The Cubs announced the managers and coaching staffs Thursday for each of the minor league affiliates. And among the changes was the promotion of Mark Johnson.
Mark Johnson will call the shots for Double-A Tennessee next season following his fourth promotion in six years. Johnson is coming off back-to-back league championships and is considered one of the best young managers in the game. Johnson spent the fall in Arizona as the skipper of the Mesa Solar Sox.
After leading the Kane County Cougars to the Midwest League Championship in 2014, Johnson took the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to the Mills Cup Championship Series last season. Johnson and his core group of players won the Carolina League title.
Mark Johnson has been with the Cubs for the last eight years. Johnson retired following the 2010 season after playing for Triple-A Iowa in 2009 and 2010 and he began his managerial career in 2011 with the Boise Hawks.
Johnson has a rather impressive resume and will be a big league manager in the not-to-distant future. Johnson was the Midwest Manager of the Year for 2014. Baseball America also named him its Minor League Manager of the Year two seasons ago. And Johnson was the Carolina League Manager of the Year this past season.
While the focus in the Cubs’ system has been on the players, there is another prospect to keep tabs on in Mark Johnson.
According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Cardinals have talked to the Rays about “acquiring a starting pitcher.” Morosi reported Jake Odorizzi could be one of the pitchers the two teams have discussed.
The Cardinals, like most teams, are looking to acquire a starting pitcher.
Odorizzi has been connected to several teams, including the Cubs, as the Rays explore ways to add controllable position players to their roster.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Lindsay Berra reported Joe Maddon continues to give back to his hometown.
• MLB.com ranked the starting rotations after big-ticket deals this off-season based on WAR … 5) Dodgers 4) Indians 3) Nationals 2) Mets 1) Cubs … MLB.com has Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks as the Cubs’ starting five.
• According to Dayn Perry, Theo Epstein doesn’t sound inclined to trade Jorge Soler.
• The Mets plan to meet with free agent Denard Span according to Ken Davidoff. Span is supposed to hold a work out for interested teams in January to show he’s healthy.
• Ken Rosenthal and Jim Bowden reported the Nationals have decided to move on and will not complete a trade for Brandon Phillips. Phillips apparently wanted more money instead of a chance to play for a contender. Phillips has vetoed trades in the past to stay in Cincinnati. Rosenthal explained there is “always a chance that Phillips talks could revive.” The Nationals could turn to Howie Kendrick or trade for a second baseman. Daniel Murphy is also an option, but a low priority according to Rosenthal.
• Phil Rogers explained the Cubs have the luxury to deal on or stay put. Theo Epstein has assets for another big splash but may not need it.
• One-time Cubs outfielder and 1989 National League Rookie of the Year Jerome Walton is being inducted into the Coweta County Sports Hall of Fame in February.
• Paul Hoynes does not think the Indians will trade one of their starting pitchers this off-season, unless they receive an offer they can’t refuse. The additions of Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis “helped fill two holes in the offense through free agency as opposed to a trade.” If the Indians were to trade one of the controllable arms, it would not be for prospects. Cleveland is looking for Major League players.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Ryan Roberts
2002 – Cubs signed free agent Shawn Estes
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Rob Stanifer
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Ricky Gutierrez
1997 – Cubs granted free agency to Kent Bottenfield
1996 – Cubs granted free agency to Jim Bullinger
1995 – Cubs granted free agency to Anthony Young and Todd Zeile
1993 – Cubs granted free agency to Shawn Boskie, Greg Hibbard and Mike Harkey
1991 – Cubs granted free agency to Chico Walker
1985 – Cubs released Derek Botelho and Lary Sorensen
1983 – Brian Dopirak, born
1980 – Luke Carlin, born
1979 – David DeJesus, born
1974 – Augie Ojeda, born
1972 – Gabby Hartnett passed away in Chicago on his 72nd birthday
1953 – Paul Moskau, born
1952 – Cubs acquired Sheldon Jones from the Braves for Monk Dubiel
1949 – Oscar Gamble, born
1915 – Marty Felderman, born
1900 – Gabby Harnett, born
1888 – Fred Merkle, born