Late Season Help (Part II)

In Part II of Late Season Help, we'll look at the guys on the fence for getting promoted to the Big Club when rosters are expanded on September 1st, as well as guys who could be added to the 40 man roster so they can be called up. With Iowa in a playoff race, the Cubs may be a little hesitant to call these some of these guys up to sit on the bench, but Tennessee (in last place) should be fair game. In case you missed Part I, click here.

Keep Playing Hard if you want to sniff the Ivy (or carry the pink backpack)

Jose Ascanio-With Ascanio logging some PT at Chicago, you'd think that the Cubs would want to add his arm to the 'pen, even if he had a 7.94 ERA in the Bigs. But things haven't been wonderful for Ascanio in the cornfields lately. He has a 8.03 ERA at Iowa after the All Star break and has given up 6 HR's in his last 18 innings pitched. If the Cubs call him up, I wouldn't expect to see him on the field unless one team has a double digit number on the scoreboard. I don't expect him to return unless there are some injuries to the other relievers.

Angel Guzman-At the beginning of the year, it seemed like the only stat Guzman was going to add was another full year on the DL, which has become an annual tradition for the Cubs 2003 BA Top Prospect. But he has been throwing since early June and is now rehabbing at Iowa. He has made 4 appearances in 3 stops, giving up 2 earned runs 11 innings pitched. Of course, to be added, he will have to be removed from the 60 day D.L., which is the only basis that puts him on the fense. Let's hope he can contribute to the 'pen like he did last year, when he had a 3.60 ERA as a reliever in his short time in Chicago.

Carmen Pignatiello-Pignatiello is teetering toward being called up because he happens to throw the baseball with his left hand. His 7.05 ERA at Iowa is teetering him back toward not being called up. His ERA has been bad all season; 10.50 in April, 6.48 in May, 4.26 in June, 9.45 in July, and 8.10 in August. Despite all that, he has managed to keep lefties at bay, as they are only hitting .164 off him. But even that has it's problems, as he has also given up more walks than hits to left-handed batters. My money is on the Cubs adding him, just because he is a southpaw and the Cubs have no other options.

Felix Pie-Ohh, what to do with Felix Pie. He needs more seasoning. He needs more AB's. He needs consistent AB's. But, he may be the Cubs starting CF next year, so he should get some experience in the Bigs. Or maybe not. So, what should the Cubs do? Pie is hitting .280 at Iowa, .321 after the All Star Break. A week ago, he had a 6.92 strikeout per AB ratio. A week later, it's down to 6.11 (thanks in large part to a golden sombrero on Saturday). The Cubs could use another left-handed stick off the bench and could use a solid defense OF to spell Edmonds' old ass or to cover some of Sori's mistakes, but the argument will no doubt be whether it's better to have him sitting on the Cubs bench not logging at AB's or playing in the AAA playoffs. I have mulled this over in the powerful, Cubs-driven mind that I have, and I still don't have an answer. I think it might actually depend on whether the Cubs still see him as a coveted prospect, which according to John Heyman of SI, they don't.

Jake Fox-Fox has been really good at Tennessee after starting off slow at Iowa. He's the only guy listed as a catcher on the 40 man roster that isn't in the Bigs, but the problem is he really isn't a catcher anymore. He's played 1-sack, OF, and DH'ed for the Smokies, so he has the postional flexibility that Lou likes. I am guessing the Cubs add a catcher to their roster instead of calling up Fox, but if Lou wants to have an emergency catcher, Fox could get the nod. Fox has a .300 batting average and 22 HR's for the Smokies, including .353 after the All Star Break, and sometimes, these call ups are based on merit, and those numbers merit the promotion.

Pick Me, Pick Me! (guys not on the 40 man roster)

Jose Ceda-Ceda, as mentioned in ATAtM on multiple occasions, has been working the 8th inning of Smokies games instead of the 9th, leading to suspicion that the Cubs were getting him ready to get called up and work in relief. Ceda has struggled a bit in the setup role, but has only given up one run in his last 5 and 1/3 (over 5 appearances). The Smokies used him to pitch both the 8th and 9th last time out. The Cubs are likely going to put him on the 40 man roster after the season's over anyways, in order to protect him from getting plucked in the Rule V draft this December, so that may impact the decision. Since his future is in relief, the Cubs concern about his arbitration status is probably diminished.

Welington Castillo-The Cubs Future's game representative may get added to the 40 man roster to give Lou another catcher. The Cubs may or may not add him to the 40 man this offseason anyways, to protect him as they will Ceda. But if the Cubs feel confident he isn't MLB ready, they may not bring him up to sit on the bench and start the aribtration clock ticking. Castillo has hit a solid .278 at Tennessee this year, but his main prowess is his defense. I don't think he's going to get the call, but it might not be a bad idea to get him some experience at least catching some MLB pitchers.

Casey McGehee-Probably a long-shot, but McGehee is the I-Cubs 3-sack and the Cubs could use a backup 3-sack. Currently, the only options they have are ARam, DeRo, and in an emergency, Ronnie C. McGehee's hit .294 with 12 HR's and 82 RBI's this season. The thing that may give him a boost into being added to the 40 man roster is that if my math is correct and my knowledge of MLB rules is correct, he will have been in the Cubs system for 6 years, meaning he would be a 6 year free agent this offseason and can sign with any club.

Koyie Hill-Hill wasn't on my list until I read Bruce Miles blog post which said that the Cubs would consider adding Hill (Bruce and I didn't necessarily agree on who's getting the call). Those who can think all the way back to last year will remember that Hill spent a decent amount of time in Chicago; he played in 36 games when the Cubs needed catchers. Hill only hit .161 during that stretch, but stuck around becuase he could handle the staff and was solid defensively. With the Cubs not really needing to add offense at the catcher's position, Hill may be added to the 40 man roster to serve as the 3rd catcher. He's hitting .272 with 14 HR's for the I-Cubs as their primary catcher.

Doug Deeds-Acquired in the trade that sent Craig Monroe to the Twins, Deeds isn't likely headed to Chicago. But since he's put up some good numbers, I thought he was worthy of mention. A Southern League All Star, Deeds is hitting .331 with 36 doubles, 10 HR's and 8 SB's on the year. He's a left-handed stick who can play all three OF spots. The Cubs should have enough depth at OF, but if they keep Pie and Fox in the minors, Deeds may be the guy who gets added for OF depth.

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