Kris Bryant has already won the Hank Aaron Award this year and he is the favorite to be named NL Most Valuable Player on Thursday. It was a year ago today that Bryant was named the NL Rookie of the Year.
A day after he helped the Cubs win The World Series, Topps announced it had signed Bryant “to the largest and most significant exclusive card deal in the company’s baseball history.”
The exclusive, multi-year deal with Topps “will guarantee that autograph cards of Kris Bryant will only be found in future Topps and Bowman products starting with the 2017 Topps Baseball Series 1.” Bryant will be featured on the cover of Topps BUNT, which is “MLB’s official licensed trading card app.”
Terms of Bryant’s contract with Topps have not been disclosed.
David Leiner, VP and General Manager of North American Sports and Entertainment for Topps, said the company has never “executed such a long-term deal with any athlete.”
Topps is “beyond excited” to have the partnership with Kris Bryant and “look forward to working with him as his career continues to flourish.”
Kris Bryant has a good chance at being the first player in the history of the game to win College Player of the Year, Minor League Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and the league’s MVP in consecutive seasons.
BBWAA Awards – Jon Lester-Kyle Hendricks
Awards week shifts to the Cy Young Awards on Wednesday and the top pitching award for each league will be announced on the MLB Network (5:00pm CST) during an hour-long telecast.
Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are two of the three finalists for the NL Cy Young Award. Max Scherzer is the favorite to win the award. Lester and Hendricks were the top two pitchers on the best starting staff in baseball.
Rick Porcello (Red Sox), Corey Kluber (Indians) and Justin Verlander (Tigers) are the three finalists for the AL Cy Young Award.
- The Sun-Times – Cy of the Times: Hendricks or Lester to back Arrieta’s award?
- The Tribune – Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks each had Cy Young-worthy seasons
Joe Maddon finished second in the voting for the NL Manager of the Year. Dave Roberts (Dodgers) and Terry Francona (Indians) won the Manager of the Year Awards.
Maddon received eight first place votes and finished with 70 total points, 38 behind Roberts.
Joe Maddon’s Cubs beat Dave Roberts’ Dodgers to win the NL Pennant. And the Cubs beat Terry Francona’s Indians to win The World Series. According to Christopher Kamka, the Cubs are the third team, joining the 1986 Mets and 1985 Royals, to beat the NL Manager of the Year and AL Manager of the Year consecutively in the LCS and World Series.
Joe Maddon honored Don Zimmer and explained the story behind the ‘Derby Lane’ sign.
- CCO – Joe Maddon Finishes Second for NL Manager of the Year
- ESPN Chicago – Could a rainout have cost Cubs’ Joe Maddon Manager of the Year?
- Comcast SportsNet – Joe Maddon may not be Manager of the year, or a Game 7 hero, but the Cubs still see a future Hall of Famer
- Ken Davidoff – Why Joe Maddon wasn’t my NL Manager of the Year
Dexter Fowler, Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman
Jim Bowden posted his annual predictions and rankings for the top free agents. Bowden is usually pretty close when it comes to predicting what the players will sign for in terms of both dollars and length of contract.
Bowden ranked Kenley Jansen as the third best free agent in this year’s class. Bowden listed the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Yankees, Rangers and Giants as the best fits. And Bowden thinks Jansen will sign for five years and $87.5 million ($17.5 million AAV).
Aroldis Chapman is right behind Jansen in Bowden’s ranking. Chapman is the fourth best free agent, according to Bowden, and he lists the same fits for Chapman that he did for Jansen … the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Yankees, Rangers and Giants. Bowden believes Chapman will set the all-time record for a contract by a reliever and will ink a five-year, $90 million contract ($18 million AAV).
As for Dexter Fowler, Bowden ranked him as the fifth best free agent. Bowden has been consistent in reporting the Cardinals have made Fowler a priority. Bowden thinks the Cardinals, Rangers, Nationals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Mets, Giants and Astros are the best fits for Fowler.
