Maddon Era ends, Grandpa Rossy Era resumes

The news broke today that the Cubs have concluded their managerial search and hired David Ross to a three-year contract with a club option on the fourth year. Thus concludes what should be one of the least interesting events of the offseason--and all before the postseason has even concluded! I invite you to share your thoughts on the hiring, the Astros-Nats World Series, and other late October baseball goings-on as you see fit.


can ross speak spanish?

he's a long-time career catcher so i assume he at least speaks "baseball spanish."

So, since Borzello didn't land the mgr. gig, will he be retained in role to which he's become accustomed?

Meaning the guy who translates the technical analysis to the players?  I don't know if Ross is prepared to do this.  I was hoping for a manager that was master of both the human and analytic sides. 

i wonder what d.ross's idea of lineup construction look like...where does he lean on defense vs bat production...will he continue to put strong hitters with power in the 2/3 slot rather than a more traditional 3/4 (which is thankfully becoming less traditional)?

borzy needs more hyphens in his title.  he does a little bit of everything and people seem to like how he does it.  hope he sticks around.

Jesse Rogers said he was fairly certain Butterfield was gone.  Thought other guys could be asked back.  But he was just guessing - even with his insider status.  Ross presser Monday 11 am CT.

As long as Lester Strode is back!

sweaty les should get a lifetime contract, low 7 figures a year, extra meal money, VP position in Bryzzo Souvenir Company upper management, and a full case of Simoniz...for a start.

old cubs friend john mallee (hitting coach, 2015-17) is joining maddon in LAA as an assistant hitting coach.  mallee's one of those "launch angle" gurus...player favorite for being accessable and likeable.

they're getting the band back together...

I bet Butterfield joins Joe too.

It will also be interesting to see if any "Maddon Cubs" end up in Anaheim this off-season, like maybe Cole Hamels, Ben Zobrist, Steve Cishek, and/or Pedro Strop, or even Yu Darvish (if he opts-out)? 

LAA is expected to raise payroll for 2020 according to their owner, but it's not expected to be extreme amounts.  either way, they're ready to throw a little money out in the FA market even with some arbitration payroll hits.

fwiw, g.cole is from orange county and heavily linked to LAD/LAA interest (and NYY, like everyone ever who's a FA).

Mike Olt officially called it quits as of Oct. 25. I have always wondered if his vision issues following his concussion never fully went away.

Mark Feinsand at lead with Nick Casellanos in his profiles of "divisive" free agents. An anonymous GM comped his free agency to JD Martinez with the idea that it could be late in the off-season before he signs:

cast has very little reason to not hold out as long as possible.  getting a strong 5+ year deal is probably going to be a high priority for someone who doesn't turn 28 until spring training.

he's not much of a RF'r, but he's not inept enough to consider him a DH.

as much as some cubs fans would love to see him return, i dunno if this team can thrive on an OF corner of cast/schwarb even with the plate production they provide.  heyward in CF isn't bad, but it wasn't ideal trying to cover for that corner setup.

The defensive metrics have hated him, but I didn't watch him closely enough to make a judgment myself. I was surprised when I first saw how bad the numbers are.

it's decent when he gets to it, but that's part of the problem.  he's got a good arm that helps a bit.

if someone does sign him, they might have a longterm eye on him playing 1st.

Carrie Muskat @CarrieMuskat
#Cubs Theo on whether Ross will be his own man: "if you're a front office and want to hire a puppet, you don't hire David Ross"

mlbtr has per Heyman on MLB Network that Mark Pryor is going to be Dodgers pitching coach as Rick Honeycutt is retiring.

2003 seems like a foggy dream but I can still see #22 with the high fastball strikeout pitch that was unhittable (at least until Pudge's 8th inning at bat).

good for prior.  hopefully he's deleted tom house's phone number by this point in his career.

darvish confirms he's going to remain a cub.  he "likes chicago" and the cubs have 4/81m remaining on his deal.  btw, he had a second half of 2.79era + 0.81whip.

hendricks - lester - darvish - Q - graveman/mills/chatwood (pending traded and additions)

butter joining maddon in LAA, 3rd base coach.

tim buss also going to LAA.

The recent mass quitting at Deadspin is a bummer--or rather the cause of the mass exodus is the bummer. I hope they all get good work elsewhere.

truth.  i feel like i have a bit of my at-work time wasting fodder ripped from me.

drew magary probably doesn't have much to worry about, but it's not like there's a lot of media outlets out there hiring and ready to pay all that tallent hitting the job market at once.

