigres de Aragua.

— Carrie Muskat


11/16 AFL final update

The Mesa Solar Sox ended the Arizona Fall League season on Thursday with an 8-3 loss to Phoenix. Cubs prospect Matt Szczur was 0-for-4, and finished his AFL stint batting .264. Logan Watkins, a late add to take Javier Baez’s place on the roster, batted .219 in nine games, and Rubi Silva batted .206 in 20 games. Among the Cubs pitching prospects who took part, Dae-Eun Rhee posted a 6.27 ERA in six games, giving up 13 earned runs over 18 2/3 innings in six starts. Nick Struck, the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year, compiled a 5.51 ERA in 12 appearances, giving up 10 earned runs on 12 hits and 12 walks over 16 1/3 innings. Kevin Rhoderick served up five runs on seven hits and struck out 14 over 9 1/3 innings. Tony Zych posted a 3.86 ERA in 13 games, giving up 18 hits and walking two over 14 innings. Peoria and Salt River will play for the AFL championship on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium.

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 Soriano gets support on MVP ballot

Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano was named on three National League MVP ballots, cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Giants catcher Buster Posey won the award. Soriano received a sixth-place vote, a ninth-place vote, and a 10th place vote. Two of the ballots were cast by Chicago writers. Soriano led the Cubs with 32 home runs and a career-high 108 RBIs while batting .262 in 151 games. It was his sixth career 30-homer season and first since 2007.

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 Doing it Theo’s way

MLB commissioner Bud Selig, in Chicago Thursday for owner’s meetings, was asked if he was concerned about big market teams like the Cubs and Red Sox which are going into long-term rebuilding plans despite having revenues and ticket prices that are among the highest in the game.

“What the Cubs are doing, with Theo [Epstein], in my opinion, is they’re absolutely on the right track,” Selig told reporters. “I can’t be critical of that. I think I can use my own instinctive baseball judgment. As for the Red Sox, they’ve made a lot of changes. We’ll see what they do this winter. They do have a lot of talent left there. I like the way the Cubs are going. If I was running a franchise, I would follow that pattern to a ‘T.’

“It’s interesting how do you do things,” Selig said. “Spending money doesn’t guarantee anybody anything. I want to be very careful here. There are different ways to try to compete, and sometimes you’ve got to be realistic. Sometimes you have to say to yourself, `I’ve got to rebuild my scouting, my international.’ I’m a believer in that. I’d do it again if I was running a club, and I can’t be critical.”

— Carrie Muskat 

11/15 Cubs sign Navarro

The Cubs have apparently found a veteran backup catcher, signing Dioner Navarro to a contract on Thursday. Terms were not immediately known. Navarro has played for the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays and Reds, batting .290 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 24 games last season with Cincinnati. He has a career .245 average. A switch hitter, Navarro has a career .256 average against left-handed pitchers and .241 average against right-handers. The addition of Navarro, 28, would give the Cubs more depth at catcher behind Welington Castillo, who got his most extensive playing time last season, batting .265 in 52 games. Castillo is projected as the Cubs regular catcher next season. MDR Sports Management announced the signing. The Cubs were expected to issue a release with details later Thursday.

— Carrie Muskat