It was a rather busy end to 2014 and beginning to 2015 for the Cubs.
The front office agreed to terms with OF Chris Denorfia. FanGraphs projected a 10-win improvement for Joe Maddon’s Cubs and the holiday weekend wrapped up with rumor Sunday as baseball gears up for the stretch run before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.
The Cubs appear to be in the middle of what could be an active trade market for outfielders as Jon Paul Morosi predicted.
Here are the headlines from the holiday weekend with all the news, notes and rumors that most Cubs fans can use …
Agent Paul Kinzer Thinks Starlin Castro Should Move Out of the Dominican Republic
Starlin Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, joined Mike Ferrin and Jon Paul Morosi during Power Alley to discuss the shooting incident in the Dominican the previous weekend.
The Daily CCO: Neil Ramirez a Breakout Candidate in the Cubs Bullpen and Other News and Notes
Neil Ramirez was very good in the first half last season. Christina Kahrl thinks Ramirez is a breakout candidate for 2015. The Cubs have several young, power arms penciled in for the backend of the pen along with Jason Motte.
Jim Callis does not see Kyle Schwarber sticking behind the plate based on information he’s received from scouts. Callis thinks the Cubs should move Schwarber to the outfield because he will get to the big league quicker.
Cubs Reportedly Among Interested Teams Viewing Stephen Drew as a Second Baseman
Jon Heyman reported the Monday before that the Cubs were among the teams interested in signing free agent Stephen Drew. The former Diamondbacks and Red Sox shortstop played second base in the big leagues for the first time last summer after he was dealt to the Yankees from the Red Sox. Drew did not hit last season and is asking for $9-10 million on a one-year deal. The Cubs, Blue Jays, White Sox and Angels view Drew as a second baseman and insurance at shortstop according to Joel Sherman.
FanGraphs Projects a 10-Win Improvement for the 2015 Chicago Cubs
The Cubs goal is to win the National League Central Division crown, or at the very least make the playoffs. The Cubs won 73 games in 2014 and based on the Steamer Projections, the Cubs will win 83 games.
And according to the projection system, the Cubs at 83-79 would finish third in the division and in a tie for the second NL wild card with the Giants.
The Daily CCO: Cubs Looking for Jason Hammel to Slide Back into the Rotation and Other News and Notes
Jason Hammel was very good for the Cubs a year ago. Despite the headline, the Cubs do not view Hammel as anything but a starter. And unless another addition is made, Hammel should begin the year in the third spot of Joe Maddon’s rotation. Hammel’s slider was on with the Cubs last year but off with the A’s … and the Cubs hope it returns to last season’s form.
Includes updates on Ben Zobrist, Seth Smith, B.J. Upton, Colby Rasmus, Norichika Aoki and Jacob Nix.
- The Daily CCO: Cubs Looking for Jason Hammel to Slide Back into the Rotation and Other News and Notes
Kris Bryant Wraps Up Year on the Cover of Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook
Baseball America’s 2015 Prospect Handbook went to press on Dec. 30. And while the photo is different, the Cubs’ top prospect is on the cover of the handbook. Bryant is the first Cubs’ prospect to don the handbook since Starlin Castro in 2010.
Report includes Photo of Kris Bryant on the Cover
From the Wire: Cubs Agree to Terms on a One-Year Contract with OF Chris Denorfia
The Cubs ended 2014 by reportedly agreeing to terms on a one-year, $2.5 million contract with veteran outfielder Chris Denorfia. John Baker, yes that John Baker the backup catcher that won a game on the mound last season, broke the news on Twitter.
Denorfia has ties to Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod from days gone by in San Diego, but he’s hit lefties during his career.
The Cubs have not announced the deal or the 40-man roster move required in order to officially add him to Joe Maddon’s outfield mix.
A Chris Coghlan-Chris Denorfia Platoon in Left Field for the Cubs to Start the 2015 Season?
With Chris Denorfia agreeing to terms on a one-year contract, it appears the Cubs will begin Spring Training with a Chris-squared platoon in left field. Denorfia can play all three outfield spots rather well and has had success against southpaws during his career. Coghlan, on the other hand, hits righties pretty good and if both outfielders can stay healthy Chris-squared could be a productive combination in left field.
The Daily CCO: Cubs Planning on an Exciting Two Thousand Fifteen
The Cubs have their sights on the Cardinals in the central, but there is a lot of work left to be done before Opening Night against St. Louis at Wrigley Field.
