Cubs ink four to minor league contracts

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Cubs ink four to minor league contracts

The Cubs made some minor moves Wednesday, inking four players to deals just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Chicago signed outfielder Brian Bogusevic, infielder Alberto Gonzalez, outfielder Johermyn Chavez and catcher J.C. Boscan to minor league contracts.

Bogusevic, 28, was born in Oak Lawn and attended high school at the De La Salle Institute in Chicago. The Astros took him 24th overall in the 2005 draft. He began his career as a left-handed pitcher, but hasn't thrown an inning since 2008 after he racked up a 5.05 ERA in 77 minor-league outings (64 starts).

Bogusevic has primarily played outfield since '08, making his way through the Astros' minor league system. He's bounced between Triple-A and the big leagues over the past three seasons.

In 618 plate appearances in with the Astros since 2010, Bogusevic has put up a .227.310.346 batting line with 11 homers, 24 doubles and 66 runs. He can play all three outfield positions and has some speed, with 94 career stolen bases between the majors and minors.

Gonzalez is a 29-year-old journeyman from Venezuela, appearing with the Yankees, Nationals, Padres and Rangers over the past five seasons after starting his career with the Diamondbacks. He has played all four infield positions in the majors over the past couple of seasons, notching more than 130 games at both second base and shortstop. He's never shown much with the bat, boasting a .242.279.317 line in the MLB to go along with a .714 career minor league OPS.

Boscan has garnered 20 plate appearances with the Braves over the past three seasons, but has spent the majority of his time catching in the minors. The 32-year-old Venezuelan began his career with the Braves before making stops in Milwaukee and Cincinnati and returning to Atlanta. He has caught more than 1,000 games in his career, but boasts just a .614 minor league OPS.

Chavez is also from Venezuela, but the 23-year-old outfielder has yet to rise above Double-A. He's shown patience and some pop with the bat, sporting a .263.341.442 line in the minors. Chavez, who hit 32 homers in High-A ball in 2010, has seen time primarily as a corner outfielder, but has played a bit of center, too.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.