Happy New Year!
It’s the last day of Two Thousand Sixteen and what a year it was for the Cubs. As it turns out, it was The Year for the Chicago Cubs.
Jon Lester had an incredible, Cy Young-worthy season for the Cubs. Lester was key to the Cubs winning the World Series, shared the NLCS MVP Award with Javier Baez and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting. Lester received the The Babe Ruth Award for the Most Valuable Player in the Postseason.
Lester was named the recipient of this year’s Warren Spahn Award, which is presented annually to the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. The winner is “based on victories, strikeouts and ERA.”
In 32 starts in the regular season, Lester was 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 3.41 FIP. Lester allowed 57 runs, 55 earned, on 154 hits with 52 walks and 197 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings. Lester was the NL Pitcher of the Month in June and September.
Jon Lester will be recognized at the Warren Spahn Award Gala at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum on Feb. 2 according to a report from The Oklahoman.
Lester said, “It’s an honor to be recognized, but it’s truly special to win an award that is named for a baseball legend like Mr. Spahn. This award recognizes the hard work of our entire team. I accept it on behalf of my teammates and the entire Cubs organization.”
Jason Hammel’s off-season has not gone the way the veteran right-hander would have liked, at least to this point of the winter. Jason Hammel has switched agents, moving from Alan Nero and Octagon to Aces. Many thought Hammel would sign at least a three-year contract after the Cubs declined the option for next season and he became a free agent. But despite a lot of interest, at least 10 teams with Hammel being linked to the Marlins, Yankees and Mariners, teams do not appear willing to offer more than a one-year contract.
According to John Perrotto, teams are concerned about Hammel and giving him a deal longer than one year. Hammel was left off the Cubs’ postseason rosters, according to Perrotto, because of elbow tightness and scouts “believe the quality of the 34-year old’s stuff if declining.”
An American League scout Perrotto spoke with said, “He’s going to have to lower his sights. There are just too many questions marks surrounding him. I’m not saying he couldn’t help someone, it’s just that he’s not a sure thing and it’s tough to commit a lot of money to that kind of player.”
According to a report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Twins have asked the teams interested in Brian Dozier to make best and final offers for the second baseman “in the coming days.”
The Dodgers appear to be the team with the most interest in Dozier. Andrew Friedman has not been willing to pay the price. The Dodgers, according to multiple reports, would send RHP Jose De Leon to the Twins for Dozier, but apparently nothing else. The Dodgers would like to make a one-for-one deal and that is simply not going to happen.
The Cardinals conversations about Dozier have reportedly centered on Kolten Wong and RHP Luke Weaver. Again, the Twins have placed a higher price tag on Dozier than those two players. And the Cardinals are not willing to include RHP Alex Reyes in any trades.
The Giants, Braves and Nationals have also been linked to Dozier. The Giants do not have the prospect currency to pull off a trade for Dozier. The Braves have the prospects to make a deal, as is the case with the Giants, the Nationals may not have enough in the system to acquire Dozier.
Buster Olney explained why the Twins do not have to trade Dozier right now and could just wait to move him in-season.
News, Notes and Rumors
• ESPN Chicago asked if the Cubs can do it again … will the banner year be the start of newest Chicago dynasty? And Carrie Muskat took a look at the five questions facing the Cubs entering the New Year and title defense.
• Hardball Talk’s No. 1 baseball story of 2016 … The Cubs Win it All.
• Danny Ecker ranked the 10 biggest Chicago sports business stories of 2016. At the top of the list on Crain’s Chicago Business … It finally happened, the Cubs Won The World Series. The second biggest Chicago sports business story of the year … The birth of Bryzzo.
• Cubs fandom finally pays off for father and son according to a report on ESPN Chicago.
• Marc Edelman reported on the search for the next Kyle Hendricks … the Dartmouth Grad’s dynamic season has put ivy pitchers in demand.
• MLB.com detailed the top five games of 2016 … and No. 1 on the list, Game 7 and the Cubs World Series Championship.
• Click here to take MLB.com’s quiz to find out how closely you followed the season. And the Score posted a quiz on the 2016 season, click here to check your knowledge of the year that was.
• Hardball Talk posted a full countdown, with links, of the top 25 baseball stories of 2016.
Making the case that 2016 was the greatest year in sports… EVER. pic.twitter.com/2FkpXuFMf8
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 30, 2016
What was your favorite catch of 2016? pic.twitter.com/mFVCPjG8P8
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 31, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 31, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Dayan Diaz
2009 – Cubs agreed to terms on a three-year, $15 million contract with free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd
2008 – Cubs traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians for Chris Archer, John Gaub and Jeff Stevens
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Aaron Miles
2004 – Cubs re-signed free agent Todd Hollandsworth
1961 – Rick Aguilera, born
1961 – Steve Engel, born
1955 – Jim Tracy, born
1919 – Loyd Christopher, born
1879 – Fred Beebe, born
1857 – King Kelly, born