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Cubs Newsbeat

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Cubs 3B Bryant: No hard feelings on losing grievance

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant realized all along his service-time grievance against the team would be tough to win, and he still believes how he handled himself might help players in the future.

The 28-year-old Bryant will be eligible for free agency in two years after arbitrator Mark Irvings ruled against the third baseman last month. If Bryant had been successful, he could have become a a free agent after the 2020 season.

Irvings’ decision was applauded by Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“I just saw this as a process that is eventually going to help the players in the next round of negotiating and I was going to be that guy to have the courage to do it,” Bryant said Saturday, speaking to reporters for 35 minutes upon his arrival in Cubs camp.

Mind you, it’s not like he can admit at this point that the minute free agency comes along he’s out the door…..

 

QLE Posted: February 16, 2020 at 01:22 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, grievances, kris bryant

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

‘Philosophical differences’ played major role in Joe Maddon’s split with Cubs

While talking to ESPN recently, ex-Cubs manager Joe Maddon made some of the most enlightening comments yet on the end of his time in Chicago.

Speaking on why things ended, Maddon didn’t hold back when discussing how things dissolved.

“There was just, you can say, philosophical differences,” he said. “But he and I are still good friends. And I like the man a lot. It was just time for him to get someone else and time for me to work somewhere else. That’s all. A five-year shelf life in Chicago is almost equivalent to five to 10 somewhere else. At the end of the day, man, there’s nothing to lament there. That was the most successful five years that the Cubs have ever had.”

Joe Maddon is a prominent devotee of Sextus Empiricus, while Theo Epstein prefers the work of Plotinus.

 

QLE Posted: February 12, 2020 at 01:41 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, philosophy

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Marquee Network hires Mark Grace as analyst

Tuesday, the Marquee Sports Network announced that Grace would be joining the network for analysis both pre- and post-game, and also some in-game work.

“My years as a Cub were very special, and to return to Wrigley, the Cubs and the best fans in sports as part of Marquee Sports Network is something that means a lot to me,” said Grace in a statement. “I’m thrilled to be back!”

He’s not all the way back. The Marquee Network release indicated that Grace will continue to do work for Fox Sports Arizona, an unusual arrangement.

Marquee also announced Tuesday that Elise Menaker, a Chicago-area native and current reporter and host at the Big Ten Network, would be joining the Cubs TV channel as a host and reporter. In that role she will also create feature stories and other content for the network.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:21 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Sources - Kris Bryant loses grievance against Cubs, won’t be free agent until after 2021 season

I’m interested in getting details about the ruling.

The ruling, which sources said is going through its final reviews before being made public within a week, held that the Cubs did not run afoul of service-time rules when they called Bryant to the major leagues in April 17, 2015. He had spent the first two weeks of the season in Triple-A after a dominant spring-training performance. Had the Cubs summoned Bryant a day earlier, he would have ended the season with 172 days of service, or a full year.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 29, 2020 at 10:06 AM | 71 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, cubs, kris bryant

Cubs looking to unearth core relievers with low-cost, high-upside acquisitions

The Cubs bullpen is going to look a whole lot different this season.

Gone are the reliable Steve Cishek (signed with White Sox) and Brandon Kintzler (reportedly signed with Marlins). Pedro Strop remains a free agent, though a recent report said the race to sign him is down to the Marlins and Rangers.

Assuming Strop doesn’t return, the Cubs will have lost three of their four most frequently used relievers from 2019. Replacing the trio will be no small task, considering a bulk of their appearances came in late-inning, high-leverage spots.

Cishek and Kintzler didn’t sign back-breaking deals (one-year, $6 million; reported one-year, $3.25 million), but the luxury tax has been a factor in the Cubs offseason. They aren’t in a position to commit big money to top-of-the-market arms and have instead been stockpiling low-cost relievers with upside.

An imponderable for all of you: Why is it that, in an era so filled with advanced analysis, do baseball teams continue to heavily overrate relievers?

 

QLE Posted: January 29, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, relievers are inherently fungible

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cubs expressing interest in free agent second baseman Scooter Gennett

The Cubs are expressing interest in free agent second baseman Scooter Gennett, according to WSCR’s Bruce Levine.

Gennett only played 42 games last season after suffering a severe right groin strain at the end of spring training. He made his season debut on June 28 and the Reds dealt him to the Giants at the trade deadline. San Francisco released him a month later.

Gennett, who turns 30 in May, posted a .226/.245/.323 slash line with two home runs and a woeful 44 wRC+ last season. He fared much better from 2017-18, slashing .303/.351/.508 with a 124 wRC+. He hit 27 and 23 homers those two seasons, making the All-Star team in 2018.

 

 

QLE Posted: January 28, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, hot stove, scooter gennett

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

MLB Source: Cubs ‘got fat and happy’ after World Series, culture must change

Fact: The 2019 Chicago Cubs wildly underachieved, finishing with an 84-78 record and finishing third in the NL’s Central division. Fact: The Chicago Cubs didn’t fail because they didn’t spend enough money. The Cubs were 2nd in all of baseball in payroll finishing behind only the Boston Red Sox. Both of those teams failed to make baseball’s postseason.

Fact: The Cubs front office has done a lousy job acquiring players since winning the 2016 World Series and they have done a poor job in developing quality, big league caliber pitching through their minor league system.

But, it is also a fact that former manager Joe Maddon allowed his comfort level with players interfere with how much he held them accountable and the result was a team that paid little attention to detail and spiraled out of contention. That’s the mess Maddon left the Cubs.

The reasons the Cubs are struggling are not mutually exclusive. There is no singular reason why they have seen their window of contending for another World Series start to close. But, for people to blame everything on either a lack of spending by ownership or a lousy job by the front office misses a main factor in the Cubs decline.

Wait- if this is a bad thing, how do we explain certain long-term trends involving baseball players?

QLE Posted: January 21, 2020 at 12:47 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fat, underperformance

Monday, January 20, 2020

Andy Green ‘fired up’ to be with Cubs, help David Ross any way he can

It’s quite fitting Andy Green’s introduction to Cubs Nation came at the team’s annual fan festival this weekend.

Green, whom the Cubs officially hired as bench coach in December, grew up a Reds fan in his native Lexington, Ky. It wasn’t long before his allegiances changed to one of Cincinnati’s geographic neighbors, however.

“I went to [former Reds ballpark Riverfront Stadium] as a kid at like 5, 6, 7, first time I saw big-league baseball,” Green told NBC Sports Chicago on Saturday. “But my mom took me up to Wrigley at 12 or 13. I was like ‘This is big-league baseball.’

“I switched over allegiances that time as a Cubs fan, watched Ryne Sandberg — Mark Grace was somebody who jumped off the page to me at that point in time. It was late 80s, early 90s.”

He isn’t preparing for the next step if David Ross turns out to be as poor a choice for this role as many of us suspect, is he?

 

QLE Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: andy green, cubs, david ross

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Cubs Fans Boo Chairman Tom Ricketts at Team Convention

Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts heard his share of boos at the Cubs Convention on Friday while the team remains quiet in free agency.

Coming off a season in which the Cubs fell short of the playoffs, Chicago has yet to add significant pieces or sign its core players to extensions. Former NL MVP Kris Bryant has been on the trade market throughout the offseason, beloved former manager Joe Maddon is gone and the team is no longer the favorite in the NL Central. There’s uncertainty in Wrigleyville for the first time since the Cubs returned to prominence in 2015, and the Convention’s usually positive atmosphere has soured.

“I’m sorry we don’t have a prize free agent or something sexier to talk about right now,” Ricketts said in an interview with WSCR-AM 670 on Day 2 of the Cubs Convention.

To add to the tension, fans also brought heavy boos when Ricketts mentioned the “Marquee Sports Network,” the Cubs’ new television outlet set to launch in February. With the new season approaching, the network has yet to make a deal with Comcast’s Xfinity—the area’s largest carrier—keeping some fans without a method to watch the team.

On the bright side, at least Tom Ricketts didn’t buy the Phillies…..

 

QLE Posted: January 19, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fans, tom ricketts

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Sources: Kris Bryant, Cubs reach 1-year, $18.6M deal

Third baseman Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs have avoided arbitration, settling on a one-year, $18.6 million deal, it was announced Friday.

Bryant, whose name had surfaced in trade rumors this offseason, had a .282 batting average with 31 home runs and 77 RBIs last season. He was eighth in the NL with 108 runs scored and drew enough walks to post a .382 on-base percentage, 16th best in the majors.

He missed the final week of the regular season after spraining his right ankle when he landed awkwardly on a wet first-base bag while trying to beat out a double play.

There also is the matter of a service time grievance against the Cubs that was filed on Bryant’s behalf by the MLBPA. That grievance is expected to be resolved in the next two weeks, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Which, of course, means that the story is beginning with this contract, not ending…..

 

QLE Posted: January 11, 2020 at 12:31 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, cubs, kris bryant

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Kris Bryant trade talks between Cubs and Nationals ‘have gone nowhere’

The Nationals reportedly love Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, but trade talks between the clubs “have gone nowhere,” according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Bryant’s name has frequented rumors this winter, with the Braves, Nationals, Phillies and Rangers being linked to him at one point or another. A trade has never been a foregone conclusion, as the Cubs aren’t going to move the star third baseman for anything less than what they deem to be fair value.

The Cubs have requested Nationals center fielder Victor Robles in Bryant trade talks, per multiple reports, but Washington has been reluctant to include him. Robles is less established in the big leagues, but he’s under team control through 2024.

Meanwhile, Bryant’s unresolved service time grievance is an elephant in the metaphorical negotiating room. If Bryant loses, he’ll remain under team control through 2021; if he wins, he’ll hit free agency after next season. The Cubs would net more for him in a trade if he has two years of control remaining rather than one.

 

 

QLE Posted: January 05, 2020 at 12:28 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant, nationals

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees reportedly must pay luxury tax bills for 2019

The final bills for those teams exceeding the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT)—known as the luxury tax—threshold for 2019 have arrived. According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, the Red Sox, Yankees, and Cubs are the only teams that will owe for this past season.

The AP reports that the Red Sox owe a team-record $13.4 million tax. The Cubs are next with a $7.6 million bill, and then the Yankees check-in with $6.7 million owed. The Red Sox this past season led MLB with a payroll of $228 million, but they managed just 84 wins and a third-place finish in the AL East. The Cubs also missed the postseason 2019, while the 103-win Yankees stand as the only taxed team to make the playoffs last season. The champion Nationals were tied for fourth with a luxury tax payroll of $205 million, but wound up just under the limit.

The CBT is levied on average-annual-value payrolls above a certain dollar figure—$206 million for 2019. A team over the tax for the first time has to pay a 20 percent fine on the overage. A team over the line for two years in a row must pay a 30 percent fine. And three or more years in a row entails a 50 percent tax on the overage. The CBT also includes additional surtaxes for exceeding the threshold by $20 million (12 percent); $40 million (42.5 percent); and repeating over $40 million (45 percent). A team that goes more than $40 million over also has its highest draft pick moved down 10 spots provided it isn’t picking in the top six.

Given all the discussion of how important the luxury tax has become, a review of the figures is of interest.

 

QLE Posted: December 19, 2019 at 01:12 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, red sox, yankees

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Epstein: Cubs ‘not going to force anything’

The Cubs and any potential suitors for Bryant are also awaiting an arbitrator’s decision about Bryant’s service-time grievance, which could still be “a couple of weeks away,” per Epstein. A ruling in Bryant’s favor would make him a free agent next offseason rather than two winters from now, impacting the type of return Chicago could potentially net via trade.

“We’re fairly confident in what the outcome is going to be,” Epstein said. “It’d be nice to have that final confirmation, but I think we’re operating with what our understanding of what the likely outcome will be and moving forward that way.”

Right now, the Cubs are trying to balance contending in the present with the realities of future seasons. There is also the issue of the team’s 2020 payroll projection, which is in the neighborhood of $200 million before any additions. The first luxury-tax threshold is $208 million, meaning that trades are likely needed in order to give Chicago more financial flexibility for any impact acquisitions.

In Monday’s discussion, Epstein maintained his stance on not revealing the ceiling of the Cubs’ payroll.

“We never point to where we expect to end up in terms of our payroll,” Epstein said. “And this year particularly, there’s a lot of strategic reasons with what’s going on out in the marketplace to play our cards close to the vest.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2019 at 06:26 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, December 02, 2019

Cubs cut ties with Addison Russell

CHICAGO – The Cubs are letting Addison Russell walk.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein explained the decision in a statement.

“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process.”

 

 

QLE Posted: December 02, 2019 at 08:31 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: addison russell, cubs, non-tenders

Friday, November 15, 2019

Cubs expected to hire Mike Napoli — David Ross’ former teammate — as quality assurance coach

David Ross will not only be managing former teammates with the Cubs in 2020, but he’ll be coaching alongside one, too.

The Cubs are expected to add former MLB catcher Mike Napoli to Ross’ coaching staff, per multiple reports. Napoli will assume the title of quality assurance coach, vacated by Chris Denorfia, who held the position for one season.

Napoli played in parts of 12 big-league seasons from 2006-17 with the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and Indians. He won the 2013 World Series with Boston — alongside Ross and Cubs starter Jon Lester — and was also a key figure with the 2016 Indians, whom the Cubs defeated in the World Series. He finished his career with a .246/.346/.475 slash line with 267 home runs.

Still trying to figure out what, exactly, a “quality assurance coach” is meant to do…..

 

QLE Posted: November 15, 2019 at 01:10 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mike napoli, quality assurance

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Cubs lower ticket prices by 2.5 percent but what does it really mean for fans?

The Chicago Cubs had a disappointing season on the field in 2019, but they may have found a way to make that up to some of their season ticket holders.

On Wednesday, the team announced that season ticket prices will be down an average of 2.5% going into the 2020 season. Cale Vennum, the Cubs vice president of ticketing, says some season ticket packages will be down as much as 6.5%.

“Our season ticket holders are obviously disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs last year,” Vennum said Wednesday, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. “But they look at this team and still see a roster they expect to be really competitive for 2020. The feedback we’ve gotten around (new manager) David Ross has been fantastic. Our fans are really excited to see him lead this team in 2020.”

The Cubs missed the postseason for the first time since 2014. Big changes have already been made to the coaching staff in an effort to refocus the team on reaching its larger goal. The biggest change will have David Ross, who was a member of the Cubs 2016 championship team, replacing Joe Maddon as manager.

You mean, other than them having a bit more money to spend in the eating and drinking establishments of Wrigleyville?

 

QLE Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:46 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, ticket prices

Monday, November 04, 2019

Cubs pick up Anthony Rizzo’s 2020 option

Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have picked up their 2020 club option for first baseman Anthony Rizzo at $16.5 million. The Cubs also hold a club option for the 2021 season at $16.5 million.

Rizzo, 30, had another terrific season for the Cubs in 2019, batting .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored across 613 plate appearances. Towards the end of the season, as the Cubs went on a losing streak that pushed them out of playoff contention, Rizzo dealt with a sprained ankle. He has otherwise been quite durable in his eight seasons with the Cubs.

Not particularly surprising, is it?

 

QLE Posted: November 04, 2019 at 12:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rizzo, cubs, options

Friday, November 01, 2019

Joe Maddon on end of Cubs tenure: ‘I didn’t want to be back either’

Joe Maddon’s future with the Cubs hung in the balance throughout 2019. Despite postseason appearances in four-straight seasons (2015-18), he entered the season with lame duck status after Cubs president Theo Epstein shut down extension talks last fall.

If that wasn’t telling enough, the Cubs underperformed throughout 2019, slipping out of a postseason spot in late September. On the last day of the regular season, Cubs president Theo Epstein made it official: the organization was not retaining Maddon for 2020.

The move didn’t blindside Maddon, however. In a recent interview, he noted that it was obvious he wouldn’t be retained, but also that he didn’t want to return, anyhow.

“When it got down to the last couple days it was really obvious to both sides,” Maddon said to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “I didn’t want to be back either. It was more of a bilateral than a unilateral decision.’’

Mind you, under current conditions, I can’t say that I’d blame him….

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 01:19 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon

Cubs Rumors: Yu Darvish Won’t Opt out of Contract, Avoids Free Agency

The Chicago Cubs no longer have to worry that Yu Darvish will explore the free-agent market after the four-time All-Star declined to use his opt-out clause.

Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Darvish will remain with the Cubs.

When the Cubs signed Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal in February 2018, it came with an opt-out after the second season that would allow him to explore free agency for the second time in his career.

There were legitimate reasons to assume the Japanese star might walk away and try to secure a new long-term deal. He finished 2019 on a high note with a 2.76 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 81.2 innings after the All-Star break.

Mind you, given both the last couple of years of the free-agent market and his past record, there are reasons why many other commentators aren’t surprised….

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:12 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, opt-outs, yu darvish

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Yes man? Puppet? Cubs immediately squash that idea at start of David Ross’ managerial tenure

It’s not everyday a Major League Baseball team hires a new manager and the skipper’s weaknesses are readily apparent to even the most casual of fans.

The Cubs are well aware David Ross does not have any managerial or coaching experience. They’re not running from the fact that he was teammates and buddies with a lot of guys still on the roster and will now have to transition into being their boss.

Another common refrain is Ross’ close ties with Theo Epstein’s front office and the concern that he would just be a shill for those guys while standing on the top step of the dugout.

That’s not at all what the Cubs are envisioning here.

Won’t we need to see him in action in order to determine that?

 

QLE Posted: October 29, 2019 at 12:46 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Kris Bryant’s 2015 service time grievance to be heard this week

It seems like eons ago that Kris Bryant was a rookie. It was eons plus about two and a half weeks ago, however, when he began the 2015 season in Triple-A despite the fact that there was every single reason to believe that he was major league ready to start the season and no reason to believe that he needed more time in the minors.

The Cubs placed him in the minors for 19 days to start that season because if they had left him down there 18 days or fewer he would’ve become eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. If his service time clock had begun on April 16, 2015, he’d be entering his walk year next spring. Since his service time clock began on April 17, he will not become a free agent until the 2021-22 offseason.

At the time the Cubs, laughably, claimed that Bryant needed more work on his defense and, instead, began the 2015 campaign with the immortal Mike Olt as their starting third baseman. Everyone knew the defense excuse was not true. But hey, major league clubs have complete and total power over such things and only offer up thin lies like that because they feel like “no comments” are rude or something. Besides, they’ve gotten away with service time manipulation for years, so why wouldn’t they get away with this example, even if it was particularly obvious and egregious.

After the 2015 season Bryant filed a grievance, claiming that the Cubs acted in bad faith in keeping him in the minors. We heard nothing about it after that and I just sort of assumed that it had failed or been withdrawn or something.

Any chance that this will be decided by Feats of Strength?

 

QLE Posted: October 24, 2019 at 12:38 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, grievances, kris bryant, service time

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

The Cubs’ managerial search is in full swing as they continue to line up intriguing candidates to replace Joe Maddon. In recent weeks, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada’s name has been floated out as a strong candidate, with reports stating that the Cubs had already scheduled their second interview with the much sought after coach.

While the fact that Espada is such a strong candidate in the midst of a World Series run has led many to believe he is the runaway favorite right now, it is still very much so a wide-open race.

It was reported that while not extremely publicized, former Cub David Ross is believed to have had his second interview with the Cubs organization this week.

Ross, who was extremely clutch in the Cubs 2016 World Series win, has an obvious and extended history with the organization. And while there are no concrete reports on the nature of any follow-up discussions between Ross and the Cubs, it was stated that the two sides have in fact at least had those expanded conversations.

I thought we weren’t supposed to see stories like this while the World Series was ongoing…..

 

QLE Posted: October 23, 2019 at 12:44 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross, managerial search

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cubs shake up player-development operation

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs shook up their player-development operation, with Matt Dorey taking over as senior vice president of player development and directors of pitching and hitting being appointed.

Dorey, Chicago’s director of amateur scouting the past six years, was previously a scout for the Boston Red Sox and a college coach.

Any thoughts, either from the Cubs perspective or that of considering the field of player development generally?

 

QLE Posted: October 18, 2019 at 12:41 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, player development

Sunday, October 13, 2019

What the Cubs can learn from the 2019 MLB postseason so far

For the 10 teams that qualify for MLB’s postseason, October represents a chance to climb baseball’s mountain and secure a championship. For the 20 other teams sitting at home, though, October is a chance to evaluate those in the Big Dance.

Less than two weeks into the postseason, here’s some things that the Cubs can take away from the action thus far.

1. Starting pitching matters

With bullpens being relied on more than ever, starting pitchers aren’t used the same way as just a few seasons ago. The Brewers rode their bullpen all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS last season, while the Rays used an “opener” (a reliever who starts a game and pitches 1-3 innings) in Game 4 of the ALDS this season – beating the Astros 4-1.

Mind you, one of these points is one which learning from seems to be avoided at all costs, so…..

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, managerial decision-making, pitching, playoffs

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Which managerial opening is the most desirable?

As we wait for tonight’s NLCS to kick off — a preview on that will be up later this morning — let’s talk about all the managerial openings, shall we?

With the Dodgers giving Dave Roberts their vote of confidence last night — and none of the remaining playoff teams being even close to likely to can their current skipper — we seem to be locked in at eight openings: Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Cubs, Giants, Padres, Royals, and Angels.

Which one is the most desirable? My take on the pros and cons of each gig

So, which of these jobs would you take if you had the choice?

 

QLE Posted: October 12, 2019 at 12:09 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, cubs, giants, mets, padres, phillies, pirates, royals

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