A few of the Cubs minor free agents sign elsewhere; Another coach departs organization


Mike Freeman (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Mike Freeman (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Hancock to Japan

Recently non-tendered reliever Justin Hancock has signed a one-year deal with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. His contract is for $620K, a figure well above the approximate $200K he would have made with the Cubs on a split contract, so financially at least the Cubs decision paid off for Hancock.

His situation is not dissimilar to that of former Cubs hurler Eddie Butler, who also signed in Japan this week. He has MLB arm talent, but consistency and command have been an issue holding him back, and it is a difficult task to improve that facet of your game while being yo-yo'd between AAA and the Majors. Assuming the player is able to adapt to a foreign country and baseball culture, a season or two of stability can sometimes prove beneficial in turning the corner.

Freeman to Cleveland, B. Wilson to Detroit

Another pair of Cubs free agents have signed elsewhere.

Many fans will rejoice to see Mike Freeman depart, but he did put in good work with Iowa during his stint with the organization. For a while it appeared that the Cubs had acquired an upgrade for the "veteran-utilityman-to-stash-in-Iowa" role but at least for the time being Ronald Torreyes is a free agent after the Cubs non-tendered him last Friday. There is still a chance Torreyes returns, or one of the other vets that was non-tendered around the league, could be brought in to replace Freeman.

Catcher Bobby Wilson spent most of 2018 with Minnesota before being acquired by the Cubs on August 30th for Chris Gimenez. He was on the DL at the time, and was meant to serve as an experienced fallback option for the playoffs in the event the Cubs suffered an injury to Contreras or Caratini. Since those guys stayed healthy, and Wilson took a little longer than expected to recover, he never did play a game in a Cubs uniform.

While the team waited on Wilson to return, Taylor Davis was added to the Cubs 40-man roster for the second straight September, and this time around they chose to tender him a contract for the next season. Davis cannot be outrighted off the roster until after spring training begins, so unless he is included in a trade the decision by the team shows they now feel comfortable with him serving as the third catcher going into the 2019 season.

I would not look for the team to bring in another Chris Gimenez or Tim Federowicz-type unless they lose one or more of their catching prospects (Jhonny Pereda/Ian Rice/P.J. Higgins) in the Rule 5 draft this month. In that event, a little additional depth may be required, although the club also has veteran Ali Solis (currently on-loan), rock-solid receiver Erick Castillo, and Will Remillard on Minor League deals. Each has some AAA experience.

Cubs lose another coach

The Los Angeles Angels have hired Cubs AA Tennessee Hitting Coach Jesus Feliciano to be their new 1st base coach. Feliciano served as the Manager of the Eugene Emeralds from 2016-17. He guided the team to the Northwest League Championship Series both seasons. The 2016 club won a league record 54 games on its way to the franchise's first outright Championship in its 40-year history. In addition to coaching in the 1st base box during games, Feliciano will also serve as the Outfield Coach for new Angels Manager Brad Ausmus.

Filed under: News and Notes, Offseason


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  • Cardinals reporting finalizing a deal with Arizona for Goldschmidt.
    Ouch. He moves the needle for them.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    It looks like the Cardinals gave up a lot for one season. I’m curious if the Cubs will do something similar after the 2020 season and trade Bryant.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Yeah the Cards did gives up quite a bit. My guess is they are confident that he’ll like playing in St. Louis and believe they can get him signed to a long term extension or new deal next offseason.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    actually, the Cards didnt give up anything they coudnt replace. Maybe Kelly woiuld have replaced Yadi evetually, but Yadi did sign a 4yr contract last year, and the dirty birds do value defense from the catcher more than anything. Kelly is a bat with questionable defense. If i were the Snakes, Id have asked for either Reyes or Flaherty instead of Weaver.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    I'll be curious how it plays out with Goldschmidt. Cards made similar move to get Heyward and seemed to act like it was a foregone conclusion they could convince him to stay on a long term deal.

    Cubs will be in a different situation with Bryant. DBacks aren't contending, Cubs presumably will be. That doesn't mean the Cubs wouldn't consider moving Bryant at that point, but priorities and math will be different. They'd need to determine if Bryant's 1 yr production + comp pick is > the salary relief (and whether they could reinvest it elsewhere) + whatever return they could garner

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    If I ran the team, priority #1 would be a long term contract for Bryant. But since his agent is Boras, that seems unlikely. So option 2 is maximizing the next two years and maintaining financial flexibility for post 2020. Don’t necessarily compete 2021, but just that one season. No long term rebuild, but also no 10 year, $30m contract. So go clear that farm for Arenado: ha!

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Cards didn’t give up much.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Weaver has a ceiling as a solid 3 and Kelly should be at least a solid catcher. That’s for 1 year of Goldscmidt. That’s not cheap

  • In reply to TC154:

    What if they don't reach their ceiling?

