I-Cubs Arrive; Unexpected Shake-Up

We’re back from our monthly off day and are ready to continue the homestand tonight, with the Iowa Cubs in town for a four-game series which runs through Sunday.

The I-Cubs have not duplicated the success of their major league affiliate, which has the best record in MLB. Iowa rolls into town on a three-game losing streak, and a record of 18-19 on the season.

But, Iowa has a lot of prospects. With the success of the major league Cubs, some of these Iowa players could become trade chips in July, or major league reinforcements when needed.

If you are coming to the ballpark this weekend – and by all means you should, duh – keep an eye on catcher Willson Contreras, who some analysts think is the best catching prospect in minor league baseball. Also watch sleek outfielder Albert Almora and first baseman Dan Vogelbach, who is a bulky hit-machine.

And if you like your ex-Mariners, Munenori Kawasaki is with Iowa!

The Rainiers had a roster move after Tuesday’s win, and it’s a real head-scratcher.

The Mariners activated Joaquin Benoit from the disabled list, and sent down reliever Mayckol Guaipe. That part made sense.

But the Rainiers needed to make room for Guaipe on the roster, and for some reason the Mariners released Tacoma third baseman Ed Lucas. This leaves the Rainiers with 11 position players and 14 pitchers – including a too-large nine-man bullpen.

I’d like to explain to you why they did this, but I have no idea. Jerry Dipoto and Andy McKay must have some reason for the move, but it’s a mystery to me.

It’s not like Lucas was going unused: he was the starting third baseman, and leads the PCL in games played.

Manager Pat Listach is now forced to cycle through Chris Taylor, Tyler Smith, and Luis Sardinas at some combination of second, third, and shortstop without a back-up infielder. Hopefully there aren’t any injuries.

Tacoma will not be getting Jabari Blash back from the Padres.

San Diego selected the slugger in the Rule 5 Draft, which meant they had to keep him in  the majors all year, or else expose him to waivers, and then offer him back to the Mariners.

Blash was taken off their roster a week ago, he cleared waivers, and was offered back to Seattle. The Mariners and Padres worked out a trade, with the Padres getting to keep Blash and the Mariners receiving a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The process means that the Rule 5 rules no longer apply, and the Padres are free to send Blash to the minors.

I’m sure he’ll look sharp in his El Paso Chihuahuas uniform.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: No game yesterday, but on Tuesday the Rainiers beat Omaha 7-5 and won that series, three games to one. In his final at-bat for the Rainiers, Ed Lucas singled home the tying run in the bottom of the eighth inning before Rob Brantly‘s two-run single gave Tacoma the lead. Brantly had a huge game, going 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI.

Roster Move: Tacoma adds reliever Mayckol Guaipe from Seattle, and infielder Ed Lucas was released.

Today: Iowa (18-19) at Tacoma (23-16), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Chicago Cubs.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Ryan Williams (3-1, 3.49) at RHP Donn Roach (2-2, 7.39).

Hot Rainiers: Mike Baxter has nine hits and four walks in his last six games, and he has homered in back-to-back games with three total dingers… Rob Brantly has gone 10-for-24 over a six-game hitting streak, with three homers… Dario Pizzano has hit safely in nine straight games, going 12-for-30.

Look Out For: Alberto Almora is running hot. He brings a 14-game hitting streak into tonight’s game, with 23 hits during the spree. He also never walks: he’s hasn’t drawn a free pass since April 23, 95 at-bats ago… Dan Vogelbach won the PCL Player of the Week award last week, but he went just 3-for-15 earlier this week in the series at Reno… Juan Perez has a five-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

The entire PCL was off on Wednesday, but we do have a few interesting stories:

Roster turmoil is a part of Triple-A baseball, and the Rainiers have been fortunate to avoid it until today. It will be interesting to see how the team responds on the field.

One Response to I-Cubs Arrive; Unexpected Shake-Up

  1. Mark Bushnell says:

    Mike, I don’t know but maybe Lucas was for this? Struggling at the plate except RBI and maybe he felt it was time to go?

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