Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’
The Cubs have been busy adding pitchers this offseason. What about the outfield? GM Jed Hoyer said Wednesday that they project free agent Nate Schierholtz, who signed prior to the holidays, to be a regular in right field.
“He’s certainly going to play a ton for us,” Hoyer said. “We feel he’s a guy who has been undervalued and a guy who, with more at-bats, can thrive. He’s played in the NL West and playing 100 games that are tough hitters ballparks.”
Last season, Schierholtz batted .257 for the Giants and Phillies with six home runs in 114 games. He began the year with San Francisco, and was dealt to Philadelphia on July 31 along with two Minor League players for Hunter Pence. He made a good impression in his Phillies debut, hitting a home run against the Nationals. His playing time was limited when he fractured his right big toe on Aug. 13.
In six seasons, he has a .270 batting average, 24 home runs, 75 doubles and 123 RBIs. The Phillies decided to non-tender Schierholtz, who made $1.3 million last season. He would’ve received a raise, which wouldn’t have made sense for the Phillies because Schierholtz was projected as the fifth outfielder.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs gave Edwin Jackson quite a wedding present on Wednesday. Jackson, 29, who will marry Erika Zanders on Saturday, signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Cubs. The deal was consummated after GM Jed Hoyer and manager Dale Sveum met with the free agent right-hander in Newport Beach, Calif., at the same time that the Cubs were courting free agent Anibal Sanchez. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein met with Sanchez in Florida. Both Jackson and Sanchez fit what the Cubs were looking for — young, durable pitchers who they could build around. Epstein’s meeting with Sanchez was leaked; Hoyer’s was not.
“It’s hard to sign free agent players in general and we knew we were going to go after both guys,” Hoyer said. “We did a better job hiding our (meeting with Jackson).”
Jackson has been busy with wedding preparations, and that, plus the holidays, delayed the official signing until Wednesday.
The Cubs will be his sixth different team in the last six Opening Days. What gives?
“I think everyone likes me,” said Jackson, laughing. “The only thing I take from it is that as long as people are going out and trying to get me on their team, it says a lot. Most of the times I’ve been traded, it’s to a playoff contending team. I never looked at it as a negative. As long as someone wants me and they want me on their team and around their players and in their clubhouse, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t have to worry about the bad rap on my name.”
Jackson did change agents last summer, leaving Scott Boras, but didn’t want to talk about that.
“I think a lot of his recent stops were due to the fact that you couldn’t sign him to an extension and teams were willing to take what they could get in trade rather than lose him for nothing,” Hoyer said.
Jackson and Zanders flew home late Wednesday to get back to the wedding details.
“I’m not really nervous about either,” Jackson said about the pending nuptials and starting for the Cubs. “I’m trying to calm my nerves. With wedding planning, two people can’t be nervous.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs used 20 rookies last season, the most since they used 20 in 1974. During his media session on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, Dale Sveum mentioned that they can only use youth as an excuse for so long. GM Jed Hoyer agrees.
“If we’re doing things right, at all times, we’ll have young players in the big leagues who are going through the maturation process,” Hoyer said. “On an individual level, we have some guys in the big leagues who can’t use youth [as an excuse] forever. There’s time for some of those guys to take that leap forward to ‘established big leaguer’ mode. I think the Braves in the ’90s were the best example. They always had a young guy they were bringing in who they were cycling through. If that guy had growing pains, it was OK because he had other guys around him. We’ll always have guys going through their struggles because that’s the nature of it. … Individually we have some guys who need to step forward.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have reportedly signed Japanese free agent pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year, $9.5 million contract, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Saturday. The Cubs would not confirm or comment on the report except to say nothing is imminent.
Fujikawa, 32, played 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, totaling 220 saves, and a 1.77 ERA. Last season, he appeared in 47 2/3 innings and compiled a 1.32 ERA. He was sidelined with an adductor strain and has not thrown 70 innings in a single season since 2007.
According to Rosenthal, the right-hander will receive a signing bonus of $1 million and $4 million in salaries in 2013 and ’14. There is a vesting option valued at $5.5 million or $6 million, to be determined by games finished.
On Friday, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer did confirm that he met with Fujikawa about 10 days ago and that the Japanese pitcher toured Wrigley Field. Hoyer said they were “very impressed” by the right-hander but would not comment on a time-table or the negotiations.
The Cubs did re-sign set-up pitcher Shawn Camp but otherwise have not made any additions to the bullpen.
