After a rather quiet holiday weekend, the Cubs figure to be very busy over the next seven days leading up to Baseball’s Winter Meetings (Dec. 9-12). Monday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. And the trade rumors should increase significantly over the next week as the front office continues to listen to offers for Jeff Samardzija and possibly Nate Schierholtz.
The Cubs have maintained they would like to sign Jeff Samardzija to a long-term extension. Jed Hoyer reiterated the team’s desire to extend Samardzija last week and Nick Cafardo reported the Cubs’ front office is trying to sign him to an extension amidst the trade rumors.
According to Bruce Levine, Samardzija’s camp turned down the latest contract offer from the Cubs. Samardzija has maintained he is willing to go year to year with the Cubs over his final two seasons of salary arbitration and is apparently looking for a bigger contract, with more guarantees, than the Cubs are willing to give him right now.
Peter Gammons reported on Friday the Cubs could wait until Masahiro Tanaka is posted and signed and the crop of free agent pitchers thin out before they trade Samardzija. According to Gammons’ timeline, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would hold Samardzija into late January, early February before trying to trade him … again, if they cannot work out an extension.
The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays are thought to be the most aggressive on landing Samardzija at this point. And Alex Anthropolous appears to be more interested in trading for Samardzija than signing a free agent to help fill Toronto’s pitching needs.
Baltimore is also looking to add a top of the rotation starter this winter but payroll restrictions have limited what Dan Duquette can do on the free agent market. The Orioles are thought to be one of the eight teams interested in Samardzija (Arizona, Toronto, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, Colorado) but there might not be a match due to the Cubs steep asking price and Samardzija’s inconsistencies. The Orioles would be reluctant to part with young pitching that is close to Major League ready for Samardzija according to Roch Kubatko.
The rumors went from the Cubs listening to offers for Samardzija, which they should be doing on every player, to shopping him, to possibly waiting to deal him until well after the first of the year in the matter of three days last week. Well, it is the Hot Stove season …
The Cubs are one of the many teams expected to place a bid for Masahiro Tanaka once he is posted this winter. Officials from MLB and NPB met last week in New York to iron out the details on the new posting process. An agreement was not reached prior to Thanksgiving and the talks are expected to resume early in the coming week.
Buster Olney reported the issues with the new posting system might not be resolved for a few weeks. Olney is expecting the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Angels to also place bids for Tanaka. And no one thinks the Yankees will be outbid for an exclusive window (30 days) to negotiate a contract with him.
Cubs Season Ticket Renewals
According to a report from Crain’s Chicago Business, the renewals on Cubs’ season tickets are ahead of last year’s pace. More than 80 percent of the full season ticket plans, as well as the night and weekend packages, have already been renewed this year (10 percent non-refundable deposit placed), up about five percent from last November.
Colin Faulkner would not tell Danny Ecker the number of season ticket packages that have been sold but did indicate “the percentage increase represents several millions of dollars in ticket revenue.”
Danny Ecker reported different reasons for the renewals being up this year, but the bottom line is that team had their “highest season-ticket base ever in 2012 and at the current pace of renewals will get them close to that in 2014.”
For those that missed any news since Wednesday, here are links to the news, rumors and minor league analysis …
- Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Tunney Introduces Ordinance to Allow Alcohol Sales in Wrigley Plaza
- Cubs Add Catching to Roster, Keep Listening to Offers for Jeff Samardzija
- Cubs Reportedly Shopping Jeff Samardzija
- Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 11/29/13 – Kane County Pitching Analysis
- Cubs Looking for Mike Olt to Compete for Third Base Job in Spring Training
- Cubs Could Wait to Deal Samardzija Until Later in the Off-Season and Other News and Notes
News, Notes and Rumors
According to a report from the Star Tribune, the Twins agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with Phil Hughes that will be announced next week.
Bruce Levine mentioned during his show on The Score (Hot Stove Saturday) that he believes the Cubs will be players for either Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo.
And speaking of Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox have not set deadlines for their free agents to accept their offers and re-sign but Ben Cherington is moving forward with other options.
Pat Hughes released a new addition to his Baseball Voices Series … the Great Mel Allen. Those who love baseball on the radio and the history of the game are missing out if you are not listening to the awesome collections put together by the Voice of the Cubs, Pat Hughes.
Buster Olney does not think the Cubs “are a great candidate to spend big on their rotation again” this winter.
Brandon Hyde was Starlin Castro’s manager during the 2009 Arizona Fall League. Hyde will be in the Cubs’ dugout next season as part of Rick Renteria’s coaching staff. Hyde thinks he will be a great fit in the dugout, according to a report from ESPN Chicago, and will keep the message consistent from the front office down to the field staff.
It appeared Dioner Navarro was on the verge of signing a contract last week, then nothing. Navarro is not in the Cubs’ plans for next season and was asking for a two-year contract in the $5-$6 million range per season.
And The CCO Shop is Open on Café Press …