Tag: Andy Sonnanstine

Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Marlon Byrd

Running down the rosters: Chicago Cubs


Forget about 2012 and probably 2013 as well; the Cubs are thinking long-term after luring Theo Epstein from Boston as their new showrunner. This year’s club won’t necessarily be one of the worst in baseball — the pitching depth could help it avoid that fate — but there’s also little in the way of upside until more of the youngsters come along.

Ryan Dempster  -R
Matt Garza – R
Randy Wells – R
Paul Maholm – L
Chris Volstad – R

Carlos Marmol – R
Kerry Wood – R
Jeff Samardzija – R
James Russell – L
Marcos Mateo – R
Andy Sonnanstine – R
Scott Maine – L

SP next in line: Travis Wood (L), Rodrigo Lopez (R), Sonnanstine, Casey Coleman (R)
RP next in line: Chris Carpenter (R), Manuel Corpas (R),  Lendy Castillo (R)(Rule 5), John Gaub (L), Rafael Dolis (R), Casey Weathers (R)

The Cubs have yet to find a Garza trade to their liking, leaving the rotation as the team’s strength. No one from the group aside from Garza stands out, but the team should get reasonable innings from everyone. I have the other five starters projected with ERAs ranging from 4.18 (T. Wood) to 4.42 (Maholm).

The bullpen, on the other hand, will need a bounce-back season from Marmol, a healthy Wood and continued improvement from Samardzija if it’s going to be any good. The last three spots should all be up for grabs. I like Carpenter, but he’s going to have to throw a few more strikes in spring training to claim a spot initially. Castillo, a Rule 5 pick from the Phillies, could be kept and hidden as a mop-up man.

RF David DeJesus – L
SS Starlin Castro – R
CF Marlon Byrd – R
LF Alfonso Soriano – R
1B Bryan LaHair – L
C Geovany Soto – R
3B Ian Stewart – L
2B Darwin Barney – R

C Welington Castillo – R
INF-OF Jeff Baker – R
INF-OF Blake DeWitt – L
OF Reed Johnson – R
OF Tony Campana – L

Next in line: C Steve Clevenger (L), C Jason Jaramillo (S), 1B Anthony Rizzo (L), 2B-3B Adrian Cardenas (L), 3B Josh Vitters (R), INF Matt Tolbert (S), INF Bobby Scales (S), INF-OF Alfredo Amezaga (S), OF Dave Sappelt (R), OF Brett Jackson (L)

The lineup appears set, as the Cubs have made it clear that Rizzo will start off at Triple-A Iowa. It could actually be surprisingly productive if LaHair proves that his 2012 was no fluke and Soto continues his even year-odd year pattern (he had an .868 OPS as a rookie in 2008 and an .890 OPS in 2010).

As for the bench, we’ll have to wait and see what happens to DeWitt. He re-signed for $1.1 million last month, only to be designated for assignment in February. The Cubs could cut him and eat about $200,000, but he’s not such a bad guy to have around. If not DeWitt, then the last spot could go to Tolbert; ideally, someone on the bench would be able to serve as a backup shortstop. As is, Barney is the second option there.

Outside of Castro, no one in the lineup here is a great bet to be on the next contending Cubs team. Byrd and Soto are candidates to be traded this summer. Of course, the same goes for Soriano if he can play well enough to draw a suitor. Ideally, Rizzo, Jackson and maybe even Vitters will occupy lineup spots in the second half the season.

Cubs sign Andy Sonnanstine and Manny Corpas to split contracts

Andy Sonnanstine Getty

The Cubs just announced that they have signed right-handers Andy Sonnanstine and Manny Corpas to non-guaranteed split contracts for 2012. Way to totally upstage Boxing Day, you guys.

We knew about Corpas last week, although it was originally reported as a one-year major-league deal.

Sonnanstine, who turns 29 in March, was non-tendered by the Rays in December after posting a 5.55 ERA and 12/12 K/BB ratio over 35 2/3 innings at the major league level this past season. Oh, he also gave up 10 home runs. Eek. The soft-tossing right-hander has a 5.26 ERA over 540 1/3 innings in the majors, averaging 5.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9.

Nothing to get excited about here, but worth adding him as insurance for the bullpen and starting rotation.

Tracking the non-tenders: Joe Saunders, Luke Scott, Hong-Chih Kuo

Luke Scott

Here’s the official list of players non-tendered prior to the Monday midnight deadline:

American League

Baltimore: OF/DH Luke Scott, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, RHP Willie Eyre

Scott went from hitting .284/.368/.535 during an excellent 2010 season to .220/.301/.402 in 209 at-bats during a 2011 season shortened by shoulder surgery. The Orioles could re-sign him for significantly less than the $6 million he was due in arbitration. If not, he’ll enter the crowded free agent market as a lesser version of Jason Kubel.

Boston: LHP Rich Hill

Hill figures to miss at least the first month or two after Tommy John surgery, but since he did show promise as a sidewinding reliever last season, the Red Sox debated tendering him. They’ll make an attempt to re-sign him to a minor league contract.

Chicago: none

Cleveland: none

The Indians said they’ll tender everyone. Their only borderline arbitration-eligible player is third baseman Jack Hannahan, and he shouldn’t come in at much more than $1 million. Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Shin-Soo Choo are due for bigger raises, though Choo’s rough year will cost him.

Detroit: 2B Will Rhymes

Rhymes quickly fell out of favor after opening last season as Detroit’s primary second baseman. He has a nice career line of .283/.341/.370 in 276 major league at-bats, but if anyone had much interest in him, he would have been traded. He’s making the minimum, so that wasn’t an issue.

