It’s the first weekend of Two Thousand Fifteen and the Cubs have roster decisions to make. The team has not announced the signing of veteran outfielder Chris Denorfia yet and will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster before officially adding him to the mix in the outfield.
The Cubs may have already tried to send LHP Mike Kickham through waivers, the hard throwing southpaw the front office claimed off waivers from the Giants before Christmas. News has not leaked on which player or players the Cubs will remove from the big league reserve roster for Chris Denorfia.
The outfield trade market around the league is expected to heat up in the coming week. One outfielder, former Cubs’ centerfielder Marlon Byrd was moved from the City of Brotherly Love to the Queen City on New Year’s Eve and the consensus is the Byrd deal is the first of many.
Javier Baez moved up in Santurce’s lineup on Friday. Baez hit second and started at shortstop but ended the game at second base. Baez was 1-for-5 without a strikeout or a walk. Baez grounded out to the mound in the first inning and grounded out to short in the third. In his third at bat in the fifth inning, Baez grounded out to third.
Javier Baez collected his only hit in the sixth inning when he lined a single into center. Baez’s night ended the way it began with a groundout to the pitcher in the eighth.
Santurce topped Mayaguez 8-1.
FanGraphs took a look at the best pitches of 2014 in terms of whiffs and Pedro Strop’s slider was among the best in baseball with a 31.9% whiff rate.
Pedro Strop had a breakout season as FanGraphs pointed out and threw 332 sliders.
Pedro Strop, as is known, struggled with his command in Baltimore before landing with the Cubs and Chris Bosio in the same deal with Jake Arrieta for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.
Strop struck out 71 batters with 25 walks and 40 hits allowed in 61 innings (65 appearances) last year. During his time with Chris Bosio, Strop has 113 strikeouts with 36 walks and 62 hits allowed over 96 innings (1.02 WHIP, 2.53 FIP).
With the holidays in the rearview mirror, it’s time for Scott Boras to get to work and find a team willing to spend the big bucks to sign Max Scherzer. Buster Olney labeled trying to figure out where Scott Boras’ big client of the off-season will sign as an annual tradition. Boras was bailed out by the Tigers with Prince Fielder a couple of years ago, but he could not find takers for Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales last year after he misread the market.
Olney posted a report on the chances he gives all of the 30 teams in the Max Scherzer sweepstakes.
As for the Cubs chances, Olney thinks “if the Cubs wait for the pitching market to play out, other options that are less expensive than Scherzer could become available to them, such as Jordan Zimmermann via free agency next fall.” Olney did not rule out the Cubs signing Scherzer but he did say if he ended up with the Cubs the signing may “cause a Midwestern earthquake.”
Based on the current information out there, Olney sees Max Scherzer re-signing with the Detroit Tigers.
Cubs in the Playoffs in 2015?
The staff at Boston.com posted their 15 sports predictions for 2015, and Theo Epstein’s Cubs making the playoffs this year was rather high on the list.
With the addition of Jon Lester to a team “filled with young talent” that was put together by Theo Epstein in a “division ruled by a vaunted rival” sounds familiar to the staff that covers the Red Sox.
News, Notes and Rumors
According to Jim Bowden, the Giants are out on James Shields, were never in on Max Scherzer and are trying to work out a deal with the Rays for Ben Zobrist.
For the collectors, Anthony Rizzo is one of six McFarlane MLB 33 Sports Picks.
The Fantasy Fix posted an excellent breakdown of Jake Arrieta’s tremendous 2014 season.
According to David O’Brien, the Braves are not in on Ben Zobrist.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Dontrelle Willis
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Augie Ojeda
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Michael Restovich
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Jimmy Anderson
1990 – Cubs purchased Dave Pavlas from the Texas Rangers
1990 – Cubs acquired Rey Sanchez from the Rangers for Bryan House
1985 – Cubs signed free agent Guy Hoffman
1979 – Michael Restovich, born
1932 – George Piktuzis, born
1923 – John Andre, born
1919 – Ed Sauer, born
1916 – Chico Hernandez, born
1906 – Reds purchased Hans Lobert from the Cubs
1897 – Pete Turgeon, born
1894 – John Fluhrer, born