Chicago's Inside Pitch
The Cubs brought what they hope will be a big part of their future into the fold today as they’ve agreed to terms with their No. 1 draft pick, third baseman Kris Bryant out of the University of San Diego. A club source said the deal is a “slot” deal for the second pick overall, or about $6.7 million
That would be higher than the $6.3 million pitcher Mark Appel got from Houston as the No. 1 overall. Bryant was to take a physical exam today, and it’s possible the Cubs will introduce him formally over the weekend at Wrigley Field.
The likely scenario is that he would report to the Cubs’ spring facility in Mesa and then move up to Boise (A) before making a stop with the Kane County Cougars.
Albert Pujols returns to Wrigley Field tonight as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He bats third tonight against Cubs left-hander and all-star Travis Wood. Against the Cubs in his career, Pujols has a line of .302/.402/.617 for an OPS of 1.020. He has 54 homers lifetime against the Cubs. At Wrigley, the line is .298/.397/.602 for an OPS of .999. He has 26 homers and 67 RBI here.
We have a lot of notes-type items tonight along with some good minor-league stuff including Matt Loosen’s no hitter yesterday for Class A Daytona. Albert Almora, the Cubs’ No. 1 draft choice, is a Wrigley Field visitor today as the Kane County Cougars have a rare off-day in their schedule. We’ll get to some stuff from Albert for the paper tomorrow.
Some of the newsy notes:
The White Sox will attempt to avoid history tonight at the U.S. Cellular Field.
The Sox and Cubs are making up a May 28 rainout against the Cubs and, as you might imagine, interest in the game isn't running particularly high on either side of town.
The White Sox (34-51) were swept in a three-game series at Tampa over the weekend and they've lost 9 of 11 and 27 of 37.
The Cubs did win 2 of 3 against the first-place Pirates at Wrigley over the weekend, but they come in with a 38-48 record.
Getting back to history, neither the Sox nor the Cubs have ever swept a home-and-home interleague series, which started in 1999. The White Sox did go 0-3 vs. the Cubs in '98.
It’s already been a busy day, with the Cubs having traded outfielder Scott Hairston to the Washington Nationals for minor-league pitching prospect Ivan Pineyro. Matt Garza takes the mound tonight against the White Sox. As has been the case with every Garza start, it could be his last, as scouts from many teams will be here at U.S. Cellular Field.
However, new reports, begun by cbsssports.com writer Jon Heyman, say that the Cubs are considering a contract extension for Garza. Color me skeptical on this one. Garza has been on the disabled list in each of his three seasons with the Cub. He seems good now, and his stuff has been great of late, but a long-term deal seems risky at this point.
As jaded as you can get in this business, I’m always refreshed to see a player genuinely happy to make the all-star team. Such was the case yesterday with Travis Wood of the Cubs, who will be going to New York July 16. Hope you caught my front-page story in Sunday’s Daily Herald:
“Like I said yesterday, for a guy that has so much passion for the game and just loves baseball, he just loves being at the ballpark,” said manager Dale Sveum. “I think that’s what makes it so special for him. A guy coming out of nowhere and to pitch as well as he has and get elected to the All-Star Game … and we all know the person he is. He’s just a baseball rat.
The big news of the day, which began coming out Friday night from Daytona, is that the Cubs have promoted shortstop Javier Baez from Class A Daytona to Class AA Tennessee. Baez, arguably the organization’s top prospect, had a hitting line of .274/.338/.535 with 17 homers and 57 RBI at Daytona. In 299 at-bats, he walked 21 times and struck out 78. He also committed 31 errors.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Baez beat his development plan by about a month but added it's unlikely Baez will make the jump to the majors this year.
Oh, and the Stanley Cup was here at Wrigley Field today, with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Big weekend here at Wrigley. The first-place Pirates are in town to open a three-game series with the Cubs, and the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are making their presence felt. Brandon Bollig and Bryan Bickell were shagging flies in the outfield, and earlier in the day, Cubs manager Dale Sveum threw some batting practice to the Hawks. During the seventh inning stretch, Bollig, Bickell and Patrick Sharp will lead the crowd in “Take Me out to the Ballgame.” Should be a fun weekend.
Tomorrow, the Stanley Cup will make an appearance at Wrigley Field, along with coach Joel Quenneville. I’ve got a couple of pics up on Twitter, @BruceMiles2112.
The Cubs today added relievers Matt Guerrier and Pedro Strop to the roster today. They optioned lefty Chris Rusin back to Class AAA Iowa after Rusin started Tuesday night’s series opener at Oakland. They also designated reliever Shawn Camp for assignment. The Cubs will finish up at Oakland Thursday and come home for three with the Pirates over the weekend.
They’ll need a starter for Sunday’s game, but word out of Oakland is that it won’t be Carlos Villanueva, who has just begun to get stretched out to start. Nor, apparently, will it be Jake Arrieta, acquired Tuesday in the trade that sent Scott Feldman to Baltimore. Strop also came in that deal.
We’re about one hour away from the scheduled first pitch between the White Sox and Orioles, and it’s raining at U.S. Cellular Field.
It’s been a miserable first half of the season for the Sox in every area – performance, health, weather – and the bad news kept coming Wednesday.
Paul Konerko and Jesse Crain are both on the disabled list, and they’ll be out until after the all-star break.
Konerko has a sore lower back, and he sat out six games before returning to the lineup against the Orioles Tuesday.
Crain has a right shoulder strain, the same injury that sent him to the DL at this time last year.
Both players have been mentioned in trade rumors, particularly Crain (0.74 ERA). Interested teams have to wait a bit longer to make offers now.
Has the White Sox’ rebuilding process begun?
The Sox signed Micker Adolfo Zapata today, and the 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic received a $1.6 million bonus.
That is the largest bonus the White Sox have ever paid for an international prospect.
Zapata is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and ranked as the No. 2 international prospect by MLB.com.
"Micker is a terrific young man who is tremendously talented," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “As we've gotten to know Micker and his family, we've been even more and more impressed. We cannot say enough about his baseball potential and his future with the White Sox."
Hahn was in the Dominica Republic for the signing.