It’s hard to believe another year is almost over, only three full days left in Two Thousand Fourteen. And it was a good year for the Chicago Cubs with a better off-season to this point than the big league team turned in on the field in the first half of the year.
The Cubs were in the news for the wrong reasons Saturday after a report hit the wire that Starlin Castro had been arrested in the Dominican Republic. Castro was not arrested or detained for questioning in a shooting incident in which six people were injured.
Castro voluntarily spoke with authorities about the night club shooting that it appears his brother and bodyguards were involved in.
The two reports include details from the various outlets on the incident in the Dominican Republic. The Cubs have not released a statement or commented on the situation. According to the Tribune and ESPN, the Cubs are not happy with Starlin Castro after his name was linked to a second shooting in three weeks.
- Starlin Castro Voluntarily Spoke with Authorities about Night Club Shooting in Dominican Republic
- Starlin Castro Cleared of Direct Involvement with Shooting in Dominican Republic
Starlin Castro answered questions for several hours according to one report out of the Dominican and issued a statement that denied any involvement in the incident at the Night Club.
Starlin Castro said he is focused on his preparation for next season.
Castro is scheduled to leave for Miami to ramp up his off-season training program the first week in January. After attending the Cubs Convention, Castro should report to Mesa in late January to prepare for the start of Spring Training.
Anthony Rizzo had the bounce back season last year the front office was looking for from its first baseman. Playing a majority of the season at 24 years old (turned 25 in August), Rizzo batted .286/.386/.527 with 28 doubles, 32 home runs and a .913 OPS. Rizzo walked 73 times in 616 plate appearances with 116 strikeouts.
Rizzo hit .300/.421/.507 in 140 at bats against southpaws with five doubles, eight home runs and a .928 OPS. Early in the off-season, he credited the work he did and advice he received from Eric Hinske as a couple of the reasons he improved against left-handed pitching last year.
Anthony Rizzo was also very good after the break and hit .307/.397/.581 with a .978 OPS in his final 47 games of the season while becoming a leader in the clubhouse. Rizzo standing up to the entire Reds bench is one of the indelible moments of the season.
Tracy Ringolsby thinks Anthony Rizzo is one of 10 things to watch in Major League Baseball heading into 2015 after his emergence last year.
For as much attention as Joe Maddon and Jon Lester will receive, the success of the team will have a lot to do with Anthony Rizzo being able to pick up where he left off last season.
Manny Ramirez was the most watched YouTube video on the I-Cubs Channel during 2014 … but right behind him was Kris Bryant.
Kris Bryant did not slow down after he was promoted to Triple-A Iowa. In 70 games with Iowa, Bryant hit .295/.418/.619 with 14 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs and 52 RBI for a 1.036 OPS.
Kris Bryant’s first longball with the Iowa Cubs and his Grand Slam on June 30 received the second most views on Iowa’s YouTube Channel in 2014.
News, Notes and Rumors
Single game tickets for the 2015 season at Wrigley Field go on sale March 6.
Bob Nightengale said during a segment of Saturday’s Inside the Clubhouse (670 The Score) that he thinks the Cubs are still interested in signing James Shields. Nightengale did not hear what Theo Epstein said after landing Jon Lester. The Cubs would not be signing more than one nine-figure starting pitcher this off-season unless there was a 2-for-1 sale.
For those that missed it, the Cubs plan to convert Ariel Ovando to a pitcher. The Cubs selected Ovando from the Astros in the minor league phase Rule 5 Draft (Triple-A) earlier this month.
And the Cubs netted $100,000 in the pre-Rule 5 Draft deal with the Angels. The Cubs selected INF Taylor Featherston from the Rockies and traded him to the Angels.
The Mets and Marlins are mirror images as the Phillies and Braves appear to look beyond the 2015 season according to Joel Sherman, but can anyone in the NL East match the Nationals?
Jake Peavy was interested in signing with the Cubs. Remember the package deal with Jon Lester? Peavy discussed his decision to stay in San Francisco and re-sign with the Giants. Peavy received a two-year, $24 million contract from the World Champs that includes a no-trade clause.
This Day In Cubstory
2001 – Cubs signed free agent Angel Echevarria
1981 – Cubs acquired Paul Mirabella from the Blue Jays for a PTNBL. The Cubs sent Dave Geisel to Toronto on March 25, 1982 to complete the trade.
1975 – B.J. Ryan, born
1970 – Cubs released Tommy Davis
1925 – Cubs traded a PTBNL and additional compensation to Louisville (American Association) for Red Shannon. The Cubs sent Pinky Pittenger to Louisville later in the day to complete the trade.