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.
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
The Chicago Cubs today claimed left-handed pitcher Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles and released infielder Brendan Ryan from the roster. Additionally, right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina has been claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The club’s 40-man roster remains at 40 players.
Olmos, 25, was claimed off waivers by Chicago from Seattle on Dec. 4 before he was claimed off waivers by Baltimore on Dec. 10.
Olmos went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA (7 ER/14.0 IP) in six appearances with the Mariners last season, including two starts. He spent the majority of the season with Triple-A Tacoma where he went 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA (13 ER/33.0 IP) in 20 games (two starts). The southpaw has a career 1-1 record with a 5.21 ERA (11 ER/19.0 IP) in 11 major league contests, as he made five appearances with the Marlins in 2013, his only other major league stint.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Olmos was originally selected by the Marlins in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California. He is 16-38 with a 4.44 ERA in 199 career minor league games (73 starts) over eight professional seasons.
Ryan, 33, was acquired from the Yankees on Dec. 17 to complete the trade in which the Cubs acquired right-handed pitcher Adam Warren and a player to be named for infielder Starlin Castro.
Medina, 27, was designated for assignment on Dec. 17. He went 1-0 with a 4.71 ERA (11 ER/21.0 IP) in 17 relief appearances between Seattle and the Cubs last season.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Chicago Cubs today named John Baker to the role of baseball operations assistant.
Baker, 34, recently retired after 14 professional seasons as a catcher (2002-15), including the 2014 campaign with the Cubs. Overall, Baker played seven major league seasons with the Florida Marlins (2008-11), San Diego Padres (2012-13) and Cubs (2014).
In his new role, Baker will contribute to all elements within the club’s baseball operations department, including player development and scouting with an eye toward catching and mental skills. He will visit the club’s affiliates to work with the minor league players on and off the field, evaluate amateur players leading up to the draft, and spend time around the major league club among additional responsibilities and opportunities.
Baker was originally selected by the Oakland Athletics in the fourth round of the 2002 draft out of the University of California, Berkeley and made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2008. He batted .247 (266-for-1,076) with 14 home runs and 120 RBI in 359 big league contests and went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER/1.0 IP) in one career major league relief appearance.
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
The Cubs today acquired infielder Brendan Ryan from the Yankees as the player to be named in last week’s trade that sent infielder Starlin Castro to the Yankees for right-handed pitcher Adam Warren.
To make room for Ryan on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina has been designated for assignment.
Ryan, 33, is a career .234 hitter (603-for-2,578) with 116 doubles, 19 home runs and 203 RBI in 879 games with St. Louis (2007-10), Seattle (2011-13) and New York (2013-15). He batted .229 with the Yankees last year after being limited to 47 games due to multiple stints on the disabled list.
The versatile Ryan has seen action at every position in his big league career except for center field and catcher, seeing his most playing time at shortstop (705 games), second base (104 games) and third base (45 games). He led his league in defensive WAR in 2009 (3.2) and 2012 (3.6). Ryan won a Fielding Bible Award in 2012 as the best shortstop in the majors.
He was originally selected by St. Louis in the seventh round of the 2003 draft.
Medina, 27, went 1-0 with a 4.71 ERA (11 ER/21.0 IP) in 17 relief appearances between Seattle and the Cubs last season.
The Chicago Cubs today announced the club’s minor league coordinators for the 2016 season.
Tim Cossins returns for his fourth season as the organization’s minor league field and catching coordinator following 10 years in the Miami Marlins farm system, including the final six as the minor league catching coordinator. He was also a manager in the Marlins minor league system from 2003-07. Cossins began his coaching career in 2000 and in 2001-02 was the major league bullpen catcher for Kansas City. The former catcher played eight minor league seasons (1993-2000) in the Rangers, Yankees and Expos organizations.
Jim Brower enters his first year as the Cubs minor league pitching coordinator after spending the last three seasons as the pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals Double-A affiliate, Northwest Arkansas. He served in the same role for two seasons at Single-A Kane County prior to joining Northwest Arkansas. Brower appeared in nine big league seasons, going 33-32 with a 4.67 ERA (298 ER/574.0 IP) and 397 strikeouts in 354 major league games (28 starts). The right-hander led the majors with 89 appearances in 2004 with San Francisco.
Andy Haines enters his first year as the Cubs minor league hitting coordinator after spending the last two years as manager of the Marlins Triple-A affiliate, New Orleans. In 2012, Haines led Single-A Jupiter to the Florida State League Championship Series, falling one game short of capturing the title. All told, Haines was a manager in the Marlins system for seven years, compiling a 449-467 (.490) record. Prior to joining the Marlins, he was the manager of the Windy City Thunderbolts of the independent Frontier League, going 68-28, in 2007.
