Winter Meetings Roundup: Chicago Cubs Sign an OF, Re-Sign Stewart and the Rule V Draft

The Winter Meetings concluded today and the Chicago Cubs finally made noise. The Cubs signed an OF, re-signed a player and a few moves during the Rule V draft. Here’s the update from the final day of the Winter Meetings:

*The Cubs signed outfielder Nate Schierholtz to a 1-year contract worth 2.25 million and can reach an extra 500 thousand in incentives. The Philidelphia Phillies non-tendered him last week. Schierholtz is a left-handed hitter and is a great defender. He has an exceptionally well arm and does throw his share of runners out on the base-path. He does not walk much and will have his share of strikeouts.

Schierholtz made his name with the San Francisco Giants and was once considered a top prospect. But he never lived up to his hype and is having trouble sticking with one team.

Schierholtz is a RF and will be the starting RF for the Cubs (as of now…). As of right now, the Cubs will move David Dejesus to CF. Schierholtz may move to the Cubs 4th OF spot when Brett Jackson is once again ready.

Let me just say, I do like the signing. I liked him when he was with the Giants, but he just fell off the face of the earth. Especially for the contract the Cubs signed him for. The best part is… the Cubs won Schierholtz over the New York Yankees. The Yankees were serious about him, but the Cubs are the one to sign him.

*The Cubs have re-signed 3B Ian Stewart to a 1-year contract worth 2 million. He can also reach 500 thousand in incentives. However, if Stewart does not make the team out of spring training and is released, the Cubs are off the hook. That means Stewart’s contract is voided and the Cubs don’t have to pay him anything.

Stewart’s wrist is finally healthy, unlike the past 2 seasons. The Cubs bringing Stewart back was the right move. Especially how the 3B market is this year. All the 3B on the market are being overpaid and there not even great 3B.

If you don’t recall, the Cubs non-tendered Stewart last weak in hope of re-signing him to a cheaper contract. The Cubs did re-sign him to a little bit of a pay-cut, but not much. However, by doing so… the Cubs added the non-guaranteed contract. Because the 3B market is so bad, other teams were interested in signing Stewart. But at the end, the Cubs were the team to sign him.

The Rule V draft took place today and the Cubs did have player movement. About 10% of the players take in today’s draft, were Cubs related. Here is the player the Cubs drafted and the players who the Cubs lost:

*The Cubs had the 2nd pick in today’s draft and took pitcher Hector Rondon from the Cleveland Indians organization. Rondon was once a top prospect in the Indians organization, but injuries caught up to him. In the last 2 years, Rondon has pitched a total of 10 innings. He underwent Tommy John Surgery a few seasons ago and had a fractured elbow. However, he appears healthy now and has been pitching in Venezuela. He has looked great in Venezuela and scouts thought he would have gone high in the Rule V draft. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer saw him pitch in Venezuela and liked what they saw. He does have a great fastball and good secondary pitches too. The Cubs have to keep him on the roster all season of he’ll return to the Indians organization. I am pretty sure he will be on the Cubs roster all year. Ronden will also be 24-years old come the 2013 season.

*In the major-league part of the Rule V draft, the Cubs lost pitcher Starling Peralta to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He last pitch for the Cubs in low-A Peoria. He’s a 22-year old right-handed pitcher. People in the Cubs organization do like him and hate to see him. However, people also think he’s not ready for the majors and won’t stick on the D’backs roster all year. So, he’ll return to the Cubs organization.

*In the minor league phase of the Rule V draft, the Cubs lost OF Michael Burgess, IF Matt Cerda and P Alvido Jimenez.

Michael Burgess is a 24-year old left-handed hitting outfielder. Burgess last played for Double A. He’s not a talent that hurts to lose, but he could end up on a roster someday. He does have power and is a good defender. If you don’t recall, the Cubs acquired him in the Tom Gorzelanny trade.

Matt Cerda is a 22-year old left-handed hitting infielder. The Cubs middle infield is stacked in the minors and his lost does nothing to the Cubs organization. His stats don’t look great in the minors and probably would have never made the majors.

Alvido Jimenez is a 21-year old right-handed pitcher. His lost means close to nothing too. Yes, his stats don’t look bad in the majors . But he has only played in rookie ball. So, he’s too old for rookie ball and at this rate, he’ll never make the majors. He does have a great fastball , though.

*The Cubs supposedly made the signing of Japan closer Kyuji Fujikawa official. The Cubs are holding a press conference introducing Fujikawa tomorrow. That will take place at Wrigley Field at 11:30 a.m. Central. He signed a 2-year contract worth 9.5 million last week.

Going into the Winter Meetings, the Cubs 40-man roster was at 37. But the Cubs added 4 players to the 40-man roster … Schierholtz, Stewart, Ronden and Fujikawa. So, the Cubs 40-man now stands at 41 and we should hear a roster move in the next day or so.

Other news that are not completely out of the pitcher:

*The Cubs once again met with Ryan Dempster’s agent and were talking about a contract. The Cubs never┬ámade a contract offer, but could make one in the future. Both sides were talking about what a deal could look like. I wouldn’t mind Dempster returning. but I just don’t see it happening. I think he’ll sign with rival Milwaukee Brewers. As he’ll get the contract he wants or closer than the Cubs would offer.

*The Cubs are still in on RP Jason Grilli. He was expected to make a decision today, but still hasn’t. He’s likely to re-sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates, though. The Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays are the finalists for Grilli, along with the favorite Pirates.

*The Cubs have no interest in IF Yunisky Betancourt and may still have interest in RP Kyle Farnsworth.

Well that has concluded the Winter Meetings. However, that does not stop the moves!

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