Major League Baseball’s second week of awards begins Monday and it could be a rather big week for the Chicago Cubs. Of the four major awards that will be handed out by the BBWAA, the Cubs have finalists in three of the four categories in the National League.
Kris Bryant will be named NL Rookie of the Year when the first year player awards in both leagues are announced Monday (Nov. 16, 5:00pm CST). Bryant is a finalist along with Matt Duffy (Giants) and Jung Ho Kang (Pirates).
Joe Maddon finds out Tuesday (Nov. 17, 5:00pm CST) if he joins a rather exclusive club. Maddon is up for National League Manager of the Year with Terry Collins (Mets) and Mike Matheny (Cardinals). Maddon has a good chance of being the sixth skipper (Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, Jim Leyland, Lou Piniella and Bob Melvin) to be named manager of the year in both leagues. Maddon won the award in 2008 and 2011 with the Rays.
The Cy Young Award winners in the National and American League will be announced Wednesday (Nov. 18, 5:00pm CST). David Price, Sonny Gray and Dallas Keuchel are the finalists in the AL while the NL could have the closest vote since 1987. Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are the three finalists in the Senior Circuit for the top pitcher award.
AL and NL MVP are announced Thursday (Nov. 19, 5:00pm CST). Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson are expected to win the awards. And Harper could be the writers’ unanimous choice for the best player in the National League.
The Cubs 40-man roster currently stands at 30 players. The Cubs roster was down to 29 players before RHP Ryan Cook was claimed off waivers from the Red Sox on Nov. 6.
The Cubs have at least four players that will be added to the 40-man roster by Friday’s deadline. C Willson Contreras, 3B Jeimer Candelario, RHP Pierce Johnson and RHP Corey Black are the four players that will be placed on the Major League reserve roster (40-man roster).
RHP P.J. Francescon, 1B Dan Vogelbach, OF Bijan Rademacher and OF Jeffrey Baez are among the players that will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if not protected. Francescon and Rademacher could be selected and might be able to stick with a team. Vogelbach and Baez are not ready for the big leagues.
Reports have indicated the Cubs could also select a player in the Rule 5 Draft and will need room on the roster in which to add that player. With as many as six spots available after Friday’s deadline that should not be a problem. The front office should have plenty of space on the roster to make additions as they see fit.
Kris Bryant’s Big, Big Fly
Kris Bryant will have another trophy to add to his collection this week. Bryant had a tremendous season and will be named the National League Rookie of the Year by the BBWAA. Bryant has already been named rookie of the year by Baseball America, the Sporting News and his peers.
Bryant’s regular season numbers have been included in every report each time he wins an award. Bryant batted .275/.369/.488 with 31 doubles, five triples and 26 home runs for a .858 OPS.
Bryant hit the first homer into the new left field bleachers and the Cubs’ last longball of the year. Bryant’s swing translated extremely well to Wrigley Field, where he hit .311/.408/.629 with 14 doubles, four triples and 21 home runs for a 1.037 OPS. And Bryant supplied two of the most memorable walk off homers at Wrigley in the last 20 years.
Kris Bryant also hit the longest home run in baseball this past season at the old ballyard.
On Sept. 6, Kris Bryant took the Diamondbacks’ Rubby De La Rosa deep to left in the fifth inning. His 23rd homer of the season at the time traveled 495 feet and hit off the scoreboard.
MLB.com posted a report with videos of the 10 longest home runs hit this past season. And to no surprise Giancarlo Stanton is in the top 10 three times.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Diamondbacks have RHP Yovani Gallardo on their list of free agent pitchers according to Jerry Crasnick. Tony LaRussa and Dave Stewart might not have room in the budget to sign either RHP Jordan Zimmermann or RHP Johnny Cueto.
• According to a report from the Japan Times, LHP Tsuyoshi Wada signed a three-year contract for around $10 million (1.2 billion yen) with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. The deal includes incentives.
• The Japan Times also reported RHP Kyuji Fujikawa was acquired by the Hanshin Tigers. Fujikawa started this past season with the Rangers. After he was released, Fujikawa was picked up by the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the independent Shikoku Island League Plus. Fujikawa finished the year with Kochi.
• Joel Sherman shared his thoughts on the five teams that he thinks will be the most aggressive this winter … and the Cubs did not make it into his top five.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, one-time Cubs’ outfielder Jacque Jones may be reuniting with Dusty Baker. Rosenthal reported Jones is a candidate to be the Nationals’ assistant hitting coach on Baker’s staff.
• Jeff Passan ranked the top free agents: David Price, Zack Greinke, Chris Davis, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Johnny Cueto, Yoenis Cespedes, Ben Zobrist and Matt Wieters. Passan has Jordan Zimmermann (11), Dexter Fowler (14), John Lackey (16), Jeff Samardzija (18) and Denard Span (19) in his top 20. And the resurgence of Rich Hill at the end of the season landed him as the 50th best free agent on this year’s market according to Passan.
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – Cubs signed free agent Justin Berg
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Henry Blanco
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Chris Petersen
1996 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Francis Beltran
1993 – Cubs granted free agency to Doug Jennings
This Day in Baseball History
1886 – The American Association’s Red Stockings dealt catcher Jack Boyle and $400 to the Browns in exchange for OF Hugh Nicol. The transaction is the first recorded trade in Major League history