Baseball’s Super Tuesday and Cubs News and Notes

Tuesday was one of the busiest days throughout the game in recent memory. There were a total of 12 different deals done in what has been nicknamed as ‘Transactions Tuesday’. The deals began early in the day when A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a one-year contract with the Red Sox and ended with the Yankees agreeing to a one-year deal with Kelly Johnson.

The transactions on Tuesday included free agent signings, two-team swaps and even a three-team trade.

One of the players the mainstream media kept trying to connect to the Cubs is no longer available. Jacoby Ellsbury agreed to a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees that includes an eighth year option that could make the contract worth $169 million. Ellsbury’s deal also includes a full no-trade clause.

On the Cubs’ front, the team announced the hiring of Eric Hinske as the team’s new first base coach under Rick Renteria.

Transactions Tuesday

While the CCO is typically reserved for Cubs’ moves, news and rumors, one of the most hectic days in baseball must be addressed. Plus, a couple of the deals involved players the Cubs were linked to this off-season and one deal could have removed a possible trading partner for Jeff Samardzija.

Here is a list of all of the moves that transpired on Tuesday:

  • A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a one-year, $8.25 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.
  • The Detroit Tigers reached an agreement on a two-year contract with Joe Nathan worth $20 million.
  • The Rangers sent OF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom to the Oakland A’s for OF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick.
  • The Reds, Rays and Diamondbacks worked out a three-team trade that netted the Rays both Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell. The Reds received LHP David Holmberg from Arizona and the Diamondbacks received RHP Justin Choate and a PTBNL from Tampa. Arizona sent all but $500,000 of the $9 million owed to Bell to Tampa and the Rays signed Hanigan to a three-year contract worth $11 million that includes a club option for 2017 for $3.75 million with an $800,000 buyout.
  • The Padres dealt RHP Luke Gregerson to Oakland for OF Seth Smith.
  • The Astros acquired OF Dexter Fowler from the Rockies for RHP Jordan Lyles and OF Brandon Barnes. The Rockies are one of the teams believed to be interested in trading for Jeff Samardzija. The level of the Rockies interest in Samardzija was (and is) unknown so it is hard to know if acquiring Lyles will have any impact on a possible deal with the Cubs.
  • The Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract.
  • The Phillies agreed to a one-year contract with Wil Nieves to backup Carlos Ruiz next season.
  • The Yankees agreed to terms on a seven-year, $153 million contract with OF Jacoby Ellsbury. The contract includes a club option for an eighth year that could bring the total value to $169 million … the ninth largest deal in baseball history.
  • The Phillies acquired RHP Brad Lincoln from Toronto for catcher Erik Kratz and LHP Rob Rasmussen.
  • Justin Morneau agreed to a two-year, around $13 million contract with the Colorado Rockies.
  • The Yankees inked Kelly Johnson to a one-year contract worth between $2.75-$3 million.

Jeff Passan reported teams have now spent $524 million on free agents this off-season.

Will anything be left for the Winter Meetings that begin in Orlando on Monday?

Rick Renteria and the Cubs Coaching Staff

Rick Renteria is scheduled to hold his first press conference at Wrigley Field on Thursday (1:00pm CST) and the Cubs announced they filled the last spot on his coaching staff on Tuesday. The Cubs hired former big leaguer Eric Hinske as the team’s first base coach. The 36-year old Hinske spent last season on Arizona’s bench.

The Cubs staff for the 2014 season is now set. And will be in attendance at January’s convention.

Cubs Coaching Staff

  • Brandon Hyde – Bench Coach
  • Chris Bosio – Pitching Coach
  • Lester Strode – Assistant Pitching Coach/Bullpen Coach
  • Bill Mueller – Hitting Coach
  • Mike Brumley – Assistant Hitting Coach
  • Gary Jones – Third Base Coach
  • Eric Hinske – First Base Coach
  • Jose Castro – Quality Assurance Coach
  • Mike Borzello – Catching and Strategy Coach
  • Franklin Font – Coaching Assistant

News, Notes and Rumors

MiLB.com posted a Q&A with Kris Bryant … and this is a really good read. Bryant is on the fast track according to the headline of the report.

According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the Tigers are “hot for a left-handed outfield bat” and Shin-Soo Choo is their top target.

