Cubs Cut the Ribbon … Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training

On Wednesday, the Cubs cut the ribbon on the new facility in Mesa and began a new chapter for the team. And today, Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. The off-season is over, baseball is back.

CubsMesaLogo-pubPitchers and catchers on the Spring Training roster must be in Mesa before the end of the day. Pitchers and catchers will take physicals and the first on field workout is scheduled for Friday where the forecast is calling for sunny and 86 degrees.

Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Theo Epstein and Ferguson Jenkins were among those on hand Wednesday when the Cubs cut the ribbon on their new Spring Training home.

Cubs Park was opened to the public on Jan. 25 and has received rave reviews from everyone that has visited the Cubs’ new state of the art facility.

Tom Ricketts said his team’s new facility “brings us one step closer to playing meaningful baseball in October and maybe in November someday” while Darwin Barney called the facility a steppingstone to success according to the Tribune. And during Wednesday’s ceremony Theo Epstein said, “There are two things that all of our baseball operations people have been saying since we walked in for the first time a few days ago. One is no more excuses. This is as good as it gets. And the second is related to that. If we can’t get better here, we can’t get better anywhere. We will work extremely had to put that World Series flag on top of this complex to finish it off.”

The entire organization will be under the same ‘roof’ for Spring Training and the days of moving camp in the middle of Spring Training from Fitch Park down the street to HoHoKam Park before the Cactus League games began are over.

Baseball returns today. Position players report to Mesa on Feb. 18 with the first full squad workout scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 19. The Cubs kickoff their 2014 Cactus League schedule at Cubs Park on Feb. 27 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rick Renteria and the Coaching Staff

Beginning Thursday, Rick Renteria and his coaching staff begin calling the shots, with help from the front office of course, for the big league team. Renteria and his staff began holding meetings in December to plan on how they will run Spring Training. Renteria has said all of the right things since he was named the 53rd manager in franchise history on Nov. 7. Renteria is bringing with him an excellent reputation as a communicator that has a positive influence on a clubhouse. Renteria has the task of reaching the young players currently on the roster, something the previous skipper reportedly had trouble doing, as well as the prospects in the system that will eventually be in the big leagues.

The Cubs moved Brandon Hyde from farm director into the dugout and he will spend the season as Renteria’s bench coach. And Chris Bosio returns for his third season as Cubs’ pitching coach. Lester Strode was retained as the Cubs’ bullpen/assistant pitching coach. But outside of Bosio, Strode, catching coach Mike Borzello and staff assistant Franklin Font, the players will have a new staff to learn along with the new skipper.

Bill Mueller and Mike Brumley, or “Bill and Brum” as Rick Renteria calls them, begin their first Spring Training as the Cubs’ hitting coaches.

Gary Jones and Eric Hinske will call the shots on the bases. Jones is the Cubs’ third base coach and will also handle the infield coaching duties. Hinske replaces Dave McKay at first base and among his other duties will be coaching the outfielders and baserunning. Renteria brought in Jose Castro as the team’s quality assurance coach and among his duties will be defensive positioning.

Rick Sutcliffe, Kerry Wood and Billy Williams will be instructors in Cubs’ camp this spring.

Cubs Pitchers and Catchers

The Cubs have not announced the signings of Jason Hammel or James McDonald yet, but once those two right handers are officially Cubs, the team will have 30 pitchers in camp and five catchers on the Spring Training roster plus minor league backstops Luis Flores and Will Remillard who are on loan from minor league camp to help with the workload early in camp. RHP Chang-Yong Lim is also expected to be added to the team’s list of non-roster invitees.

Here is the list of pitchers and catchers that will report to Mesa and begin their workouts on Friday:

Pitchers (40-man Roster)

  • Jake Arrieta
  • Dallas Beeler
  • Alberto Cabrera
  • Kyuji Fujikawa
  • Justin Grimm
  • Jason Hammel*
  • Edwin Jackson
  • James McDonald*
  • Blake Parker
  • Neil Ramirez
  • Hector Rondon
  • Zac Rosscup
  • Chris Rusin
  • James Russell
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Pedro Strop
  • Jose Veras
  • Carlos Villanueva
  • Arodys Vizcaino
  • Travis Wood
  • Wesley Wright

Pitchers (Non-Roster Invitees)

