#Cubs add 4 to 40-man roster

The Cubs selected the contracts of pitcher Pierce Johnson, catcher Willson Contreras, infielder Jeimer Candelario and first baseman Dan Vogelbach from Double-A Tennessee, and added them to the 40-man roster on Friday. With the moves, Chicago’s 40-man now is at 37.

The quartet were among six players listed on MLB.com’s top 30 Cubs prospects who were eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Johnson was ranked seventh, Contreras 10th, Vogelbach 13th and Candelario 20th.

Contreras, 23, was the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2015 after batting .333 with eight home runs, 34 doubles, four triples and 75 RBIs in 126 games at Tennessee. He hit .283 with three home runs and five doubles in 14 games in the Arizona Fall League before he suffered a hamstring injury and was shut down.

Johnson, 24, went 6-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 16 starts at Tennessee this season with 72 strikeouts over 95 innings. Slowed in Spring Training because of injury, the right-hander pitched for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League and struck out 21 over 24 2/3 innings in seven starts.

Vogelbach, 22, was a second-round pick in 2011, and battled injuries in 2015, finishing with a .272 average in 76 games at Tennessee with seven home runs, 16 doubles and one triple.

Candelario, 21, shined in the Arizona Fall League where he batted .329 in 21 games with five home runs, eight doubles and 15 RBIs in 21 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. This past season, he batted .291 in 46 games at Tennessee after opening the season at Class A Myrtle Beach, where he hit .270 in 82 games.

Two players in MLB.com’s top 30 Cubs prospects who were not protected were No. 19 RHP Corey Black and No. 29 RHP Daury Torrez. Black, 24, was moved from the rotation to the bullpen this season at Tennessee. Acquired from the Yankees in the Alfonso Soriano trade, he was 3-5 with a 4.92 ERA in 37 games, including nine starts. He pitched in the AFL, and gave up 11 earned runs over 8 2/3 innings in eight games.

Torrez, 22, was 10-6 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) at Myrtle Beach, striking out 86 over 134 1/3 innings.


Aloha jasper, well you got your request: Candelario is protected! I think a trade is coming because with 37 out of 40 spots now spoken for, if the team is going to try and get a SP, it could free up some more slots. The good thing is that the Rule 5 draft will be done in a few weeks but again, making room is also a priority for the players you want going into the season. It will be interesting if the FO pulls off a major trade before the meetings. Mahalo!

Hey K.g., we will all be happy Candalario was added to the Roster.

Aloha Jasper, yes I agree. I think it was neat that you got to see him up close and personal! So, do you think the FO pulls off a big trade like what they did with the Shark to the A’s before the December meetings? I know they are going to work out a large television deal soon and I am sure that will be good for the organization. I also understand it is important to go out there and get players like other teams have but I just hope they do not spend money like some other teams have (for example: Dodgers, RedSox, Yankees), it does not always translate into a competitive franchise or the winning of a WS. Again, I am not against going out and getting a player(s) that you hope has a huge impact on the organization but I also believe this FO has the creativity to put together some impact trades that can be more of an impact then a FA acquisition. I hope them the best and wait with bated breath! Mahalo!

They are working it K.g. Lots of rumors all over, just read where Greinke might be preferred over Price. lol
You never know what will happen!

Aloha Jasper- yes, I “hear” the FO linked to all the big FA’s!!! It seems like many in the media want a reunion with the Shark to happen. I agree with Carrie, this is still a free country and Theo/Jed can eat with whom they like. I am just not sure if he is a good option. He had a very down year last year but still is hoping to that a team like the Cubs will make their offer of $85mil again to him. I am still holding out for a Gray or Ross to be gained by a trade. Gray has more pros as he would be under control for 4yrs. I bet most would say I am dreaming if the FO could pull off two trades and get both Gray and Ross. If they can get one of them, they can re-think if they need to go into the FA market and pay dearly for a SP. Again, not keen on Shark, not saying he could not turn things around but I think Zimmermann could be a better bet and no previous baggage with the current team. I think Greinke and Price will both cost way too much and end up hurting what this FO has done very well to put together. If they had not signed Lester last year, then maybe as a big splash they try to get one of them but with Lester on the books for what, $25mil a year for someone that only plays (starts) in 28-35 games a year and that goes for any pitcher, I think acquiring a good player in a trade makes more sense. Mahalo!

