The cone of silence could be lifted Friday and the Cubs could announce Joe Maddon has been hired. Even if the hiring is made official, it is believed a press conference to introduce Maddon would not take place until next week, Monday at the earliest.
Before the front office decided to engage with Joe Maddon, the Cubs off-season wish list included one, ideally two starting pitchers, a lefty reliever, and veteran position players. The Cubs were also believed to be looking for leadoff type hitter with on-base skills that hit from the left side.
Since the beginning of the week the mainstream media’s list of free agents the Cubs could possibly sign this off-season has had several new additions.
The top of the rotation-type arms the Cubs have been connected to include Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields. As for the second-tier starters, Jake Peavy, Jason Hammel and Justin Masterson are on the Cubs’ radar.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Andrew Miller or Luke Gregerson “would make a lot of sense” for the bullpen. And both relievers have a history with the Cubs front office. Theo Epstein acquired Miller from the Marlins for Dustin Richardson in November 2010 and Jed Hoyer was Gregerson’s boss in San Diego for a short-time.
The Cubs appear to be in the market for a backstop and have been heavily connected to Russell Martin for months. If the front office sticks with Welington Castillo in a starting role, the Cubs could sign a back-up catcher that could provide more offense than John Baker. The Tribune mentioned A.J. Pierzynski as a way the Cubs could upgrade production from the left side of the plate.
Reports began linking Jonny Gomes to the Cubs about a month ago. The front office could look at Gomes in a platoon role and he has a history with Joe Maddon. The Tribune mentioned Chris Denorfia as a possibility and he was with the Padres from 2010 until he was dealt to Seattle from San Diego at the trading deadline last July. Gomes and Denorfia would obviously be in platoon roles if the front office decided to sign either one of the veteran outfielders.
It has been a while since the Cubs were trying to improve the roster during the winter to win games the following season. With the front office declaring the team’s goal is to win the division in 2015, there is going to be a lot of information this off-season to dissect. Some of it will be accurate and some of it won’t, but it’s going to be interesting to follow all of it along the way.
Cubs Roster and Free Agents
The Cubs have reduced the 40-man roster by five players the last two days with six total roster moves. The 40-man roster officially stands at 35 players, but two of those spots will be filled by OF Justin Ruggiano and OF Ryan Sweeney when the outfielders are activated from the 60-day DL.
A day after OF/INF Josh Vitters, INF/OF Chris Valaika and OF Ryan Kalish were outrighted off the 40-man roster and assigned to Triple-A Iowa and RHP James McDonald elected free agency, RHP Carlos Villanueva and RHP Kyuji Fujikawa hit the free agent market.
Villanueva became a free agent as his contract with the Cubs expired following the end of The World Series. And the Cubs declined the 2015 option for Fujikawa and paid the $500,000 buyout.
The 2014 GIBBY Awards
Several Cubs received nominations for the 2014 GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Awards.
- Starlin Castro – Bounceback Player
- Anthony Rizzo – Breakout Hitter
- Jake Arrieta – Breakout Pitcher
- Luis Valbuena and Anthony Rizzo – Best Play
- John Baker – Best Oddity
- Starlin Castro – Best Walk-Off
- Anthony Rizzo – Cut4 Topic
- Wrigley Field Bleacher Fan – Cut4 Topic
Online voting runs through Nov. 21 (10:59pm CST) and winners will be announced live on the MLB Network and MLB.com on Dec. 6.
Wrigley Field Restoration Photos
Work continued Wednesday and Thursday on the old ballyard at the corner of Clark and Addison. Crews continue to work on the left and right field bleachers and work has increased on the triangle lot.
News, Notes and Rumors
As expected, the Nationals exercised the $9 million option for 2015 on OF Denard Span.
The Orioles declined options on OF Nick Markakis and C Nick Hundley. Baltimore decided not to pay Markakis $17.5 million for next season and bought out his option for $2 million. Markakis is a favorite of Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos and the two sides are expected to work out a new contract.
During his three years with Joe Maddon in Tampa, Edwin Jackson was 19-26 in 87 games, 63 starts, with a 5.08 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and a 4.85 FIP.
The Cubs are 33/1 odds to win the 2015 World Series.
The list of 10 nominees for the Hall of Fame’s Veteran Committee Golden Era (1947 – 72) ballot were announced Thursday … Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bow Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills.
And last, but not least … be on the lookout for a gorilla suit around Wrigley today.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs granted free agency to Scott Baker, Matt Guerrier, Dioner Navarro and Kevin Gregg
2012 – Cubs granted free agency to Joe Mather
2008 – Cubs granted free agency to Henry Blanco, Kerry Wood and Jon Lieber
2007 – Cubs granted free agency to Cliff Floyd and Steve Trachsel
2006 – Cubs granted free agency to Henry Blanco, Wade Miller, Aramis Ramirez, Jose Reyes and John Mabry
2005 – Cubs granted free agency to Neifi Perez
2003 – Cubs granted free agency to Eric Karros
2003 – Cubs released Josh Paul
2000 – Cubs granted free agency to Shane Andrews, Jeff Reed and Jeff Huson
1995 – Ryne Sandberg announced he would be returning to the Cubs in 1996. Sandberg inked a one-year contract to come out of retirement.
1995 – Cubs granted free agency to Shawon Dunston and Mark Parent
1982 – Alex Hinshaw, born
1977 – Cubs acquired Bill Caudill and Woodie Fryman from the Reds for Bill Bonham
1970 – Steve Trachsel, born