With MLB and the MLBPA reaching an agreement on a new CBA, Baseball’s Winter Meetings will proceed as planned. Friday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players for next season then it is all about baseball’s annual gathering.
The front office is focused on adding pitching, both starters and relievers, and Jed Hoyer addressed the Cubs plans Wednesday.
Hoyer said Wednesday the Cubs feel “very good” about the team’s group of offensive players after the addition of Jon Jay to complement Albert Almora Jr. in center and the anticipated return of Kyle Schwarber next season.
According to the Tribune, the Cubs are “looking to add young starting pitcher for depth and help for their well-worked bullpen.”
Hoyer discussed the Cubs imbalance in the organization and admitted the front office is “trying to make sure we can accumulate as much pitching as possible.”
The Cubs realize they cannot count on the Major League pitching staff being as healthy as it has been the last two years, especially this past season.
The plan is to add depth and possibly a young, controllable starting pitcher to a rotation that currently consists of Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey and Mike Montgomery. As was the case last year, the Cubs would like to acquire young starting pitchers with minor league options.
The Cubs have to address the lack of left-handed options in the bullpen. With Aroldis Chapman and Travis Wood free agents and Montgomery penciled in the rotation, the Cubs have Zac Rosscup, Rob Zastryzny, Gerardo Concepcion and Jack Leathersich as left-handed relief options currently on the 40-man roster.
The Cubs were one of the teams interested in LHP Brett Cecil before he inked the four-year, $30.5 million contract with the Cardinals.
The front office is exploring all options (free agency and trades) in which to acquire young, controllable starting pitching and relievers.
Kyle Schwarber could play Winter Ball as part of his rehab process.
Jed Hoyer addressed Schwarber’s status and provided an update on the slugger’s rehab Wednesday. The Cubs are expected to provide more details at the Winter Meetings. For now, Schwarber could play ball this winter to get more at-bats as he prepares for Spring Training.
Schwarber is not expected to have any limitations in the spring. It is unknown at this point if he will be able to catch. Chris Bosio said after The World Series that Schwarber would report with pitchers and catchers but he did not know how much he would be able to participate in the drills early in camp.
Jed Hoyer told the beat writers Wednesday that Schwarber is “doing well after a month of rest after The World Series.”
During his conference call Wednesday, Jed Hoyer said the Cubs “would never close the door on a reunion” with Dexter Fowler. Fowler will always be a Cub and will always be welcome with the team.
The likelihood of Fowler re-signing with the Cubs is very slim, at best. Fowler is looking for a multi-year contract and is expected to get one this off-season. Hoyer said if the unexpected happens again this off-season the Cubs “would love to have him back” but the front office knows “how the business works.”
The Blue Jays have emerged as a legitimate candidate to sign Fowler, but they would want him to play a corner spot in the outfield and not center. The Rangers are also very interested. And the Cardinals are believed to have made Fowler a priority.
According to Bob Nightengale, Trevor Cahill is “marketing himself as a starter” this off-season and has already received offers from three teams.
Cahill turned down an opportunity with the Pirates last off-season to return to the Cubs on a one-year contract with no guarantees attached. The Pirates viewed Cahill as a starting pitcher a year ago.
Cahill got his career back on track with the Cubs. Under Chris Bosio and in two seasons with the Cubs, not counting the 2015 postseason, Cahill was 5-4 in 61 games, one start, with a 2.61 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 4.51 FIP. This past season, Cahill was a team player and accepted rehab time in the minors. Cahill was 4-4 in 50 games, all in relief, with a 2.74 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 4.35 FIP. Cahill’s numbers took a dip across the board but he still struck out 66 batters in 65 2/3 innings while allowed 49 hits.
Jason Hammel could receive a three-year contract with an AAV in the neighborhood of $13 million this off-season. The Cubs did not pick up his option for next season and paid him the $2 million buyout. Hammel is a free agent.
Hammel has been linked to the Yankees and according to Jon Heyman, the Marlins are another team interested in him.
Heyman reported Wednesday that the Marlins are “still looking at starters as well as relievers” after signing Edison Volquez (two years, $22 million). Doug Fister is also on the Marlins’ list according to Heyman.
