Major League Baseball will be front and center with the announcements of the AL and NL Rookie of the Year (Monday), AL and NL Manager of the Year (Tuesday), AL and NL Cy Young (Wednesday) and AL and NL Most Valuable Player (Thursday) awards this week. And while baseball is focused on awards week, the Cubs will continue working on the roster.
The deadline for clubs to file reserve lists both at the Major League and minor league level is looming (November 20) and the Cubs have decisions to make. The 40-man roster currently has four open spots (36 players) and plenty holes to fill, plus players to protect from the Rule 5 Draft (December 6).
In case you’ve missed it, the Los Angeles Dodgers are buying up as many players as they can get their hands on. The Dodgers outbid the rest of baseball for the right to negotiate a contract with Korean lefty Hyun-jin Ryu. The Dodgers bid more than $25.7 million, nearly $6 million more than the unnamed team that reportedly turned in a $20 million sealed bid. The new Dodgers ownership has apparently dusted off George Steinbrenner’s old manual of how to build a team.
The rumors continue to heat up with the Winter Meetings three weeks away …
The Cubs reportedly tried to lay a lot of groundwork for the off-season during the recently completed GM Meetings. The Cubs’ front office had multiple conversations with agents and teams about acquiring players that will make them more competitive next season.
The Cubs are trying to acquire players, mainly pitchers, that will lead to more wins at the big league level next season. The Cubs feel if they can add a couple of starters to the likes of Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Travis Wood they will be more competitive in the National League and play closer to the way they did prior to the trade deadline than in August and September.
According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are not trying to acquire players in order to just flip them for younger talent and prospects.
The Cubs are interested in trading for Lonnie Chisenhall and according to Levine, they have checked in with the Indians recently on his availability. The Cubs are looking for a short-term solution at third base and view Luis Valbuena as more of a utility infielder than a starter. Both Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have stated they feel good about the depth at third base in the system (Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Christian Villanueva, Jeimer Candelario and Javier Baez) but there is a big hole at third base for next year. The Cubs have until November 30 to make up their mind on Ian Stewart and whether or not they will tender him a contract for next season.
The Cubs have checked in with the agents for nearly all of the free agent starters on the market, including Scott Feldman according to Bruce Levine. Fangraphs recently labeled Feldman “The Poor Man’s Brandon McCarthy”. Feldman turns 30 in February and posted a 6-11 record in 29 games, 21 starts, for the Rangers last season with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.
As for Brandon McCarthy, the Cubs and White Sox, along with several other teams, have spoken with McCarthy’s agent, Craig Landis. There is a lot of interest in McCarthy throughout the league after he was medically cleared to pitch. McCarthy started 18 games for Oakland last season.
Another pitcher the Cubs could be interested in is Jon Garland. Levine spoke with Garland’s agent during the GM Meetings and he told Levine that Garland is healthy and ready to pitch. Garland is “the type of pitcher” the Cubs are looking to sign this off-season according to Levine. Garland is represented by Craig Landis, the same agent as Ryan Dempster and Brandon McCarthy. Garland also has a history with Jed Hoyer … Garland pitched for the Padres in 2010.
The Cubs are focused on re-signing Shawn Camp and he could end up being a closer option next season if they find a deal for Carlos Marmol. The Cubs are still shopping Marmol and could end up trying internal options for the closer’s job next year.
News, Notes and Other Rumors
Baseball lost one of the greats in the game on Thursday when Lee MacPhail passed away at the age of 95. Lee MacPhail was the father of Cubs’ former GM Andy MacPhail and the oldest living Hall of Famer.
Bruce Levine reported during Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday morning that the announcement of the Cubs’ new color analyst could be made during the coming week. Levine thinks Dan Plesac and Eric Karros on the two finalists with Plesac the favorite to land the job.
The Cubs are reportedly looking to add a veteran catcher this off-season and one possible option is no longer available. David Ross signed a two-year, $6.2 million deal with the Red Sox. Ross had not been linked to the Cubs but his unexpected signing with Boston could have an effect on what options the Cubs might have for a back-up backstop.
David Kaplan asked how much would the naming rights to Wrigley Field be worth.
Bruce Levine thinks the White Sox will re-sign Kevin Youkilis.
And … a tip of the cap goes out to all Veterans and those who continue to serve our country every day.
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