The Cubs continued to stockpile arms, adding lefty Rex Brothers from the Rockies for Minor League left-hander Wander Cabrera. With the addition, the Cubs’ 40-man roster now is at 38.
Brothers, who turns 28 on Dec. 18, split the 2015 season between the Rockies and Triple-A Albuquerque, going 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 17 big league relief appearances. He held Major League left-handed hitters to a .227 batting average. He was the Rockies closer in 2013, totaling 19 saves and a 1.74 ERA in 72 appearances.
Cabrera, 18, was 4-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 14 appearances (seven starts) in his first professional season with the Cubs Dominican Summer League team.
Brothers, who is arbitration eliglble, was designated for assignment last week by the Rockies as they needed to open spots on their 40-man roster.
He is the fourth pitcher the Cubs have acquired in the last few weeks. Last Friday, the Cubs acquired pitcher Spencer Patton from the Rangers for 19-year-old Minor League infielder Frandy DelaRosa. Chicago also claimed lefty Jack Leathersich off waivers from the Mets and signed right-handed pitcher Andury Acevedo to a contract. Acevedo, 25, had spent the last four seasons pitching in the Yankees organization.
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced Wednesday that Cubs Minor Leaguer Tanner Griggs has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for amphetamine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Griggs, 21, was a 12th round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. The right-handed pitcher appeared in 14 games last season for the Cubs’ Arizona Rookie League team and short-season Eugene, and posted a 5.50 ERA. He did not give up an earned run over 10 1/3 innings in eight Rookie League appearances.
The suspension of Griggs, who was on the Arizona League roster, will be effective at the start of the 2016 season.
In January, Griggs was commended for helping to save a man’s life. He was playing catch with a 61-year-old neighbor, Richard Gengler, in September 2014, when the older man collapsed. Griggs called 911, and the operator instructed him on how to do CPR for Gengler, who had suffered a heart attack. Gengler survived.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs selected the contracts of pitcher Pierce Johnson, catcher Willson Contreras, infielder Jeimer Candelario and first baseman Dan Vogelbach from Double-A Tennessee, and added them to the 40-man roster on Friday. With the moves, Chicago’s 40-man now is at 37.
The quartet were among six players listed on MLB.com’s top 30 Cubs prospects who were eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Johnson was ranked seventh, Contreras 10th, Vogelbach 13th and Candelario 20th.
Contreras, 23, was the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2015 after batting .333 with eight home runs, 34 doubles, four triples and 75 RBIs in 126 games at Tennessee. He hit .283 with three home runs and five doubles in 14 games in the Arizona Fall League before he suffered a hamstring injury and was shut down.
Johnson, 24, went 6-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 16 starts at Tennessee this season with 72 strikeouts over 95 innings. Slowed in Spring Training because of injury, the right-hander pitched for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League and struck out 21 over 24 2/3 innings in seven starts.
Vogelbach, 22, was a second-round pick in 2011, and battled injuries in 2015, finishing with a .272 average in 76 games at Tennessee with seven home runs, 16 doubles and one triple.
Candelario, 21, shined in the Arizona Fall League where he batted .329 in 21 games with five home runs, eight doubles and 15 RBIs in 21 games with the Mesa Solar Sox. This past season, he batted .291 in 46 games at Tennessee after opening the season at Class A Myrtle Beach, where he hit .270 in 82 games.
Two players in MLB.com’s top 30 Cubs prospects who were not protected were No. 19 RHP Corey Black and No. 29 RHP Daury Torrez. Black, 24, was moved from the rotation to the bullpen this season at Tennessee. Acquired from the Yankees in the Alfonso Soriano trade, he was 3-5 with a 4.92 ERA in 37 games, including nine starts. He pitched in the AFL, and gave up 11 earned runs over 8 2/3 innings in eight games.
Torrez, 22, was 10-6 with a 3.75 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) at Myrtle Beach, striking out 86 over 134 1/3 innings.
Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo spent Friday as Santa’s helper at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. He handed out presents to the patients and shared some treats at the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation’s Hospitality Room there. Here he is shopping for gifts.
The Cubs continued to add arms, acquiring pitcher Spencer Patton from the Rangers for 19-year-old Minor League infielder Frandy DelaRosa.
Patton is the third reliever the Cubs have added this week. They also claimed lefty Jack Leathersich off waivers from the Mets and signed right-handed pitcher Andury Acevedo to a contract. Acevedo, 25, had spent the last four seasons pitching in the Yankees organization.
With the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster is now at 33.
An Illinois native, Patton, 27, was a 24th round pick of the Royals in 2011, and has appeared in 36 games with the Rangers (nine in 2014; 27 in 2015), all in relief. He appeared in 26 games for Triple-A Round Rock, and picked up 11 saves, fanning 36 over 27 innings. Texas acquired him in July 2014 from Kansas City for Jason Frasor.
Delarosa, 19, batted .273 (70-for-256) with 20 doubles, two triples, no home runs and 30 RBI in 62 games for short-season Class A Eugene last season.
