Countdown to Pitchers and Catchers: 6 Days
If all goes as planned in Spring Training, John Lackey will make his Cubs’ debut on April 7 in Arizona in the first of four games with the Diamondbacks. Lackey enters camp next week slotted as Joe Maddon’s third starter behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.
Lackey is coming off a very successful first full season in the National League. Lackey was 13-10 with a 2.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 3.57 FIP for the NL Central Champs in 33 regular season starts. And in a year and a half with the Cardinals, Lackey was 16-13 in 43 starts with a 3.10 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 3.72 FIP.
The Cubs are looking for a similar performance over the next two years from the 37-year old right-hander.
Tony Andracki spoke with Lackey and the veteran admitted the reason he signed with the Cubs was the chance to win a World Series championship.
John Lackey knows Joe Maddon, Jon Lester and David Ross and those relationships “helped entice him to take less money to sign with the Cubs.” Lackey signed a two-year, $32 million contract, and that deal has been labeled as one of the best contracts of the off-season.
“These are my last couple of years in the big leagues. To go out with a championship would be pretty dang cool,” Lackey told Comcast SportsNet. “There’s no bigger factor than a chance to win and do something special in this city. You’re seeing guys take less money to come here … and be a part of something special. That’s the only reason I came here.”
The Lazarito watch continued Friday after Jesse Sanchez reported the 16-year was not close to making a decision.
The Padres are one of the nine teams with strong interest in Lazarito. According to Dennis Lin, the Padres “have scouted him as extensively as anyone.” Lin added it’s “unclear when he’ll decide on a team.”
And one of the players the Cubs were reportedly the frontrunner to sign could end up in the Padres organization. According to Ben Badler, San Diego is the favorites to land LHP Adrian Morejon and OF Jorge Ona. The Cubs were expected to sign Morejon, that no longer appears to be the case. Dennis Lin confirmed the Padres “have strong interest in at least two other Cuban prospects, OF Jorge Ona and LHP Adrian Morejon.”
Veteran reliever Tommy Hunter is no longer unemployed. The Indians inked Hunter to a big league contract Friday. The Rays were in advanced talks with Hunter before he agreed to terms with Cleveland.
Tommy Hunter is about a month behind in his preparation for the season. Hunter is recovering from off-season core muscle surgery, an injury he suffered with the Cubs.
Khris Davis – Brewers-Athletics Trade
There was a rather significant trade Friday afternoon involving a team in the NL Central.
The Brewers view Nottingham as their catcher of the future according to multiple reports. Billy Beane acquired Nottingham from the Astros in the Scott Kazmir trade last July.
Baseball America ranked Nottingham as the 11th best prospect in the A’s system and Bubba Derby was 12th in the Handbook.
David Stearns, the Brewers’ new GM, has made nine deals this winter according to Adam McCalvy. And at least one more could happen. Jonathan Lucroy is on the block and teams are interested in the veteran catcher.
Stearns hasn’t been able to unload his right fielder yet but he has done an excellent job of turning around the Brewers dreadful system this off-season.
Mets’ reliever, RHP Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended by Major League Baseball on Friday for testing positive to Boldenone, his third performance-enhancing substance violation in the past year. Mejia became the first player to receive a lifetime ban from the game due to PEDs.
According to Adam Rubin, Mejia can apply for reinstatement in one year but has to sit out a minimum of two seasons. Even if MLB reinstated him next year, the earliest Mejia could pitch again would be the 2018 season.
Adam Rubin was on top of the story Friday afternoon when the news broke. Suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball are “honored by affiliated leagues in other countries, such as Japan, South Korea and Mexico.” Players that are suspended can play in winter leagues. And Independent leagues “are not compelled to honor MLB suspensions but may choose to do so.”
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from Patrick Mooney, the Cubs message to Jason Heyward will be just be yourself.
• Jason Heyward is one of the many early arrivals to Spring Training and has already started getting to know and working with John Mallee according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
• After winning the winter, Cubs start trying to win October according to the Sun-Times.
• The Sun-Times: Kyle Schwarber, Javy Baez and the fifth element.
• Rick Sutcliffe will be in camp with the Cubs. The Red Baron tweeted Friday he is leaving for Mesa in a week. Sutcliffe, Jon Sciambi and Doug Glanville will call their first game of the spring together on ESPN when the Cubs host the Diamondbacks at Sloan Park on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
• FOX Sports asked if we are too excited about these five teams heading into the 2016 season … at the top of the list, the Chicago Cubs.
• LHP Craig Breslow agreed to terms with the Marlins on a minor league contract. If Breslow makes the team he will be paid $1.5 million according to Rob Bradford. Breslow can opt-out of his deal with the Marlins in late March. Bradford reported the Cubs, Red Sox and Blue Jays showed interest in the veteran lefty before he signed with Miami.
• The Brewers signed RHP Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal. Boyer will be in big league camp with Milwaukee.
• The Padres have been shopping Matt Kemp according to a report from Hardball Talk. Kemp can still hit, but that outfield defense would make him a fit for an American League team.
• RHP Shohei Ohtani was rather impressive this week according to Eric Longenhagen.
• Wrigley Rooftops launched its new website.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs signed free agent Jason Hammel
2014 – Cubs signed free agent James McDonald
2007 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Junior Lake
2007 – Cubs traded Jae Kuk Ryu to the Devil Rays for Andrew Lopez and Greg Reinhard
2002 – Cubs signed free agents Phil Norton and Donovan Osbourne
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Manny Martinez
1987 – Ryan Buchter, born
1954 – Donnie Moore, born
1915 – Cubs released Tommy Leach, Charlie Smith, Eddie Stack and Bill Sweeney
1914 – Cubs traded Johnny Evers to the Braves for Bill Sweeney
1908 – Gilly Campbell, born
1878 – Bill Bradley, born