  • In reply to TC154:

    You are trying to project their worth. Goldscmidt is a proven. Even if 1 year.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Sure, I’m trying to project their worth but that’s what we as baseball fans do. Cubs fans still complain about the Quintana trade for two guys that haven’t played a MLB game while Q has made 46 starts and has been great in September both years and has been s workhorse. I like that trade but acknowledge the cost, I like (in a relative sense) this trade for St. Louis but all I’m saying is that the prospect cost was high for one year of control of Goldschmidt. The other thing is that while Goldschmidt is a 5 WAR player it moves their existing 5 WAR player in Carpenter to 3B at the age of 33. Look, this trade likely makes the Cardinals a bigger threat in the division and based on what Goldy has done to the Cubs it’s a prudent reaction to be concerned but it’s not a perfect trade for the Cardinals either. That’s all I’m saying

  • In reply to TC154:

    This isn't about what baseball fans do. It is about the reality of the situation. I get you making that comparison and it is a fair point but you can't compare Goldschmidt's production and ability to Quintana's. And we could have a seperate debate about how good Q has been????
    If you gave me a list of prospects to choose from: Weaver, Kelley, and Eloy. It isn't even close. Not sure if if Weaver and Kelley were ever a top 3 prospect in all of baseball?????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Nope, niether of them as even in the top 25. Kelly I beleive was in the low 30s, Reyes and Flaherty both ranked higher than either of them.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Totally agree Some of these can't miss do miss big time!!!! Goldscmidt is a solid player

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    So are you happy with the Quintana trade for Eloy and Cease? Q is a solid player and some of these can't miss prospects do miss big time!!! Just curious.

  • In reply to John57:

    You can't put Q on the same level as Goldschmidt. It isn't even close. But no I wasn't happy with the that trade.

  • In reply to John57:

    Goldschmidt is better than Q but we got Q for 3 and a half years at a below market value. Cards are getting Goldy for just one year. I think Q will probably have more WAR over the 3 and a half years than Goldy will have in just one.

  • In reply to John57:

    Not sure how you define below market value for Q?????

    Goldschmidt is going to have a bigger impact for the cards then Q will for cubs. I am sorry but your WAR guess holds no water. The eye and straight results will overrule this debate.

  • In reply to TC154:

    And first dibs on the rest of his career

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    this reminds me of when they traded for Matt Holliday several years back. Gave p what aounted to secondary pieces for a big bat in there lineup, and Holliday had several good seasons for them.

  • That move will close the gap between the Cubs and Cardinals

  • fb_avatar

    That's a huge signing. I just saw on MLB trade rumors that it's a completed deal. I view Goldschmidt as another Joey Votto and that's an elite player. Even without this signing I couldn't see this FO standing still but this might spur them to get involved in the Manny/Bryce sweepstakes. I do prefer Harper for his talent and his attitude. We have a lot of tempered personalities but not a Bob Gibson or AJ Pierzynski among them.
    The NL Central just got a whole lot more interesting.

  • Nooooo not Goldschmidt to the cardinals

  • Votto and Goldschmidt are the 2 players that I always want Cubs pitchers just to pitch around. They are flat out 2 of the best hitters in baseball. Cards just got better.

    I don't really know all that much about the players the Cards sent the other way, but they seem pretty risky for the Diamondbacks. I'm hoping I'm totally wrong, though, and that the Cards gave up a lot for a 1 year rental.

  • Sad to see Feliciano leave the organization, but glad to see him get the opportunity. Jesus has interpreted for me with several of the players at South Bend. Everyone I have talked to says he has a bright baseball mind.

  • Do you think we should've found a way to protect Jhonny Pereda, instead of leaving him vulnerable to the rule 5 draft?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I think Pereda should have been protected.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    He is the only player I am worried about losing. I like him as a good backup catcher with enough potential that he could even end up a low-end starter.

    I understand why he wasn't protected though. Always tough for a contending team to protect a guy that has never played above A-ball though. Still a couple of years (at least) left in his development and that is a long time to tie up a 40-man spot on someone you won't call upon to play.

  • Would like to see the Cubs explore a move for Dee Gordon from Seattle. Two-time All Star and .289 lifetime hitter, his speed would bring a different element to the offense. He could take over lead off spot and play second, leaving Javy at SS. Hes only 30 years old and I believe could be available

  • In reply to Ringer:

    I've seen speculation that he would make some sense in a bad contract swap for Chatwood. He did suffer a toe injury last year that some felt held him back at the plate, on the bases and defensively. A lot would depend on if the Cubs feel there is potential for a bounce back.

  • Gordon was a 0 WAR in 2018, has only exceeded 100 wRC+ twice and .700 OPS once. Also his OBP the last two years has been .288 and .305 and you need a .350 OBP to be considered for an everyday leadoff position. If you can’t find that it’s better to mix and match based on matchups. If you look at his numbers, remember he has virtually no power as well, he’s pretty much Addison Russell offensively and, while he was a solid defender when he played 2B full time, it’s a less valuable position than SS so he’s a step back from Russell when you’re looking for improvement. Plus you would be picking up 3/$41 mil in salary. Honestly, I’d rather keep Russell at a much lower dollar amount if Gordon is the alternative. No, thank you.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Sorry, he exceed .700 OPS three times. But is a lifetime .696

  • In reply to TC154:

    Not to mention PED's. Pass!

  • Tommy Hottovy is officially the cubs new pitching coach and Brandon morrow had elbow surgery(debridement) and is not expected to be ready opening day

  • In reply to bolla:

    Casey coleman closing games for the cubs this year?

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Not happening.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    The benefits of bullpen depth. This FO doesn't play baseball--they play three-dimensional chess! :-)

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