It’s the final Sunday in January and a week before some big football game in Arizona. Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa in just 25 days and the Cubs ‘play two‘ to open the Cactus League schedule in 39 days.
The front office should release the list of non-roster invitations to big league camp in the coming week. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Corey Black and Armando Rivero will be on the Cubs first Spring Training roster and Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber are also expected to be in camp with the Major Leaguers.
The off-season is winding down, but the front office still has work to do and deals to make that could include Welington Castillo and Travis Wood.
Tanner Griggs saved his neighbor’s life. The Cubs minor leaguer was playing catch with Richard Gengler when he collapsed. Gengler had a heart-attack and Griggs learned CPR while talking to a 911 operator.
The Cubs selected Griggs in the 12th round of last June’s Draft. Griggs pitched in nine games for the Arizona Cubs in the Rookie League. The 20-year old right hander was 1-1 in nine relief appearances with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP (17 hits, four walks and 11 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings).
Santurce was shutout 2-0 by Mayaguez on Friday night. Javier Baez started at shortstop and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout hitting eighth in the lineup. Baez was also caught stealing. Baez singled to right in the top of the third and was erased trying to swipe second with Robert Andino at the plate. Baez was caught looking in the fifth and grounded out to shortstop in the seventh.
On Saturday night with Joe Maddon in attendance, Baez went 1-for-4 with a run scored and no strikeouts hitting seventh in the lineup. Baez played second base in Santurce’s 6-0 victory.
Joe Maddon tweeted Saturday that he was in Eduardo Perez’s office at Hiram Bithorn Stadium before the game between Santurce and Mayaguez. Updated 9:33am CST – Joe Maddon visited with Javier Baez and made the trip to Puerto Rico for the player projected to be at second base on Opening Night.
Javier Baez reached on a single to second in the second inning and scored on a Reymond Fuentes triple. Baez rapped into a 4-6 force out in the fourth and was stranded at first base to end the inning. Baez grounded out to second in the sixth. And Baez ended his night at the plate with a grounder to third in the eighth.
Sports Illustrated’s Michael Beller thinks Jorge Soler is for real and he could have more success than Kris Bryant and Javier Baez this year.
Jorge Soler batted .292/.330/.573 with eight doubles, a triple and five home runs in 24 games for a .903 OPS in the majors last year. In 97 plate appearances, Soler walked six times with 24 strikeouts. And he doesn’t turn 23 until the day Joe Maddon holds his first full squad workout of the spring (Feb. 25).
According to the report, Soler’s five big league home runs last year averaged 408.4 feet and if he had enough longballs in the majors to qualify, that average distance would have ranked as the 10th-longest just ahead of Edwin Encarnacion.
The Cubs claimed RHP Gonzalez Germen off waivers from the Rangers on Friday afternoon. Germen took the last open spot on the team’s 40-man roster. Germen is with his fourth organization since the second week of December … the Mets, Yankees, Rangers and Cubs.
Germen gets a lot of swings and misses with his changeup. According to FanGraphs, Germen had a “higher whiff rate on his change-up (30.7 %) last year than Cole Hamels (23.7 %).” Hamels obviously threw more changeups than Germen. But that is still rather noteworthy, and is the second highest whiff rate on a changeup by a reliever.
According to a report from Patrick Mooney, Ted Lilly plead not guilty “to three charges filed by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office after an investigation into claims made for a damaged RV worth about $200,000.”
The Cubs did not comment on the matter Friday and Ted Lilly is due back in court on Feb. 5.
News, Notes and Rumors
The Cubs agreed to terms on a one-year, $9.5 million contract with OF Dexter Fowler on Friday to avoid arbitration. Fowler said he would be open to signing an extension with the Cubs if it worked for both sides. And Jed Hoyer indicated the team would have to get to know Fowler a little better in Spring Training and during the season before talking about an extension. Fowler is a candidate to receive a qualifying offer in the fall, which would net the Cubs a draft pick if he was to turn it down and sign with another team.
And speaking of Dexter Fowler, Nicholas Minnix took a look at Fowler from a fantasy baseball standpoint.
John Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox, was asked about losing Jon Lester to the Cubs on Friday night. Mr. Henry told Pete Abraham, “I think we did everything we could to sign him and shouldn’t have gone any further and didn’t.”
The Phillies and Brewers might not be as close on a Jonathan Papelbon trade as everyone thought Friday. According to Tom Haudricourt, the talks between the Phillies and Brewers for Papelbon are not over but it’s not looking like Papelbon will end up in Milwaukee. The two teams did not discuss the deal Saturday and Doug Melvin said “there’s no momentum right now.” For future reference the Cubs are not on Papelbon’s no-trade list. Papelbon cannot block a trade to the Cubs along with the Red Sox, Rays, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Astros, Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Reds and Padres according to Jim Salisbury.
According to a report from The Score, David Price would be open to signing an extension with the Detroit Tigers.
Former Cardinals and Cubs centerfielder Jim Edmonds, and his wife Meghan King Edmonds, will appear in the upcoming season of Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ according to a report from the Sporting News.
RHP Brandon Beachy has reportedly decided on a team, but no one word yet on the identity of that team according to Hardball Talk.
Ryan Vogelsong was close to signing with the Houston Astros before he became uncomfortable “with what was going on with the Astros” according to a report from Hardball Talk. Vogelsong’s agent said talks started breaking down, and that was the problem. The Astros didn’t do anything specifically to push him away. Houston’s had a rough year, is this a case of bad communication by Ryan Vogelsong or another problem with the Astros?
And last, but not least, Jeff Sullivan identified MLB’s most-and least-shiftable teams.
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – Cubs signed free agent Todd Wellemeyer
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Chad Tracy
2007 – Cubs released Glendon Rusch
2006 – Cubs purchased Angel Pagan from the Mets
1983 – Cubs acquired Steve Trout and Warren Brusstar from the White Sox for Scott Fletcher, Pat Tabler, Randy Martz and Dick Tidrow
1972 – Jose Macias, born
1947 – Pirates purchased Hi Bithorn from the Cubs
1933 – Mel Roach, born
1921 – Cubs released Buck Herzog
1907 – Jimmy Adair, born
1899 – Orphans traded Bill Dahlen to the Orioles for Gene DeMontreville
1876 – Fred Glade, born
2014 – Cubs signed free agent Tsuyoshi Wada
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Tomas Perez
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Jermaine Van Buren
1996 – Cubs signed free agents Bret Barberie and Leo Gomez
1994 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Otto
1964 – Rob Dibble, born
1953 – Tim Stoddard, born
1950 – Ron Dunn, born
1939 – Cubs purchased Jim Gleeson from the Yankees for $25,000
1898 – Cliff Heathcote, born
1875 – Bunk Congalton, born