With Spring Training getting closer by the day, the Chicago Cubs continue to make headlines on a national level. Not only is a good segment of the fan base excited about the Cubs off-season, next week’s convention recently sold out, the national media is also paying attention and view the Cubs as one of the biggest storylines going into the season.
Nick Cafardo was the latest to put the Cubs toward the top of a list of baseball’s biggest storylines. Cafardo pointed to the additions of Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and the young talent, plus the possibility the Cubs are not done adding to the rotation this off-season, as the main reasons for inclusion on his list.
Coming off just a ridiculous season in the minors, Kris Bryant “is baseball’s hope for a pure slugger to emerge” according to Cafardo, and at the same time questioned if too much pressure is being put on Bryant.
Kris Bryant handled the media extremely well last year and he’ll get more practice during the convention. The front office will make sure to take care of Kris Bryant and Joe Maddon will help deflect some of the attention, but without a doubt the lights are only going to get brighter for recently turned 23-year old.
Wrigley Field Restoration – The 1060 Project
Bruce Levine reported Tuesday the Cubs will provide details to a contingency plan for season ticket holders in the bleachers during next week’s convention. The bleachers may not be complete by Opening Night against the Cardinals and the team would like to prepare season ticket holders they may be relocated for a few games.
Crane Kenney broke the news of a possible delay and the team working on contingency plans during November’s meeting with a group of bloggers that included Chicago Cubs Online.
Kenney said at the end of November, the team would have a good idea of where the project stood by the time single-game tickets for the 2015 season went on sale in March (March 6). The team will obviously not sell bleacher seats if they do not think the bleacher project will be completed by Opening Night.
The project was delayed early in the process by antiquated water pipes the city was not able to relocate in the fall.
The Cubs have not announced signing OF Chris Denorfia to a one-year contract, the announcement is expected soon. When the news hit the wire on New Year’s Eve, it was reported Denorfia agreed to terms on a one-year contract for around $2.5 million.
According to Jon Heyman, Denorfia will receive a $2.6 million base on the one-year deal. The contract includes a $400,000 incentives package. Denorfia could earn up to $3 million in 2015.
Baseball Prospectus does not see a problem with the Cubs signing Chris Denorfia. If he reverts back to the pre-2014 Chris Denorfia, he will be worth the contract. And if he struggles and does not perform, like what happened in San Diego and Seattle last year, the Cubs can just part ways. BP thinks the Cubs adding Chris Denorfia is “more reward than risk.”
The Yankees snapped up Stephen Drew on Tuesday night. The Bronx Bombers agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract with Drew that includes a $1.5 million incentives package according to multiple reports. The Yankees apparently are not ready to give two prospects, Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, a chance to earn the starting second base job.
Didi Gregorius is expected to be the Yankees everyday shortstop, but Drew could see time at short, along with Brendan Ryan that is if Brian Cashman doesn’t flip Gregorius for a starting pitcher.
According to a report from David Dwork, the Marlins are one of several teams courting James Shields.
Shields’ asking price (five years, $110 million) is believed to be too high for the Marlins, but Miami is interested and not saying much when it comes to James Shields.
Dan Jennings with Tampa Bay’s scouting director when the Rays drafted James Shields. And Jim Bowden pointed out that Jennings is now the Marlins general manager.
Play resumed Tuesday in Puerto Rico and Javier Baez collected a hit and a RBI in Santurce’s 4-2 victory over Caguas.
Baez was 1-for-5 with a RBI and a strikeout in five trips to the plate. Baez was caught looking in the first inning, grounded out to third in the third inning and singled in the fifth. Baez popped out to shortstop in the seventh inning. Jorge Padilla scored from third in the ninth when Baez grounded out to shortstop.
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Joe Maddon and Rule 7.13
Joe Maddon is one of the Major League managers that think Rule 7.13, which was implemented last year to prevent collisions at home plate, should be scrapped.
Maddon, a former catcher, has been against the rule and said it was unnecessary in the first place. “No two plays are alike, and the resulting nuances make it impossible to enforce consistently and fairly.” Maddon said Buster Posey was not in position and it was his fault he got hurt.
Maddon does not think there would be a rule if the same injury that wiped out Posey’s season happened to “a second- or third-string catcher.”
News, Notes and Rumors
Former Cubs spokesman Kam Buckner took over as the leader of World Sport Chicago according to Danny Ecker.
According to Chris Cotillo, Brandon Beachy has thrown for seven teams over the last 10 days. Beachy has narrowed down his decision to six unknown teams and has asked for final bids. Beachy is looking to sign with a team by the end of the week.
Chad Jennings passed on a complete list of free agent signings that was compiled by the Associated Press. If you think you’ve missed anything this winter, click on this link.
The Red Sox designated C Dan Butler for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for LHP Craig Breslow.
According to Rob Bradford, the average OPS in 2014 was .700, down from an average OPS of .782 in the year 2000.
Tim Hudson had surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle, recovery time is eight weeks. The Giants are not looking for another starting pitcher according to Bobby Evans. But reports from Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal indicated the Giants asked the Marlins about Dan Haren after the trade with the Dodgers. Los Angeles is picking up all of the $10 million owed to Haren for the upcoming season. The talks between Miami and San Francisco may have happened before Jake Peavy re-signed. Haren could be an option for the Giants with Hudson out for eight weeks. Haren would like to be traded to a team on the West Coast.
This Day In Cubstory
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Robinson Cancel
2002 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Watson
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Brian Williams
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Tim Unroe
1994 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Walker
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Jeff Robinson
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Jeff Robinson
1984 – Jon Lester, born
1981 – Cubs signed free agent Rawly Eastwick
1976 – Alfonso Soriano, born
1976 – Cubs selected Ron Davis in the third round of the January Amateur Draft
1952 – Doug Capilla, born
1944 – Dick Calmus, born
1922 – Alvin Dark, born
1898 – Kitty Bransfield, born