  • Marcus Hatley
  • Kyle Hendricks
  • Tommy Hottovy
  • Eric Jokisch
  • Carlos Pimentel
  • Armando Rivero
  • Jonathan Sanchez
  • Brian Schlitter
  • Tsuyoshi Wada

Catchers (40-man Roster)

  • Welington Castillo
  • George Kottaras

Catchers (Non-Roster Invitees)

  • John Baker
  • Rafael Lopez
  • Eli Whiteside
  • Luis Flores*
  • Will Remillard*

Jason Hammel and James McDonald

The Cubs have reportedly agreed to terms with two veteran right handed starters, Jason Hammel and James McDonald. The news leaked about both signings on Jan. 31 and the deals were expected to be announced as soon as both pitchers passed physicals.

Hammel will be added to the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 38 players after the Reds claimed RHP Brett Marshall and the Twins claimed LHP Brooks Raley off waivers from the Cubs on Wednesday. Hammel’s deal is a Major League contract that will pay the veteran up to $7 million for the upcoming season.

When the news surfaced about the Cubs adding James McDonald to the mix, it was reported at the time the team signed him to a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp. Reports surfaced on Wednesday that McDonald might have signed a Major League contract and that was the reason for losing two pitchers on waivers.

The Cubs adding McDonald on a minor league contract is a good signing. McDonald has struggled with injuries the past two seasons after a sensational first half of the 2012 campaign. McDonald is out of minor league options and unless there is language in his contract that allows the Cubs to send him down to the minors, inking McDonald to a big league deal is a questionable signing. And not because of the two pitchers that are no longer in the system but the lack of flexibility he would have on a Major League deal.

Both signings should be made official at some point on Thursday.

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  • Neil

    According to multiple reports, the Orioles have agreed to a three-year contract with Suk-Min for $5.75 mil plus performance bonuses for games started pending a physical.

  • BillyFinT
  • Neil

    Both Hammel and McDonald are in camp and scheduled to throw today.

  • Eugene Debs

    Go Cubs!

  • CubbyDenCritic

    I can’t wait for the bunting contest to begin……oh wait, that was the other guy who was running that……….

    Eric HInske – base running coach… that is funny.

    Reds must like to collect guys named “Marshall”……..

    Does anyone have a photo of the cake the Cubs had yesterday at the new ball park?…..

    Arizona Gov Jan Brewer…..oh man, she makes me cringe when I see her on the news…….I bet she was there only for the cake……….

    so Seattle lost one of their starting pitchers to an injury……Seattle GM is on the hot seat to get off to a fast start……I wouldn’t mind T. Walker in a return for Shark ……..

    I believe the Cubs will have 26 coaches & instructors in camp…..

    There could be 8 pitchers on that 40 man roster who will not be with us by Aug 1st.

    • cubtex

      No way would they trade Walker for Shark. Could even be a downgrade for this year. Now…an injured Danny Hultzen seems more of a Theo type of deal.

      • Neil

        Walker is hurt, news surfaced this morning.

        • cubtex

          Really? Wow. They are in trouble. First Iwakuma and now Walker? Hopefully they will go for Shark now instead of signing Ervin Santana or Jiminez.

          • Neil
          • cubtex

            thanks for posting Neil. If he has to miss a month and Iwakuma is out a month…they need to do something I would imagine.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I mentioned something about a trade for T. Walker the other day when it was mentioned that the Mariners were asking about Shark…

            “I agree. The probably did ask for T. Walker if there were any talks between them for Shark. Mariners, Rays, and Royals all look to be the teams with the best possible chances of catching a Shark for their rotation at the trade deadline.
            Mariners – T. Walker + ?
            Rays – Hellickson + Odorizzi
            Royals – K. Zimmer + comp draft pick

            Mariners, Rays, and Royals are all making a push in the play-offs this year and have good line-ups to support play-offs. Mariners and Royals Front offices jobs are in jeopardy. So they might be desperate. Just my opinion.”

          • JasonPen

            I would throw in even more with Shark to get Walker…

          • cubtex

            that’s what it would take

          • mutantbeast

            Walker and Ackley wouldnt be bad. Paxton and Walker would be better.

          • cubtex

            He meant throw more players from the Cubs to get Walker not the other way around.

          • cubtex

            M’s said they wouldn’t include Walker in a trade for Price…why would they do it for Shark?

