So, the other day, I delved into Cubs upcoming use of their 2,000th player in franchise history. The local media have been neglecting to mention that it would be their 2,000th during their NL history because the official all-time roster includes 18 additional players from their old National Association days.
Nevertheless, it was a pretty nifty topic, thinking back on just how many players that is and all of the names who have come in and out of Chicago like a revolving door.
The Cubs celebrated Independence Day by hitting that round-number milestone - it wasn't by calling up another hot prospect or adding Rafael Soriano to the MLB roster (as I had predicted). Rather, it was an outside acquisition:
If you had Clayton Richard in the poll you're either a dirty liar or you posses an actual Delorean time machine because no one knew that this guy was on TheoJed's radar.
Richard was a solid, if unspectacular member of the Padres rotation for a few years before arm injuries derailed his career. He'd been out of the Majors since 2013 due to thoracic outlet syndrome and shoulder surgery; but, he was pitching well for the Pirates AAA squad. Clayton had a clause in his contract that required his contract be offered to any team who would place him on an MLB roster and the Cubbies obliged.
Mr. 2,000* seized his opportunity and hurled 6+ innings of 2 run ball on our nation's birthday; he should get a couple more shots at establishing himself as the fifth starter. Here's hoping that the Pirates regret their rare intra-division trade during the Wild Card race.
The back of his 2010 Topps card gives a potential clue as to how Richard might have ended up with the Cubs:
Good ol' Hank White (aka Henry Blanco) spent several years as the Cubs back up catcher and is currently a member of Joe Maddon's coaching staff. Is it possible that Hank was whispering into TheoJed's ears about a pitcher he was so impressed with five years ago?
At the very least, I'd bet that Blanco was consulted by the front office before they made the move.
Anyway, it might've taken a week for the Cubs to move from 1,999 to 2,000 on their all-time NL roster; but, it didn't take nearly as long to add number 2,001:
The same day that Richard made his grand return to the Bigs, the Cubs announced that backup catcher David Ross was hitting the 7-day concussion DL. Thus, the club needed a backstop.
Having just traded away the recently DFA'ed Rafael Lopez and Kyle Schwarber needing time to work on his catching skills, Taylor Teagarden was the next man standing.
The former top prospect's bat has never really developed as had been hoped, which allowed the Cubs to add him on a minor league depth signing this past off-season. His stay is likely to be short - Ross only has a few more days out left and Miggy Montero doesn't need too much rest time.
The back of Taylor's card doesn't offer any clue as to how he could have ended up in Chicago - though he does have experience breaking up no-hitters/perfect games. That could be useful to a franchise that hasn't been no-hit since Sandy Koufax was stalking the mound.
OK - I'm aware that is a leap that even Evel Knievel wouldn't make, but there's only so much I can say about the guy.
Also, I used to loathe the design of 2011 Topps; however, I'm really starting to come around. The photography isn't crazily cropped and the name plate is elegant and unobtrusive. Why did I not like this??
Thus concludes my my obligatory post about new Cubs players and their addition to my CATRC binder. They aren't very exciting additions - maybe we'll get something juicy around the trading deadline though.
Regardless, the roster jenga from which this blog takes it's name is still alive and well at Wrigley Field.