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Cubs News and Notes: Hoerner top-10, Cubs add lefty, Bryant-Castellanos markets, Hot Stove


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Hoerner could be a key piece in 2020 (Orlando Ramirez - USA Today Sports)
Hoerner could be a key piece in 2020 (Orlando Ramirez - USA Today Sports)

CUBS NEWS AND NOTES

Next Game: Next Game: 31 days – Saturday, February 22, 2020: Athletics vs Cubs (Sloan Park)

Opening Day: 65 days – Thursday, March 26, 2020: Cubs vs. Brewers (Miller Park)

Congrats, Nico: Cubs middle infielder Nico Hoerner is about to be named one of MLB Pipeline’s top-10 shortstops. I suppose you still have to consider Hoerner a “prospect,” but I think his days in the minors are going to be very limited. From the start, this kid has shown nothing but promise, while carrying an outstanding attitude into the clubhouse and onto the field. Congratulations.

Cubs add southpaw: The Cubs have taken a flier on yet another rehabbing pitcher, this time with a 32-year-old southpaw named Rex Brothers. Brothers does carry a career WAR of 4.6 but failed to pitch in the majors during 2018 and 2019 after posting a horrific 7.23 ERA in 2017.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, “As for the flame-throwing Brothers, he spent the ’19 campaign turning in typically high-K, high-walk outings for the Yankees’ top affiliate. In 45 2/3 innings at Triple-A, the former Rockies and Braves hurler struck out 81 opposing hitters but also doled out 36 free passes. He ended the year with a 4.93 ERA. Once a fixture in the Colorado bullpen, Brothers has seen his big-league opportunities dwindle in more recent seasons.”

I’m not sure what Theo Epstein seems to expect out of this deal, but the signing pales in comparison to the deal yesterday that brought Travis Lakins to the Cubs.

Nicholas Castellanos: Joining the Cubs, Rangers and others who are bidding for Nick and the golden bat, the Reds are also now reportedly in on Nicholas Castellanos. I still think that the longer this drags on, the more likely the Cubs are to re-sign him, as even after reportedly having “a good meeting” with Texas, Castellanos remains unsigned. Just one thing holding this up…

There’s no way the Cubs will re-sign Castellanos if they can’t trade Kris Bryant, and they can’t do that until a decision has been reached on the grievance. MLB has investigated a huge cheating scandal, rendered a decision, and punished the offenders; Congress has impeached the President of the United States, and yet we still don’t have an answer on what is now a 1,715-day-old grievance relating to service time. Something isn’t right with this whole picture.

Chicago Cubs ask: What do you get when you ask the same set of questions to Ian Happ, Anthony Rizzo, Nico Hoerner, David Bote, Jason Heyward, Kyle Hendricks, and Albert Almora Jr.? A mess. The questions were funny; the answers, funnier.

Pedro Strop: Just a few days ago, the Cubs were in on re-signing Pedro Strop, but don’t start putting your caps on crooked just yet. According to MLB insider Hector Gomez, Chicago is now out of the race.

The worst of both worlds: Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement yesterday, stating that the electronic strike zone would be used in Spring Training games this year; the umpires committee validated the statement, but added some clarity. The electronic zone will only be used for nine of the Grapefruit League games (Florida), but it will be used behind the scenes so that MLB can try to refine the system. Meanwhile, regular umpires will be calling the balls and strikes.

"Reports that MLB will use 'robo-umps' to call balls and strikes in spring training games this year are completely inaccurate. ... Our understanding is that a camera-based tracking system will be running in the background during some spring training games for technology development and training purposes. But any game in which a Major League Baseball umpire is working will have a human calling balls and strikes." -Statement issued by the Umpires Committee

Cubs’ Birthdays: Celebrating yesterday were ex-Cubs Jimmy Anderson (44), Brian Dayett (63), and posthumously, Jophery Brown (75) and Jack Littrell (91).

Baseball Quotes: “The best thing about baseball is there's no homework.” -Dan Quisenberry

MLB and the Hot Stove

NL Central News:

Brewers: The Brewers have signed RHP (reliever) Mike Morin to a minor league deal (invite included).

From the Rest of MLB:

Angels: The Angels have added again. This time, they’ve signed a pair of former MLB righties to MiLB deal. Jacob Barnes and Jake Thompson will both receive invites to Spring Training.

Mets: NY has signed Rene Rivera (Catcher) to a minor league deal. If he makes the team out of Spring Training, he’ll earn a $1M salary with another $300k in possible incentives.

The Mets have also named Luis Rojas as Carlos Beltran’s successor. (Wait… can you be a successor to a guy who never managed a game?)

Royals: KC will be re-signing outfielder Alex Gordon. This is a one-year deal worth $4M. KC has since designated RHP Heath Fillmyer to make room for Gordon.

Phillies: The Phils have signed veteran infielder Neil Walker to a minor league deal (includes an invite).

Yankees: The Yanks have signed a minor-league pact with lefty Luis Avalon.

White Sox: RHP Dylan Covey has rejected his outright assignment to Triple-A and will now enter free agency.

Tigers: The Tigers have signed a minor league deal with lefty Hector Santiago (invite to Spring Training).

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