Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have said the front office will be aggressive on the free agent market. A top of the rotation-type starter is thought to be high on the Cubs’ off-season list. And many think the Cubs will pay Jon Lester big money to lead the rotation for several years.
Other options for the Cubs are thought to be James Shields, as well as second-tier free agent starters Jason Hammel and Justin Masterson. But the Royals might not let Shields just walk away after Kansas City’s post-season run.
It was believed the Royals would make a qualifying offer to Shields in order to recoup something for losing him to free agency. According to a report from Jon Heyman, Royals GM Dayton Moore “informed Shields’ agent Page Odle way back around the trade deadline they would indeed make an effort to keep him with a multi-year deal.” The Royals trip to the post-season and victory in the ALDS have given Moore a little more payroll flexibility in order to keep Shields.
Boston was expected to make a full-court press to sign Shields when he hit the market, and the Dodgers were thought to be interested in him as well according to Jon Heyman.
Heyman spoke with an American League general manager that thinks James Shields should receive a similar contract to the ones Anibal Sanchez (five years, $80 million) and C.J. Wilson (five years, $77.5 million) signed, which would make him a $20 million per year starting pitcher beginning with his age 33 season.
While the Cubs interest in James Shields is speculation at best right now, if the Royals are a viable option for Shields, the market and price tag for the other starters the Cubs are interested in will increase.
Updating the Hitting Coach Search
John Mallee could be the front runner to be the Cubs next hitting coach. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Mallee interviewed for the job with the Cubs last year before he went to Houston and the Cubs hired Bill Mueller. Mallee and Brandon Hyde are friends after the Chicago native worked with Hyde on the Marlins staff.
Carrie Muskat also reported Dave Magadan, Chili Davis, Kevin Long and Scott Coolbaugh could be candidates for the hitting coach position.
The connection with Dave Magadan is obvious and Chili Davis also has a history with Theo Epstein. As for Long and Coolbaugh, Joe Girardi recently said all of the coaches on his staff are being “evaluated” which leaves the door open for a team to at least talk to the Yankees’ long-time hitting coach Kevin Long. Coolbaugh was the Rangers’ hitting coach after Rudy Jaramillo and Clint Hurdle and has been Texas’ minor league hitting coordinator for the last two years.
- Full Report – Cubs in Market for New Hitting Coach
- Next Hitting Coach Should Be A Keeper – ESPN Chicago
Arizona Fall League
The Mesa Solar Sox’s home opener against Glendale was rained out Wednesday … the first postponement in the Arizona Fall League since 2011. Addison Russell (SS) and Dan Vogelbach (1B) were in the starting lineup and hitting three-four for Mesa. Bijan Rademacher was starting in right field and hitting eighth.
Wednesday’s rainout pushed C.J. Edwards AFL debut from Thursday to Friday.
The Pirates are expected to make every effort to re-sign free-agent-to-be Russell Martin. It could be expensive for Pittsburgh to keep the veteran catcher coming off a career year. Reports have suggested the Pirates will make him a qualifying offer and at least attach draft pick compensation to him.
Olney thinks the Cubs and Martin “could not be a better fit, given the timing of his free agency and the team’s expected push to win more in 2015.” Olney pointed out the Cubs need a catcher and he would help a young, rebuilding pitching staff. Plus, Martin would add the veteran leadership the front office is looking for, the same as he did with the Pirates. Olney mentioned the amount of day games could be an issue for Martin, the same as they’ve been for other players that “have blocked deals with the Cubs.”
Russell Martin is expected to be rather expensive with rumors suggesting Martin could sign a three-five year contract worth anywhere between $30-75 million. Plus it would cost the team that overpays for Martin a first or second round draft pick and the allotted slot money.
According to multiple reports citing Chris Cotillo as the source, Ryan Dempster has officially retired. Dempster sat out the 2014 season, the second year of the two-year, $26.5 million contract he signed with the Red Sox prior to 2013.
After Dempster decided he could not pitch for Boston, rumors suggested that if Dempster wanted to continue to play the Cubs might be an option for him to finish his career.
Ryan Dempster pitched for the Cubs from 2004 until he was dealt at the trade deadline to the Rangers in 2012 for Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva. In his nine seasons with the Cubs, Dempster was 67-66 in 374 games, 154 starts, with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Dempster also saved 87 games, which is the fifth most saves in Cubs history.
News and Notes
Kyle Schwarber, Victor Caratini, Jordan Hankins and Gioskar Amaya are working on their catching skills at Fall Instructs and Mark Gonzales spoke to the Cubs prospects.
Victor Caratini will play for San Juan in the Puerto Rico Baseball League in Winter Ball. Caratini is expected to report in December.
Randy Wehofer posted the Iowa Cubs 2014 Season in Review.
Ton Andracki asked if Javier Baez will be able to make adjustments with the Cubs next hitting coach.
This Day In Cubstory
2004 – Cubs granted free agency to Calvin Murray
1996 – Red Sox selected Mike Campbell off waivers from the Cubs
1989 – Cubs dropped the fifth and deciding game of the NLCS to the Giants, 3-2.
1947 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Randy Jackson
1946 – Cubs released Billy Jurges
1946 – Jim Qualls, born
1940 – Joe Pepitone, born
1938 – Yankees completed the four-game sweep over the Cubs with an 8-3 victory at Yankee Stadium to win the World Series. The Yankees became the first team to win three straight World Series titles.
1928 – Cubs crushed the White Sox 13-2 at Comiskey Park and won the City Series, four games to three
1925 – Cubs selected Hack Wilson in the Rule 5 Draft from the Giants’ Toledo farm team for $5,000.
1907 – Cubs beat the Tigers behind Jack Pfiester 3-1 in the second game of the World Series at West Side Grounds
1906 – Mordecai Brown lost 2-1 to Nick Altrock and the White Sox in the first game of the All-Chicago World Series at a snowy West Side Grounds. The Cubs and White Sox played in the first one-city Fall Classic.
1886 – The Chicago National League Ball Club clinched the pennant with a 12-3 victory over the Braves in Boston. The game was called after seven innings due to darkness. John Clarkson pitched a complete game and collected two hits.