Playing Catch Up on Cubs News
It’s Monday, and the stories of VFTB demise have been greatly exaggerated. As of right now, we’re not going anywhere. Because the news for the Cubs has not been earth shattering, let’s talk about what we do know since we’ve been eliminated.
- After the World Series ends, the real fun begins. MLB Trade Rumors came out with their annual salary arbitration estimates for all the teams. Remember that when a player is eligible for arbitration, the team has a couple of choices. 1) They can sign the player to either a one year or multi-year tender. 2) They can outright release the player with no guaranteed money required to be paid to the player). 3) Take the matter to an arbitration hearing in which the team submits their offered one year number and the player requests his. Both teams go before the arbiter and the arbiter chooses one of the two numbers based on the evidence presented by both sides. For the Cubs, eight players are eligible this year. The only one I feel has a chance to just be outright released is Leonys Martin. The rest will either come to a deal for a one year contract or negotiate a longer term deal. I don’t think we’ll see any deals greater than one year given the names on the list and where they are in the MLB service time period.
- MLB free agency begins the day after the World Series, and the Cubs have some players who are eligible to file. This year’s list: Alex Avila, Rene Rivera, Jon Jay, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Wade Davis, Koji Uehara, Brian Duensing. Once the players file, the Cubs have a five day window to make a decision as to if they plan to offer a “qualifying offer” to the player. Essentially, it’s offering the player a one year deal at approximately $18 mil. In the event the player accepts, then he’s a part of your team for 2018 at that price. If he declines, then he goes to free agency with the draft pick compensation tag around his neck, and the Cubs would get a compensation pick when a team signs that player. Of the players listed above, the only one I’d defintely give the offer to is Jake. That’s a no brainer. I’d probably consider it for Davis as well, as getting him back on another one year deal isn’t the worst thing in the world, and the draft pick would be nice if he declines and wants to test free agency. I’d guess Davis would decline the offer, as he’s running out of time to cash in on that bigger free agent deal. Two draft picks would help ease the blow of losing both this off-season.
- Coaching changes have been happening in bulk. John Mallee was replaced by Chili Davis as hitting coach. Gary Jones has been replaced by Brian Butterfield as third base coach. Eric Hinske took a job as the hitting coach for the Angels and was replaced by Andy Haines as the assistant hitting coach, which is a position that is different from assistant to the hitting coach. Finally, and most importantly, Jim Hickey was hired on to replace Chris Bosio as pitching coach. Hickey worked in Tampa with Maddon and Bosio was a holdover from the prior regimes, so you have to imagine it will be good for Maddon to get one of his guys in that role.
- Jacob Hannemann, a former Cubs outfielder prospect, has been claimed off waivers from the Marlins. To make room on the 40 man roster, Mike Freeman was designated for assignment. I don’t see this as a long term addition to the 40 man. I’d venture a guess that Hannemann would be designated when the Cubs make a move to add for next year, but you make the move to have his rights. If you designate him and he clears waivers, you can send him to Iowa and give him a shot to show something. He was rated as the 23rd prospect in the Cubs system last off-season.
- Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward have been nominated for a gold glove. Somehow, so has Ben Zobrist. This would be why I put zero importance in MLB awards. Rizzo already took home the well deserved Roberto Clemente award, which is given to an outstanding ambassador for MLB. Rizzo’s charity work with kids is phenomenal.
- Dave Martinez has taken a job to be the next manager for the Nationals, which means the Cubs bench coach is open. Get your resume dusted off, Sherm. Although, you may have to compete with David Ross.