The Cubs have been connected to every big name free agent on the market from David Price and Zack Greinke to Jason Heyward. The front office’s focus is on acquiring pitching this winter and if possible there are other areas the Cubs would like to address. The Cubs are seen throughout the game as the favorites to sign David Price but the team has a budget, not the unlimited payroll that other clubs might have.
Theo Epstein told the beat writers Monday during the first day of the GM Meetings, “If we want to do two things we have to get pretty creative. Even if we do one really big thing we have to get creative.”
Epstein ruled out multiple nine-figure contracts this winter, and moving forward as well until the new TV deal is in place and that cannot happen until after the 2019 season.
According to the Sun-Times Epstein explained, “Two sizeable things, we’d have to definitely get creative. That doesn’t make it impossible. There’s a lot of moving parts. We might trade some players who are salaried in exchange for a salaried player. There are ways to get things done if they make sense for the club.”
According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs possibly have room in the budget for “one major signing and then a few smaller ones” and it might take back loading some contracts or “free up some money via trades.”
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from the Sun-Times
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Bruce Levine
- Report from Patrick Mooney
Darren O’Day was added to the Cubs rumor mill Monday when Jon Heyman reported they are one of the teams interested in the righty reliever.
O’Day is the top bullpen arm on the free agent market and will sign at least a three-year contract. It will likely take a four-year deal for a team to land him which would be a major overpay and a bad investment for a reliever.
According to Joel Sherman, the Tigers and Nationals “are viewed as among the front runners” for O’Day and the Orioles will be given a chance “to hear a best offer before O’Day would sign elsewhere.”
Cubs-White Sox Trades
On paper, the Cubs and White Sox match-up as trade partners. The Cubs have young infielders the Sox need. And the Sox have young, controllable pitchers that the Cubs are looking to add to the roster.
Theo Epstein and Rick Hahn told the beat writers Monday they would be open to making a deal with their crosstown rivals. However, Hahn pointed out the reason why the two teams have made only a couple of trades in the last two decades. “There’s the added wrinkle that if you’re wrong, you have to live with it eight miles away for each of us.”
MLB Players Choice Awards
The 2015 MLB Players Choice Awards were announced during an hour long show Monday night on MLB Network.
Kris Bryant was voted on by his peers as the National League Rookie of the Year. And Zack Greinke beat out Jake Arrieta and Clayton Kershaw for the top pitcher in the Senior Circuit.
- Kris Bryant – NL Outstanding Rookie
- Carlos Correa – AL Outstanding Rookie
- Bryce Harper – NL Outstanding Player
- Josh Donaldson – AL Outstanding Player
- Prince Fielder – AL Comeback Player
- Matt Harvey – NL Comeback Player
- Jose Altuve – Always Game Award
- Zack Greinke – NL Outstanding Pitcher
- Dallas Keuchel – AL Outstanding Pitcher
- Adam Jones – Marvin Miller Man of the Year
- Josh Donaldson – Player of the Year
Hall of Fame Ballot
The 2016 Hall of Fame Ballot was posted Monday and includes first timers OF Ken Griffey Jr. and RHP Trevor Hoffman. Both players are Hall of Famers and Griffey Jr. should be voted in on his first ballot.
2016 Hall of Fame Ballot: Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Luis Castillo, Roger Clemens, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Kendall, Jeff Kent, Mike Lowell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Mike Sweeney, Alan Trammell, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker, Randy Winn.
Voters have until Dec. 24 to mail their ballots and the results are to be revealed on MLB Network on Jan. 6.
News, Notes and Rumors
• A Kris Bryant game-worn jersey from the first two games of the NLDS against the Cardinals sold at auction for a record breaking $15,512.76. And a Kyle Schwarber jersey from the NLDS went for $14,510.
• The Cubs open the 2016 season in Los Angeles against the Angels and might not have to deal with Albert Pujols. The Angels announced Monday that Pujols had surgery on his right big toe and will not begin full baseball activities for four and a half months. Multiple reports indicated Pujols will likely miss Opening Day.
• The Indians released bad news Monday about OF Michael Brantley. The Indians are looking for ways to add offense to their roster this winter and could have another hole to fill at the beginning of the season. Brantley underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to repair a small tear in the labrum. The Indians said Brantley is expected to be ready for game activity within five to six months.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, the Indians “declined to trade any of their starting pitchers at the non-waiver deadline, when they were out of contention. They might even be more reluctant to move a Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar this off-season.” But the injury to Brantley has magnified their need for an outfielder.
• Andrew Friedman told the beat writers Monday that the Dodgers’ focus this winter will be on adding pitching. And according to Alanna Rizzo, the Dodgers have not finalized any deals with coaches and that includes Rick Honeycutt. Jon Heyman reported Honeycutt signed a two-year extension to remain with the team as its pitching coach.
• The Cardinals received a big blow Monday when one of the top pitching prospects in the game was slapped with a suspension. RHP Alex Reyes tested positive for a second time for a drug of abuse. Reyes received a 50-game suspension. Reyes’ positive test was from smoking marijuana. Reyes figured into the Cardinals’ rotation plans for next season and losing him at the start of the year will hurt St. Louis.
• There were not any deals made during the first day of the GM Meetings but according to Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox new President of Baseball Operations, there is a lot more action and talking than usual. Dombrowski told Rob Bradford he thought he was close to making a trade but the other team backed out. The Red Sox are looking for a starter and a couple of relievers according to Pete Abraham.
• Joel Sherman explained why it could be a very active MLB trade season.
• According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are willing to listen to offers for Andrew Miller.
• Joel Sherman looked at how the Yankees could part with prized assets in winter shakeup.
• Denard Span, Austin Jackson and Trevor Cahill are among 12 possible free agent bargains this winter according to Buster Olney.
• Nori Aoki had his $5.5 million option for next season declined by the Giants and is a free agent. Aoki is fully healthy after concussion and ready to play according to Jon Heyman.
• Bruce Levine reported, the Cubs must decide how to spend upgraded payroll.
• Think you know what the Cubs and White Sox will do? Think again according to a report from Paul Sullivan.
And last, but not least, Mike Bauman gave a little advice to each Major League GM.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – Cubs granted free agency to Brad Snyder
2008 – Geovany Soto won the National League Rookie of the Year Award
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Koyie Hill
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Brian Banks
1988 – Cubs released Jerry Mumphrey
1987 – Rick Sutcliffe finished two points behind Steve Bedrosian for the NL Cy Young Award (57-55) in the closest vote in Cy Young Award history.
1982 – Cubs granted free agency to Bump Wills
1974 – Micah Bowie, born
1964 – Keith Lockhart, born
1951 – Mike Vail, born
1948 – Cubs selected Lefty Sloat from the Brooklyn Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft
1948 – Cardinals selected Ed Sauer from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1947 – Senators selected Len Okrie from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1947 – Red Sox selected Johnny Ostrowski from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1930 – Hippo Vaughn was reinstated by Commissioner Judge Landis after eight years of being out of the league. Vaughn pitched for the Cubs in 1922 but a salary dispute forced him to pitch for a semi-pro team. Vaughn went to Spring Training with the Cubs in 1931, but failed to make the team.