Friday’s statement from Theo Epstein about the firing of manager of Rick Renteria outlined the timing of how things went down with Joe Maddon.
Basically, the Cubs said they learned of Maddon opting out of his contract with the Rays on Oct. 23, the day before the news broke publicly. They confirmed the news with Major League Baseball and then pursued Maddon.
I felt the explanation would put to bed any ideas of tampering, but apparently the Rays may still look into it. Marc Tompkin thinks the Rays remain convinced the Cubs “enticed” Maddon to opt out of his contract.
Ken Rosenthal wonders if MLB will use its department of investigations to look into the matter. He says if tampering is somehow proven, the Rays could ask for a player in return as compensation, even throwing out the names Javier Baez and Addison Russell.
I really doubt much will come from this tampering chatter. In my opinion, the Cubs covered themselves with what they said in Friday’s statement. If something does happen somehow, I certainly don’t see the Cubs having to give up a top prospect, or anyone even remotely significant.
Cubs pick up option on Jacob Turner
As expected, the Cubs have picked up RHP Jacob Turner’s option for 2015. Only 23 years old and a former top pitching prospect of the Tigers and then Marlins, Turner will have a chance to win a spot in the rotation next season.
He didn’t fare terribly well for the Cubs after they claimed him off waivers from the Marlins in August, but they hope Turner can turn things around.
The best part, however, is that the Cubs don’t need to depend on Turner. They have a lot of other options that could step up, such as Felix Doubront, who was acquired in a trade late this season and showed flashes as a starter.
In other Cubs roster-related moves, Ryan Kalish has elected free agency, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. He had been outrighted to Iowa a few days prior.
Free agent predictions
MLB Trade Rumors published its list of the top 50 free agents for this offseason, along with predictions on where they end up.
Jon Lester, Russell Martin, David Robertson, Justin Masterson and Jake Peavy were predicted to go to the Cubs. If that all came to fruition, it would obviously be quite the haul.
Lester, Martin and Masterson would be great pick-ups in my book. I like Robertson as a pitcher, but I’m not sure I see this front office spending a ton and offering a bunch of years for a reliever.
I have written before about my dislike of Jake Peavy, so I hope the Cubs go in a different direction if they sign a third starting pitcher. Brett Anderson is an interesting possibility (the Rockies have declined his option, according to Jeff Passan). Was always a fan of his on Oakland when he was healthy.
* C.J. Edwards pitched a clean inning in Saturday’s Fall Stars Game for the East team, only giving up one hit and striking out two. One of the strikeouts included one of the top prospects in baseball, Francisco Lindor. The East won 6-2.
* It looks like the Orioles have a good shot at keeping Nick Markakis, writes Eduardo A. Encina from the Baltimore Sun. Markakis could have brought a veteran left-handed-hitting presence to the Cubs, but I’m not sure how realistic that possibility ever was.
* Paul Molitor is expected to be offered the Twins managing gig next week, according to Judd Zulgad from 1500 ESPN. It had been rumored that Rick Renteria might get an interview for the position, so this would obviously take that out of the picture.
* Speaking of where Renteria may end up, Peter Gammons writes that the Cubs put in a call to Bud Black and the Padres about a coaching position for the Cubs’ former manager. Other options include Twins bench coach or something in Tampa Bay, he says. Gammons also says Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer met with Joe Maddon, for initial discussions for the Cubs job, in Maddon’s RV as he was driving across the country. Whatever it takes, I guess.
* The Brewers have pulled off a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire first baseman Adam Lind. Returning to Toronto is pitcher Marco Estrada. Lind had a nice year in 2014, hitting .321/.381/.479, but he missed some time due to injury. He also has been used a lot in platoon situations and served as the designated hitter quite a bit, so it will be interesting to see how he fares if he plays every day at first base.