Jose Flores returns for his fourth season as minor league infield coordinator and his 16th year as a coach or manager. Flores spent two seasons as manager of the Puerto Rico National baseball team (2011-12) and was a bench coach for Ponce Leones in the Puerto Rico Baseball League (2010). He handled similar duties for the Gaguas Criollos baseball club in 2008, the same year he managed the Cleveland Indians Dominican Summer League team. After playing six seasons in Houston’s minor league system (1990-95), he began his coaching career in the Puerto Rico Winter League (2001-06).
Doug Dascenzo begins his second year as the organization’s minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator. Dascenzo has 17 years of coaching experience following a career that saw him play in parts of seven seasons in the majors, including five with the Cubs from 1988-92. Prior to joining the Cubs, Dascenzo spent the previous three seasons with Atlanta, including serving as the third base coach for the major league club in 2014. After retiring from baseball, he coached in the Padres farm system from 1999-2011, including six seasons as a minor league manager.
Dave Keller enters his 31st season as a minor league coach or manager, his 13th year in the Cubs organization and his second as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He managed Single-A Daytona in 2013-14 and led the club to the 2013 Florida State League title after he served as Iowa’s hitting coach in 2012. In 2011, he was the Cubs major league staff assistant after seven years (2004-10) as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. Keller was a major league staff assistant and bullpen catcher for Cleveland from 2001-03 following two years as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. He managed in the minor leagues in the Cincinnati (1987-89), Cleveland (1990-94) and White Sox (1996) organizations, and was named the 1993 Carolina League Manager of the Year with Single-A Kinston. The former first baseman played in the Reds organization for three seasons (1982-84).
Mike Mason begins his third season as assistant pitching coordinator after spending the previous six years as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach. He has 24 years of coaching experience following a seven-year big league playing career with Texas (1982-87), the Cubs (1987) and Minnesota (1988). Prior to joining the Cubs, he served as Kansas City’s minor league pitching coordinator (2004-07), while also handling interim pitching coach duties at the major league level in 2004. Mason served as pitching coach for Philadelphia’s Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club in 2002-03 after serving as Kansas City’s minor league pitching instructor the previous two seasons (2000-01). He began his coaching career in Kansas City’s minor league system from 1991-99.
Tom Beyers returns for his 17th season with the Cubs organization and his second as the minor league assistant hitting coordinator, following two seasons as Single-A Kane County’s hitting coach. He was the short-season hitting coordinator in 2012 following one season as the minor league hitting coordinator in 2011. Beyers joined the Cubs in 2000 and was a minor league manager or coach for 11 seasons, including manager of Single-A Boise in 2004, a season in which he led the club to the Northwest League title and earned league manager of the year honors. A former outfielder, he spent his first 21 seasons in professional baseball with the Dodgers as a player, coach or manager after he was selected by Los Angeles in the 15th round of the 1979 draft.
Josh Lifrak returns for his second season with the Cubs as the club’s director, mental skills program. He is tasked with the development, implementation and supervision of the Cubs mental skills training program for all levels of the organization. Prior to joining the Cubs, he spent 10 years as the Senior Mental Conditioning Consultant for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Lifrak earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island in 1994 and earned a Masters of Science, Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Psychology from Ithaca College in 2005.
Rey Fuentes begins his fourth season with the organization and second as Latin Coordinator, Mental Skills Program, following two years as cultural programs coordinator. In this role, he oversees all educational classes and mental skills programs for the Cubs Latin American players. Prior to joining the Cubs, he coached and taught physical education in the Orlando area. Fuentes graduated from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, in 2002 with a degree in Exceptional Student Education.
Darnell McDonald begins his second season as the organization’s mental skills program coordinator and will work with players throughout all levels of the farm system. McDonald served as a Cubs baseball operations assistant in 2014 following his retirement after 16 professional seasons. He was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1997 draft and played for the Cubs in 2013.
Doug Jarrow begins his ninth season as Chicago’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. He previously spent five years in the Dodgers organization, including 2003-05 as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and 2006-07 as the major league strength coach. Jarrow began his career as a minor league strength and conditioning coach with Tampa Bay in 1998 and Pittsburgh in 1999.
Nick Frangella begins his 13th season with the organization and his third as head minor league athletic training and performance coordinator. He spent the previous two seasons as Triple-A Iowa’s athletic trainer.
Chuck Baughman enters his 16th year with the Cubs organization, his third season as assistant athletic training coordinator. He spent the previous eight seasons as a rehabilitation coordinator and joined the organization as Single-A Boise’s athletic trainer in 2001. His career in professional baseball began in 1999 when he was the athletic trainer for Single-A Clinton in Cincinnati’s system.
Rick Tronerud returns for his 21st year with the Cubs and his third as minor league rehab pitching coordinator. He spent the previous 13 seasons with Rookie League Mesa, serving as the club’s rehab pitching coach. Tronerud joined the organization in 1996 as the pitching coach at Rookie League Fort Myers after pitching (1972-81) and coaching (1982-89) in Oakland’s farm system.