The Cubs are in the market for pitching this winter and are expected to add at least one starter to the roster. While the focus is on the front office signing a top of the rotation-type starter such as Jon Lester, the Cubs have been connected to second-tier starters such as Jason Hammel and Justin Masterson. And the White Sox could be interested in both free agent starters according to a report from Bruce Levine.
As Levine pointed out, both the Cubs and Sox feel they have the pitching infrastructure to turn around a struggling pitcher and make him an effective starter. Chris Bosio and Lester Strode have done very well with a majority of the projects that they’ve been handed by the front office.
Jason Hammel has said he would re-sign with the Cubs, and Justin Masterson sounded interested in signing with the Cubs when he was asked about the possibility last month. Levine speculated Masterson might be looking at a shorter-term deal to rebuild his value while Hammel on a three-year, $30 million contract “might be a bargain” for a team that strikes quickly after free agency begins.
2014 Qualifying Offer
According to a report from the Associated Press, the qualifying offer for eligible free agents has increased to $15.3 million, up eight percent from the $14.1 million qualifying offer from a year ago.
Teams have until 4:00pm CDT on the fifth day following the conclusion of the World Series to make qualifying offers to their eligible free agents. Players must accept or reject qualifying offers by the 12th day following the end of the World Series.
Three players the Cubs have been connected to are expected to be made qualifying offers: Russell Martin, James Shields and Max Scherzer. Players that were traded during the season, like Jon Lester, are not eligible for qualifying offers.
The Cubs first round draft pick is protected but signing a player that has rejected a qualifying offer would cost the Cubs their second round pick, and allotted slot money, in June’s draft.
Arizona Fall League
Mesa dropped its opener in the AFL on Tuesday 9-3 to Glendale. Three of the seven available Cubs prospects got into the game and drove in all three of the Solar Sox’s runs.
Addison Russell started the game as Mesa’s DH and hit third in the lineup. Russell went 1-for-4 with two RBI, a second inning single that plated two runs. Dan Vogelbach took over for Matt Olson at first base and went 0-for-1 (strikeout) in his only plate appearance.
Jacob Hannemann replaced Boog Powell in left and drove in Mesa’s third run with a sac fly in the ninth.
The eight radio broadcasters in the Northwest League voted and catcher Justin Marra was named to their post-season All-Star team. Marra was the only Boise Hawks player voted in by the broadcasters to the 13-player team.
The 21-year old lefty hitting catcher batted .279/.356/.490 in 58 games for the Hawks in 2014 with 17 doubles and nine home runs. Marra caught 30 games for Boise and ended up with a .846 OPS.
Around Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is down to its final four as the Cardinals and Giants both advanced to the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night. Either St. Louis or San Francisco has represented the Senior Circuit in the World Series the last five years.
In the Junior Circuit, the Fall Classic will be in a city that has not hosted a World Series game since the 80’s. Baltimore was in the ’83 Fall Classic and when the Royals last played in the Series, the flux capacitor had just been introduced to pop culture (1985).
MLB has to be extremely happy with 10 out of the 16 games this post-season being decided by one run.
The ALCS begins Friday night (Oct. 10, 7:00pm CDT on TBS) in Baltimore and the NLCS gets underway Saturday night (Oct. 11, 7:00pm CDT on FOX) in St. Louis.
News, Notes and Rumors
After the news surfaced that Bill Mueller resigned, Anthony Rizzo tweeted, “Thank you Billy and Brum for the professionalism and consistency you brought to the table day in and day out. Thank you for a great year!”
According to a report from the Tribune, Chris Coghlan won’t be left out … and until Arismendy Alcantara “makes a rapid improvement or the Cubs land an All-Star outfielder, Coghlan represents the Cubs’ best choice at the leadoff spot and in left field.”
The Boston Globe is convinced Jon Lester is not re-signing with the Red Sox and wonders what it will take to pry Cole Hamels away from the Phillies.
This Day In Cubstory
2008 – Cubs exercised Rich Harden’s $7 million option for the 2009 season after tests showed everything was okay with his right shoulder.
1959 – Mike Morgan, born
1959 – Cubs released Randy Jackson
1957 – Reds purchased Steve Bilko from the Cubs
1951 – Cubs purchased Milo Candini from the Phillies
1948 – Reds purchased Marv Rickert from the Cubs
1945 – Cubs beat the Tigers 8-7 in the sixth game of the World Series at Wrigley Field. Stan Hack doubled over Hank Greenberg in the 12th inning and plated the winning run. The Cubs tied the series at three games apiece.
1941 – Cubs released Charlie Root
1936 – Cubs traded Lon Warneke to the Cardinals for Rip Collins and Roy Parmelee.
1929 – Cubs lost game one of the World Series to the A’s 3-1 at Wrigley Field.
1908 – In the make-up game with the Giants after what become known as the Merkle’s Boner Game, Mordecai ‘Three Finger’ Brown outpitched Christy Mathewson 4-2 as the Cubs won the National League Pennant by one game over the New York Giants
1907 – Down 3-2 to the Tigers in the bottom of the ninth in game one of the World Series, catcher Charlie Schmidt dropped Bill Donovan’s third strike that allowed the Cubs to tie the game. The two teams played to a 3-3 tie in 12 innings. The game was called due to darkness at West Side Grounds.
1889 – An unusual Way to Play Two … The Chicago National League Ball Club played a doubleheader, Cleveland in the morning and Louisville in the afternoon. The franchise that would be the Cubs won both games, 13-0 over Cleveland and 7-3 over Louisville at West Side Grounds. Jack Taylor won the first game in his first big league shutout, the team’s 39th shutout of the season, a post-1892 franchise record. Bill Lange stole home in the second game and Sam Mertes hit an inside-the-park home run.
1885 – Jimmy Ryan made his big league debut at shortstop and went 1-for-4 in a 5-3 loss in Philadelphia.