Buss-y ending an 18-year stretch with the Cubs to join Maddon's Angels:

Butterfield ends a much shorter stint with the Cubs to do the same.

Quintana's option picked up, Holland's declined. No other word yet per MLBTR.

As part of the trade agreement last July, Giants are responsible for paying the Derek Holland $500K 2020 club option buy-out if it's declined by the Cubs. 

Cubs club options and player opt-out options still pending (deadline is 5 PM Eastern on Monday):

Tony Barnette ($3M club option - no buy-out required)
Jason Heyward: (player opt-out - would receive $20M on April 1st if he opts-out) 
Brandon Morrow ($12M club option or else $3M buy-out)
David Phelps ($5M club option plus $3.5M in potential performance bonuses - no buy-out required)
Anthony Rizzo ($16.5M club option or else $2M buy-out)

Also, Kendall Graveman (who is - NOT - eligible to be an Article XX-B MLB FA) has a $3M club option with $500K in potential performance bonuses and Cubs cannot tender Graveman a 2020 contract if club option is declined. 

as expected (mostly), strasburg will opt out of his final 4/100m and become a free agent.

with cole likely ending up in LAD/LAA/SD, stras and the yanks will probably be linked in rumors from now until he second he signs with the yankees.

The Angels actually could sign both Gerrit Cole - AND - Stephen Strasburg and still be just under (or right at) the 2020 CBT threshold.

Mike Trout: $35.5M AAV
Albert Pujols: $24M AAV
Justin Upton: 21.2M AAV
Zack Cozart: $12.67M AAV 
Andrelton Simmons: $8.28M  AAV 
Andrew Heaney: $5M (arb est)
Hansel Robles: $4M (arb est) 
Tommy LaStella: $3M (arb est)  
Cam Bedrosian: $3M (arb est) 
Luis Garcia: $2.5M (arb est) 
Kevan Smith: $1.5M (arb est)
Noe Ramirez: $1M (arb est) 
Kole Calhoun: $1M (club option buy-out)
2020 MLB PLAYER BENEFIT COSTS: $14M (counts against AAV)
2020 TOTAL AAV: $144M (est) 

2020 CBT threshold is $208M  

So if Cole were to sign (let's say) for 8/$280 ($35M AAV) and if Strasburg were to sign (let's say) for 6/$180 ($30M AAV), the Angels would be right about exactly at the 2020 CBT threshold, and they could even sign both Cole and Strasburg and come in under the 2020 CBT threshold it if they can move Andelton Simmons and/or Zack Cozart in a trade or trades.  

Otherwise, the Cozart and Simmons contracts ($22M AAV combined) come off the books after 2020, and the Pujols contract ($24M AAV) is done post-2021, so even if the Angels were to go slightly over the CBT threshold in 2020 in order to sign both Cole and Strasburg they could easily get down under it again in 2021 and even moreso after 2021. 

that's just awesome.

meanwhile, i'm over here wondering if the cubs offseason includes signing kyle barraclough as a reclaimation project.

seriously, though...i would figure the team is in for some "realignment" of talent as we know it.  the core of guys we're used to the past few years might be missing 1 or 2 guys with some new immediate impact addition(s) when it's all said and done.  at least, it seems that's where the offseason buzz is moving for the cubs.  they're yet to be linked to anyone worth metioning in the FA market rumor mill.

the addition of craig kimbrel was supposed to be a surprise late addition carrying over into this season as an impact player.  unfortunately, that not only doesn't seem like an addition going into 2020, it seems like dead weight at 16m a year for the next 2 seasons.  i'm hoping for better because doing worse is almost impossible.

rizzo wins NL GG (1st)

n.arenado wins his 7th consecutive GG (3rd) in his 7th MLB season.  domination.

It's good to see Rizzo get recognition for his defense. Although the Cubs certainly needed more offense than Almora provided, the moving of Heyward to CF when Castellanos was acquired hurt the defensive strength and made it mediocre, which affects the pitching. Stability at 2B would be nice Especially on defense. 

phelps, morrow, graveman, barnette options declined.

surprised about gravemen not being picked up.

Me too. He is a solid number 5 starter.

