MLB and the MLBPA reportedly made progress in negotiations for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Multiple reports indicated the two sides made “considerable progress” Tuesday and continued the talks through the night.
There is a lot of optimism that a new CBA will be in place by Thursday’s deadline. And if it’s not, that enough progress has been made in the negotiations to keep a lockout or work stoppage from happening.
The Cubs announced the signing of Jon Jay to a one-year deal Tuesday. Jay inked an $8 million contract and the addition of veteran outfielder likely means the end of the Dexter Fowler Era with the Cubs.
The Cubs started talking to Jon Jay during the GM Meetings according to ESPN Chicago. The Cubs view Jay as the left-handed complement to Albert Almora Jr. in center field. Jesse Rogers also reported that Jay will provide veteran leadership and is expected to fit right in the Cubs clubhouse.
Jay’s agent told ESPN Chicago that the Cubs “made it clear they are careful about the players they go after and recruit.” Jay’s agent respects the Cubs position and knows his client “checked all of their boxes.” The front office believes the chemistry in the clubhouse has led to all of the winning over the past two seasons.
Almora Jr. and Jay are both from Miami and based on the exchange on Twitter they are looking forward to being teammates.
According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs believe at the very least Jon Jay will fill the role that Chris Coghlan had, a fourth or fifth outfielder and a left-handed bat off the bench.
The addition of Jon Jay likely means Dexter Fowler will not return. The Cubs have not ruled out the possibility Fowler could re-sign with the team he helped win The World Series. But with Fowler looking for a multi-year contract, he wasn’t expected to re-sign with the Cubs this winter.
The Cubs could still bring back Dexter Fowler. But he is garnering a lot of attention and could sign a four- to five-year deal in the $80 million range. The Cubs were believed to be interested in Fowler on a shorter-term deal than he is likely to receive. Predictions have Fowler inking a contract with at least a $15 million AAV.
The Blue Jays are “showing strong interest” in Fowler according to Jon Heyman. The Jays would like to play Fowler in one of the corner outfield spots and hit at the top of their lineup.
The Cardinals and Rangers would like to sign Fowler as a leadoff hitter and centerfielder. The Cardinals have reportedly made Fowler a priority this off-season. Fowler has also been linked to the Astros, Braves, Mets and Yankees.
According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs could bring Fowler back even with signing Jon Jay. But that is unlikely at this point and “would take something unexpected happening again.”
The biggest bat on the free agent market is no longer available.
The Mets re-signed OF Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $110 million contract. Cespedes received a full no-trade clause. The Mets will pay Cespedes $22.5 million in 2017, $29 million in 2018 and 2019 and $29.5 million in 2020.
Cespedes’ contract has an AAV of $27.5 million, which is the second highest for a position player. Only Miguel Cabrera at $31 million has a higher average annual value.
In 132 games this past season, Cespedes batted .280/.354/.530 with 25 doubles, a triple and 31 home runs for a .884 OPS. Over two years with the Mets (189 games), Cespedes has hit .282/.348/.554 with 39 doubles, five triples and 48 home runs for a .903 OPS.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mets plan to play Yoenis Cespedes in left field.
According to multiple reports with Yoenis Cespedes back on a four-year deal, the Mets will try to trade Jay Bruce.
The Blue Jays are among the teams making a push for Bruce according to Jerry Crasnick. The Jays are looking for help in the corner outfield spots and have been interested in adding Bruce for quite some time.
The Mets are open to trading Curtis Granderson according to Marc Carig but would prefer to move Bruce.
Rumblings Tuesday indicated the Mets are still interested in Dexter Fowler and would like for him to play center. But it would require the Mets to trade Bruce first.
Rick Porcello, Anthony Rendon
Major League Baseball announced the Comeback Players of the Year on Tuesday. In the National League, the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon was named Comeback Player of the Year. And in the American League, it was AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello that received the award.
Rendon played in 156 games for Dusty Baker and helped the Nationals win the NL East title. Rendon batted .270/.348/.450 with 38 doubles, two triples and 20 home runs for a .797 OPS. Rendon had a 4.7 WAR.
Porcello led the Red Sox’s pitching staff to an AL East Championship. Porcello was 22-4 in 33 starts with a 3.15 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 3.40 FIP. Porcello struck out 189 batters in 223 innings and had a 5.2 WAR.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Stan Zielinski was the Cubs Scout of the Year for 2015 and on Dec. 10 he will be inducted into the Midwest Scouts Association Hall of Fame according to the Tribune. Zielinski has been with the Cubs since 2001 and has helped the team draft and sign such players as Kyle Schwarber and Jeff Samardzija.
• ESPN Chicago asked if the Cubs could turn to Hector Rondon as closer again in 2017. Jesse Rogers reported “all indications” are that Rondon is healthy again after dealing with a forearm injury at the end of the season.
• CBS Chicago reported on the White Sox not taking calls from the Cubs on Chris Sale.
• The Cardinals are interested in 3B Justin Turner according to Jon Paul Morosi. The Cardinals would likely have to trade Jhonny Peralta to make room for him on their roster. If the Cardinals were to sign Turner it is unlikely the Cardinals would also sign Dexter Fowler. Turner and Fowler rejected qualifying offers and the Cardinals would likely not give up two draft picks to sign both players. If the qualifying offer system changes under the new CBA, that could impact the decisions on Turner and Fowler. Turner would be an upgrade, offensively and defensively, for the Cardinals at third base.
