It was a typically busy three and half days for the Chicago Cubs. The team announced the minor league managers, coaching staffs and coordinators and hiring John Baker late Thursday. And the Cubs finalized the deal with the Yankees.
Theo Epstein updated the Cubs off-season Saturday morning. Javier Baez lined up in center field for the first time in Winter Ball and the team signed four players to minor league contracts.
Here are the headlines from the weekend that was chock full of all the news, notes and rumors …
Cubs Announce Minor League Managers, Staff and Coordinators for the 2016 Season
The Cubs announced Thursday the managers and coaching staffs for each of its minor league affiliates and the organization’s minor league coordinators.
There is a lot of change on the coaching staffs. The most notable managerial change is the promotion of Mark Johnson from High-A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Tennessee. Chris Valaika stayed with the Cubs after retiring from the game and is now a hitting coach in the system.
Click on the link to read all of the changes and new assignments.
From the Wire: Cubs Acquire INF Brendan Ryan from Yankees, DFA RHP Yoervis Medina
The Cubs finalized the deal with the Yankees and acquired veteran infielder Brendan Ryan as the PTBNL in the Starlin Castro-Adam Warren trade. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Yoervis Medina was designated for assignment.
Cubs Name John Baker Baseball Operations Assistant
John Baker is back in the organization. Baker recently retired after 14 seasons and will contribute to all elements of the club’s baseball operations department. Another good hire by the Cubs’ front office.
Cubs Reportedly Sign RHP Brandon Gomes to Minor League Contract
The Cubs have since confirmed signing Brandon Gomes to a minor league deal. Joe Maddon knows Gomes extremely well from their days together with the Rays. Gomes received a NRI to Spring Training and will compete for a job in the bullpen.
The Daily CCO: Maddon Could Leadoff with Jason Heyward and Other Cubs News and Rumors
Joe Maddon is already answering questions about his lineup. And he could have Jason Heyward leadoff ballgames with the way the roster is currently constructed. Maddon is going to talk to Heyward and see how he feels about hitting at the top of an order.
Report includes updates on Javier Baez, Jake Odorizzi, Jake McGee and several former Cubs have signed on with new organizations. Plus This Day in Cubs History and all of the news, notes and links.
Cubs Sign OF Juan Perez and OF Kelly Dugan to Minor League Contracts
Several minor league signings surfaced over the weekend. The Cubs inked a pair of outfielders to minor league deals and the former Giant, Juan Perez, will be in camp on a non-roster invite. Kelly Dugan should have received a NRI and will likely begin the year with the Iowa Cubs.
Cubs Re-Sign LHP Jack Leathersich to a Minor League Contract
The Cubs claimed the talented southpaw off waivers from the Mets, but decided to non-tender Jack Leathersich as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Leathersich turned down offers from other teams to re-sign with the Cubs on a minor league contract. He will be in Mesa early next month to continue his rehab.
Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard Contract Details
The Cubs signed both swingmen to one-year contracts. Trevor Cahill received $4.25 million and Clayton Richard avoided arbitration with a $2 million deal. Both pitchers can earn more in 2016, click on the link for the details and breakdown of both contracts.
The Daily CCO: Javier Baez Plays Center Field and Other Cubs News and Rumors
Javier Baez played center field in Winter Ball for the first time. Baez saw a lot of action but was not charged with any errors. Baez has more walks than hits or strikeouts so far in Puerto Rico.
Report includes updates on Ender Inciarte, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Kris Bryant received a key to Las Vegas. This Day in Cubs History, news, notes and links are also in the daily update.
Cubs Reportedly Still Taking Offers on Jorge Soler
Jon Heyman reported the Cubs are still listening on Jorge Soler. Based on Theo Epstein’s comments, the Cubs will have to be blown away to trade him.
With so many teams talking their players up through the media, it was good to hear the Cubs stance on one of the best young position players on their roster.
Report also includes Cubs tidbits from Heyman.
Theo Epstein Talks Cubs on Inside the Clubhouse
Theo Epstein spent time Saturday morning on 670 The Score. And when Theo talks, most people listen.
This is a must read for all Cubs’ fans … click on the link.
Theo Epstein is Not Focused on Contract Extension
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will be free agents at the end of the 2016 season if ownership does not extend Epstein’s contract. Tom Ricketts is on the same page with his President of Baseball Operations. Both Epstein and Ricketts say they just haven’t had a chance to finalize an extension.
Epstein has no reason to want to leave and would like to see The Plan he helped set in motion four years ago produce the ultimate outcome.
The Daily CCO: Mark Johnson is Moving on Up and Other Cubs News and Rumors
There is another prospect in the organization to keep tabs on, manager Mark Johnson. He’s led Kane County and Myrtle Beach to league championships in back-to-back years and is considered one of the best young managers in the game.
Report also includes an update on Jake Odorizzi and all of the news, notes and links, plus This Day in Cubs History.
Cubs Building a Versatile Pitching Staff
The Cubs have several ‘swing-pitchers’ on the roster which could give Joe Maddon options out of his bullpen when the season begins if all goes as planned in Spring Training.
Baseball ops, Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio are focused on the best way to get 27 outs and a win each day. Having pitchers that can produce in different roles could make a big difference over the course of a season. Three wins last year meant the Cubs played in the NL Wild Card Game. The front office is looking for ways to avoid that game for more than one reason.