Friday is the beginning of what will be a very busy weekend and what is shaping up to be a hectic and interesting week at the Winter Meetings. Baseball’s annual gathering begins Sunday but first is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players for next season.
Friday (7:00pm CST) is the deadline for teams to tender contracts for next season. The Cubs have four arbitration eligible players. And the front office is expected to tender contracts to Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm.
The Cubs also have 26 automatic renewal players (0-3 men) on the 40-man roster.
Aaron Brooks, Jake Buchanan, Gerardo Concepcion, Carl Edwards Jr., Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Jack Leathersich, Mike Montgomery, Conor Mullee, Felix Pena, Jose Rosario, Zac Rosscup, Duane Underwood Jr., Rob Zastryzny, Victor Caratini, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jeimer Candelario, Tommy La Stella, Addison Russell, Christian Villanueva, Albert Almora Jr., Jacob Hannemann, Kyle Schwarber and Matt Szczur are the players currently on the Cubs’ 40-man roster with 0-3 years of Major League service time. Brooks, Villanueva and Concepcion are non-tender candidates.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players.
As part of the new CBA, the minimum salary was increased for next season.
MLB’s minimum salary will be $535,000 in 2017, up from $507,500 this past season. The CBA calls for the minimum salary to increase each of the next three seasons. The minimum will be $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019 according to the Associated Press.
Jon Jay spoke with the beat writers Thursday on a conference call and said it had been a surreal 24 hours for him and his family.
Jay’s one-year contract with the Cubs for $8 million was announced Tuesday while he was on the way to the hospital with his wife. Jay’s wife gave birth to twin girls.
Jay saw the change with the Cubs as soon as Theo Epstein took over. Jay is looking forward to playing with the Cubs because he likes to win.
Jon Jay and Albert Almora Jr. are expected to share time in center field which is fine with the former Cardinals and Padres’ outfielder. Jay has known Almora Jr. since 2012 and he wants to mentor him the same way Carlos Beltran did when the two played together with the Cardinals.
Jay told the beat writers that he has a “great relationship” with Almora Jr. Jay admitted he was glad Almora Jr. won a ring and said the two talked during the season and postseason.
Jay also knows Jason Heyward and John Lackey from their time together in St. Louis.
“As soon as Chicago called, it almost was a perfect match. I’m glad we were able to get it done quickly to be part of the Cubs’ organization. I like to win. That was very appealing about being a member of the Chicago Cubs.”
- Report from The Tribune
- Report from Bruce Levine
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from The Sun-Times
Jon Lester had a little fun on Twitter.
Lester said he was disappointed with the new CBA. Lester tried to “eliminate pitchers from having to throw to first base.” The rules change that Lester suggested obviously did not pass.
Lester’s self-deprecating humor is outstanding and usually well-timed as was the case on Thursday.
Jon Lester congratulated the MLBPA and the owners “for coming together on a new CBA!”
The Cardinals and Braves made a deal Thursday afternoon. Jaime Garcia is no longer with the Cardinals after St. Louis picked up his option earlier this off-season.
The Cardinals sent left-hander Jaime Garcia to the Braves for RHP John Gant, RHP Chris Ellis and 2B Luke Dykstra. Luke is the son of Lenny Dykstra.
Gant, the former Met, was 1-4 in 20 games, seven starts, with a 4.86 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 4.39 FIP for the Braves. The Cubs faced Gant on June 12 at Wrigley and scored three runs, two earned, on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. The Cubs won 13-2 and Gant took the loss.
Ellis was 4-7 in 15 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett with a 6.52 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. And Dykstra batted .302/.332/.363 with 17 doubles, a triple and zero home runs for a .696 OPS in 81 games for Low-A Rome in the South Atlantic League.
Jaime Garcia has dealt with one injury after another during his eight seasons with the Cardinals. This past year, Garcia was 10-13 with a 4.67 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 4.49 FIP in 32 games, 30 starts.
According to Jon Paul Morosi, LHP Justin Wilson is available and the Tigers have received a lot of inquiries about the left-handed reliever.
Wilson is arbitration eligible and has two years of control left before he hits free agency following the 2018 season. Wilson is 29 years old and does not turn 30 until August.
Wilson was 4-5 with a 4.14 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 3.18 FIP in 66 games this past season with Detroit, his first year with the Tigers. Wilson broke in with the Pirates and was traded to the Yankees on Nov. 12, 2014 for Francisco Cervelli. The Yankees moved him to the Tigers last Dec. 9 for Luis Cessa and Chad Green.
The Cubs have not been linked to Wilson but are one of the many teams looking for a left-handed relievers.
Pat Hughes – Baseball Voices
Pat Hughes’ latest CD in his Baseball Voices series is now available … The Chicago Cubs Win The World Series!
Mr. Hughes has done incredible work with this series and it would be safe to assume that the radio story of the 2016 World Series Champions will be more of the same.
Click here to order Pat Hughes’ CD about the World Series Champion, Chicago Cubs.
LeBron James – SI Sportsperson of the Year
Sports Illustrated named LeBron James its Sportsperson of the Year for 2016. King James is without a doubt one of the best basketball players of all-time. James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Title and ended the championship drought in Cleveland. And with all due respect to Mr. James, Sports Illustrated dropped the ball.
The Chicago Cubs were one of 12 finalists for the Sportsperson of the Year for 2016. The Cubs winning The World Series is the biggest sports story of the year.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Bob Nightengale, Jake Arrieta’s value went up for next off-season. Jake Arrieta is a free agent after the 2017 season and under the new CBA a team will not have to surrender its first round pick to sign him.
