Outfielder Quintin Berry and catcher Taylor Teagarden both declined assignments to Triple-A Iowa, and now are free agents. The moves put the Cubs’ 40-man roster at 29: 15 pitchers, two catchers, eight infielders and four outfielders.
Carl Edwards Jr.
Tommy La Stella
The famous Wrigley Field marquee was missing on Tuesday. The sign, first installed in 1934, was removed on Monday as part of the renovation and restoration work that’s ongoing at the Cubs’ ballpark.
This offseason is the second phase in the team’s $575 million ballpark renovation plan. Because the plan includes structural work in the concourse area near the main gate at Clark and Addison streets, where the marquee was located, the sign was removed. The work includes improving the ticket office near the Clark and Addison entrance. Cubs officials said the marquee will return in time for Opening Day, April 11, against the Reds.
The majority of the renovation work at Wrigley this offseason will be on Cubs’ new 30,000-square foot clubhouse, plus the open air plaza and office and retail building on the property adjacent to the ballpark.
The Cubs also are replacing the sod at Wrigley, and were giving away chunks of grass to fans on Monday and Tuesday.
— Carrie Muskat
*Pitcher Corey Black and catcher Willson Contreras were named to the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, to be played Nov. 7. The game starts at 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com. Seven members of MLBPipeline’s top 100 prospects will take part. Carl Edwards Jr. took part in the Fall Stars Game last year.
*During his end of the season address, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said all of Joe Maddon’s coaching staff was expected to return. However, there will be one change among the Minor League ranks. The Brewers have named Derek Johnson, 44, as the big league team’s new pitching coach. Johnson was the Cubs’ Minor League pitching coordinator from 2013-15. He replaces Rick Kranitz as the Brewers pitching coach. Before joining the Cubs, Johnson spent 11 seasons as the pitching coach at Vanderbilt University. In his last three seasons at Vanderbilt, he served as associate head coach in addition to pitching coach. Among others, Johnson guided the collegiate careers of 2012 Cy Young Award-winner David Price and current Athletics ace Sonny Gray.
Now that the World Series is over, the hot stove season begins. Here are some important dates, and as long as you’re updating your calendar, note that Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary since Joe Maddon offered a shot and a beer at his introduction news conference at the Cubby Bear:
Nov. 2: First day of exclusive five-day negotiation window which all teams have with their free agent eligible players
The list of Cubs free agents include OF Dexter Fowler, OF Austin Jackson, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Jason Motte, OF Chris Denorfia, LHP Clayton Richard, IF Jonathan Herrera.
Nov. 6: Final day for teams to extend qualifying offers to free agents. Qualifying offers must be submitted by 5 p.m. ET
Nov. 7: Free agents eligible to sign with any team
Nov. 13: Deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers. Players must formally make their decision by 5 p.m. ET
Dec. 2: Deadline for teams to decide whether or not to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players
Dec. 7-10: Winter Meetings
The 2015 Hank Aaron Award will be announced Saturday prior to Game 4 of the World Series. The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo was one of 30 finalists for the award, which recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League. The award was established in 1999.
Here’s the rest of the MLB awards schedule:
Nov. 9: Players Choice Awards, MLB Network, 7 p.m. CT
Nov. 10: BBWAA finalists will be announced, MLB Network, 5 pm CT
Rawlings Gold Glove award winners, ESPN, 6 pm CT
Nov. 11: Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards, MLB Network, 5 pm CT
Nov. 12: Louisville Silver Slugger Awards, MLB Network, 5 pm CT
Nov. 16: BBWAA NL and AL Rookies of the Year, MLB Network 5 pm CT
Nov. 17: BBWAA NL and AL Managers of the Year, MLB Network 5 pm CT
Nov. 18: BBWAA NL and AL Cy Young Award winners, MLB Network, 6 pm CT
Nov. 19: BBWAA NL and AL MVPs, MLB Network, 6 pm CT
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts sent a letter to fans via email. Here’s the transcript:
Dear Cubs Fans,
Wow. What a season! A week later, it’s still hard to put into words just how special this past year was for all of us.
On behalf of my family and the entire Cubs organization, we want to thank you. Without your patience and support, we never would have been able to begin building a championship-caliber team the right way.
From the many great team victories to some incredible individual performances, this team got us to believe in magic and
showed us anything is possible when you set your mark high. Led by a dynamic, one-of-a-kind manager and fueled by youthful enthusiasm and remarkable talent, our team not only competed, but proved to be a real contender. With the third-best record in baseball, we experienced a 24-win turnaround from 2014 and our first postseason berth since 2008.
None of us will ever forget our October games. The vibe in the ballpark was electric thanks to your constant energy. With every “Go Cubs Go” chorus and every W flag flown, the team felt your support. Defeating the Cardinals in our first-ever postseason matchup and clinching a series at Wrigley Field for the first time in franchise history was truly incredible.
