Time for the Off-Season to Begin … Cubs Hire Minor League Pitching Coordinator and Other News and Notes

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning their second World Series title in three years …

When the Cubs announced the new staff structure for baseball operations last Tuesday, two positions had not been filled at that time … Minor League Pitching Coordinator and Minor League Hitting Coordinator. According to Baseball America, at least one position has been filled.

The Cubs have hired long-time Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson to be the organization’s Minor League Pitching Coordinator. Johnson has been the Commodores pitching coach for the last 11 seasons and has helped the likes of David Price, Mike Minor, Sonny Gray, Casey Weathers, Jeremy Sowers and Grayson Garvin take the next step in their development.

Cubs 40-Man Roster
The Cubs spent last week tweaking their 40-man roster and in the process Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer created several openings.

Over three days the Cubs made 11 roster moves and opened at least four spots on the Major League roster. The Cubs designated Anthony Recker for assignment in order to add former first round pick Carlos Gutierrez to the 40-man. The Mets claimed Recker off waivers the next day.

On Wednesday, the Cubs outrighted Marcos Mateo, Miguel Socolovich, Jason Berken and Adrian Cardenas off the 40-man and assigned all four players to Triple-A Iowa. Friday afternoon, the Cubs announced that the Royals claimed Chris Volstad on waivers and soon after the Volstad news hit the wire, the Cubs announced four more players were outrighted off the 40-man and assigned to Triple-A Iowa.

Justin Germano, Blake Parker, Joe Mather and Manny Corpas were outrighted off the roster and Corpas elected free agency instead of accepting his assignment to Triple-A. The 40-man roster officially stands at 33 players with Matt Garza, Arodys Vizcaino and Ian Stewart on the 60-day DL. Once those three players are reinstated, the Cubs 40-man roster will have 36 players on it … and several decisions to make.

The Cubs gain a roster spot with free agent Shawn Camp. The Cubs would like to bring Camp back but be better served to wait to sign him to later in the off-season. There is no reason to sign Camp now and have him take a valuable roster spot all winter.

Another spot could be opened by sending Casey Coleman through waivers and assign him to Triple-A Iowa. Coleman has been given multiple opportunities to show he can get outs at the big league level and has not seized those opportunities.

Bryan LaHair had an opportunity to play in Japan last year and turned down the offer for a chance to play with the Cubs. LaHair had a tremendous start to the season and was voted onto the NL All-Star squad. But LaHair struggled mightily after his hot start, lost his starting job when Anthony Rizzo was promoted then to Brett Jackson when he was called up. LaHair does not figure to be in the Cubs’ plans moving forward. At this point, the Cubs could use his roster spot in order to protect a younger player from the Rule 5 Draft.

News and Notes
Several of the Cubs’ prospects are on their way back to Mesa and will spend the week in ‘Camp Bussy/Camp Jarrow‘. The off-season program formerly named ‘Camp Colvin‘ kicks off Monday and is now named after Tim Buss and Doug Jarrow, the Cubs strength and conditioning coaches.

Javier Baez realizes he has to get used to playing third base.

According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs promoted Vijay Tekchandani from community affairs and projects coordinator to traveling secretary, replacing the team’s longtime traveling secretary Jimmy Banks.

Tony Zych is trying to pitch his way onto the Cubs’ roster.

The Cubs are expected to start interviewing for Bob Brenly’s replacement in the coming days. Several names with Cubs’ ties are interested including Rick Sutcliffe, Dan Plesac, Doug Glanville, Gary Matthews Sr. and Eric Karros. The Sarge spent time with Bruce Levine during Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday morning and said he has not been asked to interview yet. According to the Sun-Times, Eric Karros may be the early front-runner for the gig to replace Bob Brenly.

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein