Javier Baez has reported to his winter ball team in Puerto Rico and is expected to start playing in games next week (Dec. 11). Theo Epstein said Friday that Baez will play four-five times a week and see time at second base and shortstop.
The Cubs new hitting coach, John Mallee is going to spend time in Puerto Rico working with Javier Baez.
Epstein told the beat writers, “Javy’s had some time away from the game and decompressed a little bit, and I think it’s certainly a testament to his work ethic and his desire to improve that he’s out there getting ready to play winter ball and get ready for the season.”
Javier Baez has been working with Cangrejeros de Santurce. The Cubs gave Baez permission to play for the remainder of the season.
The Cubs newest Special Assistant to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer is happy to officially be back with the organization. Even in his new role with organization, Ryan Dempster will continue working for the MLB Network. And he’s not ruled out watching games from the bleachers again.
Dempster told the beat writers after announcing his retirement that he enjoyed the time off last season.
Ryan Dempster is looking to learn the game from a different perspective and wants to help the front office bring a championship to the Cubs, something he was unable to accomplish as a player.
Alberto Cabrera and Rafael Dolis
Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reported Friday the Tigers signed two former Cubs’ farmhands, RHP Alberto Cabrera and RHP Rafael Dolis to minor league contracts.
Alberto Cabrera spent the 2014 season with Triple-A Iowa. Cabrera appeared in 25 games for the Cubs in 2012 and seven games during the 2013 season. Cabrera was 1-1 in 32 relief appearances with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. Last year in Iowa, Cabrera posted a 4-2 record in 40 starts with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Cabrera turned 26 at the end of October. The Cubs signed Cabrera as an amateur free agent in 2005.
Rafael Dolis made only four appearances for Triple-A Fresno last year in the Giants system. The now 26-year old right hander, like Cabrera, has not been able to turn his stuff into strikes and outs in the big leagues.
The Yankees broke out the checkbook Friday and signed LHP Andrew Miller to a four-year, $36 million contract. Miller received a record-breaking contract for a reliever in a non-closer role. Miller will be paid $9 million per year for the next four seasons.
The Astros made a four-year, $40 million offer to Miller, but he chose to pitch in the Bronx instead. Houston’s bid forced the Yankees to add $4 million to land Miller. Brian Cashman told Bob Nightengale the Yankees tried to sign Miller to a four-year, $32 million contract.
According to Buster Olney, the Yankees may not be done adding to the backed of its bullpen. If David Robertson’s asking price drops “the Yankees are ready to talk” but if David Robertson does not back down from wanting Jonathan Papelbon Money, the Yankees will likely move on.
Brian Cashman told Jack Curry he is still in acquisition mode and the Yankees “are far from a finished product.” The Yankees are expected to add pitching. Max Scherzer is thought to be the free agent starter Cashman will pursue, not Jon Lester.
News, Notes and Rumors
The 2014 GIBBY Awards will be announced Saturday night at 8:00pm CST on MLB Network. Anthony Rizzo (Breakout Everyday Player), Jake Arrieta (Breakout Pitcher) and Starlin Castro (Bounceback Player) are up for a GIBBY. Former Cubs’ catcher John Baker is nominated in the oddity category for his victory on the mound and Anthony Rizzo’s gift homers is in line for a Cut4 Topic.
Jayson Stark posted 10 names to watch at the Winter Meetings. Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields, Jordan Zimmermann and Cole Hamels comprised half of his list.
The Dodgers claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Red Sox, to make room on the 40-man roster, Los Angeles DFA’d Drew Butera.
Kris Bryant will be at the Winter Meetings to receive the player of the year awards he won for the video game-like numbers he put up in 2014. It’s going to take a rather large vehicle to get those trophies from San Diego to Las Vegas.
Javier Baez Batting Practice in Puerto Rico
Reorganization of MLB’s Central Offices
Rob Manfred, MLB Chief Operating Officer and Commissioner-Elect, announced Thursday changes and a new organizational structure of Major League Baseball’s Central Offices. The changes are effective immediately.
Manfred has appointed seven officers who will report directly to him and will oversee key aspects of MLB operations (listed alphabetically):
- Bob Bowman, President & CEO of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) since its founding in 2000, will serve as MLB’s President, Business & Media. He will now direct revenue-generating and media rights activities across all MLB entities. Bowman will continue to guide MLBAM and also will have oversight of MLB Network.
- Pat Courtney, MLB’s Senior Vice President for Public Relations, will be Chief Communications Officer. Courtney joined MLB in 1992 and has served as chief spokesman and head of media relations since 2010.
- Dan Halem, Executive Vice President for Labor Relations, will be MLB’s Chief Legal Officer. Halem joined MLB in 2007 as Senior Vice President & General Counsel before being promoted to his current role last December. Halem plays a key role in all collective bargaining issues and directs industry initiatives such as the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the revenue sharing program.
- Jonathan Mariner, currently Executive Vice President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer, will become MLB’s Chief Investment Officer. In his current role for the Commissioner’s Office, the former Florida Marlins EVP & CFO has overseen duties related to budgeting, financial reporting and treasury and risk management activities. As Chief Investment Officer, Mariner will help manage the industry’s Baseball Endowment, L.P. (“BELP”) fund, its pension assets and potential new strategic investments.
- Tony Petitti, President & CEO of MLB Network since its 2008 inception and its 2009 launch, will fill the role of MLB’s COO. Petitti will oversee numerous functions of the Commissioner’s Office, and his decades of media experience will be relied upon as it relates to MLB’s content.
- Bob Starkey, of Starkey Sports Consulting, will become MLB’s Chief Financial Officer & Senior Advisor. Since 1991, Starkey has advised MLB on industry economic matters, such as its debt-service rule, revenue sharing system and other aspects of collective bargaining. Starkey has consulted with various professional sports franchises and has worked on several new stadium projects, including all aspects of the development of Target Field in his hometown of Minneapolis.
- Joe Torre, Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations since 2011, will be MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer. The Hall of Famer will continue to serve as MLB’s primary liaison to the general managers, field managers and the Major League Umpires regarding all on-field matters.
Rob Manfred becomes the 10th Commissioner in baseball history on Jan. 25, 2015.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs selected Hector Rondon from the Indians in the Rule 5 Draft
2007 – Blue Jays selected Randy Wells from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
2006 – Cubs traded Freddie Bynum to the Orioles for a PTNBL. Cubs received Kevin Hart from the Orioles on Dec. 7, 2006 to complete the trade.
2007 – Marlins selected Adelberto Mendez from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1990 – Cubs signed free agent George Bell
1988 – Cubs selected Erik Pappas from the Angels in the Minor League Draft
1976 – Cubs selected Willie Hernandez from the Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft
1973 – Cubs traded Randy Hundley to the Twins for George Mitterwald
1965 – Cubs purchased Don Bryant from the Tigers
1959 – Cubs traded Bill Henry, Lou Jackson and Lee Walls to the Redlegs (Reds) for Frank Thomas
1947 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Don Elston
1945 – Larry Bowa, born
1939 – Cubs traded Dick Bartell to the Tigers for Billy Rogell
1938 – Cubs traded Billy Jurges, Frank Demaree and Ken O’Dea to the Giants for Dick Bartell, Hank Leiber and Gus Mancuso
1909 – Stan Hack, born
1903 – Tony Lazzeri, born