A Super Big Day and Other Cubs News and Notes

Weekend Update

It’s a Super day in sports on the first Sunday in February with some big Bowl game taking place in New Jersey that includes teams from Denver and Seattle. And once the game ends, baseball season unofficially starts as teams will open Spring Training camps during the upcoming week.

This is the last full week until October without Cubs’ baseball. Several of the players are already in Mesa preparing for Spring Training to begin. Pitchers and catchers have to report to the Cubs’ new facility on Feb. 13 with the first on field workout scheduled for Feb. 14. Position players must be in Mesa by Feb. 18 and Rick Renteria holds his first full squad workout as the Cubs’ skipper on Feb. 19.

The Cubs kickoff their 2014 Cactus League schedule on Feb. 27 against the Diamondbacks from Cubs Park in Mesa. And with Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora and several of the Cubs’ top prospects in big league camp there should be more attention than usual on the exhibition games.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer still have work to do with the big league roster before camp begins. There is an arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 10 in St. Petersburg, Fla with Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs and Samardzija are working to avoid the dreaded arbitration hearing and have up until the time the hearing starts to avoid the process that is not good for the player or the organization.

Arbitration hearings are scheduled this year between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21 and as of this writing an arbitration date for Darwin Barney has not been leaked. The Cubs still have to work out a contract with Barney or go through the hearing process with him.

Based on Barney’s comments in late November it is a little surprising he has not agreed to a contract yet. Barney told MLB Network Radio that he and the Cubs had discussed his salary and were on the same page. At the time he did not anticipate any issues with him avoiding the arbitration process.

The Week That Was

The Cubs reportedly inked two veteran pitchers in Jason Hammel and James McDonald. Hammel is believed to have reached an agreement on a contract that could pay him up to $7 million ($6 million base, $1 million in incentives) during the 2014 season. Hammel will have to be added to the 40-man roster and right now the Cubs do not have an open spot on the roster.

James McDonald will be in big league camp, once he passes his physical, on a non-roster invite. If healthy, McDonald will give the Cubs some much needed rotation depth. Plus if he can get his career back on track he is the right age to fit right in the Cubs’ plans moving forward.

The Cubs have not announced it yet, but Chang-Yong Lim is under contract with the Cubs after he was non-tendered and is expected to be in big league camp on a non-roster invite. The Cubs retained control on Lim after he requested free agency. Lim signed a two-year contract with the Cubs in December of 2012 that runs through the 2014 season.

A majority of the week was spent focusing on the Cubs’ farm system with help from Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law. The Cubs placed seven players on BP’s top 101 pre-season prospects list while six ended up in Law’s top 100. The Cubs have players that project as impact talent at the Major League level. The front office and development staff just have to make sure those players keep checking boxes off of their player plans so they keep moving up the system and can help the big league team win ballgames.

News and Notes

According to a report from Korea, Suk-Min Yoon worked out for the Orioles and Giants at the UC Irvine Campus. Yoon reportedly threw his entire repertoire including fastballs, change-ups, curve and slider. Scott Boras is working to find Yoon a team and while the Cubs were thought to be interested in Yoon at one point, there interest in him is unknown at this time.

Off-Season Calendar

February

  • 1 – 21 – Salary arbitration hearings
  • 13 – Cubs Pitchers and Catchers Report to Cubs Park
  • 14 – First on field workout for Cubs Pitchers and Catchers
  • 15 – End of Waiver Period
  • 16 – Beginning of New Waiver Period
  • 18 – Cubs Position Players Report to Cubs Park in Mesa
  • 19 – First Full Squad Workout of the Spring
  • 27 – Cubs Cactus League Opener vs. Diamondbacks (SS) at Cubs Park 

March

  • 2 – 11 – Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players
  • 7 – Single Game Tickets for the 2014 Season at Wrigley Field go on Sale
  • 12 – Last day to request unconditional Release Waivers for a player and pay only 30 days termination pay
  • 21- Earliest date a club may backdate placement of a player on 15-day Major League disabled list
  • 22 – 23 – MLB Opening Series in Sydney, Australia – Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks
  • 26 – Last date to request unconditional Release Waivers for a player without having to pay full 2014 salary.
  • 30 – All Clubs must reduce active roster to 25 players
  • 30 – Opening Day for MLB
  • 31 – 2014 Opening Day for Chicago Cubs – Cubs vs. Pirates at PNC Park

April

  • 4 – Cubs 2014 Home Opener – Cubs vs. Phillies at Wrigley Field
  • 9 – First date a player optioned to the minors during Spring Training may be recalled
  • 23 – Celebration of the First Game at Wrigley Field on April 23, 1914 … Wrigley Field Turns 100 Years Old

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball is all I ever wanted. I could eat, sleep, and dream baseball." - Smoky Joe Wood

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  • TheWrongGuy

    Good stuff thanks again Neil!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      You’re welcome, thank you.

  • Sanibelchuck

    Thanks again for the recent updates. I had a great time at the CubsCon. Legends Lounge was a great improvement. On my return to Florida, Dwight Smith sat two rows ahead of me on flight to Atlanta. He and I had a nice talk after we landed in Atlanta. He now lives in Peachtree City (suburb of Atlanta). He and Marquis Grissom are very active in youth baseball in the Atlanta area. Isn’t that big game today called The Stupor Bowl? Heard that the theme song of Denver is “Rocky Mountain High” and theme song of Seattle is “Purple Haze”. Always wondered why the game is called football because they throw the ball more than kick it. Soccer is the true football game. With the end of the Stupor Bowl and the beginning of spring training, there are the Chicago Blackhawks. At least Chicago has one winner that EVERYONE can cheer for.

    • SuzyS

      Cool Story, Chuck. “Dewey” was one guy I always rooted for.
      As I look out on my sidewalk with 4 ft. of snow on either side of it…it’s nice to know baseball is about to begin again…even if “our” team’s outlook for this year is poor.
      Kane County and the rest of the minor league system should provide lots of excitement and interest.

      • SuzyS

        BTW, the “Thoracic thing” that Bard underwent….would it explain his drastic fall off?

      • Tom U

        It might interest you that Dwight Smith Jr. is a promising outfielder in the Toronto chain. He most likely will be at Advanced-A Dunedin this coming season, where he will be facing our Daytona Cubs.

        • SuzyS

          Thanks Tom. Jr. comes from good stock. I’ll watch for him.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Chuck, you are more than welcome. I’m glad you had a good time at the convention. And thanks for sharing the story.

    • Dorasaga

      The Bears might have a chance if they keep Josh McCown and rebuild. They haven’t had a real QB since…, oh, you know who.

  • Tom U

    A “clean” Puppy Bowl (no unsportsmanlike conduct, if you what I mean). Loren is the MVP.

    • Dorasaga

      That Seattle defense is giving Denver HELL. And that counter, a Hammer of Thor descended upon the old veterans, who very soon realized themselves as little and mortal

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and their fans … Super Bowl Champions

    Pitchers and catchers report in 10 days.

    • CubsfannearSeattle

      This region of the country is crazy right now.

  • cc002600

    super bowl was a snooze and the commercials were even worse. Goodbye Football, hello Baseball !