11/13 Scott Boras bits

Super agent Scott Boras held court in Phoenix on Wednesday during the GM meetings. Here are a couple of his Cub-related comments, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and Comcast SportsNet Chicago reporters on site.

* On new Cubs manager Joe Maddon:

“I told Joe Maddon I want him to be my financial advisor,” Boras said. “He’s the only guy I know that goes on a vacation and while in his RV [he] makes $20 million. Yeah, they are making moves that are designed to help the team be competitive.”

* On his client, Kris Bryant, the Minor League player of the year after hitting 43 home runs in the Cubs Minor Leagues.

“Certainly [the Cubs] have made the statement,” Boras said. “‘We’re going to win a division’ is what I heard. And I know a guy that has 42 reasons why he can help you do that.”

* On the Cubs:

“If any fan base in Chicago deserves a ‘now’ and not a ‘tomorrow,’ I’d say it’s the Chicago Cubs,” Boras said.

11/13 Arrieta gets Cy Young votes

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta received three fifth-place votes in National League Cy Young voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Arrieta was tied with the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel and the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg for ninth place. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw was a unanimous winner.

11/12 Help Rizzo “Walk Off for Cancer”

You can join Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Sunday at his third annual “Walk Off for Cancer” in Parkland, Fla. The event will take place at Pine Trails Park, and consists of a 5K walk, entertainment, refreshments, raffle prizes and guest appearances. The event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. ET, is family friendly. Registration is $30 per person until Saturday, and limited to 1,000 people. The event has raised more than $100,000 each of its first two years.

Can’t make it? You can still participate by making a donation at http://www.rizzo44.com

– Carrie Muskat

11/12 Cubs claim Donn Roach

The Cubs continued to stockpile pitchers, and claimed right-hander Donn Roach off waivers from the Padres on Wednesday. With the move, the Cubs’ 40-man roster is now at 38 players. Roach, who turns 25 on Dec. 14, was 1-0 with a 4.75 ERA in 16 appearances with the Padres last season, his first year in the big leagues. He was the Angels’ third-round pick in the 2010 First Year Player Draft, and traded to the Padres in May 2012 along with Alexi Amarista for Ernesto Frieri.

Roach was on the Padres’ Opening Day roster this year after making 28 starts at Double-A San Antonio in 2013, but was optioned to Triple-A El Paso on June 3. He went 4-6 with a 5.24 ERA in 19 games (13 starts) in the Minors this year. Overall, Roach is 32-26 with two saves and a 3.73 ERA in 126 Minor League appearances, including 67 starts, covering five professional seasons.

– Carrie Muskat

11/12 AFL update

Dan Vogelbach had two hits but it wasn’t enough as Mesa lost, 5-1, to Surprise Tuesday in Arizona Fall League play. Jacob Hannemann went 0-for-4. On Wednesday, the Solar Sox play host to the Javelinas with C.J. Edwards making his final start. Mesa then closes the AFL season Thursday with a game at Cubs Park against the Desert Dogs.

11/12 Cubs deny Zimmermann report – UPDATED

Cubs officials denied a report they were in contact with the Nationals regarding a potential trade for right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. On Tuesday night, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the two teams had mutual interest in making a deal, with the Cubs sending at least one of their middle infielders to the Nationals for the pitcher. However, a Cubs official told MLB.com later Tuesday that the report was not true. FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal also reported Cubs officials denying the Sun-Times report.

The Cubs are in the market for starting pitching, but are more likely to be exploring the free agent pitchers on the market, including Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields. If the price for those players is too high, they could wait for next year’s free agent market that will include Zimmermann, David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Theo Epstein has said repeatedly that they are looking at players over the next 15 months, not just this offseason.

Zimmermann, who turns 29 in May, is due to make $16.5 million in 2015, the last year of his contract. He was 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 32 starts in 2014.

An update: On Wednesday, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo denied the Cubs and Nats were in talks regarding Zimmermann. Speaking in Phoenix at the GM meetings, Rizzo said the report “was somebody’s conjecture that had no basis to it and no facts. There was no interaction whatsoever on the subject. How do I react to it? What can you do about it, other than talk to the guy who wrote it and say, ‘What are you doing?'”

– Carrie Muskat

11/11 Season ticket sales hit limit

The Cubs have reached their season ticket sale capacity for the 2015 season. Julian Green, vice president of communications and community affairs, said the renewal rate for season tickets was 91 percent. The waiting list for season tickets has more than 50,000 names and is growing, Green said.

The renewal rate was close to 90 percent prior to the announcement on Nov. 3 that the Cubs had hired Joe Maddon as manager. Green said the excitement about the prospects, the improved play at the end of the 2014 season, and the start of the renovation work at Wrigley Field all contributed to the surge in sales.

– Carrie Muskat

11/11 Congrats to Kyle Hendricks

Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks received two third place votes in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom won the award, followed by the Reds’ Billy Hamilton and the Cardinals’ Kolton Wong. Hendricks was 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA in 13 starts for the Cubs this season.

– Carrie Muskat

11/11 MLB investigates Cubs re: Maddon hiring

Theo Epstein said he welcomed an investigation by Major League Baseball into tampering allegations related to the team’s hiring of Joe Maddon. When Rays general manager Andrew Friedman left to take a job with the Dodgers, Maddon exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with the Rays, and was named the Cubs 54th manager in franchise history on Nov. 3.

Speaking in Phoenix, where the general manager meetings are being held, Epstein said the investigation was in the preliminary stages. The Cubs have yet to receive requests for phone or email records, he said.

“We welcome the MLB investigation,” Epstein said Monday night. “As we said last week, there was no tampering whatsoever. I’d rather they investigate, so we can clear our names and move on from this quickly. We’re giving our full cooperation.”

On Oct. 31, when the Cubs announced that Rick Renteria was dismissed as manager, Epstein detailed the events that led to Maddon’s hiring, saying they received an email from Maddon’s agent, Alan Nero, announcing his free agent status. Epstein first contacted Dan Halem, MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations, to confirm that Maddon had opted out before responding to Nero.

Maddon had a two-week window to make a decision, and he and the Rays did discuss a contract extension. But Maddon instead decided to see what else was available, and eventually signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Cubs.

– Carrie Muskat

11/11 GM meetings

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer began face to face meetings with agents on Monday while in Phoenix for the GM meetings.

“We said we’re going to be aggressive over the next 15 months and look for opportunities to get better,” Epstein told reporters in Phoenix on Monday. “It’s probably the first time agents can come into our suites without having to look both ways to make sure no one sees them coming in. We’re no longer the runt of the litter, I guess.”

The Cubs possess both payroll flexibility and young talent. Other teams and agents want to talk. And the Cubs will be linked early and often to free agent pitcher Jon Lester, who Epstein and Hoyer know from their days together in Boston.

“Free agents in general, they’re going to make good decisions for themselves and for their family and try to find a place where they can win and be comfortable and find a contract that works for them,” Epstein said. “To the extent that relationships help reassure players about those different factors, then [our relationship] is relevant. It establishes a comfort and trust. But beyond that … he’s going to have his pick [of teams].”

– Carrie Muskat


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 270 other followers