Includes notes, rumors and news from around the league, an off-season calendar and a link to purchase a KCancer t-shirt.
Cubs Have Several Unchecked Boxes on Off-Season To-Do List
The baseball and business side of the team has plenty to do before Spring Training and the regular season begins.
What other additions with the front office make to the outfield? Will Welington Castillo be included in a package that brings back an outfielder? Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Ben Zobrist all remain question marks. Will a lefty reliever or another starter end up with the Cubs before Spring Training? The Cubs will sign several players to minor league contracts and invite several players from the system to big league camp.
On the business side, Wrigley Field has a lot of work left to be done and there are 40-plus games that still need a TV outlet for next season.
Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 01/02/15
Tom’s final installment of the minor league position analysis focused on pitching in the lower levels of the system.
The Daily CCO: Joe Maddon and Kris Bryant Two of the Most Interesting People in Baseball Entering 2015
Jerry Crasnick posted a list of the 15 most interesting people in baseball entering the 2015 season … Joe Maddon checked in at No. 3 and Kris Bryant at No. 14. Bryant ended up on a list with some of the biggest named in the game … and he’s not swung a bat in a big league game yet.
Includes an update and video on Yoan Moncada, Max Scherzer and a southpaw to keep an eye on.
- The Daily CCO: Joe Maddon and Kris Bryant Two of the Most Interesting People in Baseball Entering 2015
Cubs Player Profile: Chris Denorfia
Chris looked at the newest addition to the Cubs roster, OF Chris Denorfia
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer Discussed the Cubs on Multiple Outlets
The Cubs have been one of the biggest stories of baseball’s off-season so far. Both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have spent a lot of time on the radio talking Cubs. This report includes quotes not previously published on Chicago Cubs Online … and links to two months of transcripts.
The Daily CCO: Roster Decisions on the Horizon, Checking on Baez and Other Cubs News and Notes
The Cubs have roster decisions to make while the outfield trade market is expected to heat up this week. Javier Baez made contact in the Winter Ball and there was a lot of swinging and missing when Pedro Strop threw his slider last season.
Buster Olney broke down the market for Max Scherzer. And the fine folks at Boston.com picked the Cubs to make the playoffs in 2015.
Includes updates on James Shields, Ben Zobrist and a breakdown of Jake Arrieta’s season.
Cubs on Long List of Teams that Could Benefit from Adding Ben Zobrist to Roster
The Ben Zobrist watch is in full-effect. And there is not a single team looking to compete next season that could not use him. A one-year rental is not going to be cheap, but the Cubs are interested.
The Daily CCO: Just One Day at a Time for Joe Maddon
The Cubs skipper talked to Ed Randall on MLB Network Radio. Joe Maddon is a positive person, does not like being around negative people and takes things one day at a time.
Includes updates on Javier Baez, Miguel Montero, Felix Pie, Colby Rasmus and James Shields.
Plus, a pretty cool day in Cubs history and birthdays for Ted Lilly and Kris Bryant.
Report: Cubs Remain Interested in Free Agent Colby Rasmus
The rumors the Cubs are looking at Colby Rasmus as an option for centerfield popped back up Sunday morning when Jim Duquette reported on MLB Network Radio the way he understands it, there is a deal Colby Rasmus could sign with the Cubs.
The Orioles are interested in Rasmus and it might be down to two teams for the Cardinals former top prospect.
Report: Cubs One of the Teams Linked to RHP James Shields
The market for James Shields hasn’t developed yet and James Shields’ agent might have scared off interested teams after reports suggested Shields is looking for five years and $110 million.
According Nick Cafardo, there are seven teams that have shown interest or had discussions with Shields … the Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Rangers and Giants.
Cubs Reportedly One of Four Teams Seriously Pursuing Ben Zobrist
Trading for Ben Zobrist makes a lot of sense for the Cubs, especially with Joe Maddon and Zobrist would likely thrive in the National League. In Interleague play, Zobrist 113-for-413 in 111 games with 28 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs (.274/.384/.460/.844.)
But the Rays are not going to give him away and the acquisition cost might be too much for the Cubs.
Denard Span, Coco Crisp on Cubs Radar?
The rumors continued Sunday, the last one of the long weekend courtesy of Bruce Levine. The Cubs would like a left-handed hitting centerfielder. Levine reconnected the Cubs to Denard Span and linked to Coco Crisp.
There is a little less than six weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, an official reporting date should be made this week. And it’s gearing up to be a very busy final stretch of the off-season around baseball and for the Chicago Cubs.