Cubs at Angels — Angel Stadium
First Pitch: 9:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Jon Lester, LHP
Angels Starter: Andrew Heaney, LHP
TV: CSN+; Radio: 670 The Score
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Jorge Soler, DH
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. Matt Szczur, LF
9. David Ross, C
The Chicago Cubs have assigned nine players to minor league camp, reducing their spring roster from 45 to 36 players.
Nine non-roster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: Right-handed pitchers Brandon Gomes, Jean Machi and Ryan Williams; infielders Jesus Guzman and Kris Negron; and outfielders Albert Almora, John Andreoli, Matt Murton and Juan Perez.
Chicago’s spring roster of 36 players consists of 19 pitchers (two non-roster invitees and one DL), four catchers (one non-roster invitee), eight infielders (one non-roster invitee) and five outfielders (one non-roster invitee).
The Chicago Cubs have assigned 11 players to minor league camp, reducing their spring roster from 56 to 45 players.
Right-handed pitchers Carl Edwards Jr. and Pierce Johnson; left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser; infielder Arismendy Alcantara; and catcher Willson Contreras have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Infielder Jeimer Candelario has been optioned to Double-A Tennessee.
Five non-roster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: right-handed pitchers Stephen Fife, Felix Pena and Drew Rucinski; left-handed pitcher Edgar Olmos; and catcher Taylor Davis.
Chicago’s spring roster of 45 players consists of 22 pitchers (five non-roster invitees and one DL), four catchers (one non-roster invitee), 10 infielders (three non-roster invitees) and nine outfielders (five non-roster invitees).
The Cubs have assigned seven players to minor league camp, reducing their spring roster from 63 to 56 players.
Right-handed pitcher Andury Acevedo, left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch and infielder Dan Vogelbach have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Four non-roster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: Right-handed pitchers Jonathan Pettibone, Duane Underwood Jr. and Armando Rivero; and left-handed pitcher Jack Leathersich.
Chicago’s spring roster of 56 players consists of 29 pitchers (nine non-roster invitees and one DL), six catchers (two non-roster invitees), 12 infielders (three non-roster invitees) and nine outfielders (five non-roster invitees).
The Cubs have agreed to 2016 contract terms with 21 players on their 40-man roster with zero-to-three years of major-league service.
The following players have agreed to 2016 contract terms:
Right-handed pitchers Dallas Beeler, Aaron Brooks, Carl Edwards Jr., Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Spencer Patton and Neil Ramirez.
Left-handed pitchers Eric Jokisch, C.J. Riefenhauser and Zac Rosscup.
Catchers Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber.
Infielders Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jeimer Candelario, Tommy La Stella, Addison Russell, Christian Villanueva and Dan Vogelbach.
Outfielder Matt Szczur.
The Chicago Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler have agreed to terms on a 2016 contract with a mutual option for the 2017 campaign. To make room for Fowler on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup has been placed on the 60-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.
Fowler, who turns 30 next month, returns to the Cubs after batting .250 (149-for-596) in 156 games and setting career highs in many offensive categories, including 102 runs scored, 17 home runs, 149 hits and 84 walks, which contributed to his .346 on-base percentage, 96 points above his batting average. He batted .272 (73-for-268) with a .389 on-base percentage and a .463 slugging percentage, good for an .852 OPS, in 71 games after the All-Star Break to help lead the Cubs to the National League Championship Series.
The switch-hitter is a career .267 hitter with a .363 on-base percentage in all or part of eight major league seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2008-13), Houston Astros (2014) and Cubs (2015). Per 162 games, Fowler has averaged 29 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers, 20 stolen bases, 82 walks and a .418 slugging to contribute to a career .781 OPS. Including a .326 average (44-for-135) and .399 on-base percentage last year, Fowler is a career .303 hitter with a .392 on-base percentage when batting from the right side of the plate.
Fowler has exclusively played center field since his first full season in the big leagues in 2009, when he finished eighth in National League Rookie of the Year voting, and his 65 triples since 2009 lead all major leaguers covering the last seven seasons. He set the Rockies record for triples in a single season in 2010 (14) and again in 2011 (15), when he also recorded a career-high 35 doubles.
A native of Atlanta, Fowler was originally selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 14th round of the 2004 draft out of Milton (GA) High School.
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)
The Chicago Cubs today acquired right-handed pitcher Aaron Brooks from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Chris Coghlan.