Jon Paul Morosi reported there will be discussion of potentially increasing PED penalties at this week’s players’ union meetings.

Chang-Yong Lim could re-sign with the Cubs on a minor league deal after being non-tendered on Monday. The two-year minor league contract he signed with the Cubs last December was not guaranteed and had different salary structures for time spent in the minors and majors.

Jesse Rogers posted a report on why tendering Darwin Barney a contract was the right move for the Cubs.

According to Bruce Levine, former Cubs manager Mike Quade accepted roving outfielder instructor job with Yankees.

Jim Bowden posted his ideas for four different trades for Jeff Samardzija … and not one of them would net what the Cubs would need in return for Samardzija.

The Cubs were one of many teams interested in signing catcher Jose Molina before he re-signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. Molina will backup newly acquired Ryan Hanigan.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
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  • triple

    Neil, thanks for posting this comprehensive report on all of todays transactions!

    In all honestly, not one of those moves makes me the least bit upset about the lack of action on the part of the Cubs. None of those guys would do anything positive for the future of this team. Now I do think Tanaka is one guy who it may be a good idea to go all out and bring to Chicago. It would be nice to have a possible top-of-the-rotation type pitcher settle in to baseball at Wrigley as some of our prospects get closer to the show. Plus it may light a fire under the rest of our rotation and bullpen to actually bring their A game if we have a starter who can actually deal from start to start. And I know Samardizija could stand to learn a thing or two from him.

    As far as the rest of our starting rotation, hopefully we get Scott Baker signed, and I don’t think it would be terrible to look into signing Garza to a 2 (or maybe 3) year contract. Beyond that, it will be great to see if Kyle Hendricks continues to develop and can crack the big league rotation by the end of June…. I’m just gonna stay away from that disaster known as our bullpen (with exception to maybe Strop and Parker).

    As far as all the lament over these AAAA free agent signings that the Cubs are making, it definitely isn’t pretty, but I think it’s refreshing to see the FO stick to their plan. As I keep score in looking at the Cubs depth that they’ve developed that’s creeping up to the AAA level, it’s great to know that 2014 may be the last year of the no-name free agent frenzy that has been Theo’s modus operandi over the last 25 months. As far as the Big 4 go (Baez, Bryant, Almora, and Soler), I think it would be incredible if 2 of them ended up being solid impact players that will cause other pitchers problems while they bat in the middle of the lineup. I’d be really happy if even one of them turns out to be a perennial all-star who opposing pitchers fear. But more important than those 4 guys, are that more of the other players that funnel through our minor league system are capable of coming to the majors and fill the cracks that we’ve been filling with AAAA players. That easily frees up money to spend on better free agents who are younger than 30 and can actually help this club compete on a year-to-year basis.

    So I don’t care too much about who the coaches are for this team. They aren’t the ones on the field playing the game. Who are current Cubs that I have great interest in knowing what they can be for the future? Castro, Rizzo, Castillo, Lake, Samardzija, Wood, Arrieta, Strop, and Parker. And I like each one of them. These are the only guys I see that show the potential to be called part of the core. Should they all be expected to carry this team? No way, but they play their parts and certainly show the potential to do their job on a winning team. As far as the rest of the 25-man roster (as of now), they are basically just fillers until the talent starts making their way to Wrigley, and if some of these guys have great years, then they can be traded to bring in future talent to develop.

    As I see it, by the end of the 2014 season we will be getting a taste of Hendricks, Baez, Alcantara, Olt and maybe even Bryant. In 2015 there will be guys like Villanueva, Szczur, Beeler, Vizciano, Johnson, Edwards, Black, Pineyro, Soler, and Vogelbach who are in Chicago, or on the cusp of earning a promotion there. At this point, the guys who I mentioned as “part of the core” will be our veterans, and we will see holes get filled by any of the aforementioned players as well as some quality free agent signings to make for a competitive team, not to mention that some of these guys will be traded for other valuable pieces of the puzzle.

    As I’ve seen Theboardrider post this here before, “This is a good time to be a Cubs fan!”

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      You’re welcome

    • Rational Logic

      Perfectly stated. Big picture, I love it.

