In exactly one week Rick Renteria will hold the Cubs’ first official on field work out of the spring. Pitchers and catchers report to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa on Feb. 13 and the position players must be in Mesa by Feb. 18. Several of the players are already at the Cubs’ new spring home preparing for the start of Spring Training.
According to reports from Arizona and Florida, it is already sounding like baseball season as players throughout the league have reported early to their respective facilities in order to get a jump start on the spring. The Diamondbacks reported Thursday and the Dodgers report Saturday in order to have enough time to prepare for their series in Australia on March 22.
The Cubs’ front office took care of a little business Thursday. The Cubs and Darwin Barney agreed to a one-year contract that will pay the Gold Glove second baseman $2.3 million during the upcoming season. The Cubs have avoided arbitration with nine of the ten players that were arbitration eligible for the 2014 season. But the one player that remains without a contract is a big one.
Jeff Samardzija and the front office have not found a common ground yet on a contract for next season. Samardzija submitted a $6.2 million figure while the Cubs filed at $4.4 million. The two sides have a hearing scheduled for Monday (Feb. 10) in St. Petersburg, Fla. if they are unable to reach an agreement before then.
The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player since Ryan Theriot in 2010 and before that it was Mark Grace in 1993. Samardzija said last week he talks with the front office on a regular basis and was optimistic a deal could be reached before the arbitration hearing.
Cubs and Nationals to Play a Day-Night Doubleheader
The Cubs announced Thursday a change to the 2014 regular season schedule. At the request of Ald. Tom Tunney, the Cubs moved the Sunday, June 29 game against the Nationals to Saturday, June 28. The Cubs and Nationals will play a day-night doubleheader with first pitch for game one scheduled for 12:05pm CDT and the nightcap slated for a 6:15pm CDT start time.
Ald. Tunney made the request in consideration of neighborhood traffic and congestion around Wrigley Field in connection with annual Pride Parade on June 29.
The Cubs will be able to add a pitcher to the roster for the Saturday games as part of the new rules that teams can carry a 26-man roster for scheduled doubleheaders.
The last time the Cubs scheduled a day-night doubleheader at Wrigley Field was on July 4, 1983 against the Montreal Expos. So close to 31 years later, the Cubs will play a day-night doubleheader against the same organization.
Former Cubs in New Places
Several players that wore a Cubs’ uniform over the last few years have signed on with new organizations this week. Here is a rundown of where those former Cubs will be playing during the upcoming season …
Carlos Marmol inked a one-year contract with the Miami Marlins that will pay him $1.25 million. Marmol’s deal is a Major League contract and includes an incentives package.
Koyie Hill signed a minor league contract with the Nationals earlier this week.
Jerome Williams signed a one-year Major League contract with the Astros.
Jeff Stevens, who was acquired in the Mark DeRosa deal from the Indians, is now a scout in the Orioles’ organization. Stevens will cover Northern California and Nevada for Baltimore according to Roch Kubatko.
The Indians signed Bryan LaHair to a minor league contract that includes a non-roster invite to big league camp.
The Minnesota Twins signed 1B/OF Brad Nelson to a minor league contract. Nelson spent last season with the Iowa Cubs.
And last, but not least, Adam Greenberg announced his retirement from baseball.
News, Notes and Rumors
The Cubs interest in RHP Suk-Min Yoon has quieted since Wednesday’s report from the Tribune. But the Orioles are very much involved in negotiations with Yoon according to Dan Connolly. But Baltimore is not the only team bidding on Yoon’s services.
Ryan Sweeney is excited for his second season with the Cubs.
The Cubs possible interest in Bronson Arroyo is unknown at this point, but according to a report from Joel Sherman, the former Red Sox and Reds hurler has dropped his asking price and is thought to be seeking a two-year contract in the $22 million range. Arroyo had been looking for a three-year deal all winter. Reports have suggested the Diamondbacks are the favorites to sign Arroyo with the Dodgers and Orioles also in the mix for the crafty-righty. Dan Connolly reported the Orioles are in active negotiations with Arroyo, along with other teams.
Major League Baseball gave the Washington Nationals money in order to keep the Nationals from suing the Baltimore Orioles over the MASN deal. The Orioles benefit greatly from its partnership with MASN, more so than the Nationals, and Baltimore is “reaping huge profits that are not subject to revenue sharing while the Nationals get a relative pittance” according to a report from Hardball Talk. The Nationals have threatened to sue “to get a bigger piece of the pie.” But in order to keep the peace, MLB has sent the Nationals “an undisclosed sum every year to help bridge the gap” financially between the Nationals and Orioles.
Pat Hughes is lending his support to Riverside Foundation Hearts of Gold Gala.