          • TheWrongGuy

            Out of desperation now with injuries. Which is the reason the CUBS asking price hasn’t changed and remains high.

          • cubtex

            If they are desperate and willing to trade Walker…they could get a better pitcher than Shark for him.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Maybe and maybe not. How many teams are offering “their” teams number one starter? aka the reason the asking price for Shark remains high. Yes they could possibly get a better pitcher for T. Walker. But not many teams offer pitchers at this point in ST. If a trade happens for Shark it will happen June/July time frame.

          • cubtex

            Tajuan Walker is a potential ace or #2. Be realistic. Teams don’t trade these type of guys or when they do it is for an expensive ace in return that will be entering free agency. I imagine that if the M’s called the Rays today and offered Walker and Nick Franklin for David Price…the Rays would say yes so fast it would make your head spin.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Maybe. Maybe not. We are fans and only see what the news media wants us to see. “My Opinion”. Rays are another team that may be looking for an experienced arm in their rotation. We may over value a player from what we see is my point on this.

          • JasonPen

            Walker is very very good. Shark just isn’t. The asking price wouldn’t be worth it for the Cubs. Castro AND shark probably couldn’t get Walker…

          • TheWrongGuy

            The prices change as the season moves along.

          • cubtex

            I wouldn’t go that far but Shark and a top prospect. Do you think they would take Kyle Hendricks and Shark for Walker? I doubt it. It would probably be a Pierce Johnson with Shark.

          • JasonPen

            It isn’t like Walker is years away, he’s not. He’ll probably make the Mariner’s rotation this season. And he is already probably a better pitcher than Samardzija with a considerably higher ceiling. So why would they take Pierce Johnson and a worse/older pitcher for a future ace? They won’t. To get the conversation started it would have to include major league talent (which we don’t have) or top tier prospects (which we won’t move). Walker is not coming over in a trade to the Cubs. I could see the Tigers (Scherzer) or the Rays (Price) being the only teams who could meet the M’s demand for Walker (which they won’t trade).

          • cubtex

            1 mlb ready #3(controlled for 2 years) and a future #3 for the price of ceiling #1 or realistic #2.

          • JasonPen

            You do realize that Walker is YOUNGER than Johnson right?… And under team control for alot longer than Shark… And has a higher ceiling than both… Teams don’t want a bunch of #3’s

          • cubtex

            you could be right but they would get 2 decent arms for 1. I know you don’t like Shark but he is proven and is not a prospect. Maybe they really like Pierce Johnson? Johsnon is arguably the best arm in our system or at least 2 behind Edwards. It is just a trade scenario that won’t happen but to me would seem pretty fair for both teams.

          • JasonPen

            I like Shark, but I’m also a realist. I research alot more than Cubs’ players because I’m a fantasy baseball nerd. Nothing the Cubs have would interest Seattle, other than our top 4, which I hope we won’t trade.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I agree, I hope the CUBS don’t trade any of the top 4/”core 4″.

            Also with Theo’s history with pitchers.Normally it seems he goes after 2-3’s with high floors and low ceilings, example Lester and Buchholtz. Depending on the “observer”, some will say Lester or Bucholtz is/are an ace or number 1, number 2 and some a 3. They also just won the WS. A pure ace isn’t needed IMO. Yes I will agree we do need TOR pitching but not an ACE. Just my opinion.

          • cubtex

            Theo didn’t draft Lester

          • TheWrongGuy

            True but he acquired him. =)

          • cubtex

            aquired him like he aquired Baez. Both drafted by the previous gm

          • paulcatanese

            It seems that Theo’s history so far has brought in 19,651 pitchers all after surgery or released, and guess what, none of them has worked. (not a downer to you at all) just couldn’t let it go and mean it to be funny to you, for me it’s real:)

          • cubtex

            that is why I said to trade Vizcaino once he shows a little health. McCleod even said he is a back end relief guy. He had Dempster and Maholm that year and didn’t get back anything more than a potential #5 in Hendricks and a hurt bullpen guy. You need to get starting pitching. He takes risks for injured guys hoping they bounce back and so far he hasn’t had much success.

  • 07GreyDigger

    Looking forward to real baseball and no more endless speculation on players.

  • brent carmona

    Live press conference with epstein, renteria and hoyer at csn Chicago website!

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