“If we bring in someone who has closing experience, or a number of guys who have closing experience, that’s no knock on Carlos [Marmol],” Hoyer said of the Cubs current closer. “I think every team in baseball wants to have an assortment of guys back there who, if the need arises, can pitch in the ninth inning. Hopefully we can do that.”
The Angels, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Orioles also were believed to be interested in Fujikawa.
Last month, the Cubs were close to completing a deal with the Angels which would’ve sent Marmol to Anaheim for starter Dan Haren. The Cubs pulled that trade off the table because of concerns over Haren’s medical reports.
– Carrie Muskat
Tony Campana was hitless in three at-bats on Friday for Leones del Caracas in Venezuelan Winter League play. Campana is 2-for-20 (.100) in eight games so far with two stolen bases. Reports are that he’s playing well defensively. Luis Valbuena went 1-for-4 for Lara and was batting .316 in Venezuela with four home runs and 11 doubles.
In the Dominican, Esmailin Caridad has compiled a 1.80 ERA in 26 games, pitching primarily in relief for Yaquis de Obregon. He has 35 strikeouts in 30 innings. Michael Bowden has a 3.92 ERA in five games. In his last outing on Monday, he gave up one run on three hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings, striking out three.
* GM Jed Hoyer was asked Friday about Junior Lake, who is ranked among the batting leaders in the Dominican, but also has been playing in the outfield.
“Junior is an amazing athlete,” Hoyer said. “He has the ability to move around. When you have a guy who can play short and third and left and center field, I think we’ll use all that athleticism. We don’t know exactly what his final home will be but it’s been nice to get reports from [long time scout and Dominican manager] Dave Jauss from the Dominican Republic talking about [Lake's] performance and development. I hope he can springboard off a good winter ball and head into Spring Training with some confidence.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Winter Meetings will be next week in Nashville, and the Cubs still have some holes to fill. Whether they sign free agents or acquire talent via trade, one thing is certain. No one is untouchable.
“We lost 101 games last year,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “I don’t think we’re in position to say we have enough talent, or to say to any one player on the roster he’s untouchable. We certainly have several players who we would have a hard time parting with and it would take a heck of a package to make it happen.
“In general, there shouldn’t be many untouchables in the game and there usually aren’t and I think they certainly shouldn’t be on teams looking to acquire a lot of talent,” he said. “I think the answer is no, but that’s no disrespect to the players we have. We just need to acquire a lot of talent.”
It could be a busy week. The Cubs do want to add more pitching.
“We still look at it as an area of need,” Hoyer said. “We’re actively looking to improve our bullpen and we haven’t been able to address that yet this winter with the exception of bringing back Shawn Camp.”
Plus, because Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves, are both coming off Tommy John surgery, and Matt Garza had his season shortened by an elbow injury, the Cubs need depth. They also want to add an outfielder who can play center or right, and need help for the bench.
Hoyer did confirm that Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa was considering the Cubs and did tour Wrigley Field. However, Hoyer would not comment on the negotiations or provide a timetable. He did say they were impressed by the right-hander.
“If we bring in someone who has closing experience, or a number of guys who have closing experience, that’s no knock on Carlos,” Hoyer said. “I think every team in baseball wants to have an assortment of guys back there who if the need arises can pitch in the ninth inning. Hopefully we can do that.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have to make decisions today regarding their arbitration eligible players, and GM Jed Hoyer said they will likely non-tender some of them. However, he added that the Cubs hope to be able to keep all of the players and sign them to Minor League contracts. The list includes:
3B Ian Stewart ($2.237 million in 2012)
RHP Matt Garza ($9.5 million in 2012)
RHP Jeff Samardzija ($2.64 million in 2012)
LHP James Russell ($512,500 in 2012)
IF Luis Valbuena ($495,200 in 2012)
Both Stewart and Garza are coming off seasons cut short by injuries.
“We’re still having conversations with a number of players’ agents,” Hoyer said Friday. “It’s very likely we’ll have a couple non-tenders. I think we’ll see ourselves below 40 [on the roster] when we get into tomorrow. It’s also difficult to speculate which players those might be.”
The Cubs are currently at 40 on the roster. The deadline to make a decision regarding whether to tender the arbitration eligible players is 11 p.m. CT.
If a player is non-tendered, he becomes a free agent.
“I think it’s fair to say whenever the list comes out of the guys we do non-tender, that all of the guys we’ll end up non-tendering are guys we hope to get back,” Hoyer said. “We do have some hard decisions to make but we don’t want to lose any of the guys we may cut loose. If we do have to take them off the roster, I hope we can work out deals to keep them.”
