Andrew Simon took a look at “the top five lineup foursomes for next season, based on cumulative offensive runs (Off), a component of wins above replacement (WAR) that includes batting and baserunning value. Each player’s weighted runs created-plus (wRC+), a park adjusted offensive metric.”
The Cubs quartet of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber has a combined 96.8 Off well ahead of Bryce Harper and the Nationals (76.5). The Blue Jays (75.3), Angels (73.0) and Tigers (70.2) round out the top five.
MLB Pipeline released its list of the top 10 first base prospects on Friday afternoon. And Dan Vogelbach wasn’t included in the ranking.
Vogelbach was mentioned in the report, possibly as No. 11 or 12 if the list went that far. MLB Pipeline pointed out Vogelbach “is a gifted and patient hitter with untapped power potential.” Vogelbach could be a fit for an American League team if he can develop the power needed to be a successful designated hitter … or if the NL adopts in the DH in time. MLB Pipeline indicated Vogelbach is “hopelessly blocked by Anthony Rizzo with the Cubs and has no value beyond his bat.”
Vogelbach said last weekend he is healthy and ready for Spring Training. Vogelbach lost valuable development time last season due to injuries. He was added to the 40-man roster and will be in big league camp for the first time on a full-time basis.
Vogelbach should begin the season with Triple-A Iowa. That is the next step in his development. Due to playing only 76 games last year, the Cubs could elect to send him back to Double-A Tennessee for a couple of weeks. Vogelbach hit .272/.403/.425 with 16 doubles, a triple and seven home runs for a .828 OPS.
MLB Pipeline’s Top 10 first base prospects: A.J. Reed (Astros), Josh Bell (Pirates), Dominic Smith (Mets), Bobby Bradley (Indians), Matt Olson (A’s), Cody Bellinger (Dodgers), Jake Bauers (Rays), Josh Naylor (Marlins), Casey Gillaspie (Rays) and Sam Travis (Red Sox).
Yoenis Cespedes is returning to the Big Apple. Reports surfaced late Friday night that Cespedes and the Mets agreed to terms on a three-year, $75 million contract. Cespedes received a full no-trade clause and can opt out of his deal after one-year, or the 2016 season. Cespedes received the largest AAV for a position player this winter. And, if he opts out of the contract, Cespedes will receive $27.5 million for the upcoming season. Basically, Cespedes signed a one-year, $27.5 million deal.
Cespedes turned down a higher offer from the Nationals according to multiple reports. The Nationals reportedly made a five-year offer to Cespedes worth more than $100 million. Cespedes is the third free agent this off-season that turned down more money from the Nationals to sign with another team. The Nationals’ offers to Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist were believed to be for more guaranteed money than they received from the Cubs.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jon Heyman tweeted Friday night after the news Yoenis Cespedes re-signed with the Mets, “Angels don’t have a starting left fielder or leadoff hitter. If they don’t sign Dexter Fowler, they had better be creative.”
• Adam Warren brings World Series of die mentality from the Yankees to the Cubs according to a report from Tony Andracki.
• Kerry Wood’s Winter Warm Up raised more than $125,000 last week according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
• The Sun-Times asked can Kyle Schwarber do more than hit, and how long will it matter?
• Kyle Schwarber embraces work to become a better left fielder according to a report from CBS Chicago.
• According to a report from Rob Biertempfel, Andy Masur is a finalist for the Pirates’ radio/TV job. Great news for Pirates fans, Masur does an excellent job on the radio and should be calling baseball games again.
• Thomas Harding reported Friday, the Rockies, Astros and Orioles are in the mix for RHP Yovani Gallardo. The Orioles should be crossed off the list based on what Dan Duquette said earlier in the day on MLB Network Radio. Gallardo declined the Rangers’ qualifying offer and is tied to draft pick compensation. Duquette said the Orioles are not looking to surrender their first round draft pick this winter. If that is the case, as Roch Kubatko pointed out that would take Baltimore out of the market for Gallardo. Duquette said the Orioles are “monitoring” the market for Doug Fister. As for Cliff Lee, Duquette “doesn’t get the sense he’s ready to come back.”
• According to Patrick Saunders, the Rockies have engaged in serious talks with RHP Yovani Gallardo. But there isn’t an offer on the table.
• The Padres made the Alexei Ramirez signing official on Friday and designated former top prospect OF Rymer Liriano for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. A.J. Preller said the main reason for moving on from Liriano is that the 24-year old is out of minor league options. The writing was on the wall the Padres would be parting ways with Liriano after he wasn’t recalled in September when the roster expanded. In 131 games for Triple-A El Paso, Liriano hit .292/.383/.460 last season with 31 doubles, three triples and 14 home runs for a .843 OPS. Liriano signed with the Padres in 2007.
• Sorry, free-spending GMs, but you can’t buy the chemistry the Royals have created according to a report from Jon Paul Morosi.
• The Mariners signed former Pirates and Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez to a minor league contract.
• Inevitable was the word of the day Friday throughout baseball, at least where discussion about the NL and the DH was concerned. According to Bruce Levine, the DH rule is inevitable for the Cubs and the National League.
And last, but not least, Tom Werner told the Red Sox beat writers Friday that he believes the National League adopting the designated hitter is “inevitable.” Werner is not sure when but he’s sure it will happen.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs selected Gonzalez German off waivers from the Rangers
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Wade Miller
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Will Cunnane
1994 – Addison Russell, born
1985 – Jeff Samardzija, born
1976 – Cubs acquired Gerry Pirtle from the Yankees for Rick Stelmaszek
1959 – Cubs traded Jim Bolger and John Briggs to the Indians for Earl Averill and Morrie Martin
1940 – Dick Burwell, born
1936 – Don Nottebart, born
1934 – Joey Amalfitano, born
1921 – Cubs released Fred Merkle