The Cubs are in position to sign multiple free agents this winter and have been linked to all of the big names from Jon Lester to Max Scherzer to Russell Martin to David Robertson. But despite reports that have the Cubs signing both Lester and Scherzer to mega deals, the Cubs are not going to alter The Plan the front office put in motion a little more than three years ago.
Theo Epstein reiterated Monday the Cubs would stay the course and not speed up the process even with the hiring of Joe Maddon. That, however, doesn’t mean the Cubs are not willing to forfeit a second round pick in next June’s draft to sign a free agent this winter that fits into the process.
The Cubs have talked about being aggressive in free agency. As Patrick Mooney reported, the front office has planned “to ramp up the rebuilding process this winter.”
According to the report from Comcast SportsNet, “the Cubs are comfortable with the idea of signing a free agent tagged with a qualifying offer, opening the door for a frontline starter (James Shields), a dominant closer (David Robertson) or an All-Star catcher (Russell Martin).”
If the Cubs sign a free agent that has rejected a qualifying offer, the Cubs would lose its second round pick in next June’s draft along with the allotted slot money. The Cubs first round pick is protected, but if the front office was to sign multiple players that have turned down qualifying offers, the Cubs would forfeit subsequent draft picks and the allotted slot money for those picks as well. In other words, signing two players with draft pick compensation tied to them would cost the Cubs both its second and third round selections, and slot money, in June’s draft.
Patrick Mooney asked Jed Hoyer about the possibility of the Cubs forfeiting a draft pick to sign a free agent the front office feels fits The Plan. Something the Cubs would not have done prior to this winter season.
“It’s a different calculus. It’s still a hard thing to give up. You’re giving up the money. You’re giving up the pick. But if it’s the right balance — if we look at it and it makes sense — I think we’re in a (place) where we would think about doing that. Candidly, we were reluctant in the past. It would have had to be something that just made so much sense. We never really had that serious dialogue about it because nothing ever really kind of rose to that level of making enough sense for the future to do it.”
Joe Maddon and Rick Renteria
According to multiple reports, Joe Maddon plans to reach out to Rick Renteria.
Maddon addressed the situation with Renteria with the beat writers following his introductory press conference Monday and said he feels bad about Renteria losing his job.
“I feel badly about it. When this whole thing started to percolate, the only thing that was a negative to me was that, and I expressed that. I definitely want to give him a phone call. I heard that he was really gracious in his understanding and how he handled it was pretty impressive.”
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer praised Rick Renteria for the way he handled the entire situation. Epstein called Renteria a special human being and admitted, “It underscored what everyone who interacted with Rick feels is that he’s a special human being. He definitely handled it better than I would have under the circumstances.”
Alfonso Soriano announced his retirement from baseball Tuesday night. Soriano said he’s “lost the love and passion to play the game.” Soriano is focused on the most important thing in his life right now, his family.
Alfonso Soriano finished his career 50th on the all-time home run list.
In almost seven full seasons with the Cubs, Soriano hit .264/.317/.495 with 218 doubles, 12 triples, 181 home runs and a .812 OPS. Soriano helped lead the Cubs to back-to-back division titles in 2007 and 2008. Before he was dealt to the Yankees, Alfonso Soriano took on a leadership role to many of the young players in the Cubs clubhouse.
Ranking and Predicting the Free Agents
With free agency officially beginning on the East Coast early Tuesday morning, several publications released its rankings of the top free agents in the game. And the Cubs have been tied to many of the top names.
The front office has said the Cubs will be aggressive this winter, but that does not mean Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will abandon The Plan and sell out to win in 2015.
SI thinks Jon Lester’s best fit is with the Cubs, the only top 50 free agent the Cubs land according to Sports Illustrated this winter.
Ken Davidoff – New York Post
Ken Davidoff thinks the top two free agents of the off-season will sign with the Cubs … Max Scherzer for eight years and $200 million and Jon Lester for six years and $140 million. Davidoff sees Russell Martin ending up in Texas for four year and $60 million.
ESPN’s Keith Law
Keith Law posted his list of the top 50 free agents of the winter season. Here are Law’s rankings of the players the Cubs have been connected to so far: Max Scherzer (1), Jon Lester (2), James Shields (4), Pablo Sandoval (6), Russell Martin (8), Jake Peavy (18), Brett Anderson (29), Jason Hammel (31) and Justin Masterson (35).