Kansas City: LHP Aaron Laffey

The Royals claimed Laffey off waivers from the Yankees in October, so it seems they want him around. Still, they weren’t interested in risking arbitration. A sinkerballing lefty, Laffey has a 4.34 ERA in 373 2/3 career innings. He may get a guaranteed deal from some team, but it will be for less than $1 million.

Los Angeles: none

The Angels said they’re tendering all of their arbitration-eligible players, a list that includes Kendrys Morales.

Minnesota: LHP Jose Mijares

Mijares should be a hot name with so little left-handed relief available this winter. He was terrible last season, with a 30/30 K/BB ratio and a 4.59 ERA in 49 innings, but he had an 83/32 K/BB ratio and a 2.67 ERA in 94 1/3 innings between 2009-10. Although he has a reputation as a bit of a head case, he’ll get guaranteed money.

New York: none

Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed that he would have no non-tenders tonight.

Oakland: none

Daric Barton, Landon Powell and Adam Rosales all agreed to one-year deals today, and the A’s announced that they’re tendering everyone. Powell and Rosales risked being non-tendered if they didn’t sign today.

Seattle: RHP Dan Cortes, C Chris Gimenez

Cortes’ inclusion is explained by the fact that he underwent a previously unrevealed shoulder surgery in October, leaving his status for the beginning of 2012 in doubt. The hard-throwing-but-wild right-hander could be re-signed to a minor league deal.

Tampa Bay: RHP Andy Sonnanstine

Sonnanstine was expendable regardless, but the trade for Burke Badenhop on Monday made it even more obvious he had no place in the Rays’ plans going forward. He might have a chance of surviving as a swingman in the NL.

Texas: RHP Fabio Castillo

Good arm, bad year in Double-A. The Rangers will probably re-sign him to a minor league deal.

Toronto: none

Jeff Mathis took a paycut and thus avoided being non-tendered. Dustin McGowan is another one who might have been non-tendered had he not agreed to a one-year deal on Monday.

National League

Arizona: LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Micah Owings

Confirmed now. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Saunders would be a non-tender after failing to come to terms with the Diamondbacks on either a one- or two-year contract. He might be able to get a two-year deal from another team, possibly for $7 million-$8 million per year.

Atlanta: RHP Peter Moylan, INF Brooks Conrad

Moylan will miss at least the first month or two after rotator cuff surgery. The Braves will probably re-sign the veteran setup man to a lesser deal.

Chicago: C Koyie Hill

Here’s a move that’s long overdue. Hill is pretty atrocious offensively and isn’t really exceptional on defense either. Welington Castillo should prove to be an immediate upgrade behind Geovany Soto for the Cubs.

Cincinnati: none

John Fay reports that the Reds will tender everyone. Paul Janish and Jose Arredondo were the only arbitration-eligible players somewhat in doubt. The Reds have been looking for a veteran backup shortstop, suggesting that Janish’s place on the team is still far from assured.

Colorado: OF Ryan Spilborghs, OF Cole Garner

Spilborghs spent five years as a really nice part-timer for the Rockies before collapsing last year. He hit just .210/.283/.305 in 200 at-bats for Colorado. At 32, he has a chance to bounce back and serve as a productive bench player elsewhere. The Red Sox have often been mentioned in connection with him when his name has come up in trade rumors.

Florida: RHP Clay Hensley

The Marlins opted to keep Chris Volstad, which qualifies as a minor surprise. Hensley had already been designated for assignment, so this non-tender was a given. He washed out as a starter last season, but he did have a 3.51 ERA in 25 2/3 innings out of the pen. In 2010, he had a 2.16 ERA in 75 innings as a reliever.

Houston: none

The Astros had just two arbitration-eligible players in Humberto Quintero and J.A. Happ, and they’ve already re-signed Quintero.

Los Angeles: LHP Hong-Chih Kuo

Kuo’s case of the yips and likely $3 million salary was viewed as a bad combination by the Dodgers. There will be several teams interested if Los Angeles can’t re-sign him; when Kuo is on, he’s as unhittable as any lefty in the game.

Milwaukee: none

New York: OF Mike Baxter, C Ronny Paulino

Paulino seems to be wearing out his welcome with teams pretty quickly, but he still offers a nice bat versus left-handed pitching. It could get him a backup gig. The Mets are leaning towards going with light-hitting Mike Nickeas as Josh Thole’s backup, though that could change if Jason Varitek or Ivan Rodriguez is willing to sign for $1 million.

Philadelphia: none

Pittsburgh: C Jason Jaramillo, INF Pedro Ciriaco

Those two were already removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster last week. Right-handers Jason Grilli and Chris Resop were the two veterans the Pirates considered non-tendering. Grilli saved his job by agreeing to a one-year deal today.

St. Louis: INF Ryan Theriot

Skip Schumaker took a two-year contract and avoided being non-tendered. Theriot will try to find a starting job at second base somewhere. His poor play at shortstop really limits his value as a utilityman.

San Diego: OF Jeremy Hermida

Hermida had already been designated for assignment. The Padres also re-signed outfielder Chris Denorfia to a one-year deal today. They’ll hold on to right-hander Dustin Moseley, who was considered a possible non-tender after surgery on his non-throwing shoulder.

San Francisco: 2B Jeff Keppinger, C Eli Whiteside

Mike Fontenot signed a one-year deal, so he escaped this fate. It helped his case that he’s a better shortstop than Keppinger. Keppinger can hit, though, and might get a look as a starter at second base.

Washington: LHP Doug Slaten

Slaten was limited to 31 appearances by an elbow injury last season, but he was a nice lefty specialist in 2010, when he had a 3.10 ERA in 40 2/3 innings. Mark Zuckerman says this will be the Nationals’ only non-tender, meaning Tom Gorzelanny will stick around as the second lefty in the Washington pen along with Sean Burnett. Jesus Flores was also offered a deal.