– Carrie Muskat
MLB general managers are meeting this week in Indian Wells, Calif., which means trade rumors will be heating up. The Cubs are well represented as Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, Randy Bush and Shiraz Rehman are at the meetings, which end Friday. The meetings are a chance for the Cubs executives to meet face to face with agents and teams.
The Cubs are in the market for two starting pitchers, an outfielder and possibly a third baseman. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the Cubs have expressed interest in free agent pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum. The two would have to be willing to sign deals similar to what Paul Maholm and David DeJesus inked last year. Maholm signed a one-year, $4.75 million contract with a club option, while DeJesus signed a two-year, $10 million deal. McCarthy, 29, and Marcum, 30, have battled injuries the last two seasons.
“I think the contracts we signed last winter are a good model,” Hoyer told beat writers last week. “I think we have a chance to maybe sign more of those this year with a little bit more money to spend. … We might be able to sign more contracts like that or maybe even a little larger than last year, but I think it’s a good model of contract that really served us well.”
Hoyer said they have already laid groundwork with teams and agents prior to the meetings.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs top prospect Javier Baez has a non-displaced fracture of the tip of his right thumb, but was expected to be ready to go in Spring Training, GM Jed Hoyer said Thursday. Baez was playing in the Arizona Fall League when he was injured last Friday, apparently while giving someone a celebratory high five. Infielder Logan Watkins, who played for Double-A Tennessee, was added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster to take Baez’s spot.
“It is unfortunate,” Hoyer said of the injury to Baez. “He had some really good moments in the fall league and also had some really good learning moments.”
Brian Harper, who is a hitting coach for the Solar Sox after being the manager at Tennessee, kept Hoyer updated on Baez’s progress in the AFL with daily reports, saying the shortstop had made good adjustments.
“That’s the real shame of it — [Baez] played plenty of games this year,” Hoyer said. “To be a young player in the fall league and having to make adjustments was really good for him. The injury won’t hinder anything going forward.”
– Carrie Muskat
Arizona Fall League
* The Arizona Fall League opens its 20th season Tuesday with three games, including the Mesa Solar Sox’s contest against the Salt River Rafters in Scottsdale at Talking Stick. The Cubs have seven players on the Solar Sox roster: Javier Baez, Rubi Silva, Kevin Rhoderick, Matt Szczur, Tony Zych, Dae-Eun Rhee, and Nick Struck, who was named the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The majority of the rosters are composed of players who competed at Double-A levels last season. Baez, who turns 20 on Dec. 1, is the youngest player in the AFL. He spent most of the season at Class A Peoria, where he batted .333 in 57 games, and also played 23 games with Class A Daytona.
AFL games run from Tuesday until Nov. 15, with the championship on Nov. 17. The Solar Sox will play at HoHoKam Park on Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. MST against the Rafters.
* There’s definitely a different sound to the Cubs’ instructional league workouts this year at Fitch Park. Tim Cossins, 42, the Cubs new Minor League field coordinator, asked players and coaches to each submit a song, and the music is played during batting practice at Fitch Park. It does help get the energy level going during workouts in the 90-plus degree heat. Cossins replaces Brandon Hyde, who was promoted to director of player development. A former catcher, Cossins played eight seasons in the Minor Leagues, and managed five seasons in the Marlins’ Minor League system, including three at the Rookie League level and two years, 2005-06, at Class A Jupiter.
On Tuesday, Trevor Gretzky made an impressive catch in left field during one of the drills. Cubs outfield instructor Lee Tinsley says Gretzky is one of the most improved players in camp. It also was a good way for Gretzky to show off in front of his parents, Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones, who were at Fitch Park.
Instructional league games finish this week, with the last game on Saturday. However, players will compete Thursday in their own “American Idol” type competition.
* Congrats to Jesse Hodges (@TCHodgy), who hit his first professional home run, a two-run shot, in Monday’s instructional league game against the Athletics. The Cubs signed Hodges after seeing him play in the World Junior Tournament in South Korea. A Canadian, he had a full scholarship at Grayson College, a junior college in Texas. His home run was well-timed as he connected in front of Cubs international scout Steve Wilson, who signed the infielder, as well as Hodges’ grandfather, who was at the game, and most of the Cubs brass, including Theo Epstein. I’ll have more on Hodges.
* Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are in Arizona this week with the Cubs scouting staff for the end of the year meetings, and a chance to see some of the young players such as Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.
– Carrie Muskat