    • cubtex

      If the Cubs can somehow get Tanaka(a big if) I would hold onto Shark and sign another pitcher(I mentioned Garza but doubt it is a possibility) If Tanaka is as good as advertised…you instantly have a competitive team that IF Theo makes a few trades and hit on some low risk high reward free agents you have a shot for a WC. Teams can go from worst to 1st in baseball, It happens all the time and with the payroll at 63 mil for players on the field…there is plenty of money to spend.

      • John_CC

        Now you’re starting to get it! ;)

        • J Daniel

          He said IF …

          • John_CC

            Well Tanaka IS and ‘if’ for every team right now. And the winter is all about IF’s right!

          • J Daniel

            Winter is about action, not what if’s. We could all talk about if this or if that … the bottom line is simple: They were not good after all of the deals last year. They have done nothing to improve the club, IMO, to this point. They got worse at back up catcher, again, IMO. Infield is the same. Outfield is the same. Pitching is the same. They could be better if the players they have play better. Rizzo should be better. Castro should be better. Hopefully Castillo is not Soto. The rest, I believe, are what they are. Unless Old, Bryant, Baez are studs and up right away, at this point at least, they are no better. Have not even gotten to the pitching.

            I am on record, saying over and over, that I agree with the rebuild and have no problem with it.

            Teams and fans that want to keep saying If this or If that are just hoping to be better. But in production business If and hope are usually a recipe for poor results.

          • cubtex

            Pitching is the same? I have to disagree. Take Garza out. Take a surprise first half from Feldman out. You now have an Arrieta who has done nothing so far to say he can be a dependable mlb starter. Right now you have Shark, Jackson, Wood, Arrieta and ? It is worse than last year.

          • J Daniel

            What I meant was pitching is the same as it was at the end of the season … bad … minus Gregg which could be an addition. But there have been no additions so it is going to be ok at best. Will Wood be any better? Debatable but I believe he is what he is … ok. If he had a really good offense behind him he might be better. EJax? Probably better because he can’t be worse but he probably is what he is … .500 at best. Shark, if he is still here, maybe a good #3. Arrieta might be really good and is an all star to Board but I would like him to prove it before I believe it.

            Couple of young guys might surprise but they are young guys and could benefit from a Wainwright or Carpenter leading the way.

            That is what I meant and should have explained more.

            It is critical to have guys that have been there and done that in any locker room so that they can tell the younger players … hey we don’t do it this way … or that is not acceptable … veteran players police the locker room, not coaches.

  • Tony_Hall

    Thanks for the recap of the day. It was incredible. Last night I would blink and have 50 new posts on twitter as it was all happening. As always, you are on top of it!

    Of course, can’t say the Cubs missed out on anything.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      You’re welcome man. And I am right there with you on all of the news yesterday. I thought I might lose my phone yesterday.

  • Tony_Hall

    Great line from the Kris Bryant interview.

    “Bryant: He played a couple years in the Minors, so he talked to me about stuff to avoid and what to do differently. It was good to pick his brain and figure out how to go about my business. He has been the best resource for me, just to learn about the mental side of the game, because baseball is built around failure and you will have a bad game. He told me to stay positive and have a level attitude.”

    Baseball is built around failure…stay positive and have a level attitude. Great line, should be the CCO motto.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I would have liked to have Jacoby Ellsbury but to me I don’t want to sign any free agent player to the “9th largest contract ever.” I don’t want te team hamstrung by any one deal like that. Don’t care which market we’re in. The successful teams of the past 20 years (with obvious exception of Yankees) have avoided these mega deals.

    • Steve Baier

      Exactly! Ellsbury is what, 30 or 31? The back end of that contract is gonna look pretty bad.

    • J Daniel

      Agree with you on this one, way to many years at to much money. Would not have been money well spent. But, they do need to start to add veteran players that will be part of the solution to show the way when the young guys come up.

      IMO, anyone that believes that the Cubs will suddenly win when all of the young guys arrive is delusional. They could be much better but at this point that is not hard to accomplish. Probably most of us could assemble a better roster.

      Great conversation yesterday with Bowden and he talked about the need to have veterans show the young how it is done. Used St. Louis as a perfect example.