Jed Hoyer and Rick Hahn addressed the report from Buster Olney about the White Sox not making trades with the Cubs. Olney reported earlier this week that the White Sox told the Cubs they will not make any trades with them, much less for Chris Sale.
Rick Hahn gave the expected answer to the question. The White Sox are looking for ways to improve their team and “are always open to discussing trades with all 29 other clubs.” Hahn explained “while trades between the Cubs and White Sox will always draw heightened scrutiny and attention, it makes no sense for us to ever eliminate any potential trade partners.”
“I don’t think it’s either one side’s stance or the other. I just don’t think you’re ever going to see a lot of deals done between the two sides. I think they’d always listen to the merits of a deal. They’re in the business of getting better and in the business of doing the best deal. But I don’t think anything that’s been written is the least bit surprising. I don’t expect a lot of deals done between the White Sox and the Cubs. I don’t think I’m saying anything surprising when I say that.”
The Cubs and White Sox have made a lot of deals with the last one taking place over 10 years ago when the Cubs acquired Neal Cotts for Carlos Vasquez and David Aardsma. The most notable trades happened in 1973, 1992 and 1998.
The Cubs dealt Ron Santo to the Sox for a package of players that included Steve Stone and Steve Swisher on Dec. 11, 1973. The Cubs acquired Sammy Sosa and Ken Patterson on March 30, 1992 from the Sox for George Bell. And the Cubs traded Jon Garland to the Sox for Matt Karchner on July 29, 1998.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Estimates range from $250,000 to more than $3 million on what the last-out ball from The World Series is worth according to the Tribune.
• Theo Epstein’s ‘simple’ draft strategy continues to pay off according to Phil Rogers.
• Baseball America named the Indians Chris Antonetti its Executive of the Year.
• The Orioles acquired RHP Logan Verrett from the Mets for cash.
• Ken Rosenthal explained why trading Andrew McCutchen is a real possibility for the Pirates. McCutchen is actively being shopped according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and it is very likely he will be traded.
• Rangers’ slugger Joey Gallo has switched agents according to Jon Heyman. Scott Boras now represents Joey Gallo. Boras is the agent for all three of the young Vegas power-hitters … Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Joey Gallo.
• The Astros agreed to terms with Nori Aoki on a one-year, $5.5 million contract. Aoki and the Astros avoided arbitration with the one-year deal. Aoki was a non-tender candidate.
• The Athletics signed C Ryan Lavarnway, 1B Chris Parmelee and CF Jaff Decker to minor league contracts that included non-roster invites to Spring Training.
A November to remember. pic.twitter.com/Fawqveo2Mo
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 30, 2016
— Corey Freedman (@CFCubsRelated) November 30, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Johnson
2005 – Red Sox purchased Jermaine Van Buren from the Cubs
1997 – Cubs signed free agent Derrick White
1992 – Javier Baez, born
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Jose Guzman
1988 – Dan Straily, born
1971 – Cubs released Ernie Banks. Banks retired from the game after a 19-year Hall of Fame career. Banks won back-to-back MVP awards and was the franchise’s first African-American Player. Banks was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999.
1971 – Cubs announced Ernie Banks will serve as a coach for the team in 1972.
1970 – Astros purchased Jack Hiatt from the Cubs
1969 – Cubs selected Jim Cosman from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft
1969 – Cubs selected Cleo James from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft
1969 – Brewers selected John Fleske from the Cubs in the minor league draft
1964 – Cubs traded Jimmie Schaffer to the White Sox for Frank Baumann
1959 – Cubs traded Bobby Thompson to the Red Sox for Al Schroll
1958 – Cubs selected Art Ceccarelli from the Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft
1956 – Tom Filer, born
1952 – Senators selected Les Peden from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1952 – Cubs selected Jim Willis from Shreveport (Texas League) in the Rule 5 Draft
1952 – Cubs signed free agent Al Evans
1943 – Athletics purchased Joe Berry from the Cubs
1936 – Cubs traded Joe Vitter, Johnny Gill, Gene Lillard, cash and a PTBNL to San Francisco (Pacific Coast League) for Joe Marty
1925 – Carl McLish, born
1918 – Lefty Sloat, born
1900 – Mike Cvengros, born
1882 – Ed Reulbach, born