Teams have until Monday to make qualifying offers to its eligible free agents, but the Detroit Tigers did not wait until the deadline to extend an offer to RHP Max Scherzer.
It was a given the Tigers would extend the one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to Scherzer. And he is expected to turn it down. The Tigers will receive draft pick compensation if Scherzer signs a free agent contract with another team.
Max Scherzer rejected a six-year, $144 million offer Detroit made him and Scott Boras thinks he can get his biggest client of the off-season a better contract.
The Cubs are reportedly interested in Scherzer, but he is not believed to be the front office’s primary target.
The Cubs would like to add two starting pitchers this winter, preferably a top of the rotation-type arm and another proven starter. Jon Lester is thought to be at the top of the Cubs off-season wish list, but a report from Nick Cafardo indicated talk within the game has the Cubs possibly going after both Lester and Scherzer this off-season. If the Cubs were to sign Scherzer it would cost them their second round pick in June’s draft, plus the allotted slot money.
After Monday’s press conference to introduce Joe Maddon, look for the Cubs focus to switch to adding impact talent from outside the organization.
Theo Epstein Extension
A report from Dan Bernstein (670 The Score) on Friday morning indicated the Cubs were working on a contract extension with Theo Epstein at the same time as finalizing a deal with Joe Maddon in order to align Epstein and Maddon. Epstein has two years remaining (through 2016 season) on the five year contract he signed in October 2011.
Patrick Mooney shot down the report and stated that was not the case.
Tom Ricketts is expected to extend Epstein’s contract at some point this winter. But that’s not a priority for Epstein or the team right now.
ESPN Ranks Cubs Fourth in Future Power Rankings
“The Cubs now have an elite front office, manager, scouting and player development departments and the resources to compete with everyone in the National League Central” according a report from ESPN.
The report points to the Cubs being a little ahead of schedule on the building process Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer began three years ago. The Cubs are ready to start winning and will be legitimate contenders by 2016 according to ESPN.
Jim Bowden also reported the Cubs have their sights “on both Jon Lester and Max Scherzer” this off-season and could be surprise contenders in 2015 if they land one of the two free agent starters.
Bowden took a look at the farm system and possible ETA’s for the top prospects in the organization.
- Full Report from ESPN
The Dodgers, Cardinals and Red Sox were the three teams ranked above the Cubs with the Nationals, Pirates, Yankees, Giants, Orioles and Mets rounding out the top ten.
The Arizona Fall League and the Fall Stars Game
The annual Fall Stars Game (previously called the Rising Stars Game) takes place Saturday night (7:00pm CDT). MLB Network is televising the game live from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. C.J. Edwards is the only Cubs prospect participating in the game.
The Fall Stars Game can also be heard on MLB Network Radio with Mike Ferrin calling the action.
MLB Network Radio is in Arizona for the last two weeks of the Arizona Fall League. And Ferrin will call various AFL games. The network released a schedule Friday.
The following Mesa Solar Sox games will be broadcast either live or on tape delay
- Monday, Nov. 3 (9:00pm CST) – vs. Salt River
- Tuesday, Nov. 4 (7:00pm CST) – vs. Salt River
- Thursday, Nov. 6 (7:00pm CST) – vs. Salt River
- Friday, Nov. 7 (9:00pm CST) – vs. Surprise
- Thursday, Nov. 13 (10:00pm CST) vs. Glendale
News, Notes and Rumors
The Royals are going to try to re-sign James Shields, but Kansas City understands teams like the Red Sox or Cubs will likely outbid them according to a report from the New York Daily News.
The Rays picked up INF/OF Ben Zobrist’s $7.5 million option for 2015.
Bruce Levine has mentioned Pablo Sandoval could be an option for the Cubs on several occasions. If the Cubs are indeed interested in Sandoval, it might cost them $100 million to sign him. Jon Heyman reported Friday the third baseman known as ‘Panda’ is seeking a contract north of $100 million. The Giants would like to keep Sandoval and the Red Sox are expected to make a run at him.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – Cubs granted free agency to Xavier Nady
2008 – Cubs granted free agency to Daryle Ward
2004 – Cubs granted free agency to Moises Alou and Kent Mercker
2002 – Cubs granted free agency to Jon Lieber and Fred McGriff
1999 – Cubs named Don Baylor the team’s manager
1999 – Cubs granted free agency to Bobby Ayala
1995 – Cubs granted free agency to Jaime Navarro
1988 – Mark Grace finished behind the Reds Chris Sabo for National League Rookie of the Year
1982 – Cubs granted free agency to Ken Kravec
1976 – Cubs granted free agency to Steve Stone
1944 – Cubs selected Len Rice from the Reds in the Rule 5 Draft
1938 – Bill Lee was runner-up for the National League MVP