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.

Yairo Munoz blasted a two-run home run, D'Arby Myers, Justin Higley, and Jesus Lopez clubbed RBI doubles, and Josh Miller and B. J. Boyd drilled RBI singles, leading the Athletics to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at the Papago Park Baseball Facility Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix.  

Yasiel Balaguert belted a two-run double and a single for the Cubs.

The Cubs rallied for three runs in the 8th, and played the SK Wyverns (KBO) to a 3-3 tie in Arizona Instructional League action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talkng Stick Resort east of Scottsdale.

Trey Martin laced three doubles (one line-drive into the LF corner, one line-drive off the left-field fence, and one line drive into the left-center alley), walked, drove-in two runs, and scored another, Jesse Hodges singled twice, doubled, collected two RBI, and scored twice, and Michael Wagner threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball, as the Cubs outlasted the Angels 10-8 in AZ Instructional League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa. 

Four pitchers combined to toss a four-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Dodgers 2-0 in AZ Instructional League action this aftenoon at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa.

Both Daury Torrez and Jose Rosario threw three innings of shutout ball with four strikeouts, but Rosario was especially effective, retiring nine of the ten men he faced (allowing no hits and one walk as he recorded the rare three-inning save).  

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