The NL and AL Manager of the Year honors were handed out on Wednesday … with Mike Scioscia and former Chicago Cub, Jim Tracy winning the awards. The NL Cy Young will be announced on Thursday with one of two Redbirds expected finish in the top spots in the voting.
The Cubs announced their 2010 Spring Training schedule on Wednesday … so start up the countdown clock. Cactus League action begins for the Cubs on March 4 at HoHoKam Park against the Oakland A’s. The Cubs will face the White Sox during the first weekend of games. Single-game tickets go on sale January 5 for the Cubs’ 35-game spring schedule.
Is this the calm before the Hot Stove kicks into gear on Friday? Here’s the latest on the eve of the free-agent frenzy and the deadline all clubs must file their reserve lists …
For those counting … 105 days until Lou Piniella’s crew takes the field in the 2010 Cactus League opener against the A’s. The Cubs will play the Reds for the first time Arizona this spring … Cincinnati moved their Spring Training home from Florida to Arizona and will share the new facilities in Goodyear with the Cleveland Indians.
The Cubs will face-off against the White Sox in Las Vegas once again next year. Split squads will play the Sox on Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13 as a part of the annual ‘Big League Weekend’ at Cashman Field … while the ‘rest’ of the roster will play the Brewers in Maryvale (March 12) and the Reds in Mesa (March 13).
The Cubs final games of the exhibition season will take place at Chase Field with two against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 2 and April 3 … Opening Day of the 2010 Season for the Cubs is April 5 in Atlanta.
The Cubs are expected to announce a new two-year deal for John Grabow on Thursday. The deal is rumored to be worth around $7.5 million.
Will post an update as soon as the signing is made official.
The Cubs 40-man Roster
The Cubs have until Friday to set their 40-man roster in preparation of the Rule 5 draft in December … the 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players. Teams must have their reserve lists filed for both the major league and minor league levels. Eligible players not on the 40-man roster can be selected in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft on December 10 … the final day of the winter meetings.
Rule 5 Draft
The Rule 5 draft is held each December at the Winter Meetings, and it consists of a Major League portion and a minor league portion. By November 20, each club must set its 40-man roster and submit reserve lists for all major and minor-league levels (See Minor League Rosters). Between November 20 and the Rule 5 draft, a club may add Major League free agents to its 40-man roster but may not add any player from its minor league reserve lists.
After 4 or 5 years as a professional, a player must be added to his club’s 40-man roster or exposed to the 29 other clubs in the Rule 5 draft. (Under the new CBA, a club has 5 years to evaluate a player who signs his first pro contract at 18 years old or younger, but only 4 years to decide on a player who signs at age 19.) For purposes of calculating years as a pro, the counting begins the day a player signs his first pro contract, not the season he begins to play.
Clubs draft in reverse order of their won-loss records in the previous season, and only clubs with less than 40 players on their rosters may take part. To select an eligible player, a drafting club pays $50,000 to the player’s original club. The drafting club must keep the player on its 25-man active roster for all of the next season or put him on waivers. If a third club claims the player on waivers, the third club also must keep him in the majors all season. If the player clears waivers, he must be offered back to his original club for $25,000. A drafting club may work out a trade with the player’s original club so that the drafting club can keep him and send him to the minor leagues.
If, because of injury, a player selected in the Rule 5 draft spends less than 90 days on the active Major League roster, he also must remain on the Major League roster the next season until he earns 90 days of service. Otherwise, he must be put on waivers and offered back to his original club.
The Rule 5 draft also includes two minor-league phases. In the AAA phase, a player not protected on his club’s 40-man roster or 38-man AAA reserve list may be selected for $12,000. In the AA phase, a player not protected on his club’s 40-man roster, 38-man AAA reserve list or 37-man AA reserve list may be selected for $4,000. A player selected in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft is not required to play the next season with his drafting club at the higher organizational level.
The Cubs are expected to add John Gaub, Welington Castillo and Blake Parker to their 40-man roster by Friday. However, a report from the unreliable Phil Rogers indicated the Cubs might not add Blake Parker or Steve Clevenger before the deadline … which would leave them exposed in the Rule 5 Draft.
Minor League Free Agents
While the Cubs should re-sign Brad Snyder and will likely re-sign Bobby Scales, Baseball Prospectus thinks Ruben Gotay could be a fit with the Cubs … as well as the Astros and Tigers.
How many middle infielders do the Cubs need on the active roster?
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times (via the Chicago Tribune), the Cubs are not one of a dozen teams interested in signing Mark DeRosa this winter. DeRosa is coming off of wrist surgery and is seeking a multi-year contract.
From the Hot Stove
- ESPN.com mentioned the Cubs as one of the teams that could be interested in Felipe Lopez. Lopez, a Type-B free agent, is not expected to be offered arbitration from the Milwaukee Brewers
- Could the A’s be interested in Milton Bradley? There is a trade history between Jim Hendry and Billy Beane. ESPN.com asked the question on Wednesday … “Any chance the A’s bring back Milton Bradley if the Cubs agree to pickup some of the salary?“
- Jon Heyman reiterated the Rays, Rangers and Giants as the likely destinations for Milton Bradley.
- Dave Kaplan reported the Cubs are in serious discussions with the Rangers about a deal that would send Milton Bradley back to Texas.
Florida or Bust?
Tom Ricketts will meet with officials in Florida following the Thanksgiving holiday about moving the Cubs from the Cactus League to the Grapefruit League.
Ryne Sandberg appears headed back to the Tennessee Smokies next season for his fourth year managing in minor league ball. Sandberg did not mix words on Wednesday and told Waddle & Silvy he is hoping to be a candidate for the Cubs’ managerial job once Lou Piniella steps down … presumably following the 2010 season.
When asked about Milton Bradley, Ryne Sandberg said:
“A player can bring focus and attention to himself where now if he goes through a stretch that isn’t so well or he goes through a stretch where he’s not doing what he should be doing, then it opens the door for the fans to jump all over that. There’s just some talking to that can take place there and just reassure the player and re-iterate what it means to be a Chicago Cub, what it means to put on the uniform and what should be demanded.”
“I think you do treat the players somewhat different. Whatever clicks with those players. I’ve found in the minor leagues, I have the guys for one year and they’re gone. I think it’s a little bit more of a luxury at the major-league level to really get to know these guys on a yearly basis. Some of the players you might have for five to 10 years. Those are the core guys you want to get on board and get what is happening and what you expect.”
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Well, that’s the latest … and I’m sticking to it!