Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

11/21 Could Cubs be match with Montero?

Could Miguel Montero be the upgrade at catcher the Cubs are looking for? According to the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro, the Cubs are one of three teams who have spoken to the Diamondbacks about the left-handed hitting catcher (joining the White Sox and Dodgers). The Cubs missed in their attempt to sign free agent Russell Martin, who agreed to a five-year deal with the Blue Jays this week. Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart has said he’s not shopping any of their players, including Montero, but did say he’s had inquiries about several players. Montero was rumored to be available because of his contract — he’s owed $40 million over the next three years. Montero, 31, batted .243 this season with 13 home runs and 72 RBIs. He’s led the Majors in innings caught since 2011. In his second full season as the Cubs regular catcher, Welington Castillo batted .237 this past season with 13 home runs and 46 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

11/21 Numbers game

It was tough to watch Edwin Jackson’s outings this past season. There’s a reason. Baseball statistician Bill Chuck pointed out that both Jackson and Travis Wood ranked among the leaders in what he calls a “lack of quality start.” A LQ start is when a pitcher throws no more than 5 2/3 innings and gives up three or more earned runs, according to Chuck. Fifteen pitchers made at least 10 LQ Starts in 2014. Jackson was tied for the lead with 13, going 2-8 in those games. He gave up 68 earned runs over 55 1/3 innings, serving up 88 hits, walking 30 and striking out 42. Wood had 10 LQ Starts. He was 0-9 in those games, giving up 50 earned runs over 43 1/3 innings. He served up 73 hits, walked 29 and struck out 39 in those games.

Chuck breaks down the stats even further. When a pitcher throws no more than 5 2/3 innings and gives up four or more earned runs, it’s what Chuck has dubbed a “bad start.” Jackson was second in MLB with 10 such starts, going 1-8 in those games. Justin Masterson was first with 12 “bad starts,” and was 0-7.

– Carrie Muskat

11/20 Edwards added to 40-man

The Cubs added pitcher C.J. Edwards to the 40-man roster Thursday, protecting the right-hander from being picked in the Rule 5 Draft. With the move, the Cubs’ 40-man roster is now 39.

Edwards, 23, is 14-7 with a 1.86 ERA in 50 Minor League games (49 starts) over the last three seasons. He has 294 strikeouts over 237 innings, and has given up two home runs in that stretch. The top-rated pitcher on MLB.com’s top 20 Cubs prospects, Edwards was limited to 10 games at Double-A Tennessee this past season because of shoulder issues, but did pitch in the Arizona Fall League.

Originally selected by the Rangers in the 48th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Edwards was acquired by the Cubs as part of the July 2013 trade that sent Matt Garza to the Rangers. Edwards then went 2-0 with a 1.36 ERA in eight starts with Class A Daytona to help the team reach the Florida State League Championship.

Thursday was the deadline for Major League teams to set their 40-man rosters and add any Minor League players who may be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, which will be held Dec. 11.

– Carrie Muskat

11/20 Cubs 40-man roster

Teams have until midnight Thursday to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. Last December, Cubs pitcher Marcos Mateo was one of nine players selected in the Rule 5 Draft, taken by the Diamondbacks. But Mateo was returned in mid March, and spent the season at Triple-A Iowa.

Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. If another team does select a player, it must pay the former team $50,000 and keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25,000.

One name the Cubs are expected to add is C.J. Edwards, 23, the top-rated pitcher on MLB.com’s top 20 Cubs prospects. The right-hander was limited to 10 games at Double-A Tennessee this past season because of shoulder issues, then pitched in the Arizona Fall League. Acquired from the Rangers in July 2013 in the Matt Garza trade, the highly touted Edwards is 14-7 with a 1.86 ERA in 50 games (49 starts), serving up two home runs among the 140 hits he’s given up over 237 innings. The slender right-hander has struck out 294 while walking 91.

Edwards may not be in the Cubs’ 2015 Opening Day rotation, but he’s not far from the big leagues, and would likely be considered too valuable to leave unprotected.

