The Cubs might not create the headlines and buzz this week as they did during and right after the Winter Meetings, but the next five days are shaping up to be just as busy for the front office.
With the 40-man roster currently at 38 players at least one change will likely be made in order to add three players to the Major League reserve roster. The Cubs have two contracts pending in Jason Heyward and Trevor Cahill, plus the team has not announced the player to be named later in the Starlin Castro–Adam Warren trade.
Under the current regime, the week before Christmas has been when the Cubs have announced the Minor League managers, coaching staffs and coordinators. There should be more minor league signings as players try to lock in before the holidays where they will be for Spring Training.
And the Sun-Times reported “the Cubs aren’t done, sources say they continue to troll the trade market for hard-to-get young starting pitching and plan to add depth pieces in the outfield and on the pitching staff.”
During the Winter Meetings, the Cubs said there would be additional safety netting installed at Wrigley Field for the 2016 season.
“The team will add netting in front of the field-level seat from the end of one dugout to the other, and within 70 feet of home plate” according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
Last Wednesday, the Commissioner’s Office issued recommendations to all 30 Major League teams “aimed at enhancing the safety of fans attending Major League Baseball games, while also preserving the interactive elements that are integral to the baseball fan experience.”
Nick Cafardo provided an update on Daniel Bard in his Sunday Notes Column. Bard spent last season in the Cubs’ organization. Bard did not pitch in a game and continued “trying to solve his command problems and seemed to be making progress.” Bard has not appeared in a big league game since 2013.
Daniel Bard is hoping to continue his career and sign with a team this winter.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Patrick Mooney explained why the Cubs believe winning the off-season won’t be a curse.
• Joe Maddon wants his team to embrace the target that will be on the Cubs’ backs next season according to a report from the Sun-Times.
• The Royals, and possibly the Orioles, are interested in OF Nick Markakis according to Nick Cafardo. If John Coppolella is able to trade Markakis, the Braves would be in the market for a power-hitting right fielder. Markakis is under contract for three more years. The 32-year old outfielder batted .296/.370/.376 in 156 games for the Braves last season with 38 doubles, a triple and three home runs.
• Ken Rosenthal reported the Cubs are “one of a number of teams” that have talked to the Braves about Ender Inciarte. There could be a match with the Braves with Jorge Soler and if the Cubs acquired Inciarte to play center and with Jason Heyward in right “they perhaps could live more easily with Kyle Schwarber in left.” Rosenthal brought up the Cubs have “numerous prospects to trade behind Soler and Baez, one scout said third baseman Jeimer Candelario was the best hitter in the Arizona Fall League.”
• The Tampa Bay Times reported Javier Baez is still of interest to the Rays. Based on the deals that were made last week bringing in Ben Zobrist and trading Starlin Castro, Baez appears to be in the Cubs’ plans for next season.
• MLB.com posted a video for the All-Statcast Team.
• Hardball Talk reported Nationals’ reliever Aaron Barrett blamed overuse as the reason for his elbow problems.
And last, but not least, when Starlin Castro was traded last week, Travis Wood became the longest-tenured Cub. Wood made his first appearance in a Cubs uniform on May 6, 2012. Anthony Rizzo made his Cubs debut June 26, 2012.
This Day in Cubstory
2004 – Cubs signed free agents Angel Echevarria, Jimmy Anderson, Jose Mercedes, Calvin Murray and Danny Klassen
2001 – Cubs signed free agent Will Cunnane
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon
1998 – Cubs acquired Jon Lieber from the Pirates for Brant Brown
1993 – Cubs signed free agents Todd Haney, Mark Parent and Mike Maksudian
1991 – Cubs signed free agent Scott May
1990 – Cubs acquired Jose Vizcaino from the Dodgers for Greg Smith
1989 – Donn Roach, born
1988 – Cubs signed free agent Domingo Ramos
1987 – Cubs signed free agent Vance Law
1984 – Cubs signed free agent Rick Sutcliffe
1981 – Angel Guzman, born
1978 – Cubs acquired Sam Mejias from the Expos for Rodney Scott and Jerry White
1975 – Rodrigo Lopez, born
1963 – Red purchased Steve Boros from the Cubs
1955 – Cubs released Walker Cooper
1949 – Cubs traded Gene Mauch to the Braves for Bill Voiselle
1948 – Cubs traded Eddie Waitkus and Hank Borowy to the Phillies for Monk Dubiel and Dutch Leonard
1949 – Bill Buckner, born
1929 – Pete Whisenant, born
1925 – Sam Jones, born
1916 – Cubs traded Joe Kelly and cash to the Braves for Fred Mitchell and a PTBNL. Boston sent Earl Blackburn to the Cubs in Jan. 1917 to compete the trade.
1905 – Bob Weiland, born
1900 – Harry Wilke, born
1889 – Lefty Tyler, born