Jed Hoyer said Wednesday he and Theo Epstein planned to talk to Joe Maddon about Dave Martinez joining the Cubs coaching staff. Martinez resigned his position with the Rays after being passed over for Tampa’s managerial opening.
According to Marc Topkin, the Cubs asked for and received permission from the Rays to talk to Dave Martinez.
Dave Martinez is still under contract through the 2015 season, despite the fact he resigned, and the Cubs or any team would have to receive permission from the Rays’ front office to interview him. The Rays are not expected to receive any compensation from the team that hires Martinez.
The Cubs have not made an official announcement on which coaches will be retained under Joe Maddon. After hiring John Mallee (hitting coach) and Doug Dascenzo (first base/outfield/baserunning coach), the Cubs moved Eric Hinske from first base coach to assistant hitting coach and the staff was set under then manager Rick Renteria.
Minor changes were expected to be made to the staff once Joe Maddon was hired. Maddon had his introductory press conference almost a month ago (Nov. 3) and it is believed Maddon was waiting to see how things unfolded for Martinez in Tampa before announcing his staff.
If Dave Martinez is hired, there has been speculation the Cubs would move Brandon Hyde back into a position in the front office.
The Cubs pitching infrastructure of Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Lester Strode (assistant pitching coach/bullpen coach) and Mike Borzello (catchers coach) should remain intact and Henry Blanco (quality assurance coach) was just hired.
Pedro Strop admitted to ESPNdeportes.com that he avoided a major injury in the car wreck late last week in the Dominican Republic. Strop required only five stitches to close a cut on his left elbow after he was rear-ended by another car. Strop said the brakes failed on the car that hit him.
Strop had two passengers in the car. His brother suffered a cut on the middle finger of his right hand while the other passenger was unharmed. The driver of the other automobile did not suffer any injuries.
Pedro Strop will be reevaluated by one of the Cubs doctors in the Dominican to ensure everything is okay with the right hander.
The Cubs tried Strop in the closer’s role last year for a short time, but when Strop returned from the DL, Hector Rondon had grabbed the job and never really looked back. Rick Renteria used Neil Ramirez in save situations as well. Strop told ESPNdeportes.com that he would like to be a closer in the big leagues and thinks he can handle the job.
Pedro Strop is preparing for Spring Training in the Dominican and could be a big piece in Joe Maddon’s bullpen next season.
Travis Wood is coming off a not-so-good season and the Cubs face a decision with the lefty … to tender him a contract for next season or not. Tuesday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Wood is under the Cubs control for two more seasons after being paid $3.9 million last year.
Travis Wood is only 27 years old, he turns 28 on Feb. 6, and he struggled last season to the tune of 190 hits allowed in 173 2/3 innings with 76 walks and 146 strikeouts (5.03 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 4.38 FIP). Wood’s command was off all season and he realizes it must improve next year.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Wood admitted his fastball command was an issue and he was “just missing” and that makes it “kind of tough sometimes to change too much.”
It would be hard to see the Cubs decide to non-tender him a contract at this point. The front office has not addressed the rotation yet and Wood is one of only two starters that has completed 200 innings in the majors.
Jeff Samardzija could be on the move this winter. After addressing trade rumors all last off-season, the right hander appears to be in for more of the same this year. After Billy Beane sent Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for three prospects and Brett Lawrie, the Samardzija watch kicked into high gear again Saturday morning.
Multiple reports suggested the A’s and White Sox were close to a deal that would send Samardzija back to Chicago. Those reports jumped the gun. The two teams appear to be talking, but that is all at this point. And the Sox are not the only team interested in trading for Samardzija. One team to keep an eye on is Toronto. Alex Anthopoulos tried everything he could to pry Samardzija away from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer … with one big exception, he wasn’t willing to pay the Cubs’ asking price. Talks with the White Sox have included Alexei Ramirez, Tim Anderson and Marcus Semien.
But with Jeff Samardzija not willing to sign a long-term deal, Beane might have trouble maxing out his value with only one-year of control left on his contract. Beane will reportedly back-off trading Samardzija until later in the off-season when the free agent options are no longer available to teams looking for a top of the rotation starter.
