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#Cubs sign LHP Brothers to 1-year deal

The Cubs agreed to terms on Wednesday with lefty reliever Rex Brothers on a one-year, $1.42 million contract and avoided arbitration.

The Cubs have eight other players who are arbitration eligible, including pitchers Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm, Ryan Cook, Clayton Richard and outfielder Chris Coghlan. All were expected to be tendered by Wednesday’s deadline.

Brothers was designated for assignment by the Rockies on Nov. 20, then traded to the Cubs five days later for Minor League left-hander Wander Cabrera. 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 was the Rockies closer in 2013, totaling 19 saves and a 1.74 ERA in 72 appearances.

Here are projected 2016 salaries, as determined by MLBTradeRumors.com:

Clayton Richard $1.1 million
Chris Coghlan $3.9 million
Travis Wood $6.4 million
Pedro Strop $4.7 million
Jake Arrieta $10.6 million
Ryan Cook $1.4 million
Hector Rondon $3.6 million
Justin Grimm $1 million

 

#Cubs kick off holidays with tree lighting

The Cubs will host a tree lighting ceremony on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT on the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets outside Wrigley Field. The tree will be positioned in front of The Cubs Store because of ongoing construction at Wrigley Field.

Guests are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to place under the tree. The gifts will benefit families of Children’s Home and Aid Society. If you can’t attend the tree lighting, donations will be accepted at the Cubs Store leading up to Thursday’s event.

Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins will help light the 28-foot tree, donated by Christy Webber Landscapes.

#Cubs issue 60 full shares

Several of the Cubs got a nice holiday present on Monday. MLB announced the Cubs’ full share from the 2015 players postseason pool was $122,327.59, and that the team issued 60 full shares, the most of any of the playoff squads.

Besides the 60 full shares, the Cubs issued a total of 8.25 partial shares and 13 cash awards.

The players’ pool is formed from 50 percent of the gate receipts from the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship Series; and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the World Series.

The 2015 players’ pool was a record total of $69,882,149.26, topping the previous high of $65,363,469.22 of 2012. The money is divided among the 10 postseason teams.

The World Series champion Royals’ full share was worth $370,069.03, while a full share for the National League champion Mets was $300,757.78. The average share value for the Mets was a record high for a World Series runner-up, eclipsing $291,667.68 for the 2006 American League champion Tigers.

The Cubs reached the NL Championship Series, but were swept in four games by the Mets. Chicago’s share of the players’ pool was $8,385,857.91.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs acquire LHP Brothers

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.

#Cubs Minor Leaguer Griggs suspended

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

#Cubs add 4 to 40-man roster

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 Rizzo kicks off holidays

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.image2

#Cubs acquire RHP Patton

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.

Report: #Cubs, Yanks talk trade

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.

 

3 #Cubs named to Topps All-Star rookie team

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:

BryantRookieCup

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