– Carrie Muskat

11/18 Lester meets with Cubs

Hopefully, Jon Lester brought a warm coat to Wrigley Field Tuesday. According to a source, Lester met with the Cubs in what was believed to be the second stop on the free agent’s offseason tour of prospective teams. The Wrigleyville area was in a deep chill because of an early blast of winter weather. It’s up to Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, who know Lester from their days together in Boston, to convince the lefty that it won’t be this cold on Opening Night, April 5, at Wrigley Field. The Cubs would not confirm the meeting.

After losing in their bid for free agent catcher Russell Martin, Epstein and Hoyer shifted their focus to adding an ace to the rotation. Lester fits that role, compiling a 116-67 record and 3.58 ERA over nine seasons.

Lester will reportedly meet Thursday with the Braves, who do have an edge over the other teams. In the offseason, the pitcher lives in suburban Atlanta, about a half hour drive from the Braves’ ballpark.

Would Lester be willing to make a switch from the American League to the Cubs? MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, interviewed on a Boston radio station Tuesday, said he believes Lester will return to the Red Sox. Boston traded Lester to Oakland on July 31, and the lefty finished the season 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts with the Athletics. Lester was 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts with Red Sox before the trade.

After Lester was dealt to the A’s, he told Boston Herald writer John Tomase that he wouldn’t be opposed to coming back to Boston.

“The [Red Sox] told me [after the trade to Oakland], ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these [other] offers,'” Lester said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be blown out of the water.’ Why would I need to be blown out of the water? That doesn’t make or break your decision, at least for me. I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”

– Carrie Muskat

11/18 Cubs and Lester

If Jon Lester is in Chicago Tuesday, hopefully, he brought a warm coat and scarf. The free agent pitcher was reportedly meeting with Cubs officials as he sorts out his options for 2015. An early winter blast and wind chill dropped temperatures to single digits at Wrigley Field. Cubs execs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know Lester well from their days together with the Red Sox. The pitcher has reportedly met with the Red Sox, and was to talk to the Braves on Thursday. The Braves do have an edge over the other teams because Lester lives in suburban Atlanta, about a half hour drive from the Braves’ ballpark.

After Lester was dealt to the Athletics, he told Boston Herald writer John Tomase that he wouldn’t be against returning to the Red Sox.

“The [Red Sox] told me [after the trade to Oakland], ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these [other] offers,'” Lester told the Boston Herald. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be blown out of the water.’ Why would I need to be blown out of the water? That doesn’t make or break your decision, at least for me. I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”

On Tuesday, Peter Gammons said he believes Lester will return to the Red Sox. Speaking on a Boston radio station, Gammons said the Cubs will make every play, but added they think he’ll return to Boston.

– Carrie Muskat

11/17 Mueller to Cardinals

Bill Mueller, who resigned as the Cubs hitting coach after one season, has taken a job as an assistant hitting coach with the Cardinals, St. Louis GM John Mozeliak announced Monday. Mueller left after the Cubs decided not to retain assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley.

– Carrie Muskat

11/17 Jon Lester rumors

WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports the Red Sox will have met with Jon Lester prior to the free agent pitcher’s scheduled to get together with Cubs officials on Tuesday. The Cubs are in the market to add a starting pitcher and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know Lester well from their days together in Boston.

11/17 Next?

With Russell Martin signing with the Blue Jays, here are the free agent catchers still on the market and their 2014 stats:

John Buck (Mariners/Angels): 32 games, .225
Ryan Doumit (Braves): 100 games, .197
Nick Hundley (Padres/Orioles): 63 games, .247
Gerald Laird (Braves): 53 games, .204
Jeff Mathis (Marlins): 64 games, .200
Wil Nieves (Phillies): 36 games, .254
Ronny Paulino: Did not play in Major Leagues in 2013-14
A.J. Pierzynski (Red Sox/Cardinals): 87 games, .251
David Ross (Red Sox): 50 games, .184
Geovany Soto (Rangers, Athletics): 24 games, .250

* Note: Hundley, Mathis have player options for 2015

11/17 Report: Martin to Blue Jays

Cubs fans can cross Russell Martin off their wish list. According to reports Monday, the 31-year-old free agent catcher signed a five-year, $82 million deal with the Blue Jays. The Cubs were viewed as the front runner for Martin, but most likely were not willing to commit that type of deal.

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