The Rundown: Cubs Lose 3 Players, Pick Up 2 in Rule 5 Draft; Broadcasts on WLS-Ch.7? Baez Makes Debut in Puerto Rico
The Cubs front office left the San Diego Winter Meetings with two new starting pitchers in Jason Hammel and ace Jon Lester, and a lefty veteran catcher in Miguel Montero. Not a bad week. Not bad at all.
The Rule 5 Draft brought the meetings to a close, with the Cubs making it through in pretty good shape. They lost a few players: lefty pitcher Andrew McKirahan, first baseman Rock Shoulders and catcher Luis Flores. McKirahan is the most promising of the bunch, and Shoulders has an 80-grade name, but it appears the Cubs didn’t lose too much value here.
The Cubs also selected a couple players of their own. The first was shortstop Taylor Featherston from the Rockies, but he was quickly shipped to the Angels for cash considerations. Featherston has a pretty outstanding name of his own, so I was a little bummed to hear that he was flipped.
The Cubs also picked up outfielder Ariel Ovando, but are planning on converting him to pitcher.
The expected completions of the player-to-be-named-later deals with the Red Sox and A’s will take place next week, according to Carrie Muskat.
* The Cubs are set to sign a deal with WLS-Ch.7 to broadcast a portion of the team’s games through 2019, according to the Tribune’s Robert Channick. Definitely didn’t see this one coming, and it’s going to be strange to see Cubs games on ABC. The station is expected to carry 25 games per year; I’d assume the remaining games will be picked up by a combination of WGN and CSN Chicago.
* Earlier in the day yesterday, Matt Speigel from 670 the Score said he heard from a source that the Cubs were close to a deal that would put 45 games on WGN — local only — for 2015. I’m not sure what that would mean for people who live within MLB.tv’s blackout area, but still outside “local” WGN broadcasts. I wonder if the blackout restrictions can be adjusted at all.
* Javier Baez played his first game in the Puerto Rico Winter League last night. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a sacrifice fly. Not going to talk about the strikeouts yet, not going to talk about the strikeouts yet…
* One guy I was kind of hoping the Cubs would sign this offseason, Justin Masterson, has instead signed with the Red Sox. He’s inking a one-year deal for $9.5 million. It’s too bad, but I suppose Jason Hammel serves as a similar middle-of-the-rotation type starter. After missing out on Jon Lester, the Red Sox have added Masterson, Wade Miley and Rick Porcello. Not exactly fear-inducing, but not horrible either.
* The Cubs have talked with lefty reliever Craig Breslow, according to Rob Bradford. It looks like he had rough go of it last season, but before that he has been a serviceable relief pitcher.
* The Reds got a little weaker yesterday, as they traded starting pitchers Mat Latos (to the Marlins) and Alfredo Simon (to the Tigers). The Central Division will still be pretty strong next year, but this can only help the Cubs.