• Kyle Schwarber received a hero’s welcome from Indiana basketball fans according to Comcast SportsNet.
• The Nationals, according to Jon Heyman, think Aroldis Chapman will cost too much to sign. The Nationals appear to be focusing on re-signing Mark Melancon.
• John Lackey was voted as Boers and Bernstein’s 2016 Quote of the Year winner … “Great expectations? I mean, we’re trying to win a World Series. I didn’t come here for a haircut. We’re trying to get it on. I came here for jewelry.”
• Neil Ramirez signed a minor league contract with the Giants.
• Justin Verlander and Chris Sale talks could heat up at the Winter Meetings according to Scott Miller. And Jon Heyman provided the latest on the Chris Sale derby (well, at least it was the latest at 3:29pm CST on Dec. 1).
• Anthony Castrovince made bold Winter Meetings predictions. And he predicted Dexter Fowler will sign with the Blue Jays, Aroldis Chapman inks a deal with the Astros and Chris Sale is traded to the Nationals.
• The Rays are open to trading Chris Archer and Evan Longoria this off-season according to a report from The Score. The Rays are disappointed at the lack of small-market help in the CBA according to Marc Topkin.
• According to multiple reports, the Astros are pursuing both Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Beltran. Bob Nightengale reported the Astros believe they will be able to sign one of the two. The Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays are also “in pursuit” of Beltran.
• The Orioles are interested in trading for Curtis Granderson according to Jon Heyman but not Jay Bruce.
• The Nationals are pushing the Pirates on a deal for Andrew McCutchen. The Nationals would like to complete a trade before Friday’s tender deadline (7:00pm CST). If Mike Rizzo is able to acquire McCutchen, the Nationals would shift Trea Turner back to shortstop and non-tender Danny Espinosa according to Jayson Stark.
• Andrew Cashner’s one-year, $10 million contract with the Rangers includes an incentives package. According to Jon Heyman, Andrew Cashner would receive $100,000 for winning the Cy Young Award … and $75,000 for finishing second in the voting, $50,000 for a third place finish.
• The Mariners are close to signing LHP Marc Rzepczynski to a two-year contract according to Ken Rosenthal.
• The Dodgers avoided arbitration with OF Scott Van Slyke and RHP Chris Hatcher.
• The Indians signed OF Michael Martinez and C Erik Kratz to minor league contracts that included non-roster invitations to Spring Training.
• Jung Ho Kang is in trouble again. Kang was arrested Friday in Korea for DUI and fleeing from the scene of an accident. Kang crashed into guard rails with his car. Thankfully Kang did not hurt anyone. He did damage to property and his own car. Kang reportedly had a 0.084 blood alcohol level, well above the legal limit of 0.05 percent. The Pirates issued a statement and said the team is extremely disappointed in Kang and is investigating his latest issue. Kang could receive three years in jail for the DUI.
• Former Cubs’ hitting coach James Rowson has left the Yankees to become the Twins’ new hitting coach. Rowson has been with the Yankees serving as the minor league hitting coordinator after the Cubs made the change at hitting coach following the 2013 season.
• LeBron James will honor his bet with Dwayne Wade and will wear full Cubs gear to the United Center on Friday night.
• Click here for a video about the Commissioner’s Trophy from the Tribune.
And last, but not least, a quick reminder that FS1 will air The 2016 World Series film on Friday night (Dec. 2) at 6:00pm CST.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs granted free agency to Ryan Cook and Jack Leathersich
2014 – Cubs granted free agency to John Baker and Wesley Wright
2013 – Cubs granted free agency to Daniel Bard, Chang-Yong Lim and Mat Gamel
2010 – Ron Santo passed away at the age of 70. Santo was voted into the Hall of Fame in December 2011 and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
2009 – Cubs signed free agent Brad Snyder
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Bobby Howry to a three-year, $12 million contract
2005 – Cubs released Jose Macias
2004 – Cubs signed free agent to Peter Bergeron
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Scott McClain
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Henry Rodriguez
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Scott Sanders
1998 – Cubs released Dave Stevens
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Shawon Dunston
1994 – Cubs released Dave Otto
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Steve Lake
1991 – Cubs selected Jorge Pedre off waivers from the Royals
1984 – Cubs purchased Jamie Nelson from the Brewers
1974 – Cubs selected Tim Holsey from the Athletics in the Rule 5 Draft
1969 – Cubs purchased Adrian Garrett from the Phillies
1969 – Braves purchased Vic LaRose from the Cubs
1968 – Cubs selected Brock Davis from the Astros in the minor league draft
1968 – Indians selected Ron Law from the Cubs in the minor league draft
1967 – Yankees purchased John Boccabella from the Cubs
1965 – Cubs acquired Randy Hundley and Bill Hands from the Giants for Don Landrum and Lindy McDaniel
1963 – Cubs selected Wayne Schurr from the Giants in the Rule 5 Draft
1963 – Cubs selected Danny Breeden from the Cardinals in the First-Year Draft
1963 – Cubs selected Bryon Browne from the Pirates in the First-Year Draft
1963 – Cubs selected Vic Rosnovsky from the Giants in the Minor League Draft
1958 – Redlegs selected Dave Stenhouse from the Cubs in the Minor League Draft
1957 – Cubs selected Tony Taylor from the Giants in the Rule 5 Draft
1957 – Tigers selected Hy Cohen from the Cubs in the Minor League Draft
1957 – Cubs selected Marcelino Solis from Saltillo in the Minor League Draft
1952 – Cubs selected Joe Stanka from the Dodgers in the Minor League Draft
1936 – Browns purchased Ethan Allen from the Cubs
1934 – Andre Rodgers, born
1906 – Johnny Welch, born