The Cubs finalized some deals that certainly were discussed over Winter Meetings and made a number of roster moves today.

First, they claimed 25-year old RHP Liam Hendriks off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins. He was a roster casualty with the Phil Hughes signing. While he has done nothing remotely good in 156 innings at the major league level, he's put up at the very least an outstanding 2.99 ERA in the minors over 580.1 IP.  Those numbers were good enough to get him on the BA's Twins Top 10 list for 2011(#6) and 2012(#7).His strikeout rates are trending the wrong way and I don't know if that's an arm issue or just more of the Twins pitch-to-contact approach, but certainly seems worth the risk as a possible back-end starter/in-season depth.

The Cubs also signed non-tendered OF Ryan Kalish, formerly of the Boston Red Sox. A 9th round pick in the 2006 draft, Kalish was the 98th rated prospect in baseball before the 2008 season and usually in the middle of the pack of the top 10 Boston prospects lists back then. Injuries though have curtailed his career and he got a minor league deal with a spring training invite from the Cubs. Again, he'll be playing his age 25 season next year so certainly worth a flyer.

12/12 UPDATE: The Arizona Diamondbacks selected RHP Marcos Mateo from the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate with the 15th overall selection in the first round of the Major League Phase iof the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. Because he has been outrighted previously in his career, Mateo can elect free-agency if he is later re-claimed by the Cubs. (If re-claimed, a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft MUST be sent outright to the minor league club from which he was drafted).

The Cubs also lost 1B Justin Bour (to Miami), OF Julio Borbon (to Baltimore), and RHP A. J. Morris (to Pittsburgh) off the AA Tennessee roster in the AAA Phase. Once selected, players chosen in the AAA or AA Phase cannot be re-claimed.


The Cubs did not make any selections in the Major League Phase of today's draft, but they did select left-handed hitting catcher Charlie Cutler from the Pittsburgh Pirates AA Altoona roster in the AAA Phase. Cutler was a college teammate of Cubs OF Brett Jackson at Cal.

While not alot of the activity involved our favorite team, I'm dizzy from all the signings and trades that have already happened this winter.
So, just wondering what all the general managers could possibly talk about at the Winter Meetings in Orlando tomorrow...

I don't know what's going on with the comments and sometimes it just ends up fixing itself. The site is due for a minor software upgrade that I'll try to complete tonight and I'm hoping that fixes the problem. If not, the twitter sidebar still seems to be updating as does the abilithy to write stories, so hopefully you won't be missing too much until I can fix it.

In the meantime, Daniel Bard will be non-tendered according to multiple Cubs sources. That one was a no-brainer of course. We still await the decision on the rest of the group and I'll update as the news trickles out.

UPDATE #1: Kottaras signs a $1.075M deal with incentives according to Jon Heyman.

UPDATE #2: AZ Phil's crystal ball is still working, Cubs will non-tender Mat Gamel.

UPDATE #3: The Nats trade Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray and Ian Krol for Doug Fister. Fister's a year older than Samardzija but has the same amount of club control left. Samardzija may have a little more upside because of his K's, but Fister's been a lot better pitcher the last 2 years. Every situation is different of course, but imagine this will hinder Cubs trading Samardzija this offseason. That's probably not a terrible thing considering what they were still able to get for Matt Garza.

UPDATE #4: I believe the commenting issues have been fixed. In Cubs news, Donnie Murphy gets a 1/$825K contract and P Chang-yong Lim was non-tendered although he wasn't arbitration eligible. I believe he had a non-guaranteed contract for 2014, but now he's off the 40-man and free to sign with anyone while the Cubs are off the hook for his contract. Samardzija, Schierholtz, Strop, Wood, Russell, Valbuena and Barney were all tendered contracts and I'm sure most will sign before any arbitration hearings.

There were a total of 43 non-tenders according to MLB Trade Rumors and the list of interesting names is too numerous, but a few that may strike your fancy include RHP John Axford, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Ronald Belisario, RHP MItchell Boggs, OF Ryan Kailish, SP Daniel Hudson and RP Ryan Webb.

The Cubs MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster") is presently full. Of the 40 players on the Cubs MLB Reserve List, eight (Starlin Castro, Kyuji Fujikawa, Edwin Jackson, Chang-Yong Lim, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, Ryan Sweeney, and Carlos Villanueva) are signed for 2014, and 32 (see list below) are under club control but are unsigned. The Cubs must decide by Monday (December 2nd) whether or not to tender a contract to each of the 32 unsigned players.

The BBWAA released the Hall of Fame ballot today and I count 6 players that you can reasonably associate with the Cubs: Rafael Palmeiro, Jacque Jones, Sammy Sosa, Lee Smith, Moises Alou and Greg Maddux. Of course, all but Sammy and maybe Lee Smith are more closesly associated with other organziations. Sammy won't be getting in and neither will Lee Smith with Maddux and Frank Thomas on this ballot, not to mention more interesting carryovers like Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell to name a few.

That being said, I think we all as Cubs fan consider Greg Maddux one of our own and we'll just have to share him with the Atlanta Braves in a joiny custody battle. He'll certainly be fitted with the Braves cap on his plaque, but we can just contine to blame Larry Himes for that historical atrocity.