While we fell short against the Mets in the National League Championship Series, our ultimate goal remains – to win a World Series. Now more than ever, I believe we are in position to pursue and accomplish that goal.
During this past year, we also made solid progress toward our second goal of preserving Wrigley Field. Again, thank you for your patience. The new video boards debuted to rave reviews, and the Budweiser Bleachers are back and better than ever with upgraded amenities and new group spaces. This offseason will be just as productive as we work to complete our new state-of-the-art clubhouse and Wrigley Field ticket office. Most importantly, the work you won’t necessarily see is the continued replacement of the steel and concrete that will allow Wrigley Field to stand for the next generation of Cubs fans.
In addition to the tremendous progress we made on the field this season, we also made great strides in the community. The generosity of our players, fans, partners and neighbors was felt far beyond the Friendly Confines and helped us further our third goal of being a good neighbor. Our team and Cubs Charities are on track to donate more than $1.5 million this year. Cubs Charities signature programs – Cubs Scholars, Cubs on the Move Fitness Program and the Diamond Project – continued to thrive as we welcomed our third class of scholars, launched an online fitness curriculum available to more than 1 million Chicago kids and awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to improve the quality and safety of local baseball fields.
In 2015, we also saw past contributions come to life as we helped open Margaret Donahue Park and Kerry Wood Cubs Field. These wonderful community assets are enhancing the quality of life in our community and providing local athletes with a place to improve their skills while fostering their love of the game.
It is certainly encouraging to take a minute to look back and celebrate what we were able to accomplish together on and off the field. Now that our 2015 season is in the record books, there is no need to worry about predictions and going “Back to the Future.” The future is now. We are ready to carry the momentum into 2016 and continue this special journey with you.
Let’s Go Cubs,
Anthony Rizzo is part of a new campaign by “Stand Up To Cancer” (SU2C) titled “Potential” which features a brief home video of the Cubs first baseman playing baseball as a kid. Rizzo joins the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Blue Jays’ David Price and the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen in the ad, which will debut Friday during Game 3 of the World Series. Major League Baseball and its 30 teams have committed nearly $40 million to SU2C. Besides the Major League players, the video includes children who have survived or who are in the battle against cancer.
Rizzo is a cancer survivor himself; he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma when he was a Minor Leaguer.
“It is so special to be involved in such an inspiring campaign with Stand Up To Cancer and MLB,” Rizzo said. “As a cancer survivor, I know first-hand what it takes to fight the disease — courage, strength and the support of people all around you cheering you on. I’m proud to play for an organization that understands how powerful our voices are in the fight against cancer.”
Rizzo and his Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation have taken up the fight against cancer as well, and on Nov. 15 will host their fourth Walk Off for Cancer in Parkland, Fla.
Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta is a nominee for a Rawlings Gold Glove award. Major League managers and coaches, voting only within their league and unable to vote for players on their own team, account for 75 percent of the selection process. The other 25 percent goes to the sabermetrics community. The winners will be revealed Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Arrieta led all NL pitchers in assists (49) and putouts (33), and was second in double plays (five). He posted a .953 fielding percentage in 33 starts.
The NL Gold Glove nominees include:
Pitcher: Arrieta, Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Zack Greinke (Dodgers)
Catcher: Yadier Molina (Cardinals), Buster Posey (Giants), Wilson Ramos (Nationals)
First base: Brandon Belt (Giants), Paul Goldschmidt (D-Backs), Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers)
Second base: Dee Gordon (Marlins), DJ Le Mahieu (Rockies), Brandon Phillips (Reds)
Third base: Nolan Arenado (Rockies), Matt Duffy (Giants), Todd Frazier (Reds)
Shortstop: Brandon Crawford (Giants), Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins), Andrelton Simmons (Braves)
Left field: Starling Marte (Pirates), Justin Upton (Padres), Christian Yelich (Marlins)
Center field: Billy Hamilton (Reds), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), A.J. Pollock (D-backs)
Right field: Curtis Granderson (Mets), Bryce Harper (Nationals), Jason Heyward (Cardinals)
*In case you’re wondering, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo ranked seventh in fielding percentage (.994) among NL first baseman with Belt No. 1, the Mets’ Lucas Duda second, followed by Goldschmidt, the Brewers’ Adam Lind, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman and Gonzalez.
Anthony Rizzo will host his fourth Walk-Off for Cancer on Nov. 15 at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla. The family friendly event consists of a 5K walk, entertainment and refreshments, plus there will be a raffle and special guest appearances. Net proceeds will benefit the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, family research, and families battling cancer. If you can’t join in the walk, you can be a sponsor or make a donation. Go to http://www.rizzo44.com for more information on the walk and the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.