With the Royals taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the World Series, Major League Baseball could soon be in full off-season mode. The other 28 teams have been working on next season, some longer than others, in preparation of what could be a very busy winter throughout the game.
If the meeting has not already taken place, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer should know by Monday what the front office’s budget will be for next season. During an interview on ESPN 1000 a week ago Friday, Hoyer said baseball operations would find out in a week to 10 days how much they would have to spend on the 2016 Cubs.
The front office did not take a break. There wasn’t any time off after the team’s season ended. The Cubs jumped straight from Game 4 of the NLCS to the off-season.
“I think with any team you start doing your off-season planning in October whether you are in the playoffs or not,” Hoyer said on ESPN 1000. “When you’re not in the playoffs it’s a full-time thing. When you’re in the playoffs it’s kind of 50-50. I think now we shift gears pretty quickly.”
And part of the preparation for the off-season is the budget process.
“It’s mostly the business side figuring out exactly what we can afford and also there is a little bit of nuance. I think if we say here is exactly what we need, can we have that much? There will probably be a little back and forth but they are really supportive,” Hoyer said.
“I think they are just as excited about the future they see as we are and we need to make additions. No question there. We need to add to the team and I think we will have some resources to do that.”
Theo Epstein explained the arbitration eligible players will put a pretty big dent in the Cubs available payroll for the 2016 season. But the front office has been planning for those pay increases.
The Cubs are expected to be rather active this winter. David Price and Jordan Zimmermann are believed to be atop their list of free agent pitchers. And the front office could sign a position player or two depending on what route the Cubs take to acquire pitching.
With the GM Meetings eight days away, the rumors should increase and possibly provide information on other options the front office are exploring to improve the roster.
Gordon is not expected to exercise his $14 million option for the 2016 season. Once he declines the option, Gordon will become a free agent and could be looking at a four-five year contract worth around $15 million per season.
According to Jon Heyman, the White Sox, Orioles and Astros are also “rumored to have interest, but there will be many more.” Joel Sherman reported the Red Sox are also interested in Gordon.
With the Royals looking to bring him back, that is six teams connected to Gordon by the mainstream media just in the last week.
Important Off-Season Dates
Baseball’s off-season calendar is not set yet and will be posted once The Series is over, which could be as soon as Sunday night especially if the Mets keep giving the Royals extra outs.
Players eligible become free agents immediately after the World Series. The fifth day after the Series is the deadline for clubs to make qualifying offers to their eligible free agents. The sixth day after the Fall Classic, free agents may sign contracts with teams other than their former club. The 12th day after the World Series is the last date for a free agent to accept a qualifying offer.
Here are several award dates and other deadlines that are not dependent on the conclusion of the World Series.
- 9 – Players Choice Awards (MLB Network, 7:00pm CST)
- 9-12 – General Managers Meetings (Boca Raton, FL)
- 10 – BBWAA Awards Finalists Announced (MLB Network, 5:00pm CST)
- 10 – Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners announced (ESPN, 6:00pm CST)
- 11 – Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards (MLB Network, 5:00pm CST)
- 12 – Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 5:00pm CST)
- 16 – BBWAA – National League and American League Rookie of the Year awards (MLB Network, 5:00pm CST)
- 17 – BBWAA – National League and American League Manager of the Year awards (MLB Network, 5:00pm CST)
- 18 – BBWAA – National League and American League Cy Young awards (MLB Network, 6:00pm CST)
- 19 – BBWAA – National League and American League Most Valuable Player awards (MLB Network, 6:00pm CST)
- 20 – Reserve Lists Filed for Major and all Minor League levels (40-man roster)
- 20 – Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network, 7:00pm CST)
- 2 – Non-Tender Deadline (Last Day for Clubs to Offer 2016 Contracts to Unsigned Players)
- 7-10 – Winter Meetings
- 10 – Rule 5 Draft
Jake Arrieta is a finalist for the Gold Glove Award handed out to the best fielding pitcher in the NL.
Joe Maddon, Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta are expected to be finalists for BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) awards.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson were named the recipients of the 2015 Hank Aaron Awards for the best overall offensive players in the NL and AL.
• The Toronto Sun reported, “Expect David Price with the Chicago Cubs next season. Why? He loves Joe Maddon, the manager. Wants to hit and play in the National League. And loves the location of Chicago with his family in Nashville.”
• According to Jon Heyman, free agent to be Ben Zobrist “has risen to become a $15 million per year player.” Heyman spoke with an agent, and not the one that represents Zobrist, who feels Zobrist will shoot for that amount for an AAV. Joel Sherman thinks Zobrist will receive a contract in the four-year, $68 million range. The Royals are hoping to keep Alex Gordon and Zobrist according to Joel Sherman. The Cubs have not been linked to Zobrist by the mainstream media for several weeks.
• Jon Heyman also reported the Mets will likely make a run at Ian Desmond this off-season. The Mariners, White Sox, Twins and Padres could also be “in on the Desmond market.” If Desmond signs with another team other than the Padres, the Cubs could matchup on a deal with San Diego.
• According to Jon Paul Morosi, Rick Honeycutt is expected to remain the Dodgers pitching coach for two seasons. Honeycutt would “then transition into a special assistant role. Morosi reported Saturday that Honeycutt was “very close to signing a multi-year extension with the Dodgers.”
• Maury Brown predicted Saturday “MLB gross revenues will be over $9.5 billion” and could reach $10 billion. The numbers will be released in December.
And last, but not least, eight home runs have been hit this post-season by players selected in the 2014 draft … Kyle Schwarber smashed five and the Mets’ Michael Conforto hit the other three after launching two homers Saturday night in Game 4 of the World Series.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – Cubs granted free agency to Xavier Nady
2008 – Cubs granted free agency to Daryle Ward
2004 – Cubs granted free agency to Moises Alou and Kent Mercker
2002 – Cubs granted free agency to Jon Lieber and Fred McGriff
1999 – Cubs named Don Baylor the team’s manager
1999 – Cubs granted free agency to Bobby Ayala
1995 – Cubs granted free agency to Jaime Navarro
1988 – Mark Grace finished behind the Reds Chris Sabo for National League Rookie of the Year
1982 – Cubs granted free agency to Ken Kravec
1976 – Cubs granted free agency to Steve Stone
1944 – Cubs selected Len Rice from the Reds in the Rule 5 Draft
1938 – Bill Lee was runner-up for the National League MVP