Jim Bowden thinks Dexter Fowler will sign a five-year, $80 million contract ($16 million AAV).
2017 Cubs Convention
The 32nd annual Cubs Convention is Jan. 13-15, 2017 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
The Cubs announced Tuesday afternoon that weekend passes go on sale Friday at 12:00pm CST, with a MasterCard presale at 10:00am CST.
Weekend passes are $108.00 plus a convenience fee this year. The convention figures to sell out within minutes. Those interested can get more information by clicking on the link.
Veteran lefty reliever Joe Thatcher has retired from baseball.
Thatcher did not pitch in the majors this past season after being released by the Indians in March. Thatcher spent time with the Dodgers, Indians and the Cubs on minor league contracts but was unable to work his way back to the big leagues. Thatcher signed with the Cubs on Aug. 15 and finished his career with Triple-A Iowa.
Thatcher appeared in 10 games, making one start, for the Iowa Cubs and allowed five runs on 10 hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings (6.14 ERA, 1.77 WHIP).
Joe Thatcher pitched for four teams during his nine-year Major League career.
News, Notes and Rumors
• In this must-read, Ken Rosenthal explained Mike Montgomery’s long journey to the Cubs’ biggest out in 108 years.
• The Hardball Times – An Elegy for David Ross, the Greatest Backup Catcher of His Generation
• David Ross has not decided what is next for him in the game. Jesse Rogers reported Tuesday information he got from Ross over the weekend. Ross said he is “open to anything in baseball though it’s doubtful he would coach right away.” It is possible Ross could take a job in the Cubs’ front office similar to the position Ryan Dempster has. Rogers added he “is in no rush” to make any decisions.
• According to ESPN, it’s time the Cubs embrace their true identity: baseball superpower.
• Anthony Rizzo kept the promise he made on Good Morning America. ‘Rizzo’ the dog was adopted and the Cubs’ first baseman is sending an autographed jersey to the family.
• Carl Edwards Jr. will serve as honorary Carolina Panthers drummer according to a report from Tony Andracki.
• Signing Dexter Fowler is a juicy option for the Cardinals according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
• FOX Sports reported Chicago Cubs World Series celebration reaches Pope Francis at the Vatican.
• Former Cubs’ lefty Felix Doubront re-signed with the A’s on a minor league contract.
• The Tigers and Giants have discussed a trade that would send OF J.D. Martinez to San Francisco according to Jon Paul Morosi. The conversation took place at the GM Meetings and has not advanced past the initial stage.
• Ty Wright is being inducted into the Oklahoma State University Baseball Hall of Fame.
• Tuesday’s New York Times crossword puzzle had a very strong Cubs theme.
And last, but certainly not least, this happened two weeks ago tonight …
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Kris Bryant was named the unanimous winner of the National League Rookie of the Year Award
2015 – Cubs signed free agent Drew Rucinski
2014 – Cubs acquired Tommy La Stella from the Braves for Arodys Vizcaino
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Dioner Navarro
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Scott Moore
2009 – Cubs granted free agency to John Grabow
2006 – Cubs acquired Neal Cotts from the White Sox for Carlos Vasquez and David Aardsma
2005 – Cubs traded Jon Leicester to the Rangers for Clint Brannon
2002 – Cubs hire Dusty Baker to manage the team and sign him to a four-year contract
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Julian Tavarez to a two-year contract
1994 – Cubs released Randy Veres
1968 – Chris Haney, born
1957 – Cubs traded Casey Wise to the Milwaukee Braves for Leonard Williams, Ben Johnson, Chick King and cash
1954 – Cubs traded Ralph Kiner to the Indians for Sam Jones, Gale Wade and $60,000
1950 – Cubs selected Jack Cusick from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft
1950 – Indians selected Lou Klein from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1950 – Cubs selected Turk Lown from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft
1950 – Yankees selected Bob Muncrief from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft