Results tagged ‘ Jed Hoyer ’

2/16 Video dude wins

Nate Halm, an assistant of video and advanced scouting, who was a late add to the Cubs staff bunting tourney because the masseuse withdrew, beat strength coach Tim Buss to advance to the players bracket on Saturday. Theo Epstein did beat GM Jed Hoyer in the first round, but Epstein then lost to Scott Harris, director of baseball operations, in the second round.

When Harris muffed a bunt against Epstein, the Cubs exec quipped: “Smart kid.” And when Harris beat him, Epstein reminded everyone: “I hired him.”

Halm beat Harris to advance against Buss. Cubs manager Dale Sveum threw to the 16 staff members. He organized the bunt tourney last year, which outfielder David DeJesus won. The players and pitchers brackets will begin this week now that the field of 64 has been completed.

“The most important match of the year was the first one,” Epstein said of beating Hoyer. “I’ve got to get better — better than Jed, which isn’t saying much. I will say Jed and I have a long history of playing pickup basketball and other sports. That one felt good. Nate, he might get an invite to camp on a Minor League contract — that was impressive.”

Epstein’s secretary Hayley DeWitte did advance further than her boss.

“Title IX is a good thing,” Epstein said.

– Carrie Muskat

2/10 Baez watch

Highly touted prospect Javier Baez will be in his first Major League Spring Training camp, but the Cubs aren’t reserving a locker for him at Wrigley Field for this season.

“When a young guy’s name pops up as being invited to big league camp, often times people think it means he’s close to the big leagues,” Theo Epstein said Sunday. “In this case, Javy’s not. He’s got significant development still ahead of him. We’re really impressed by everything he’s done but he has a lot of work to do, he knows that. … He finished the year in high-A ball and that’s about where he’s going to start.”

Baez, 20, batted .333 at Class A Peoria with a .979 OPS, 10 doubles, 12 homers and 33 RBIs, and batted .188 in 23 games at Class A Daytona. For now, he’ll stay at shortstop although fans may see him play some second base in Cactus League games just to get him some at-bats.

“He’s a shortstop and he’s going to play shortstop,” Dale Sveum said. “If he happens to get in a game at third or second base, it’ll be because of flat numbers. It’s not that we need to take a look at him anywhere else — that’ll be a development question down the road.”

The invite to the Cubs’ big league camp was made to give Baez some insight into what it’s about.

“It’s nice for the fans to be able to see him, it’s nice for us to be able to see him, but this is not about making the Major League team, this is about experience,” GM Jed Hoyer said.

The same is true for highly touted outfielder Jorge Soler. Epstein said their plan is to have players spend at least one year at Triple-A. Soler played briefly at Class A Peoria last season.

– Carrie Muskat

2/9 Extra bases

* This spring, the Cubs will have their second bunting tournament, with a slight tweak. The front office will compete for a spot in the field of 64, and Theo Epstein was expected to square off against GM Jed Hoyer in their first round match. David DeJesus won the tourney last year.

* Scott Feldman had his first bullpen session on Saturday at Fitch Park. Pitchers and catchers report Sunday, and will take physicals on Monday with the first workout scheduled for Tuesday.

* Outfielder Reggie Golden, the No. 2 pick in 2010, is healthy after suffering a hyperextended left knee in the seventh game of last season at Class A Peoria. He’s also one of the early bird position players in camp. “I’m so excited to be hitting — every time I take a swing, I’m happy to be back,” Golden said.

He’s also been impressed with how Dale Sveum interacts with the young players. “Every day, he says, ‘Good morning, how are you guys doing?’ I would love to play for him,” Golden said.

– Carrie Muskat

1/2 Schierholtz the man in RF

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

1/2 Congratulations, Edwin & Erika

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

12/4 The youth movement

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

12/1 Report: Cubs sign Fujikawa

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

12/1 Winter ball update

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


11/30 Prepping for Nashville

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

11/30 Cubs face tough decisions

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 


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