The 2014 baseball season came to an end Wednesday night with a tremendous seventh game of The World Series. Madison Bumgarner picked up a five-inning save after shutting the Royals down in relief of Jeremy Affeldt. The Giants won its third championship in five seasons and became the first road team to win a seventh game of the Fall Classic since the ‘We are Family’ Pirates back in 1979.
Brian Sabean and the Giants’ front office have built an excellent organization that developed a homegrown infield, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner.
The Cubs are expected to break their silence Thursday and announce the hiring of Joe Maddon. And the press conference should be extremely interesting as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer explain the decision to switch managers and how they handled the situation with Rick Renteria.
The Cubs made four roster moves Wednesday and gained a roster spot when Carlos Villanueva became a free agent. The front office has several more decisions to make over the next five days.
The Cubs temporarily reduced the 40-man roster to 36 players, but will use two of the spots for Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney to be activated from the 60-day DL.
OF/INF Josh Vitters, INF/OF Chris Valaika and OF Ryan Kalish were outrighted to Triple-A Iowa and off the 40-man roster. RHP James McDonald, who spent the entire season on the 60-day DL, elected free agency.
The Cubs have to decide whether or not to pick up the club options on LHP Tsuyoshi Wada and RHP Kyuji Fujikawa. The Cubs are expected to let Fujikawa walk. Reports have varied on if the Cubs will pick-up Wada’s $5 million option or not.
The Cubs are not expected to shift directions with John Mallee, the team’s new hitting coach. It is believed a majority of the coaching staff will remain intact as was announced prior to Joe Maddon becoming available.
John Mallee and Eric Hinske are the Cubs new hitting coaches and Mallee picked up a lot during his time with the Astros … beyond sabermetric numbers and charts.
Mallee learned how to measure and analyze everything to do with a hitter’s swing. There is now an App, Zeep analytical swing platform, that allows players to see their swings in 3-D “and get immediate pointers for corrections. Mallee plans on using the program with Cubs hitters.
- 30 – Eligible players became free agents immediately after World Series
- 3 – Deadline for clubs to make qualifying offers to their eligible former players who became free agents (4:00pm CST)
- 3 – Last date to reinstate players from 60-day disabled list
- 3 – Eligible Minor League players become free agents (4:00pm CST)
- 4 – First day free agents may sign contracts with a club other than their former club
- 4 – Minor League free agents may sign with all clubs
- 4 – Finalists for BBWAA Awards announced on MLB Network
- 5 – Defensive Player of the Year Awards announced on MLB Network
- 6 – Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards announced on MLB Network
- 10 – End of Waiver period
- 10 – Last date for Article XX (B) free agents to accept a qualifying offer from a former club (11:00pm CST)
- 10 – 12 – General Managers Meetings, Phoenix, AZ
- 10 – Sporting News Executive of the Year Award presented at the GM Meetings
- 11 – Beginning of New Waiver period – waivers secured on or after November 11, 2013 remains in effect until February 15, 2014, exception: outright waivers
- 12-18 – Japan Series
- 20 (tentative) – Deadline for clubs to file reserve lists for Major League club and all Minor League Levels (Rule 5 Draft protection)
BBWAA Awards – All Award winners announced at 5:00pm CST on MLB Network
- 10 – NL and AL Rookie of the Year
- 11 – NL and AL Manager of the Year
- 12 – NL and AL Cy Young Awards
- 13 – NL and AL Most Valuable Player Awards
- 2 – Last Date to Tender Contracts to Arbitration Eligible Players
- 5 – Last date to request outright waivers to assign a player prior to the Rule 5 Draft
- 9 – Last date to outright a player prior to the Rule 5 Draft (4:00pm CST)
- 8 – 11 – Baseball’s Winter Meetings – San Diego, CA
- 11 – Rule 5 Draft
- 10 – Single Game Tickets for Cubs 2015 Spring Training Games at Cubs Park go on Sale
- 13 – Salary arbitration filing date
- MLB Owners Meetings
- 16 – Exchange of salary arbitration figures
- 16 – 18 – 30th Annual Cubs Convention
- 1 – 21 – Salary arbitration hearings
- 15 – End of Waiver Period
- 16 – Beginning of New Waiver Period
- 2 – 11 – Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players
- 5 – Cubs 2015 Cactus League Opener – Cubs (ss) vs. A’s at Cubs Park, Cubs (ss) vs. Giants in Scottsdale
- 5 – All Clubs must reduce their active rosters to 25 players
- 5 – MLB Opening Night
- 6 – Cubs Opening Day – Cubs vs. Cardinals at Wrigley Field
- 15 – First date a player optioned to the minors during Spring Training may be recalled
Off-Season Calendar will be updated throughout winter
News and Notes
ESPN Chicago provided a quick report on where the coaching staff may stand and what changes could be made once Joe Maddon is in place.
The Rays have informed all of the team’s coaches they will be retained in 2015. Each coach is under contract and Dave Martinez is viewed as the favorite to replace Joe Maddon.
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – Cubs granted free agency to John Grabow, Reed Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, Carlos Pena, Aramis Ramirez, Kerry Wood and Rodrigo Lopez
2009 – The Ricketts family was introduced as the new owner of the Chicago Cubs
2008 – Cubs granted free agency to Ryan Dempster, Bobby Howry, Jim Edmonds and Chad Fox
2007 – Cubs granted free agency to Jason Kendall
2006 – Cubs granted free agency to Juan Pierre
2003 – Cubs granted free agency to Shawn Estes, Mark Guthrie and Kenny Lofton
2003 – Cubs released Will Ohman
2002 – Cubs granted free agency to Pat Mahomes
2000 – Cubs granted free agency to Rick Aguilera and Mark Grace
1998 – Cubs granted free agency to Mike Morgan
1992 – Cubs signed free agent William Brennan
1959 – Cubs signed free agent Del Rice
1934 – Cubs released Riggs Stephenson