The Cubs' offseason... so far
The Cubs' brass hasn't done much this offseason - but let's review the moves that they did make.
Signing Wesley Wright to a one-year contact worth $1,425,000
Wright was solid last season - especially after he was traded to Tampa Bay (0.973 WHIP). He provides another lefty in the pen, at a reasonable contract - which probably makes James Russell expendable, this offseason. Wright, himself, becomes a strong candidate to be traded at the deadline.
Acquiring George Kottaras from the Royals for cash considerations; signing him to a one-year, $1,075,500 contract.
Look, I understand that nothing screams "sexy," about this move. However in-context - that context being role-players - I really like this move.
As the backup catcher, Kottaras provides a left-handed bat with pop, an elevated walk-rate, along with a sound defensive-presence. And to continue the trend, he comes at a favorable price.
Trading Brian Bogusevic to Tampa Bay for Justin Ruggiano
This one was clearly a win. Bogusevic wasn't going to see much playing-time in an increasingly crowded outfield, so trading him for Ruggiano was a net-gain. Ruggiano will platoon in the outfield, playing mostly against left-handers - where he put up a SLG of over .700 in 2012, and over .500 last season. Ruggiano is under team-control past this season, and should command around $1,500,000 via arbitration. Like Wright, Ruggiano could be flipped at the trade deadline. In case you're wondering, Miami made this trade in-order to net-gain $1,000,000 (Bogusevic makes $500,000).
Claiming Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Twins
Once again, a safe, upside transaction.
Hendriks was once a highly-touted prospect in the Twins organization. He has good command, but unfortunately wasn't missing as many bats as the Twins would have liked. Just 24-years-old, Hendrks will be given ample time to "figure-it-out" at AAA.
Signing Ryan Roberts to a minor-league deal
No, not BRIAN Roberts - remember the offseason where he was all the talk? - RYAN Roberts. Roberts has some pop, and will provide infield depth at AAA if he doesn't make the team.
Re-signing Donnie Murphy to a one-year, 850,000 contract
If you need evidence that the Cubs' are tanking the 2014 season, look no further. Murphy put up some nice numbers, in a small-sample. But so did Cody Ransom (remember him?) at one point. With extended at-bats, Ransom got exposed. The same will happen to Murphy. Besides, I would much-rather a Josh Vitters/Brett Jackson get the roster-spot that Murphy will be occupying. One can argue that if he plays poorly for an extended period of time, the Cubs could simply DFA, due to his relatively cheap salary. To that, I would warn against Murphy playing just good enough to stick, but just poor enough to forget to make an impact - thus preventing Vitters, Jackson, or any young player looking to audition his services in the future, from getting at-bats.