The Cubs need someone to play center field. The Yankees are examining their second base options. But apparently a trade of Starlin Castro for Brett Gardner is not going to happen. The New York Daily News reported Friday that the two teams were talking about a possible deal which would send Castro to the Yankees in exchange for Gardner.
But later Friday, NY Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand posted an update on Twitter, saying the Yankees were not interested in such a deal but may consider Castro at another price.
CBS Sports and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman also posted on Twitter Friday that there had been no talk of Gardner for Castro at this point, saying the Yankees were seeking pitching.
The Cubs need a center fielder with Dexter Fowler’s departure via free agency.
Castro made the move from shortstop to second base in August to clear a starting spot for Addison Russell. If they move Castro, the Cubs have Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella as options at second base.
The Yankees’ in-house options at second base are Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder, who could form a platoon. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch is among those who have reported Yankees GM Brian Cashman is open to an upgrade at the position.
Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber were named to the Topps® MLB All-Star Rookie Team on Friday.
Bryant and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, both recently named BBWAA Rookies of the Year in their respective leagues, lead the group of the 2015 Topps® MLB All-Star Rookie Team winners.
Here is the full list of the 2015 Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team:
C J.T. Realmuto, Marlins
1B Justin Bour, Marlins
2B Addison Russell, Cubs
3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
SS Carlos Correa, Astros
OF Kyle Schwarber, Cubs
OF Randal Grichuk, Cardinals
OF Michael Conforto, Mets
LHP Carlos Rodon, White Sox
RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
RP Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays
DH Miguel Sano, Twins
And here’s a peek at what Bryant’s card will look like next year:
The Cubs have signed Minor League free agent right-handed pitcher Andury Acevedo to a contract. Acevedo, 25, has spent the last four seasons pitching in the Yankees organization, reaching the Triple-A level for the first time last year and going 1-2 with one save and a 2.31 ERA in 10 relief outings with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After starting the season with Class A Tampa, Acevedo pitched at three levels in the Yankees chain in 2015, combining to go 3-4 with three saves and a 2.59 ERA in 41 relief appearances.
Acevedo earned Florida State League mid-season All-Star honors, posting a 1.40 ERA in 13 relief appearances with Tampa.
He was originally signed by the Pirates as an infielder in 2007 before he was converted to a relief pitcher with the Yankees in 2012. Overall, Acevedo is 8-8 with four saves and a 4.00 ERA in 95 professional relief outings.
With the move, the Cubs’ 40-man roster is now at 31.
Friday is the deadline for when Major League teams must decide which players they will add to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Any player selected in the Rule 5 Draft is immediately added to his new team’s 40-man roster, and must be kept on the selecting team’s 25-man Major League roster for the entire season. The Rule 5 Draft will be held Dec. 10 at the end of the Winter Meetings.
These are the players on MLB.com’s top 30 Cubs prospects list who would need to be added to the 40-man to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft:
No. 7 RHP Pierce Johnson
No. 10 C Willson Contreras
No. 13 1B Dan Vogelbach
No. 19 RHP Corey Black
No. 20 3B Jeimer Candelario
No. 29 RHP Daury Torrez
The Cubs went 3-for-3 in awards as pitcher Jake Arrieta was named the National League Cy Young Award winner Wednesday night by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Arrieta received 17 of the possible 30 first-place votes, 11 second place votes and two third place votes for a total of 169 points. The Dodgers’ Zack Greinke was second with 147 points.
Arrieta is the fifth pitcher in Cubs history to win the Cy Young Award, and the first in 23 years since Greg Maddux did so in 1992.
This season, Arrieta went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA over 33 starts, leading the Majors in wins and posting the lowest ERA by a Cubs pitcher in 96 years (Pete Alexander, 1.72 ERA, 1919). Arrieta went 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star Break, the lowest ERA in the second half of a season since the All-Star Game was instituted in 1933.
On Monday, Kris Bryant was named NL Rookie of the Year, and on Tuesday, Joe Maddon won NL Manager of the Year honors.
Arrieta’s teammates congratulated him on Twitter:
David Ross: “Trifecta!! @Cubs”
Anthony Rizzo: “The snake!!! It was fun playing behind @JArrieta34 every time he took the mound. Congratulations to you and Brittany”
Dexter Fowler: “Congrats @JArrieta34 well deserved brother! One of the hardest working dudes in baseball. @Cubs @MLB #MLBCYWinner”
Pierce Johnson: “Congrats @JArrieta34! So well deserved! Just goes to show how much hard work pays off #CyYoung #Cubs #TheSnake”
Kris Bryant: “Congrats @JArrieta34! Well deserved! #CY”
Justin Grimm: “Huge Congrats to #CyYoung @JArrieta34 so fun to watch and so deserving! What an awesome few days for the @Cubs @CubsJoeMadd @KrisBryant_23”
Jason Hammel: “Congrats to @JArrieta34 on winning the #CyYoung. Well deserved and fun to watch! A season for the books man! #Ace #Nasty”
Miguel Montero: “Well deserved @JArrieta34 and @KrisBryant_23 you guys are a beast”