One of the areas the front office plans to address this off-season is center field.
The Cubs would like to have Dexter Fowler back and will make him a qualifying offer. Fowler is expected to reject the offer and test free agency. Theo Epstein said last week the Cubs would sit down at the appropriate time and talk to Fowler’s agent, Casey Close. The Cubs would reportedly sign Fowler to a two-year contract if he would accept it. Many think Fowler will receive at least a four-year deal from another team.
Reports have indicated the Cubs could be interested in Denard Span on a one-year contract. Span spent a majority of the season on the DL and has said he will be 100 percent healthy and ready for Spring Training. Span could be looking for a short-term deal in order to rebuild his value and hit free agency again next off-season.
Another option for the Cubs could be Austin Jackson. The trade to Seattle in July 2014 did not work out for Jackson and the Cubs acquired him from the Mariners prior to the waiver deadline on Aug. 31.
In 161 games for the Mariners over two seasons, Jackson hit .257/.297/.343 with a .639 OPS. Jackson put up solid numbers for the Tigers and batted .277/.342/.413 in 670 games with a .755 OPS.
Jackson had only 79 plate appearances in 29 games for the Cubs and hit .236/.304/.375 with seven doubles and a home run with five walks and a .679 OPS.
Like Span, Jackson could be looking for an opportunity with a team to rebuild his value on a short-term contract. A one-year deal could benefit Jackson and the Cubs. It’s a win-win if he succeeds. And if he struggles at the plate, Jackson could be a defensive replacement later in the season and a possible platoon partner for Chris Coghlan. Jackson hit .281/.333/.437 versus lefties with a .770 OPS this season.
Austin Jackson turns 29 in February and is represented by Scott Boras. After making $7.7 million in 2015, a one-year contract should be rather affordable, by baseball standards, and not lock the Cubs into a long-term commitment.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Click here to vote for Anthony Rizzo for the Heart and Hustle Award
• According to Mark Gonzales, more Cubs prospects are on the way to the big leagues.
• Now healthy, Clayton Richard is optimistic about his future according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• ESPN Chicago posted its final report card for the Cubs 2015 season. Jesse Rogers handed out passing marks to the 97-win team … Front Office: B-; Joe Maddon: A; Jon Lester: B-; Jake Arrieta: A; Jason Hammel: C; Kyle Hendricks: B-; Dan Haren: C; Justin Grimm: B; Travis Wood: B+; Hector Rondon: A-; Pedro Strop: B-; Jason Motte: C+; Trevor Cahill: B+; Miguel Montero: B-; David Ross: B-; Anthony Rizzo: A; Starlin Castro: B; Addison Russell: B+; Kris Bryant: A-; Tommy La Stella: B; Javier Baez: B; Kyle Schwarber: A-; Dexter Fowler: B-; Jorge Soler: B; Chris Coghlan: B; Chris Denorfia: B; Austin Jackson: C+
• The Blue Jays have strong interest in re-signing David Price.
• Comcast SportsNet asked, will the Cubs double down with another Jon Lester-level megadeal?
• The Sporting News posted photos of “phantom” World Series press pins. There are some pretty cool pieces of history that never were, including one from the Cubs.
• Anthony Rizzo got a boost of speed according to Rotographs.
• Torri Hunter decided to call it a career and announced his retirement from the game.
• CBS Radio has to be extremely pleased with the decision to partner with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs television ratings broke records in the post-season and according to a report from Robert Feder, the Wild Card Game on Oct. 7 “drew an astonishing 23.4 share for the local broadcast on CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780 and an additional 5.1 share for the national broadcast on ESPN Radio WMVP AM 1000.” The numbers for the NLDS and NLCS will be released next month.
• Hope was certainly not swept away in Chicago according to Rob Neyer.
And last, but not least, if Rob Neyer had to bet on one team to win the World Series within the next five years, it would be the Cubs.
Theo Epstein End of Season Press Conference
For the next several days, the reports on Theo Epstein’s end of season press conference will be included in the daily report. For those that have not read these, take the time to do so … a lot of very good information.
- Cubs Invite Joe Maddon’s Entire Coaching Staff Back for Next Season
- Cubs Would Like to Add at Least One Quality Starting Pitcher
- Theo Epstein’s End of Season Press Conference was Chock-Full of Information
- Cubs Will Continue Playing Kyle Schwarber Behind the Plate and in the Outfield
- Cubs Plan to Approach Scott Boras about a Long-Term Extension for Jake Arrieta
- Cubs Thought Miguel Montero’s Season was a Tale of Two Halves
- Arbitration Eligible Players Will Put a Pretty Big Dent in Cubs Available Payroll for 2016
- Cubs Would like to Bring Back Dexter Fowler, Position Player Group Provides Options
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Edwin Maysonet
2005 – Cubs granted free agency to Jeromy Burnitz
2003 – Cubs granted free agency to Tom Goodwin
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Mahoney
1998 – Cubs granted free agency to Chris Haney
1997 – Cubs granted free agency to Dave Clark and Dave Hansen
1993 – Cubs granted free agency to Glenallen Hill
1992 – Cubs granted free agency to Jeff Robinson
1987 – Jay Jackson, born
1924 – Cubs traded Vic Aldridge, Al Niehaus and George Grantham to the Pirates for Wilbur Cooper, Rabbit Maranville and Charlie Grimm
1922 – Ralph Kiner, born