• The Reds are listening to offers on all of their players, including Billy Hamilton according to Buster Olney.
• Jim Bowden reported there are six teams interested in Rich Hill, four of them are all in. The Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Astros are all in on Hill, the Red Sox and Orioles are the other two teams that have shown interest in the veteran left-hander.
• According to Buster Olney, there is “a growing sense” with the Dodgers that Kenley Jansen will sign with another team. The Marlins are interested in Jansen and would like to reunite him with Don Mattingly. Jansen may cost too much for the Marlins. Jayson Stark reported the Marlins “have signaled that they might be willing to trade” their closer A.J. Ramos.
• The Astros were “serious bidders” for Yoenis Cespedes according to Buster Olney before he re-signed with the Mets. The Astros have now turned their attention to Edwin Encarnacion. The Astros are looking for ways to upgrade their offense. And could use some of their young position players to acquire a starting pitcher, like Chris Sale.
• Brad Zeigler has about 12 teams interested in him according to Chris Cotillo. Zeigler said over the weekend that he had 10 teams touch base with him to that point. The Cubs have not been linked to Zeigler this off-season yet. The Cubs tried to acquire him from Arizona before he was dealt to the Red Sox.
• The Pirates signed free agent RHP Lisalverto Bonilla and designated LHP Jeff Locke for assignment.
• Baseball America named Indians’ skipper Terry Francona its Manager of the Year.
• Eric Thames received quite the deal from the Brewers. Thames has it in his contract that he cannot be offered salary arbitration at the end of his deal. He will become a free agent in either three or four years even without six years of service time. The Brewers cannot send him down to the minors without his consistent. And his deal includes an assignment bonus if he’s traded. Thames received three years and $16 million guaranteed from the Brewers. Thames will make $4 million in 2017, $5 million (2018) and $6 million (2019). There is a $1 million buyout on his fourth year option and he has an incentives package that pays him an additional $500,000 per season based on plate appearances.
• Nori Aoki (Astros), Lucas Duda (Mets), Jake McGee (Rockies), Ben Revere (Nationals) and Juan Nicasio (Pirates) are five players that could be non-tendered by Friday’s deadline according to a report from The Score.
• James Taylor is playing at Wrigley Field on Monday, July 17 with special guest Bonnie Raitt. Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 2 at 10:00am CST.
• Cubs’ prospect LHP Jose Paulino is one of 10 intriguing names Jonathan Mayo profiled for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.
• Javier Baez will play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic according to the Tribune.
• Addison Russell received the key to Pensacola, Florida.
And last, but not least … the quote of the day from Theo Epstein: “We’d love to be the type of organization that national baseball fans think of when you think of October baseball … the Braves, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals. We’ve got two postseasons in a row now and one championship. We’d like to be there every year if we can and take our shot. We’re lucky to have a lot of talented young players, great manager, support ownership, terrific fan base as resources. We’d like to see how sustained we can make this success. Our fans deserve a long run if we can possibly do it.”
This Day in Cubstory
2012 – Cubs granted free agency to Jaye Chapman, Ian Stewart and Zach Putnam
2011 – Cubs signed free agent OF David DeJesus to a two-year, $10 million contract that included an option for the 2014 season for $6.5 million. DeJesus was the first free agent signing of the Theo Epstein regime with the Cubs.
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Kevin Tolar
1985 – Luis Valbuena, born
1981 – Rich Harden, born
1980 – Shane Victorino, born
1977 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Kingman
1971 – Matt Lawton, born
1970 – Cubs selected Ron Tompkins from the Brewers in the Rule 5 Draft
1970 – Cubs selected Frank Coggins from the Indians in the Rule 5 Draft
1970 – Cubs traded Willie Smith to the Reds for Danny Breeden
1970 – Cubs traded Hoyt Wilhelm to the Braves for Hal Breeden
1970 – Cubs traded Pat Jacquez, Dave Lemonds and Roe Skidmore to the White Sox for Ossie Blanco and Jose Ortiz
1969 – Cubs acquired Bill Schlesinger and cash from the Red Sox for Ray Culp
1966 – Cubs released Chuck Estrada
1964 – Twins selected Ron Theobald from the Cubs in the First-Year draft
1964 – Cubs selected Bobby Cox from the Dodgers in the minor league draft. The future Hall of Fame manager played in two minor league seasons in the Cubs system.
1964 – Cubs selected Chris Krug from the Dodgers in the minor league draft
1961 – Billy Williams was named National League Rookie of the Year. Williams edged out Braves catcher Joe Torre after batting .278/.338/.484 with 20 doubles, seven triples and 25 home runs in 146 games. Williams ended up with a .822 OPS in his first full season in the big leagues.
1960 – Bob Tewksbury, born
1959 – Cubs selected Harry Bright from the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft
1954 – Cubs selected Buzz Clarkson from Dallas (Texas League) in the minor league draft
1953 – Cubs selected Luis Marquez from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft
1953 – Cubs sold catcher Carl Sawatski to the White Sox
1932 – Cubs acquired Babe Herman from the Reds for Rollie Hemsley, Johnny Moore, Lance Richbourg and Bob Smith