It was a rather busy end of the week for the Chicago Cubs. Not only did the team announce signing OF Chris Denorfia to a one-year contract worth a reported $2.6 million with a $400,000 incentives package, the front office designated LHP Mike Kickham for assignment to open a spot on the roster for Denorfia.
The Cubs posted two signings to the transactions page. The team inked INF Chris Valaika and RHP Andres Santiago to minor league contracts.
And the Cubs released a schedule as well as a list of attendees for next weekend’s sold out convention.
The Diamondbacks are looking for a starting catcher after trading Miguel Montero to the Cubs and reportedly are interested in Welington Castillo. But Arizona may not be willing to pay what it will take to acquire a backstop.
Dave Stewart told Nick Piecoro the team “has not made a whole lot of headway” in their attempts to add a catcher. Stewart explained, “Without really giving up something that’s going to cost us a player that we don’t want to give away, we don’t have a whole lot of motion yet.” Arizona has two catchers on their roster, Tuffy Gosewisch and Oscar Hernandez, the recent Rule 5 Draft pick up.
According to Piecoro, Stewart has talked to the Blue Jays about Dioner Navarro and to the Cubs about Welington Castillo.
Piecoro reported the Cubs were “hesitant to discuss” Welington Castillo at the time of the Miguel Montero trade but “have been more open to move him in recent weeks.”
Dave Stewart added that he feels teams are trying to exploit a weakness on the Diamondbacks roster and asking for the team’s top prospects in return.
Javier Baez batted second and played shortstop in Santurce’s 10-0 victory over Carolina on Friday night. Baez had a good game at the plate. Baez was 3-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and a strikeout.
Javier Baez singled to left in the first inning and scored on a Neftali Soto single. In the second inning, Baez singled to center with two outs and scored on a Ruben Gotay three-run homer.
After lining out to shortstop in the third inning, Baez led off the fifth with a ground-rule double to left. Baez scored on a Neftali Soto sac fly. Baez struck out swinging to end the seventh.
Direct communication from the team indicated Javier Baez was excellent in the field as well on Friday night.
According to the transaction page on Cubs.com, RHP Andres Santiago signed a minor league contract with the Cubs on Dec. 31, the signing was posted on Friday, Jan. 9.
The 25-year old right hander is 6-foot-1, 218 pounds and was selected by the Dodgers in the 16th round of the 2007 draft. Santiago is 32-34 in 138 games, 97 starts, with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP during his eight-year professional career, all in the Dodgers system.
Santiago pitched for Double-A Chattanooga in the Southern League last season. Mainly used as a starter in his career, Santiago was 6-8 in 26 games, 24 starts, in 2014 with a 4.47 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Santiago struck out 98 batters with 53 walks in 129 innings.
Santiago no-hit Double-A Tennessee last season.
Andres Santiago has not pitched above the Double-A level.
Kane County Cougars – Midwest League Champions
Mark Johnson and the Kane County Cougars rolled through the 2014 season in route to the Championship. Johnson’s team beat the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) to wrap up the title. The Cougars won 91 games during the regular season, went 7-0 in the playoffs and finished the championship season with a 98-49 record.
News, Notes and Rumors
According to Jesse Sanchez, Yoan Moncada has not received an unblocking license from OFAC. MLB has declared Moncada is a free agent, but he cannot sign with a team until he receives clearance from the government. Moncada is expected to begin private workouts with teams this month. Kiley McDaniel reported Thursday the Yankees and Red Sox are the “heavy favorites” to sign Moncada.
Bruce Levine addressed the Sporting News prediction of the Cubs winning the World Series in 2015. Levine, like many, thinks the Cubs are an 80-85 win team and are building toward a consistent contender.
Ryan Lavarnway is on the move again. The Orioles designated Lavarnway for assignment on Friday to make room on the 40-man roster for Delmon Young. Lavarnway has been on the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Orioles rosters this off-season.
Jon Paul Morosi reported Friday the Rockies have shown “mild interest” in trading for Dan Haren. Morosi also indicated while the Giants had talked to the Marlins about Haren earlier in the off-season, there “is no active dialogue” between San Francisco and Miami for Haren.
According to Jon Heyman, the Rays signed Asdrubal Cabrera for $7.5 million … the same amount owed to Ben Zobrist for the last year of his contract.
Kevin Costner told Comcast SportsNet’s Kelly Crull there is something very American about Wrigley Field.
Ryan Kalish is looking for a job again. Kalish agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the Blue Jays last month, but according to Shi Davidi something happened and the contract was not finalized. According to the report from Hardball Talk, it is unknown as to why Kalish and Toronto did not complete the deal.
Home Run Derby premiered 55 years ago (Jan. 9, 1960) with the first episode featuring Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and was shot at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. For those that are historians of the game, these videos are priceless.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Darnell McDonald
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Brent Lillibridge
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Paul Maholm
2011 – Cubs selected Max Ramirez off waivers from the Red Sox
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Jacque Jones
2006 – Bruce Sutter was elected to the Hall of Fame. Sutter became the fourth reliever ever elected to Cooperstown. The Cubs signed Sutter as an amateur free agent in 1971 and he pitched for his original organization from 1976-80. Sutter won the NL Cy Young Award in 1979 after posting a 6-6 record with a 2.22 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 1.89 FIP. Sutter completed 101 1/3 innings in 62 appearances with 37 saves when closers were called Firemen and pitched more than one inning. Sutter was dealt to the Cardinals on Dec. 9, 1980 for Leon Durham, Ken Reitz and Ty Waller. Sutter ended up being part of one of the most memorable games in Cubs history. On June 23, 1984, Ryne Sandberg took Sutter deep twice on a Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field in what is known as The Sandberg Game.
2001 – Cubs signed free agent Ron Coomer
1988 – Rafael Dolis, born
1973 – Cubs selected Donnie Moore in the first round of the amateur draft. Moore signed with the Cubs on June 3, 1973.
1963 – Owner P.K. Wrigley hired retired Air Force Colonel Robert V. Whitlow as the first athletic director of a Major League team. The experiment ended with Whitlow’s departure on Jan. 7, 1965.
1956 – Dan Rohn, born
1936 – Cubs released Freddie Lindstrom
1934 – William Walker was named president of the Cubs, replacing Bill Veeck Sr. who died of Leukemia during the World Series.
1898 – Ed Stauffer, born
1888 – George Pierce, born