News, Notes and Rumors
Chris Bosio is signed through the 2015 season according to a report from the Sun-Times.
The Cubs have given Arismendy Alcantara permission to play winter ball. According to a report out of Santo Domingo, Alcantara will report in the middle of November and will play infield and outfield for Manny Acta’s Tigres del Licey (h/t to Crewsett for the link).
According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs and White Sox might have their eye on free agent OF Melky Cabrera. Toronto made him a qualifying offer and reportedly would like him to re-sign to a long-term contract. Levine reported that Cabrera is seeking a four- or five-year deal for $13-15 million per season.
Theo Epstein and the Cubs may be the biggest threat to the Red Sox this winter according to a report from Bill Speros.
FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan thinks the Cubs are mediocre, with upside, “and the team made something official with the hiring of Joe Maddon, they’re entering a whole new stage, and in this one they actually care about today.”
The Cubs are going for broke with Joe Maddon while the Mets are still acting broke according to Joel Sherman.
New Cubs manager Joe Maddon is crazy in a good way according to the Sun-Times.
And Joe Maddon might be crazy enough to make this work according to Comcast SportsNet.
The Cubs will be paying two managers again in 2015 and 2016 just like the team did in 2012 and 2014.
Hyeon-Jong Yang will be posted this winter according to a report from the New York Daily News.
Andy Martino answered the question as to why the Cubs did not have to interview a minority candidate before hiring Joe Maddon.
The Sun-Times posted 10 things about Joe Maddon that many probably didn’t know.
And the next Cubs apparel craze is … Joe Maddon glasses.
Around Major League Baseball
The BBWAA released the list of nominees for Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, CY Young and Most Valuable Player on Tuesday. Here are the nominees for each league
- AL Rookie of the Year (Nov. 10) – Jose Abreu, Dellin Betances, Matt Shoemaker
- NL Rookie of the Year (Nov. 10) – Jacob deGrom, Billy Hamilton, Kolten Wong
- AL Manager of the Year (Nov. 11) – Mike Scioscia, Buck Showalter, Ned Yost
- NL Manager of the Year (Nov. 11) – Bruce Bochy, Clint Hurdle, Matt Williams
- AL Cy Young (Nov. 12) – Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale
- NL Cy Young (Nov. 12) – Johnny Cueto, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright
- AL MVP (Nov. 13) – Michael Brantley, Victor Martinez and Mike Trout
- NL MVP (Nov. 13) – Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton
The Gold Gloves for the 2014 season were handed out Tuesday for both leagues.
AL Gold Glove winners
- Eric Hosmer – 1B
- Dustin Pedroia – 2B
- Kyle Seager – 3B
- J.J. Hardy – SS
- Alex Gordon – LF
- Adam Jones – CF
- Nick Markakis – RF
- Salvador Perez – C
- Dallas Keuchel – P
NL Gold Glove winners
- Adrian Gonzalez – 1B
- D.J. LeMahieu – 2B
- Nolan Arenado – 3B
- Andrelton Simmons – SS
- Christian Yelich – LF
- Juan Lagares – CF
- Jason Heyward – RF
- Yadier Molina – C
- Zack Greinke – P
Wrigley Field Restoration – The 1060 Project
The right field bleachers are no more. Work continued on The 1060 Project Tuesday on the right field bleachers and the triangle lot.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs granted free agency to Alex Burnett, Rafael Dolis, Cole Gillespie, Edwin Maysonet, Brad Nelson, Zach Putnam, Henry Rodriguez and Jaye Chapman
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Angel Guzman
2009 – Cubs granted free agency to Rich Harden and Reed Johnson
2001 – Cubs granted free agency to Delino DeShields, Matt Stairs, Todd Van Poppel, David Weathers, Rondell White and Ricky Gutierrez
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Heathcott
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Terry Mulholland
1996 – Cubs granted free agency to Ryne Sandberg
1991 – Cubs released Erik Pappas
1982 – Bryan LaHair, born
1955 – Bert Wilson, the radio voice of the Cubs on WIND since 1943, died at the age of 44 from high blood pressure.
1970 – Charlie Root passed away at the age of 71.