On Tuesday, Cubs manager Rick Renteria completed his coaching staff by naming Hinske as the first-base coach. Hinske just recently retired from the MLB playing with seven teams over his 1,387 games in the big leagues. As you may expect he won’t have any previous coach experience which makes this an interesting signing for the Cubs. Hinske joins pitching Chris Bosio, bench coach Brandon Hyde, third-base coach Gary Jones, hitting coach Bill Mueller, bullpen coach Lester Strode, catching coach Mike Borzello, assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley on Reneria’s staff. Hinske should provide valuable information and will be able to relate to the players right away as he just retired. He will however have to get adjusted to Wrigley Field as Muskat points out he has only played 12 career games at Wrigley Field.

Carrie Muskat the MLB.com reporter for the Cubs previews next week’s winter meetings suggesting that the Cubs are still after pitching but not flippable arms like they have signed in the past two seasons. They also will be looking for a closer as Carlos Marmol departed through trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kevin Gregg is a free agent. The key thing stressed throughout the article is the Cubs are on a tight budget and can’t do much with signing the top guys to long term contracts. Muskat also evaluates the third base options for next year including Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt.

Major Deals around the MLB: 

Yankees Sign Jacoby Ellsbury: Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees for 7 years and 153 million pending a Wednesday Physical: Ellsbury to the Yankees was a bit of a shocker as they still have Robinson Cano as a a free agent. Ellsbury resembled after mentioned Johnny Damon who also played with the Boston Red Sox then signed with the Yankees. The deal is 11 million more than Carl Crawford signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent in 2010. To put into perspective the Red Sox will be paying AJ Pierzynski and David Ortiz 22 million for 2014 while the Yankees will be paying 22 million for Ellsbury.

Athletics Trade Seth Smith for Luke Gregerson: Billy Beane has been very active this off-season already trading Jemile Weeks for closer Jim Johnson and signing free agent Scott Kazmir. The Athletics bolstered their bullpen by trading fourth outfielder Seth Smith for eighth inning man Luke Gregerson. Gregerson has been quite the reliever for the Padres as the past two season he has pitched 150 games out of the bullpen and registered a 2.55 earned run average. Gregerson is 29 years old and signed a 3.2 million dollar arbitration contract with the Padres which will be his salary with the Athletics for the 2014 season.

Athletics Acquired OF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom from Texas Rangers for OF Michael Choice and INF Chris Bostick. This trade was made prior to the Seth Smith trade which made Gentry viable to replace Coco Crisp if he leaves via free agency after the 2014 season. Lindbloom has moved around a lot as he was drafted by the Astros in 2005. He was apart of the Shane Victorino trade which sent him to Philadelphia and the Michael Young trade which sent him to Texas. He struggled with Texas last year pitching to a 5.46 earned run average in eight games. Michael Choice is the real prize of the deal as he projects to be a great prospect and future MLB player. Choice last year in Triple A hit for a .302 average across 510 at-bats while registering 89 runs batted in and 44 extra base hits. Gentry is regarded as a defensive player with a strong arm and range in the outfield.

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Rob Willer is a marketing student, with a Spanish minor and certificates in interactive marketing and professional sales, currently attending Northern Illinois. He also works for the College of Business and Social Venture Partners Chicago as a marketing intern. He started following the Cubs in the 1996 season and was a bat boy for the 2004 and 2006 Spring Training seasons. Connect with Rob on Twitter @Rob_Willer or via e-mail.