Theo Epstein reiterated Friday and Saturday what he said during his season-ending press conference. The Cubs goal in 2015 is to win the National League Central Division. The Cubs plan on competing without selling out the future and the team will continue to develop the young players at the Major League level. The Cubs are going to be patient with the players the front office feels are a big part of the Cubs future success.
Ideally the Cubs would like to add two starting pitchers, a veteran bat in an everyday role (preferably an outfielder), help on the bench and another lefty reliever to pair with Wesley Wright. Theo Epstein mentioned Friday that the Cubs have their eyes on a couple of veterans they think would help the team.
It is a tricky balance to develop and try to win games at the same time. But the front office saw the way the team played in the second half and they are tired of losing games. As Epstein said, the days of the Cubs solely being in player acquisition mode are over. It is time for the team to start winning games and make that the focus for the Cubs.
The Cubs are believed to be interested in three top of the rotation-type starters and two second-tier starting pitchers.
Jon Lester appears to be at the top of the Cubs list. The front office is obviously familiar with Lester, plus he would only cost the Cubs a big contract (estimated in the six-year, $120-130 million range) and not a pick in the draft or the allotted slot money.
Rumors are suggesting James Shields is high on the Cubs list as well. If Kansas City allows Shields to walk, he will have draft pick compensation tied to him. And if the front office was to sign him it would cost the Cubs the second round pick and the allotted slot money in the draft.
The Phillies are interested in moving Cole Hamels and the veteran southpaw is believed to be an option for the Cubs. Hamels is going to be expensive, both in terms of the contract the Cubs would inherit ($96 million guaranteed over four years) and in the prospect currency it will take to pry him from Ruben Amaro Jr.
As for the second-tier free agent starters that could help the Cubs round out the rotation, at least provide depth to a lot of uncertainty, Jason Hammel and Justin Masterson are believed to be the two pitchers the Cubs are the most interested in signing.
Epstein pointed out the Cubs are not locked into this off-season to fill out the roster with the pieces the front office feels would take the team to the next level. But he anticipates impact starting pitching from outside of the organization to be added to the big league club within the next 15 months.
The players are excited and feel the Cubs are ready to compete and win games. The front office is excited and feels the team is ready to compete and win games. Now the question becomes, will the Cubs be able to land the players they have their eye on this winter?
News, Notes and Rumors
Joey Martarano is focusing on football with Boise State after playing four games in the Rookie League in Arizona after he signed with the Cubs. Martarano was selected by the Cubs in the 22nd round of last June’s draft. Martarano told Boise States’ Student paper that he is hoping to play baseball in the Cubs’ system next summer.
According to a report from Patrick Mooney, the Cubs are not high on outfielder Yasmany Tomas.
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – The Cubs agreed on a five-year contract with Theo Epstein to be the President of Baseball Operations. The contract would not be made official for two weeks due to the Cubs and Red Sox not being able to agree on compensation for letting Epstein out of the last year of his contract in Boston.
2009 – Cubs filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The short-term move allowed the Tribune Co. to sell the team to the Ricketts family
2004 – Cubs granted free agency to Jimmy Anderson
1993 – Cubs released Steve Lake
1977 – Cubs released Randy Hundley
1970 – Cubs traded Roger Metzger to the Astros for Hector Torres
1969 – Derrick White, born
1940 – Glenn Beckert, born
1929 – The Cubs led the Athletics 8-0 in the fourth game of the World Series. The A’s scored 10 runs in the seventh inning and beat the Cubs 10-8 at Shibe Park. Centerfielder Hack Wilson lost a fly ball in the sun, the ball rolled to the fence and went for a three-run inside the park homer for Mule Haas that was the big play in the inning. Sportswriters began referring to Hack Wilson as ‘Sunny Boy’ after the misplayed ball.
1912 – Cubs released Mordecai Brown
1907 – Cubs won the 1907 World Series with a 2-0 victory over the Tigers at Bennett Park. Mordecai Brown picked up the win and the Cubs became the first team to sweep a World Series, even though a game ended in a tie after 12 innings.
1906 – Mordecai Brown pitched the first shutout for the Cubs in World Series play. The Cubs beat the White Sox 1-0 at West Side Grounds.