Brooks, 25, has pitched part of the last two seasons in the big leagues with Kansas City (2014-15) and Oakland (2015) after being selected by the Royals in the ninth round of the 2011 draft out of Cal-State San Bernardino. He was acquired by Oakland on July 28, 2015, as part of the trade that sent Ben Zobrist to the Royals. Brooks has gone 3-5 with an 8.38 ERA (54 ER/58 IP) in 15 big league appearances, including 10 as a starter.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander combined to go 7-5 with a 3.56 ERA (47 ER/118.2 IP) in 20 appearances, all but one as a starter, between Triple-A Omaha and Nashville last season. He struck out 103 batters and walked only 21 in 118.2 innings pitched, an average of 7.8 strikeouts and only 1.6 walks per nine innings. He turned in a 4.90 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Brooks has gone 43-32 with four complete games, one shutout, one save and a 4.18 ERA (302 ER/618 IP) in 113 career minor league appearances, 108 as a starter in five professional seasons. He is a native of Montclair, California.
Coghlan, 30, batted .250 (110-for-440) with 25 doubles, 16 homers and 41 RBI in 148 games for the Cubs last season. The former Rookie of the Year joined the Cubs prior to the 2014 campaign and has batted .268 (602-for-2,244) in 666 games with the Marlins (2009-13) and Cubs (2014-15).
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Cubs have invited three additional non-roster players to major league Spring Training: outfielder Matt Murton, right-handed pitcher Ryan Williams and left-handed pitcher Edgar Olmos, who today cleared waivers and will report to major league Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.
Murton will wear uniform No. 21, Williams will wear uniform No. 87, and Olmos will wear uniform No. 62. Left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser, who was claimed off waivers last week, will wear uniform No. 60.
Including players previously announced, here are the 21 non-roster invitees for the Cubs this spring:
12 pitchers: right-handed pitchers Stephen Fife, Brandon Gomes, Jean Machi, Felix Pena, Jonathan Pettibone, Armando Rivero, Drew Rucinski, Duane Underwood Jr. and Ryan Williams, as well as left-handed pitchers Luis Cruz, Jack Leathersich and Edgar Olmos.
Three infielders: Jesus Guzman, Munenori Kawasaki and Kristopher Negron.
Four outfielders: Albert Almora, John Andreoli, Matt Murton and Juan Perez.
Two catchers: Taylor Davis and Tim Federowicz.
(Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
The Cubs claimed left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser off waivers from the Orioles Friday. To make room for Riefenhauser on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Edgar Olmos has been designated for assignment.
Riefenhauser, 26, has spent parts of the last two seasons at the big league level with the Rays, going 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA (14 ER/20.0 IP) in 24 relief appearances. He was acquired by the Mariners as part of a six-player trade on Nov. 5, 2015, and acquired by the Orioles as part of a three-player deal on Dec. 2, 2015. He was designated for assignment on Feb. 4.
With Triple-A Durham last season, Riefenhauser went 4-2 with one save and a 2.86 ERA (11 ER/34.2 IP) in 29 relief appearances. He struck out 34 while walking only seven batters in 34.2 innings pitched, turning in a 0.92 WHIP.
The 6-foot, 195-pound southpaw was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the 20th round of the 2010 Draft.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
ESPN continued its team unit rankings Tuesday, moving on to major league bullpens. And if the site’s estimations are any indication of how the 2016 season will play out, the Cubs and their fans should be quite pleased. The North Side organization came in at No. 5 on the list, tops among National League teams.
The bulk of the ninth inning work for the Cubs last season was done by Hector Rondon, who had 30 saves, but seven different relievers registered saves. The Cubs should again have bullpen depth, with holdovers Pedro Strop (81 strikeouts in 68 innings), Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Travis Wood and Neil Ramirez and newcomers Adam Warren and Rex Brothers. Teams like the Yankees might have more dynamic options at the back end, but the Cubs might have more depth than any other team in baseball.
Much like the 2015 starters—as noted in yesterday’s post—advanced metrics rank the Cubs relievers quite favorably compared to their NL counterparts. The Cubs bullpen finished the year with a 5.0 WAR, according to fangraphs.com, tops in the league and fourth in all of baseball. Manager Joe Maddon didn’t plug players into specific roles, but more often favored matchups, even in the latter stages of games. The ‘pen’s 3.38 ERA and 1.23 WHIP were both good for fourth best in the NL. The sheer quantity of arms at Maddon’s disposal entering the season will benefit the club as they will have a deep pool of talent to choose from.