The Cubs are set to cut the ribbon on the new facility in Mesa in one week. Cubs’ pitchers and catchers officially report the next day (Feb. 13) and Rick Renteria will conduct his first on-field workout with the pitchers and catchers, plus any other position players already in Mesa, on Friday, Feb. 14.
Rick Renteria is nine days away from the start of his first Spring Training as the Cubs’ manager. And for Renteria and his staff, the key will be how they communicate and relate to their players.
Rick Renteria is an extremely positive person and thinks of his players as his kids. Renteria has “a reputation for having a personality that pushes players” according to a report from Buster Olney. The front office brought in Renteria to keep a consistent, positive message in the clubhouse.
Buster Olney spoke with Renteria’s former boss, Padres’ GM Josh Byrnes, about the Cubs’ new skipper. Byrnes told Olney that Renteria has “an infectious personality” and his ability to speak two languages fluently helps Renteria to “connect to all players.”
Renteria was raised in a household that spoke both Spanish and English after his family moved from Mexico to California. Olney explained that Renteria “began to understand the differences in how the languages are used” once he began playing baseball. Renteria also learned the many dialects so he could understand “how different phrases are rooted in different cultures.” Renteria is still trying to grasp the “idioms that tend to be tied to various countries, so that he can have the best possible chance to convey a thought to a player from Cuba, from Venezuela or any other country.”
MLB and MLBPA Joint Drug Agreement
According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are reviewing the Joint Dug Agreement at the annual meeting and are discussing possible changes.
Players have come out in support of stiffer penalties for those that test positive for PEDs. According to Morosi’s report, MLB and the MLBPA “are engaged in talks about the possibility of increasing penalties beyond the current scale of 50 games, 100 games and lifetime bans for positive tests.”
Morosi’s sources indicated the two sides “aren’t necessarily reopening the Joint Drug Agreement for large-scale changes but rather discussing a number of issues as part of an annual review process.”
The current JDA went into effect following the 2011 season and expires along with the current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) on Dec. 1, 2016.
News, Notes and Rumors
The Cubs may or may not be interested in Bronson Arroyo but according to Jon Paul Morosi, the Dodgers “remain in active talks” with Arroyo. The Diamondbacks are also interested in Arroyo and as of Tuesday the Padres were not interested in Arroyo. With Corey Luebke out for the season due to his second Tommy John surgery, San Diego’s stance on Arroyo might have changed.
Buster Olney reported Ervin Santana’s asking price has “dropped significantly” from the $100-plus million contract he was seeking early in the off-season. Santana might be looking for a three-year contract at this point.
The Cubs bullpen is not a joke according to RotoGraphs. The Cubs have options behind closer Jose Veras if he struggles or once he is traded in July. Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon, Arodys Vizcaino, James Russell and Kyuji Fujikawa are the options RotoGraphs mentions. The report does not include Wesley Wright and points to Fujikawa returning from Tommy John surgery around the time Veras should be dealt.
Randy Wells might be attempting a comeback on the mound, but for now he will be a volunteer assistant coach for the Lindenwood University-Belleville baseball program.
Former Cubs’ utility man Jeff Baker signed a two-year contract with the Marlins for $3.7 million that can pay him an additional $500,000 a year if he reaches all of his incentives.
And in more former Cubs news, Sam Fuld signed a minor league contract with Oakland that includes a non-roster invite to camp. Fuld’s deal is worth $800,000 if he makes the roster and the contract includes a $100,000 incentives package based on games played. Fuld has two opt outs in his deal, one in late March and one on June 1 according to Ken Rosenthal.
According to Bill Shaikin, SportsNet Los Angeles will feature every Dodgers Spring Training game and an hour long studio show every night.