With as much as they like the familiar faces, how would you guys feel about Lackey coming in to possibly finish off his career with the Cubs? He wouldn’t be my first choice, but he would certainly make a solid number three starter for the next one or two years while they continue to build up the younger talent, and he wouldn’t be anywhere near as expensive.

Another thing most of us are ruling out, is Fowler. What if another team does not offer him what he wants? Or, they don’t want to give up a Draft Pick for his services?
Is it possible he will sign a two or three year contract with the Cubs?
The second or third year, his SH Bat or speed could be used off the bench.

Aloha Jasper, that is a good point, what if Fowler does not get what he hopes for? Would he accept a 2yr deal with a 3rd year option? That would buy time for the organizaton and its young folks (Almora/Baez) to figure out who could work CF in the future. Probably a more cost effective option too which allows them to trade for Gray (you know I can not let that one go!)! Mahalo!

I mentioned him several weeks ago as a possibility. I cited Lackey and Zimmermann in the same breath as realistic alternatives to signing a Price or Greinke, and in effect, giving one of those ` the keys to the kingdom.` Also, Mr. Epstein commented weeks ago that he does not plan to contemplate any contracts similar to Jon Lester`s, and therefore he`d be going back on his word to attempt to attract a Price or Greinke.

Hadn’t heard that. Good to know. I think both Greinke and Price are going to be more expensive than Lester was. Feel like it would stretching the budget a little too thin going forward and we are still basically at the tail end of the rebuilding process. And I’ve heard a little talk about trading Arrieta when his time comes in a couple years, but I would rather the Cubs spend the money to lock him down.

I know all of us would love to see Arietta sign an extension, especially after last year.
Looking at it from an Owners perspective or Managements: He is under team control two more years. Why not wait and see if last year was real or just a fluke? He could hurt his arm in the next two years.
I don’t see the rush to extend Arietta.

Obviously, nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future. And I’m not saying sign him now. I was just saying that if the Cubs went for Greinke or Price they might not be able to afford Arrieta if and when that time comes. And of course Arrieta isn’t going to continue breaking records every season, but I really don’t think his success was a fluke.

Aloha jhosk- yes, good points and the more I think about it, the cost would hurt the organizaton in trying to address other areas of need. Let another team pay for Price and Grienke, I do not see it as a huge loss for this team. Mahalo!

If they can win it with the starting Staff they had last year, just about anything 2 thru 4 in the rotation will help loads. I am still wondering how Maddon done it after Arietta?
I am sure Lester will be better next year, but very unsure of Hammel, especially after June. Maybe Hendricks will be much better after a full year.
Still like to see a couple Starters signed not named Samardizja.

Aloha Jasper- yes it is amazing how the team was able to finish out the season with Arrieta as the main starter in a 5-man rotation! Another reason why it would be neat if the FO could get a Sonny Gray because as you say if Lester turns things around and Hendricks matures, maybe the weak link is Hammel? I think a pitcher like Gray infuses confidence in the starting lineup and the competition is good for them. You pick up someone like him then you ask yourself, do you need to sign a FA SP? I know many would say yes but with the money saved, could you now trade or possibly pick up a closer or stronger set-up person? Also, TRoss might not be a bad option for a SP as well but you only have him under control for 2yrs, the same time-frame for Arrieta, unless he is signed for an extension. I do not think this team is missing much. And like you mentioned if Fowler does not get what he and his agent want, then maybe he works out a 2-3yr deal to stay and in the end the organization did not have to shell out a whole of funds but most likely current player(s) and prospect(s) for a pitcher of Gray’s caliber. Take care now. Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk, I just throw this out…If the Hiroshima Carp, grant Kenta Maeda’s request to be posted for entry into the MLB, he might not be a bad option. He is a control pitcher, loves to work the strike zone. Reminds me a little of Maddux, as he is a student of the game always working to better his approach/performance. He should cost less than Tanaka and no loss of draft pick. If the FO could pull off a trade for Gray and win the rights to Maeda, that would be astonishing! Ok, I will come back to earth now! Mahalo!

I was not aware of Kenta Maeda until you suggested him, k.g. He projects as a #3 or #4 I see. From what I`ve read, the Hiroshima Carp organization does not have deep pockets, and it would be incentivized to agree to post the pitcher, and thereby reap the $millions. He weighs just 155 lbs. or so. I would think he`d cost far less than a Tanaka.