      • cubtex

        Agreed

  • cubtex

    OK. So here is where the payroll is at. 2014 payroll currently sits at 75 mil(And that is including 13 mil for Soriano) So we have 62 mil committed to players. Yes it is 12/4. Yes there is a lot of time left but players are moving off the board at lightening speed. A 62 mil payroll is ridiculous for a market like Chicago.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Don’t forget arbitration raises will make it higher as will free agent signings. I don’t really understand why the amount of payroll even matters. It’s the talent you have on the field, not the size of your wallet.

      Your eight playoff teams are ranked below from 2013 in terms of payroll.

      AL:
      Boston: 4th
      Tampa Bay: 28th
      Oakland: 26th
      Detroit: 5th
      NL:
      Los Angeles: 2nd
      Atlanta: 18th
      Pittsburgh: 27th
      St. Louis: 11th

      All over the board. Now I know you’ll say, Boston won and they have the fourth highest. And you’d be right. But in baseball its what you’re paying for that talent. That’s the whole point of “sustained” success. Being able to be good for a long time while having players you control for a long time at a reasonable salary (hence young players). Boston does have a high payroll, but they have a solid core of players THEY (mostly Theo) drafted. There’s something to be said for that. More than the size of their wallet.

      • cubtex

        who is the core left in Boston? Pedroia, Lester, Boegarts(who is unproven) Who else?

        • cubtex

          i guess you can include Buccholtz but he is extremely fragile and is not a workhorse. Middlebrooks is not a core piece.

          • 07GreyDigger

            A lot of guys they got from trades for their young players. That’s totally going to happen in Chicago IMO. So if you’d like you can add guys like Andrew Miller, Peavy and Doubront was an amateur free agent.

            I’m kind of realizing the holes in my argument, but they still won all those championships from guys they drafted mixed with creative trades from the farm system.

          • cubtex

            and free agents. you need all 3.

          • J Daniel

            Definitely need all 3 with free agents being the least in the formula. But, the free agents need to be impact guys … they don’t need to be $153 mil worth, they need to mpact.

          • TheWrongGuy

            This is something I agree and disagree about…

            “they don’t need to be $153 mil worth, they need to impact.”

            I agree we, Cubs need impact.
            I disagree to spend currently on/in this current FA market. As there are currently WAY TOO MANY holes/roles on the current roster, and not enough impact through Free Agency to fill all those needs.
            IMO it would be wasted over-pay to currently sign any impact talent on the free agent market.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Cubs fans should not Panic when other teams are signing FA to large $$$$$ contracts…..can anyone truly say that a Cano, Ellsbury, Choo or Tanaka can turn this team around for2014?…..all but Tanaka already had their best years……and Tanaka is not MLB proven yet…..Cubs are short on the pitching side…..what the Cubs do have coming through the system is Power…..Baez, Soler, Bryant, Vogelbach all can pound the ball……Cubs may not have great pitching coming up, but I have no doubt they will have one of the best hitting teams in all of baseball by the time 2016 season is done……Rizzo, Olt & Castro are here now….who knows where they will be by 2016…..one of those hitters can give us at least two good pitchers if need be………..maybe Theo might be able to trade a power minor league hitter or two for some pitching prospects……we need a balance team to compete…both on the hitting & pitching side………we are locked in for #4 pick next June, and I know we will still SUCK in 2014, so 2015 draft pick is looking better…..the Cubs advantage will be youth…..that is when Theo should lock in our players to long term contracts.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Don’t forget, these power guys are also nice trade chips. Fill in that pitching through trades.

  • cubtex

    One FA who has not been mentioned who I think would be a better fit for the Cubs than Franklin Guttierez or McClouth is Rajai Davis. He can play all 3 OF spots and has great speed. They don’t have any basestealers on this team. This is what Davis has done for the last 4 years.
    2010 50 SB
    2011 34 SB
    2012 46 SB
    2013 45 SB

    And these numbers were primarily as a part time player.

    • John_CC

      Dude’s got serious wheels no doubt. He’d be a nice short term addition. What is the prospective contract – Maybe 1 and $4.5? He is 32 so I wouldn’t want to see more than one year. His OBP is pretty pathetic for a table setter though. But his base stealing prowess is amazing, he was 45 for 51 last year!

      • cubtex

        I imagine that is all he would cost.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Franklin Gutierrez is another good name. Granted, as long as his mental/stomach issues are behind him. He’d be a nice #2 hitter.

