It’s Cyber Monday and the start of two of baseball’s biggest weeks of the off-season.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires Thursday, Dec. 1. Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday night that MLB and the Players Association met in Dallas and will continue the negotiations for the new CBA this week.
The owner made new proposals Sunday during the talks on the International Draft and Luxury-Tax threshold. Rosenthal said the progress remains slow between MLB and the MLBPA.
The talks will resume Monday “and should intensify at the union meetings” in Dallas. Negotiators and players will attend the meetings as the two sides attempt to hammer out a new CBA before Thursday.
Friday, Dec. 2 is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players for next season. The Cubs have four arbitration eligible players: Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop. And the team has 26 automatic renewal players (0-3 men) on the 40-man roster.
Aaron Brooks, Jake Buchanan, Gerardo Concepcion, Carl Edwards Jr., Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Jack Leathersich, Mike Montgomery, Conor Mullee, Felix Pena, Jose Rosario, Zac Rosscup, Duane Underwood Jr., Rob Zastryzny, Victor Caratini, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jeimer Candelario, Tommy La Stella, Addison Russell, Christian Villanueva, Albert Almora Jr., Jacob Hannemann, Kyle Schwarber and Matt Szczur are the players currently on the Cubs’ 40-man roster with 0-3 years of Major League service time.
Baseball’s Winter Meetings begin next Sunday (Dec. 4-8) and conclude on Thursday, Dec. 8 with the Rule 5 Draft. The Winter Meetings are outside of Washington DC in National Harbor, Maryland at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
And on Friday (Dec. 2, 6:00pm CST), FS1 will air the 2016 World Series film ahead of the Dec. 6 release on Blu-ray and DVD.
For as quiet as the last 10 days have been, the next two weeks should more than make up for the lull in the action.
26-Man Roster Rumors
One of the issues the MLB and the MLBPA are trying to resolve in negotiations for the new CBA is the size of teams’ active rosters from April through August.
Teams would like to put a limit on the number of players that can be called up from the 40-man roster and activated in September. As a concession for limiting active rosters in September, Major League Baseball could increase the 25-man roster to 26 players for the first five months of the season.
The Cubs used a six-man rotation on a couple of occasions this past season as a way to keep their starters as fresh as possible for a postseason run in October. Joe Maddon hinted at the end of the year that the Cubs were discussing the possibility of using a six-man rotation more in 2017 than the team did.
Peter Gammons reported that “several general managers speculated that if MLB and the MLBPA can agree on a 26-man roster that it will allow several teams to use a sixth starter as often as possible.” Another GM that Gammons talked to thinks a 26t man “will allow all teams to use that spot to develop at least two five-six out setting men for high leverage situations getting to the closer as we saw with the Indians in the postseason.”
The Cubs could obviously use a six-man rotation without sacrificing a relief pitcher if the active roster limit is increased by one player.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Buster Olney provided some cool stats about Anthony Rizzo. He hit nine home runs on sliders over his career entering last season. Rizzo hit eight home runs this past season on sliders. Rizzo went from hitting .184 in 2013 against sliders to .295 in 2014 back to .175 in 2015. Last season (2016), Rizzo hit .311 against sliders.
• Kris Bryant hit .335 against fastball this past season … Buster Olney was full of numbers on Sunday. Bryant batted .521 with a 1.646 OPS with a 1-0 count and .381 with a 3-1 count.
• The Cubs plan on addressing the lack of a social media policy for their minor leaguers according to a report from Gordon Wittenmyer.
• Flooding forced the Cubs to close the team’s Dominican facility until January.
• According to John Perrotto, the Cardinals are looking for a centerfielder and have discussed various trades with a number of teams. The player the Cardinals are asked about in a deal for a centerfielder is RHIP Alex Reyes. John Mozeliak is not going to part with the 22-year old that has the stuff to be a No. 1 starter in the big leagues.
This Day in Cubstory
1984 – Cubs signed free agent Dennis Eckersley
1983 – Carlos Villanueva, born
1967 – Cubs selected Jose Arcia from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft
1967 – Cubs selected Ramon Hernandez from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft
1967 – Cubs selected Bill Plummer from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft
1966 – Cubs selected Joe Campbell from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft
1962 – Cubs acquired Steve Boros from the Tigers for Bob Anderson
1960 – Cubs selected Cuno Barragan from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft
1960 – Giants selected John Goetz from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1960 – Cubs selected Phil Murdock from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft
1960 – Cubs selected Elder White from the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft
1955 – Cubs acquired Hobie Landrith from the Redlegs (Reds) for Hal Jeffcoat
1927 – Cubs traded Sparky Adams and Floyd Scott to the Pirates for Kiki Cuyler
1918 – Russ Meers, born