Aloha jhosk, yes I am sure if the FO got the rights to him, the coaches would want for him to add some bulk: cannot just eat tofu, miso-soup and fish! I know you like Lincecum and one of the negatives that was seen was his weight loss and how it affected him. I think with a good understanding of how ball is played in Japan and their conditioning techniques coupled with our/MLB regiment, as you say Maeda could be an effective #3 or #4 and he is only 27yrs old! Take care now. Mahalo!

over last 4 years… pitchers with at least 500 ip…. shark has 27th best xFIP, 37th best FIP, 23rd k/9, 22nd in SIERA and 24th in fWAR………… so basically a top 30 pitcher in all of baseball. I don’t see what’s not to like for a #4 pitcher. Thats a huge upgrade over Hammel. HUGE…. at least I wouldn’t mind seeing him make that playoff start. I know the reply to this will be shark is a cancer… clubhouse problem… bad attitude… Well not once did I hear of a player bash Shark in Chicago and Bosio just made comments praising shark. If Shark was the cancer that some seem to think he was then this FO would not allow him back… plain and simple. I trust the FO decision

So as you can see I like the signing of Shark… as long as he isn’t more than our #4. SO signing Shark better mean we get a stud young pitcher in a trade with some control or Price/Grienke/Zimmerman ( and i think zimmerman is borderline)….
Also lets remember we have a TV dealt that is going to be coming into effect in 2020 but it should be signed and setup in the next couple years so backloading a big contract will NOT hinder this organization as much as some think. The Cubs made 25 extra million for just the playoffs last year. Where does that go? I am sure its going somewhere. We could potentially make a good chunk more than last year this year too if we have another great season and take that next step forward in this rebuild. There is plenty of ways we can pay for that big arm…. reduced spending in draft and IFA since we have 28th pick (less money we can spend due to CBA) and we blew way past our budget this year means we will be stuck with max 300k contracts next year. That alone could be 5-10million. We could trade Montero and Hammel…. that could save some BIG change… granted Montero would likely be a deadline deal as we will need him early in the year till Schwarber or Contreras is ready. We will have the $$$

Understand the TV deal and contracts could be back loaded for that reason. 2020 is not that far off.
I never called Samardizja a clubhouse cancer.
I have stated many times, I support this Management and the decisions they make 100%
I have also stated, I am not a Samardizja fan, however if he is signed, I have no choice but to support him, because he will be a Cub.
I have stated my reasons for not wanting him back being: the last couple years here, all he talked about was his contract. Also stated that because he had the longest tenure as a Cub, the media always went to him, invariably the conversations always seemed to turn about his contract.
So would I rather see a couple other better Starters added, yes. Do I want to see Samardizja a Cub, no.
Whatever Management decides is paramount, I have no say.

I think people think poorly of Samardzija because they can’t understand why he turned down the Cubs contract offer a few years ago. Personally, I think that’s a little unfair towards Samardzija. After all, Homer Bailey got a $100 million contract from the Reds not too long before the Cubs offer. Contracts today are all about what did other similar players get, am I better than them, and what are others in my free agent class going to get. Samardzija compared himself to Homer Bailey and figured if Bailey can get 9 figures, Samardzija could get in the same ballpark as well. So to him, $85 million was a bit of a lowball offer, so I completely understand why he turned it down. I also wonder why Cubs fans are so fickle about Samardzija. After all, when all said and done it all worked out in the Cubs favor. Samardzija turning down their contract pretty much guaranteed that he would be traded, and that trade brought in Addison Russell and current #2 prospect Billy McKinney. So why hold it against him, when he was just looking out for his best interest (which every athlete in every sport does) and the Cubs managed to turn the situation into as good of an outcome as they could have hoped for? Plus, if the Cubs happen to get Samardzija back, they will do so on their own terms and probably won’t end their offseason there. Don’t think a simple dinner with him will lead to the Cubs opening the vault and telling Samardzija to take what he wants, just like you shouldn’t think that Samardzija should have pulled a Dawson and played for anything the Cubs wanted to offer him back in 2013.