      • John_CC

        I actually kind of like Gutierrez…kind of. I pay attention to the M’s (unfortunately) based on geography and he looked like he might “break out” a couple years ago. He had the potential to be a 15/15+ guy with excellent defense. But he never reached it. His OBP is terrible as well, worse than Raja actually.

        • cubtex

          worse than Rajai as well

          • John_CC

            Yeah, him too.

  • Rick Barkan

    I’ll say it here Cubs lose 90 to 100 games again this year.

    • John_CC

      Thanks Rick. You are on record now.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      It does make sense……no Feldman, Garza….and Samardzija will be gone…….does anyone believe Jackson will win 15 or more games?….if he has 10 wins by June, he will be traded by Theo for two prospects and Cubland will celebrate……
      a rotation of…
      Wood
      Arietta
      Rusin
      Grimm
      Hendricks
      could be seen by August.

    • Ripsnorter1

      If Jason Berken would start for us again, then I’d say 100
      losses would be a lock for us.

  • John_CC

    Does that mean that Quade will coach Soriano up again on his OF defense? Ha!!

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Only if Quade stays at a Holiday Express while on the road.

    • J Daniel

      THAT IS REALLY FUNNY! Thanks for the laugh I almost fell out of my chair!

    • triple

      Ha! I was gonna play a similar card, but it goes like this… The audacity that the Yankees would hire someone that an assistant to the GM has previous experience with. Yup, I said it.

      • John_CC

        I completely forgot that Hendry was “working” in the front office somewhere! Talk about hiring a yes-man to tell you that a 7 year contract to a 30 year old OF whose game is reliant on his legs is a good contract!!

        • cubtex

          yea. they could have just made a call to Theo and ask him about the 7 year 142 mil he gave Crawford at the same age:)

          • John_CC

            Yep they coulda done that as well. Both instances would have shown that it is a terrible stoooopid idea! But they are the Yanks, so…

            Saw an amazing number, I think Passan twote it: Of the $400+ million that has been spent on free agents so far this winter, something like $245 million is the Yanks. I know it was more than half. INSANE.

      • John_CC

        It also explains where the full no-trade clause for Ellsbury came from!

        Now that i’m thinking about it, I wonder if Cashman is just the puppet and Hendry is pulling the strings…

  • jtrain23

    I guess I am varying from Cubs news just like Neil did, but I believe that Justin Morneau could be the bargain of the year. He is not what he once was, but still has a little pop in his bat, hits for a decent average, and has a knack for driving in runs. Plus, he is a left handed bat.

    I know the two aren’t comparable in the type of player they are, but Morneau at 6.5 mil per year over the next two seems cheap compared to Ellsbury at around 22 mil per year for seven years.

    As said, you can’t compare the two as players, but you can judge the market value of a deal like this. Plus, he is a pretty good contact guy, only having 2 seasons of more than 100 strikeouts, so Coors Field should be a great place for him. Good pick up for the Rocks.

  • John G

    Smartest deal of the last couple of days is Dombrowski trading Fister to dump salary and then signing Joe Nathan the next day. The Tigers didn’t need another starter, they needed a closer. Now they have one.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    The Morneau deal strikes me as a possible winner…could be a nice swan song for him in colorado.

    Kelly Johnson also seems like a good value.

    Nathan and Ellsbury way overpriced.
    Overall, I dont think the cubs missed out on anything here.

    • John_CC

      I don’t either think that any of these players were right for the Cubs. But Nathan is good move for the Tigers. Their back end was awful last year, Nathan has been a steady stud and barring injury I think he’ll maintain.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        Not dissing nathan as a player…just the price and age are questionable to me.

      • cubtex

        Nathan was a steal for the Tigers

    • cubtex

      how do you figure Nathan is overpriced? Have you seen his numbers from last year? 6-2 1.39 ERA 43 Saves and a 0.897 WHIP.

      2 years at 20 mil is a bargain for a dominant closer like that.

      • triple

        Even if he misses some time during the regular season, it’s worth it as long as he is healthy and pitching during the postseason. Now if he’s not available during the postseason, or the Tigers just don’t make it to Octobler, then that contract becomes very questionable.