Baseball’s Winter Meetings officially get underway today. There was a lot of buzz and a big-name signing Sunday as the baseball world made its way to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are focused on upgrading the Major League pitching staff, both starters and relievers, according to Joel Sherman, which is exactly what the Cubs have said publicly. Epstein and Hoyer would like to acquire pitching this week.
According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs are talking about “a number of pitchers” with Chris Archer (Rays), Jake Odorizzi (Rays) and Alex Colome (Rays) believed to be on the list. Kenley Jansen could be the direction the front office goes if the Cubs spends big on a reliever or the front office will fill the needs in the pen with smaller deals. And Tyson Ross could also be a fit with the Cubs.
The Tribune reported the Cubs could use the depth to acquire pitching. According to Mark Gonzales, Jorge Soler and prospects such as Jeimer Candelario, Victor Caratini and Mark Zagunis could be used to acquire pitching. And pitching prospects Jose Paulino and Corey Black, who are both Rule 5 Draft eligible, are also “intriguing” to other teams.
The Cubs’ priority is pitching. The front office feels the lineup and defense could be better next season according to the Sun-Times. Epstein and Hoyer know the Cubs have been very fortunate on the pitching side the last two seasons and must build depth that simply does not exist right now.
According to Jon Heyman, Dexter Fowler continues to talk to the Blue Jays about a multi-year contract. Heyman indicated Fowler and the Jays “are still apart” in the negotiations. The Cardinals “are one other strong possibility.”
The Cardinals are considered the frontrunner for Fowler followed by the Blue Jays, Giants and Nationals. The Rangers were believed to be in on Fowler, but reports Sunday suggested they are no longer interested in signing him.
Ken Rosenthal reported the Jays are talking to multiple outfielders, including Dexter Fowler.
Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon
The market is heating up for the big three closers … Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon. And it appears the Marlins are in on all three and are intent on signing one of them.
According to Ken Rosenthal, some with the Marlins would prefer to sign Kenley Jansen and are willing to surrender the 14th overall pick in the draft to do so. Others with the Marlins like Aroldis Chapman and there is also interest in Mark Melancon.
The Marlins are willing to offer Jansen a huge contract and surrender the draft pick to sign him. According to Rosenthal, the Marlins will go five years and $80 million to land Jansen and reunite him with Don Mattingly.
The Giants, Nationals and Marlins are believed to be the three teams with offers (four years, around $60 million) on the table for Melancon.
Rosenthal reported that Chapman “actually makes the most sense” for the Marlins “given the marketing appeal in Cuban community.” The Yankees would like to re-sign Chapman and like the fact they would be able to keep the 17th overall pick in the draft because he is not attached to draft compensation.
According to Buster Olney, the market for the other free agent relievers “won’t really start moving” until Chapman, Jansen and Melancon sign. Olney added that 13 teams have checked in on Brad Ziegler. And according to Jon Heyman, 16 teams have reached out to Daniel Hudson.
Hall of Fame
Former Commissioner Bud Selig and John Schuerholz were elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame by Today’s Game Era Committee. Selig and Schuerholz will be enshrined into Cooperstown as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Selig received 15 of the 16 votes necessary for induction and Schuerholz was voted in unanimously, receiving all 16 votes.
Lou Piniella received seven of the necessary 12 votes for enshrinement.
Schuerholz was the first GM to win the World Series in both leagues (1985 Royals, 1994 Braves) and is widely considered the best general manager of his era.
Matt Holliday is no longer employed by the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Yankees inked Holliday to a one-year, $13 million contract. Holliday now resides in the AL East and is Starlin Castro’s teammate.
Holliday has to pass a physical before the one-year deal becomes official.
Players’ Meal Money
According to a report from Pedro Gomez, the players’ meal money is going down as part of the new CBA.
Gomez reported Sunday night that the players’ meal money is going from $105 to $30 per day on the road. Gomez explained that teams, under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement have to provide players pre- and/or post-game meals in the visitor’s clubhouse now.
Players also use their meal money to tip clubhouse attendants on the road. The reduction in the meal money will likely have an effect on that tradition.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Ken Rosenthal explained why he thinks teams are more motivated than ever to lock up their young talent. And it all has to do with the Luxury-tax thresholds that were set in the new CBA. Rosenthal proposed the Cubs could sign Kris Bryant, for an example, to a three-year extension for $45 million that would buy out three of his arbitration years and then sign him to a 10-year, $300 million extension. The two contracts would pay Bryant $345 million over 13 years. Rosenthal pointed out that Scott Boras would likely not let Bryant sign those extensions because “he prefers his clients to establish their values on the open market.”
• The Nationals are trying to acquire Chris Sale from the White Sox and Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates … and according to Bob Nightengale, Mike Rizzo thinks he has enough prospect currency to make both trades.
• Jon Paul Morosi reported on five free agents and five trade candidates to keep on the radar this week at the Winter Meetings … Dexter Fowler, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen are included in his report.
• Patrick Mooney explained why teams will find trying to copy a ‘Cubs Way’ rebuild is easier said than done.
• The Cardinals must go big or go home to contend with the Cubs according to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
• The Dodgers are one of four to five teams that are in on Brian Dozier according to Jon Heyman.
• According to Jim Salisbury, the Phillies are closing in on a deal with veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit.
• Pedro Alvarez is on the Red Sox radar according to Jon Heyman.
• Joe Nathan is looking for a job according to Jon Heyman and there are teams that are interested in the veteran reliever.
• The Rangers have talked to the Reds about Billy Hamilton according to Buster Olney.
• Jim Bowden confirmed the Dodgers are close to a deal with LHP Rich Hill. According to Bowden, Hill’s three-year deal will be completed and announced at the Winter Meetings. The Dodgers have only one spot on the 40-man roster and are shopping Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy according to Buster Olney.
• The Indians have shown interest in Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland, Adam Lind and Chris Carter according to Jon Paul Morosi.
• John Harper posted a Winter Meetings preview in the New York Daily News.
• Agents are still angry over labor deal according to Buster Olney.
This Day in Cubstory
2011 – Ron Santo was elected to the Hall of Fame. Santo was finally voted in to The Hall after receiving 15 of 16 votes from the Golden Era Committee.
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Brad Snyder
1994 – Cubs selected Tanyon Sturtze from the Athletics in the Rule 5 Draft
1988 – White Sox selected Rich Amaral from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1988 – Cubs selected Eric Yielding from the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 Draft
1988 – Cubs acquired Mitch Williams, Steve Wilson, Curt Wilkerson, Paul Kilgus, Pablo Delgado and Luis Benitez from the Rangers for Drew Hall, Jamie Moyer and Rafael Palmeiro
1983 – Cubs selected Johnny Abrego from the Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft
1977 – Cubs selected Jesus Figueroa from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft
1974 – Cubs acquired Mike Adams from the Twins for Tom Lundstedt
1973 – Ron Santo became the first player in Major League history to invoke his 10-and-5 rights when he vetoed a trade from the Cubs to the Angels.
1972 – Cliff Floyd, born
1957 – Cubs acquired Taylor Phillips and Sammy Taylor from the Braves for Eddie Haas, Don Kaiser and Bob Rush
1949 – Cubs selected Hy Cohen from the Yankees in the Minor League Draft
1949 – Cubs selected Ben Taylor from the Dodgers in the Minor League Draft
1940 – Cubs purchased Slick Coffman from the Browns
1936 – Cubs traded Woody English and Roy Henshaw to the Dodgers for Lonny Frey