I think our minds are like our finger prints, all different.
So I just know how I feel, the only time I pull for Samardizja if he is wearing a Cub uniform.
Agree with you on Montero, he will probably be traded. Contreras is that good.

Sorry, but Cubs don’t feel Contreras is ready yet. At least, that’s what I was told at GM meetings

Aloha Folks- I think it is all right to have opinions about players. As you both have reminded us, without the Shark, there is no trade to the A’s and no Addison or McKinney. The only thing I will say is if Shark had been more professional about his whole contract/future situation I wonder if the FO would have tried to move him, knowing that their timeline for a contender was around the corner. What I am saying is that Shark’s conduct gave a reason for the FO to move him, which turned out to be in the best interest of the organization. And remember with his leaving we saw the emergence (albeit a short one) of a neat trio: Arrieta-Hendricks-Wada. That was a real bright spot at the time during a tough season. What I am about to say is “anecdotal” in nature because it comes from my experience, I cannot speak for others. Chemistry and a team coming together takes time as well as weeding out those that may not fit-in the best with a particular group. I experienced this with my collegiate team, seeing how my coach/coaches would juggle folks, let some go and bring in others based on how as a “family” we all worked and interacted together. I do not know what all took place in that last season for the Shark as a Cub. I have been very pleased with all that this FO and ownership has put forth thus far and if they would bring back the Shark, my hope and trust would be that they look at it not just from a “metrics” perspective but also how he fits in with the rest of the team, because that is as important if not more than someone’s talent. By the way, I think Montero has had a positive effect on this team and the young pitching staff. If he is moved part of the reason is for the savings and because of whom is likely to come up through the farm system soon. Mahalo!

Just out of curiosity, what exactly do you mean by “if Shark had been more professional about his whole contract/future situation I wonder if the FO would have tried to move him”? I don’t recall any specific moment where he acted unprofessionally, so would you care to jog our memories? I know he never refused to pitch for the Cubs, so it can’t be that. I don’t remember hearing him ever fighting with teammates or with the manager, so it can’t be that. I don’t remember anyone ever saying that Samardzija wasn’t giving 100% effort because he wasn’t getting the contract he wanted, or did I miss something? As far as I can tell, the only real action Samardzija took in regard to his contract situation was reject the Cubs contract offer. That’s not unprofessional. That’s the business of baseball! And the FO traded him because they were far apart on their contract talks and Samardzija had good value still, so rather than drag out contract negotiations for another year or so, they checked what they could get for him on the trade market and decided that two top prospects now was better than waiting it out to see if Samardzija would come down from his expected figure. Again, that sounds like the business side of the game to me, and I fail to see (or to remember) what was so unprofessional about his conduct.

Carrie, you would know better than I, but after watching what he did in the AFL, before the injury, I feel he is ready, depending on other factors.
If Ross or Montero gets hurt, who is next in line?
If Montero brings a really needed piece to the puzzle in June or July, no problem, Contreras is there.
If it becomes more obvious that Ross is ready to coach the rest of 2016, around July or AUG, Contreras is there.
Montero/Contreras would make a great duo while Schwarber gets a start here & there, continuing his Catching OJT while playing LF.
I am sure we will see Contreras 2016 and pretty sure Candelario will be tried in the OF, especially if Soler is traded.

I’m sure they will bring in a veteran journeyman for Spring Training with the idea he’ll be the 3rd string catcher and camping out at AAA until/if needed. Think Taylor Teagarden, or someone else, like that. I think right now Contreras would benefit with some time at AAA, where he’ll be working with pitchers who have big league experience. As we saw with Schwarber, making the jump from AA to the Majors is a lot of trouble if you’re still working on your defense. And since Contreras has only been a catcher for a couple years, he could probably use more time working on overall defense. Personally, I’d like to see how Contreras does at AAA before I start planning a Montero trade. 🙂

Doug, of course we would like to see how Contreras does at AAA. I used several variables. It seems the one you picked up on, was Montero being traded.
I mean Management has told us in the past, they would like to see prospects get 300 AB’s at AAA before being promoted. How many did Bryant, Schwarber and Russell have at AAA?
We both know that how a prospect does, his maturity and work ethics will dictate the promotion, not the At Bats.
Even Montero after returning from AA on a rehab assignment had rave reviews on Contreras. As did Ramirez.
So really we don’t know.

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