The Cubs shifted into off-season mode Thursday afternoon as Theo Epstein held his end of the season press conference.
All of the reports linked in this roundup are must reads. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been transparent and honest since taking over baseball operations four years ago. A lot can be learned by reading and listening to the front office.
Rumors surfaced late Thursday and throughout the weekend as to which players the Cubs could try to acquire and/or sign this off-season.
There were not any games but it was a rather busy three and a half days for the Chicago Cubs. Here are the headlines chock-full of information you can use going into the final week of October.
Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 10/22/15
Tom continued his position analysis series and the latest installment focused on third basemen in the system.
The Cubs have a lot of talented third basemen in the organization beyond the soon-to-be National League Rookie of the Year. Click on the link and learn about the players at the hot corner down on the farm.
Cubs Invite Joe Maddon’s Entire Coaching Staff Back for Next Season
Joe Maddon should be the National League Manager of the Year. Maddon led the Cubs to a 97-win season and won four more games in the post-season. Maddon is under contract for four more years and isn’t going anywhere. Changes could be made to his coaching staff if other teams come calling. But the Cubs want the entire staff in place moving forward and invited them back for 2016.
Theo Epstein had really good things to say about Maddon and the coaches.
The Daily CCO: Dan Haren Retires, Cubs Moving to The Score and Derek Johnson Leaves Organization
The Cubs off-season began with a couple of announcements. Dan Haren retired from baseball. A very good pitcher and by all accounts a better person. Haren finally wore a Cubs’ jersey, just three years after the front office would have preferred.
Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will be heard on 670 The Score in 2016 and beyond. CBS Radio is moving Cubs baseball from WBBM to The Score. An official announcement should be made in 30-45 days.
And the Cubs lost an important part of the organization. Derek Johnson is leaving the Cubs to be the pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Report includes news, notes, links, rumors, a very cool photo of Dan Haren and This Day in Cubs History.
Cubs Would Like to Add at Least One Quality Starting Pitcher
Theo Epstein addressed the lack of pitching at the Major League level in his end of season press conference. Epstein talked about the young arms in the system while saying the Cubs must add quality and quantity to the big league staff.
Epstein provided an update on Jason Hammel and admitted he might have been mishandled.
The Cubs priority this off-season is pitching, pitching and more pitching.
All of the reports, starting with this one, from Epstein’s end of season press conference are must reads.
Theo Epstein’s End of Season Press Conference was Chock-Full of Information
Theo Epstein answered questions and talked about his team for close to one-hour … too much information for one report in order to include any detail.
This is a summary filled with quotes of the other topics he covered that were not quite headline worthy but still very informative.
This report includes his opening comments, player versatility, the 2016 budget, the front office, team chemistry, Epstein’s contract status, the Rookies, learning experience, the Draft, strikeouts, Starlin Castro, Kyle Hendricks and the highly competitive National League.
Cubs Reportedly Interested in RHP Danny Salazar
The Cubs are going to add at least one starting pitcher to the roster this winter, either via trade or free agency. The Cubs are no longer in the sign and flip business. The Cubs are looking for quality arms that will help the team return to the post-season and play deeper in October.
The Indians’ Danny Salazar has a big arm, huge upside and would look very good as a No. 3 in the rotation behind Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. The Cubs are interested and it might take one of the top young players on the roster to acquire him.
The Daily CCO: A Busy Day for Rumors, Cubs Connected to Chisenhall, Span and Cashner
The rumor mill kicked in Friday the day after Theo Epstein spoke about the Cubs plans for the off-season. The Cubs have the money and players to improve the roster. The speculation and reports connected the Cubs to several players including Lonnie Chisenhall, Denard Span and former Cubs’ right hander Andrew Cashner.
Lots of rumors included in this report along with info on Kris Bryant, news, notes, links and This Day in Cubs History.
Cubs Will Continue Playing Kyle Schwarber Behind the Plate and in the Outfield
Kyle Schwarber can hit and he projects to only get better. The question is, where will he play? The DH isn’t in the NL just yet. The Cubs will continue to develop him as a catcher while he plays in the outfield in order to keep that bat in the lineup.
Cubs Plan to Approach Scott Boras about a Long-Term Extension for Jake Arrieta
Jake Arrieta is not going anywhere. Arrieta had an historic second half, the best baseball has ever seen. Arrieta should finish in the top two for the NL Cy Young. Arrieta didn’t make the noise in the first half that a pitcher on the West Coast did. Arrieta is under club control for two more seasons (2016, 2017). The Cubs would like to sign him to a contract extension and will approach Scott Boras about one this winter.
Cubs Thought Miguel Montero’s Season Was a Tale of Two Halves
Miguel Montero performed to expectations on many fronts. Theo Epstein was very careful with the words he used when he talked about Montero during the end of season press conference. The Cubs liked what he did in the first half, but didn’t see the same performance in the second.
The numbers show he had a good season at the plate and behind it.
The Daily CCO: Starlin Castro Nine Years Later and Other Cubs News and Notes
Starlin Castro signed with the Cubs nine years ago Sunday as a 16-year old free agent. Castro put together an excellent career in six years with the Cubs. His future with the only organization he’s known is uncertain but if he has played his last games with the Cubs he went out hitting the ball all over Wrigley Field.
Report includes an update on Neil Ramirez, more on Dan Haren, news, notes, links and This Day in Cubs History.
Arbitration Eligible Players Will Put a Pretty Big Dent in Cubs Available Payroll for 2016
The Cubs have 10 arbitration eligible players on the 40-man roster and at least eight of them should be tendered a contract for the 2016 season. Those same eight players will cost almost double what the Cubs paid them in 2015. The Cubs payroll is expected to increase and those eight players will put a big dent into the teams available dollars for the next season according to Theo Epstein.
Cubs Would Like to Bring Back Dexter Fowler, Position Player Group Provides Options
Dexter Fowler is a free agent and played himself into a rather nice free agent payday. The Cubs would like him back but on a two-year deal. Fowler will likely sign for at least four years at $16-plus million a season.
The Cubs have internal options for center field if Fowler rejects the qualifying offer and signs elsewhere.
Theo Epstein talked about the Cubs possibly using some of the positional player depth to acquire pitching. And the areas the Cubs plan on improving, offensively and defensively, for next season.