Glad we paid for his rehab?

i look forward to the alec mills vs colin rea battle for the 5 slot.

I'm as shocked as I could be about a player I've never seen in a Cubs uniform, which sounds way more sarcastic than I mean it to sound! Unless they know he's not fully healthy, or they are absolutely convinced they will add two or more decent starting pitchers to the roster, I don't get it.

maybe they needed $3m that badly for something.  hopefully they're not looking to cut payroll or severely tighten spending.

Probably a meh middle reliever

cj edwards is a free agent.

Closer of the future?

totally edwards for future closer.  no wait, make that maples.  no wait, make that...uh...mike mcavene.  yeah, mike mcavene.  we're gonna go with that for now.

Maybe sign Kevin Gregg or Jose Veras to ease them into the role.

Phelps's option also not exercised. Hmm.

if maddon didn't try to get him into every single game to pitch to just 1-2 guys he might have stuck around at a lower price.  2 fewer appearances and he's $2m less ($3m vs $5m).

when he got to the cubs he was turned into some weird workhorse specialist rather than an inning-guy.  with the new 2020 pitching rules, having phelps around as a legit full-inning guy would have been nice.

it's no sure thing he would have been retained even at $3m, but at $5m that decision to cut him loose got easier.

Agreed, I thought he was a lock at 3 mil. Was a toss up at 5

Yeah it was especially odd when all the minor league arms came up. I remember a half dozen games or so when I was confused as to why Maddon would go to Phelps to pitch to two guys knowing what that meant financially.

They're going to use it as evidence in the Bryant dispute. Galaxy brain.

that's some of that 4-D chess i keep hearing about.

checkmate, boras.  cub gets 10 more years of club control for bryant.

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 11 hours 29 min ago (view)

    I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.

    That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.


  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    i wonder where the cubs will go with things.

    there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone.  as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team.  the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.

    bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...


  • Hagsag 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!


  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    "According to Joe Frisaro of, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."

    by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him.  i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information. 


  • Cubster 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Giants hire Scott Harris, from Cubs front office,  as GM


  • Charlie 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    For anyone else who immediately wonders but is not invested enough to look it up, this is not Chris (Ryan) Young, former Padres starter and fisticuffs partner of Derrek Lee, but rather the two-years younger Chris Matthew Young.


  • crunch 3 days 18 hours ago (view)

    rev up those off-season rumor fryers...

    Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
    Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.


  • crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    former padres manager andy green is gonna be ross's bench coach.

    green was c.rea's manager in SD, btw.


  • Arizona Phil 4 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Last year the Cubs signed four free-agents to minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft: LHP Alberto Baldonado, OF Wynton Bernard, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Jose Rosario. All four were members of the Cubs organization in 2018 but declined to sign a 2019 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent, but then came back to the Cubs after briefly testing the free-agent waters. 


  • crunch 4 days 9 hours ago (view)

    chris young to be named new bullpen coach (former phillies pitching coach)

    mixed messages on whether lester strode will have a new cubs role or leaving the cubs...


  • crunch 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    t.clifton straight up falling off a cliff sucked to watch happen last year.

    i had a lot of faith in the guy to at least hold his own in AAA, even if he needed another season or 2 after to get ready for prime time.

    he ended up giving out homers like candy on halloween while retaining his high walk and injury rate.

    that said, his career is far from done.  most likely many other teams willing to give him a minor league deal.


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Keep in mind that most free-agents who sign a 2020 minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft are eligible for selection. (The only exception would be a free-agent who is not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, such as a player whose only previous pro experience was in a foreign major league or in an independent minor league, or a player who was released by another MLB organization but is still not yet eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).  


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 7 hours ago (view)

    If you're wondering if players who sign minor league successor contracts ever get taken in the Rule 5 Draft, the answer is most definitely - YES -. 

    The Cubs selected RHP Hector Rondon in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft after the Indians signed him to a minor league successor contract, and the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Pedro Araujo in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft after the Cubs signed him to a minor league successor contract. 


  • Hagsag 5 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Got to get Taylor Davis back.


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 8 hours ago (view)

    So the Cubs were ultimately able to retain five of their seven most-valuable post-2019 minor league free-agent eligibles (Rea, Pereda, de la Cruz, Lugo, and Burks), losing only Clifton and Leal (both of whom are probably looking for a fresh start in another organization after maybe feeling stalled in the Cubs system).