Buster Olney continued his ranking of the top players at each position Monday. Olney took a look at the best shortstops in the game, and Addison Russell landed at No. 9 on his top 10 list.
Addison Russell had a very good season, one that started with an early call-up and a position change. Russell showed steady improvement at the plate and was outstanding in the field when he became the Cubs’ everyday shortstop. Olney pointed out that once Russell moved to short, the Cubs won 38 of their final 55 games.
Buster Olney’s top 10 shortstops: Carlos Correa, Brandon Crawford, Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, Troy Tulowitzki, Alcides Escobar, Andrelton Simmons, Adeiny Hechavarria, Addison Russell, Jhonny Peralta. Olney said the toughest players to leave off his list were Didi Gregorius, Jose Iglesias and Corey Seager.
Addison Russell batted .242/.307/.389 with 29 doubles, one triple and 13 home runs for a .696 OPS. Russell is expected to hit much better than he did. Russell flashed his power with 43 extra basehits. And once his bat starts catching up with his glove, Russell will move up the list of the top shortstops in the game.
Cubs Playoff Shares
Major League Baseball announced Monday the player pool for postseason shares. And it’s a record total just under $69.9 million ($68,882,149.62) topping the previous high of $65,363,469.22 in 2012. The Royals received $25,157,573.73 as World Series Champions. The Mets received $16,771,715.82.
The Cubs received $8,385,857.91 and issued 60 full playoff shares at $122,327.59 per share and in addition voted a total of 8.25 partial shares and 13 cash rewards. The Cubs issued the most shares (60) than any other playoff team according to ESPN Chicago.
According to Baseball America, the Cubs signed LHP Luis Parra to a minor league contract. The 24-year old has spent his entire pro career in the Rangers’ system.
Parra pitched in four levels of Texas’ organization last season, advancing as high as Double-A Frisco. Parra appeared in 14 games for Short-Season Spokane, one game for Low-A Hickory, 12 games for High-A High Desert and one game for Double-A Frisco. Parra was 9-8 in 28 games, 12 starts, with a 6.02 ERA and 1.85 WHIP. Parra allowed 68 runs, 56 earned, on 106 hits with 49 walks and 78 strikeouts in 83 2/3 innings.
The Cubs scouts likely saw quite a bit of Luis Parra while watching the Rangers’ system for three years (2012, 2013 and 2014) preparing for mid-season trades.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jesse Rogers asked if the Cubs will focus on Jason Heyward or finding another pitcher.
• According to Adam Rubin, trading for a shortstop “no longer appears a viable route to upgrade at that position” for the Mets.
• Marc Anthony announced Monday “the inception of Magnus Sports” a division of Magnus Media “dedicated to representing major athletes.” Anthony’s company has teamed with Praver Shapiro Sports Management, who represents Jorge Soler, to handles its contracts. Magnus Sports’ first client is LHP Aroldis Chapman.
• The Tigers made it official Monday. RHP Jordan Zimmermann was introduced at a press conference at Comerica Park after signing his five-year contract. Jon Heyman reported Zimmermann received a full no-trade for three years and “then will have a list of 10 teams to which he can be traded.”
• OF Chris Young left the Bronx and agreed to a two-year contract with the Red Sox. The Yankees decided to move on from Young once Aaron Hicks was acquired from the Twins. According to Ken Rosenthal, Young agreed to terms on a two-year, $13 million contract.
• The Cardinals found their backup for Yadier Molina. St. Louis announced Monday signing veteran catcher Brayan Pena to a two-year contract.
• The Indians are “showing the most interest” in veteran outfielder Shane Victorino according to Rob Bradford.
• The Braves re-signed RHP Jim Johnson to a one-year contract. The veteran reliever will receive $2.5 million next season. Johnson had a lot of success with the Braves a year ago before he was dealt to the Dodgers and pitched his way off their playoff roster.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, hitters that are available in trade such as Pedro Alvarez, Jay Bruce, Brett Gardner, Marcell Ozuna, Trevor Plouffe, Mark Trumbo, Neil Walker, Danny Valencia and Brett Lawrie may be impacting the free agent market.
• Ken Davidoff reported the Mets will likely have a decision from Ben Zobrist by the end of the Winter Meetings (Dec. 10).
• Dave Cameron took a deep look at the best young pitcher in the World.
And last, but not least, Baseball America named the Pirates its Organization of the Year.
This Day In Cubstory
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Johnson
2005 – Red Sox purchased Jermaine Van Buren from the Cubs
1997 – Cubs signed free agent Derrick White
1992 – Javier Baez, born
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Jose Guzman
1988 – Dan Straily, born
1971 – Cubs released Ernie Banks. Banks retired from the game after a 19-year Hall of Fame career. Banks won back-to-back MVP awards and was the franchise’s first African-American Player. Banks was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999.
1971 – Cubs announced Ernie Banks will serve as a coach for the team in 1972.
1970 – Astros purchased Jack Hiatt from the Cubs
1969 – Cubs selected Jim Cosman from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft
1969 – Cubs selected Cleo James from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft
1969 – Brewers selected John Fleske from the Cubs in the minor league draft
1964 – Cubs traded Jimmie Schaffer to the White Sox for Frank Baumann
1959 – Cubs traded Bobby Thompson to the Red Sox for Al Schroll
1958 – Cubs selected Art Ceccarelli from the Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft
1956 – Tom Filer, born
1952 – Senators selected Les Peden from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1952 – Cubs selected Jim Willis from Shreveport (Texas League) in the Rule 5 Draft
1952 – Cubs signed free agent Al Evans
1943 – Athletics purchased Joe Berry from the Cubs
1936 – Cubs traded Joe Vitter, Johnny Gill, Gene Lillard, cash and a PTBNL to San Francisco (Pacific Coast League) for Joe Marty
1925 – Carl McLish, born
1918 – Lefty Sloat, born
1900 – Mike Cvengros, born
1882 – Ed Reulbach, born