Gioskar Amaya, INF Jeffry Antigua, LHP Frank Batista, RHP Julio Borbon, OF Justin Bour, 1B Marcelo Carreno, RHP Lendy Castillo, RHP Javier Castro, RHP Zach Cates, RHP Hunter Cervenka, LHP Pin-Chieh Chen, OF Casey Coleman, RHP Gerardo Concepcion, LHP Willson Contreras, C Aaron Cunningham, OF Wes Darvill, INF Michael de la Cruz, RHP Antonio Encarnacion, RHP Paolo Espino, RHP Carlos Figueroa, INF Eduardo Figueroa, RHP Luis Flores, C Anthony Giansanti, OF Edgar Gonzalez, INF Enyel Gonzalez, RHP Carlos Gutierrez, RHP Jae-Hoon Ha, OF Marcus Hatley, RHP Marco Hernandez, INF Walter Ibarra, INF Eric Jokisch, LHP Austin Kirk, LHP Matt Loosen, RHP Jeff Lorick, LHP Eric Martinez, RHP Marcos Mateo, RHP Darnell McDonald, OF Trey McNutt, RHP A. J. Morris, RHP Jonathon Mota, INF Thomas Neal, OF Chad Noble, C Alan Oaks, RHP Loiger Padron, RHP Yomar Pacheco, RHP Amaury Paulino, RHP Felix Pena, RHP Starling Peralta, RHP Carlos Pimentel, RHP Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP Orbandy Rodriguez, RHP Greg Rohan, IF-OF Jose Rosario, RHP Victor Salazar, RHP Brian Schlitter, RHP Ryan Searle, RHP Elliot Soto, INF Nick Struck, RHP Chris Valaika, INF Jeudy Valdez, INF Yao-Lin Wang, RHP Casper Wells, OF Eli Whiteside, C Oliver Zapata, OF
Not trying to step on Rob's post so my apologies for the dueling TCR writeups.
I'm providing a hand made transcript of the XM Front Office Radio show, hosted by former GM's Jim Bowden, (Reds GM 1992-2003 and Expos/Nationals 2004-2009) and Jim Duquette (aka, "Duke", the Mets GM 2004). Their program airs every Sunday morning. They interviewed Cubs GM Jed Hoyer (preceded by interviews of Mets Sandy Alderson and followed by Rangers Jon Daniels) and there was some post-interview Cubs chatter by the two hosts. Just some decent hot stove talk on a late January AM.
Bowden: You had a very busy offseason here. Can you break down moves...Edwin Jackson, Scott Baker, Carlos Villaneuv-er, Scott Hairston, Kuji Fujikawa?
Meatballs, mashed potatoes and Lumpy Gravy after the jump...
So the Cubs are going to sign Scott Hairston, but since the deal isn't official we don't really have comments from TheJedi on his exact purpose. Chances are though, he'll platoon with DeJesus and Schierholtz and be the thunder off the bench late in games. And if they happen to trade Alfonso Soriano at some point, he might just be the starting left fielder. The 33-year old usually puts up OPS numbers around the mid 700's, most of it playing in pitching friendly parks like Oakland, San Diego and Citi Field, although he did start out his career in Arizona. The deal at 2/$5M with up to $1.25M in perfomance bonuses each season is reasonable enough in today's baseball economics, there's also something about another extra $1M being tacked on per year as well. It's probably bad news for Dave Sappelt's hopes of making the Opening Day roster, but doubtful the outfield will stay healthy all season, so he'll probably get his chance. If you're looking for 2 good reasons to like the deal, it's a career .825 OPS versus lefties(.867 last year) and that for his career he sees 3.85 pitches per plate appearance (closer to 4 the last 2 seasons). So another efficient, if not spectacular move by TheJedi.
And then the great 40-man mystery has been solved, although another is awaiting once they deal with Hairston's spot. But last year's Rule 5 pick-up Lendy Castillo has been DFA'd to make room for Carlos Villanueva. If no other team wishes to use up a 40-man spot on him, and he pitched rather poorly this winter, he'll likely be outrighted and wander the Cubs's farm system this season.
The guys at Vine Line got me a ticket to this year's convention. Because they're awesome. In the past I always arrived late to that Saturday morning meeting with the GM and Manager, ended up standing in the back of the crowded ballroom getting pictures of the backs of Cub fan's heads. I thought with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum and Shiraz Rehman, I should finally be on time. Instead of the Hilton on Michigan, it's at the Sheraton on the river this year. Phones work here which is fabulous, but... new layout.
The Bears get their new coach in Marc Trestman, his last gig was with the CFL Montreal Alouettes...who knew Moises Alou was so popular in Canada. Trestman has been out of the NFL for 8 years, coaching in the CFL and college, but has plenty of NFL experience. He's considered some sort of QB guru starting his career coaching Bernie Kosar at the University of Miami and then successful runs with Steve Young, Rich Gannon, Jake Plummer and Scott Mitchell, although I don't recall anything successful about Scott Mitchell in the NFL.
Word is that they would like to keep Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator which I doubt anyone will complain about. Special teams coach Dave Toub left to take a job with Kansas City so there's a vacancy there.
Anyway, only time will tell if this is a good move. The Bears are obviously moving to an offensive mindset and while the change is welcome, they're way behind the curve and it's always hard to lead when you're following. But I appreciate the out-of-the-box thinking in hiring a guy from the CFL, hopefully he'll bring some fresh ideas, something the Bears have been sorely short on for a long time.
According to Patrick Mooney of CSN, the Cubs added OF Brett Lillibridge and OF Darnell McDonald on minor league deals today with spring training invites. They also agreed to a $930K contract with Luis Valbuena, thus avoiding arbitration.
Check out the left sidebar for some of the other NRI's to spring training courtesy of Arizona Awesome.
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
Theo on CSN now-
Cubs he took over had tough contracts for "win now players" on a team that was not build to win now.
Gordon Wittenmeyer one of the panelist can't quite grasp who would pay Cubs more money for games. Must only think WGN exists. Theo said "you would want to buy stock in Cubs Tv". Said "intrigue" with Cubs going for championship.
Shark -"chances are good" he's in rotation in 2014. But said could do extension or a guy they move for young players.
Rosenthal saying DBacks/A's talked of a Skaggs/Pollock and a little more for Cespedes, probably the pieces D'Backs would dangle for Samardzija, although the little more would probably be a little less in that case.
in fact, there comes a point (especially when you've shed a lot of payroll) where you invest before you become better than the bottom 10. 8 wins is all that separates this year's #4 cubs pick from the #11 pick (which means you lose that draft pick if you sign a protected player).
I could be wrong but I was under the impression that the debt issue is a bit misleading since the Ricketts family essentially created a vehicle to loan themselves the money to make the purchase. So to say they can't increase the payroll because the left hand needs to re-pay the right hand is a bit disingenuous.
It's better to have a guy who's 23 hit 23 HRs and knock in 80 than a 38-year-old with 30 and 103, since after that season McGriff had 113 games left in the tank, with very little production.
People always assume it's about money, but I really think it's about sustained excellence. From the Cubs' point of view, Ellsbury was attractive for his left-handedness; but signing him would have been Cub-career ending for Soler, Lake, Vitters, probably Vogelbach and others you could name, since Bryant and Almora are going to occupy two thirds of the outfield fairly soon.