Jason Heyward is spending the off-season in Arizona working on his swing. And Darnell McDonald, one of the team’s mental skills coaches, posted a video of the changes Heyward as already made on Instagram.
Heyward bought a house near the Cubs’ complex in Mesa and is working with hitting coaches Eric Hinske and John Mallee and Barry Bonds this off-season. Heyward has to rework his swing after having the worst offensive season of his career.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer talked about the changes Heyward needed to make this off-season. And Epstein pointed out that Cubs’ fans have not seen “the type of hitter that Jason Heyward is … and can be … yet.” Epstein is confident that the fan base will.
Heyward’s struggles at the plate throughout his first season with the Cubs are well-documented. To his credit, he did not let his issues at the plate impact his defense.
The changes Heyward has already made are rather obvious. He has changed his hands, very similar to Anthony Rizzo, and he has simplified his swing mechanics which should allow for a quick and better path to the ball.
From the video that was posted, it looks like Jason Heyward is still fighting old habits. But he is working on making the changes that are needed for him to contribute to the Cubs offensively in his second season with the team.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Jason Hammel has changed agents and will likely join ACES after leaving Octagon.
Rosenthal reported Hammel “has yet to generate the interest he anticipated, even in a thin market for starting pitchers.” Hammel has been linked to the Marlins and Yankees. Nick Cafardo reported over the weekend that about 10 teams were interested in Hammel, which contradicts the report from Rosenthal.
Teams are questioning whether or not Hammel is healthy. The Cubs said he was in the statement Theo Epstein made when the team decided not to pick up his option for next season. Hammel’s final start was skipped with right elbow tightness and he did not pitch in the postseason. Hammel reportedly pitched in Arizona to stay ready if the Cubs needed him, but he was not called on in October.
Jim Bowden predicted Hammel would receive a three-year, $39 million contract this winter.
As expected, LHP Clayton Richard has re-signed with the Padres on a one-year deal. Richard will make $1.75 million next season and his deal includes a $1 million incentives package, plus a $250,000 assignment bonus if he’s traded, according to Jon Heyman.
Richard returned to San Diego after he was released by the Cubs on Aug. 3. Richard was 0-1 in 25 relief appearances with a 6.43 ERA, 2.14 WHIP and 4.07 FIP for the Cubs. Once back in San Diego, Richard was 3-3 in 11 games, nine starts, with a 2.52 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and 4.19 FIP. Richard allowed 21 runs, 15 earned on 58 hits with 24 walks and 34 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings.
According to Dennis Lin, the Padres are talking with RHP Jake Peavy about a reunion.
Peavy was drafted by the Padres in the 15th round back in 1999 and made his debut with the Padres in 2002. Peavy was dealt to the White Sox in 2009 after almost being traded to the Cubs the previous off-season.
Peavy is coming off a bad year with the Giants. He was 5-9 with a 5.54 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 4.36 FIP in 31 games, 21 starts.
The Red Sox and Phillies made a trade Tuesday.
The Red Sox sent RHP Clay Buchholz to the Phillies for minor league second baseman Josh Tobias. Jon Heyman broke the news early in the day in that Buchholz was on the move from the Sox.
The Phillies are paying the entire $13.5 million owed to Buchholz on the final year of his contract. And the Red Sox received a player in return that was not one of the top 30 players in the Phillies’ system according to Baseball America.
Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod took Buchholz with the 42nd overall pick in the 2005 draft. Buchholz was 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 5.06 FIP in 37 games, 21 starts, for the Sox last season. Buchholz pitched out of the bullpen for the first time since the 2008 season.
Tobias was selected by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 2015 draft. Tobias played in two levels of the Phillies system last season and hit .291/.362/.422 with 31 doubles, three triples and nine home runs for a .784 OPS between Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater.
