Latest news and rumors: Proposed MLB rule changes, Cubs spring training invites and more

by - Columnist -
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

Cubs’ news and notes

Cubs’ Opening Day: 50 days. (March 28 vs. Rangers)

Pitchers/Catchers Report: 7 Days.

First Spring Training game: 17 Days. (Saturday, February 23, Brewers vs. Cubs at Sloan Park)

Spring training invites: The 2019 baseball season is starting to take shape, as the Cubs announced today that they have invited the following 27 non-roster players to MLB spring training:

RHP: Christian Bergman, Craig Brooks, Matt Carasiti, George Kontos, Dakota Mekkes, Carlos Ramirez, Colin Rea, Duncan Robinson, Rob Scahill, Junichi Tazawa and Allen Webster. (11 total)

LHP: Alberto Baldonado, Ian Clarkin, and Mike Zagurski. (3 total)

Infielders: Christhian Adames, Ryan Court, Phillip Evans, Trent Giambrone, and Zack Short. (5 total)

Outfielders: Jim Adduci, Charcer Burks, Johnny Field, Jacob Hanneman, and Evan Marzilli. (5 total)

Catchers: Francisco Arcia, PJ Higgins and Ian Rice (3 total)

Wallpaper Wednesday: The Cubs tweeted some pictures for your mobile phones, etc.

Latest news and rumors from around the league

Rule changes: MLB and the MLB Player’s Association are discussing several potential rule changes. Among the known proposals are: (1) A three batter minimum for pitchers, (2) A universal designated hitter, (3) A single trade deadline before the All-Star break, (4) A twenty-second pitch clock, (5) The expansion of rosters to 26 men with a 12 pitcher maximum, (6) Draft advantages for winning teams and penalties for losing teams, (7) A study to lower the mound and (8) A rule that would allow two-sport amateurs to sign major league contracts.

With the way this off-season has gone, I wouldn’t be surprised to see proposals for a winter trade/signing deadline and a salary cap.

Jeff Passan: ESPN’s Jeff Passan weighed in on the proposed changes: “The conversation between MLB and the union is a good sign, particularly amid chilly relations between the parties. While the likelihood that these rules changes are adopted isn't great, sources told ESPN, the parties putting proposals on the table is definitely a step forward.”

Giants: SF has confirmed that they met with Bryce Harper earlier this week. The meeting did include ownership, as previously rumored. (Harper appears to be no closer to signing now than he did in November...)

Nationals: The Nats have agreed to re-sign righty, Jeremy Hellickson to a one-year, $1.3M deal, with an additional $2.7M available in incentives.

Pirates: Pittsburgh has agreed to terms on a minor league deal with RHP Tom Koehler. There is no invite to big league camp. He will be rehabbing most of the 2019 season after having shoulder surgery last summer.

Royals: Another pitcher off the market (only about 45 left), as the Royals have announced a $2.2M deal (plus incentives) with Brad Boxberger.

White Sox: Chicago has signed former Indians’ outfielder, Brandon Guyer, to a minor league deal.

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