According to Peter Gammons, the White Sox, Red Sox and Rangers are among the teams talking to Billy Beane about Jeff Samardzija.
News, Notes and Rumors
Justin Masterson is garnering a lot of attention. Not only are the Cubs, Indians, Twins, Royals, Tigers and White Sox interested in the veteran right hander but so are the Giants, Mariners according to Jon Heyman.
According to a report from Hardball Talk citing the Orange County Register as its source, Torii Hunter is down to four teams … the Orioles, Rangers, Mariners and the Twins. The Cubs showed interest in the veteran outfielder who is still looking for a ring. Hunter is likely looking at a one- or two-year contract.
The Mets are unlikely to swing a blockbuster trade this winter according to Joel Sherman. And that includes trading a pitcher to the Cubs for one of the shortstops. Sherman spoke to an NL executive that questioned why the Cubs would trade talent this off-season to add pitching when they can just sign a free agent or two … plus next winter the free agent market could be flooded with very good starters.
Nick Cafardo reported Saturday that free agent lefty reliever Andrew Miller is moving closer to making a decision on which team to sign with. Miller has at least 10 teams, including the Red Sox, that are interested in signing him.
Buster Olney posted his ranking of the top 10 right fielders in the game. And to no surprise the Cubs did not have an outfielder ranked in any of Olney’s three lists. As for the best right fielders in baseball, Olney ranked them as follows: Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins), Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Hunter Pence (Giants), Jayson Werth (Nationals), Jason Heyward (Cardinals), Matt Kemp (Dodgers), George Springer (Astros), Nick Markakis, Jay Bruce (Reds) and Kole Calhoun (Angels). Kevin Kiermaier (Rays), Ryan Braun (Brewers), Marlon Byrd (Phillies) and Charlie Blackmon (Rockies) received honorable mentions.
According to MLB.com, the NL Central has been active in the Hot Stove, with plenty more to come.
The Braves are getting a lot of hits on Justin Upton. Countless teams are interested in trading for Upton according to Jon Heyman.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs granted free agency to Jaye Chapman, Ian Stewart and Zach Putnam
2011 – Cubs signed free agent OF David DeJesus to a two-year, $10 million contract that included an option for the 2014 season for $6.5 million. DeJesus was the first free agent signing of the Theo Epstein regime with the Cubs.
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Kevin Tolar
1985 – Luis Valbuena, born
1981 – Rich Harden, born
1977 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Kingman
1971 – Matt Lawton, born
1970 – Cubs selected Ron Tompkins from the Brewers in the Rule 5 Draft
1970 – Cubs selected Frank Coggins from the Indians in the Rule 5 Draft
1970 – Cubs traded Willie Smith to the Reds for Danny Breeden
1970 – Cubs traded Hoyt Wilhelm to the Braves for Hal Breeden
1970 – Cubs traded Pat Jacquez, Dave Lemonds and Roe Skidmore to the White Sox for Ossie Blanco and Jose Ortiz
1969 – Cubs acquired Bill Schlesinger and cash from the Red Sox for Ray Culp
1966 – Cubs released Chuck Estrada
1964 – Twins selected Ron Theobald from the Cubs in the First-Year draft
1964 – Cubs selected Bobby Cox from the Dodgers in the minor league draft. The future Hall of Fame manager played in two minor league seasons in the Cubs system.
1964 – Cubs selected Chris Krug from the Dodgers in the minor league draft
1961 – Billy Williams was named National League Rookie of the Year. Williams edged out Braves catcher Joe Torre after batting .278/.338/.484 with 20 doubles, seven triples and 25 home runs in 146 games. Williams ended up with a .822 OPS in his first full season in the big leagues.
1960 – Bob Tewksbury, born
1959 – Cubs selected Harry Bright from the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft
1954 – Cubs selected Buzz Clarkson from Dallas (Texas League) in the minor league draft
1953 – Cubs selected Luis Marquez from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft
1953 – Cubs sold catcher Carl Sawatski to the White Sox
1932 – Cubs acquired Babe Herman from the Reds for Rollie Hemsley, Johnny Moore, Lance Richbourg and Bob Smith