Javier Baez was expected to stay with Santurce throughout the playoffs in Puerto Rico. Multiple reports Thursday indicated the Cubs shut Baez down so he can prepare for Spring Training.
Santurce won the championship Tuesday and Javier Baez wanted to participate in the Caribbean Series. But the Cubs decided Baez played enough ball in Puerto Rico this winter and decided it was best to end his season.
Javier Baez was 10-for-43 in 11 regular season games with three doubles, two home runs, five walks and 21 strikeouts (.233/.306/.442/.748). According to Carrie Muskat, Baez was 13-for-64 in 15 playoff games with two doubles, four walks and 18 strikeouts.
Joe Maddon spent time in Puerto Rico with Baez last weekend and John Mallee, the Cubs hitting coach, worked with Baez in Puerto Rico last month.
And speaking of preparing for Spring Training, the Cubs equipment truck left for Mesa on Thursday and Jon Lester loaded his F-250 and he is on his way to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa. Pitchers and catchers report in 20 days (Feb. 19), position players on Feb. 24 with the first full squad workout scheduled for Feb. 25.
According to Fred Mitchell, Don Kessinger will not be able to attend Ernie Banks’ funeral. Kessinger said Banks is “the greatest ambassador for baseball and a terrific teammate and friend.”
Kessinger has been dealing with the flu and does not think he can make the trip from Oxford, Mississippi.
Don Kessinger and Ernie Banks are the only shortstops in Cubs’ history to win Gold Gloves.
Rats at Wrigley Field
According to a report from the Tribune, the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley is not only having issues with parking, but with rats. The Cubs are providing parking the neighborhood to help with the problem that is still an inconvenience to the residents.
The biggest problem started shortly after the construction project began. The neighborhood is being overrun by rats. The report indicated rats “are running rampant” even in the daylight.
Julian Green told the Tribune the team has “worked with the city to curb the issues with rats but have not received any complaints about rats since the fall.” Green added those having problems should contact their alderman.
News, Notes and Rumors
Gene Baker was supposed to be the first African American to play for the Cubs. An injury kept Baker from playing when he and Ernie Banks were called up. Baker and Banks formed the first African American double play combination in Major League history and were dubbed Bingo and Bango by the Cubs announcers.
David Schoenfield asked the question, who’s better Freddie Freeman or Anthony Rizzo? And one of the NL first basemen could be a sleeper pick for the NL MVP Award.
Former Cubs’ reliever, LHP Neal Cotts is back in the National League Central Division. According to multiple reports, Cotts inked a one-year, $3 million contract with the Brewers.
FanGraphs posted a pre-spring divisional outlook for the NL Central … and for the Cubs, “if the kids look comfy in the early going, watch out.”
According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, free agent RHP Brandon Beachy will not be signing with a team “at this time.” Rosenthal spoke with Beachy’s agent who explained Beachy is getting stronger every day but he’s decided to wait to sign with a team. Beachy will continue his throwing program instead and possibly “make a decision closer to Spring Training.”
The Phillies signed RHP Chad Billingsley to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
The Cubs were reportedly interested in RHP Joba Chamberlain last winter, but have not been connected to him this off-season. Chamberlain is still on the market, has rejected multiple offers according to Ken Rosenthal from teams he did not want to sign with and is still looking for a job. It doesn’t appear Chamberlain will be signing a multi-year contract and “is considering a one-year offer with a relatively low base salary and incentives.”
MLB Pipeline is unveiling its list of the top 100 prospects on the MLB Network Friday at 8:00pm CST … and based on the group photo there could be at least five Cubs on the list.
Jonathan Mayo talked about some his favorite prospects beyond the ones on the position lists.
And last, but not least, for those that collect bobbleheads the American League Champs are changing the game according to Sports Illustrated.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs signed free agents Trever Miller and Matt Tolbert
2011 – Cubs signed free agents OF Rubi Silva and C Yaniel Cabeza
2006 – Cubs and Jerry Hairston Jr agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.3 million contract to avoid arbitration. Hairston Jr. was acquired from Baltimore along with Mike Fontenot and David Crouthers for Sammy Sosa and cash on Feb. 2, 2005.
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Rich Garces
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Jim Clancy
1987 – Cubs traded Ron Cey to the Athletics for Luis Quinones
1947 – Matt Alexander, born
1943 – Davey Johnson, born
1888 – Vin Campbell, born
1885 – Doc Watson, born