The Hot Corner: Cubs arriving in Mesa, Kyler Murray's future, Verlander slams owners

by - Columnist -
Dennis Wierzbicki - USA Today Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki - USA Today Sports

Cubs’ news and notes

Cubs’ Opening Day: 45 days. (March 28 vs. Rangers)

Pitchers/Catchers Report: 1 Day.

First Spring Training game: 12 Days. (Saturday, February 23, Brewers vs. Cubs at Sloan Park)

Brad Brach: Brach’s signing with the Cubs is now official. The two sides agreed on a one-year, $4.35M deal with a mutual option for 2020. With Brach’s signing, the Cubs have now filled their 40-man roster.

It’s that time: Although the official report date is not until tomorrow, pitchers and other players are starting to trickle into Mesa. Jon Lester and Carl Edwards, Jr. have both arrived, as have Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and David Bote, and all appear to be ready to rock. The pitchers and catchers will have their first workout on Wednesday, followed by the position players reporting on Sunday (February 17). The team’s first full workout is slated for Tuesday, February 18.

Latest news and rumors from around the league

Kyler Murray: It’s official as the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner has sold out a guaranteed MLB contract with Oakland in exchange for a shot at being an NFL quarterback. Murray will return $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus money the Oakland A’s gave him last year, and he forfeits the remaining $3.16 million due March 1. The A’s will put him on the restricted list and retain Murray’s rights, but they don’t get a comp draft pick.

"I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback," Murray tweeted Monday. "Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100 percent of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships. I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming workouts and interviews. I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am the franchise QB in this draft."

Garth Brooks: The country music star is playing some baseball with the next Pirates for the next week.

Rule change: According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, “The only possible and likely MLB rule change this season would be the 20-second pitch clock enforcement with no one on first base.”

Justin Verlander: The Astros’ ace weighed in about the situation of free-agency. “100 or so free agents left unsigned. System is broken. They blame “rebuilding,” but that’s BS. You’re telling me you couldn’t sign Bryce or Manny for 10 years and go from there? Seems like a good place to start a rebuild to me. 26-36 is a great performance window too.”

A’s: Oakland has signed veteran, free-agent backstop, Nick Hundley to a minor league deal.

Giants: The Giants have signed free-agent catcher, Steven Vogt to a minor league deal which will also include an invite to spring training.

Indians: Although Cleveland had several calls about a trade for Corey Kluber this winter, it is now likely Kluber with stay with the Indians, at least for a while.

Orioles: The O’s have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder, Eric Young, Jr.

Rays: Tampa has signed right-hander, Tyler Cloyd, to a minor league deal, which also includes an invite to spring training.

Reds: The Reds are STILL adding. They just signed reliever, Zach Duke and designated Jose Lopez for assignment. The Reds 40-man remains at 40.

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