Countdown to Pitchers and Catchers Reporting to Mesa: 3 days
Joe Maddon is generally considered one of the best managers in baseball, and according to Nick Cafardo’s latest ranking, only two skippers in the game are better than Maddon.
Nick Cafardo ranked Joe Maddon as the third best manager behind Bruce Bochy (Giants) and Buck Showalter (Orioles) and ahead of Terry Francona (Indians) and Bob Melvin (Athletics).
Cafardo described Maddon as “innovative, fun and smart” while saying he doesn’t like that Maddon reintroduced defensive shifts to the game. Cafardo thinks he will be able to meet the challenge that lies ahead, managing the Chicago Cubs.
And Joe Maddon checked in at No. 5 on Joel Sherman’s list of the 50 most fascinating figures in baseball. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer put the roster together and the Cubs could be Anthony Rizzo’s team on the field with Jon Lester out in front of the pitching staff and Kris Bryant waiting in the wings, but as Joel Sherman pointed out, make no mistake about it, Joe Maddon is “the daily face of the franchise.”
Derek Jeter has provided athletes with a vehicle to tell their stories their way and in their own words with The Players’ Tribune. And Andrew McCutchen knocked another one out of the proverbial park.
Any words that could be typed here in an attempt to sum up McCutchen’s report would be futile.
This is a must read for all baseball fans, parents and for those that would like to understand the other side of a story.
An under-the-radar minor league signing could end up paying dividends for the Cubs down the road. The Cubs signed RHP Daniel Lewis last summer and he provided results on the field. The 23-year old right hander that turns 24 in March was 1-0 in eight relief appearances for Short-Season Boise with a 0.87 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Lewis struck out 13 batters, walked six and surrendered six hits in 10 1/3 innings.
Lewis has a rather impressive backstory that Carrie Muskat recently highlighted.
Daniel Lewis was not a star pitcher on his high school team. In fact he mainly played first base and right field and was only used on the mound in mop-up duty. After spending four years in the Air Force, Lewis received a tryout for Pensacola State after making contact with a couple of college coaches.
Lewis made the team then received an invite to pitch in the Cape Cod League after a referral from his college coach. And Lewis’ coach in the Cape, Mike Roberts, called him “Rambo.”
Daniel Lewis was not drafted last June but did receive a lot of attention and signed with the Cubs for $60,000. Lewis has impressed Derek Johnson, the Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator, with his leadership abilities … and his now mid- to upper-90s fastball doesn’t hurt either.
Lewis threw in the low- to mid-80s in high school and credits the increased velocity to his military training.
Derek Johnson called Lewis an ox that remains a little rough around the edges. Johnson explained to Carrie Muskat that Lewis is not only as strong as an ox but “he pitches like one, too – and I say that tongue in cheek.” Johnson described Lewis as a “bull in the china shop.”
Due to his military background and leadership skills, the Cubs had him speak to the players during Fall Instructs “about the importance of teamwork.”
Daniel Lewis’ goal for this year is to make the 40-man roster.
Former Cubs’ third base coach Wendell Kim passed away Sunday at the age of 64.
An official cause of death was not given according to reports. Mr. Kim had been dealing with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Wendell Kim was a coach in the Major Leagues for the Giants (1989-1996), Red Sox (1997-2000) and Cubs (2003-2004).
The last weekend without the Cubs either practicing or playing a game until October was filled with Cole Hamels and Yoan Moncada rumors. While the Cubs appear out of the equation for Yoan Moncada, they have talked to the Phillies about Cole Hamels, at least according to Jon Paul Morosi.
There were several Wrigley Field Restoration updates as the rooftops filed for a restraining order. And unfortunately a legal issue has begun over the remains of Ernie Banks.
Mike Olt discussed his off-season and the adjustments he made to his swing on MLB Network Radio. The Cubs invited another pitcher to big league camp. And Theo Epstein was ranked as the 16th best GM in the history of the game.
If you missed any of the news, notes and rumors from the weekend, click on the links below.
- Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Rooftop Owners Seeking Restraining Order to Stop Sign Installation
- Rambling about the Cubs as Hope Hits a Fever Pitch
- The Daily CCO: Cubs Take to the Practice Fields in One Week and Other News and Notes
- Cubs Have Built Catching Depth and News from Down on the Farm
- Cubs Outright RHP Gonzalez Germen to Triple-A Iowa, Receives Non-Roster Invite to Spring Training
- Mike Olt Discusses the Off-Season, Adjustments and the Cubs on MLB Network Radio
- The Daily CCO: Over-Under Win Totals and Other Cubs News and Rumors
- Theo Epstein Ranked 16th Best General Manager in Baseball History
- Cole Hamels Update: Phillies are Waiting for a Team to Blink
- The Daily CCO: Joe Maddon Receives the Aspire Award and Cubs News and Notes
- Yoan Moncada Update: Agent Looking to Conclude Process As Soon As Possible
News, Notes and Rumors
XM Radio/MLB Network Radio turned 10 years old on Sunday. The all-baseball channel changed the way the game is covered and it’s only getting better.
Kris Bryant left for Arizona on Sunday, and tweeted, “Time to go to work!!”
Mark Prior’s knowledge is coming into play according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Mark Prior can relate to be a top prospect and the “other side of it.” Prior is hoping the negatives of his career can become positives. Prior, who is one year older than James Shields, was recently named the Padres’ Minor League Pitching Coordinator.
And speaking of the Padres, Joel Sherman questioned if San Diego sacrificed a coherent roster on the alter of star power. Sherman credited A.J. Preller for all the moves he made this winter while pointing out the pieces do not fit together.
Angels’ GM, Jerry DiPoto told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette during Sunday’s Front Office (MLB Network Radio) that the Angels haven’t worked out Yoan Moncada privately. The Angels have attended public/multi-team workouts and scouted him extensively.
According to a report from Hardball Talk, citing the Arizona Republic as its source, former Cubs RHP Chad Gaudin worked out for the Diamondbacks at the team’s Spring Training complex. Dave Stewart is thinking about making Gaudin an offer. Gaudin last pitched in the majors in 2013 after missing last season with a neck injury. Hopefully Gaudin will be able to avoid dumpsters and make it back to the majors.
Paul Sullivan looked at several of the storylines around the game with Spring Training set to officially begin. And Sullivan couldn’t resist taking a shot at the team he used to cover on a daily basis.
Bill Shaikin posted his spring storylines from around baseball. And Shaikin correctly pointed out, the days of it being okay if Joe Maddon does not win games is over.
The Reds are trying to work out a contract extension with Johnny Cueto according to Hardball Talk.
Baseball’s top prospects could face the Cuban National team during the Pan Am Games in July according to Jon Paul Morosi. But will front office’s allow their top young players participate in the games?
And Jon Paul Morosi doesn’t see a problem with the increase in arbitration hearings this year.
This Day In Cubstory
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Will Cunnane
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Craig Wilson
1981 – Sergio Mitre, born
1977 – Cubs traded Champ Summers to the Reds for Dave Schneck
1971 – Mike Hubbard, born
1967 – Cubs signed free agent Al Spangler
1952 – Barry Foote, born
1943 – Bobby Darwin, born
1936 – Don Landrum, born
1934 – Don Eaddy, born
1912 – Ray Harrell, born
1909 – Cubs purchased George Browne from the Boston Doves
1892 – Ed Schorr, born
1880 – Carl Lundgren, born