In a decision that seems inevitable, Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday from the Owners Meetings that the National League “adopting the designated hitter is gaining momentum.” Commissioner Manfred expects it to be addressed in the negotiations for the new CBA.
Joe Torre said the possibility of the DH coming to the National League “hasn’t even been talked about” and there “really hasn’t been any conversation.”
There is expected to be resistance from National League owners. And Commissioner Manfred is “not altogether sold on the idea” and made it clear, according to the USA Today, “he’d like to keep the rules the same between the two leagues … but he’s willing to listen to change.”
Theo Epstein was asked about the possibility of the National League adopting the designated hitter last weekend during the Convention. Epstein has been an advocate for the DH in both leagues for several years. Epstein knows a designated hitter could benefit the Cubs. And give him another avenue in which to improve the roster and retain more of the young talent that’s currently in the organization.
Epstein said with the Cubs having so many hitters coming they would not mind a DH in the National League. But it’s a move the Cubs cannot count on happening. Epstein explained they have not received any indications a DH is coming to the National League anytime soon. And the Cubs will continue to build their roster to fit within National League rules.
“Twenty years ago, when you talked to the National League owners about the DH, you’d think you were talking some sort of heretical comment,” Manfred said. “But we have a newer group. There has been turnover, and I think our owners in general have demonstrated a willingness to change the game in ways that we think would be good for the fans, always respecting the history and traditions of the sport.”
“I do think there’s a certain purity to the idea that everyone plays by the same rules,” Manfred said. “I think the significance of that purity goes up when you have Interleague Play every day.”
The Cubs have been considered the favorites to sign 16-year old Cuban left-hander Adrian Morejon since at least November. Morejon is one of the top International prospects that is expected to be available for teams to sign before the end of the current International signing period on June 15.
Morejon is not a free agent yet. And the delay could benefit the player and keep the Cubs from adding Morejon to the organization.
Ben Badler reported, “As July 2 gets closer, it’s more likely that a Cuban player subject to the International bonus pools like Morejon would be willing to wait to sign until July 2, when the 2016-17 signing period opens and the new bonus pools kick in.”
If Morejon, and other Cuban players, decide to wait until the new signing period, the Cubs would not be available to sign him.
Adrian Morejon is expected to receive a rather hefty signing bonus. The Cubs will be restricted to signing players to $300,000 or less for the next two signing periods due to overspending during the current 2015-16 International signing period.
Venezuelan Summer League
When the Cubs released the list of managers, coaching staffs and minor league coordinators for the upcoming season, the organization’s Venezuelan team was noticeably absent from the minor league affiliates. Unfortunately, Ben Badler provided the reason Thursday.
According to the report from Baseball America, the Venezuelan Summer League is shutting down for the 2016 season. There were only four teams (Cubs, Phillies, Rays and Tigers) in 2015 and the Cubs decided to pull out, leaving only three teams in the league.
Badler indicated that “some organizations are planning to bring those players to the Dominican Republic and field an extra Dominican Summer League team.” But some teams do not have the facilities in the Dominican to house another 30-plus players.
The Cubs added a second team in the Dominican Summer League. And a majority of the Venezuelan Cubs’ coaching staff as well as manager Pedro Gonzalez was assigned to the Cubs second team in the Dominican Summer League.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Tom Ricketts and Stu Sternberg (Rays) were elected to four-year terms Thursday to serve on Major League Baseball’s Executive Council.
• Ryne Sandberg believes the 2016 Cubs are hungry and ready to go according to a report from Tony Andracki.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs are hoping Arismendy Alcantara can hit the reset button in 2016.
• Jason Heyward is happy discontented Cardinals will miss him according to a report from the Tribune.
• The first four starting pitchers in Joe Maddon’s rotation all have experience and had success in the AL East prior to landing with the Cubs. ESPN Chicago asked is John Lackey the final piece to the Cubs’ pitching puzzle.
• The Sun-Times reported John Lackey seeks his third title with third different team.
• And John Lackey relishes chance to make history according to the Tribune.
• With his rookie season behind him, Addison Russell is ready for more according to ESPN Chicago.
• The Cubs are preparing their prospects for overtime according to a report from Gordon Wittenmyer.
• The Yoenis Cespedes watch continued Thursday. According to Ken Rosenthal, it appeared Cespedes was going to sign with the Nationals but he is torn between the offer he received from the Nationals and re-signing with the Mets on a shorter-term deal.
• Aroldis Chapman will not face criminal charges for the domestic dispute with his girlfriend on Oct. 30 according to a report from the Sun-Sentinel. Chapman could still be facing a suspension from Major League Baseball under the domestic violence policy.
• Former Cubs’ catcher George Kottaras signed a minor league contract with the Giants.
• FanGraphs took a look at the hidden moves of the off-season.
And last, but not least, the California Winter League opened Thursday.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs signed free agent Chang-Yong Lim
2009 – Cubs signed free agent Bobby Scales
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Scott Williamson
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Calvin Murray
1997 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Hansen
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Hector Ortiz
1957 – Brian Dayett, born
1945 – Jophrey Brown, born
1929 – Jack Littrell, born