To the point, if I even have one, is that if there's anything interesting about this ballot, it's whether Greg Maddux will be the first player to be voted in unanimously. There's no reasonable case against him, he checks off every box of a Hall a Fame pitcher. Cy Youngs...check, 4 straight. Exceptional Peak Years...check, see 1992-1998. 300 wins...check. 3000 strikeouts...check. Steroid rumors...nope. Postseason success...okay, I mean it's not Mariano Rivera good, but 11-14 with a 3.27 ERA and a World Series title isn't a reason to not vote for him considering his in-season resume. So the case is airtight and he'll of course get in on the first ballot, but he frankly deserves more. But we all know that one attention-starved voter will make this vote about him and deny Maddux the honor. Tom Seaver stills holds the record at 98.4% of the vote (425 out of 430 ballots) and well, there's no way you can't say Maddux was the better pitcher. But that won't matter when the votes are tallied. All that will matter is if some holier-than-thou, sanctimonious piece of excrement decides that he's the one that will take the burden of being the Hall of Fame bouncer this year. And when and if that happens, it'll just be another check on the list of the "Hall of Fame is Becoming More Irrelevant Each and Every Year."

11/20 UPDATE:  The Cubs have selected the contracts of INF Arismendy Alcantara and RHP Dallas Beeler from AA Tennessee and both have been added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster. Alcantara was rated the Cubs #7 prospect by Baseball America last week, and Beeler likely earned his spot on the 40 with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League after missing much of the 2013 season with a finger injury.  

Because they were eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft and were added to an MLB 40-man roster after August 15th, both Alcantara and Beeler have Draft Excluded status and cannot be outrighted to the minors until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, even if the Cubs decide they need one of the two roster slots sometime later during the off-season. 

With the addition of Alcantara and Beeler, the Cubs MLB Reserve List now numbers 39 players (one slot is open).

Notable Cubs minor leaguers who will be eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft include OF Jae-Hoon Ha, RHP Matt Loosen, LHP Eric Jokisch, and 2B Gioskar Amaya.

Let's see, what did I miss over the last week?

Baseball America put out their top 10 Cubs list and it looks a little something like this

  1. Javier Baez
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. C.J. Edwards
  4. Albert Almora
  5. Jorge Soler
  6. Pierce Johnson
  7. Arismendy Alcantara
  8. Jeimer Candelario
  9. Dan Vogelbach
  10. Arodys Vizcaino

Edwards above Almora is a bit of surprise, but also completely meaningless. Mike Olt is falling faster than a reality star.

The Mesa Solar Sox will play in the AFL Finals this Saturday.

Bill Mueller's name is in the hat for taking over hitting instructor duties from James Rowson.

I'm pretty sure you can replace "upper management" with "Crane Kenney" in this story about being way off base on Joe Girardi's interest in returning to Chicago.

Amongst the offseaon rumors, so far we know Jeff Samardzija is certainly on the block with teams like Arizona and Toronto being mentioned. The DBacks also may have their eye on Nate Schierholtz according to Jon Morosi. Patrick Mooney says don't expect McCann or Saltalamacchia signing with the Cubs, but Kurt Suzuki is on the radar. Ricky Nolasco allegedly has a 4-year offer on the table in the 50M+ range. Adjust your contract expectations accordingly for players like Josh Johnson and so on.

The Cubs are set to hire Padres bench coach Rick Renteria tomorrow as their new manager. You can read up on his bio on wikipedia or a number of other places, but the cliff notes version is that he was the 20th overall pick in the 1980 draft, selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played a few seasons between the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins, playing his last game at age 32 in 1994. He pretty much immediately went into coaching and has been with the Padres organization since 2003, getting promoted to a major league coaching gig in 2008.

I'm sure we'll hear the qualifications from TheJedi tomorrow, but safe bet the top 3 were familiarity with Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod from their time with the Padres, a strong history managing youngsters and being bilingual is certainly a major plus in today's game. Past that, we'll figure out the good and the bad once the games start.

It's certainly not the big name that I'm sure the casual fan wants, but I do hope anyone reads this site understands the follies of that kind of thinking in today's baseball. On a sidenote, Chris Bosio will return as pitching coach with a new two year deal.

Credit to twitter for the headline, you can see the source in the sidebox.

UPDATE: 3-year contract for Renteria with 2 club option years according to Bob Nightengale.

Here is the updated list of Cubs minor leaguers (including Rule 55 6YFA and "second-contract" players) who were declared free-agents by MLB yesterday at 5 PM (Eastern), and the updated December 2013 Rule 5 Draft eligiblility list (including Rule 55 eligibles who have signed 2014 minor league successor contracts and "second-contract" players signed for 2014 who are eligible for selection):  


With the World Series having concluded last night, the MLB 2013-14 "off-season" has officially begun.

So there are a number of things that now come into play, including:

Here are the final statistics from the Cubs 2013 AZ Instructional League (AZIL) season.


Jacob Hannemann and Kelvin Freeman belted RBI doubles and Arodys Vizcaino and five relievers combined to toss a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts while retiring the last 16 batters in a row, as the Cubs edged the Giants 2-1 in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at Indian School Park Field #1 in Scottsdale.

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