News, Notes and Rumors
• A must read from Patrick Mooney … Behind the Scenes at Wrigley: Cubs winning World Series hit longtime scout Sam Hughes like a tidal wave
• According to the Tribune, fight between Cubs fan, team highlights tenuous ownership of season tickets. Fans that are using the resale market oppose Cubs ‘absolute discretion’ to revoke season tickets.
• Joe Maddon is ready to hunt for another title with new closer Wade Davis according to the Tribune.
• P.J. Mainville reflected on his career with Kelly Setzer.
• Sports Illustrated posted the 25 most memorable sports quotes of 2016.
• RHP Daniel Hudson signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Pirates … and FanGraphs reported let’s all be happy for Daniel Hudson and the Pirates.
• The Giants are also interested in Twins’ 2B Brian Dozier. The Dodgers are the frontrunners to acquire Dozier and have the prospects to make a deal with the Twins. The Giants do not have the prospect currency to satisfy the Twins in a deal for Dozier according to Jon Heyman.
• The Pirates “have worked hard to try to make a trade for LHP Jose Quintana” according to Buster Olney.
• The Rockies are not done this off-season according to their GM Jeff Bridich. The Rockies will “continue to be active both on free agents and the trade market.” Bridich told MLB Network the Rockies are “keeping track” of Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo. Bridich said “it would be stupid” not to.
• The Red Sox announced former Cubs’ OF Junior Lake and LHP Edgar Olmos received non-roster invitations to Major League Spring Training.
• The D-Backs singed Oswaldo Arcia to a minor league contract. Arcia struggled with four different teams (Twins, Rays, Marlins, Padres) last season, hitting .203/.270/.366 with seven doubles, a triple and eight home runs for a .637 OPS in 69 games.
• Dan Bernstein thinks the White Sox should ask for Gleyber Torres from the Yankees in any deal involving LHP Jose Quintana.
• The Indians signed 1B/DH Chris Colabello to a minor league contract that includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training. Colabello was suspended for 80 games last season for using PEDs.
• The Indians were busy Tuesday. Along with Colabello, the Indians acquired RHP Nick Goody from the Yankees for a PTBNL or cash. Goody was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Aroldis Chapman.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Craig Sager’s family honored his love of the Cubs at his memorial.
And last, but not least, Pearl Jam was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
This Day in Cubstory
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Brad Nelson
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Nate Schierholtz
2012 – Rangers claimed Jeff Beliveau off waivers from the Cubs
2012 – Giants claimed Sandy Rosario off waivers from the Cubs
2011 – Cubs signed free agent Reed Johnson
2003 – Cubs granted free agency to Scott Chiasson and Randall Simon
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Michael Barrett
2002 – Cubs granted free agency to Will Cunnane, Mike Mahoney and Courtney Duncan
2000 – Cubs granted free agency to Jamie Arnold and Steve Rain
1999 – Cubs granted free agency to Scott Sanders
1989 – David Rollins, born
1987 – Cubs released Jay Baller
1985 – Brian Schlitter, born
1983 – Taylor Teagarden, born
1972 – LaTroy Hawkins, born
1964 – Cardinals purchased Danny Breeden from the Cubs
1960 – P.K. Wrigley instituted the College of Coaches. The Cubs owner announced the team would no longer have a manager but would instead be run by a college of eight coaches that included Rip Collins, Charlie Grimm, Elvin Tappe, Goldie Holt, Vedie Himsl, Harry Craft, Bobby Adams and Rube Walker. Before the College of Coaches experiment was finally called off in October 1965, Bob Kennedy, Buck O’Neil, Lou Klein, Charlie Metro, Al Dark, Freddie Martin, Mel Wright and Mel Harder were at one time part of the faculty of the College of Coaches.
1951 – Cubs released Mickey Owen
1950 – Hollywood of the PCL purchased Don Carlsen from the Cubs
1948 – Dave Kingman, born
1925 – Bob Rush, born
1897 – Pete Scott, born
1887 – Cy Williams, born